Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Elders and a hug

Yesterday I was very happy to get time to go for Kumik.  The Elders started with a circle and people took turns with the feather and shared.  It is really powerful being in the circle with people and hearing their stories.  The Elder asked us to talk about the teachings we would like.  A number of people were in painful places and some others asked about the teachings of fall.  The Elders took these themes together to build the teaching.  As an aside, I don't know the protocol for talking about an Elder on-line or sharing the teaching in this forum.  This question has been bothering me for a while, but I will take precedent from a couple of thesis I have read by indigenous folks and follow in the manner of oral passage of information to identify the Elder.  Interested to hear from you if you have other thoughts.

It was an odd friendship, but the oddnesses of friendships are a frequent guarantee of their lasting texture. (Lennart Helje.):
Lennart Helje

The Elders were Bob "Seven Crows" Bourdon (Mi'kmaq) and his wife Joanne Parent.  Many thanks to them for their thoughtful words.  They spoke about the need to make manifest our beliefs, that if we say "all my relations" then we must put this into practice.  That in our moments of emotion we can go to the plants, the earth, rocks and animals to share and find comfort.  He reminded us to also give comfort back and look after our relations too.  They reminded us that our relations go through the same cycles as we do, those of bursting forth with growth and those of tiredness and endings.  The Elder reminded us that we can put our pains to the earth, like the leaves shed their leaves.  Not to forget them and treat them as garbage, but as nourishment to fuel the growth to come after the winter.  To let the snow cover them in calm and rest.  They spoke about the "good red road" and reminded us that this may not be a straight or even road and that at times it may be difficult to travel.

I also had a one on one session with the Elders.  It is amazing to have people hear you and really listen.  I raised my ongoing worry, that I could do so much more at work and that I feel guilty in those times when I don't keep asking for more work.  The Elder reminded me that I don't need to give everything, that I need to give what is needed to get a good job done and to use the extra energy in other places where I need it.  I never thought about it that way that I am not a lesser person for not giving it all.  I really needed to hear that.

We talked about Sophie and how far she has come and they shared some ideas on how to support her in her spiritual journey which is in a direction I am not sure I understand.  They told me that it is ok if her spiritual interests are something in her life I cannot directly help her with.  The mentioned helping her set up a morning ritual for herself and Sophie wants to set up a water alter for herself.  I am just going to give her space to do what she needs and try to find her the resources she requires.

We talked about my mother and her unwillingness to move on from her historic hurts and love what she has in her life today.  The Elders told me again that I need to be a mama bear and keep my cubs safe.  They said that maybe I was stuck in the christianized "honor thy mother and father" place instead of in a paradigm of a healthy mutual relationship as the ideal.  I found myself saying that I continue in the relationship because sometimes you get the nice mother and I keep in contact for that hope and they reminded me that an alcoholic can be nice too, but the alcohol will always win.  That was a pretty powerful thought for me.  The past always wins for her.

Overall, the day was dominated by a hug.  I am not a toucher and don't like to hug perople, but there was someone in the circle that was very sad and we were speaking later and she asked for a hug.  What courage that is to ask for what you need.  I gave the hug because I could not let that need go unanswered.  Her story touched me, cause we have all been there.  It brought perspective to me.  I am not where I want to be, but I am no longer in that really dark place and that is progress, even if it is not "perfection".

So overall I was pretty blessed to receive so many teachings, a good dose of perspective and enough energy to play with my children and get some chores done afterwards.  Miigwiich.

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