First Nation issues, Historical Trauma and Self-empowerment strategies

A creative space to share what I am learning on my healing journey

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. - Buddha
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Latest

Coming soon…

Watch for my first book coming out later this month!

“Starblanket”
An Anishinawbe mother’s gift to her son. The Morningstar guides us from darkness into light, Starblanket guides readers to self awareness, one story at a time.

Permissions and use of EarthTALKER intellectual property

I have been mulling over the posting of a “author permission clause” or “use of work” clause since this is an area of my life that is very new. While it may be quite late to post as I am in my second year of blogging, I’ve decided a good opportunity to share teachings related to “sources”

While our communities originally passed our culture on through oral teachings and sharing, I have heard that we ALWAYS acknowledge our sources.
Times have changed. People, however have not. Some still take teachings and incorporate them as their own without acknowledging sources.
Despite the changes, our teachings still persist. Respect. Integrity. Sharing.
Respect the work:
A lot of what is written in the accompanying pages was gained through hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hours in consultation with Elders, friends, in ceremony, meditation and stillness. I share it freely because it may help someone else.
If it is useful to you – GREAT!
Take what you need and leave the rest. Another Elder wisdom :)

It would be great if you would link back to EarthTALKER or quote as “Amy Desjarlais – of EarthTALKER but you don’t have to…your integrity is your own, your karma is your own. Generally, if I have found something useful, I try to support the original source, it’s respectful to the WISDOM, to the individual who shared it, and to the people or community that supports that individual.

If I share a wisdom and generally mention “the Elders” it’s because many people from many different instances share the same notion, not always in the same way but the sentiment is similar.
If a teaching is specific to that Elder and I haven’t heard it somewhere else, I would try quote the Elder specifically, or by place, event, community.
If I learned something through video, audio, website, etc. I also try to link back and mention where I received the inspiration, or source. Sometimes we come across people who came up with similar thoughts, if you find something you’ve written that is similar, let me know and we can also link up. I’d love to share or circulate your messages and teachings too, if you are open to doing so!

Appropriation, Acculturation, Assimilation and Sharing are not synonymous. Use of the words found here and incorporation of these teachings in your life does not entitle you to self-identify as Indigenous, qualify you as “bi-cultural”, or multi-cultural, an Elder, Indian, Native, First Nations or traditional healer. Unless of course, your community has recognized you as such. That being said, we are all on a journey, I appreciate your stopping by.

Sharing these teachings is not a means of “vetting” anyone, or as a conclusive healing program or therapy.
If you are experiencing troubling issues in your life, I urge you to seek an Elder from your area or local therapist in your life who can help you regain balance, and get back on the path.
A work in progress these terms may change slightly from time to time. Always a good idea to send me a note if you aren’t sure about something.
- Miigwetch, and good journey!

The Machinery

I am in the preflight stages of “my first published book”. I know, I know,  I keep threatening to publish. It’s getting there. I have enjoyed the process. Collaboration, research and new learning have consumed my life lately. It is beautiful seeing the work take shape.

A lot has changed from the naive 19 year old that left my sheltered life on-reserve. I have grown, loved, lost, disillusioned, betrayed, and have been betrayed. I’m not the same person that I was all of those years ago. I read the news and popular articles circulating my facebook page. My tweets retweeted contain information about water pollution, Native issues, politics, eco-friendly living and innovation.

I have learned to be mistrustful of the government. They lie. Rather, a storied history told in actions and not so much in words is that government is not to be trusted. They change their minds a lot, and don’t necessarily do what they say they would do. I find it is like the old folk tales and fairy tales where wishes are granted by magical beings, that end up giving you what you asked for but not necessarily what you wanted in the way you wanted it. Say you wish to be a great king, with lots of riches, and a war breaks out in your country. Your land is ruined, your men win the war but your family is slaughtered and you govern a wasteland.

I have stopped believing the lie I heard. Grow up, find a good man, get married, have kids. Pay your taxes, Get loans, carry debt, amass wealth, give to charity, feed the poor, buy a house, buy a car, buy more stuff, retire and die. Repeat. I balled out of that system somewhere around the get married, have kids section. Sometimes it doesn’t go the way they planned. When it doesn’t you sort of stop and look around yourself wondering what the f#(k happened. You wish you could just jump back into the system, plug in and go on, except. Something is different now. You are different. Questions fill your head. And you start to think.

