click on photos to enlarge the chi hit

all photos by ilg, unless stated otherwise.

The root of all phenomena is your mind.
If unexamined, it rushes after experiences, ingenious in the games of deception.
If you look right into it, it is free of any ground or origin,
In essence free of any coming, staying or going.

photo by Bill Benzel. chasing down Hopi Runner Micah nearing the Finish Line of the Homolovi Suvoyuki Traditional Hopi 10k Footrace…

my story continues…

“Listen, Mother Earth,” i hear in my head, “I am dancing upon you!”
“Listen, Father Sky,” again comes the Voice, “I am dancing beneath you!”

it was then, suffering up that sandy arroyo, that Ishvara-Pradnidhana – the yogic tenet of Surrendering To The Divine – rippled across my consciousness and i relaxed.

i relaxed into the sand,
into the rising sun,
into my burning, broken back pain…

when the Hopis first settled here around 1260 AD, their oral tradition says that they refer to this period as “the gathering of clans.” as i ran across their sparse mesa terrain this morning, the notion settled upon my spirit like a swallow-tail butterly sitting softly on my shoulder,
“…that’s what WF is…a gathering of clans…”

topping out near the Rama-da, miles 3.5-5.5 were more scratchy, sandy cowpaths etched through the mesaland ending up in a wash near the Little Colorado. race instructions were to follow the Red Flags. easy enough on the mesa. but here, in this wash engulfed by thorny hibiscus, saltbrush, and black sage i could not see any Red Flags. i had lost a visual of Micah and now the cowpaths multiplied themselves as if i were in an episode of THE TWILGHT ZONE.

fearing more for losing my 4th place rather than catching Micah, i realized i had run off course…if there was one at this point. had paleface ilg run headlong into a Hopi Trap?

so i stopped.

let this be your Teaching from me today:
sometimes, in order to go faster, we have to slow down.

i yogi-squatted to vent some of my back/hip pain. the ‘ilg wheelchair” is what i call it.

i quieted my breath, which quieted me.

squinting into Father, my relaxed posture and mind opened my inner eyes…i allowed the Ancient Path to call me, instead of me trying to rationalize through intellect where the Course was.

rising from my wheelchair, i began running…repeating the Hopi saying, “If you are lucky enough to be a runner, well, then, you are lucky enough.”

it was then, having found the Grace of Ishvara-Pradnihana, that i spied Micah running like a deer up what must be the final climb back toward the Finish Line…

“all’s fair in Hopi Traditional Footracing,”
came the thought, “it’s an Open Course through this maze of cowpaths toward that hill,” and i screwed on my final reserve of Wolf Running Chi and attacked the final climb, anxious to know if i had lost my 4th place while stumbling about in the wash.

cresting the hill (see photo above), i was immersed in youth, mantra, and hand mudra…the Ancients graced me with Their Blessing. Father Sun saturated my Higher Self. Mother Earth became a trampoline and i turned in a fine performance for this new daddy whose engine is fine, yet whose chassis is a bit worn from the lifetime of extreme fun.

4th place. 6.5 miles of incredibly difficult terrain covered in 57:21.

my Personal Best – which i ran as a 17 year-old – in a 10k was 33:33.
yet, that was on pavement.
that was when i was yet to be worn to a bone-on-bone shadow of self.
in many ways,
this new daddy found a deeper, far more dimensional personal record in this Native Footrace on this forlorn mesa.

funny thing about life;
she rounds off our arrogant edges in slow, exquisite ways…
ways which the yogi mines for incalculable spiritual treasure.

As part of this Weekend known as Suvoyuki Days – which translated in Hopi means, “joint effort,” i was treated to a very special archaeologic tour…once every eight years, the head archaeologist (shown above) of these ruins, excavates a precious dig of the Hopi’s first settlements. After this weekend, these excavations would once again be covered up by the sands. I was one of the few to see these ruins and be educated about them from both the Hopi (who were VERY interested in seeing the homes of their Ancestors) and from the chief archaeologist.

Hopi girls…i wondered what must be going through their minds as they see White People digging up the homes of their ancestors…and then, covering them back up again.

after my archaeologist tour, i hooked up with Micah who took us on an ethnobotany tour of the native plants from a Hopi perspective which was really more of a DharmaTeaching than anything else…afterward,

a watered-down version of traditional Hopi Dancing and Chanting…

…i would soon be privvy to one of the most surreal, timeless m(om)ents of my life the next day as my Hopi family up on Second Mesa – 70 miles further north – hooked up me with a Home Dance right in their traditional plaza…i would be one of just 17 white people among several hundred Hopi as i would watch from a home rooftop the intense ceremony of dancing that has been going on nonstop for thousands and thousands of years…

…but that, my Noble Sangha, is another story…and i still had a long, red, beautifully haunting road travel before tomorrow’s sunrise and my next Hopi Footrace. so, i pointed Bala north, put in the Oliver Shanti CD, and dissolved even deeper, Higher into my Beloved Native America…

above photo; Second Mesa (on the right) and Third Mesa (on the left) as seen from just past Homolovi

…to be continued…

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