Their are many spiritual ideals, which when you explore religion and spirituality… You come to same conclusions. The Law of Attraction is something many Nations of peoples knew of, and healers and seers found ceremonies and medicines and ways of living to help their people live in good ways based on their understanding of the Law of Attraction.
For some of us, we’re born into peoples and cultures that make you feel like you need to do spirituality in a certain way, or you’re doing it wrong. An obvious one is if you were raised any sort of Christian. For a long time (seriously not that long ago) I felt like if I didn’t pray to Jesus I could potentially be fucking up my life entirely. I didn’t discount my Sḵwx̱wu7mesh culture or spirituality. But, I couldn’t let go of the concept that Jesus was my saviour. I wanted to shed that belief because Christians hold beliefs that actually rejected my identity. My soul. But, in my moments of greatest despair I’d pray to Jesus. I couldn’t help it. Those Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s did bring me some sense of peace, and it wasn’t worth letting go when I needed them.
On the other side of the coin, my Indigenous ancestry has ceremonies and rituals for healing. But, what happens in our community, is people will discount a healer or a teacher. They’ll say their corrupt, or just plain doing things wrong. They’ll say that because they do things “wrong” they’re shaming their family. And the work they do corrupts the people they’re supposed to be helping. It’s a violent way to look at spirituality. I could use the word “hostile” but I do choose the word violent. Because it’s damaging to everyone. And, because of that, it’s hard to have any trust that you can learn spirituality in a good way. Which is nearly ironic. Because a teaching I know from most Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island is that you must do everything with a good heart and mind. And, if people took time to look at themselves, they’d see all the times they said, “They’re not good enough. They’re corrupt. They don’t do things in a good way.” They’d realize in that exact moment that they’re not living in a good way either. To criticize is unloving. And, there’s a lot of people who would argue or get caught up in semantics, or even use this against me (which has totally happened) but I’m not here to debate that. I invite you, like I invite myself, to ask yourself how you can live your life authentically without criticizing others, but more importantly yourself. We criticize for a lot of reasons. Usually, we’re trying to find a way to get our needs met. But, sometimes, people use this idea of “no judgment” or “no criticism” to shame someone. When this happened to me, it was someone I had spent a lot of energy trying to help. It was used against me in a way that, they were judging themselves so hard for parts of themself, that I just had to say what they were basically saying to themselves, and when I said it, I got seen as the bad guy. I’m not playing myself as a victim here, we both had lessons to be learned. We’re still friends. It was a hard time, but it was necessary for my learning. I’m sharing this story to assure you that committing to believing that “criticism is unloving” can be quite a difficult concept to grasp, but I know it feels good for me to believe in this idea and conduct myself as such. One way I help myself make decisions when it comes to finding loving ways to think and act when I feel like criticizing is, “What am I doing, or what Can I do, to make this thing work that I want to criticize?”
Here’s something really simple. If I don’t like how someone makes coffee, maybe they make it too strong. What can I do right now to make the coffee better right now? What requests can I make for weaker coffee in the future? Can I show them how I like it made? Will they respond well to that? Can I wake up earlier to make the coffee myself? Can I water it down? Am I mad about this coffee being too strong? Why am I mad about coffee? Is it really about coffee? Or, do I feel like I’ve communicated about how I like my coffee, have I showed this person how I like to make it, yet my needs still weren’t met? Or is this something else from a long time ago, and this feeling just reminds me of an old wound? Did someone show me, you’re supposed to bitch about coffee, so that’s just what I do because everyone else does it? If I’m having a “negative” emotional response to the state of the coffee, am I able to observe and accept that feeling and let it pass? Because sometimes people hang on to a criticism as simple as “That was a terrible coffee” ruin a big portion of their day.
I share this, because when I say “Criticism is unloving” I don’t just shrug everything off (some things I can!) without some focused thought helping me to achieve that in an authentic way. I do this regularly. And, sometimes I don’t have the time and patience. But, the more I practice this, the more that, over time, it because easier to shrug things off. I need to write this, because I do have a fear that people will think I just shrug things off and have weak standards. That would be false. I just want to live a life where I won’t die because I started my day with a shitty cup of coffee.
To get to this place of knowing more peace and love, though. I had to be present with myself often. Yes, in moments where I raged over a bad drink, or cried over spilled milk. I had to be present with myself. And, sometimes that was really hard, too hard to achieve in the moment of rage. And had to be present with myself after the emotions died down. And to understand how to be present took a lot of spiritual tools.
