Healing, Rest and Abundance

Nothing is ever lacking, everything is always in abundance. Our being is a manifestation of all that is around us, and everything that is around us is a manifestation of our being.

When we recognize the beauty in and out, and breathe in each breath and moment of beauty … we are able to connect with the beauty of the universe. Resting our bodies, allows the elements within to heal. Resting our minds, allows the beautiful thoughts of the universe to be watered within. And, in that space we become one with everything.

Let our thoughts of the past meld into everything we see around us. Just as nature lets go of all that has happened and continues, so shall we. Let our thoughts of the future meld in everything we see around us, just as nature lets go of all that will happen and continues to grow, so shall we.

The blue sky, the flower, the river, the cloud, these things have a healing nature.  If you allow yourself to be in touch with these healing elements, the wounds within your body and your mind will be healed.  We should allow ourselves to be healed, and therefore, we should allow ourselves to be in the heart of life, which contains so many wonderful things, like the children, the flower, and so on…

The seeds in our consciousness can function like anti-bodies.  What is important is that you continue to plant new seeds, the kind of seeds that are both refreshing and healing.  And if you just do that, by practicing mindful living so that you can be in touch with the flower, with the cypress tree, with the fresh air, with the beautiful eyes of the children, then these seeds will be planted in yourself, and they will naturally take care of the seeds of your suffering.  You don’t even have to touch them.  And that is something I think the practice of Buddhism can contribute to psychotherapy in the west. – Thich Nhat Hahn

Let go and let the universe do its work. All that can be seen and all that is beyond sight will heal.

Coincidence and Synchronicity

The train is moving full speed.

We come with these beautiful bags, these bags filled with hopes, dreams, beautiful stories as well as doubts, fears and scary stories of what we want the story to be. We keep holding on to these “thoughts” as they have become our wardrobe…they have become our world in the train.

All the time we are conversing with the other passengers trying to figure out… Where are we going? What should I do? What if this happens? What is this does not happen? What do I do about this?

The passengers can only be distinguished by their bags…Who they think they are? Who they think they are not? What they should be doing? What they should not be doing? What choice should I make next? Am I following my samskaras? Am I following my fears? Am I am following my bliss? Am I following my heart? Am I following my dharma?

There are seats in the train…one for family, one for work, one for spiritual, one for friends, one for lovers… The passengers keep asking themselves, am I spending too much time in this seat? Am I spending too much seat in another? Where should I sit and for how long? Can I keep all the seats warm? Will I lose my seat if move?

Sometimes we are with passengers for a little bit of time, sometimes we are with passengers for a long time, and sometimes we are with passengers until the end.

But then, there are sometimes that the passengers put down their bags and they dissolve into the train, and then something special happens…they realize they are the same…that their bags are just a façade…that the seats were also a façade.

They realize that their choices for the contents of the bags and the seats are all based on the contents of old bags, and that the only true place to make choices from is from the space where the train, the seat, the bags, and the passengers become one. A place where there is oneness…the place where the universe spins, the stars spin, the earth spins and the clouds spin around the world.

In the space of infinite…there is everything. There is love…there is coincidence…there is cosmic love – where the passengers learn about enjoying the ride…where the passengers learn about loving… where the passengers are love.

In the space of love, the passengers begin to dissolve into one and other, into the train and into the seats.  In that space of oneness something very special happens, there is synchronicity where the universe is flowing through the passengers and the passengers are flowing through the universe.

My Dear Professor, Who Changed My Life

August 11, 2014

I stood near the giant “M” near the graduate library at University of Michigan. I marveled at the beauty of the campus, and awaited my old professor.

In the distance, I saw the top of his bald head and the poof of white hair the stood to the side like he was just electrocuted. He was my professor, my mentor, and, my dear friend, Professor Buzz.

There was no other way to greet one and other, but with a hug. I still recall the seeds that he planted and watered years ago.

***

During my final year at Michigan, I chose to not finish my Math Major, and, instead, learn something different altogether — heart lessons. I chose not to enjoy the bliss of being carefree, and, instead, go to therapy three times a week. The conditions were set for over turning long unmovable stones, and shining light.

