Category Archives: spirituality

Paradise.

I have been working and (sometimes) running a lot recently.

I find myself working out common hormone, stress and life change ailments in the duration of a run.  Sport fascinates me. Elite athletes amaze me. I’m amazed and terribly humbled by many things daily.  I’m taking this as a suggestion that my spirit is growing and the universe sees fit to continue to drop me to my knees enough to pray and say thank you.

Some people take offense to my belief that the universe, or more specifically the creator, humbles us.  I am not bothered by that. I understand the conflict. I believe for me, as a human, it is my nature to suffer to some extent. Without this challenge I would struggle with my own sense of purpose. Believe me, I’d love it if there were not the case. But, I’m not a holy creature, God or a divine one.  I’m just an aging chick with some challenges. For now this works for me. Years ago I would have felt differently I’m sure.  Years ago I blogged about dating, my father’s alcoholism, being Indian and learning.  Those things are still important, but they are not everything.

By no means do I think or believe the creator does not love me. Nor do I believe that there is an anvil waiting for me to pass under her slippery face.

I think a lot about what I want my son to know about me, to see, to believe.  I want him to learn kindness, courage, when to be brave,patience, and ways to practice kindness.  I feel like the world I live in has much kindness but could use more.  I see reactionary behaviors everyday, people making excuses for shit behavior. I have to walk away sometimes, I’m not a fucking saint. But, the collective hurt, it hurts me. I don’t know understand it. I suppose now is not the time to ponder this, but I’m sharing as an observation.

Anyhow, I digress, I just thought I’d share & say I’m still here, growing, changing, laughing. 

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The charge of loss.

I wrote this the other day, and it made me cry:

I met someone in a professional setting recently and he asked me how I felt about the Navajo Nation and it’s problems. It seemed like the beginning of a conversation but turned into a mini lecture.  I thought he wanted to talk about the basics: addiction, poverty, low educational attainment.  Instead he offered up modernism.  According to him all the problems with the youth on the Navajo reservation are due to modernism and “being lost.”

He said modernism has overtaken the reservation and the current generation has lost its way.  He told me that the elders spoke our language, but noted that the children did not.  There’s a gap he said, a generation gap.  Some reference to tv.  Not enough time sitting under trees.  He wondered if I was willing (and able) to sway the youth back to their rightful place as keepers of our culture.

I think I may have chuckled a loud both confused and surprised to find myself the middle of the conversation with the expectation that I say something clever, yet oh-so-Indian to convince him I am not in fact modern myself. (Drats, for I am.)

I think he meant it as both a challenge and an attack.  He then went on to discuss how with all “our” (mine) education and “fancy” certifications that we don’t know what’s therapeutic for our children.  (The Navajo children, the children on the reservation.) There was more about “us” not being able to think outside our educated box.  Us being me.

I wanted to ask him about trauma and how he felt that affected these lost children.  I had statistics and research at the ready.  There was no pause to interject.  I wanted to talk about psychotherapy and it’s benefits.  I wanted to ask how he felt about doing therapy in Navajo and how he documented such exchanges.  But, since the children don’t speak Navajo I realized I had an answer.  I began to suspect my educated, experienced and evidenced-based version of psychotherapy was not seen as helpful because it represented the enemy.  An enemy had he named but had not yet slain.

I think he wanted me to pick a side, to state my intentions, to say something:  the White world is terrible!  To shout, ” Navajo Nation is king!” or something equally masculine and heroic. I did not.  I don’t recall how we changed subjects, but we did and we talked about play therapy.  I never put my flag in the ground.

This battle is not new.  I suspect many urban Indians have debated, defended, argued for and clarified modernism.  We’re well aware of our unofficial status as apples (red on the outside, White on the inside) for our decision(s) to move off the reservation.

Our families on the reservation (including mine) do not let us forget we have moved and have left the ways of our people.  Every holiday, every weekend spent off our ancestral home is a reminder that we have abandoned the flock. (Or so I’ve been told.)

Saving the reservation seems wonderful.  It’s a dream I’ve had too.  And the older I get, the more I realize maybe it is just that-a dream.  There are massive barriers and little support.