I stopped carrying (and caring about) debt when my bank account was emptied, I paid off rent from two apartments and outstanding rent from a previous apartment. I stopped buying frivolous stuff when everything I owned suddenly had no meaning after I saw the dreams of my future and the future of my family shattered. I stopped believing in the government when I learned they killed everything that was good about my people because it wasn’t “civilized”. I stopped believing in progress when I learned the economic equation for the market system is limited resources and unlimited wants.

So, when I think about creating. And sharing the expressions of that creation. I am very, very picky. I have a difficult time owing any gratitude to the government and philanthropic organizations. Why? Because philanthropy doesn’t change the SYSTEM. It just helps you feel good for a bit. Helps you perpetuate the lie. I experienced this recently as I spoke with a grant organization. I mentioned that I was thinking of self publishing but wanted to know what it was they do since I was new to the field. I had an idea, a ” supposition” if you will about their position and methods of granting funds but wanted to speak with someone anyway. I was not disappointed. Grant organization will remain nameless but it did not surprise me when they tried to squash my ideals of self-publishing citing expensive and my work would be unprofessional.

I noticed through this discourse, that should I choose their methods and processes there are works considered professional which essentially is a path where you “play along” with PROPER routes and your work will be considered professional. AKA will contribute to the SYSTEM they set up. The system will then vet your work and people will make money off of your creations that these organizations “HELP” you to create. Afterall, ANYONE can print a book, right? Not JUST ANYONE is a writer. Only the people that take their route can be considered professionals dedicated to their craft. I’m having a hard time playing along.

It feels like I’m getting roped into something. It feels like I will be swept along on a tidal wave of the modern economy.

I don’t want to lose myself or my voice. I just got it back. I want to leave it up to the people to decide. Creations are meant to be shared. Enjoyed. Hopefully to help others. My job is to get my work out there to the people, that’s it. Where it goes from there is up to you, my dear reader. Sometimes it may be come a dog-eared resource read often. It may become a doorstop or fire kindling. I don’t care to be a millionaire. I don’t care to be adored by thousands. I’ll just share my words when they need to be shared. Try to be a good person. Use what I need, and leave the rest. I don’t know if I’m getting in my own way by letting this stubborn bull headed thinking rule. WIll that mean my book doesn’t get published? No.

I just have to get creative and understand that I can’t do it alone…

Waiting for the Dawn

You know, I’ve been muddling around in the dark a long time. It’s been especially dark the last couple of years. Reigning in wayward thoughts has been an interesting experience. Sometimes. Sometimes the familiar is needed. Necessary. In the end it may not be all that healthy for us, but when we are ready, we move forward.
This writing thing has been very good for me. I’ve had to surrender to my creativity a number of times. Serve my master.
I tried to fight it. The energy and the time wasted on such trivial things…I have a lot of time to make up for.

Right now. Is a crucial time for me. A new book is on the verge of being published. I am as nervous as any expectant parent. What will life be like once it happens? How will my life change? How will it be the same? What do I do? will I know? I look to others who have a similar experience. How did you do it? I am so inspired by the young writers all around me. Seemingly these creative powerhouses surround me and I feel a bit lacking. I waited a long time. I had a lot of things to work through. In the end…I made it. I am at the beginning of yet another journey. Accepting my life as writer. N’zhibiigekekwe The old ones were wise to keep writing for very special purpose. Words are very powerful. Written words can change the course of a Nation. Sharing is the important part. Sharing the spirit of new beginnings. Of teachings. Of human understanding.

We are all in it together. I sit here in the dark, and I can sense the light. I can sense the change coming and I feel lighter already. I wish my mom was here to see this. Even though she guided me every step of the way….I miss her so.
In the end, life I imagine won’t be THAT much different. haha. I’ll have something to add to my resume. Indie writer, Self publisher. Author of.

It is exciting. Nerve-wracking and confusing but exciting nonetheless. In the meantime, I prepare my life to receive this new one and busy myself making preparations.

Down memory lane

I was rummaging around my shelves for old photos from childhood. While I have reams and reams (read: megabytes and megabytes) of photos from when my son was born, I have very few family photos of myself and my siblings as a baby.

The few that I have managed to get a hold of are blurry sepia toned and cracked.
I dug out a few old photos and showed my son. We cooed over the photos and briefly discussed them on our way out the door.