Buzz was a beloved professor that had changed the course of countless students’ lives. His famous class, English 319, was the culmination of 25 plus years of sowing tiny seeds.

English 319 consisted of a heavy emotional curriculum: On monday mornings, my class-partner and I, would go to Jackson Correction Facility at 6AM. We would work with incarcerated individuals in the most heavy armed and guarded prison in Michigan, and create a play with these men who were behind bars for 21 hours a day.

***

We begin walking in a direction as though we both knew exactly where we were going. I felt as though there was no need for pleasantries or acknowledging how long it had been since we had seen each other. Rather, it was like too old friends simply picking up on a conversation from the other day.

As we walk through campus, I see a young man sitting on the sidewalk meditating — I knew I was in the right place. We go to the restaurant in campus called Sava’s. Originally, it started as a hole-in-the-wall serving burgers, and slowly one burger at a time it expanded to what it is today. When I saw the beautiful restaurant, all I could think about the tiny growth that led to the lovely place that it is today.

We sit down, and he asks me to share. I share about the past two years of my life. I try to encapsulate my journey of quoting my job, breaking up with my ex-girlfriend, taking a road trip with my father, starting a company and walking across Spain as quickly as possible. My intention was authenticity so i attempted to go straight to the “mud.”

He listened with full attention, and processed my story. And, the he shared about himself: Buzz, was my “prison professor” — he watered the seeds of inner reflection and transformation. Years ago, I took his course, which entailed going to a prison on a weekly basis to work with in a level four corrections facility. Every week we would write whatever we needed to in a journal, and Buzz would write a single-spaced typed response to our reflections. He would ask questions, give his own stories and listen and share from the heart.

On Death: 

He spoke about one of his friends was riding his bike and was hit when two cars collided in front of him. And, how another student was walking on Plymouth road and was hit by a car and died. The certainty of death seemed to have supported him in moving on from his current work to focus on having the courage to take the next step. You really never what is going to happen to you, so you have to do the things that give you the quality to your life you want — whatever that may be.

On Grief: 

He spoke about Uccikhan — Phil — a close friend and formerly incarcerated individual from the Prison Creative Arts Project, who experienced a lot of grief and depression from seeing a child die. He decided to bring together many people to speak about grief from different points of view: formally incarcerated individuals, family members of those murdered, a restorative justice lawyer and others. I am moved by this idea of focusing on a single topic and creating a space to focus there.

On Climate Change: 

If the world’s climate increasing by 2 degrees centigrade, we will see drastic changes in the world. He taught a course on this and spoke of this as his most intense course. I tell him about my concerns about how to live in this world and we speak about neutrality, and how acceptance is taking a side. You can either be a part of the resistance or you can acceptance. There really no such thing as being neutral. I sat with these words a while: there is no such thing as neutrality.

On Secondary Trauma: 

He tells me that he is encouraged to go speak to someone about secondary trauma. After working in prisons for 25 years, he had felt a lot of the pain from the incarcerated individuals, but, he had not recognized that similar pain within him. Secondary trauma is not acknowledging that trauma you have inside when you see pain.

On His Work: 

In 24 years, he has had 291 students go through the Prison Creative Arts Project and 92% of them have gone into social justice as their life works. They are all doing things in the world — that is his legacy.

We finish up our meal and take a walk on this sunny day. We walk through campus to the edge of town, and I absorb his sacred wisdom.

On Instinct and Determination: 

He tells me about how all of his life and experiences seem to support him in the next step. His life conspired to support him in his next step…there was somewhat of an obvious nature to what he was saying. As if it say, once there is a rosebud, blooming is natural next step. I sat with this for a while, and he shared a story about Goddard’s movie where a man made a decision based long and deep reflection.

On Children: 

He said it is always a fear of his children’s well being. And, it never goes away.

On Stories: 

Life is about stories. Have 100 stories before you get married, and have 1,000 stories before you have children. He tells the story of a student and a teacher. The students stand up. He stands up. This then escalates to them standing on their chairs. He stands on his desk. And, in the final seen, he sits down with a pen and paper to be a journalist.

On Love: 

I tell him about Sarika, and he asks if there is a future with where this is going. I say yes and that I will be asking her. He told me to let him know when.

