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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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!

Posting on the fly

Sitting in a coffee shop and writing my weekly post is an adventure in itself. I’ve noticed that lately while life seems to have ventured into some randomness, my addictions welcome me into the fold. Discipline and dedication are twin disciples of the unknown as I strive to create my life in love.
Self love. I let go of that which does not serve me and I leap into that which consumes. Not being to hard on myself but I have obsessively worked away at a project and it seems my obsession is unbalanced yet perhaps it is simply that the creativity has remained locked up within for so long that joyously it springs forth into creation as a lantent obsession. Late nights and late mornings feel an unbalanced creative force but is that not the way with love? Unbalanced?
Obsessively thinking about it? It seems I have fallen in love. And my creative self revels in the freedom.
I do not worry about the balance for balance will come in time as my life re-settles itself.
I am placing the pieces for tandem projects, such that my pent up creative energy is unleashed. It is so wonderous. I worry at it a bit yet, it is my kind of fun.
I will post photos when I am finished my projects :) such is my joy! So obsessed with creation that i completely forgot my Sunday post…yet the world continues does it not?
Back to my obsession, my love. Till next time friends! Thanks for reading!

Welcoming the light

I was walking the other day, when an awareness came upon me. I understood my new life is upon me.
It was a little like a veil lifting and a little more bounce went into my step.
We sit at the control. Regardless of the pressures to conform to the norm (my new slogan by the way jk) We decide how to feel about something. Whether we are going to pick ourselves up, dust off our pants and keep on keeping on. Are we going to smile today? Are we going after our dreams? We are it.
Sure we can try to convince ourselves that the man has us pegged up by our nose hairs, but ultimately we can agree with him or not.
We can sit chained in our cell or we can free ourselves from enslavement. An enslavement of agreements. To give our power away. To blame other people for our troubles.
Or we can own it.
Welcome the light and energize our lives.
Decide to stop being frightened by what could/should happen and try something new. Be curious.
Be adventurous.
Open your heart and see what happens.
I took a chance today, and I apologized to someone hurt by my actions long ago in the dark time. Vulnerability is its own strength.
I am beginning to see how I chain myself in the darkness with fear and today, I begin to challenge those fears by shining light.
Light up the darkness…

Inner Journey

I have witnessed two types of mind think. Today as i sit in this quiet tea house, I hear rowdy calls and chants from crazed, sometimes drunken soccer fans in the throws of adolation and eerie communation as they gather around televisions in bars and cafes in my neigbourhood. A love of sport spurring them on.
I also witnessed rapture of spiritual journeying, and a different kind of adolation. Focused on a single benevolent being called by spirit to lead and love. Rapture of singluar focus as spiritual songs and chants sounded the quiet evening air.
These are different communals, there are different prayers being sounded, yet the same singular mind.
I think back to a cold winter as tales and stories rang out telling of round dance flash mobs popping up like splinter cells across the deserted wasteland of a cold Canadian winter. Rapturous songs old as time itself rang out in a clear and single heart beat. The life of the people and the land joined together for a brief time.
I think about these different expressions of love and wonder.
What is it about affiliation that brings excited cheers resounding thorugh the land. We cheer for different reasons.
I sit and wonder if at any time out righteous selves will be forced to seek the inner truths for a different sort of love. Soon, the game will end, with a defeated lot slinking off the field, holding their heads high in an attempt to stave off dejection. Soon the meditation will end and the embrace moved off to another time and place, leaving those behind to sort out the fog of remembered adolation and clinging to the memory. Soon, the song will end and the drums sounded across the land will cease and people will go back to their lives wondering if it actually happened. Did they hear us? Were we seen? Some wonder…
In the rapture, some truths are forgotten.
In the rapture, some truths are hidden.
In the rapture, some see the distraction.
In the rapture, some disappear.

