Why Write?

"Something about human nature not only wants to tell stories, we want to tell our personal stories and be the hero or heroine. We want not only to express ourselves, but we also believe our stories will speak to others. Almost every human heart yearns to be just a little bit legendary and leave a legacy that will inspire others..." -- Andrea L. Preston, CHS Journalism 2000

I was digging around in the garage tonight and I was excited to see I didn't lose everything in the fire that claimed most my tangible life memories prior to 2003.

Reporting LIVE from the garage, this is Dre signing off :)

Be blessed...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Spring Equinox... The Body As A Temple... More Food For Thought

I'm a people watcher by nature. I dig how technology has made that easier for me, via Twitter and Facebook. I like to watch trends and see how humans naturally react alike during different times of the season and Moon. For example, I pick up real easily when the Moon is about to change because everyone's statuses change and people begin reacting accordingly.

These past few weeks, I've seen a good amount of people really pay attention to their diet and exercise routine. Most have taken it up a notch, myself included - The Master Cleanse and recently having taken up running. Naturally, seeing this common trend, I looked up the Moon's path this week and checked the weather too! Feel free to call me a hippie about now (haha) because guess what: Spring Equinox occurred on March 15th!

The Spring Equinox is one of the four great solar festivals of the year. Day and night are equal, poised and balanced, but about to tip over on the side of light. In many traditions, this is the start of the new year. Last weekend's Spring Equinox, naturally brings a renewing and replenishing kind of energy, hence, everyone's sudden urge to get in healthy and back into shape. With my experience with body cleanses, its the Ayurvedic tradition in which this is the main times to do a full body cleanse, so it makes sense how Spring brings on this sudden urge to "shed the old" for anyone. This all brings me to my current thoughts for today about my body and how I care for her.

I feel pretty healthy, yet, my relationship with my body has never been my strongest relationship. For me it's not that I hate her, it's that I forget about her. Like I can go months without looking at my unshaven legs (lol), feeling my calf, or noticing that I have this appendage called an arm. I eat well, yet, I take my body for granted, as if she is always going to be there to be the workhorse I have always expected her to be. As an achiever I have driven her past the brink of exhaustion on many occasions to 'get the job done' and the truth is that I have treated her more like a piece of machinery at my beck and call than as the temple that she deserves to be treated as.

The other truth is that without her, I would be nothing. I don't exist on this planet without her. My spirit needs this form to be on this Earth. None of the passions, missions, dreams I have can be accomplished without her. And although I like to think that I am in charge of her, the truth is that very quickly, if I don't adore her the way a temple deserves to be adored, she will be in charge of me, and I won't be able to do a darn thing about it.

Last month for example, I was extremely slowed down with a crazy case of bronchitis/ pleurisy. I blame myself for that one actually. I had spent months going back and forth between low and high elevations, hot and cold climates - without properly resting every time I felt "under the weather" or exhausted after each Flagstaff to Phoenix trip. All that combined congestion settled into my chest. Even then, I refused to go to the doctor until the last moment when my left lung hurt and I could barely manage a breath out of it. I'm better now but wow, it really slowed me down in the end.

It makes sense. Just think about any time you didn't feel good physically -- from a canker sore to a cold to a much more serious condition - you were at the mercy of your body, and the only way to change the situation was to treat her well.

Well, what if we treated her well before she revolted and got sick?

What if we treated her well, despite our judgments on what she 'should' be?

What would it be like if we treated our bodies like temples, and everyday that was the lens through which we made choices?

Some more food for thought...

Be blessed...


Today's Food for Thought...

In high school I took a series of art classes, I went as far as you could possible go with high school art - independent study art even! Anyhow, I took a ceramics class once and I can remember the first time we finally got to work hands-on with the clay. When we got the clay, it was literally this huge slab. We had to use string/wire to cut through the clay, because there was no way a knife would be able to make a dent in the thing. I remember though, that even with the string/floss/wire, it was still quite the difficult to cut. With the substance being that dense and hard to cut, you could only imagine how much more difficult it was to mold. I like things I can control, and working with clay wasn't as easy as I needed it to be, to feel inferior to it. Needless to say, that was my first and last ceramics class haha.

