My Grandma.

I miss my grandma, today. Would have loved for her to meet my kids and they meet her. I feel like she’s one of the rare people in the world I could’ve ever asked, “What do you think grandma? Do you think what I’m doing is the right thing to do?” One of the few people I owe anything to… and she had that right because she loved me unconditionally and she’s someone whose legacy I am meant to carry on. She had about 15ish? or so grandchildren… We’ve all gotta piece of her in our DNA… and her love has touched countless people…
 
But, when she was alive, I didnt’ really know who or what I wanted to be. I mean, I sort of did, but I was still contemplating whether or not any of it was attainable, or worth striving for…
 
But, now I wish I could ask her if there was someone I should go see to help me learn things from our own people. I know technically I have many aunties, many SELSILE (siblings to my grandparents :P) that I could go see… but, they’re not her. I’m not saying that they’re not “enough,” but it just doesn’t feel the same. She babysat me and my siblings for years. She taught us to pray.

Healing/Integration

There are a lot of spiritual teachers or healers who take the approach of helping people find out what’s wrong with them.

When I help people, I do my best to show them what it feels like to be loved in all states of distress. When anxiety, depression, anger, or anything else is experienced, I try to show them what it’s like to experience that authentic emotional state without judgment.

We all need that. We need to know that we don’t need to be fixed to be loved.

We all care, don’t we?

Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I’m just so out of alignment with folks who have vastly different beliefs than me, but I think we all want a beautiful and healthy world where we don’t need to war with one another.

I actually am not naive, lol, and feel this is true, that even the most seemingly hateful folks have the same desire, but their pain and need and belief that there is only one way to success – the oppression of another – overshadows their desire that we all have – for connection.

We’re all addicted to something and escaping another thing. All of us. The most consumerist, the most humble, the most sinister folks, we all want to get away from our fears at some point in our day.

The thing is, of course, that not everyone wants to go in deep within themselves and examine this pain. We’re so afraid of it we escape through substances, through conquering one another (sexually, economically, etc.)

I truly feel that the best way we can be here in this world in the most loving way – even while it’s so seemingly out of balance – is to do that spiritual work of emotional investigation.

I know there’s so much “wrong” in the world, but by investigating my emotions and feeling them in every possible perceivable cell (because there’s some cells I’m sure that are like, “Hey, we could use some feeling action!” and I haven’t been able to perceive their pain, yet) I am not hurt by the predictable actions of humans. When someone is caught up in the mainstream ideologies they will usually make disappointing decisions. The mainstream thought makes us make gods or heroes out of our idols and we often cannot allow them to be human and flawed. We only know “right” or “wrong” or “inclusion” or “exclusion” and we don’t make room for the grey. If someone’s behaviour is grey we can only conceptualize of them as right or wrong. I just make everyone grey, in my mind. Lol. Many are uncomfortable with the idea – “Make them good or bad, please?” I don’t want to though.

I’ve distracted myself into my thoughts for long enough. Time to work.

Destruction, Appropriation, Appreciation

I look forward to a world where people will no longer feel like they have to destroy your culture to learn from it.
 
(Because all these innovations and pioneering ideas are ancient… especially within my ancestral history… but a culture who destroyed children set out to destroy the world to find it’s answers)
 
Tribes of peoples who carried their infants on their back to ensure they were always close were destroyed for the shame it instilled in a diseased explorer.
 