It upsets me this affiliation, this need to be joined with others through something bigger than themselves.
Disrespecting the space around them sometimes in their rapture, sometimes beating eachother down ones the cries of triumph turn to defeat.
Sometimes in the echoes of an embrace deepest depreasion comes when the external light weaves itself away and the remaining cannot find the light inside.
Depression. Reality sets in and the human state resumes.
See it and feel it, acknowledge it. This is real too.
This is love yet.
Love never leaves, yet it remains unseen…

People watching, universal awareness magnified

Every now and then I glimpse a single moment in time. In that instant, much pain suffering and awareness of the huge scope of the human condition hits home. Sometimes it simple awareness that every other person on earth is looking out from a window of their own experiences, thoughts, and an infinite number of perceptions become clear. Other times, I see and feel so much pain. The problems of this world seem so monumental, it is any wonder how anyone survives this plane of existence. The suffering becomes so acute that I feel it as my own infinite experience, infinite trauma. There is nothing I can do except to sit with the grief. It is at these times I glimpse the human experience often unaware as countless sheep, moving through their lives. Very few live awakened lives. Numerous amounts of people all with their own thoughts, looking out on the world. Sometimes I wonder what I look like to other people.
Sometimes I see an older man or woman and wonder what they were like when they were younger. Where is their family, what were they doing when i saw them. When I glimpse peiple on the streetcar or subway I marvel at the fact that every single person is on their way to somewhere…each is having his /her own experience of that same subway ride.
Mountains moved to get us all on that particular streetcar at that particular moment. An infinite amount of possibilities, minute decisions made that brought them to that exact time and space.
Exquisite.
So delicate. Yet so vast this number of possibilities.
I like to watch people. Greet one another. Smile at one another. Embrace.
Walk.
Our human experience often so take for granted. A step.
A drink.
A glance.
Each moment so precious.
And yet the most ignored.
Here in this moment, I think about the countless people in the world and wonder how many are suffering? How many are in love? How many are thinking and wondering the very same things at this very moment? Who is dreaming of vastness on the other side of the world.
It is so beautiful in the wonderment.
Often times the moment is quick and for that i am thankful, lest i be swept along in a vast consciouness that i may lose myself. So very precious.
A single moment, a single glimpse.
Powerful.

Summertime

Easing into my new life has been interesting to say the least. I have always had so much to worry about. Right now the main concerns are so primal, so necessary its almost uncivilized. Some people say money brings happiness, well it certainly brings a sense of security that you can buy the things necessary to live.
People have long past handed over their self-sustainability to corporate farms and fast food chains that now when we have no money we are not even able to eat, since most of us don’t grow our own food anymore.
Owning land is needed to grow crops, and money is needed to buy land. People that I know don’t really support one another in that good community way anymore.
Everyone is out for themselves.
What a very individual dream.
I am finding a very humble start to my new life. An independent woman with a good job and stable income is very different from the inter-dependent lifestyle I see rising before me. It is different than dependent because you have to put yourself out there in many different ways.
Create a web of networks all interrelated to one another.
Supported and uplifted interchangably.
It is very different than the isolated life I once lived. I got out to visit my drum sister whose home i had never had the chance to get to. I spent an entire day and a half with she and her beautiful family. I am easing into a life that has a very different meaning to the term fulfilled. Content.
Building on the strengths of people who offer their gifts to help me and my son create something beautiful.
I feel blessed.
With the worries about stuff so primal…the focus is on something so necessarily it becomes even more essential to humble oneself, and pray for abundance, wealth and stability. My lion hearted pride has been taking a beating but isnt that a necessary part of growth?
To break something down, make room for new growth?