I've always loved to paint, and working with clay wasn't anything like painting. First, you had to warm up that huge slab of clay. This wasn't one of those put-it-in-the-microwave kind of warm ups. You really had to work with it. You had to get your hands in there, knead, pound, hammer, and literally beat the crap out of it - just to get it to be workable. To get it to be moldable, you had to do even more kneading, pounding, and etc. It was an insane workout on your arms and upper body. To add to it all, it took a lot of time.

Every class pretty much started with this tedious process of warming up your clay. Though it may not have been as difficult as the initial session when we first cut the clay, it was still necessary to knead and pound the mound of clay so that it was workable again. This was an on-going process each day at the beginning of each class because the clay cooled down and somewhat hardened from the last time you had worked with it.
. . . . .

It's been awhile since I've been on my blog game. I'm still getting back into it - slowly, yet surely though! I used to blog often on Myspace but fell out of it somewhere. Life has been... well... life: ever-changing, ever-shifting, ever-growing. The past few years have been "trying" to say the least; from personal stuff, to losing people close to me. Then to top that off, add; work, moving back and forth across country, releasing three earrings collections, and everything else in between. It's been a bit of an insane roller coaster ride mos def. Still, I fly by the seat of my pants most weeks, other weeks, I'm dealing with the emotions of it all.

It's a good life though - I remain amazed with the paths I've had laid before me. Prayer and faith have been my guide through it all. Lately I wonder, amidst all that chaos, how stubborn and hardened I must have been for God to have to go and lay down all these hard knocks just so I'd be moldable again. I know I'm stubborn at heart, always have been, probably always will be to some extent. In light of that self-awareness, I wonder how much harder I make it for God to teach because of that fact. I'm quite the amazed, that He has yet to throw in the towel and say "Forget it! I'm done trying!". I know I probably would have, because I'm not that patient. Instead, He forges forward, working through the toughness and ever-patiently making slow progress, even if it's only little bits at a time.

Just some food for thought.

Be blessed...


Strong Roots - Perfect for Growing Towards the Sun

"In life we constantly experience death. In death, we experience life. The two are interwoven into the pattern of creation. It is this pattern we perceive to be 'God'. The breath of the Creator, mixed with our own, forms the warp and woof of the two interpenetrating realities."
Scott Preston, Navajo Nation Vice-Chairman (1955-63)

I can recall being 10-years old, at Ellis Perry Trading Post (Gallup, NM), and my grandmother pointing up at a mural high up on the wall of Navajo men and saying to me, "that's where you come from". Painted on the wall was a man I had never seen before, but he looked very similar to my mom's dad - underneath, it read "Scott Preston".

I grew up, knowing I was special. My mom told me the stories her parents told her, about coming from a long line of well-doing Preston men. My great-great-great grandfather Samuel Preston was an Irish man who had started various trading posts on the Navajo Reservation, including the Tuba City Trading Post, in which I grew up near. His son was Scott Preston, whom worked in tribal politics. Scott's son Jimmie Preston was a Navajo Code Talker during WWII and was married to my great-grandmother Sally K. Preston. These were the basics I was given. It wasn't a whole lot of information but it was sufficient enough to be proud that my last name was Preston.

All my great-grandfathers on my Preston side of the family had all passed on before I was born. My great-grandmother Sally was a big part of my life, she is still alive today, but as far as I knew, she was the head of our family. She talked about my great-grandpa Jimmie from time to time, mainly about his service in the war. I think those memories of her were the peak of the time they spent together. He died of carbon-monoxide poisoning in council chambers one cold winter night. As I previously mentioned, she was the head of my family growing up. I think that's how the switch of power came along. Somewhere along the way, the women in my family started to be the head of each Preston household. It's expected that a woman be the head of any Navajo family, but up until a certain point in our family blood-line, I had never heard anything of a Preston woman prior to my Grandma Preston. I find it funny that still till this day that the mothers of all my great-grandfathers, remain unknown. Maybe that will be the next thing I research.