Nations of people were destroyed for their deep and loving connection to the earth… so heartless invaders – I say heartless with sorrow, not anger – torched the centuries old trees which the peoples loved so dearly. The trees were a race of people as well, we knew that. 
Shame was projected onto those cultures of people who could walk naked within their villages and day-to-day activities. Their love of their own bodies enraged grimy sailors – again due to fear and shame – so much that they raped and slaughtered these people.
Why? Because if you love yourself so much, and love this world so much, then my parents and my culture must not be as safe and loving as I was trained to believe it was… That cannot be true, yet I know it to be. I simultaneously wish to merge with you and destroy you. I can’t merge with a love I can’t fathom, so I destroy it.
This is why we must never assimilate. The colonizers may have had their own M.O., but to be truly Indigenous, one must look at how their ancestors conducted themselves and seek to follow that M.O. even if it feels impossible today.
It is easy to blame – but that is a colonial concept. My culture has no word for “sorry.” If there’s no word for sorry there is nobody to blame, right? But, usually this idea is worldview is brought up, because if we had no word for sorry, we just were extremely responsible for our own actions. If I know I did something wrong, I won’t do it again. Simple as that. My point is, that I feel that my culture focused on finding solutions to problems. There was no desire to shame someone for making a mistake.
If you took my knife, what would I do? I’d like to think that because we were not so possessive about our stuff many possibilities were available to us in terms of solutions. Maybe I’d think, “Well, they must’ve needed a knife. I can make another.” Or, if I felt concerned – maybe I actually really liked that knife – in a culture that isn’t shaming if I say, “You took my knife.” Your initial response would be of kindness rather than defensiveness. Maybe you’d say, “Oh, have your knife back.” Or a conversation could happen in which either I get my knife back, and maybe I give you something because you need a knife, maybe I give you some material you need to make your own. Maybe I tell you who makes good knives. Maybe I ask if someone has a knife you need. Maybe your mind was somewhere else, and maybe I don’t judge you for your mind being off somewhere. But, we pay attention to you in case something’s up.
I’d love it if the world we lived in today had much of my culture intertwined into the dominant culture. I really would. Education would begin in the womb. You could observe a mother’s mannerisms while she’s pregnant to get to know how the child will be outside the womb, and even the activity in the womb can describe some things about the child. Example, my one son loved being nestled in my right hip, or my right rib, and when he came out that was still his favourite side.He had hiccups a lot when I was pregnant wit him, maybe that could’ve told me something that I never figured out. We would’ve observed our infants and toddlers and saw, “They really like that material, let’s keep it around them so they can build a relationship with it.” Maybe they liked cedar, maybe they’d weave or build canoes? Maybe they liked maple – would they make paddles? They liked oceanspray – would they make arrows? We’d pay attention – and I hear these things being talked about today like it’s a brand new idea, but it’s not. Sometimes it’s very sad to me, because 1. I didn’t get this kind of education even though I could’ve had it if my culture were not interrupted 2. my people have said the education system in North America is messed up for over a century – I’m sure – but NOW people are starting to finally listen. It’s sad, but it’s like “Thank Creator, finally they’re getting it.” lol
The colonial world creates so much shame. However, the Indigenous worldview of which my ancestors believed in was of generosity, respect, and trust. That there is no shame in our bodies, and no shame of going through hard times. The hard times I speak of are what we today would call Poverty. Hard times of my ancestors would be if a family lost somebody, so they were in grief. My ancestors knew how to take care of people through the hard times. So, when I think of this world that is in alignment with my Indigenous worldview, it would be one in which the affluent would ensure that the impoverished were fed, clothed, and sheltered. There’s no shame in that. However, it’s hard to shed that, even for me. People say it, all the time, but that idea of, “I need to make my own way, by myself.” is hard to shake. It does feel like shame if I can’t do so. My people really did value hard work and discipline, but our first rule is to be kind, as my elder John Elliott says very often. So, to be hardworking and disciplined you need to be treated well, first.
I look forward to a world where we treat each other well, first.

Answering the Question, how do I work with Indigenous communities – specifically MY community of the W̱SÁNEĆ people

For the past two weekends, I have been participating in a WAYK workshop. I’ve known about WAYK since about 2010 (potentially longer). My cousin connected the creators of the language learning method/game through a Twitter hashtag, and I found the game to be incredibly useful in helping a learner remember language: effortlessly. That’s my experience of this method.

This workshop was hosted by the Songhees Nation, and I felt deeply honoured that they allowed us into their territory and space to learn this method. Our languages are distinctly different, but similar enough that we could have a fairly good understanding of one another. Speakers and learners of Lekwungen, SENĆOŦEN, Hul’qumi’num, Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Anishinabemowin were present in the workshop. These folks are what would be called today, “Language Revitalists” or “Language Warriors”. And, once you understand the history of attempted (and, in some instances, successful) genocide of Indigenous languages  it’s understandable that one of the participants – a woman named Carmen – was called to ask, “How does a settler support the Revitalization of Indigenous languages in a respectful way?” I don’t actually remember if that’s how she specifically asked the question, but that’s how I’ll address the question.

People ask this question all the time in Victoria, BC. There’s discourse everywhere about how people can be good allies. It’s really great that people are questioning this, for our existence has hardly been acknowledged for decades, and for the longest time, the attention Indigenous people have received have always been in either a negative light, or a romanticized light. We are often depicted as alcoholics and addicts. Or, people assume we all live in teepees and use the medicine wheel. It is important for people to consider that America and Canada are not just two countries. They are hundreds of countries with hundreds of different nations of people. And the land shaped these people and cultures. It gave them languages and ceremonies. A ceremony from the plains doesn’t make as much sense for a Coastal person to use. Example, millions of people these days probably know about “smudging.” The practice of burning sage and using the smoke as a medicine. In new age terms you could consider it clearing your aura. It is natural for medicines to be traded among Indigenous peoples, but it’s important to be discerning. Because sage is so widely known, I make a point to be mindful of if/when I use it. Also, I think about what my people used to do. Smoke doesn’t make sense on the west coast. The two most immediate nations in my lineage of which I descend are Sḵx̱wu7mesh and W̱SÁNEĆ. Sḵx̱wu7mesh peoples are located on the lower mainland of BC, and our territory includes what is now known as Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and north of Squamish (the anglicized pronounciation ofSḵx̱wu7mesh), BC – We are the Fresh Water people. W̱SÁNEĆ peoples are located on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Our territory includes the Saanich peninsula, the area known as the District of Saanich, and we had villages on the Gulf Islands and we traveled annually to SĆUOŦEN (Tswassen) to fish – We are the Saltwater people. When you consider we are peoples of the water, burning in a wet climate doesn’t make sense, right?. Water was our medicine. It’s not to say it’s entirely inappropriate to use sage, but it’s important to be conscious.

