Heyoka’s Stripes

Veiled in Heyoka’s stripes, my friend rubbed her eyes crying, “Waah, waah, waah”. She is one of those rare people who can lovingly mock others, as a successful antidote to self-pity.

Together we burst into laughter. Although we were conversing about something outside of either of our experiences, I tucked the memory away to pull out when I am tempted to complain.

My friend’s playful display lives on as a reminder to find, as much humor in life’s circumstances, as possible. Hardly ever does whining improve anything in our lives, especially relationships.

People akin to the Lakota tribe’s Heyoka (a sacred and enlightened clown), show up in our lives, mirroring our faults and addressing our issues from different vantage points. We cock our heads at their upside down way of doing things. We raise our eyebrows over their inside out concepts. Still, they leave us with new ways to approach life.

Sacred clowns are not generally open about their identity. Commonly, such instrumental people are unaware of the extent of their gift. They live authentically, inviting us out of our threadbare sameness and into the naked void. There, we humbly accept our whole selves.

Heyokas have childlike natures and the wisdom of old souls. They provoke our thinking, often inciting our shortcomings. At the very least, they give us opportunities to take fresh notice of the paradoxical way we blame others for the very things we overlook in ourselves.

Weaknesses lurk underneath our strengths, just as strengths, even callings, hide deep inside our weaknesses. Being authentic requires living from a strong, inclusive center, strong enough to convert what we would rather discard, inclusive enough to hold together, both our gold stars and those things that disappoint.

Communicating, with our inconsistencies, makes us real. As we accept our contradictions, we begin dropping expectations of others, accepting both their sacredness and their humanity.

Although Heyokas are not common, we can welcome their humor, by taking everything down deep to Sacred within. Hope invites us to welcome the humor and authenticity of Heyoka’s stripes, by remembering what it was like to be swept away in childlike wonder.

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Sacred Ruminations*