Lost in the energies of trying to acclimate back to a North American way of thinking and being, I have reached back to tried and true practices that have held me up in hard times….meditating.
This morning reminded me the importance of managing my energy at a high level (>450h). I am out of practice of intentionally setting the energies for my day. Time to get back to it.
What is good? I have a husband and children who love me no matter what. We are strong in our bonds and hold each other dearly. I also have good friends who offer me that love – and to all I try to reciprocate to my best ability. Also, the rain brings healing in each and every molecule
What is needed? Peace and grounding. To my mind, we are being shaken up on many levels. Deep within our psyches, we reach for peace in the tumult.
What is possible? Peace is possible. In every breath. In every molecule of water that falls to the earth and lands on your skin. In every breath, there is an opportunity to be ground into the healing that is available in the earth. An earth nourished not only by the peace in every drop of water, but also by the feeling of human emotions rooted into the soil.
My life is kind of a mess right now. Not complaining or being over dramatic….just realizing that caring about the world, the community, the environment – and taking on the work that needs to be done – can create messy, chaotic, drained lives.
I do a lot, but because I work full time and am socially awkward, I don’t get out much. My social skills are not ideal, but I try my best.
I wonder sometimes if narcissism isn’t creeping into my heart, because I can be so focused on the work I forget to take other people’s points of view into account. Having gone through the change of life, I’m trying to figure out who I am, assess any new skills I need to acquire, and whether or not I need refresher social skill courses.
I’m going on vacation soon. I’m hopeful that this time away will help my soul recenter, rebalance, and renew so that the work I do will be done in a good way.
below is only a sampling of my definitions, as I’m trying to really settle in to the process….and that’s key – that decolonizing is a process. First thing to note, though, is that recently my friend Ron informed me that he has started to use uncolonizing as the preferred language.
In my effort to understand this change, I have developed the following ontological approach to situate my process. “de” as the prefix means to reverse something. “un” as the prefix, is usually not preferred by grammar rules. But I undertake uncolonizing in the same way I undertake undressing….removing, layer by layer, the effects and identities of the colonizer.
uncolonizing means accepting responsibility for the effects of colonization….committing to healing those effects where you can, without being defensive…
uncolonizing means knowing that I have Ojibwe ancestry, but because my lineage was interrupted by colonization, I must be very careful about stepping in to the world and walking the path as Anishinaabekwe…
uncolonizing means that I must never speak or act as if I have agency of any Native person or group without having been granted that agency specifically to speak or act …. it means that I must be aware of my privilege and any power that accompanies it…
uncolonizing means that I must never put myself in front of a Native person. I may be beside, or behind, but never in front…it also means that I must accept that I don’t have to ‘make space’ for Native voices as much as I need to just shut up and get out of the way….
uncolonizing means not engaging in conversations where I allow my anger toward colonizers or colonization to harm the efforts and achievements of Native people….
uncolonizing means that I must embrace my relationship and responsibility to universal and natural laws that govern my interactions with Sovereign Nations, both human and more-than-human and change my behaviors….
uncolonizing means that my behavioral changes must involve my heart, mind and body….it must be holistic and spiritual, above all else…..
Most are scattered, like dandelion fluff. They land, and either take up residence or become nest materials. But either way, they are productive, even if I can’t see the results.
It used to be that industry justified their lax environmental behaviors with lame justifications like “no people live there” or “it’s not a resource we need, so who cares”. Those are clearly over-simplifications of industry’s justifications. But they are the essence and cut to the core of the problems we face.
Everything has a monetary value in colonial thinking. Or not. The monetary value represents some form of power and leads to exploitation. And the lower that monetary value, the higher the risk for exploitation, oppression, degradation.
The colonial mindset has no capacity for the intrinsic value of life outside of what the colonial lens sees.
It is a sickness. It is a consumptive illness. Consuming the soil/soul until nothing is sacred.
The proof lies in the actions of modern day speculators, profiteers, industrialists. They no longer value water except for what monetary value they can assign to and reap from that relative.
It’s not to say that this illness is new. It’s not. The illness has been on the planet for a long time. Consuming. Destroying.
But every illness has a crescendo. Every illness leads to some outcome. Either wellness or eventual death. The path lies in our ability to apply healing principles, methodologies and thoughts (prayers, if you will).
We have the ability to heal each other, ourselves and the relationship between human and more-than-human kin.
We have to practice and perfect these abilities. And we have to commit to an oath of “do no harm”. This oath can be hard to live up to when others are doing harm. But we must remember universal law and keep close to our personal oath to our kin.
I am staying off most social media for a bit longer. I have come to see it as a false community. And we need real, personal communities. Now, as ever.
We must learn to come together to celebrate and grieve, laugh and argue, hold each other to account to our highest selves and defend that which is good and honorable.
This is how we heal the illness that has permeated humankind. Industry will either evolve with us, or we will evolve away from them.
There is nothing impossible when you live love as a Real Human Being, sovereign with rights and responsibilities.
In my teachings, the fire in your soul is to be tended with great care.
It is important to know when to let it rage, and when to tend the embers. But it is more important to understand the proper way to stoke the fire to a blaze. If you need to blaze it, make sure it’s hot enough to burn out falsehoods and inauthenticity without damaging people beyond repair. Keep a bucket of water at hand, and a ladle. Sometimes the whole bucket is needed, but sometimes you just need to temper with a ladle or two of water.
As we get closer to real change in our society (slow and steady) this teaching is really important.