Before the arrival of invaders from Europe, we were peoples who – yes – didn’t believe you could own the land. However, we belonged to the land. Today there is a term (and it’s existed for decades) of “Aboriginal Rights and Title.” However, with our teachings we are not an entitled people. We are people who were nurtured into being responsible. Responsible for our feelings and actions; responsible to our family and neighbours; responsible to carry on traditions from our family as they taught them to us; responsible for paying for help from healers; and responsible for being humble in the harvesting of the land for food and resources.

So, when it comes to answering the question. It’s important to know a some things. First, I am recognizing that I am becoming a storyteller. And to be a storyteller doesn’t just mean that I am good at telling a story. I am recognizing that when I speak, my words help people understand their pain and stress in a way they didn’t before. They feel seen in their pain, and that allows for integration of lost soul aspects to return. So, I answered this question in depth with Carmen in her podcast. For that version of the answer, I will post a link once she posts her podcast.

Next, this is an answer that came about after my talk with Carmen. It’s a big question with many answers. And, this is normal for my people. We would have ceremonies that lasted for days. Weddings, Memorials, Funerals, and more, they lasted for days on end. Which involved a lot of talking by many speakers. So, this is a question that cannot be answered by one person. What I appreciate is that Carmen is asking W̱SÁNEĆ and Lekwungen people. Because, I am recognizing there is a problem in settlers having this discourse with, essentially, other settlers. And I’m not talking about white settlers. I’m talking about Indigenous folks who settle in W̱SÁNEĆ and Lekwungen territory. If you’re going to ask this question, you’ll need to get to know the Indigenous peoples of the land on which you’ve settled.

It’s important to note: Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island have had their cultural teachings stolen from them for decades upon decades. And, here in Coast Salish territory, many Indigenous peoples’ make names for themselves in Coast Salish territory in a way they cannot in their own territory. They take up space and often defend their space from the Indigenous people who are living in their own ancestral territory. They can be just as guilty as conducting themselves as oppressors and invaders. What I recognize as being an Indigenous person in my own ancestral territory, is that these territories have rich culture and medicine within them. We are humble and generous peoples when we are in tune with the land and waters. I also recognize that people within my community can also be oppressive and in a mentality of lack. If someone is defending all their resources against their own people, they’ve assimilated the colonial mentality of “lack”. It’s a complex issue, with a lot of trauma, and a lot of healing is happening right now in Indigenous communities as a result of Residential Schools and constant destruction of land. This is all based in a colonial paradigm which has existed for centuries that people in power must conquer each other and the land to gain power and prestige, and this destruction that is inflicted on the land and the peoples is just a casualty of war. This is a painful world to live in when you’re so acutely aware when you are born that this country that landed on your country does not value you as a human being, and sees your land as an object rather than a spirit speaking teachings and sharing messages of healing and nurturing to you. And, that pain can often leave us feeling disconnected. And, literally sacred spaces have been, and continue to be destroyed.

All that being said, we have always been and continue to be strong people. And we are all finding our strength in our own ways. And, I mention all this, because: We were a people who never said no when asked for something, but we always gave because we could trust that the people we were dealing with knew how to respect and give something back in return. We were not a people who created any value in greed. And, today’s society puts a value on greed. So, this idea that an Indian is backwards if they say, “No. You’re not welcome here.” is false, because at this point in time, sometimes we do have to say, “No” because people don’t know their own integrity. We have to protect what’s sacred, and that includes our spirituality as handed down by our elders, our land and waters, our own lives, and most importantly, our children’s futures.

So, when you ask a W̱SÁNEĆ person, “Can  I be involved with the work in your community?” Know that we have to ask ourselves, “Does this person have good intentions?” Because, even with learning language, you’re going to get a lot of knowledge about understanding the world in a new way. And, by learning about this understanding of the world is healing for the average person in Western society, because Western society objectifies everything. W̱SÁNEĆ people, from my understanding, saw life and energy in everything. The “objects” of our time were wooden and rock, but I feel like everything we see and can’t see has a spirit, an energy. And, I see this reflected in my language.

