On Oct. 4, Mike Lindsey, or “Writingbear,” performed in the Dorothy Rubel Room at the UArizona Poetry Center. The event was called A Life in Stories: Visions and Journeys in the Land of Mystery, and it began with an introduction from Karen Francis- Begay, Assistant Vice Provost for Native American Initiatives, and a blessing from Miguel Flores Jr., CEO at Holistic Wellness Counseling and Consultant Services.
Lindsey’s stories provided many themes for the audience. Lindsey started by telling a traditional Cherokee story called Rabbit and Bear. The theme of this story was that people shouldn’t compare themselves to others because each and every person was made with their own special gifts and talents.
Then he talked about the start of his telling stories in public. He started in a monthly ceremonial circle, where he had a vision of himself telling a story, and he became a regular storyteller as the event became more widespread.
Lindsey told a story about seeing Navajo flute player Carlos Nakai, who said, “There’s no agenda for tonight, I work in the moment.” Lindsey uses this philosophy as his own when he can only get his stories by guidance and working in the moment.
Lindsey also told a story about forgiveness and how we should not only forgive others, but we have to fix and forgive ourselves. As Lindsey says, “How are you going to help other people and serve if you can’t change?”
The next stories had themes of service and unselfishness. The last part of the event was Lindsey explaining the “Mystery” part of the title event. Lindsey explained that there were two aspects to the mystery: the life of trust in the Creator and America being the land of Mystery.
I had the opportunity to ask a question during the talk. I asked, “As the world gets more modern, what is a theme or advice that you have for keeping our traditions and remembering who you are?”
Lindsey says that as we get more technology, we still have to know what to do with the tools, and we have to know our way because things change.
The event closed with another blessing, and I talked to Lindsey and asked him more questions. A table was set up with Lindsey’s CD, “Stealing Horses.” His CDs are sold at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange.
For more about this event and its recording, visit https://humanitiesfestival.arizona.edu/eventlife- in-stories/ , or to learn about other events in the Humanities Festival, visit https://humanitiesfestival.arizona.edu.