Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We must heal

As a country/society rooted, based, formed, and sustained from war is it any wonder its people are suffering? And the people will continue to suffer so long as we continue to accept this as a way of life. So long as we refuse to, not only talk about it, but to open our minds and listen to each other, really listen. So long as we believe so steadfast in our denial, we can never heal, and if we can't heal how can we expect our children to know any better?

If we don't talk about Indian massacres, slavery, American WWII interment camps, Vietnam and the divide in the people that came with it; if we don't tell the story of history's "losers".....Then we say it never happened, while we hurt on the inside. We stuff our faces with junk/comfort food (leading to obesity), we become alcoholics/addicts, we become depressed, because we are hurting, but we don't know why, because we AREN'T talking about it.

We had generations return from war. Generations that were sent out and ordered to kill. Our fathers, grandfathers, our uncles and brothers were forced to kill....and we didn't talk about. We told them “be men, suck it up” That's a horrible thing to not honor the sacrifice of self that person gave up for whatever they live their lives, like nothing happened, except it did. If they remember and it effects them, we discard them, or label them crazy. We throw them away. In some Native cultures when a warrior returned from war, a ceremony would be held for him. Not only in his honor, but also to cleanse him of the atrocities of war, to honor the warriors who had fallen (regardless of which side they fought on) and pray war didn't return. 

The American Indian Movement (AIM) taught its members that a warrior society didn't mean running around acting tough and waging war. A warrior society built up its community to better its people so that when war came, they had something worth fighting for. I think that's pretty powerful....don't you? Something we can take a page from.

Yet war doesn't just affect the men (our warriors). Our mother and grandmothers, sister and aunties were told to be tough for their families, don't cry. There's nothing wrong with being tough, but it has to be balanced with the sweet cleansing that tears can bring. How can you stand strong, when you can't shed the tears breaking you down inside?

With today's pressures (economy, the food issues, the gas prices, the bailouts, the government's epic failure to its people, etc. etc.) piled atop hundreds of years of societal trauma it's no wonder we feel hopeless and depressed, anxious and panicky. Does that mean we need xanax and prozac? No it probably means we need talk to about it, because while our opinions may differ we are not alone, and together we can heal. We can't expect change if we pretend nothing ever went wrong.

The point to my rant? Don't be afraid to cry, to feel nervous/anxious, to panic, or to feel hopeless....because you have to FEEL all of that to know laughter, to know calm, to know safety and to know hope. Together we CAN heal and show our children a better way, instead of pressuring them to figure it out for us, or leave them with our problems AND our way of “dealing” with things. We have to stand up, so our children will know they, too have legs.