Next, we have to ask, “What does this person bring to the table?” Because, if you are wanting to be involved with Indigenous peoples, you need to be self-sustaining, at the very least. It would be better, if you actually have something to offer in return for your work with Indigenous people. For decades upon decades, and to this day, White people and other Indigenous peoples have managed to be more like invaders of our space rather than settler allies. They took from us to give themselves prestige. And, when someone is in a colonial mindset, I can see why that’d be easy for them to do. If you see Indigenous languages as data rather than people, you’re not going to care about your impact on them. And, our education systems and societies really aren’t doing a great job of raising humans into being people who care about their impact on one another, nor the land and waters. I do not mean to paint a generalization. Many people feel offended. But, sadly it’s true. It’s really god damn true. There are pedophile rings around the world. And, residential school was just one of them. Same with the foster care system. I say this because people who get offended by the idea that this WORLD is sick and it is in big part to do with things like the education system, like the justice system, and all forms of industry, are really ignoring that this society is extremely abusive to children, and no-one is going untouched by this epidemic. People take and take and take, because the world is full of adults who were once children who had something taken from them. Children who were seen as objects or property, rather than souls within bodies. And, the reality is, Indigenous communities have been going with fractions of the resources afforded to non-Indigenous peoples. Our schools receive less funding per child compared to the public schools. Our families on welfare on reserve receive less money to feed their family compared to off-reserve people. So, when you ask to work in an Indigenous community, you need to have something to bring to the table, because otherwise you’re taking from a people who already have less than you in terms of resources like finances. As I said, we’re a strong people, and always have been. And have always been generous and saw themselves as wealthy even when they were poor in terms of their finances. We’ve been getting by with less than the rest of Canadians. And, my elders have busted their asses to give us everything that we have today. And, this was at a point in time when, under law, they were not seen as human (look up enfranchisement and history of the Indian Act).

I have an aunt who says that if someone came into our territory, and they were a trusted visitor, they only harvested what they needed to get by within our territory. They were not allowed to take something within our territory outside of our territory. You only took something (ex. hunting/fishing) you needed because you didn’t have enough to get yourself back to your own home territory. Example, if a Nuu-chah-nulth person was in W̱SÁNEĆ territory, they would know they were only taking goods from W̱SÁNEĆ territory if they were trading. It was a way of keeping peace and trust. It was a boundary. So, if a Nuu-chah-nulth person was visiting. They would have understood this rule, and we would have honoured this rule wherever we traveled.

So, this is the best answer I can give. And, when I provide this answer, it is only MY answer. I do not speak for W̱SÁNEĆ or Sḵx̱wu7mesh peoples. No one person can speak for an entire nation. And, in fact, I may be more lenient than another person of my nations. Keep that in mind. If you wish to work in Indigenous communities, only participate if you have something to return to the people with which you’re working. If you’re there to feel good about yourself, and fatten up your resume in allyship and activism, and think that “good feelings” (ÍY ŚḰÁLEȻENs is a teaching emphasized in our culture which means “good thoughts/feelings) is just enough. At this stage it’s not.

A suggestion I have for any settler – be you white, asian, or another Indigenous person etc. who has settled in my peoples’ territory – is that if you want to come learn our language, make sure you get one of our kids from our community as fluent as you are. It’s using that concept of “Leave a place better than you found it.” When we go to beaches we’ll pick up garbage. When we visit someone we hope we lift their spirits instead of cause them harm. This may be a way someone can respectfully tread the learning of an Indigenous language. This is the best answer I can provide. It’s what I’d want to do if I was learning the language of another Indigenous nation. But, that answer took a lot of self reflection to come to.

My peoples are a very generous people, and sometimes too lenient, other times too harsh. This is why it’s important for allies to learn how to mind their own behaviour. “Why am I doing this? How am I the same as Emily Carr? Am I the same as Franz Boas? Am I stealing and romanticizing culture like E. Pauline Johnson?” Because we’ve spent a lot of time giving and educating people and those people gave nothing back. We do need allies, but we need allies who know what healthy boundaries are. And who will listen with their heart and mind. Who recognize that we are and have been working with what little we have for a long time, yet still gave. Because we will continue to be generous people, it’s a strength. It’s a trust that you deal with people who know how to be respectful. It’s the world our ancestors lived in, and the world we hope can exist again. HÍSW̱ḴE HÁLE.

 

How my thinking works

So, I called this blog “one at a time” because the way we make lasting changes is to do things one at a time. But, also, how we change our beliefs can be accomplished by observing them one at a time. I’m not saying I’m a successful thinker, per se. But I’ve uncovered a lot of answers throughout my life by thinking like this.

 

I’m not sure why self-loathing is such a debilitating feeling but it is.
The idea that that’s even a real thing is bizarre!
Like. How is it even possible that we hate ourselves?
What strange cosmic creator decided that’s even a thing?
It’s also like dying from sadness. What?
Why did we think these thoughts. Ever?
 
