April 2016: After three years away from this blog I'm back. It was originally started so I could make sense of the madness that ensued after my marriage to a sociopath. Much has changed, grown and been created since then - including reclaiming my full birth name Melanie Pledger.
My voice has become stronger, and so has my mission. I'm here on this earth to share the life-changing magic that developed as a result of my personal journey overcoming abuse, abandonment, manipulation and betrayal. I've learned that many of the rules we've been taught about life are fundamentally wrong. They've been misunderstood by most, misused by some, and deliberately misdirected by the manipulators who live and breathe among us. I've also learned that it's easier and more enjoyable than people think to shift things around...
Now I know there was a reason for it all. So now I'm back to fill in the gaps. To share what I've discovered, and dispel the myths that don't serve us... I look forward to reconnecting with old friends, and discovering new ones.
Thank you for being here.
Mel xxx

Monday, 15 June 2009

David Chetlahe Paladin - Painting the Dream

Navajo Nation
Navajo Nation (Photo credit: kalavinka)

This is the story that started it all off:

David was born in 1926, on a Navajo reservation in Arizona, a southwestern state in the U.S. Because the authorities wouldn't accept his clan name, Bitter Water, they gave him the name of the nearest landmark, the Paladin Mesa. His mother was a Navajo and his father a Caucasian Roman Catholic priest. At birth, he mother left him in the care of his extended family at the reservation and went off to become a nursing nun. Thus he was raised by tribal people who still talked to spirits and walked in their dreams.

In his early teens, he stole away on a merchant ship and was carried off to Australia. On the ship he met another young boy, a German named Ted with whom he became friends. At the outbreak of World War II, he was recruited by the OSS, Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA. The Navajo language was a difficult one and the Americans used it to pass secret information behind enemy lines. The Germans did not know it was a language, they never cracked the code.

He was 15 years old when he was captured and sent to the Furstenburg Internment Center. He was tried and sentenced to death as a spy. On the platform to board a train destined for the death chambers, David felt a rifle butt behind his back to hurry him along. He turned to see Ted, the young boy he met on the merchant ship, now a German officer. Ted managed to get him rerouted to Dachau, and so David escaped death.

At Dachau, for helping a fellow prisoner, his feet were nailed to the floor for three days. The wound developed into gangrene. He was later to recount that as he drifted in and out of consciousness, a German soldier would come in to put maggots on his open sores and forced raw chicken entrails down his throat.

The Allies found him in a train car loaded with dead bodies in Dachau. He weighed 62 pounds. They shipped off to a Veteran's Hospital in the States where he stayed in a coma for 2 years. When he finally recovered consciousness, he had lost the use of his legs. He wallowed in his hate. Resigned to spend the rest of his life at the Veteran's Hospital, he decided to go back to the reservation one last time to say good-bye.

The elders at the reservation heard his story and held council. They told him, “you have given away your spirit to hate and without your spirit, you cannot heal.” They then tied a rope around his waist, took the braces off his legs, and threw him into the Little Colorado River at high flood. The moments he spent thrashing in the water for his life, he was to say later, were the hardest in his life – harder than being nailed to the floor. For it was there, fighting for breath, that all the hurtful images of his life came back to him. He had to release each one by forgiving it. The last image was that of the German soldier who put maggots on his flesh. This too he had to forgive. He decided to see this act as one that actually saved his leg from further disease, and the entails helped keep him alive.

He retrieved his spirit.

He became a shaman, a healer, a teacher and an artist. He eventually regained use of both legs and was able to walk without crutches. He died in 1984 at 58 years old.
His story inspires not for the hardship of his childhood, and not even for the tortures he endured. It inspires for its rebirth, for a life rebuilt after the damage.
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