In Hindsight

Well it’s been quite the year that is for sure! 

I thought about doing a post just to share about how I have been doing over this last year as a way to connect and share where I am up to these days. To start I want to say that this year has been equally liberating as it has been challenging. 

The first thing that I was craving was space, I have spent the last 4 years hosting events and traveling all over this beautiful planet. While simultanesly doing my best to slow down and stop in a fast moving life.   

So when the government of Canada said to self isolate, I was definatly ok with this idea. This is not because I didnt like my work travling and teaching at all, it is because I was not honouring my full self at all times. 

So when the space came in I used the time to do a full stop! I began a practice of untangling my self-worth from productivity. I practiced staying in bed all day without feeling like a piece of trash.  I did this until I began to feel inner motivation to act. 

The first thing I felt like I really wanted to do was to cook really good foods and nourish myself from the inside out. I especially got into making bone broths and they became a daily part of my life. I also began to make ferments like sauerkraut  and to this day consume ferments with every meal. 

There was also a big movement in Canada around this time in acknowledging the struggles that indigenouse peoples face here in canada.  So there has been and continues to be a big movement towards decolonization. 

I have had my fair share of anger and rage towards Canada for the injustices that I experienced in my own life, I will not expand on this topic now. Rather than project my feelings outwards this year I had space to look under them, and ask myself where they are coming from? 

What I found is that they were for the most part coming from my own inactivity in decolonizing myself.  My complacency in expecting that the government or someone else would do something for me. I still think that there are actions systems need to take. While simultaneously knowing from deep within my soul that I need to decolonize my own life. 

What does this mean to me?  

For me decolonization is a way of being. Many people of indigenouse cultures around the world already live this and are shining examples of what it means to be decolonized. I was raised into a western system, while still having roots and connection into an indigenouse to so called BC, Canada world view. This dual upbringing led me into acting like a colonized person. By turning my back on my traditional culture. what was seen as “normal” by my peers, felt wrong in my heart.

For example traveling to other countries and benefiting from the local peoples without giving back or reciprocating that peoples that welcomed me into their homelands. I did my best to honour their local ways of life anywhere I went. While knowing in my heart I could do better. 

I can see in my society this is all “normal” and anytime I brought up the topic I would feel all the walls go up. We are not going to look at this, let’s just have fun. We are here to have fun. So I would just hold this inside.  

I understand why this is in a way, because colonization affects everyone. There is a reason why we don’t want to look at the uncomfortable side effects of our actions, because it really hurts.  I truly believe that every time we shy away from noticing the negative effects we are having on ourselves, our families, our communities, and our environments we can justify it to our brains but not to our human hearts and bodies. 

We care deeply about each other, and about all life I don’t need to cite a study to know this. I can experience this directly by stopping and feeling into myself. Every time I turned my back on myself I stored pain somewhere in my body and my heart would close. A closed heart in my body feels like anxiety.  When I speak of myself I am speaking of my complete self which includes my family, my community, and the environment I live in.  So an act of turning my back on myself 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, it is known as Takem Nsnekwnukwa7. The interesting part for me is that I feel this in myself, it is not an idea, I can witness this in my life. When I show up for myself, I can show up for my family, my community, and my environment.  

This teaching does not fit into a colonized way of life. It is too slow! Most of us do not have space in our lives to reflect and notice how our daily choices are affecting our hearts and bodies. We need to be out there performing, always on the go, neglecting ourselves silencing our concerns stifinling our emotions, because they are unprofessional. 

Then when we do have space we are so overwhelmed by all that we have pushed down, we turn to entertainment, more movies, more games, online shopping, binge binge binge.  I have done and still find myself falling into this trap.  When I do these things as a form of distraction, it is an act of turning my back on myself and I can feel it in my heart and soul. 

So to circle back to the beginning of my writing today the reason I felt like a piece of trash when I layed in bed or was not being productive is because of the colonizers mindset, that our worth comes from our ability to turn our back on our needs and produce results no matter what we are feeling. To just “walk it off” our society lacks space to be able to feel hurt, then to reflect on how we can integrate this pain into ourselves so that we can be-come who we are after pain or suffering.  Thus a fully integrated human Being.

Learning a lesson to me is not a logical experience. It is very visceral. I feel it throughout my body and I have images and memories rise up. Then I have a choice: do I want to bury this again? Or will I allow it to be part of me, part of my life story, so that I can show up and BE different with all experiences becoming part of who I am. 

I know that this can all sound like it is very heavy, because it definitely can feel that way. At the same time part of decolonization means that my health and healing happens on my time, as I am ready. So I only do what feels easy for me just like all areas of my life. I take baby steps. They are not always noticeable short term but  in hindsight I can feel the effects by noticing how much of who I was I can love unconditionally, not by how much “better” I have become. 

If this process causes you to feel something, or you feel drawn to it then reach out. I integrate this work quietly into everything I do, I create spaces for others to slow down and feel things. I do not ask about what they are feeling. I do not push people to open, I simply gently guide focus.  I do my best not to think I know what others need, but to just show up as best I can. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and experiences. I hope they hold some value to you, or that you find some topics relatable to your own experiences. 

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