Last night I was digging around on the internet, and was brought to tears after two hours of reading the words of my great-great-grandfather, Scott Preston. By the time I was finished, I had ordered a handful of books that he had been quoted in, on issues such as Navajo medicine, religion, politics, and education. I was/am left inspired.

In my research, I also learned that Peterson Zah (Navajo Nation Chairman 1983-87) was the nephew of my late great-great-grandfather Scott Preston. However, despite my high hopes, there wasn't much written about Scott's father Samuel Preston. Maybe those kind of records from the 1800's are archived somewhere? I was most interested in finding a photograph of Samuel, that I know I've seen as a child. In the photograph, he's in an old fashioned car. Apparently, according to the book I had once seen the photograph in, Samuel owned the first automobile on the Navajo Reservation. In the book, there were stories about how awesome and friendly of a man Samuel was -letting everyone and anyone ride in his car. I really wish I could see that picture again. Anyhow, in my research last night, I did read more about his dealings with various trading posts across the Navajo Reservation. Shortly after he came to Arizona in the late 1800's; he, along side with his best friend C.J. Babbitt, had three trading posts by 1903. There wasn't any other information that I could find about these trading posts, other than the one in Tuba City, AZ.

I believe Samuel, did run the trading post in Cameron, AZ. My best friend recently told me that, while telling her her great-grandfather about my family name, he turned out to have known Samuel. At first, my friend and I thought he might have been talking about my other great-great-grandfather (Sally Preston's father) "Many Whiskers". However, he had mentioned that the grandfather he was talking about was a white anglo man :) Therefore, we figured it had to be Samuel. Apparently, my friend's great-grandfather used to work for Samuel at that trading post in Cameron. He told my friend how Samuel had sent him to San Francisco, CA and such, on business for the trading post. He had a few stories about Samuel, and possibly has some about my other great-great-grandfather "Many Whiskers", as he did mention that name while telling my friend how he knew my family. My friend's grandfather is much older and needs to be cared for these days, I'd love to take a digital recorder down to his house in Moencopi, AZ and get his account of managing that trading post. Soon...

I'm a person that feels things don't happen on coincidence. I feel all things are meant to be, for some reason or another. I've really come to that truth these past few years. I've come into contact with people that will forever be part of my life. For example, my best friend Maria. I've pretty much grown up near her my entire life - knew of her, but never befriended her until just recently in the past two years. Imagine my amazement as she told me her great-grandfather knew my great-great-great-grandfather. My mom can't even tell me stories like that. Not to sound too hippie (haha), but the Universe aligns things so perfectly, bringing things/people to your path, for a reason.

Just recently, I met another girl in which I've befriended pretty quickly. I don't take on close friends like that quickly, but after being at a birthday for her son and meeting her in-laws, it makes sense as to why we've been put on the same path. Her husband's grandmother asked me who my family was and as always, I always just mention my great-grandmother Sally's name. I always expect to be related to someone, being Navajo and all ha! But, it's never a close relation - just by clan or something. This time, it turned out that this lady's dad and my Grandma Sally's dad are first cousins. My grandma later confirmed it. Anyhow, later in that conversation, my great-great-grandfather Scott Preston was brought up. He had been married to a lady in Ganado, AZ I guess, so the family at the birthday party had made that connection. I don't know much about that. Shortly after, Scott Preston as a tribal vice-chairman, became the topic of discussion. I heard how good of a man he was, how he had no "formal" education but held that political position as if he had, and how he brought the language (Navajo) back into the schools. I was proud to say I was a Preston in that moment, and it was amazing because it had been awhile since I had felt like that.