Along with photos, I found and old journal from Grade four and some old poems I wrote one night during a conversation with my brother.
I wrote about important things back then, huge events in my life that were worth mentioning – like my father attending the funeral of loved ones, or the tragic death of a cousin.
Visits to family that when reflected upon are written much differently than I remember experiencing them.
The 1980s seemed much closer this evening.
I wrote about things that an eight year old girl thought would seem interesting to her teachers.
Reading those words transported me to a time when life seemed simple. Pure.
I’m glad I kept that journal. Its a bit like a time capsule :)
I’ve been letting go of many attachments and I’ve thrown away many of the photos I’ve taken over the years. I prefer to keep the memories as intact as possible through stories I share with my son. Intangible and fleeting. The photos are nice but I was a different person back then with an outlook that was very different that mine is now. I don’t need the photos to remind me. It’s nice to have a memento of the day but I don’t need boxes and boxes of stuff to drag around my life if I can recall them and replay them when necessary.

It’s important to me to rethink how I celebrate and memorialize my life and how I place value on my experiences. I can’t ever go back to the past, in many ways I have let go of things from my past and don’t care the recall that time. In other ways, I like sharing with my son stories about his grandfather and grandmother.

He loves to hear stories about when he was a baby its important sharing. Important for family bonding. It was nice to come across those stories and to see those photos.
What beautiful poignant memories housed in that little box of mine. I wonder how many people out there have similar boxes…

Accountability

Accountability is sort of a double-edge sword, when we think about the way that word is used today.
In some cases accountability can be used in a controlling, rather paranoid manner. You must account for every single dime and nickle spent and be able to track where it went knowing FULLY the whereabouts and what nots of your spending. You have anxiety about spending and worry about people looking at your books even though they are in perfect order. In other ways, accountability means to take responsibility for your actions. Ok, you are on the right track, you have established you are trust-worthy, and know what you are doing, You overspent ok. Aknowledge it, the world will not end, though consequences and precautions need to be taken now to stay on target.
Whether its money, or accounting for your behaviour…accountability is a tricky word to understand.

I have also noticed it’s a word laden with triggers. FN people have dealth with accountability since we signed those treaty papers and moved onto reserves. We’ve had to account for our whereabouts, who we are with, where we go, what we do, who we marry, what we call ourselves, where we go when we are not on reserve, and how we spend ourr time on-reserve. People have always involved themselves in our business. Is it any wonder many of us have become co-dependent? It’s like FN and the Canadian government are in a co-dependent marriage. Classic people-pleaser, giver, with an abusive, narcissistic, paternatistic partner.
One just keeps giving and the other just keeps taking with no regard for feelings, no empathy or sense of responsibility.
Indian agents used to do the job of calling us to account where reams and reals of reports now replace the work of that agent.

What is the result of the life long, the generations of people made to account? I don’t give a $hit what happens if I overspend. Who cares, if I don’t do this or that or the other.
It’s been a long time since our original teachings were taught in our communities. All of the things that used to keep us busy no longer exist in the same manner. Cause. But the cause IS the consequence. So we don’t HAVE any money? When we do have money we have binge spending. Of course all of the things we have had to do without are the first things we go for. So what if they are not good for us, it tastes SO much better than what I’ve been living on. Yay!
Alternatively, behaviour has gone so long unchecked I never realized I should worry about this or pay attention to the way I do that. I never realized. No one ever cared much.
The self regulation never got that far in being taught since we were so busy protecting our languages, or our teachings, or trying not to get raped, beat up or murdered. I never really paid attention to how and why I spend or act the way I do.
I was too busy surviving.

What of that narcissitic paternatistic, partner calling us to account. What happens when we have had enough of the giving. When there is no more to give. What happens when it is our turn to call our partner to account? What then?
Our books are flawless, the house it in order, the pantry full. There is NOTHING to account for. Everything has been accounted for. Let’s take a look at your finances, on your end of the partnership! Let’s examine your behaviour. It’s time for you to account for your time in the partnership.
Let’s see you turn that accountability on yourself partner, how have you been treating your partner. How have you been spending all that has been given to you. How have you helped the relationship to grow and prosper. How have you helped your partner to grow and prosper?
Seems to me many people are starting to ask these same questions. It shall be an interesting road to see how this relationship evolves. Will the narcissist acknowledge there is healing yet to be done? Will the giver stop giving?
Time will tell, soon enough we will all have to account.