Momma Bear territorialism aka co-parenting woes

Recently I was triggered into a total meltdown. Those who know me probably wonder if it’s even possible for me to become emotional. Trust me I can, and sometimes even the worst parts of my personality show their ugliness and I delve into growth…once again.
Do you know what triggered such an event? Someone dared waltz into my parenting circle. Not only that but they dared MOVE something in that circle. Grrr.
Reflecting back on the incident, I am surprised there were not more casualties.
Those of you who are single parents may be able to understand where I’m coming from. I haven’t had to deal with an ignorant, rude Ex, until recently. It is quite interesting. I’m doing my best to be open and fair-minded but there are so many things that are so close to the surface, and let’s face it. I’ve been doing the parenting for the last ten years, anyone else entering my domain better enter at your own risk.
Probably this is part of what contributed to marriage woes, but in my defence, let me say this…I gave lots of chances. I’m not going into details about the incident or the parenting…lack of parenting, and general relationship issues. I am thinking mostly about my boy here and our family privacy.
These kinds of things are good to talk about though, because from what I can see in our communities, there are MANY, MANY single parents (women and men)
I have a lot of expectations I’m still trying to let go of…especially where the role of the father is concerned. People are just people…I know. But when you sit on the sidelines and watching something that could be great…not…be…well, great. Sometimes you just throw your hands up.
What’s become more apparent are how many times I can feel the “bad mommy” issues rise and I combat these daily with my recent delve into no mans land.
I understand that the best I can do, is make sure my boy understands his responsibilites to his children…when the moment comes. I don’t know if it’s my place to say anything to anyone else.
I watch as our times change. Things have changed even from when I was a teenager. I grew up understanding that I had a place in our community. Treat others with respect. Things like, serving the elders at a community space, helping them with a heavy load. I wasn’t always great at speaking up, or speaking out when I saw something that wasn’t right. I don’t know how many of us are. It’s reclaiming that voice regardless of what happens, or what we FEAR happening as a result. THAT is the one we combat. Not the teaching.
It is difficult to watch how our children and youth are separated from one another at community spaces. Separate programming, alternate activities. Our youth need to know that their assistance and presence is needed with our elders. I like to see more programming is coming that joins them…but we don’t socialize this way anymore.
We are programmed.
I think the co-parenting woes come from a residual dislike of confrontation. Though confrontation in a healthy argument is better than avoidance, denial and silence. Anger is not a bad thing. And arguments are not a bad thing. These are tools that help us to know what keeps us safe, when someone has crossed a line and it’s practise to learning how to negotiate conflict.
I avoided conflict for a really long time but I can no longer avoid it. It’s time to face it head on and fight for my family. It’s time to fight for a healthy, loving family…what ever that looks like. Co-parented, blended family, extended family. Looks like its time to put up or shut up. Once and for all.

Department of Emotional Affairs, closed.

Tonight, I write about emotionally unavailable people. I have had quite a penchant for picking the MOST emotionally unavailable people to fall in love with. It seems that anyone who is open and honest with their feelings don’t seem to ring my phone. I like the expression on the persons face when he realizes i’m actually interested…sort of a strange deer caught in the headlights and then an intense discomfort. Aaandd they avoid.
Nice…guys.
I wonder what it is…something about me? Nah!!! Just a nice peek at the type of person they are. Not about me at all.
I remember once this person I was interested in, I distinctly remember the second I realized that he was not interested…I had said hello to him in a friendly way and he looked at me with this strange grimace/frown and cocked his head a little to the side. It looked a little like he tasted something that had gone bad weeks ago. I saw that look and knew right then what it meant…
It was a little disappointing but I knew that it wasnt me. I am a good person…and surely these experiences are good things. Chances are if they can’t come out and say, look I dont want to give you the wrong idea…but I’m not interested. I wouldn’t want to be with them anyway.
I seem to like the biggest jerks ever, but something inside me sees a tiny glint of goodness (probably imagined) and I seem to think they are worth my attention.
This once in grade seven, I think it was, I liked this guy who was in Grade Eight, and my cousin was in his class. I told her about him…(sometimes cousins arent really friends either, this experience taught me that) she ended up telling him and what did he do? decided to make a big joke about it with his friends…at a sock hop once his friends dedicated a song to us and sat there laughing through the whole song…then one of his frienda came up to me and said he really liked me…and wanted to date me…but it was just for a lark cause they were really hamming it up with him.

