Hike a different kind of trail – one that switchbacks through your heart.
Navajo healer, spiritual teacher, and Native American musician Tony Redhouse spent some time with MindMeet’s storyteller, Araxe Hajian, sharing his journey with meditation, healing, and love.
AH: What is love?
TR: Love is a facet of the energy that creates and that helps us in this human journey. Love, time, energy, money—they all are one energy. Love is the sharing of our essence with others. It is the ability to be vulnerable, the ability to share from our hearts, to receive from others. It’s an energy that holds the world together. It’s the thread that goes throughout the universe.
AH: What gives you energy?
TR: In the stillness when all time and space stop is where I hear the voice of the spirit and the heavens smile on my life. That’s what gives me energy. It’s not complicated. It can be as simple as sitting in the car, getting out of traffic, and putting my head on the steering wheel. That moment, that stillness is what gives me energy. It can just be taking a breath. Simple rituals and taking that time to be still. That’s what gives me energy.
AH: That seems paradoxical to think of stillness as being energizing. It’s so simple that we overlook it sometimes.
TR: Yes, because in that moment, when you unite your body, mind, and soul and you set that intention to go there and be still—that’s when everything becomes clear. Then, when everything becomes clear and peaceful, that’s when you are able to reach out of yourself and begin the next task.
AH: What piece of advice would you give your 5-year-old self?
TR: On my 60th birthday I went back to my birthplace. I went to the house I lived in when I was five. When I reached my hand over the picket fence the house was still there and I touched the holly tree, which was huge now. I put my hand over that fence and touched that tree and I felt electricity go through me. I said to myself, “Tony you’ve been on stage since you were 5. You were put into a pageant with a drum in your hand. There is a little boy you forgot back here that you need to let come out. You need to let that little boy play and do what his heart wants to do.” I realized I needed to do this because I have been on stage my whole life. When you are too young to be put on stage, you don’t find out who you are first and you wait to get your affirmation from audiences.
AH: How do you let your 5-year-old self play now?
TR: I take risks. I go sing karaoke when I travel. I don’t care who is there. I go dancing to R&B bands and soul music. I get out and dance. Even if I go by myself, I get out there and I take those risks. No expectations, no performance.
AH: What is wealth?
TR: Wealth is having the health, the prosperity, and the love I need and having enough to share with others.
AH: Do you have a theme song or a daily mantra?
TR: It’s a song to St. Francis, but it’s a contemporary song. It goes like this. “Flowers have the sunshine and the earth has the rain. Lord, you know I’m nothing without your spirit; my life is so vain. Shape me and mold me. Help me to be more like you. Make me an instrument of love today.”
AH: What is beauty?
TR: Beauty is truth. And the truth is love. Love that heals all.
AH: This is something you do for other people so well: How do you make space for loss or disappointment for yourself?
TR: I cry. And I go right into it. It’s the same thing I teach other people. You go into the pain. You go into the loss, you go into the heartbreak. You go into the regret. You go into the disappointment. You go into that place, which can be dark. But it’s only a shadow. I go into that place and I embrace all of it. And I allow my humanness to express it any way I need to: scream, kick, beat on the drums. Get it out, but go there and be aware of it and feel it. Once I do that, I’m able to make peace with it—that season, that relationship, that encounter. And the door is able to close. It’s a process and there is no time limit. I need to go into that place and fully express all of the emotions, thoughts—to let it finish, and then it will end the season and a new door will open to the next season.
AH: Tell us about your charity.
TR: The Haven is a residential treatment center for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics that is designated for women here in Tucson. They go beyond the surface of the addiction. I teach Native American spirituality and meditation using live music. I teach the women to create beautiful Native American artifacts with their hands so that they are able to see that whatever they touch from their heart is going to be beautiful. They get the immediate positive reinforcement of something they have made. They’re able to look at it and say, “I must be beautiful because I created something beautiful.” Everything in heaven and earth, spiritual and physical—everything is one. When we have something spiritual and we have an intention and we have a dream we want to see it manifested in a physical, tangible way.
The heavens are waiting to bless us all the time.
A Tucson-based musician and healer, Tony Redhouse uses music, ceremony, and meditation to help people struggling with grief, illness, and anxiety, those making peace with divorce and the loss of loved ones, and families and couples desiring a closer connection.