Thoughts on a Tattered Road Map Called Life

During these convoluted times, most of us have in some way or another, reflected on where we are, how we got here and what’s next. At the WeWán Institute we have likewise been contemplating these and many other important questions.

The questions and the answers we find, will be pivotal for the future of each of us and society. Primary amongst those questions is how we are utilizing our time, bringing joy into our lives and reducing fear… And most of all discovering our vision, and the path to our success.

As the older partner in our business, I have been pondering what I’ve done, and more importantly, what I’m going to do with my next 23 years.

Why the “next 23 years…?”

The X on the calendar last March marked my 77th Circle of Seasons. Allow me to share a bit of my history.

A long time ago, when I was a young lad, my grandfather, fondly referred to as “Big Dad,” came to me and said, “Jimmie, I had a vision last night…. I was at your 100th birthday party.”

Excited at the aspect of living so long, I replied, “Oh wow, how old did I live to be?’

In a short terse reply, “How the hell would I know, I didn’t vision that?”

My grandfather was descended from Edna Yellow Britches Rising Sun, granddaughter of Shawnee Grand Chief Opessa Straighttail. Like his grandparents, his visions almost always came true.

Taken from that exchange, I must assume that I will live to be at least one hundred years old… thus the 23 more years.

Today I am sharing what many would consider a monumental list of tasks. The fact is, there is no time for slowing down, in a comfy chair and drifting off into lovely sunset… I am at the peak of my creative drive.

As my group of aging peers, and others might well say, “What’s with that… Seriously? You should acknowledge the fact that you are getting older and it’s time that you retired to enjoy the golden years of life!”

Ha! In truth I have actually retired at least four times, so far, in my life! The first was when I finished a short seven year career in the United States Navy. The second was after finishing a ten year stint as the Redevelopment Specialist, at the City of South Gate, California. The third was at the end of my twenty two year film and television career. The last was when Uncle Sam said I was old enough to collect Social Security! Well, that was when I was 66… and not missing a step, I have never stopped working.

As the mile markers swiftly flash by, there is an acute awareness that time is now finite, and my invincibility shield has some serious gaping flaws developing. What? I’m no longer Captain America?

In reflection I find that although I have made a difference in many ways… a great portion of my past has been squandered on things trivial and self indulgent.

As the mile markers swiftly flash by, there is an acute awareness that time is now finite, and my invincibility shield has some serious gaping flaws developing.

What? I’m no longer Captain America?

My health is about as it should be, considering the abuse I’ve heaped upon this carcass the past near four score years. Bits and pieces are wearing thin, not as strong as they once were.

Yet, upon reflection, I find an incredible list of experiences illustrating the joy of a life filled with great times, pathos and whimsy. Those who know me, understand that I have wandered about in an epoch filled with legions of adventures… many that most only dream about.

Shipping aboard United States Navy minesweepers, I served before the mast, on two of the last of the fleets wooden ships. Completing my obligation, I joined the men in my family working on the high steel as a Journeyman Ironworker, and in my spare time as a scout master and a volunteer fireman in my home town, Fairborn, Ohio.

In the last century the Schlitz brewing company had an ad that said, “go for the gusto, you only go around once!” 

Moving to Los Angeles I found work as a graphic designer, marketing director for regional publications, on-track photographer and marketing assistant for the promoter of the Long Beach Grand Prix and their many venues throughout the United States… both for Formula-1 and CART/Indy Car racing. Next I was promotions manager for the L.A. American Indian Center during the1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and then to the City of South Gate.

In the last century the Schlitz brewing company had an ad that said, “go for the gusto, you only go around once!” As you can see this has been my motto, and will be for my remaining days.

But wait… there’s more!

I was privileged to work in film and television as an actor, screenplay writer, and director/producer for many productions. As a celebrity, I was honored to ride in the Rose Parade with Iron Eyes Cody’s Indian delegation.

During those years I was also active in organizations seeking to find greater balance, and peace around the world. Because of that involvement, I was recognized as an international Ambassador for Peace.

It is our hope that by seeing what this little Appalachian/Shawnee kid from the hills of southern Ohio — and his Bohemian/Shawnee partner, Kelly Talking Heron Pavlovic from the Cleveland’s inner-city district of Slavic Village — have been able to do, that you too can be the master of your destiny… with vision, diligence and hard work.

Together we have worked as leaders of the Ohio Chapter of the NSA… not the spy group… the National Speakers Association.

From the beginning of our partnership, we formulated a plan that grew into the vision of the WeWán Institute and Society.

Co-owning a small two person business is a daunting challenge.

Here is a sampling of some of the never ending tasks… creating books of inspiration and motivation, enlightening blogs, educational online courses, video lectures and webinars, and making them all available for our followers… Plus public and contract appearances, counseling and coaching sessions.

When the creative fun pauses, there is the ever pressing bookkeeping and billing and marketing and public image shaping.

We are up to the challenge!

…define your “bucket list” and fulfill your deepest held dreams.

Today this organization is located in Arizona, offering inspiration and direction in the basic stepping stones of life… Fear, Time, Joy and Vision.

Our purpose in sharing this passage of life is to inspire you to define your own “bucket list” and to fulfill your deepest held dreams. Young or old, it is important that no one limits themselves to being trapped in the culture of today — work hard from 18 to 65, and retire. There has to be more. More vision. More passion. More exploration of the horizons beyond.

You can do it… Don’t let anyone tell you different!

This is goal-setting! It’s about growing real value, derived from each day’s dedication to achieve your dreams!

As for this old man, my journey on this trail is far from over. Thankfully the WeWán Institute is a partnership, myself and my remarkable partner, Kelly Talking Heron Pavlovic, the kid from Slavic Village. Together we have created a wealth of information and products, inspiring others to achieve greatness.

We have but scratched a peremptory mark upon the dawnings of our tomorrows. Only time and place will reveal what fabulous adventure or exciting achievement will be next.

That is the “why” of this note to you, my friends… Being yet moderately functional, I still have a fifth of my life ahead.

It is my job to make it count… Will you?

With respect, your humble servant, the elk
Jim Great Elk Waters



Posted in Balance, Joy, Time, Vision and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The Keepers

Jim Great Elk (kiji) and Kelly Talking Heron (Ashá) are Wisdom Keepers,
who believe everyone walks their own path on the Circle of Life.

Through the Powaka Experience, you master four basic Stepping Stones to
your center… where you learn to Walk in Balance and discover Your Destiny.