I have recently had an emotional revelation about a certain area of my life, about a longing I have carried with me since childhood, and part of that revelation has been recognizing how the act of simply moving towards that longing has been transformative.
As a child growing up in Calgary, Alberta, I was fascinated by Indigenous peoples. I would even insist to my parents, frequently, that our family had Indigenous ancestry. My mother assured me repeatedly, that to her knowledge, we definitely did not. Despite this information, which at the time I found very perplexing, my fascination and longing for connection with Indigenous people and their culture, never really left me.
It may not surprise you to learn, however, that despite this palpable desire, as I got older instead of pursuing it, I learned to ignore it.
And I know I’m not the only one who has disdained all the gentle urgings of my childhood heart, and allowed it to be swallowed up by the beliefs and values of my family, my community, and my culture. I can’t tell you all the reasons I have hesitated to make any true connection with Indigenous teachings, they are many and are related to self-doubt, fear, and active discouragement from those around me which I allowed to stop me, to name but a few.
I can see that at this moment those reasons don’t matter.
Because I have crossed over a self-made wall, to embrace something that seems to have been quietly waiting for me…forever.
So finally, after all these years, this past weekend I reached out to local Indigenous medicine woman who teaches the healing medicine of her people.
As I typed out a request to connect with her, tears started streaming down my face. They were the hot, messy tears that pour out like a waterfall, accompanied by snot and sobs.
I knew then that this longing in me had gone unanswered for far too long.
At last I was taking a first step out onto the path, trusting that “As you start to walk on the way, the way appears” (Rumi). I do not know if or how I will work with and learn from this Shaman, and as I have just taken a first step I cannot see where the road leads, but regardless I have started the journey and the joy of it is singing through my veins.
And this is how I know that I am on the right path. In taking action, in giving in to my heart and moving towards something every step felt like light, like healing, like love, like remembering, like coming home and like freedom at the same time.
If you feel moved, if something in you leaps to meet or to create an opportunity — then hold out your hands to it. If a move towards a longing in your heart brings you to tears, trust this. There is your answer.
For when you move towards it and you are engulfed by an emotion so strong it seems to carry you like a tidal wave to your destination, there is no turning back.
You have found the way. And you know it with calm certainty.
And as I walk towards what has always been waiting for me, I am filled with joy. I can literally feel a sense of peaceful aliveness humming around me, a vibration like an excited whisper from the trees, the sky the birds, the earth, my soul…she’s coming…she’s coming home to us.
Note: I can’t write this without acknowledging that part of my more recent struggle to start to explore Indigenous healing traditions lies within the tangled history and prevalence of white privilege and cultural appropriation. Although I feel so connected and drawn to Indigenous culture, I wasn’t sure that I was “allowed” or would even be welcomed as a student of Shamanic practices. My childhood instincts were lying beneath heavy layers of doubt, hesitation and even shame, which is part of the socio-political energies of these times. And yet…this longing just won’t go away. It must be answered. And so I begin this journey with deep respect and love in my heart for both the sacred medicine and the Indigenous healers who are willing to share their wisdom with me.