On a recent walk through autumn's turning, I listened to a podcast interview with Layli Long Soldier, poet and citizen of the United States and the Oglala Lakota Nation. She read from her book of poetry, WHEREAS, in which she offers a deeply personal response to the disturbingly impersonal Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Americans, signed by President Obama in December of 2009.
As we approach what has historically been Columbus Day, and more recently (for some) Indigenous People’s Day, it seems fitting to join Laily Long Soldier in making the hidden visible. Not to assign blame. Not to inflict guilt. But because even when it’s unwitting, and even though it may arise as an act of "self-protection," suppression is violent. It is un-healthy. Un-wholesome.
Our attempt to quell anything creates a wall inside us; a separation we erect to keep us away from what we’d rather not see, from what’s too uncomfortable to feel. But life will not be repressed for long, and what we hide from ourselves will fester, and that infection will seep into the very fabric of Life. In our efforts to keep this growing dis-ease at bay, we create further isolation and live inside a narrowing band that feels increasingly under threat.
One poem in Laily Long Soldier’s book captures a scene from her childhood in sub-zero, South Dakota. One dark morning, as she heads to the door, someone in her household reminds: “…be careful out there always consider the snow your friend. Think badly of it, snow will burn you.”
Whatever we think badly of will surely burn us. The world becomes what we perceive. It matters not whether this “burning” happens as a response to our thinking or because our own projection is all we can experience. If we see ourselves as separate, we will experience separation. If we see ourselves as connected, we will experience connection. Argue as we may, it’s as simple as that.
In her childhood, Laily Long Soldier “desired most of all to be a part. A piece combined with others to make up a whole.” This, it seems to me, is our common longing as humans. But fear keeps us remote. We limit our identification with only this or that small section of the whole. Yet, unique as our individual threads may be, they can never be torn from Life’s tapestry. Allowing ourselves to honestly see and compassionately feel all threads, we re-member ourselves whole.
Family Constellations facilitator and friend, Lisa Iversen describes her work as “making love visible.” This seems to me a pursuit worthy of a lifetime and a question worth asking: Am I making Love visible?
On Monday, October 8, please join me from wherever you are and let's make Love visible on Indigenous People's Day, under the New Moon that shines for all.
Photo Copyright : Basetet05