Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Photos by Lisa Jack

"As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down thereto hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might."
– Marion Anderson

Today, my mother sent me an email containing early photographs of Barack Obama. They were taken by a student photographer in 1980 at Occidental College in Los Angeles. The photos were interesting (I find most photos are), but it was the closing quote of the email, attributed to Marion Anderson, that captured me.

It’s a cautionary thought, akin to: “Do unto others …” and “As ye reap, so shall ye sow.” Yet, it is a much more compelling statement. Yes, we should treat each other as we would like to be treated. There is judicial synergy there. And, we must understand that whatever we send out will come back to us in some (usually stronger) form. Those messages are clear. Do well. BE well. Don't you realize that your energy defines you?

Dig a bit deeper into that soil, however, and there is a profound truth: What we do reflects back, bounces back, because we are all so very connected to everyone around us. We cannot interact with each other, impact each other, even brush by each other without touching, on some level. There are countless strings that bind us together. The connections may be superficial and transitory, or sturdy and persistent, springing from the enduring bonds of emotion or karma. Others are fortified by our blessed or wicked intent. The point is: what we send out swings out. Then back again.

Yet, when Marion Anderson speaks of the reciprocal damage visited upon those who seek to subjugate their fellow man, she warns of the twice-cursed. Those that cause pain to others will receive retribution, to be sure, but the very act of holding down another, is the very thing that cripples their own souls.

And, who in hell is sufficiently warped to pursue that?

Do you want to rise? Do want to soar over the treetops toward some exalted birth-height? Do you imagine yourself gliding through the wild blue yonder of your personal chunk of heaven?


If you hope to fly, then you know you have to get up off the ground and the other guy first, right?


Lori Skoog said...

Right the photos. Impact...we all have impact one way or the other.

Janie said...

I've seen the photos, but not the quote. So true. Putting down or keeping down another is soul-destroying. I'd rather we both fly.

CoyoteFe said...

Howdy Lori!

Yes, even when we would prefer not to, we have impact. I say we run it for all it's worth into the light.

Hallooo, Janie!

Yes indeed! Let us all soar together. Much better karma to pull each other up, than to hold each other back ... or down ... on in.

Carolyn said...

Oh so true! It takes grace and humility to get up and off and extend a hand. Thank you for this post.
Blessings and smiles

CoyoteFe said...

Hallooo, Carolyn!

I like your mention of humilty. Sometimes, I think that is the only thing that will save us in the end.

Blessings to you!

rebecca said...

This was terrific, Fe, and what a sage, perfect quote. Yet, it still amazes me that some people don't get that. It's the simple law of the universe: you get back what you put in. Now if I can just figure out how to get my beloved to be a little more of a DIY-type of guy. How do I do that Fe? Huh? Huh?!!

Toodooloooo and have a wonderful, terrific weekend!

CoyoteFe said...

Ha! If he DID DIH, however would you cope? :-)
Have a great weekend your ownself.

Esther Garvi said...

All too often, man is fearful of what he doesn't fully understand or/and control. We need to remind ourselves however that we the citizens for the world (regardless of religion, skin tone and geographical location) are not any different than the grid we grew up with. Every society has its pros and cons, and the humility part is vital in being able not only to understand and respect people with a different view on life, but also to enjoy them. Which we can - and when we do, it's life to the fullest.

That's my little two-pence from my desert corner in Africa.

Warm greetings!

CoyoteFe said...

Wisdom must float on that African desert air! Well put! There are days when I think we will never come together, and others when I think we cannot do anything but.

Esther Garvi said...

It all comes down to love and courage, because someone needs to dare to give first. If we all wait for the other part to make the first move, not much is going to happen in our lifetimes.

And then as you so eloquently put it, if ever that should happen, better remove that foot from that other man's throat first.


CoyoteFe said...

Ooooh! Esther!
That giving first thing seems to get harder and harder as we "progress." is it because we are afraid of being hurt? Or is it human nature? The first is so much more easy to repair than the last.