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Be The Change

Photography by Tricia Victoria Photography

When my dad died, among the many things I learned is that until you experience something yourself, you haven't got a clue.

This past week has been so full of emotions for so many. I've spent hours writing to express, reflect and attempt to pull out what I, personally, am going to do to be the change we need right now in history. And time and time again, I am reminded just how fucking ignorant I am to the suffering of Black Americans. As a privileged white Canadian, pseudo-freshly living in California, I have no clue.

One of the more potent practices that I have adopted over the years to invoke transformation is to hold the vision of the desired final outcome and allow that to direct moment to moment choices and feelings. In some cases, there is a similar outcome that has already happened that holds the frequency of the healing or desired outcome which makes it easier to call into reality.

With that, I am reminded of a powerful moment of healing that I witnessed five years ago at the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmother's council meeting held on the sacred land of the Northern Cheyenne reserve. Upon arrival, there were tensions between the tribe and the white people who had arrived {healing this was a major reason for this gathering}. The Grandmother who spoke first said "We are not here to fight for peace. We are not here to preach peace. We are here to be peace."

Some of the locals were sceptical of the gathering's intentions. They kept their distance and enforced particular rules that made it difficult for the Grandmothers to do their work.

Mid-morning on the second day, the Chief of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe came to the council's healing circle. The granddaughter of the American military leader who lead a battle that killed and displaced almost their entire tribe was there. She stood across the sun dance circle and made eye contact with the Chief. She introduced herself to him as the bloodline granddaughter of this white man who had caused an incredible amount of death and suffering of their people. She then walked across the Sun Dance circle toward him in silence.

When she arrived in front of him, she looked at him with her whole heart and apologized for the actions of her grandfather and her people. She didn't defend. She didn't try to explain anything. She said that what they did was wrong and that she is here to atone for their actions and apologize.

The chief was beside himself. He started weeping. Then he hugged her. What followed was a dynamic progression of healings for many people of that tribe and within the people that gathered there that day.

The entire gathering shifted. What was a history filled, intense situation that morning, shifted to open ears, hearts and arms. The population of the gathering more than doubled by the afternoon as all the locals came to participate in the healing work we were all there to do. I have never seen anything like it in my life.

It's incredible what can happen when we stop defending what we clearly know we have done to cause harm. When we stop protecting our wounds and open our hearts to new possibilities. When there is a readiness to heal.

These battles and racial lines are manifestations of the smaller battles that live inside each and every one of us. I understand that there is no comparison to what is happening with black lives in America, yet at the same time, when we start to dig into and honestly look at our own experiences of oppression, hatred, violence, ignorance, separation, judgement and clean it up within, we open up to see how we have been blind to the ways we are contributing to the suffering of the bigger issues of today. Where can you be more generous with your love? How can you contribute to healing in all ways?

At the end of the day, we all want the same things: to love and be loved.

We need to change. Structures need to crumble. Let's be the change and lift each other up and give the love we are all looking to receive. Right now, our Black brothers and sisters need our help. Let's show them that we truly are one. Love them up. Stand up for them.

When they hurt, we hurt.

When we hurt, they hurt.

When they heal, we heal.

When we heal, they heal.

It's time. Be the change.

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