I want to crawl away

and hide in some deep dark cave. Maybe I will take my mothers blankets.
Today is one of those days.
I had read about the acronym some addicts use to remember their trigger levels. HALT or Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. I am not managing well. I have been working mostly unpaid jobs the last little while and putting a last big push on finishing my project. Sometimes I wonder why I am not more worried about money. I feel bad sometimes when I cannot buy stuff for myself or when I think about how to make ends meet. Things seem to have been…fair, enough.
I am slowly putting in place the things I need to make a good start but I feel quite isolated. It’s not a new thing, this isolation. I’ve lived with it my whole life it seems.
So whats up. Well, I feel an impending sense of dred when I think about putting myself out there…in wider community, in the wider world. Parts of me are screaming that i’m not ready. Others are saying, just get it over with.
I understand that supports are there even when I feel bitter or shunned, or isolated. I wonder how many other people feel this way. I wonder how I am going to make a living and I feel so very complex about what I want to do. Isn’t it clear that I just want to help people? Why don’t they just throw money at me and refer me to all of their friends. Haha.
I do my best not to compare myself with other people. But somedays the thoughts are there before i can stop them.

On these days i have to pray very hard. I have to sit down and just let the tears flow. Better in than out I say.
Days like today allow me to sit and contemplate the many blessings I have forgotten. I have the opportunity to sit and take good care of myself.
In some moments the sparkle dies just a bit. It gives us a chance to take stock of our lives and find the areas we need balance. Breathe.
Close your eyes. Some part of me is trying to express herself and I havent been listening. Rather, I have been supressing her voice. Again.
I take a long time to think about things before saying them. Often knowing what I want to say yet too afraid to just say it.
I keep telling myself its not important. But I’m telling myself that I’m not important enough.
Do you recognize these same thought processes? It is a form of passive aggressiveness and fear-based. Just describe what you are feeling. Acknowledge your own self and soon things will start to improve.
I feel sad. It seem like a whole lot of things are going on at once, and its compounded but I’ve made myself a promise. I will do whatever I need to do to ensure my own happiness. I will wake and find my smile. The moment will pass.
The happy isn’t out there anywhere. It is inside…clear away the junk and listen. Quietly observe…shhhhh…





There! Right there! Did you see it?
I did.
Mine came today, when my words helped to brighten someone elses day. I said words they needed to hear.
My heart smiled.
I smiled.
Just that tiny little instant, but I did it. Put goodness and love out and see it ripple out.
Clear the negativity.
See your bliss and live one moment at a time…

Quiet

In the dark still of the night,
whispers reign supreme.
The dead can speak and
hallowed hallways creak.

Ancient mounds tell stories
withered hand creep
Up the wintered walls
as misty midnight falls

Don’t wake the dead
with questions asked
Instead celebrate lived lives
with bounding dancing jives

Death is but another walk
in winters wakeful lands
All souls lean in to hear
jovial laughter near

Do not fear that next land
the dark of night covers
Loved ones dance in joyous rapture
fullest hearts in abundance capture

Dawns first light appears
dances cease and laughter fades
the evening winds to and end
final farewells, with loving thoughts we send…

Building up the community

What an amazing experience this newest project of mine. I’ve been learning so much and I’m so thankful to be part of such a creative and collaborative work.
I’m excited and can see the inspiration flowing.
I have never really seen this part of community, and to be part of a team working together is beautiful.
I am thankful to those who are involved and those that cheer us on. More to come on this project in the days ahead! Stay tuned :))

Wonderment

I wish you happiness, and I wish you joy. I wish you love, for I will always love you. – Dolly Parton

