In Navaho culture as in a number of other indigenous cultures, there lies the concept of Beauty (Hózhó in Navaho) as encompassing far more and profoundly other than just the superficial nature of how someone sees someone else or what consumer culture relegates as ‘beautiful’. At the heart of this concept is the learning of a vital life lesson for those of us whom are embraced by cultures which exemplify this ideal as a necessity in the art of spiritual self-actualization. And it is not the easiest of things to learn especially when we are confronted in the century of today with the daily life symptoms of alienation from the ancient rubrics of our own cultural roots especially if you are someone of the urban native experience, pretty much like myself who has come full boar face-to-face en masse with avalanches of subliminal acculturations day-in, day-out for years on end. This had happened to me right up until fairly recently, only a few years ago when I was bestruck about how meaningless and devoid of understanding much of my life-experience had been up until the moment I had a profound instance of identity realization from within which only became more solidified when I discovered, through a family history exploration undertaken by an uncle on my mother’s side, that I had a matrilineal heritage relationship to an indigenous people group (see my gravatar), sorely and barely recognized in the now time for what they have really been Divinely decreed as. That is not to say that I had never ever been able to take hold of any significance in life before that moment but rather, many years up until that moment had been spent in an alienated world, one in which I had lost that deep connection with all the love that was lavished on me by my Maker and by my family when younger. So this moment was pretty crucial to bringing me out of the pit of alienation I had become unbeknowingly locked into for such a long time as a result of my own foly when I was an undergrad student.

Consequentially this new realization has been the foundation for how I have come into the awareness that life is full of greater meaning and mystery than what the secular world would have us believe. For the Creator has put us here to be co-relators in His Divine plan of the unfolding mystery of Love personified and ultimately in the redemption plan for all creation. Hence our responsibility to be ultra-conscious of this as the undercurrent in our active search for the fulfillment of our lives. As indigenous people with a particular life-project narrative borne out of the Beauty Way, the responsibility resting upon us, leaning upon us, urging us on is that of recognizing the need to re-cognicize our relationship to All That Is in the little acts of daily interactivity we find ourselves in. The Beauty Way necessitates an active participatory recollection of the way in which we share ourselves with others – is this in balance, in proportion to how the Creator, how God would want us to relate? Does it exude all manner of graces which reflect our unique connection with the Divine? Are we able to converse without getting caught up in the pressures and temptations that present themselves as subtle but insistent cavalcades of “do it now or else”, “get it over with” shoves inside our emotional make-up? This no doubt is a delicate balance to keep within our hearts – particularly when one is just beginning to recognise this “something more”. Later on though after some solid immersion in the spiritual dynamics of being in this rhythmn, being in touch with the essence of the Beauty Way inside one’s self becomes as a song, as a dance between worlds within – and each of these worlds is in and of itself another marvel of God’s creation.

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The inscription at the bottom of this painting says: HózhóNáhásdlįį – which is Navaho for “Beauty has been re-established”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Artwork by Robert Lentz ~ Navaho Madonna