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Ash-Te-He [I am you being me ų Creek Greeting]
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Tom Goodman (Aypuka Peta Aypoecki - „One who walks in the dreams of othersš

      . . .is a Tribal Spiritual Guide of the Y‚ufala Band of the Lower Muscogee Creek Indians and a Peacemaker among Nations, Tribes and Clans. He is also an author, lecturer, herbalist, naturopath and artist. He is founder and director of Earth Keepers & Company, a non-profit, tax exempt corporation created as an educational facility to develop innovative earth renewal projects for healing community.  He has also created a number of other organizations, including the Native American musical group „Spirit Keepers.š Born on the Poarch Creek Reservation in South Alabama, Tom and his family live in North Georgia.

Excerpts3:37 secs

      We are all -- six billion of us and counting -- participants in a gigantic race, according to Tom Goodman (Tom Blue Wolf), Native American spiritual guide, tribal ambassador and artist. It‚s a race between the destruction of the globe and the awakening of humanity‚s consciousness. Traditional Native Americans believe it is inevitable that the human spirit will awaken, but to do so, we must become one people on one planet with one Great Spirit. How? Put feet on your prayers. Ceremony.

      When Tom Goodman uses the word „ceremony,š it is a verb. It means to actively pursue a relationship with that which people call God, Creator, Connection, Relationship, Unconditional Love, or Reverence. Tom calls us to connect with other people and with the earth, to be authentic in our quest for righteousness, to love our sisters and brothers. After all, we all share the same needs to love and to be loved, for clean air and good water, to see our great-grandchildren growing up in a beautiful place.

      Tom Goodman draws from the ancient traditions of the Lower Muscogee Creek Indians. Born on the Poarch Reservation in Lower Alabama, he shares tribal affiliation with the Star Clan of the Y‚ufala Band.  He now makes his home in North Georgia, working as director of Earth Keepers & Company, a non-profit corporation he created as an educational facility to develop innovative earth renewal projects for healing community.

      With the „run-away trainš of mass consumerism, Tom is convinced we‚ve burdened ourselves by throwing nature‚s energy out of balance, taking without giving back, creating a destructive nightmare of isolation. People all over the world, he reports after traveling much of it, yearn to feel connected. While he sees that desire as a mass movement, the engine to make it happen will be changes in individual hearts. Tom reminds us of Sister Mother Theresa‚s answer to the question, how do you expect to change the world? „I don‚t -- just the next person I meet.š

      Don‚t to sit passively and wait for God to come knocking on your door, Tom urges. Act. Don‚t withhold being thankful for those times when the blessings are obvious. Be thankful every time you are draw the next breath of air. Meet God coming. Go out and face life. Seek righteousness and you will know how to live. Seek connection and you will find it.

      In Tom Goodman‚s tradition, people greet each other saying "AshŲteŲhayš.š  It means "I am you being me.š When we all live as if we are connected, we will be. And together, we will dance.


[This Program was recorded December 9, 1998 in the mountains of north Georgia, U.S.]

Conversation 1

Tom Goodman tells Paula Gordon and Bill Russell how Tom and his elders see the world in a race between the destruction of the globe and the awakening of humanity‚s consciousness. He shows how we must put feet to our prayers, go through the motions of righteousness to recreate a sense of oneness with the Great Spirit. He describes why Native People „ceremony.š


Conversation 2

Tom names far-flung traditions, all aspiring to connectedness. He describes the work needed to be part of the Great Mystery, to love our brothers and sisters, to become one tribe. He describes what people seek: to know we are all connected, to share the same globe and needs. He describes what he‚s found in his global work as a tribal ambassador.  Tom describes how internal focus alters external reality. He explains ceremony -- going out and facing life. He draws from quantum physics and music to call us to a reverence for life. Tom quotes his Grandfather, a ceremonial leader of the Poarch Bank of the Lower Creek of the Eastern Tribe of the Muscogee, „We must honor our differences and celebrate our similarities.š Tom describes the wisdom tradition of his Elders, in which spirituality without work is selfŲindulgence.


Conversation 3

Tom expands on how we must strive to be continuously in relationship while engaging in an equitable exchange of energy. (Never take anything without giving something back.) In that light, he examines mass consumerism, where accountability has become lost as people only take and do not give back. Tom describes the spiritual space he shares with a friend who is an economist. He offers names to the Space for which people are looking. He connects a longing for that Space to the return of 6 billion souls to this planet. He gives examples.  He uses the greeting in his language as an example of how we might live („Ash-te-hay,š which means "I am you being me.š) Tom shows what happens to people who are out of harmony, distant from their integrity. He relates his people‚s ancient concept of „earthkeeperš to other traditions. He describes the unique prison ministry of Earth Keepers, his (non-profit) organization.


Conversation 4

Tom points to the every day choices we all make and reminds us that we are responsible for the results of those choices. He describes the great chain of connection between one‚s thoughts and one‚s destiny. Knowing that you must do the righteous thing makes you free, Tom assures us, and expands from the Christian instruction book. He recalls his grandfather‚s description of life as a bridge and explains the consequences of getting attached to the bridge rather than staying focused on the destination. He describes the lies history tells about Native Americans. He explains how we emerge as warriors of spirituality and peace, with both history and the future only available in this present moment. Tom describes „Grandmotherš (nurture and nourishment), to whom he goes for healing, and „Grandfatherš (passion and enthusiasm for life), to whom he goes for teaching, as one.


Conversation 5

Tom describes how Native Americans have dealt with oppression. He recalls early times when Native People learned integrity from their animal totems (bears didn‚t pretend to be deer,) even when speaking truth had dire consequences. He describes the imbalance of energy which took place when Europeans arrived -- Europeans were doing all the taking and Natives were doing all the giving. He connects that experience to today‚s America, which he describes as a run-away train. Tom compares the oppression and victimization of the human soul experienced by Native Americans to the current plight of the people of Tibet. He sees Native American souls waking up, reviving their culture, leading a worldwide awakening to how deeply we are connected to the earth and to each other. Forgiveness, Tom assures us, is one of the first remedies for oppression and victimization. He expands on the metaphor of the earth as a living organism.


Conversation 6

Tom is confident today‚s challenge is to realize we're not alone, to find our brothers and sisters, to connect with them, to do the spiritual work necessary to prepare for the thousand years of peace. First, we must alter our dream -- our inner perspective on who we are and what our relationship is with the earth -- one person at a time. Then things will change. Tom quotes Mother Theresa‚s answer when asked how she expected to change to world:  "I don't ŲŲ just the next person I meet."


Acknowledgements

Tom and Debby welcomed us into their home in the beautiful North Georgia woods. We thoroughly enjoyed their hospitality, as well as the wisdom they share.

Related Links:
You can learn more about Tom‚s non-profit organization, Earth Keepers, and about Native American creations, music, naturopathy, herbal medicine, vision quest assistance, performing arts, spiritual guidance, indigenous shelters, environmental solutions, crisis intervention, tribal artifacts and creations, herbal and skin care products and wholistic workshops and events at the Earth Keepers‚ website.
Jonn Serrie, a space music pioneer with eight prior releases, collaborates with Tom Goodman and medicine man John Winterhawk Johnson on the CD, „Spirit Keepers,š a star-gazing journey through Native American culture, also available from Earth Keepers‚ website.


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