And, then, we decided. Let’s make a world where people DO hate themselves and are conscious of it and wonder if they’ll die from sadness….
 
BUT ALSO, let’s make people who DON’T know what that feels like.
 
Why did we do this to ourselves? Why did we create a world where we can feel so misunderstood?
 
And, if you feel inclined to answer. And if your answer is “contrast.” Then that’s not an answer. It’s an answer but it’s a shallow answer.
 
No. It’s like answering the question
“Why do I like fluffy kitties?”
With stuff like, “Because they’re sooooo adorable!” Of course they are and that’s why we all love them.
Or, “Because of the chemical reaction it creates in the brain.”
Of course, and we all have chemical reactions of love in our brain to various things. Congratulations you haven’t explored the question.
 
A REAL answer is something like, “Fluffy kitties make me feel ____”
Words that come to mind are “Safe”… to which we can conclude someone who answered as such had a feeling of feeling unsafe, and the cat brought them wholeness. And there would likely be a story behind that.
 
“Playful” sounds kind of obvious, but not everyone’s playful, so it’s not really. At least not to me. I’m not playful.
 
I’m not exactly desiring an answer to this question. And, honestly, I acknowledge you for reading this if you did. I just had to observe my thoughts. Because, you know, that’s how they say you don’t get sucked into them. Emotionally. How you avoid a spiral.
 
But, I wanted to share, which is why I had to tell people if they wanna answer they need to have an answer of meaning. It has to come from your heart.
 
I just know, we experience pain, sometimes, to know what we don’t want… I’d like to know better what I DO want. I’ve wanted peace for a long time. But, that’s, I think, really easy. It’s easy to feel peace when death doesn’t scare you. I mean we all have an ego that fears death when it gets super close. But, I believe in reincarnation. I believe that death is freedom from pain. I know I’ll come back after I die. I know I could potentially be anything from an eagle to a piece of fabric in a carpet. I know that being a human is the ultimate learning experience in this universe. The one with the most contrast. I know that we resist what is and that’s what causes the most suffering in this world and that most people are resisting what is. That most people are suffering. I know that a lot of people are in denial of that and I know that some days that upsets me and I wonder how I can help get people out of denial. But, I know that I do hate myself a lot which is why I don’t do something so I can make money or some sort of living off this desire to help others’ end their suffering. I also think I’ll mess them up instead of make them better. That’s a weird thing, too.
 
I’m also aware I feel really comfortable in my head a lotta the times. I mean, a lotta the times it’s uncomfortable, too. But, when I’m in a flow like this it’s kinda nice. Cuz I’m detached from the emotion.
 
I know some people would read some of this stuff and make it sad. I’m not making it sad, right now. I’m observing it. I think I need to do it. Otherwise it just ferments in my head.
 
I’m sure things are encouraged to be changed. But, honestly…. the next step is to just try and live outside of my head. So. Congratulate me if I manage to eat decently today :). One green leafy vegetable is a huge win in my books.

How to heal from colonization 

This isn’t complete.. I’ll have to complete it later. I didn’t mean to publish it but it is what it is. This is basically a work in progress in terms of a guided meditation. In hopes that people can walk themselves through the feeling of being Indigenous… to gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to come from essentially purity and love… to this contemporary world which has deep roots of abuse of women and children, which is so foreign to many Indigenous peoples. It’s something I think many truly can’t imagine, for some reason, unless you really lay it all out. Also, it’s helpful for Indigenous people who didn’t grow up knowing the teachings of their people. Who don’t know where some deep-seated trauma comes from. It might not suit all Indigenous people, and that’s fine. It’s just one perspective of one Indigenous person. Just hoping to help people in their healing.

You need to imagine what it was like to have THE. MOST. BEAUTIFUL. and ABUNDANT. LAND. and WATER. EVER!!!
Imagine rivers so full you could walk on salmons’ backs.

Imagine skies so abundant with ducks the sky went black and all you had to do was throw a net in the air and you had food.

Imagine berry patches so lush you could feed thousands of people for almost a whole year.

Water so pure it took every negativity away and gave you strength of heart and mind.

Trees so ancient that it stood while your great great great grandparent was alive.

Love so deeply valued that your mother was taken care of just as delicately when she was menstruating as she was when she was pregnant. Because she held the future within her. She held you.

You were valued and treated with love before you were conceived… even if you might not have been born into a human form. You were valued as an egg inside your mother.

Imagine you decided to be born into this, and when you were born, grandmothers, and aunts, and cousins all took care of you and your mother while you were rapidly developing in your earliest months of life.

Imagine it was your father’s sacred job to ensure no negativity was allowed around you and your mother while she carried you inside her and while she nursed you to grow into a loved human being.