When I go home I meet tribal members who are quick to judge me.  Who would rather argue and try to slice me up than talk about the social issues, the high teen pregnancy rates, the high suicide rates and come up with a plan.  They insinuate and tell me that I’ve led the charge of loss because I left the reservation and therefore must have left my culture there too.  Fortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

I’m a different Indian having left.  Yes, I’m one that likes Angry Birds and cooking Chinese food, but I’m not bad, just different.

Love is a verb.

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Note: photo is from when we were dating.

I still feel like an amateur when it comes to many things in life. I continue to chip away at things & have made progress in some areas.

I’ve wondered if this knowledge that I’m not an expert or guru is a faction of experience, age & education: the more you know the more you realize how little you know. I don’t mean that in a deprecatory way, it simply is.

I’ve been trained to do marriage & family therapy. I’ve heard miracles & tragedies. I’ve watched people slam their spouses down the toilet.

Sharing isn’t easy. But damn is it beautiful when you do it.

Marriage teaches you to compromise & that’s not easy to do. Some of us (me included) like things our way. Anyone who have ever had to struggle for anything realizes very quickly that love is an action word, it loses it’s luster if we use it as an adjective.

Today is my anniversary. Getting married to my husband was absolutely one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. I hope I continue to have the wisdom to know that life is best when shared with your best friend (that you can also grope, tackle & slobber on). See, no explicit details here. 🙂

What do you think?

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Balance

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I love when I stumble upon a clean, honest & inspiring blog. The posts about balance are especially well explained.

Kale is 2 and a half, balancing my desires to be a good mother & have a career that is fulfilling & provides for our family isn’t easy.

There are days I envy stay at home mothers and romanticize all the things they get to do & see. Days I wish I had chosen a less demanding career & when frustrated second guessed my ability to do all things well. Some days I don’t feel that I’ve gotten everything I wanted accomplished. Some days I feel other people want too much & offer very little in return.

Fortunately, that’s not the case most days. I’m blessed with quality time with my son & rejoice in his laughter & cherish the chalk drawing, Iron-man-pretending moments that fade like water on a farm.

I won’t even go into balancing a marriage, my husband is often the last person in our family who gets what he wants. He’s the most patient & always the first to step up when the chips are down. Without him, none of it would work.

Insert awesome paragraph about how it takes a village to raise a child & in that village you will find our families & our friends.

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Navajo chant

Found this chant in an old book that I’d like to print & read to Kale:

I see the earth.
I am looking at her and smile because she makes me happy.
The earth, looking back at me is smiling too.
May I walk happily & lightly upon her.

What a great few weeks, I have a new niece & my nephew Braylon turns one today.

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Thinking about home.

Fun fact:  Indian tribes control 3 percent of the total national oil and gas reserves and 7 to 13 percent of the US coal deposits. We also control extensive amounts of the uranium deposits and fishing rights in Washington and Oregon.

I’m reviewing Silko’s Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit.  It’s harder to read about injustice as a young adult.  When I was in college I had so much teen angst and personal confusion about that world that learning about it didn’t inspire much more than simple  furious contempt.  These days with a young son and a family I worry about Indians.  I worry about our “rights” and how long we’ll have them.  I worry about social issues.  I worry about our high rates of suicide, alcoholism and diabetes.

I’ve begun to appreciate the small and powerful group of Natives who actively protest injustices; I sing silence praises for their ability to speak up and put themselves out there to make our causes known.  I say our because I believe we are all connected.  My tribal rights are connected to the rights of other tribes.  There’s a nasty domino effect that could happen if congress is feeling especially testy or greedy.

As a child I was outspoken and curious.  My parents teased that I’d be an “AIM Indian.”  I didn’t know what that meant but their tone insinuated it was something terrible, it was akin to marrying outside the tribe or being thrown in the drunk tank.  I’ve never been thrown in the drunk tank, or any tank for that matter.  And I’m not an AIM Indian, I may never be one.  But there are days I seriously consider taking up a cause.  After all, if I don’t speak up-who will?  Who’s going to make things better for Kale? Who’s going to advocate for better (and local) mental health services for Indian nations?

Bullets.

