November 2012


“I am what I am,

and I am all there is.”

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Chisasibi (on the Grand River, below Longue Po...

Chisasibi (on the Grand River, below Longue Pointe) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chisasibi community centre

Chisasibi community centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m writing this from the winter wonderland of Chisasibi, my spirit home.

There is one way that I naturally conjure Chisasibi in my mind, and that is draped in snowy whiteness. Blessed the Gods for granting the gift of letting me see it again this way this week. It is strange that people’s greatest fear when they move up north is the harshness of winter. Invariably, after the first passage of the seasons, all agree that they wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve re-connected with so many old friends and received so many hugs and smiles over the last couple of days, that it indeed felt like a homecoming.

Last night, I walked 30 minutes in a storm. I could hardly see in the dark, the ground was covered in a slippery film and powdered snow swept across the landscape in a continuous wave. Luckily, I had the wind at my back and I was muffled in all the necessary items: my North Face parka, my Sorel boots, my -40 degree mittens, peruvian wool hat and wool tights under my jeans. I felt alive! I felt invincible! Out there, with the elements, hundreds of kilometers from any settlements in the vastness of the taiga, I felt one hundred feet tall. Just me and the elements. It can’t feel more honest than that.
As I was walking, I asked myself: ‘What is it about this place?’

I can’t put my finger on it. Anyone listening to our meeting discussions this week would hear of a thousand problems the community is facing. There is a history of pain and trauma that manifests itself into a slew of clichés about aboriginal populations. I don’t even want to name them here. Naming them just reinforces their power and no matter how much we try, there is always a hint of judgement in it. More tragic than the issues we hear and deal with are those we don’t see and don’t hear, upheld by an insidious law of silence which keeps everything safe and pretty and prevents vulnerable people from being free.

So despite all this, why is it that I can breathe here? Why is it that I feel that inner calm in spite of all the trauma and fear that still hangs in the air?

I’m trying to put my finger on it and it just keeps slipping away.

Obviously, there is the air that is just cleaner of everything: pollution, noise, vibration. I feel my senses can relax here. I am not constantly listening to noise.

But there is something else about it. The closer I can come to naming it, I think, is Resilience. There is a resilience that stirs the wind and shapes the very landscape. It feels human, with all its struggles and its fundamental yearnings. There is no need to pretend. Just being honest about today. Tomorrow may bring something new, but today is what it is. Just being. Yes, I think that is it. Just being.

As I was walking, a little bit of nostalgia found its way in my heart, but it vanished in an instant. I know that this place exists. No matter where I am in the world, I know that it exists somewhere. I can always come back to it.
I wish you all to find your own Chisasibi.

” May the ones who have loved us and left us, protect and guide us in this world and in the next.”

 

It has been so long since I’ve been here that I wish I could recount all the little things that have happened. I realize that there are no ordinary moments and even though there have been few major life events over the last few weeks, this time has been filled with a number of small occurrences, magical events and moments of true intensity.

We have encountered some major trials in the last few weeks. I don’t really want to get into details. Suffice it to say that there have been times where I could barely get out the front door. And there are times, like today, where everything is possible. It’s one of the lessons I learned from Witchcraft: the dark and the full moon are the two sides of the One. So, there needs be no guilt in falling to pieces and plummeting in the abyss of despair, and even to question the benevolence of God/dess. What we feel, we need to feel it intensely, for good or bad. And today, on the bus ride home from work, I felt that only Greatness could come of this trial. With tears in my eyes, I could only feel humbled that I could be deemed worthy of such Greatness. I wanted to write this down somewhere so that I could remember it the next time everything falls apart…

So in the midst of the storm, I’ve learned some valuable lessons. I took out my rosary on a couple occasions and found such strength in the quiet, rhythmic contemplation it offered. On another occasion, as I walked the bustling streets of downtown Montreal, a song rose from deep within me, a sort of ode to the Goddess and to the Holy women of our lineage and I found myself singing aloud on the street. The whole world seemed to start singing with me and I felt I could hear everything and smell everything and feel what others were feeling. When you are in the most intense of emotional states, that is when you truly feel compassion for others. When you are at your most vulnerable, you see what truly matters and that we all ache, fear and yearn for the same basic things. We are all exceptionally human.

In the midst of a yoga class, I was also reconnected with Joy. I watched my hands go up in a salutation to the sun and it felt so graceful and beautiful that I felt Joy and pleasure rise like a wave in my chest, a feeling that I had forgotten. Many spiritually minded people tend to view life as a series of lessons to be learned. I certainly take my ‘training’ very seriously. But when everything becomes serious, it is very easy to forget to feel joy, to smile wildly for no reason. So in the midst of the chaos, I remembered that ‘all acts of pleasure are my rituals.’ I’ll ‘work’ harder on feeling it deep inside and on smiling for no reason.

Good resolutions for a new year… Samhain is also marking the wind-down for me into the slow, contemplative months of winter. I am getting ready to go within, to save my energies and do things that nourish my soul. I’ve taken out the books I want to read, and the stories I want to write and the artwork I want to finish. I want to gather the whole family around our hearth and give them a place to come together and rest. I think we all need that.

May your ancestors bless your days and give you peace.