Gary Sackett

~ Expressing Gratitude and Love ~

This is my dream, no different from MLK’s

 

~ A view from a middle aged white man, born in 1964, raised partially in southern California until age 10, then in the panhandle of Florida to central Florida. As an adult, has lived in South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona and Georgia. Has traveled through many other states and vacationed in Alaska, Mexico and the Bahamas ~

 

Photo by Cathy Sackett

I listened to and read Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and several quotes popped out to me. I’ve taken them below and added my thoughts, taking myself back in time remembering situations through my eyes and especially through my heart.

As a child I was raised pretty much in a non-denominational, non-racist, middle to low middle-class family, though I thought I lived in a mansion in Santa Ana. Climbing a tree in the backyard to the roof of my castle, the endless sunshine highlighted Space Mountain, the winds moved the branches so I could see Anaheim Angels Stadium. I was able to ride my bike, everywhere!

I went to school with Hispanics, had a Hispanic babysitter for a time. Playing with her kids, my friends. It was normal, it was life as a kid, running, laughing, eating tacos, burritos and laughing some more.

What shaped my viewpoints, my beliefs? What made me who I am? Was it my parents or my surroundings, both? Was it having a younger brother with Cerebral Palsy, confined to a wheelchair, who communicated with his eyes? Was it learning that the looks from strangers was their disdain?

Moving across the country in a ’66 Chevy pickup with a camper shell from Santa Ana to Perry, Fl. was an adventure but more of one when it’s just your Mom and five kids. I was the oldest and the diaper-changer, child wrangler and most of all the late night co-pilot as we maneuvered easterly through the desert states. There was no air conditioning, so I was also the shuttler of cloth diapers used to wrap around our necks, wet and cold from the blocks of ice in the coolers. Seat-belts weren’t used so the experience of shutting a truck door at 55 mph after your younger sister opens it added to the excitement.

It was in Mississippi when Mom had to pull in for the night, trying to find shelter on a stormy night. She saw a gas station with an overhang and pulled through. Bam, bang, sudden stop as the camper shell ripped open. All the kids jolted out of deep sleep, screaming and crying. Let’s say the overhang won. The crashing noise apparently woke up the neighborhood, because when I opened the back door there was a small crowd. This was my first encounter with black people. A preacher and his family took us in for the night, fed us and made us comfortable, taking the sting out of the tumultuous night. Duct tape and sheet metal the next morning, we continued on to Florida.

I lived on a small farm and spent half of 4th grade in Perry, Florida. It was living in the rural panhandle of Florida that the understanding of perceived differences started to creep into my life.

It was the day that a State Trooper pulled up on the farm. He drove the squad car with the red singular light on top around the circle dirt drive parking in the shade of the monstrous Live Oak. Jumping the cattle fence, my bare feet kicked up dust as I slid to a stop at the “cool” police car. He was visiting my grandparents, stopping by to have some sweet iced tea, talking about crops, logging and how the sows were coming along. My curiosity was met with an openness for the trooper to show off his car. As I looked by his seat I asked what was that, a curved wooden handle frame that attached to a 12 gauge side by side sawed off shotgun as he pulled it out. He described in great detail that it was his “scatter gun” used when he had to go to the black juke joints. Other words were used, foreign to me.

I was 10 years old, a kid who played with all colors of other kids who wanted to play with me. Reflecting back, I think we all want to be that kid again, free, laughing, playing. So as I write this, I pour out love to all that strive to find their way back to being a child once more, unencumbered by the viewpoints of the “adults”.

 

“Black men as well as white men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Your life is what you make it. A friend of mine shared a thought —

“The greatest gift of your life was when you were born on American soil.” Do we take it for granted? America is sought out and has been since it’s inception, because you can live the “American Dream.” A dream of freedom from many — oppressions.

As many great people have stated in different ways and words, your life, liberty and your pursuit of happiness starts with you. Your mind is yours, you have the means to do anything with it. Garbage in, garbage out. So many choices!

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

Adding, or any other “kool-aid” that goes against the tenets of your heart.

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

I love the words high plane, majestic heights and soul force.

“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.”

Destiny as humans!

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Or judged at all. It occurs daily and often. So how to slow it down is to recognize your own, acknowledge it, thank it and let it love away.

 

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
                Free at last! Free at last!
                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! ”

So be free at last, study, learn, include. RAR out loud, RAR everyday, RAR as much as you can, then RAR some more.

R – espect yourself and others
A – ccountability, yourself and others
R – esponsibility, self and to others

So I dream, small dreams, big dreams, it dosen’t matter, I just dream… adding a little action to these, baby steps or leaps, fruition comes through.

Photo by Cathy Sackett

Juggling Life

Balls juggling in the air
everyone carrying weight
too heavy to hold
so many — I try

So many different sizes
so many colors
so many thoughts
so many — I cry

Criss-cross patterns
left to right
right to left
up and — down

One drops and hit my toe
screaming profanities
rolling off — it disappears

I continue the act
wanting to get better
so I add — another

Bouncing around
click, clack, smash
another one flies
out the — window

No— No— No
I have to have that
running, tripping
scrambling out — the door

Comforts of home
so easy
Decisions and actions
commitments deplore
I think about, really I think
about taking — steps

So when I did
so hard, so scary
excitement and buzz
light and airy
that moment I — decided

Hurricanes, tornadoes
cyclones
winds to and from
all directions — synchrony

From cannon to golf
demolishing to tennis
bowling to marbles
blown away — change

Finally I realized
the heavy balls were feathers
juggling was now
wisps of air
the balls were — energy

Another one bites the dust, another one closer to…

Photo by Cathy Sackett

Photo by Cathy Sackett

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52, a number I made it to. How did I make it so far? I survived car crashes, bullets whizzing by, surgeries and… being a father.

