Friday, March 28, 2008

"He Lives As Though He Has No Relatives"

Listening to a local afternoon show on KRCL I caught the tale end of a show regarding Bioneers. I tuned in right as a man was asking a Native American elderly woman the worst insult you could say to a Native American. Her reply, after giving some thought was, being told you live as though you have no relatives. This one line has stuck with me for the past 5 days. Living as though you have no relatives. Certainly you could take this and go concrete and literal implying you shun your biological or social "family." But, as I've allowed it to move around my mind, soul and heart, I believe the term "relative" and its implications are much broader, fluid and greater encompassing. I went to a website that shared some Native American spiritual beliefs that beautifully articulated what I was feeling:

The intention of Native American Spirituality is to strengthen ourselves, our relationships with our families, communities, nations and the Earth itself. The beliefs are for everyone "native" and "non-native" alike. We are all Earth's children with varying nationalities and ancestry. This is an invitation to be good stewards in this life, to respect such teachings along with honoring and respecting other "family" members and other's beliefs, all cooperating to work together for a united vision of peace. Peace is also seeing others with the eyes of the heart - spanning race, color and religion. The Spirit considers all things sacred, we are all One, all connected. So what we teach our children will be carried into generations to come.

To live as though you have no relatives disconnects you from yourself, your family, your beliefs, your community, nature and the earth. It is a survival of this fittest and no one will look out for you but yourself, you cannot depend on anybody but yourself, you are not responsible for anyone but yourself.

I think we as American's have lived as though we have no relatives, and as an entitled people. We have assumed the earth will continue on regardless of how much trash we dump, how many chemicals we dump into our waters and how many gases we spew into the air. That our country will always be the powerhouse regardless of how we treat our neighboring countries, how we handle our finances or how our values as a whole shift. That someone else will help out the person who needs to jump start their car, or someone else will feed that hungry family or visit the elderly person who has no family. What a wonderful place this world could become, what potential is out there, if we all lived as though we were related to everything and everyone. If we moved from selfish to selfless. If we didn't shun responsibility and took up our own accountability. The idealist in me says, start with yourself and impact 5 people who each impact 5 people and change could begin. And when that happens...what a beautiful world :) --@DP