Old Eyes, New Eyes Wisdom

Two expressions that are often heard in these Ancient Songs are “Old Eyes and New Eyes Wisdom.” It is a way of remembering to be inclusive, not exclusive. It is a reminder that Wisdom can come in many ways . . . that all voices are equal, are relevant. It is a reminder to listen, and listen further. Such Wisdom was celebrated time and time again throughout the journey of the Walking People.



Brought their respect

to a Ceremony of Recognition.

All understood

that marked here was recognition

for those of continuing responsibility . . .

as it was they

who enabled and predicted the learning

of these new others.

Recognition also

for New Eyes Learning,

for these New Eyes

would soon grow old in wisdom,

bringing one understanding . . .

and the other . . .

together in one person.

A Tale of Old Eyes, New Eyes Wisdom:

Paula Underwood loved to tell stories at workshops and gatherings about how it happened that a whole history of a People could be passed on from one generation to another, from a dad to his young daughter. She would throw her head back with a hearty laugh as she recalled him saying, “well, honeygirl, looks like it’s just me and you.” She described how he created a space for learning to occur. Her dad would find creative ways to invite a child to sit patiently, at times for hours, as he shared his responsibility for the Old Things. It was always an invitation to learn, never a mandate. He understood that for true learning to occur, it had to come from the inside out, not the outside in.

Paula would say that it was never an accident where she and her father were standing when he was preparing to share the wisdom of his tradition. Once while walking hand in hand along a street, he purposefully stopped behind a large delivery truck laden with goods. He knew the driver would soon begin the process of unloading his produce. So he stood quietly, looking at all these wonderful things piled high before him, understanding that his daughter couldn’t see it from her vantage point. He had her attention. As she stood patiently at his side, she heard her father say, “sure wish I could see what was on the other side of the truck.” Standing so close, he could see little more than the produce that soon would be displayed in the local market. “What do you see, daddy?” she asked, still trying to be very patient. Her dad methodically described to her the variety of things that he could see on the truck, things piled too high for her young eyes, eyes too close to the ground. But still, he couldn’t see what was beyond the truck. “Sure wish I knew what was on the other side of this delivery truck,” he continued. “Sounds like lots of activity going on over there.”

It was then, that his young daughter realized that she could see under the truck. She, with her lower eyes, could see clearly what lay beyond. With great excitement she relayed to him all the wonderful things she saw just beyond the truck with her New Eyes. There were friends and family acquaintances involved in a variety of activities. With great excitement she described the world she was experiencing. Her father was pleased with all he heard from one so young as she began to realize that together they could see the larger picture.

She knew her dad had shared great wisdom that afternoon . . . he told her later that this learning was the basis for the equal rights of Children under the Great Law of Peace, where every voice was heard, however young, however old . . . for all perspectives were valued and considered.