I’ve been a lot of places, seen, sometimes too much, places and people that most have not.

The questions, quotations and exclamation points that is our lives, we live them day to day, month to month and year to year.

I got here by taking a step every day, thankful for what I have, what I’ve done and what I’m going to do.

A inventory of my life: A beautiful wife, who loves me unconditionally, an awesome son who makes me proud, a loving family spread all over, a spacious apartment in Georgia, a house in Illinois, a constant job that gives me a great income, the ability to create beautiful spaces, a black lab, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I have a couple awesome friends, many acquaintances and one person who I know would give me anything I asked for.

I have been able to live in many different states, performed many different jobs and met many different people. From Sweat Lodges to Cathedrals, from homeless to dignitaries. It could be complete.

I could be content, satisfied and for the most part I am, but then why am I on my way to 53. Why do I breathe another breath?

Because…my list is not done! The list that’s on the tip of your tongue, the list you dream of but yet can’t remember.

Apparently I have a mission. It could be to build an corporate empire, travel the world, feed the masses. It could be becoming an actor, winning on Jeopardy, or inventing the next great thing.

I’ve got an idea, it’s worked so far, I’ll be me for all of eternity. I’ll continue what was started until my last heartbeat. I’ll be thankful for all I have, be kind to all. I’ll be open to the possibilities that this vast universe has blessed me with. I’ll take risks stepping through doors that appear in front of me. I’ll love…yes I’ll put love all around me until I’m 53.

Then I’ll do it again…Happy Birthday Gary, Happy Birthday to me!

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Ghost Love

Photo courtesy of Cathy Sackett

                                          Photo courtesy of Cathy Sackett

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Love is inevitable
even to the most callous soul
grasping you when you don’t want it
peeking around corners when you do
enveloped vapors of your favorite perfume
stir the mixed emotions within
glances stolen and softly returned, unwittingly

when you love or you are loved
does it fade into the ethers?
does it fold inside itself, a billion times
does it turn into a cosmic event
creating new stars
does it radiate waves of energy
like the sun
as the planet turns to the dark side
does the sun turn off
does the radiation stop
just because it went around the corner

when felt, when you open and allow
it’s like a new dawn
mist in the valleys of despair, disappear
energy abounds, smiles appear
warmth gathers

when you think it leaves
and you get quiet
you can hear, smell and feel
that moment
of Ghost Love

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Ceremony

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Photo courtesy of Dale Lyles

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A writing after the super moon, the infamous blood moon and before this weekend’s Alchemy: The Georgia Burn.

Being human, I question, not to obsession, but a slight wonder of why did I come across the Georgia Burn website, their Facebook page and why was the happenstance of seeing the open invite to the 3OM (Three Old Men Troupe)?

3OM was looking to expand their troupe and posted 45 minutes prior to my arrival to FB. I read, intrigued, more digging and within a short time messaged the poster, which led to a face to face meeting. Is this what I want to be involved in? Do ‘they’ want me? Do ‘I’ want them? Inclusion of holding space, ritual, labyrinth, like-minded people.

It wasn’t too long before I stepped out of my own way and the realization came that this whole road I’ve been on has been mine for the asking. The conscious steps that I’ve taken since I’ve crossed the 1/2 century mark, with the aid of my sub-conscious has led and fed my yearning to be ‘home’.

My definition of home: a place where you are completely safe, more of a feeling than physical place. That space when you out of your head and in touch with your heart. The tiny, yet infinite spectrum you want to envelop yourself and others in. Maybe bliss describes it or Wayne Dyer wrote about it in “Getting in the Gap”. The space in between thoughts, that when stepped into you’re catapulted into the flicker of the beginning and the end at the same time. My feeling was of one and completeness.

And after the burn…

The rain was constant even when it stopped the mist of moisture hung in the air, beads of water rolling on canvas, falling, was nature’s drum beat. Earth’s soil turned into cake batter to shape, to gather, to mold, to bake, whatever you chose to. In some areas it was a broth awaiting the ingredients for a soup or stew. A ‘chef’s’ delight of experience.

Inclemencies of anything bring out parts of you for you to look at, the droplets of water being tiny mirrors to the soul. Being uncomfortable let’s you find comfort in other ways.

The muslin walls of the labyrinth bore the weight of the moisture, the stakes holding entry to all who entered and many did. Standing in the distance, the sound of the ceremonial center bell brought them closer to the entry. At night, the glow of the fire staff’s brought moth’s to the flame, the sound of the gong took them to the center of their choosing.

I had the honor of officiating in three ceremonies, the rain with breezes intensified the moments. Standing naked, I applied the kaolin to my body, the mixture was cold, goosebumps rose to the occasion. Asking for the universe to reveal what was needed in that brief blip of time, step by step reaching the center. The wooden mallet struck the bell, the sound struck me. The kaolin was drying as my path to the west was completed, donning my robe, raising my staff and facing east. My breath was deepened and slowed, watching my exhales dance in the firelight. I held space as the space held me.

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Photo courtesy of Cathy Sackett

Though we didn’t stay for the effigy burn we did stand on that hill on two different occasions from being a guest at a same-sex wedding to watching the ‘Minotaur’ art burn. Both filled with fire.

Fire-pits and interaction, words and meanings, open hearts and laughter, thank you 3OM. Thank you to all who shared with me, from my first kilt to steak on the griddle, from guided tours to hugs.

As the short haired, aged hippie’s fingers found position, the wooden flute danced his musical breath, slowly he made it to middle, the sound of the bell struck again…again and again. Clear, clearing and clarified.

Clarification. As we listen to the whispers of life and act on them.

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