The Power of Non-Violent Communication: Needs

My Non-Violent Communication Discovery weekend begin with me feeling upbeat and, frankly, jazzed to be there. Over the past year, I had such valuable experiences with NVC just by reading the book.

Non-Violent Communication or Compassionaite Communication is a set of ideas and practices to support authentic and vulnerable connections with one and other. Through NVC we are able to support ourselves and others in tapping into their life energy

What are needs?
Everything you have done or will ever do is to fulfill your needs. This includes thoughts (subconscious and conscious), words and actions.

If I feel enlivened, after taking a swim in the morning; if I feel frustrated for not being acknowledged for my work; or, if negative self-talk (e.g., “Why were you so lazy today?) arises – it is all to meet my needs.

Upon first hearing this, I felt quite surprised to hear that even my perceived negative-self-talk is for the purpose of fulling my needs.

Thoughts > Feelings > Needs:
NVC Circle

The purpose of this diagram is to show us how recognizing judgements and how pervasive and invisible they are. If think someone is right or wrong; if I think something should or should not happen, if label someone, etc.

Everything in the outer layer of the circle – Every judgement word – has a feeling and need behind it. For example, if I call someone “stupid,” I may be feeling frustrated and have a need for understanding and connection.

Our judgements/labels are indicators of our feelings, and our feelings give us an understanding of our needs. In this way, everything we think and experience supports us in understanding our svadharma (personal calling).

Internal Dialogue: Examples Showing How Judgements Lead to Our Needs

Thoughts/Judgements Feeling Needs (or Values)
I am “lazy” I am feeling frustrated I am needing (or value) effectiveness
I am a “slob” I am feeling repulsion, self-conscious I am needing ease, health/well-being
You are “needy” I am feeling mistrustrful I am needing (or value) mutality

In any situation, whether you are judging our perceiving judgement, do you want to focus on the pain or on transformation? In doing so, we are acknolwedging the choice of which need we fulfill.

`For example, if I call myself “lazy” it may be an attempt to motivate myself. Perhaps, it is my attempt to express frustration because my need for effectiveness is not being met.

Perhaps, the reality is I value “effectiveness” (a personal need), and I am mourning the lack of it. Instead of using judgements to “motivate” yourself, you can use positive statements — e.g., “I love effectiveness.”

If you imagine the brain as a programable robot, and that you are a programmer — it shifts the paradigm. Feelings and needs come from the mind, but they are not the mind. Thoughts program our mind — our memory. We have thought habits.

If we are able to keep our needs in our awareness, you can meet your needs in many different ways (strategies), and, most importantly, I am given choice on who and what meets my needs.

The Yogic Perspective of NVC:

Throughout the first day, I was having a lot of trouble reconciling this with ideas and belief systems around detachment and desire. Kumari, one of the individuals helping out during the weekend, suggested there is no difference between need and desire: Discovery and Joy are equally important to Food and Water.

Desire is a strategy; desirelessness is being detached from the strategy. For example, people in higher-states of consciousness (e.g., nirvana or enlightenment) are open to whatever the universe gives them.

*I am still trying to understand whether this holds true for equanimity and awareness on bodily sensations?

Our Life Training to Not Feel and to Not Have Needs:
We are trained that feelings and needs are bad. During school if we were hungry, we are told to wait. During school if we were tired, we are told to pay attention. As a man, I have been countless times to “man up” and not cry.

We are preprogrammed to value certain needs over others. For example, if a young boy or girl cries, he or she is told to be a “big boy” or “big girl” and to stop crying.

Any time a society starts to preordain what needs are more important than others, it creates a control on people and society.

 

The Power of Non-Violent Communication: Feelings

On day two of the Non-Violent Communication Discovery Weekend, we focused on feelings (for the overview of needs). Here are my notes:

Feelings as Guide Posts:
The human body needs a lot of things — feelings are a gift with the human experience. For example, if you put your hand on a hot stove, you will automatically seek to remove it from the stove.

