Worldview check, how many times do we assume that people all see the world in the same way that we do? I want to share here my own unique worldview that has been shaped in relationship to my family, community, as well as colonial systems.
I want to first acknowledge that I am an Indigenous man from the Samahquam and Chippawa of the Thames Nations. Being raised within Indigenous culture, while simultaneously attending colonial school was a very interesting experience to say the least.
I want to bring myself back to the time when I was in kindergarten, so at 5 years old, I would lay in bed at night and have full conversations with the stars and the moon, they had their own voices and I could ask them any questions that my little mind could think of.
They taught me how to sense my energy, to create images in my imagination, as well to dissolve myself into nothingness and just float in emptiness. These gifts stayed with me through my life, I was just shown by experience to keep them to myself.
I remember my kindergarten teacher telling me the moon was made of cheese and there was a man living on it, so that day I went home and waited for the moon to become visible from my bedroom window and then asked it if it was made of cheese. it responded that no it was not made of cheese and there was no man living on the moon.
Of course little me is like time to set the record straight! I went to school and told the teacher the moon is not made of cheese, it is a rock! Hahaha the teacher was like how do you know? I said I asked the moon and it told me! This was the first time someone took a cut at my inner knowing and told me I cant talk to the moon and that’s not real.
The Interesting part is that through an indigenous lens this is not only possible but just a normal part of life for many people who are raised in connection to things beyond themselves and what they can physically touch.
When I was told that my inner knowing and experience was not true, this did not turn it off or stop it. All that happened was that I stopped telling people outside of my relatives and very close friends.
I just kept to myself more, I realized that the colonial school system just wanted me to say what they told me to say, and repeat information, memorize and repeat. Even though this was incredibly boring I was able to do this with minimal effort, especially once I decided to just do what they wanted me to do and get it over with.
I went through many struggles with lack of motivation to perform in ways that the system idealized. I always saw through it all, I could see the gaps and often fell through them just to see where I would land.
I was blessed to have a mother, and Aunties that would always confirm my knowledge and gently guide me towards a deeper connection to my own innate knowing. My mom would remind me often that it doesn’t matter if the cool kids are all doing something, if your gut is telling you to listen, if your gut tells you to leave then leave. If it doesn’t sit right with you then you don’t have to let it in.
I believe it was actually my family that made sure I stayed connected. Even when my environment was doing its best to shape me into a good citizen so that I could excel within systems that were not for me or my people.
So I continued to listen to this inner voice all the way through my life while keeping it to myself in colonial environments, and it wasn’t until I attended my yoga teacher training in 2011, that I was given permission by a community of people to share my inner knowing.
I felt like I was able to integrate, and yoga honors direct experience as the teacher so I was suddenly able to use the quiet work I have been doing all these years to actually share with others and to help people come back to direct experience.
The whole reason I wanted to share this is because I believe that one way to help us move forward here specifically in so-called BC, Canada is through working to understand and experience Indigenous world views first hand.
As anyone who has first hand experience with the connection I am referring to here knows that It is unmistakable, and it guides your actions. You would no longer look at a plot of land and think about money.
How could you if you were in direct vivid connection to something how could you think about killing it, or selling it. Visiting places on the land is a kin to visiting a loved one, there is communication there and connection.
Please don’t run the assumption that the connection I am expressing is something that is only for Indigenous people, everyone is Indigenous to a place on earth and colonization is impacting everyone, it’s just that here in Canada Indigenous peoples are standing up for our place, and our own world view.
This has been very painful for us, and it is in this pain that we are gathering strength. We have a lot of grieving to do, and simultaneously we will make space for our own worldviews in this place. I am actively showing up and speaking to the system and advocating for our place and our ways.
We have the resources, the knowledge to live in this place with the least impact, and many of us are tuned into our inner knowing so our lives are completely filled with synchronization and support from creation. I know many of you who will read this and have spent time with me will have a memory where life felt surreal, time stopped and you were completely present.
Many Canadians are still asking how can we help these deeply hurt and burdened Natives. We don’t need any more help taking our resources, our teachings, and our ways of living and turning them into products to be comfortably consumed while you look down on those who courageously carried those teachings and were tortured for it.
We are stepping up to support our own people, and all the resources that are being sent through colonial systems are paying salaries for non Indigenous people to have comfortable lifestyles while still seeing us as a problem that needs to be solved.
It’s actually the Indigenous peoples from all over the world who are living in connection to their culture and places that are holding a new paradigm. We see things in a way that is beginning to be understood through western science.
It will be us that will step into our birthright, reclaim our place, and our languages. It is in our ways to share, and teach, and right now there are some hard lessons coming when we close access to our traditional lands to outsiders due to constant disrespect and blatant racism.
It has become required and it is not by our egos that this is coming about, the land itself will become unwelcoming to people who are not in relationship with the stewards of the lands we occupy.
I realize that this could feel very unsettling for some reading this. This discomfort should not be shunned but embraced. It is a potent teacher. It will help guide your actions towards reconciliation within your own self, so that your interactions with these places will become more and more welcomed.
If the land welcomes you, the people living in relation to it will welcome you as well.
I would like to point out that I don’t think anyone should believe my experiences to be true, unless you have witnessed them first hand, or have had your own direct experience with this level of understanding. This can serve only as a confirmation of something you already know to be true, or maybe it rings of truth, but you don’t have any experiences yet, so give it space and allow for teachings to come through to you in unexpected ways.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my experience, especially if this was unsettling for you but you continued reading it all the way through. My wish is for us all to feel at home in this place, or any place that we may find ourselves, and I believe that this can be facilitated when we are in relationship with the First Peoples of the lands we are living on.
Sending a big hug, thank you, thank you, thank you