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Lakota Sacred Pipe holder holds stories, music, earth-centered wisdom

I learned through meditation that when I imagine a line between myself and the center of the earth, my body feels safe and can release old emotions and energy (like worry or seriousness) that I’m done with. When I am “grounded”, or imagining that connection, people also feel very comfortable around me. When I am not grounded, I am an easier target for someone to pick on me, because I’m more like a bird with no feet on the ground:I look vulnerable and unprotected. I’ve noticed that when I am practicing being grounded, people flock to me. They subconsciously are attracted to the idea of their bodies and spirit feeling safer and connected to the earth also.

J.J. Kent, the most grounded person I have ever met, teaches Lakota spiritual laws based on this connection to the Earth. J. J. uses his good voice to do public speaking and flute recordings, and on Saturday, April 19th, he will be featured speaking at Rivers and Spires in downtown Clarksville around noon. He will also speak to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Clarksville on May 11, 2008.

Kent is a Lakota-Sioux Indian who lives with his family in the Nashville area. He has spoken at the Unitarian Universalist Clarksville Fellowship (UUFC) many times, telling stories, playing flute music or honoring us by smoking his sacred pipe. Everyone, especially the children, flock around him when he visits, hanging on his every word. We can’t seem to get enough of him. I am convinced that we are attracted to him, not just because of what he has to say, but because of his connection to the earth. I think that connection gives him an automatic love of himself and others. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t very connected to the Earth until I saw how connected he is; how much connection is possible!

When J.J., or any person, is connected to the earth, he/she is not as threatened by other people. He/she can allow others to exist, no matter how they are. If J. J. had to deal with someone who is harming others, I imagine that J.J. would point him into seeing sense, not throw him into punishment, which would not change a thing. Most important to me, J.J. or any man who is really connected to the earth, is comfortable enough in his own body to allow women to exist, in the creative and wonderful ways that they can. Women can vibrate at higher vibrations and a room full of them doing that will make a man pretty uncomfortable. Usually women slow their vibrations down so that men feel comfortable around them. But because of his earth connection, there’s no threat to J.J. if I am powerful, because he is OK with his own power. J.J. doesn’t demand that I calm down and match his slower male vibration because he is OK in his own connection to the earth.

I asked him about this ability to connect to the earth and he said: I am of the conviction that every human being needs a firm spiritual foundation in order for them to stay grounded and have a source of inner strength to cope with the stresses of modern day society. This spiritual foundation should also include a spiritual relationship with our “Sacred Mother”, the Earth, being ever mindful of the importance of helping to maintain good ecological balance and harmony with the environment. An ancestor much wiser than me once said, “We do not inherit the Earth from our forefathers, we are borrowing it from our children!

J.J.’s traditional Lakota name is Wicasa Ho’ Waste’ which means Man with a Good Voice. He carries a sacred pipe for the people. He says that approximately 25 years ago he made the choice to “Take up the Pipe” which is like the Catholic equivalent to “Entering the Priesthood”. It meant making a vow to serve the community’s spiritual needs in accordance with established Lakota spiritual traditions.

The Pipe that J.J. is tending has been miscalled by non-Indians, a Peace Pipe. J.J. says that is a misnomer. Native people refer to it as the “Sacred Pipe” and he says it is precisely that! “The pipe serves as a very sacred and holy instrument of prayer, incorporating much symbolism. According to Lakota legend a messenger from Wakan Tanka, The Great Spirit (God) came long ago to bring the first original sacred pipe to the Lakota people along with a set of teachings or principles which have since come to be known as the ‘Seven Sacred Spiritual Laws’ of the Lakotas. It was placed in the care of the Lakota spiritual leader of that time whose name was ‘Standing Hollow Horn’ and has been passed down within the same family for 19 generations. All pipes which have been properly blessed are considered extensions of the first pipe.”

J.J. has shared the seven spiritual Laws with us at UUFC. In his own words: The first of the Lakota Seven Spiritual Laws is called” Wah Wa La”, which means to “Walk quietly (go slowly, practice patience and humility)” For all of Humanity who believe in a supreme Creator, we should always remember that we as humans are as nothing when compared with our Creator and, we should take time out from our hustle and bustle life styles every now and then to “Walk Quietly” with the Creator for a little while and reflect on how we got here in the first place, and remember where we would be if we didn’t have the light of our Creator’s wisdom to shine upon our path. Chances are we would be stumbling blindly through the darkness of our own ignorance!

Contact him and hear his music at:
www.myspace.com/flutistjjkent and also www.ourstage.com/jjkent

Debbie Boen
Debbie Boen
Debbie and her family moved to Clarksville slightly after the tornado of 1999. Debbie founded the group, Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties, in 2004. She participated in Gathering to Save Our Democracy, a group dedicated to obtaining free and verifiable elections in Tennessee. She has supported groups including the NAACP, Nashville Peace Coalition, PFLAG, Friends of Dunbar Cave and the Mountain Top Removal Series of Films and speakers. She participated as an artist in the ARTZ gallery group in Clarksville and won Best of Show, First and 2 Second Place awards for four of her sculptures. She won a voter's choice award for a performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. She is a wife, mother and cancer survivor. She is always amazed at the capabilities of the human spirit, and the wisdom to find humor when there is none.

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