Am Freitag den 18. Juni ist unser geliebter und geachteter Lehrer, Ältester, Freund und “Opa” Mala Spotted Eagle nach langer schwerer Krankheit von uns gegangen.
Seine große Liebe zum Leben, zur ganzen Schöpfung, seine aufrichtige Freundlichkeit, Sanftheit und Herzensgüte, sein achtsamer und respektvoller, bejahender Umgang mit aller Vielfalt in uns und um uns, mit Freud und Leid im Leben, und mit den vielen Herausforderungen und Beschwerlichkeiten seines Lebenswegs, haben unsere Arbeit von Anfang an inspiriert und stark geprägt.
Wir sind voller Dankbarkeit, dass Mala die Geschichte seines Lebens mit seiner langjährigen Freundin Hermine Schuring teilen konnte. Über mehrere Jahre lang haben sie Geschichten gesammelt und Hermine hat ein Buch daraus geschrieben, dass gerade rechtzeitig fertig geworden ist. Die Veröffentlichung steht noch aus, und wir sind voller Freude darüber, es im Herbst in den Händen halten zu können.
Wir freuen uns, wenn du auch das Buch vorbestellen und darüber hinaus ein bisschen für die Kosten für den Erstdruck und das Drumherum unterstützen magst, auf der Indiegogo-Webseite hier.
Danke Mala für all dein Sein und Wirken. Wir wünschen dir eine sanfte Reise ins Land deiner Ahnen.
Wir lieben dich und vermissen dich.
Nachruf von Elke
it’s been 2,5 years since you were here last, and my heart is still filled with all the joy and gratitude I feel from that time. It was such a lighthearted week or so, and in between talks we were fantasizing about the possibility of you moving in here with us, and between deep conversations about life and living, we also talked about house cleaning styles and routines, and food preferences, and other every day life things.
I remember when I met you in 2008, pretty much the first thing was hearing the intense story of your childhood and youth in Nevada, outside of the reservations, living with your family in white supremacists’ land. I felt dizzy from the pain of just imagining it all. And afterwards you reached out with so much compassion and gave me the first one of those good old long Opa-hugs that I came to love so much.
Your life was full of suffering Mala, the intense and dramatic kind, and the quiet kind, that can go unseen so easily. And you embraced it all. Over and over and over again you taught this to me and to so many of us, that whatever comes your way, whatsoever happens or doesn’t – that we can always embrace it, accept it as it is and eventually find meaning and even healing and joy in it.
It was wonderful to have you visit our home and that of many others so many times and to watch how gently you would weave your authentic self into different places, being deeply observant for the needs of the others, making yourself helpful, never taking anything for granted.
You were such an amazing rolemodel for being truly respectful: Whenever we sat with a new group of participants in a workshop you would ask in the most gentle way for every person’s permission for smudging the room, before we’ld start, explaining in detail why that was important to you personally, what it was, how it was done…and if only one single person in the group did not feel comfortable, you would instead just pass around the shell with the white sage leaves without lighting it, in order to respect that one voice.
I remember the first time when we visited you in your community in Oregon. I had never, never experienced a togetherness between people that was so full of appreciation, love, humor and gentle care and respect for each other. For the first two weeks I was basically in shock about this going on, not believing my own eyes (and also feeling kind of impatient a lot). How could such constant care and allowance for each others’ needs ever lead to anything productive? So little had I known about these things before visiting with you, and so sweet it became to bath in these waters that were guided by your commitment to kindness and gentleness. I was in awe about how much you had been able to build there together, the garden, the houses, the greenhouse… the whole system of mutual nurturance between you as people and the land you were caretaking for. When we watered the plants in the garden, you showed us how to let the water of the hose run across our left wrist and visualize the love from our hearts being poured through our arm out into the water and the soil for nourishing those seedlings into their healthy and abundant life.
Your humor was so innocent and childlike Mala! During one of your travels here you suggested calling each other after too comic figures, Obelix (that was you, for obvious reasons) and Asterix (cause I’m a small smart-ass), and I am still smiling big when I remember the constant loving teasing that just went on and on and on, whenever we hung out.
We also both could laugh endlessly about cats. In fact just a few days ago, our last laugh that we shared was about this one:
Then there was the power that moved through you, which was breathtaking and captivating for everyone who happened to be around.…your singing just blew people’s minds, one could literally feel all thoughts dropping to the ground (sometimes jaws dropped, too) when you hit the first note, and then the spirit of awe, heartfulness and exaltation rose with your singing. During one of the sunrise ceremonies there were 13 Red Kites circling above the group, like allies coming to greet you.
Yet never did you allow anyone to treat you like a master or guru or spiritual leader, everything in your conduct let people know very clearly, that you’re just another human being, which you also expressed to us over and over again, telling us how important it is that we ALL can learn something from each other!
Your deep and sincere appreciation for diversity touched me countless times. I never saw you meeting anyone, no matter the background of that person, without their heart being opened – because you met them with such an open heart and sincere interest yourself.