Flag of the Navajo Nation

Image via Wikipedia

*After watching a few episodes of Ice Trucker, I’m thinking I need to add visit desolate Inuit areas of Alaska to my life goal list.
*Speaking of my life goal list, I think it would help for me to actually write that down.
Some of that list (some short-term and some long-term goals) include:

-Read every issue of National Geographic I can get my hands on. Extra points for contributing something in some way at some point.
-Pay off the MINI.
-Pay off credit cards.
-Add money to savings and LEAVE it there.
-Use at least 50% of my jewelry stash or find someone who will use it, teach them how to use the tools I have and pass the stash along. I don’t believe one can have too many hobbies, but I do believe you shouldn’t keep what you don’t use because if you’re not using it, you probably don’t need it.
-Take some textile classes.
-Success in career. Some solid indicators-increase salary, training and other opportunities. I’m starting to wonder if I’ve been selling myself short in the past and giving too much to my employer.  I’ve classically felt that I’ve walked away with less than I given and felt cheated and sad. Experience is amazing, but if I died tomorrow I wouldn’t have much security to leave my son, that’s not ok.
-Take more time for myself: exercise, make better lunches, go for walks alone, meditate, find like-minded folks to have tea/coffee with once in a while.
-Write more and submit something to a journal or write an article about something I’m passionate about.
-Learn to create embroidery designs in a pdf so that I can archive and share some of my ideas/creations.
-Make one new recipe a week.
-Learn and fluently speak Spanish. Bonus points for good reading/writing skills.
-Plant veggie and flower garden this spring.
-Teach Kale to speak, read and write Navajo.
-Teach Kale how to save money and make good decisions about money. I’ve read the Simple Dollar and have learned many useful tips that I want to test and pass along.
-Cultivate regular expressions of celebration with my niece and nephews. I’ve been irregular in sharing with them and as they’re getting bigger I want to be a more present part of their lives.
-Go on more dates with my husband. He’s one of the funniest people I know. I love it when we can drive/eat and chat. I always walk away feeling good and happy that I decided to procreate with him.
-Continue to read a few books a month, there’s something amazing about alternative prospectives.
-Continue to support other crafters/writers by purchasing craft books.

What are your goals?  Is there something you’ve started recently that you’re happy you did?

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Reflection: Right before Kale was born.

Before they diagnosed my esophageal disorder,  I spent about 6 weeks in what I can only describe as hell. I was 8 months pregnant and couldn’t hold down food or water. I went to work and prayed that something would change.  In the midst of that I experienced many sleepless nights.  I spent much of that time reading, crying, taking showers, pacing and doing other erratic things to try to manage the anxiety I felt about what was happening to my body.  I keep telling the doctors something was wrong. Towards the end, before they finally broke my water-I wrote this letter to my unborn son:

Dear Cheeto,

I know you’re in there, pushing against my pelvis and well, that just rocks.  I must say, the last few weeks have been very, very difficult for me.  You see, I like things to flow and well, the last few weeks have been full of flow-just not the sort I was hoping for.  The last few weeks I have coughed up more mucus, vomited and generally been deprived every option for nutrition as it has violently expelled from my body.

You however, are still very happily attached.  At our last ob appointment the doc laughed about how far down your head is, as if at the right moment you’d decide this ship was sinking and jump off.

At this point, I’m not sure what to say to you.  I’ve had several anxiety ridden conversations about how I’d love it if you’re hatch already, but really the underpinning of it has been:do what you need to do and I’ll continue to this disastrous road as best I can. I want you to be healthy and if that means you have to sap everything from me, so be it.  I’ll try not to resist so much.

I must say that this is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  I’ve never considered myself a pansy.  I’ve always thought when it came down to it, I could do just about anything.  I had enough evidence lined up to convince a jury that I was capable, but lately I’ve begun to question that belief.  Frankly, this is one of the few times in my life when I’ve felt hopeless and overwhelmed.  My friends joke that this is the perfect prelude to parenthood.  I half laugh & nearly scream seriously are you insane? They all say it’s worth it, and somewhere deep down inside, I believe them.

Given it all, even when I feel pretty bad, I’m excited to meet you and I hope that you’re ok in there, because out here I’m a hormonal and dehydrated mess.

I can’t promise a lot but I can promise that I’ll take good care of you.

Love, your mom.

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