Linda Neale's Blog

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Forgiveness

Linda Neale - Monday, March 02, 2015

Recently, I was invited to participate in a panel presentation on forgiveness sponsored by the Oregon Jewish Museum and Holocaust Remembrance Center.  The discussion was based on The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Weisenthal.    If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it.  In the first hundred pages of this book,  Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal recounts his encounter with a dying German soldier who asked to speak with "a Jew" in order to seek forgiveness. Wiesenthal then invites everyone into the discussion, throwing open his personal experience for judgment in a series of short essays offered by philosophers, theologians, scholars, and religious leaders who offer their thoughts on what Wiesenthal should or could have done. On Sunday a rabbi, a Catholic lay minister, a Muslim woman, and I were invited to weigh in on our various perspectives on forgiveness. I found it interesting that I was included in this esteemed panel, partly because I do not have an “official” religious position, and partly because I’ve always had a problem with the concept of forgiveness. It was a good discussion, and raised many issues for me.  I hope it does the same for you.  The following are highlights of my own personal perspective on forgiveness.  I invite all readers to share their own perspective in the comments section -- I'll print your response.
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A thanksgiving gift from the Haudenosaunee

Linda Neale - Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gratitude is the beginning of knowledge and understanding”   Ted Williams, Iroquois elder  Read More

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Warrior Mode

Linda Neale - Friday, October 10, 2014
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The Problem of Evil

Linda Neale - Sunday, January 05, 2014

    A  close friend of mine had a handicapped brother who was recently brutally murdered.    Another friend has a beautiful son who is unable to function, or even walk, because of chronic fatigue syndrome.  Adolf Hitler annihilated one million Jewish children during the Holocaust of World War II.  I was sexually abused by my own father.  At age 8, my husband Rod was told by his boarding school teachers that his Pima traditions were "of the devil."  In 1968 American troops massacred 504 men, women, and children at My Lai in Vietnam.
   The "problem of evil" is everywhere, and is one of the most serious objections to the existence of God.  Simply stated, the problem goes like this:  If God is all-knowing, all-benevolent, and all-powerful, why does He/She let bad things happen? 
   I don't pretend to have an answer, but I do think we should all at least consider the question, because eventually we will be faced with some horrible situation that we consider evil.  Or, some very good person in our lives (in my case, Rod) will get seriously injured, or die prematurely, or  be killed. Because shit happens in life.  We can't get away from it.  When very bad things happen, lots of questions arise, like, "Why did God allow this?", "Am I being punished for something I did?",  "Didn't the Great Spirit hear all those prayers for protection?", "Do I believe in the wrong thing?"
   Because of recent events in my friends' lives and that of my own, I've been re-examining my understanding and feelings about evil, and have learned some more about various Native American and Christian beliefs that I want to pass on for your consideration.   I'm going to start with a series of quotes, and then continue this discussion in another blog.  You're welcome to chime in with your stories, opinions, quotes, or beliefs about evil in the "comments" section. 
   Please think about it.  Read More

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Message from Rod -- New Year 2014

Linda Neale - Wednesday, January 01, 2014

This morning I read a New Year's message from Brad Keeney (who will be a featured presenter for Earth and Spirit Council in May), that included the following:   Read More

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Songs in Ceremony

Linda Neale - Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A member of our Women's Medicine Wheel ceremony recently asked me to write about songs.  She is not a singer...yet. Thank you, Carolyn, for encouraging this post.

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New year's resolutions, intentions, actions

Linda Neale - Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.    Read More

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the shootings

Linda Neale - Monday, December 17, 2012

So many people are writing about the mass shootings at Clackamas Town Center and  Newtown, Connecticut, that I wondered what else I could possibly add to the conversation.  But I found myself crying last night when the names of the twenty child victims were read by President Obama at the Newtown memorial service and realized that I needed to share, even if no one reads this or listens, as part of my own healing.  And, I needed to figure out what I could do to help.  Read More

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Listening with a Capital L

Linda Neale - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

 Here's a little story about ceremony, the first one I've written in a long time.  I asked Big A and Heddi Neale for permission to publish the story on my blog, and they both granted permission.  It's about what happens when we Listen with a capital "L".
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What is a Shaman?

Linda Neale - Monday, October 03, 2011

On a recent radio show, I was introduced by the well-meaning interviewers as a "shaman".   I was alarmed.  Nothing in my written bio mentioned that word, and I had a minute or so of commercial time to consider how to respond.  Many things went through my head in that minute.  I thought about ceremonial leaders who have let others define them, allowing people to call them "medicine man", "shaman" or "chief".   I thought about Casimirro Mamallacta, an 80 year old Kichwa ayowaska shaman friend who knows the medicinal uses of every plant in his Ecuadorian rain forest.  I thought about the weekend shamanic workshops you can find everywhere on the internet.  I remembered the years of intense training my Dine (Navajo) friend Patrick went through to become a hitaali, or singer.  I could let the interviewers' comments go, and begin the process of allowing others to define me --  after all, some people say that it's the community that defines who is a shaman, who is a medicine person, and who is not.  But I've met real traditional shamans, and I have too much respect for them and their training to allow that to happen.  Read More


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