It has been an interesting week. I’ve been reviewing some teachings that have surfaced. I needed to clear more space and let go of things that do not serve my highest purpose.
I can feel my brain expanding trying to accomodate the new learning. I am filled with blessed abundance.
I have come to an understanding about openness. Long ago someone taught me about learning to be open. I found many reasons to hide from the light, and I made a choice I found later I would regret. Openness can be likened to standing on a high precipice contemplating taking the plunge.
Fear will breed in abundance. I did not jump.
Instead, I walked away.
It is something I have come to accept. It took a long time but I do. Reflecting on this experience, I am reminded of a teaching…it’s actually a Rumi quote that my friend introduced me to once. It talks about understanding that we are love at our core. Our job is to clear away the things we’ve used to block love out. As I write this, I feel such a mixture of emotions. I find that I got in my own way. I feel a little sad, a little humbled and yet I feel a great sense of purpose. Abundance. It is overwhelming and I gift it out to the universe.
I am preparing myself…to meet that challenge the next time I find myself at a precipice. As I worked through these teachings, I was shown shadow side and am accepting the things I see there. I was angry for a really long time. I stubbornly held the belief that it was all so UNFAIR. Life was so unfair! I did everything RIGHT, why the hell?? I saw that I had landed myself back into victimhood.
I couldn’t accept my choices and so I relied on things outside of myself to act as the scapegoat. I chose to suffer for a really long time.
Well, enough is enough. Its time to move forward. I made so many promises through my entire life. Promises to be there, to support my love. A devotion. Such loyalty. I wanted someone to make that same devotion, with such passion. I wanted someone capable of telling me how much he cared for me, how he just wants to see me happy. So very happy everyday for the rest of our lives.
I just wanted it all.
Until, I realized I was expecting someone to fill that void.
I wanted all of my needs to be met in the way I needed. I wanted to be loved in the way I wanted to be loved, I wanted it to be met from outside.
When this awareness came, I understood completely. Right then and there I made a promise to myself. I would be the one who would wake up everyday with undying devotion to my dreams. I would spend every day trying to bring a beautiful radiant smile to my face. I decided that I would do what was necessary to fill my life with such abundance and goodness.
I would be there every single minute of every single day living my dreams into creation.
Eventually, I found I needed to invite wonderment back into my life. I NEED wonderment. I NEED MAGIC. So I would create the magic necessary to clear the blockages so when the time comes, I will shine brighter than any sun.

This is what I wish for you too. We spend so much time searching outside. If I can do anything with my life, it would be to make that journey inside a little smoother. A little lighter. But you’re going to have to be willing to do the work. It is a beautiful journey.

Living is so rewarding

I am sitting in my livingroom. Candles lit. Child asleep.
Background noise…softly playing. Soft glow reflecting off the walls. I lived a good day.
A rewarding day. I cried today.
I smiled. I laughed. I enjoyed self-care.
Today I made good decisions. Today I acknowledged the hurt inside. I talked to someone. Today I took a step forward.

Everyday we live a rewarding life. Even more rewarding is noticing your strength inside. The resolve.
I’ve taken another step forward. Living my life is like knowing that I need to do certain things but indulging way too much. My excuse? I deserve it I work so hard. At avoiding. At being lazy, at coming up with more excuses.

I have forgotten my compliments.
I enjoy compliments, since I don’t often hear them I used to schedule it in my calendar “Hello lovely, my what a beautiful smile” :)
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to be kind to us. Too often I’ve raked myself over the coals, or compared myself to others and found myself lacking.
Too often my brain loves to bring back so many defunct memories to help me cope. It’s tiring.
I have to be vigilant with my thoughts. And loving with myself. Keeping in mind my vision of my brighter future. My vision for my life. Eventually I will love it into being.

I’ve been learning about establishing goals and rewarding good behaviour. Consistency has never been my strong suit but something has got to give. I’ve spent far too much time and energy on other people who never really deserve my precious energy. I give so freely. I am unwilling to leak anymore of this light on things that do not serve my highest vibration.

I am grateful to this over-analytical brain, I am thankful for a day full of renewal. I am thankful and aknowledge all of the good work I’ve been doing for myself. Sometimes we don’t fully give ourselves credit for the way we are changing our stars. Little by little. One day, one moment at a time.

On the land

I went for a walk on the land the other day. It was a place I used to visit when I was young. I am surprised at the shambles the place was in. Junk heaper here and there, old rusty bits lay about. I was sad.
I remember it so much different. As I walked about in the bush, I recall wondering why I never explored that area when I was younger. It was so different than I imagined it would be. The land looked different from this perspective.
It was windy that day and I was close to the water and could hear the sound of the waves as I crunched through the leaves. I imagined what it would be like living out there, on my own. No internet, no wifi, no invisible waves traveling through the air. How could I live my life differently and protect the land I want to inhabit.
Life would be harder, I’d have to work harder. What would I give up. How would I change my life to give the land another chance.
I’ve been thinking about my future a lot lately. Wondering about where my life is heading and continuing to make plans. I shift my thoughts and alter my vibration to it’s highest yet. I have been letting go of a lot of things and each minute I feel more open, more vulnerable and more curious.
I welcome my higher self and dream big dreams.
Perhaps one day my visions of the future will be my reality.
For now I stay present. I continue to remain in the present and think positive thoughts.