If we think of our narratives as part of our fire, then we should remember to keep our narratives with care, also. Make sure that they are strong, defensible, and capable of evoking change. Fire is transformative. But it is also destructive. When your narrative is generated from your soul’s fire, make sure it is well tended. Make sure it is transformative. If it needs to be destructive, be sure you know what the consequences are. There are always consequences.
Be strong, my friends. Tend your fire. Tend it well and responsibly.
When I was in high school, I was a young Republican. I was a fan of Ronald Reagan.
Then I learned about what had happened as a result of the Reagan administration’s interference in El Salvador. A few years later, I read Ward Churchill’s “A Little Matter of Genocide” and my desire to question all that was put forth in mainstream consciousness increased exponentially.
Over the years, I have devoted time learning about stories outside the mainstream. I have lived a part of my life in the world of conspiracy. I have spent hours researching the prepper “SHTF” lifestyle.
I have also advanced my critical thinking skills by pursuing higher education in the liberal arts, in liberal schools.
I do not have a problem with reading conspiracy theories and researching the premises under which mainstream realities are questioned. I have, however, over the last few years, leashed up my “inner conspiracy theorist” with a substantial chain crafted of links of critical thought. I have observed conspiracy theory take a turn into a world that was far more dark and wacky than I had experienced.
With the recent revelations about Russian interference with our social media platforms, I now feel somewhat justified in my skepticism of more recent conspiracy theories.
Let me be clear I was not immune to these manipulations. I got caught up in a lot of the fervor leading up to the election. I struggled to maintain some sanity, when both the mainstream and the conspiracy theory worlds went absolutely mad. I adopted a process to question what I would read or hear – “what if 25% of this story is true?”
It was sometimes difficult to distill down which 25% would matter. It was a process. Dissect the elements of the story up into identifiable themes. Cook out those elements which would not stand the scrutiny, and analyze what was left. What would it mean to the world if that part of this theory were true.
As we uncover the power of these actors to change the narratives in such convincing ways, I think it’s really import for everyone to practice critical thinking and take a 25% approach to all these stories that come across our social media feeds.
Which is to say, be careful with your spirits, my friends. Question what is fed to you, but use your wisdom and discernment to analyze critically what is put forth. Be willing to be wrong. The truth will not land where people lack the humility to be wrong.
Personally, I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure and anxiety. That’s not normal for me. Time in the woods, at the ocean, or at the beach, is very important for us all right now. I recently spent some time up north, among the old trees and the ancient mosses and lichens. I left prayers on the waters at Nooksack Falls. Those waters have moved on, down river, to bless and love others. I carry them in my heart.
I remember hearing Tsartlip elder Tom Sampson state that the treaties were written in a way that honored the relationship indigenous people held and nurtured with the land, the water and the more-than-human relatives.
It’s about the relationship, and relationship as a verb, not a noun, is what we desire more than anything.
How many years and teachings does it take to recognize what black water means on the Salish Sea? How many generations does it take to understand that the trees are moving upland in response to the weather? How many generations of living on the land does it take for one to know that the maple, after a hard spring freeze, will taste significantly different? These teachings do not happen overnight. Sadly, we know that this knowledge and these teachings can often be lost in the blink of an eye.
These teachings require inter-dependence of human and more-than-human. They require us to be devoted to bringing them back to life. They live on, in the DNA and cellular stores of all life on this plane.
If we define reciprocal relationship as a mutiversal relationship – and I would argue that this is a solid foundational premise upon which we can build – why does it sometimes feel that the world is populated with people who are either incapable of, or unwilling to engage in reciprocal relationship with all living beings in our world?
How unbalanced is it to look at a river teeming with King Salmon, averaging 80 pounds, and think, “we ought to dam that river”?
How unbalanced is it to not recognize, 50 to 100 years later, the depletion and damage to the sizes and numbers of Salmon Nation as a result of the unbalanced thought that it was a good idea to dam the river?
How does one develop a reciprocal relationship?
I won’t claim to have the one, end-all, be-all answer to that question. Each human being must answer this for themselves. We can look to others for examples and guidance in developing this relationship. I will attest that it is not easy and that it takes dedication and diligence. It takes a commitment to truth and an unflinching willingness to change no matter how painful it might be. I am no authority, having a lot to still learn myself. Some would say that this work involves becoming active, adopting a title of “activist”.
Labeling ourselves activists doesn’t mean anything if we only are activists as nouns. The label is without spirit. Activist as a verb must be very intentional. What are your actions yielding? What fruit are your actions going to bear? Will they be edible and nourishing? Or will they leave a bitterness in the mouths and souls of those who observe your actions?
There are some who believe that if we humans were to disappear from the earth, that the earth would get along just fine without us. I used to believe this too. Not anymore.
I now know, at a cellular level, that the earth needs us as much as we need her. In fact, I would venture as far as to say that we were created to be companions to her, to all the more-than-human relatives.
I believe that if more people could see the world with this lens – the one where our presence is appreciated and valued – we would get closer to the restoration of our reciprocal relationship.
Be encouraged to undertake the work your soul has called you to do. Remember that the more-than-human relatives are part of your cohort and behave with the proper amount of respect – not only for them, but for yourselves. Undertake the work, make the mistakes, learn from them, and create the beautiful world we all know is possible.
If you have ever shared song and prayer with me at the water, I ask you to carve out a few minutes before the day is over, to remember the water. To remember that moment when you prayed and sang and listened. To remember that tuning of your heart to the heart of our relative.
Bring into your heart’s eye the feeling and the sound. Sound is a powerful energy catalyst. Water loves it when we are there. Water also loves for us to connect when we can’t be “there”….because “there” is “here”….
Before the sun sets on this day, remind yourself of that love and special relationship you have with water.