Imagine a people so honest we had places to log our lumber, trap our crabs, and places only our family fished… and those boundaries were respected. We never stole from one another because if we needed anything we just told our dear friends or relatives and they helped us out. We didn’t need to steal. You catch that? We would have told a friend or relative we didn’t have enough. We didn’t “ask” for help. That’s a different way of seeing the world.
Now imagine colonization.

 

Imagine brutal killings. Flat out lies. Disdain for women. Objectification of all life. Repeat. Objectification of all life. People who first came here had no concept really of soul or spirit.
They were infested with numerous diseases. All because of the shame they were taught. Sexual shame and syphilis = an unconscious method of genocide. It was explorers with STD’s. It was the businessman. The establishing government officials. The Indian Agents. The rapist priests.

The “common cold” was never experiences by my people. So when the invaders came with their “common” disease, it actually wiped us out. That’s how pure our lives were. We didn’t have common sicknesses.

My Mission and Objectives

Mission: to prove that love is magic
Love dissipates grudges, resentment, vengeful thinking.

Target: Myself

Below I will detail how I plan to carry this out. And, with each objective I will write a blog on how I came to the conclusion that this is how I will carry out the mission. Note: these things are always “If it’s within my power.” and “If it’s consensual.” And, when it’s

  1. Show compassion and kindness to people who are struggling – alleviate suffering.
  2. Trust – learn how to believe that people care about my best interests, and receive information that mirrors my positive beliefs about myself.
  3. Truth – be open the the idea that what I believe is true for me today, will be false tomorrow.
  4. Find my fears – what am I afraid to show people?
  5. Connect – with other people, with land
  6. Set goals – what am I here to do? what am I here to build? Who am I here to serve?

That’s all I have for now. It might change/be amended. I just honestly need to publish this. XD

1. Showing kindness and Compassion to someone in crisis

 

Every war, every battle, is built on resentment, bitterness and pessimism. It’s built on collective resentment, bitterness, and pessimism. You can see it in a culture, which also means you could potentially see a culture of kindness, love, and compassion.

It’s very hard being an empath or highly sensitive person in the world and having media and society built on violence. It plants a seed of anxiety that everyone must be out to destroy you, if not now, they will want to eventually. It creates isolation, because people are draining. Why are people are draining? Because we think they want to destroy us. That’s what our own history, media, and current events teach us – humans destroy each other.

I don’t believe humans are innately destructive of one another. I think that’s all we’ve been taught. And, governments and corporations capitalize on that. Capitalism isn’t inherently evil either, friends. But, a healthy government and corporation (should they exist in the future) would capitalize on your well-being as well as their own. Example, if my passion in life is “construction material” and I find out that the lime I’ve been mining gets into the water and kills fish, and that means my employees can’t fish or even swim in the water in which the fish are in, then it doesn’t mean I have to fight to continue to mine Lime… I can figure out an alternative for construction material. One that doesn’t pollute water. One that is even better than lime. Like hemp! We’ve known hemp’s uses for generations, but unfortunately it’s still not in high production. For the future, I hope that if capitalism persists, that it will always be done for the benefit of all, instead of the benefit of 1%and I feel like humans who are shown compassion and kindness will be super open to change rather than feeling defensive of their corporate assets.

The best way for us to cultivate a culture of kindness and compassion is to show unconditional love and gentleness for the first 7 years of our little humans’ lives.

Of course, that will be difficult to attain – not impossible, but requires a lot of humans as resources for this! (It takes a village to raise a child)

So, the next best thing (because we’re not here to strive for perfection and to only ever be pure) is to show kindness and compassion when someone is at their weakest or most vulnerable. We hardly trust in one another, if we live in a world that we feel like another human actually valued our lives despite the potential danger (ex. flood or fire) or seeming impossibility (ex. mental illness), we’ll want to make sure that we can pass that along. When I think of what moves us the most deeply, it’s when we see humans saving someone or “something” in distress. It’s bravery.

Example: when there’s a disaster and people go out of their way to organize and help the victims. We’re so inspired by their bravery. Firemen pulling someone from the rubble of a fire is one thing. But, when an average citizen helps with no expectation of glory or reward, we’re moved. We’re moved to tears. We’re moved to action.

I was on a bus trip. I met a man, and I felt like he could use a friend for a while. He was moving to Surrey to have a fresh start from his life in Alberta. He had a son who was the same age as my son, about 2. It can be hard to have small talk and connection on bus trips. You don’t always know who would prefer quiet vs. who is wanting to connect. I was fortunate on this bus trip that some people helped me at bus station transfers by watching one of my kids, or entertaining one of my kids on the bus while I was trying to calm another one down.