I dont know what it is…maybe there is a neon sign over my head saying Jerks!! This way to the pushover aka gullable.
I know that I never seemed to be able to get angry when something hurt me. I was just sad and tears would pour out. People could lie straight to my face and i would make excuses for them. Oh well maybe he didnt mean to or “it was just that one time” even if he outright lied to me.
Yes, doormat.
Sometimes I still think these residual markers are present, but I’m starting to be stonger and I can see the signs earlier so i dont get sucked in. Red flags pop up and I am learning to pay attention.
What happens if you cant get rid of the jerk though? maybe you were married to him or worked with her? or some other uncontrollable situation? Simple. You learn to get tough.
Sometimes kindness gets taken advantage of. Nice guys finish last and while it may not feel nice being the tough guy. It works. It sucks because often this type of behaviour is the exact opposite to the way you are naturally or prefer to be, but these people seem to ignore any other way of communication.
They are so deeply entrenched in their hatred of all things YOU that its difficult to reach them. Either that or their resentment prevents them from acknowledging any emotions other than anger. What ever the reason for this behaviour, the only way to deal with it is to suit up and play it tough.
I hate when that happens. And it happens far more than I like. Yes people you have emotions. So what. Deal with it. And stop treating me like crap. I guess once you realize you are no longer feeling like you are undeserving, things take on a different hue and you start understanding the way you are being treated.
Respect must be earned. This goes for self respect too. Well how does this happen? By telling someone they crossed a line. By learning that there ARE lines and by drawing them.
When you can create a safe space for yourself its a bit easier for you to see foreign objects and projectiles being whipped at you or coming into your safe space.
It takes awhile and it takes effort to be aware but it can happen. If you care enough about you and want to stop making the same damned choice.
For now I’ve left those things behind, content to focus on me and my goals, the hell with the rest of it.
Hopefully an emotionally intelligent person happens my way someday, if not…oh well I devote myself to me and fulfilling my dreams and just enjoy life…free of the emotionally unavailable…

Summer rain

It was hot and humid out today.
I felt ill on the streetcar home. Too many things going through my head. I reflected on my day and also felt quite sad, but also mixed with a great deal of love.
I am thankful for knowing. People show their gratitude for things I took for granted. I am being shown and my cup overflows.
It is interesting to see how many different ways we can choose to isolate ourselves. I don’t like to write in detail but something in this day…and sharing of hearts opened my heart.
I got off the streetcar near my home and as I stepped out, rain poured down.
I stepped out into the rain and turned my face skyward. I love downpours. It reminds me of what Grandmother Renee Thomas-Hill said once, ldon’t hide from the rain…it is a blessing”. Such a beautiful way to see the day. I happily splashed through the puddles, I don’t know what it is about this kind of weather but I felt like dancing, or skipping…maybe even just twirling and twirling while the rain soaks me to the skin.
During the heaviest rainstorms, my son and I run outside and splash one another in the downpour. Our neighbours watch us as we cavort in the rain.
Today seemed especially beautiful and i felt the sadness wash away in the downpour.
What a wonderous blessing!

Even now as I reflect on my life, on the memories I am full to overflowing. I am grateful to all of my teachers and the people who have crossed my path.

I am hopeful that the path I have chosen will help to light the way for others to find their way to the blessed life.
I am only human and bound to make mistakes along the way, it is my hope that i can learn to love my humanness and let the joy shine through.
It takes courage to allow the spirit to lead. G’chi miigwetch Gzhe manidoo. G’zaagin. G’chi miigwetch iw sa bimaadziwin.