I’ve largely relied in introspection. And most of this I did on my own. I also sought therapy. Throughout my life I’ve also seen energy healers. Remember that criticism that I mentioned before? Well, another criticism from my community is that we are losing our ways. And it’s the young peoples’ fault for not learning them from elders. But then, a lot of elders have trauma from residential school. Which creates barriers in many forms between the transmission of knowledge from an elder to a family or community member.
I put a lot of pressure on myself that I had to learn spirituality and healing “the right way” and that it had to come from my people, but also felt stuck… that I had nobody to learn from.
As a kid I’d always been interested in Horoscopes. The idea that there was messages for me in the stars fascinated me. As a teenager, my cousin shared with me a book that his sister got about astrology. I feel like I had been looking things up a bit by that point on astrology, but this book was mind blowing in it’s accuracy of what was going on in my inner world. But, it worried me, because this astrology concept wasn’t from my culture. It was also a question of appropriation. Something I felt worried about inside, but never had a word for until I became an adult. How could I learn something that may have been “stolen” from another culture. If this concerns you, I have only two pieces of advice. Do your research, or trust your gut on what feels right. In terms of spiritual practices, I do yoga, and I follow a Yoga teacher who is of European descent on YouTube, I’ve had acupuncture from Chinese people and a person of European descent. I had an energy healing by a Japanese practitioner that was mind blowing in how much I felt the energy move within my body. I’ve had Indian Shakers (Indigenous healers who believe in Jesus) do healing on me. I’ve had Reiki done by a lot of people. I’ve had Cranio-Sacral work done where the message I received was that I had my community and a community of spirits behind me. I’ve been smudged with sage by dozens and dozens of Indigenous people. I’ve seen many therapists since I was 17. I’ve had a lot of help by a lot of people, but I also did a lot of work myself by not being afraid of my “shadow side”. Our shadow is part of our life that is just a mystery to us. And, it’s really just working with yourself to trust that the things we don’t know aren’t so scary as we imagine them to be. They were just scary when we first felt them in our tiny childself bodies. Or even fetus bodies. We were really new to the 3rd dimension and the feelings were fresh, so when we felt them for the first time we didn’t want to remember them.
I feel its very important for all people to acknowledge their spiritual side. They have spiritual gifts to share with the world. And, sometimes we need someone to teach us or help us learn along the way, but the most important thing you can do is to tune into yourself. It’s hard at times, because you don’t have tools to help you move through those energetic or emotional walls. I encourage you to start finding those tools. I say this a lot that Changing Core Beliefs is how I’ve dealt with a lot of my “shadows”. It’s a pretty logical approach, but you have to be present with emotion, too. Doing work to release tension from my body. It started out with Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Yoga is really great for me. Breathwork is super important. Learning how to feel pain in your body early is very useful. And, this all seems really hard when you first wake up to these ideas. I remember hearing about meditation as a kid. The idea of stopping my thoughts for 1 minute-20minutes seemed IMPOSSIBLE. I couldn’t stop my thoughts. I still find it hard, but I’ve slowed down a lot, for sure. And how you learn your lessons and tools is up to you. When I started learning astrology, I felt like I was betraying my identity, but that feeling of criticism from my people was way too real to ignore. So, I did it anyway, but I trusted that, in due time, teachings from my ancestry would come to me that I could make the connection between this “new-to-me” wisdom and my Indigenous ancestral wisdom. However, I must note that “Western” astrology is at least a couple thousand years old. If it concerns you, do your research. I really just trust my feelings. I longed to learn astrology, so I did it. And, so much healing has come from my knowledge of my natal planets and the houses in which they fall, and I’m still learning.
I also trust that this knowledge came out for a reason. We’re so quick to say that someone stole something from our culture, that we don’t consider that maybe someone shared it for a good reason. The world needs us to be spiritually woke. And, for sure, some of us can fall back on ancient teachings. But, even if we have a lineage to them, they might not feel right for us. And, a good spiritual teacher would expect you to honour that feeling within yourself, because that’s simply what being spiritual is. Honouring your feelings. Living from love. What we call ÍY ŚḰÁLEȻENs in many Coast Salish languages. Based on that concept, I usually seek people (in general, and in healers) who carry the same belief that I do… Who aren’t caught up in classist systems. Who seem kind, and believe in all things being equal. If I feel that, I choose that. I go with that.