With this man, we just connected right away because of our Indigenous backgrounds. To be honest, there’s often just an understanding and a trust between one another. To be Indigenous in Canada means you’re likely aware of the greatest extents of human suffering. So, he shared with me his struggles with his son’s mother. And, how he wanted to give him the best life he possibly could. My phone was dead. I wanted to add him to Facebook. I knew he could use a friend. But, I couldn’t remember his name after we parted ways. I just knew him as “Yellowbird.” But I had this undoubted feeling that I would in fact see him in my Facebook newsfeed. I felt strongly he’d be in a news article. So, I just trusted in that.

Not long after, a friend of mine shared a post of a man who had saved his landlords from a house fire. All but one of them. He lived in their downstairs basement. His sister was there with him that evening. But, he had to go through the fire and pull these people out. He was really hard on himself for not saving the last person – a grandparent of landlord’s family. Elders are very sacred to us Indigenous people. So he was very hard on himself. He wasn’t even really thinking of the fact that he and his son would have to find a place to stay, and clothes and all the basic necessities for life. He was focused on his disappointment in himself that he didn’t save that elder. I saw his name in the article. I confirmed in the video interview that it was indeed the man I saw on the bus. So, I looked him up on Facebook. I added him. He shared with me his concern that he was being painted as a hero. He was concerned about the news broadcasting him as a hero. He didn’t want that. He felt exposed. I didn’t know how to help him change that belief. So, I focused on what I could do. I shared the news articles on Facebook. And, a few of the relatives who saw it shared it as well. And I reached out to those relatives. They’re influential people with large networks of people they can reach, and who could actually support this man with the necessities he needed. I was also happy when he told me he had a friend who supported him as well. I asked my relatives to see what they could do to help Yellowbird. And they met him, helped him get housing, and lots of people helped him with the necessities for him and his son. They helped him find sweetgrass for smudging.

I knew I couldn’t give this man all he needed, but I trusted in the love I was raised with from my family and the fact that they have more resources than I do would help him.

We may not all be ones to run into a fire.
We may feel like we don’t have the resources to get someone back on their feet.
We may feel like we can’t even emotionally support someone whose gone through a traumatic event.

But we gotta start believing in ourselves. Because we wouldn’t be SO inspired by peoples’ bravery and compassion if we didn’t see it within ourselves. We’re also inspired by the connecting. Of someone empowered connecting to someone who is vulnerable.

We are brave beings. I’m not here to tell you to start a revolution. I’m not here to change the world. I’m just showing you what’s helped me. What’s helped my heart have faith in humanity.

If you feel like you’re brave enough to run into a fire or to support someone after a traumatic event, but also have a fear of connection – start doing that brave work internally. You might be like me. You might’ve grown up in an oppressed, money-strapped, constricted/confined family or community (ex. on a Reserve/Reservation). The poverty mindset may be strong in all those around you. So, faith or belief in the bravery in humanity may be difficult. But, look around you, you’ll find it. You’ll see moms on welfare taking care of other peoples’ kids. You might have judgments towards her, but just stop. That woman feels like she is doing the best she can to support another human being. She barely has much, but she thinks she has enough to help another kid. Look for people doing generous acts, no matter how small. And also look for the big acts as well.

Personally, I feel like I have the biggest heart and willingness to do go to any lengths to help someone, but I think of the real life consequences and my real life limits. Example, don’t think I’m physically strong enough to save anyone from a fire. I mean if I could, I would.

But, I know I’m a really good listener. I believed my love and support of others’ was a means in which I could help the world. Yet, I was PAINFULLY SHY. I had to work SO HARD on being brave in the smallest ways. I barely could make eye contact with people. I could barely speak to people. I didn’t dance, I longed to sing by my shy, quiet voice just couldn’t belt out what I felt deep within lol. I felt like I sucked at everything. I sucked at writing, drawing…. I thought I was a slow runner. But, when I was 6 I remember one of my teammates. An adorable freckle-faced, dark-haired girl, who was fast and skilled at soccer. We were at practice one day doing a drill which required us to pair up or group up, and she grabbed my hand and said, “Come here! You’re fast! We can win!” I was shocked. Someone who didn’t think I sucked lol. In the summer leading up to grade 1, I was horrified thinking I’d be the stupidest kid in the class if I couldn’t spell. I needed to be really smart (to be loved). I found out, “What could be the simplest thing for me to learn how to spell?” I asked my mom for like hours on end if I was spelling “Yes” and “No” right. My sister told me, “I LEARNED to spell Yes and No that day.” She was 3 at the time. To be blunt, we all have this fear. I just felt it WAY deeper and more intensely. Why? Because of intergenerational trauma of residential school. My body was literally afraid, because of things I inherited from my parents and grandparents, that if I didn’t learn to be successful in school that I could be physically, verbally or even sexually assaulted. I also had the other part of me that was connected closely enough, generationally, to know that I did not deserve to feel this scared or afraid. So, I would be sick a lot as a kid. I developed asthma at the age of 7. This helped me end up staying home for more days than usual when I got a cold, because I was so wheezy. By the age of 8, I had gotten pneumonia, which kept me out of school for a whole month.

