“There is an old Navajo warning that if you kill off the prairie dogs there will be no one to cry for rain … In fact, the burrowing animals, like prairie dogs, open breathing tubes in the Earth. The underground aquifers act like the diaphragm in human bodies; the moon as it passes raises and lowers the underground water table and the Earth breathes through the many fissures and tubes opened by the burrowing creatures. The exhalation of moisture-ladened air, filled with negative ions, helps create rain.” Stephen Harrod Buhner in Sacred Plant Medicine
We are taught that we are all related, but how often do we acknowledge the contributions of the lowliest of animals, such as the prairie dog.
A member of the ground squirrel family, the best known of the five prairie-dog species is the black-tailed and they live in larger communities called towns which may contain hundreds of prairie dogs.
Prairie Dog communities are sophisticated
The largest recorded prairie dog town was found in Texas in 1900. It covered 25,000 square miles and was home to up to 400 million prairie dogs.
In the 20th Century, 98% of all prairie dogs were exterminated. They now live in only 5% of their historic habitat.
Their burrows have these remarkable features:
“James, earn this… earn it.” Dying words of Capt. John Miller to Private James Ryan in the film, “Saving Private Ryan”
Officially, Memorial Day in the United States is a day for remembering and honoring all Americans who died in any war.
Unfortunately, Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of the summer holiday, with people focusing on shopping, family gatherings, picnics and sporting events. So we sometimes forget the real meaning behind the day.
I ask that each of us take time out from this holiday weekend to say a prayer of thanks for those that gave of their lives so that we could live ours in freedom.
My Uncle Frank
One day during World War II, my grandmother, Nana Sue, was shopping with her oldest daughter when she suddenly felt very weak and had to be helped to the car.
It wasn’t a heart attack; she had a strong premonition that one of her sons had just died.
Can we learn to be optimistic?
I believe so, and researchers agree.
But it will take some undoing of early programming.
The average fourth grade child has heard the words “no, you can’t do that” over 70,000 times. So we have to work to overcome that negative imprint.
Not only are optimists happier than pessimists, research shows they are healthier, live longer and make more money.
Studies of pessimists have linked a pessimistic outlook with higher rates of infectious disease, poor health, and earlier mortality.
In a survey of millionaires, 94% said their optimistic outlook was the biggest reason they were successful.
In my last post I wrote about standing tall in the face of pessimists.
Today I’d like to offer some historical anecdotes about all the times pessimists were wrong. Hopefully it will give you more inspiration to hold onto your dreams in spite of the naysayers:
For starters, remember how absolutely certain people used to be that the earth was flat!
In 1847, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was the head of Vienna General Hospital’s First Obstetrical Clinic, which at the time had a mortality rate of 10-35%! When he suggested doctors and mid-wives wash their hands before attending mothers and newborns, he was ridiculed by the medical authorities of the time, and fired by the hospital that employed him. In 1851 he moved to Hungary where his theory was accepted and hand-washing reduced mortality to less than 1%!
“Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. You got a dream, you got to protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.” Will Smith, actor
Can pessimism be helpful?
I think not.
Not that there’s anything wrong with critical thinking and trying to be aware of potential obstacles.
But I’m talking about people who are negative for the sake of being negative. Because they have not succeeded, they don’t want anyone else to succeed either.
An eye-opening comment
I like to increase my odds of success by being a thorough researcher. So when I was working on The Wind Is My Mother, I took a class on how to get a non-fiction book published and did absolutely everything suggested. It worked.
Part of the process was to draft a query letter and send it to literary agents willing to accept them from an unknown author.
My roommate at the time told a writer friend of hers that I had sent out query letters and her friend’s reply was, “Now she can sit back and wait for the rejection letters along with the rest of us.”