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Into the Light. Rekindling a Dying Flame

"You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you , no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life , keep peace in your soul. With all its shame and drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann - 1927.

"Happy New Year", as we move into another new year - 2010. What follows first are not my words but the words of a First Nations student at Yukon Collage - Jason Charlie - on an issue I feel strongly about. It concerns the sad and shameful residential school issue that he wrote for his English teacher but also choose to share with me. He has given me permission to use it here. Here it is:

''Into the Light. Rekindling a Dying Flame'

When I see this young boy chipping away at this huge rock, I ask, "What are you doing?" Every time he hits the rock, a tiny particle of light beams out chasing away the darkness. A light full of love and warmth, so pure and innocent and blessed by Creator. "The stone spoke to me", he says. "What does it say?", I ask. He replies, "It tells me to be patient and that someday we will meet." Because that is the real me in the stone, I am that boy starting on my healing path - simply chipping away all that is negative.

Awhile back, I was doing research on the residential school and the impact it had on my mother. The school's intent, by brainwashing, was to kill the "Indian Spirit". I did not understand what that meant. My mother did not talk about the school, so all I heard was other people's stories about their identity theft. The children were lost and alienated. Now I knew why, at times, I would find my mother alone, crying. They were made to feel ashamed of who they are as a distinct people. I came to understand how the negative conditioning of her mind affected how she lived; therefore, it opened my eyes to the way my life should be lived.

When I was writing, I was also looking at my own reflection. I did not know who I was as a human being. So, I was excited about coming to this point of origin. I asked myself, "What is an Indian?" "What do they do?" and "Why am I here?" These questions gave me a new direction to explore. A lot of memories, came flooding back - memories of listening to wise Elders, former teachers, and people who stuck by me. People who try to help by giving sound advice. They often spoke about respect and getting along. Because I was an angry person - full of resentment, I usually shrugged their guidance off. Their wise words took me sometime to absorb and sort out. It came to me that being Native is bigger than anyone person. The culture was their way of life. The values, beliefs, ceremonies, and language are what made them a unique people. The Indian way of living made me take a good look at my life.

When I read and listened to how people lived in that era, I felt pride. Finally, I had a sense of where my blood came from, and I was from a part of something good. I did not speak my language or know any ceremonies. What I did know was the way they maneuvered as a unit and took care of each other. I saw their values and strong communal bond woven into daily life. Their relationship to the land taught them respect and moderation. This gave me a choice of making my life heaven or hell. I decided that I wanted my soul to breath, to shine. It is what Creator wants, so I looked at ways of integrating those values [sharing, kindness, generosity, and respect] into my life. Inside, I had to quit running and deal with my emotions, so I could have a chance at inner-peace.

When I listened to Elders, they always told me pray and ask for help. Narrow minded as I was, and thinking the world revolved around me, I shrugged it off, asking, "Why?." I did not care or believe in anything. So, I looked at my people's ceremony and belief system and why they were taken away. In their daily routine, the people gave thanks and showed gratitude through ceremony. They prayed for divine guidance to live a balanced life. The ceremonies empowered them in who they are as a people - keeping them connected to all that is alive. They helped by listening or kind words, because they knew that all life is an integral part of creation. Now I know the power of prayer. When I awake, I give thanks for another beautiful day. I am grateful to the people who helped get me here, and for seeing that light.

When I came into this world, I was a flaming ball of light. Then, as I got older, I picked up other people's negative attitude. That way of life slowly smothered my fiery flame. Young and native as I was, I did not know I was chosen for this life. My spirit meant no harm. All things happen for a reason. I have to ascertain the reason, and continue on my healing journey. I am okay, because one day I will meet the man in the stone. To rekindle my dying flame, I have to keep chipping away those things that are not innate and do not belong to me."

Wow ! Thank you Jason. Such wisdom!

Now, on a different subject - Global Warming. Here is something to reflect on. I am as much an environmentalist as any one. My past involvements with environmental groups will support this. Nor do I raise this issue as a seeming way to excuse the disgusting way we have polluted this earth. However, Global Warming is more a cyclic factor and has little to do with economics or politics. A growing number of scientists and other leading thinkers are beginning to recognise this cyclic factor affecting our earth. This is also seemingly confirmed by the Mayan Calendar and by the Kali Yuga of the Hindus.

Again, the exponential population factor of the planet which is reaching critical levels is another prime indicator that something is about to give. Consider, when you get alot of people in a crowded room how the heat escalates. This is another indicator influencing rising global temperatures. Consider, in 1900 there were between 1 and 1 1/2 billion people on the planet. To-day - only 110 years later we are approaching 7 billion! In support of this cyclic element we are getting to the point where we are having difficulty producing enough food, add to which the increasing whether anomalies affecting us, one may begin to recognise that there are factors manifesting that are beyond our capacity to control. We cannot just close a blind eye to these elements. The planet IS heating up - on that single fact we all agree - but if we ignore the real causal factor of cycles as a fact and continue to assume it is just the pollution man created we will be placing our collective energies and resources in the wrong basket.

Ages come and go. Past Ice ages are a fact. It would seem that the indicators are showing up to give credence to the fact that we are arriving at another cyclic event and putting our collective heads in the sand will not make it go away. When we have been conditioned to think it is all man made it is difficult to accept that there are other major and perhaps more influential elements that are largely behind the fact that the planet is in facto, heating up.

There is more that I could add but this may start some of you thinking and glad to receive any thoughts from any one who would like to comment.

A book worth reading - "The Lost Star of Myth and time" by Walter Cruttenden available at Macs in Whitehorse or Banyan Books in Vancouver.

Finally, a quote which although written 80 odd years ago seems to reflect on these present difficult and confusing times written by that wonderful Lebanese poet, Kahil Gibran:-

" I tell you that the children of yesteryear are walking in the funeral of the era which they created for themselves.

They are pulling a rotten rope that may break soon and cause them to drop into a forgotten abyss.

I say that they are living in homes with weak foundations. As the storm blows - and it is about to blow - their homes will fall upon their heads and thus become their tombs.

I say that all their thoughts, their sayings. their quarrels, their compositions, their books and all their works are nothing but chains dragging them because they are too weak to pull the load.

But the children of tomorrow are the ones called by life, and they follow it with ready steps and heads high.

They are the dawn of the new frontiers; no smoke will veil their eyes and no jingle of chains will drown out their voices.

They are few in number but the difference is as between a grain of wheat and a stack of hay. No one knows them but they know each other - not like the caves, which cannot hear or see.

They are the seed dropped by the hand of God in the field, breaking through its pod and waving its sapling leaves before the face of the sun. It shall grow into a mighty tree; its roots into the heart of the Earth and its branches high in the sky." Kahil Gibran.

Thank you. Michael.

Previous columns by this writer may be accessed at click on “Beyond the Box”

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