Much of the time, when people come to see me for aid, I just sit and listen. Listening tells me much about what challenges or troubles people; more important, with luck my listening reminds people they are Human Beings. Human Beings are ones who care about the Earth, her denizens, and the community. Lately the folks who come my way are speaking to the state of the world. Yes, they are worried about the economy, but their concerns are much broader. They are concerned for the future: for themselves, their children, and for our Mother Earth, Pachamama, and all who live with her. Often they feel isolated and lonely, believing themselves ill for being aware of the dangers and the suffering.
Wild Rice Dreams has given voice to these concerns. She wrote, in part:
Things just don’t seem right. Or is it that nothing makes sense to me anymore. Or have they ever made sense. These are not questions. These are statements. When I think about this world and how beautiful it is I am humbled. When I think about nature, eco-systems, and the natural order of life and the natural laws that govern life, I think how perfect it is. In the natural world there is a natural flow and a natural progression. When I look at the natural world it does not scare me or creates chaos within me. I know that the natural world will not try to destroy me, enslave me, oppress me, nor will it try to colonize me.
I am Anishnaabe. And being Anishnaabe means that I am an original person, a human being, if you will, from this Earth. The Earth is my teacher. The water, the air, the fire, the eco-systems, and the natural order and natural laws teach me and they govern me. Anishnaabek like many Indigenous people around the globe have these same principles. It is being aware of all that is and being aware that at a very fundamental level we are all one, we are all connected. And we are all on the same level and when I say this what I mean is that we are equals. And knowing this makes me feel the way I do that things do not make sense to me. There is no sense in the way the natural world is treated.
Vera went on to share her vision for an alternative to business as usual. I encourage you to read her post in its’ entirety.
Vision makes the future possible, providing an antidote to the poisons of fear and hopelessness. Sometimes all that those who seek us out need is aid in unearthing a sustaining vision, a vision that offers hope for the future and salve for the pain of the present. Helping someone adjust to a mad world, the aim of much therapy, is to offer them a disservice, for they know the truth of things at heart.
At our best, we, whether therapists, shamans, healers, or fellow travelers through the world, acknowledge the world as it is, unimaginably beautiful and, often, harsh. We offer companionship in a hard time, ritual to regain balance and vision, and the knowledge they are not alone. We remind them navigating a mad world is not for the faint of heart. Many times we weep with them at the cruelty of others, for no one should be left to weep alone.
I was reminded yet again of this when I read a brief post madaboutthenews. The post, which included a heart wrenching photo of Amazonian tribal chief Raoni sitting with his head in his hands, weeping for himself, his people, and the jungle they love. Along with the photo, madaboutthenews wrote the following text, crediting dorkery.tumblr.co:
The chief Raoni cries when he learns that brazilian president Dilma released the beginning of construction of the hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte, even after tens of thousands of letters and emails addressed to her and which were ignored as the more than 600 000 signatures. That is, the death sentence of the peoples of Great Bend of the Xingu river is enacted. Belo Monte will inundate at least 400,000 hectares of forest, an area bigger than the Panama Canal, thus expelling 40,000 indigenous and local populations and destroying habitat valuable for many species – all to produce electricity at a high social, economic and environmental cost, which could easily be generated with greater investments in energy efficiency.
We must weep and wail with him, for his plight is our plight, and his grief is our grief, and even if this were not so, he is an Original Person facing the unimaginable. As shamans, healers, or caring neighbors, we are often unable to stop dams, genocide, and even the suffering of every day life, as much as we might wish to. Still, we can acknowledge the humanity of others who suffer, always pointing to their sanity and wholeness. We can offer moments of companionship and joy, nurture their visions, and, always, we can embrace them as they weep.