Well, it’s been a safe year!
I thought about doing a post just to share how I’ve been doing over the last year as a way to connect and share where I am to this day. To begin with I want to say that this year has been both liberating and challenging.
The first thing I wanted was space, I spent the last 4 years organizing events and traveling around this beautiful planet. Simultaneously, I do my best to slow down and stop in a fast-moving life.
So when the Canadian government said it was isolating itself, it definitely agreed with that idea. This is not because I did not enjoy my job of traveling and teaching at all, but because I was not honoring my full self at all times.
So when the space arrived I took the time to make a point! I started an internship to untangle my self-esteem from productivity. I practiced staying in bed all day without feeling like rubbish. I did this until I began to feel the inner motivation to act.
The first thing I felt like doing was cooking very good food and feeding myself from within. I especially got into bone broth and they became a daily part of my life. I also started making ferments like sauerkraut and to this day I consume ferments with every meal.
There was also a great movement in Canada at this time to recognize the struggles facing Indigenous peoples here in Canada. Therefore, there has been and has been a great movement towards decolonization.
I have had my fair share of anger and resentment towards Canada for the injustices I have experienced in my own life, I will not dwell on this subject now. Instead of projecting my feelings outward, this year I had room to look down on them and wonder where they come from?
What I found was that they came mostly from my own inactivity to decolonize me. My complacency in waiting for the government or someone else to do something for me. I still think there are actions that systems need to take. Although at the same time I know from the bottom of my heart that I need to decolonize my own life.
What does this mean for me?
For me, decolonization is a way of being. Many people from indigenous cultures around the world are already living it and are shining examples of what it means to be decolonized. I was raised in a Western system, although I still had roots and connection in a native with the so-called worldview of BC, Canada. This dual education led me to act as a colonized person. Turning my back on my traditional culture. what my classmates saw as “normal” felt bad in my heart.
For example, traveling to other countries and benefiting from the local peoples without returning or corresponding to the peoples who welcomed me to their lands. I did my best to honor their local ways of life wherever I went. Despite knowing in my heart that I could do better.
I can see in my society that all of this is “normal” and every time I raised the issue I would feel all the walls rising. We’re not going to look at that, we’re just having fun. We are here to have fun. So I would just keep it inside.
I understand why this is somehow, because colonization affects everyone. There’s a reason we don’t want to look at the awkward side effects of our actions, because it really hurts. I sincerely believe that every time we avoid noticing the negative effects we are having on ourselves, our families, our communities and our surroundings we can justify it to our brain but not to our human hearts and bodies.
We care a lot about each other, and for the rest of our lives we don’t need to cite a study to find out. I can experience this directly by stopping and feeling myself. Every time I turned my back, I kept the pain somewhere in my body and my heart closed. A closed heart in my body feels like anxiety. When I talk about myself I am talking about my whole self, which includes my family, my community, and the environment in which I live. So an act of turning my back on me will affect all my relationships (whether I want to admit it or not.).
This is a cultural teaching that was shared with me by my own people, known as Takem Nsnekwnukwa7. The interesting part for me is that I feel it in myself, it’s not an idea, I can witness it in my life. When I introduce myself, I can introduce myself to my family, my community, and my environment.
This teaching does not fit into a colonized way of life. It’s too slow! Most of us have no place in our lives to reflect and notice how our daily choices affect our heart and body. We have to be out there acting, always on the move, neglecting ourselves by silencing our worries by stifling our emotions, because they are not professionals.
Then, when we have space, we are so overwhelmed by everything we have reduced, we go to entertainment, more movies, more games, online shopping, binge binge binge. I’ve done it and I still find myself falling into that trap. When I do these things as a form of distraction, it is an act of turning my back on myself and feeling it in my heart and soul.
So going back to the beginning of my writing today, the reason I felt like a piece of rubbish when I was lying in bed or not productive is because of the mindset of the settlers, that our value comes from of our ability to turn our backs on our needs and produce results no matter how we feel. Just to “get it,” our society lacks space to feel hurt, and then to reflect on how we can integrate that pain into ourselves so that we can become who we are after the pain or suffering. Thus a fully integrated human being.
Learning a lesson for me is not a logical experience. It is very visceral. I feel it all over my body and I get images and memories. Then I have a choice: do I want to bury this again? Or I will allow it to be part of me, of my life story, so that it can appear and BE different with all the experiences being part of who I am.
I know this can all seem very heavy, because it can certainly feel that way. At the same time, part of the decolonization means that my health and healing take place in my time, as I am ready. So I just do what seems easy to me, like all areas of my life. I take baby steps. They are not always noticeable in the short term, but in retrospect I can feel the effects by noticing how much I could love unconditionally, not how much “better” I have become.
If this process makes you feel something, or you are attracted to it, contact us. I calmly integrate this work into everything I do, I create spaces for others to slow down and feel things. I don’t ask them what they’re feeling. I don’t push people to open up, I just guide the approach gently. I do my best not to think that I know what others need, but to present myself as best I can.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and experiences. I hope you have some value or find some topics related to your own experiences.
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