Monthly Archives: January 2015

healing

Native American portraits


Native American pictures

Hello all!

For those of you who follow my page on Facebook, you know I like to comb the web for old Native American portraits. I often post one here and there with a caption as to who the person was and the year it was taken. I find some of those pictures on this Facebook page.

Those pictures of Native Americans are all in black and white and are so gorgeous. Looking at them, you can see how grand those individuals look, how soulful their eyes are. At times, those portraits take my breath away and all I can then say is “wow”. You start to wonder who that person was, what was their life like, if their attire was their usual attire, where and how come the picture was taken, etc. One thing is for sure, each and every single one of those individuals is beautiful. Their inner beauty (as well as their pain sometimes) shines through. Please share your thoughts and comments below and I will answer you.

I leave you to enjoy those Native American portraits with a native poem:

May there be beauty above me, May there be beauty below me, May there be beauty in me, May there be beauty all around me.

All my Relations

Apache girl-1889

Apache girl-1889

Apache man-1872

Apache man 1872

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

comanche chief Quanah Parker

Comanche chief Quanah Parker

Chiricahua woman Elsie Vance Chestuen

Chiricahua woman Elsie Vance Chestuen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jicarilla Apache maiden-1907

Jicarilla Apache maiden-1907

Crazy Thunder Oglala Lakota-1907

Crazy Thunder Oglala Lakota-1907

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty Nose, cheyenne woman, 1878

Pretty Nose, cheyenne woman-1878

John Comes again Lakota-1899

John Comes again Lakota-1899

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whirling Horse Lakota-1900

Whirling Horse Lakota-1900

Stump Horn Bull-1888

Stump Horn Bull-1888-My favorite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powatch Ute-1872

Powatch Ute-1872

Shoshone man-1885

Shoshone man-1885

Aboriginal Focusing oriented therapy

Aboriginal Focusing oriented therapy certificatenative wisdom

Hello everyone!

Today was the start of a new beginning for me and I wanted to share it with you. Today was the day that I began the Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma certificate. Yes, that is a long title! But it is worth it! What a refreshing perspective on trauma, therapy and the role of the clinician.

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Native American Pow Wows website

Pow wows online resourcepowwowdancer

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to quickly share an online resource related to Native American Pow Wows. Actually, the site is all about Pow wows! If you have a question about Pow wows or want to learn more about them, this is the place to go.

Indeed, powwows.com is a website dedicated mostly to Pow wows. However, there are also sections on Native American food, and tribes (a very well made repertory of tribes across North America including contact information) for example.

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dreamcatcher

Native American dreamcatchers

Native American dreamcatchersdreamcatcher

Hello all!

As I said in my previous post, I enjoy dreamcatchers and have a few in my home, which are featured below. I even picked dreamcatchers as my first website logo 🙂 I enjoy looking at them twirling in the breeze. So many options, so many materials and colors! However I like the more traditional ones better, no crazy colors or designs. Although I do have one that is more colorful and was locally made. You can see it below.

dreamcatcher

Meaning of Native American dreamcatchers

Dreamcatchers have been part of the Native American culture for centuries and their legend or story is a great one. As you can see, dreamcatchers are in the same shape as the medicine wheel, a circle, to exemplify the continuity, the cycle of life and its different phases. As we remember, we start in the East position (child) and end in the North position (Elder). In the middle of the circle, you find a web with an “eye” or the hole in the middle.

The story has it that the good dreams would slip through the hole in the middle and slide down the feathers to fall on the individual sleeping (you are supposed to hang it above your bed). Bad dreams would be caught in the web, never reaching the sleeper. Thus the dreamcatcher is thought to protect the individual sleeping and bring spiritual dreams. However, you might have heard a different version of the story. Indeed, a different version says that good dreams were caught in the web and passed down to the sleeper while bad dreams went through the hole never reaching the sleeper. Whichever version you have heard, the end goal remains the same: to filter the dreams of the sleeper so that only the good ones would be had. In other words, Native American dreamcatchers are guardians of sleep, protectors against bad dreams. I can personally say that since I have hung dreamcatchers in my home (even if they are not above my bed), I have had quite vivid good dreams. Below is the tiny dreamcatcher beside my bed. You can find a similar one on Etsy here. It is about 3 to 4 inches long and 6 to 7 inches long. Very delicately made.

dreamcatcher

Legend of the dreamcatcher

If you start reading about dreamcatchers (a good site is this one) you will see a few legends out there. A version that you will most likely come across is this one. During a circle (talking circle, see here for my previous post), a prayer was said and a circle was made using Mother Earth’s branches. The branches were woven into a circle and a web using sinew and placed above the infant’s head. The dreamcatcher above the infant’s head would keep bad dreams away, bring spiritual dreams and provide strength and inner wealth. A gift from Mother Earth herself.

Lakota legend

A different version of the legend (but with the same message) can be found within the Lakota culture. Once upon a time (don’t worry it is not a Disney romantic story…), a Lakota spiritual leader was high on a mountain and had a vision. In his vision, a carrier of wisdom was disguised as a spider, and who has he spoke, began weaving a web in the middle of the leader’s earrings (which had feathers and beads). He discussed the cycle of life and stated that there are both good and bad forces in our world. And that if we follow the good forces, we will go to good places. However, if we follow the bad forces, we will be led in a wrong direction and might get hurt. Forces can then be helpful or detrimental. Once the spider finished spinning its web, he gave it to the leader and told him to use it to bring the good forces in the lives of the people. That the web would let through the good ideas and catch the bad ones, trapping them in.