This feeling of pain is meant to tell you “remove your hand from this stove, or you will lose your hand.” How do I use these indicators – energy – to guide me? When I feel something, and I am able to use this to understand my needs – what I am valuing? I can use these as guideposts for my feelings and needs:
1. We observe something happening.
2. We understand there are unfulfilled needs
3. We have feelings that create the connection

There is No Good or Bad: There is no such thing as a positive or negative feeling: only fulfilled and unfilled needs.

There is conscious heartbreak: I am needing appreciation vs. I want my father to appreciate me. In the later, there is a recognition of ones needs without defining the strategy to fulfill that need. In the former, there is a strategy that may or may not meet ones need.

The journey into understanding our needs opens possibilities. When we tap into our needs and understand what we value – we can choose. We can choose to fulfill one need or another.

When we think we should or should not do something, there is an underlying need.

For example, how do you say no with a sense of care. Often times we may think, “I don’t want someone to feel upset.” Worrying about someones emotions is the ultimate ball and chain. You can’t anyone feel anything; their own needs do that.

When we feel an obligation it is coming from our brains; real care comes from within. For example, helping because you care (e.g., Something you value or a need you need to meet) versus because you feel obligated (e.g., Something you think you should do).

Self-Discipline:
I do what I do because I should vs. I do what I do because it serves me. There is a huge difference between these two statements. The first is based on the constructs of “good” and “bad” and the second is based on conscious choice of meetings ones needs through an action.

Exercise:
+ Do the needs assessment
+ Create a catalog of the things you think you shoul do, and replace with awareness based on needs

Self-Empathy:
One gentleman brought up the issue of how to move to NVC Consciousness. There are these boats known has punts, and moving from one to another is very challenging. To move from normal conversation to conversation with NVC Consciousness, we need self-empathy to be our bridge. We must make a leap via self-empathy.

The best way to understand this is to consider: Thoughts of a Situation versus Experience of a Situation. How do we experience something? Intelletually, we may say that ice cream tastes sweet, and creates a cold sensation on my tongue, but the more relevant thing is the underlying need it is fulfilling.

Are there evil people in the world? If I want evil people, then there are evil people in the world. If I don’t want evil people, there are alternatives (i.e. NVC Consciousness).

Cheated or Abondoned are judgements.
Questions: Create space
Answers: Fill space

  • If I say, “ I need you to…”, then I am demanding a specific strategy to meet a need.
  • If I say, “I need care…”, then I am sharing my need that is not being fulfilled.

When we understand our feelings and needs, we are moving with lifes energy.

Power Over versus Power With
+ Power with: Understanding of everyones needs
+ Power over: Consciousness of getting what you want

Static Descriptions
We can describe ourselves in static statements during interviews. Can you handle criticism. The question is when can you handle criticism, not whether you can.

How am I? versus. Who am I? The idea of asking someone “How am I? seems to be focused on the ideas of labels and judgements. ”Who am I?” seems to be focused on the ideas of being (i.e. who am I being?)

Observations

We have an opportunity to share experiences or share judgements. When we share observations, we lubricate the conversation.

For example: I think your hair is beautiful vs. Your hair is beautiful.  Or, if I ask a group of people, “How big is this room?” Then I will receive 20 different responses…it depends on perspective.

“You are speaking in a tone of voice that I am having a hard time hearing.” This statement is an observation, not a judgement

Moralistic judgement: The wine is bad. versus. Value judgment: I don’t like the wine. Judgements are useful as they are information that lead to feelings and needs.

Remember: Life energy comes from feelings and needs, not thoughts.

Need for Being Right: If we focus on being right, we can miss seeing the person in front of us.

What is the difference between needs and values? Value is something that I love to see in the world.

Praise versus Appreciation: Praise is to get me to do something, and comes from “above”  (i.e. a means of behavior modification), while appreciation is a form of sharing an experience.

NVC Appreciation: (1) State what you observe (specifics); (2) State what you felt, and (3) State what needs were being met

How to be fearless at work? The Art of Natural Fearlessness

Are we all afraid of losing our job? Our businesses going under? Losing our savings? Losing our home? Being homeless?

Confidence in work versus always wondering whether you have certainty can be extremely scary. The thoughts are endless…Did I do a good enough job? Did I screw up that relationship? Will the business bring in money to ensure my family has what it needs?