Summer rain

It was hot and humid out today.
I felt ill on the streetcar home. Too many things going through my head. I reflected on my day and also felt quite sad, but also mixed with a great deal of love.
I am thankful for knowing. People show their gratitude for things I took for granted. I am being shown and my cup overflows.
It is interesting to see how many different ways we can choose to isolate ourselves. I don’t like to write in detail but something in this day…and sharing of hearts opened my heart.
I got off the streetcar near my home and as I stepped out, rain poured down.
I stepped out into the rain and turned my face skyward. I love downpours. It reminds me of what Grandmother Renee Thomas-Hill said once, ldon’t hide from the rain…it is a blessing”. Such a beautiful way to see the day. I happily splashed through the puddles, I don’t know what it is about this kind of weather but I felt like dancing, or skipping…maybe even just twirling and twirling while the rain soaks me to the skin.
During the heaviest rainstorms, my son and I run outside and splash one another in the downpour. Our neighbours watch us as we cavort in the rain.
Today seemed especially beautiful and i felt the sadness wash away in the downpour.
What a wonderous blessing!

Even now as I reflect on my life, on the memories I am full to overflowing. I am grateful to all of my teachers and the people who have crossed my path.

I am hopeful that the path I have chosen will help to light the way for others to find their way to the blessed life.
I am only human and bound to make mistakes along the way, it is my hope that i can learn to love my humanness and let the joy shine through.
It takes courage to allow the spirit to lead. G’chi miigwetch Gzhe manidoo. G’zaagin. G’chi miigwetch iw sa bimaadziwin.

The path less trodden

The month draws to a close. Celebrations continue into the wee hours. Pride, Identity, and Sports all bring us together for a common purpose. We all want affiliation, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. I think it was Dr. Phil that came up with that. I’ve gone out of the comfort zone many times in the last little while and it gets easier. I’ve stopped relying on old habits and old preferences. Courage and a willingness to accept my adventurous nature will lead me forward.
I have reviewed my past, and put off the inevitable. I screw up the courage to speak up, speak out…speak my truth.
I find it is still quite difficult to say what I mean. In the moment, I’m super conscious of my words, and quite often censor myself in the moment.
I don’t say what I need to say.
It comes from a background where I tried, no, I needed to be loved. I review my life recently and see how many things I hold onto. The torch I have carried. The fear I have kept inside. The Queen of restraint, yeah, that’s me. When my life is crumbling down around me, I find the resolve to hide everything inside. Quiet, unassuming. Apparently it comes across as an unwavering, unfaltering steadiness.
No matter what I do…freaking out, reacting, expressing is NOT an option. It’s getting better, sometimes certain people seem to find me when I’m flustered, or upset and even angry. It’s almost like I fear being normal. Like I can’t be human in front of other people. Breaking down is better left when I’m alone somewhere. Private.
I recently received Reiki initiations. Level 1 certified. I enjoy the energy work, it is amazing and so freeing.
I have found myself quite emotional the last little while as my energy incorporates this new learning. A new love to express. A new openness.
I found that block, that inability to express finds me hurt by another’s impropriety, yet saying nothing. Observe.
Is there yet an idea of self preservation? I don’t know. Perhaps I don’t understand what it means to be offended, or expressing those parts of me. The path less trodden is to speak up, unafraid to stand tall.
At least I am conscious of it. I seek those boundaries necessary to keep my inner world from exploding. I take note when a word offends. I am also conscious of my shortcomings…a certain lax quality in my dedication to self.
All of these most wonderful awareness brings me closer to myself. I sit and dream of my future. I look there and find a stronger, more resiliant woman. One who knows herself and will not compromise anything in herself for the selfish needs of another. A woman who dedicates herself to her own wellbeing standing tall for the things she knows is right for her and her family. She exudes love, warmth and a welcoming invitation. Come dear friend, she says…walk with me down the path less trodden…and learn some wonderful things, the most wonderous and beautiful parts of yourself. Sit awhile…and let’s learn together.