Oh, so we actually have to save ourselves.
Like, for real.
Um… So yea… I kinda thought Someone Else was taking care of all this? [waving hand around]
I am joking and not joking. Seven-year-old-Nerissa had dreams of how to make the world better. She wanted to be a doctor and a lawyer and a dancer and a politician and a therapist and save the trees.
What made me feel safe in giving up those dreams was thinking I could just live a little life in my own little world, and the Adults knew what they were doing right?So Someone Else would do the heavy lifting.
Someone Else would create an earth where we could all live in peace, happily pursing the things we want to pursue, with all the freedom and resources we needed.
It’s a nefarious idea, disguised by how simple and silly it sounds.
My G (inner guidance, higher self, Ori) tells me I have to dream again, or...
That dot dot dot is very dark.
Realizing that there is no Someone Else, is gently pulling me out of depression.
Dreaming big dreams hurts. I can say a bunch of stuff that sounds honest about why this is. I can say I’m afraid other people will think my dreams are stupid, or that these dreams seem impossible.
I can say dreaming hurts because of how thick the air is with 𝓊𝓃𝒸𝑒𝓇𝓉𝒶𝒾𝓃𝓉𝓎.
But it’s just dreaming all on its own. It is re-engaging with a soft, tender part of myself that I had covered over with thick layers of Be Realistic brand cement.
Being alive for the last few years has made ignoring those same dreams impossible.
What’s more uncomfortable than refusing to dream, is continuing to live like Someone Else is going to deal with the things we need to deal with; the widespread issues We have that are starting to fester.
It started with a course I took on working with plant spirits.
I started the course in an effort to feel more grounded.
This is one of those things healer-spiritual types talk about a lot: being grounded. As a person who didn’t feel right in this experience and this body, I’ve had trouble with this in the past.
All of the usual ‘how to be grounded’ advice checks out. Deep breathing, drinking lots of water, meditation, paying attention to your feelings.
The plant spirits course was about connecting to life around us; the (yes) plants, wind, water, earth. Our bodies are more connected to nature than we consciously realize and this course was an introduction to this connection.
I am here with my ideas, and the energy to do things like write these posts once a month, whilst being fully aware of what is going on in the world. To be grounded, I learned, meant being in touch with all of it: my truth, my dreams, my energy, my needs. And just because I lost touch for a few years doesn’t mean shit.
What I didn’t expect in this effort of being more grounded, was a deeper understanding of what it means to live on this land, what the world knows as ‘Canada’, in 2022.
We can’t save ourselves without acknowledging the past.
We work and live on land that was stolen.
We grow our food and eat on it.
We enjoy time with our friends and families.
We live privileged lives where some of us can ignore life outside our little bubble.
What I started to realize is that I can’t be in touch with my body and what it takes to survive on this land without acknowledging how I came to be here.
To put it plainly: immigration. This is how this land was stolen from the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.
Without that system of thievery through immigration, I would have never been born, and I definitely would not have been born in “Toronto”.
If we allow ourselves to forget the facts, what else can we be allowed to forget? How else will we be asked to disconnect from truth?
I don’t think we can resolve our bigger issues, the ones that create police brutality, hunger, poverty, homelessness, racism, transphobia, “and, and, and,” (Kelly Diels) without understanding the context in and on which these systems exist.
Here’s the reason why I think this is important: because the systems themselves require us to willingly blind ourselves to the truth.
As long as we can ignore Canada’s history, we can also ignore those same systems. We can ignore, for example, that Canada’s Indigenous communities are still impacted from the effects of colonization today. We don’t have to look far to see how much damage has been done.
Healing from intergenerational trauma isn’t just work for Indigenous peoples, though. Non-Indigenous Canadians must recognize the wisdom contained within Indigenous science and philosophy and must accept this wisdom—this way of seeing—as a legitimate body of knowledge within Canadian systems and institutions. This means going beyond “inclusion” and actually making room for another culture’s worldview. Then, and only then, will Canada be a post-colonial country.
From Legacy, by Suzanne Methot
Methot says: “In Indigenous philosophy and science, the only thing that is constant is change.“
I believe that if we can honour the violent way Canada and the United States came to be, we can honour Indigenous science and philosophy. And from there, we can start to dream about how we save ourselves.
If you’re from Tkaronto, you’re probably familiar with that sign in front of city hall. The one with the medicine wheel. This wheel is a tool that is used by Indigenous peoples to ‘understand and accomplish movement and transformation’.
And looking to the wheel, we can see how we can take action to change. It starts with a dream, or a vision.
According to grandfather/elder Thrasher, the east quadrant of the medicine wheel represents vision: the ability to engage in the hopeful thinking necessary for change. When a guiding vision is created or received, we see what needs to be done, and we begin to envision strategies that will enact that change.
The centre of the wheel represents humanity and the energy of human agency, because it represents the planet’s core. We live inside that power and are connected to it. If we are in tune with it, we can access it to create movement and change.
This post may have seemed weird and disjointed. That’s okay. I did my best with an idea that could use some polish, but has been inside me for a couple years.
It is my hope that you stay in touch with your biggest dreams.