I remember several years ago, while living in California, I was at the dinner table with my partner at the time, his adopted brother and dad, and a pretty well known and respected man in the community. When I was introduced by partner's dad, he had mentioned who my grandfather (my mother's father) was. I got that nod of approval immediately. My grandfather was always great in my eyes. However, it was that night that I saw how others had looked at him. I was in an entirely different state, away from the reservation; yet, I was still being seen in a good light for being a Preston.

Yesterday, I went back to Tuba City, AZ for a quick visit. I took a quick photo of the Tuba City Trading Post with my iPhone. I've been looking at this photo since, it's what brought this all on - blog and all. This historical building represents home for me - always has. Although I visit often, I haven't lived in Tuba City since I was 8-years old - I'm what you would call an "Urban Indian" :) I went to visit my Grandma Sally, as I always do. She has a head cold but she is healthy. Her hearing and eye sight aren't as good as they used to be. I don't think any of us great-grandchildren know her exact age, but the last time I peeked at her driver's license (years and years ago), I'd have to say she's around 89 year-old now? It takes her a minute to recognize us but I think that's more due to her failing sight than her memory. My sister and I were laughing during this trip because my sister Mei-Lein was saying that Grandma NEVER fails to recognize her boyfriend, whom happens to be an Anglo guy, but has to zero in on our faces to recognize who we are :) Anyhow, I have the best conversations with her. I might have to scream for her to hear me but it's just as well. She's always in the loop with what I'm doing these days. We write each other often and she remains one of my biggest fans. Knowing that my great-grandmother approves of how I live my life, is the greatest motivation these days - for she is the epitome of a strong Navajo woman.

I'm 27 years old. I've had a job since I was almost 17 years old. I've always had good jobs in which I've worked hard to get. I continue to seek the knowledge taught in an accredited school, yet, I've taken it upon myself to learn where the real lessons are being handed out - and that's by truly living LIFE. I've lived in some of the biggest cities away from home (Arizona), traveled to many places, met people of all directions, and learned of and walked along side many indigenous tribes. I live my life right...

Just recently, I've tapped into my artistic abilities. An artistic eye for detail runs in my family as well, so I'm excited to relate on that level. I feel this was that missing piece to my well-being. I love to bead and paint. Just this year, I was accepted to showcase my beadwork at The Heard Museum Indian Market (Phoenix, AZ) this past March 2010. I'm currently submitting my work into other future art shows across the country. Life is good.

The concept of loving life, isn't far from the thought of where it all comes from. As I grow older, I see how important it is to know one's self - I believe this is the ultimate goal in life. That's all I can ever move towards. I have more digging to do, more stories to hear, and more people to meet, however, I'm so very thankful for the strong roots I was given. These roots prove that I am meant for greatness. I can never let the concept of defeat in, for it isn't in my blood. I am of great people and this is what I have to work with...

Be blessed...


I believe this is heaven....

I'm trying to figure what I love more - music or color! These two elements make the most sense to me, when all else fails... these remain truth. I'm plugged into both this evening - deciding as to which one will best communicate my thoughts tonight...

I can't get enough of this particular song lately. I dig meaningful lyrics. Bethany Joy Lenz nails it with her cover of this Sarah McLachlan song. This song is phenomenal. I think the song is about coming to terms with being "different" and exploring your individuality on all levels, without allowing the opinions of others effect your opinion of yourself. I dig it because she's talking about how hard it is to search for a place where you are at peace with yourself. She found a place to let go of everything in her life that has hurt her - that she had held on to, not knowing she could escape it. And as she finds this place, she sees it as heaven - a place where no one else can touch or make her feel as good as she feels here.

I've worked so hard to find something, such as this peace, within my own self. If you (yes you), wish to tear down this dream - my heaven- and say it is nothing... then you should know you're going to have to try harder than you have been. Your ill words regarding me, my thoughts, and my creative ventures remain evidence of your own personal hell. I won't speak to you in my writing any longer, so please depart...

Be blessed...


Ok I Heard You... You Can Stop Crying for My Attention Now

"Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world, must have once embraced what they now set on fire" - Curt Tucholski