And the deep compassion, that probably was enhanced by all the hardship that you had gone through and the suffering that continued to be there, not just physically. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see all those elders, who had loved and supported you in the first decades of your life, leave to the other side over the years. How it must have been like to be on such a unique life path as yours, with the indigenous and the western world side by side. You were building bridges between cultural views, and you refused to reject white people per se – despite the terror that they had inflicted on your early years, and despite the contempt that you were still often faced with on an everyday basis back home in the US, especially in the cities.
In the intertribal and intercultural communities that you co-created, a real togetherness was possible, despite the manifold pitfalls of cultural appropriation and the differences in worldviews and upbringing. You had taught and role modeled to us all, that by connecting deeply to nature we can find a common ground to stand on together, and to work together for the benefit of the future generations.
I had been confronted at times with the prejudice that you were in it for the money, which is ridiculous and the opposite of what I always experienced! Running a workshop on just donations for you was the most frustrating thing for me. Several times I ended up mad about how little people would value what you had generously shared in terms of time and effort, sometimes leaving without giving anything at all. You just shrugged it off lovingly, like always, and cheerfully invited my son for hot chocolate on the road on our way back.
Yes, hot chocolate was a returning theme, and the amounts of spoonfuls of extra sugar or honey stirred into it by you have become a legend in our family life.
You taught me how to always connect to nature and spirit first and foremost, as the foundation for any human relationship. How to find peace and contentment in nature, how to feel the love from Mother Earth first, and then carry this love forth into the human realm.
I remember speaking up to you about difficult situations between us, even with anger, and how respectfully you listened and how sincerely you poured your heart and effort into finding solutions for the issues that we had, and just how much connection grew out of our honesty with each other.
Several situations I remember where I asked you for advice for something I had gotten excited about, and you gently, yet firmly showed me some pretty profound blind spots that I had rather avoided looking at myself. For me you were a true elder, not pushing your thoughts and opinions upon me, but guiding me in gentle ways.
As with the children… you were a strong advocate for making the voices of the children heard. In a community, you would advise, it was important to also ask the “little people” for their view of a situation before making any important decision.
The moments when you hung out with my son are among my fondest memories of our time together.
As well as celebrating the winter solstice with almost your whole family playing board games for hours and hours.
Standing before the fire in stillness, in the glory of the pristine morning, just before the sunrise ceremony.
Dear Mala, the “great one”, I miss you. I miss your wisdom, that carried the intense and unique life in it, that you have lived. What a life this was! You touched a couple of thousands of people over here in Europe, and your presence left an impact, a reminder of the beauty of our human nature, of the care, the love, the heartfelt consideration and the gentleness and softness that is available inside all of us, and that we can share with each other and share with all of nature as we walk through this life.
Your book is on the way and I remember the first time you told me about it. We were talking about living and dying and how many life threatening situations you had survived. Even in the time that I have known you, you outlived several times death diagnoses that your doctors had predicted.
I was marveling at that and wondering why, and you mentioned the book, your book: That there was this inner urge to put your life story out there for people to read it. And that you were sensing, that the book could most likely be your last endeavor in this realm of life.
So I dreaded the book, imagining how it’s completion could eventually take you from us.
Now I am so happy that you and Hermine made it – all your stories are written down and I cannot wait to read them!
I hear your voice inside of me almost everyday. “You need to fully embrace it, with an open heart”, you’re saying, or “allow all of nature to come to you”. Your teachings have influenced our work at the very core, way before the actual organization was founded. I would not be the person I am in the world if I had not been blessed with knowing you.
One of the most profound lessons from you for me was this:
At the time we first met I had been plagued by nightmares of being chased by a particular animal. In my dreams I was running frantically, then fighting back when the animal got close. It was haunting, and I asked you how I could protect myself? You explained to me this: “Whatever is coming after you (in a dream) is always trying to help you. It is a medicine that you need, that is trying to get through to you. You need to embrace it instead of running away from it. If you can stand still in your dream and allow it to fully come to you, you will see what happens.” I took this to heart and spend some time contemplating embracing the beast, which led to those dreams not returning again. When finally, after several years, the chase reappeared in my dream, I remembered your words Mala and was able to stand still. The huge animal that had been charging me stopped right in front of my face and starting licking and caressing my head with utmost love and affection.
If you had not been there with your wisdom (again and again), I might still be running from the things that are there to help me.
Thank you for reaching out and for teaching me. Thank you for guiding me and us. Thank you for loving and honoring and embracing all of life so much, no matter how hard it became. It is still such an immense inspiration.
We had been chatting these last few days, about your life in the hospice. You wrote to me: “I am still focused on living life in the best way I can and enjoy what time I have.”
On the day you left you sent me a text in the morning that said: “I know that anything is possible and up to creator and not the doctors so anything is possible still. A big hug and love you very much…”
I love you Opa Mala, we all do. We will continue to serve you hot chocolate with wagon loads of sugar in it and Hähnchen, whenever you want some. I am happy that you can walk on in lightness now, and I pray for a sweet and gentle journey to the land of your ancestors.
And I will keep listening to your gentle guidance.
Until we meet again… abashi!