Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The sweat-lodge stream-of-consciousness

I had a thought on all the crazy news attention paid to the motivational speaker after the deaths of people in his sweat lodge.  In all the press, I never once saw an interview with a Native American person.

It brings up so many important conversations, but mostly how much we Westerners need to un-learn.

I had an amazing talk with a wise woman today that was somewhat liberating, and centred on the positive skills of the Colonists.  Now, I have a gut/knee-jerk reaction to the word, "colonization", so this one was hard for me.  It's just as hard as knowing that people of Indigenous descent are capable of being just regular human beings with base and mundane foibles and feelings.

So with my paradigms shaken up, I find myself at a unique place, and exactly where I should be.  It's part of the unlearning.  But it's also part of the Four Nations coming back together.  There are rifts deeper than my imagining and historical trauma pervasive in Indigenous communities that I can barely comprehend.  Yet, there is also historical trauma passed down to descendants of Western Colonial powers.

When I was in Vietnam I remember being struck so deeply by the violence depicted in the Saigon War museum (also the most objective museum I've yet to encounter).  There was a picture of a soldier holding the heads of two Vietnamese people.  My first thought was, "what must have happened to that young man to allow him to do that to another human being?".  This is where it gets hard.  I said this once before, and was misquoted by the local paper- which precipitated my ex-soldier neighbor to hate me and never want to speak to me again.  How could I explain?  I wasn't there when it happened, only after.  Even though both my parents were military and I was born on a base in the South Pacific at the end of the war- how could I criticize a soldier?  What if we take away sides and just have people?  It makes me think of Christmas 1914, during World War I.

How did I get to Vietnam from a Sweat Lodge, then to WWI?  Hm. Good question.  How about a quote?  "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation" - Johnathan Larson.

The healing has to happen on both sides.  I don't know how to help this yet, but that's what I want to do when I grow up.  What if we all made a space for authentic communication, beginning with true empathy.  hm. That's a tough one.   We're all shell-people.  How do we break those shells?  How about a world-wide exchange program?

Everyone on Welfare gets to run Congress, and everyone in Congress has to go on Welfare.  Then one side gets to see how hard it is to "govern" and another side gets to see how hard it is to be hungry with no advocates, especially without a place to live.  Then all of a sudden, there are no more "sides".

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