Recently at Anthony Robbin’s Business Mastery event in Palm Springs Florida, I heard so many stories of individuals that have suffered in their work — a job, their business, etc. I heard a story of a multi-millionaire losing his home because his business defaulted and as a technicality the bank was able to repossess his families home. I heard a story of an oil-executive that lost her job, and had lost all of her confidence and love for her body. These were extremely talented and smart individuals, and to say the least it shook me up to hear all the pain and suffering that so many had experienced.

The stress of whether we have any certainty and security in our lives can take us away from enjoying the things that would usually make us happy, and it can drive us to be who we are not and do things we wouldn’t normally do. Often times, I think we ask ourselves deep down, “Will everything be okay?” And, everything we hear in our head is all of our negative answers to that question.

In Michael Carroll’s book “Fearless at Work” he says what each of us are looking for so well: ” The kind of confidence that remains fearless unshaken in the face of life’s often terrifying paradoxes — instinctively resourceful and at ease — is not something we can manufacture. ”

What is the fearless that would allow us to rekindle the sacred nobility in each of us? How do we reconnect with that fearlessness — the inner Rudy or Braveheart in — each of us?

Over the coming weeks, I will be exploring Michael Carroll’s book “Fearless at Work.” Stay tuned.

Fearless-at-Work.jpeg

Why we should all know who Lindsey Stirling is?

Lindsey Stirling is the now famous “hip-hop violinist”? At the age of 23, she was a quarter-finalist on the America’s Got Talent show. After her performance, the judges gave her blistering reviews:

  • Piers Morgan: “You’re not untalented, but you’re not good enough to get away with flying through the air and trying to play the violin at the same time.
  • Sharon Osbourne commented: You need to be in a group. … What you’re doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas.”

Stirling later shared in her blog, “I was devastated at the results … It was painful, and a bit humiliating…”

I can only imagine how it would feel to be national television in front of millions and to hear such devastating words. However, the “hip-hop violinist” later said despite all the feedback to she to say true to herself. One micro-mini step at a time, she continued sharing her art and has created her own path. Today she has albums and 90 million plus views on YouTube.

YouTube views and albums are not a measure of success; however, the fulfillment of being true to oneself is. What’s your path?

Lindsey Stirling’s YouTube Channel here.

Living Life like a Pilgrimage

After my walk through the Camino de Santiago, I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker on the weekly Forrest Call. Please feel free to listen the interview here or read the write-up below by a dear friend and fellow blogger, Sarika Jain.


Inspired by a series of intriguing synchronicities while contemplating his personal journey, Krishan, on a whim, bought a one-way ticket to France, not knowing when he would return. The first part of the plan: to walk the Camino de Santiago, a 900 km spiritual trek involving steep hills, mountains and long, dusty roads; where millions of pilgrims (‘peligrinos’) had traveled over the past thousands of the years to reach Santiago de Compostela, the burial grounds of a famous sage.

Last Saturday’s Forest Call guest featured our speaker from the East coast’s quarterly Super Soul Saturday retreat. Krishan Patel had just returned from an arduous mental,physical and spiritual journey through Spain and France. He generously agreed to share insights from his experiences although he himself was still processing what he had learned.

In our super soul circle, we asked Krishan if he could relate his experience to a speech given by Nipun at a college graduation. Nipun’s speech reflected on his own spiritual journey in India, which he described by using the acronymW-A-L-K. All of us listened with great rapture as Krishan slowly shared from his heart what he had learned about himself, human nature, and life.

(W) Witness – During the journey, Krishan found, fortunately or unfortunately, that there were no distractions between his mind and body – and he had a chance to witness his thoughts and bodily activities through every circumstance imaginable: excruciating heat (which melted his glasses!), indescribable fatigue, expansive, blinding plains in every direction, loneliness, fear-filled situations and even joyful moments withfellow peligrinos.This experience proved to be meditation in action, revealing many important, and sometimes difficult, insights to him. It was also an opportunity for Krishan to witness nature and humanity in truly natural settings, making him a keen and appreciative observer to the wonders of life.

