Meeting my Balance…

mari - Posted on 07 January 2011

Mari V.

Like cracks within the dry, humid, red dirt, scratches cover your hands... callouses are like the rough, dry patches of red dirt... yet when I touch your earthly hands it is like the softest cloud and the silver lining is in our soulful eyes... that brings us overflowing joy as the constant gushing river that is the bloodstream of Mother Earth. It is not everyday I meet a person and feel that I’ve known their soul forever. A person whose spirit and heart is the opposite of what people assume that they are. A person who had everything I did not. A person who has suffered horrendous grief, hurt, and pain but, like Tupac’s rose that grew from the concrete this person is the Ute rose sprung rezcrete. Meet the rose named Louis C. I met Louis in a Ute beardance ceremony, and he was one of the beardance singers. Right when I saw him, I looked at him as if I knew him. When I danced with him it was as if I knew his soul without saying a word. We did not have any conversations, and yet had a deep spiritual connection. While I was stunned with what had just happened, he left. A week later, I met Louis again at a different Ute beardance, and I picked him again to dance. After the beardance, I decided to find out more about Louis. We talked about two-spirited people, energy and how it heals people, and sang traditional songs. We found out we were even both semi deaf in the same ear. That night, I found out about some of the breakdowns in his life. I couldn’t believe that he had those breakdowns in his life and I saw him in his greatness of who he truly is. I have never lost that vision of Louis living out his greatest potential. While growing up, Louis ended up going to different boarding schools, and decided to drop out of high school and went back to his reservation in Utah. There he went through many ups and downs in his life, but one thing always secretly sustained him, his art. As a survivor of rape, abuse, and torture, I knew how important literary art was to me. I would keep a journal that no one else knew existed and write out my hearts desire. There I let out my pain on paper instead of cutting myself again and again. One day, I showed a teacher at the reform school I attended a poem that I wrote. They told me how good it was and so for the first time I let someone keep my poem. The teacher ended putting it in the yearbook. For the first time ever I felt validation as an artist. Just like how I was in high school, I came to find out he is an artist who kept his art to himself. Many people draw what they see but these drawings came from inside his heart and third eye. He would always say this about his artwork, “I just look at the paper and it shows me what to draw and the colors just pop out.” His artwork reminds me of pop art mixed with traditional arts. I am wowed by every time I see his art, it is as if I am looking at his art for the first time and I learn something new about myself. I started to see a transformation in Louis based on experiences and trainings he was going through. I saw a young man who was heartbroken, hurt, and feeling alone turn into a courageous, loving, intimate man who was as vulnerable as a ballerina. He told me his vision was to go heal and help all the people he had hurt in his lifetime. That is the most courageous act a person can do is face themselves and the hurt they have caused and transform into being the source of healing for the same people. Louis’s spirituality speaks through the energy he creates and sends out to nature. I remember one time him sitting outside on a cloudy day and he told me “I just kept thinking for the sun to shine through the that cloud.” Then a hole appeared in the clouds and the sunshine through. That day became sunny and brought happiness to all the creatures in nature. One night I was with Louis and my stomach started to cramp. I was in a great deal of pain and tearing from my eyes. Louis saw me in pain and all of the sudden he put his hands on my stomach and just within a few seconds the pain was gone. Louis’s art was affected and popped off the paper, canvas, or walls even more while he was going through his transformation. He came down to the reservation I live on and supported a youth mural project. This mural project was part of my vision for about 1 year. It is the only youth graffiti tobacco abuse-free mural in this county. He painted the Uintah and Ouray Mountains and animal tracks from his reservation after the kids would leave for the day. It was his first time ever on a public mural project and stated, “I am just so lucky to even have this opportunity to work for the youth to have some of my art on this wall.” Louis taught me the value of silence and being in it. Just to be silent with nature and to listen to what it is saying. He told me, “Too many people are so busy talking and forget to listen to the silence. Why can’t they listen to the silence?” He would take me on road trips where for hours we would sit in silence and he would every now and then point to an eagle, hawk, deer, elk, or another animal. He taught me to be comfortable with the silence that surrounds my life and to let it heal me. While I am writing this article I am evoking Louis’s silent spirit by being surrounded by silence and for the first time in a long time finding pleasure in the silence and not having fear associated with it. So many times we honor people after they died and they never know the impact they make on our lives. We thank them in their death for what they have done for us. I choose to honor a young man named Louis for all the things he taught me about his journey, art, and spirituality. I honor him for the greatest potential he is and his commitment to standing as the source of positive energy. Life is too precious for me not to honor an indigenous scholar such as Louis, and to honor his mother from whom he came from. As my friend Tiny says, “Without her (Mom) there would be no me”, this is true of Louis and his Mama. She raised a loving, spiritual, lucky young man. Thank you Debbie, for raising Louis to teach me lessons as he gives his gift of art to the world.


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