So there you have it, two versions of the legend. Both carrying the same message. One of protection and strength. Below you will find another one of my dreamcatchers, this one actually made in Thailand. Very pretty and detailed. You can find a similar one on Etsy here. This one is bigger, altogether about a foot in length. Very pretty!

dreamcatcherI leave you with a great dreamcatcher quote 🙂 All my Relations

in dreams we enter a world that is entirely our own

tipi sunset

Buffalo Rock Tipi Camp

Buffalo Rock Tipi Camp-Alberta

Hello everyone

For those of you following my Facebook page, you might have seen a posting on my page by one of my followers about the above mentioned camp. Although Alberta is right next door to BC, where I live, I had not heard of that camp. However, once I looked at the Buffalo Rock Tipi Camp website, I was sold! For those of you who want a First Nations living experience, a getaway that follows the principles of the Red Road, this is the place to go!

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the four agreements

The four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Hello everyone!

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with Don Miguel Ruiz but today, I wanted to share the principles of one of his books “The Four Agreements“. As I am doing so, I also want to discuss how they tie in with the native culture and beliefs. First, what do the agreements stand for? Well they are life guidelines I guess you could say. “Rules” to follow, principles to aspire to. The goal of those four agreements is to simplify your life, to lead to a personal transformation. 

Who is Don Miguel Ruiz?don miguel ruiz

Let me briefly discuss who Don Miguel Ruiz is and share a bit of his story. For more information about Don Miguel Ruiz click here. Miguel Ruiz is originally from Mexico and part of the Toltec culture (think of it as a native nation and culture of Mexico). Educated as a doctor, he spent years practicing medicine healing the physical body. However, Don Miguel Ruiz wished to heal the emotional body, the human mind. Following a near fatal accident that left him with a weakened heart, the author decided to use the incident as an occasion to share his journey and refuse the dreary prognosis he was given. However, Don Miguel Ruiz had accepted that he was going to die until he was lucky enough to receive a heart transplant 8 years later. It was his new beginning, his fresh start. It was an occasion to integrate his scientific background with the wisdom of his culture to lead individuals to personal transformation and freedom by sharing his message. What is his message you ask? What is the message of the Four Agreements? Let’s look at it together.

the four agreements book

Be impeccable with your words

Don Miguel Ruiz’s message is one of truth, honesty, integrity and respect. All good values if you ask me. As you can see on the image on top, be impeccable with your words, basically means think before you speak (as your mother used to tell you I am sure….). It means mean what you say, speak with integrity. Carry a message of hope, truth, speak from your heart. Listen to the words of others out of respect and know that your words are spoken to help others, to change for the good. On the native road we treat each other with respect, we listen to each other and we use our words to pass along traditions and wisdom of our culture and our Elders. We speak to all our relations with respect. 

Don’t take anything personally

Yes I agree this one can be a hard one. But remember that what others think about you, is theirs not yours. People’s opinion of you, might it be good or bad, belongs to them as only you know who you are and what you stand for. When one hurts another one, they are projecting their own pain. So listen so you can hear their pain. Being dependent on others’ opinions and actions will only lead to suffering. Believe in yourself, follow the Red Path and you will be fulfilled and rewarded. I have learned to always always keep in mind that everyone has their story, a story that influences who they are, what they and what they say. Remember that everyone comes from somewhere and everyone has suffered at some point. If they lash out at you, it’s not about you most of the time. Don’t take it personally. It does not mean to tolerate being abused for example, it just means to look at events and words from a different angle. And always remember that your well-being is important, thus walk away from others who are hurting you and are not willing to get their own help. But remember that it’s not always about you, it’s about the other’s story, it’s about all your relations. 

Don’t make assumptions

Well, let me begin this one by telling you how this one affects my work. As I previously said, I have worked within prisons and jails. And when I first started working in them, I thought I knew everything (yep we all do sometimes). I thought that everyone in those jails was bad, because well, look at where they were. But then I realized that it was their actions that brought them to jail, not who they are as a person. I saw that inside each individual I met, there was good, good that needed to be cherished and encouraged. I saw that we all have good and bad sides and at some point in time, we are all guilty of something. But if you listen to the story of the person in front of you, you can see them from a different perspective. You can see them as human beings who deserve to be treated with respect and deserve to heal. So I stopped making assumptions about the person in front of me based on the crime (their actions) they had committed or the situation they were in (e.g. addictions). Was it always easy? No it was not. But I asked questions, I listened and I tried to keep my words judgment-free. For many, it was the first time they had that experience. So listen to others, communicate your message clearly. And don’t judge, as we all are brothers and sisters, we are all related. 

Always do your best

Yes always do your best. But accept that your best might change over time or depending on situations. It will vary depending on whether you are healthy or sick, alone or with others, hurt or loved. We all have our limits but we all have the ability to be the best that we can be. To follow the path that the Creator puts in front of us, to trust that everything is as it should be at the moment. And yes I know that’s one heck of a hard one to accept. But I can honestly say that for every struggle I have gone through, I can now see why it happened. Have no regrets, no resentment. Do your best and speak your words from the heart. 

the four agreements

Don Miguel Ruiz

You can buy the book and associated products (cards for example) here

Before I leave you, I want to make something clear. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz discusses principles that we all need to aspire to, to make an effort to integrate in our life. Because guess what? They go hand in hand with the Red Road. The Red Road, the native way, is a way of life. Whether your skin is red, white, brown or green, you can follow the native way. It does not mean that I will ever pretend that I have gone through what the Native people have gone through in terms of trauma and abuse and genocide. But it means that I respect their culture, way of life and beliefs. it means that I have chosen to live in a way that respects those around me, a way in which I strive for balance in my life, where I connect with my higher power and trust that I am not alone in this world. That there is support around me, not above me, but around me. As the Creator is with us, around us. 

P.S. I also strongly recommend The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. See my review here

All my Relations