04 December 2016

Stand By ... for Standing Rock

Television used to remind us that we shared Turtle Island

Stand by, folks ... I'm attending something really cool later today and want to report on it then.

Thank you for your patience. A very, very dear friend from the Anishinabe First Nation came to our small community today to help us with a vigil for Standing Rock (one of a great many worldwide). The ceremony itself — especially the water blessing and the song Water is Life (written by someone here in our community) — was loving and healing

The talking circle afterwards, however, was POWERFUL. So powerful that when we got home, we learned that the American government (President Obama, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior) had earlier today denied the easement that would have allowed the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River through Standing Rock Sioux territory in North Dakota.

Frankly, I think the arrival of 4,000 US veterans woke a few people up — like smelling salts or a slap across the face. All of a sudden, all those militarized "law" enforcement officers were facing not "the other" but themselves. I can imagine that the arrival of the veterans felt like a rebuke ... but one from a loving elder who sees his younger (foolish) self in the faces of his grandchildren, and wants to guide them away from their foolishness. (But I could be imagining things.)

During our talking circle this afternoon, we heard the story about a grandmother's way of dealing with a bully. "The next time he bullies you or is mean to you, just look into his eyes until you see the Creator there," she told her granddaughter. The storyteller, who was quite young when this happened, did so. The next time the bully was mean to her, she gazed up into his face until suddenly, she saw the Creator in his eyes. "He melted," she said. "The bully in him just melted away." (I burst into tears realizing it was perhaps the first time that boy had ever felt truly seen.)

I think the enforcement officers at Standing Rock were looked at deeply today. I think they could not remain immune to the gaze when the gazers were themselves. "How could," they'd have been wondering, "thousands of my brothers and sisters be standing on the other side instead of on my side? What is wrong with my side?" Turns out it was so that the veterans could look deep into their eyes ... and see the Creator.

I pray that the enforcement folks finally felt seen and understood — and that they can now stand down, as fellow human beings, realizing how wrong they were about the people they'd turned into the enemy. "The friend of my friend must be my friend."

And we are all one on this Earth.

BTW, we here on the west coast of Canada are steeling ourselves for a fight to protect our ocean. And we will follow the lead of our coastal First Nations. Thank you, Standing Rock, for inspiring us with your example, your bravery and your fortitude. You've really started something!


Whenever we talk about Standing Rock and other protests, we need to remember that if not stopped, fracking and the burning of oil, natural gas and coal will decimate the viability and the habitability of our biosphere. 

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?