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Beside Restful Waters

by Greg Hermann

“I cannot just live. I must live in a certain way.”

James Vukelich

James Vukelich is a student of languages. He teaches Ojibwe language in the Minneapolis area. He shares a ‘word of the day’ on You Tube. The statement above was shared as he uncovered a deeper perspective on the Ojibwe word: bimaadizi.

This word translates into: she/he lives. Bimaadiziwin is the noun form, life.

I must live in a certain way.

Which way is a certain way?

As I write, I am listening to the morning life. The sounds of life include the birds; the siren of an emergency vehicle; the tolling of the bell from the church near bye; a gentle breeze in our spruce tree. Often there are children from the school next door. There are so many sounds which express the presence of life. If I were to express the evidence from our other senses – I'd start with the taste of the chocolate banana pancake I just ate. But you get the picture.

Ann and I often rest by water. The Maui experience of the ocean and the Fond du Lac experience of the river offer two distinct voices of life. Each, though, expressing motion, persistence, change, power, rage........ Each gives life and each can take life.

Our Ojibwe teachings reveal that the water I see today, or drink today is the same water that was present at its creation. The Divine energy that began with a bang turned in to a drip, dribble, a wave, or a pounding rain at some point. The mystery of the beginning has continued to cycle and recycle to the present. We in our human form have continued to cycle and recycle with water as 80% of our body is water.

Life – bimaadizi

I am struggling for words to express my sense of awe and wonder right now. As I ponder my physical presence as 80% water and the perpetual cycle of water since creation and before, the perpetual cycle of wind, earth substance, fire....... I am struck with a vision of energy flow, ongoing creation, ongoing change. I am struck with a peaceful realization of my evolving perception of

Death – Is there such a thing or do we simply change form?

Relationship – we really are connected, one in body and Spirit.

Passion – I must live in a certain way to be alive with you.

What is this certain way?

I welcome your thoughts.

Our Ojibwe teaching refer to the “great binding law of Creation”.

The Christian Bible speaks of beatitudes and commandments.

Each religion or spiritual practice has a code of law.

What is it that defines a certain way that sustains life?


I don’t believe that we are intended to simply sustain life. I am convinced that we are to contribute to the ongoing creative flow of life of oneness.

What does that look like to you?


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