But, by age 9, I had been put in “gifted” classes. My determination to be “successful” in school had apparently paid off, but there’s so much life skills I failed to learn in school. So, I’m not sure how successful schooling was or ever can be for me.

Which is why I had to learn bravery for myself and what that looked like. I can totally run into a burning building, but I’d just be another liability.

If someone was trapped on the water in a storm, I’d totally hop on a boat and save them. But, I don’t have my own boat, and I actually have no marine skills.

So, what do I have that could help someone in crisis? Extremely deep wells of empathy and compassion. Can that save people and end suffering? Well, I’d like to think it can. I’d like to think that’s what we’ve all been craving. So, if you’re like me, you can be the emotional safe haven for others. If you’re reading this, you’d have to be like me, because I’m too weird to be easily found :). You may also feel the same way I felt for so long, that there are extremes to your nature that make it hard to really feel like you’ll really be a reliable source for wisdom and compassion for others. Well, just so you know, that’s all a part of a fear of connecting. There’s very real fears that you have to push through. Overcoming a social anxiety is bravery! So, HONOUR that. I say “a” social anxiety, because you’ll likely have many social anxieties. You ARE braver than you think. Personally, on reflection, I realize now I really did feel like I was going to die, and like I was vulnerable to attack, and I sure acted like it. Another soccer reference, I remember being older playing soccer. I felt like I could be a better player, but my mom wasn’t supportive enough. I’m not blaming her, but with my social skills, I just didn’t have enough social skills to be accountable to the degree she expected me to be. She expected me to know when my next practices and games would be. But, I was literally afraid to be around these people, so I couldn’t even hear their conversations about the next practice or game.

So, if you’re desiring to be braver. You are brave. You’ve been brave, but you just haven’t credited yourself. You think you’re not capable, but you are.

Bravery is making any decision in which you cannot guarantee the outcome.
It’s also making a decision you’re so sure of the outcome that you commit to it.

And, it’s bravery we need to ACT compassionately.

Some of us know someone we feel like always does the brave thing.
I’m not sure if these people are always in alignment with their highest selves, but you can still learn from them.

Brave acts we wish we could do can be:
– stopping a fight
– hitchhiking and trusting that you will meet kind strangers
– picking up hitchhikers and having that inner trust that you’re picking up honest people
– saying something that for sure will cause a conflict, but willing to engage with someone in conflict and hope to meet a peaceful resolution. This can actually deepen bonds.
– speaking up for someone being harassed

Ways to get to these acts of compassionate bravery if you’re way too shy to connect
– start acknowledging you are brave and empowered. You have to start believing. Even if you just put the intention out there, it will lead you on the path towards compassionate bravery.
– put yourself in other peoples’ shoes. The next three steps are three people you need to put yourself in their shoes
Imagine how they think, feel, and operate. And, do so without judgment. The way they think, feel, and operate may feel way different. You might think of someone and think, “What a monster? How could they be that way?” But, you need the compassion here. Because, it’s the “monsters” you’re afraid of most. The ones who have the most power in your mind that stop you from brave, compassionate connection.
-Also, imagine how people you admire think, feel, and operate. Realize, there was a time when they were afraid. When they were in YOUR shoes. Because you cannot admire someone’s greatness without already having it within you. They were looking up to someone they admired and wishing they could be them, and needing to find out how to become that.
– Put yourself in the shoes of someone just like you. This is essentially imaging how you’d wish someone to reach out to you. This one is important because you then have to see that you need connection. You need others to be brave for you. That’s the thing about connection. It’s a two-way stream. And, putting out the desire to connect with someone is putting out a desire for someone to want to connect with you.

You are a brave and compassionate soul. I may expand on this even further, or divide this up into another post somehow in the future.

remember-you-are-magical

How did we all get here?

I’ll tell you. Magic.

When military’s invaded and attacked villages of our ancestors…  When they took over the land and confined them or murdered our ancestors’ loved ones…

They had to find and create joy.

They were in prisons (literally, or “camps”, or “ghettos” or “reserves”) and they found Friendship. They found Laughter (when the reality surrounding them was definitely not a joke). They found Creativity (pranking Indian Agents). They found Appreciation (when they craved salmon and berries but Indain Agents forced them to eat their rations they turned flour into Bannock).

Our ancestors have literally known hell on earth.

But they transformed that and made love in places love wasn’t supposed to exist.

You have that same magic. And that is why I love you. I love your magic. Remember. You are Magical.