(A) Accept – Leaving the world of preferences during his busy life here in the US, Krishan found the journey to be both liberating and challenging. One key insight was that he had to accept his body through every circumstance, even if it meant overcoming his ego about what he could and could not do, physically. Another was to accept tough conditions as they appeared on the trip – relying on just a few pairs of essential clothing (sometimes wet when he put them on!), not being able to find vegetarian food along the way, flies and bees swarming around his eyes through dry patches; at one point, Krishan found himself taking a wrong turn and ended up walking along a scary, lonely highway; because he didn’t reach a village in time, he ended up sleeping on a bridge in freezing temperatures – a night which he will never forget. All of these situations proved to be tests to his natural set of preferences; slowly making him realize that accepting life as it came was his only option – this would be his path to joy.

(L) Love – During the journey, Krishan found instances of true love, one exhibited by humanity in a spirit of kinship and non-duality, especially in difficult times. During one particularly challenging stretch, his right knee began to throb with pain, and each step became excruciating. After inching along, he finally made it to a village, where he met a Spanishfather and son duo who had passed by him on the walk. Krishan honestly shared that he was hurt and even angry that they passed him by without offering to help. And so it was to his surprise when the father asked Krishan to stop by his room, sit on a chair, lifted his right pant leg above the knee, and began to massage his knee with a cream in the most loving manner, as though Krishan were his own son. As he shared this story of selflessness and true love with us, we found ourselves transforming internally, reflecting hard about non-dualistic love and the spirit of kindness.

(K) Know thyself – The trip allowed Krishan to gain a deep understanding of what his needs are. All the peligrinos and supporters along the path kept repeating the slogan “this is your pilgrimage, you do what you would like!”, reminding him that his priorities and needs came first. There were times when Krishan needed to be alone on the path, times when he enjoyed the company of fellow peligrinos, and times when he just felt like laughing or crying. In each situation, he found that understanding, expressing, and fulfilling one’s own needs are key to knowing and loving oneself. And when you love and know thyself, you are fulfilling one of the highest forms of service.

The reflections shared by Krishan inspired us all to think about ourday-to-day lives as part of a larger, spiritual journey. We were grateful to him to not only take this very important trek for himself, his community and family, but also for sharing his insights and lessons with us in an authentic and open manner, helping all of us reflect on how one can lead life more mindfully, with greater joy, love and acceptance.

The White Horse and the Dakota 38

This morning — I woke up early before the sun rose to take a walk. I followed my favorite path towards this creek, where there was a childhood bridge that had washed away. As I was walking back, I passed a farm that my father and I used to walk to all the time.

In the distance, there was Timber, a beautiful white horse that I had not seen in ages. I walked along this wet grass path along an electrical fence. As I got closer, Timber raised his head and starred at me.

I looked at him. He looked at me. I felt anger and fear within…whether it was the horses projection or mine from seeing him in this electrical fence — I am not sure. He continued to stare me — breathing hard and forcing air out of his nostrils with a loud noise; his right leg shaking and his other legs flexed.

I said, “It’s okay, boy. Everything will be okay.” I put my hand on my heart, bowed and continued to walk. He put his head down and continued grazing.

***

At dawn, as the 38 walked to the hanging site — shackled and chained together with hoods on their heads. The women begin weeping. One of the prisoners in a loud voice said:

Hear me my people. Today is not a day of defeat. It is a day of retreat. For we have made our peace with our creator and now go to be with him forever. 

Remember this day to tell our children, so they can tell their children, so they can tell our people, we are a people who died a noble death. Do not mourn for us, rejoice for us — it’s a a good day to die.

Then he raised his voice and begin singing in the language of the Dakota’s “Great spirit, great spirit. The things which are thine, are powerful and numerous.”

~ Dakota 38, The Documentary

(You can see the whole movie here.)

Late last night I watched the documentary Dakota 38. Nearly 150 years ago, 38 Native Americans were ordered to be hung in the largest mass execution in the United States. Jim Miller, a Native American elder, a human who had been emotionally, sexually and spiritually abused, a man who fought in the Vietnam War and killed 38 Vietnamese, had a dream. He dreamt of the 38 Dakotas in the moment before they were hung — holding each others hands before the lever was pulled.

Jim Miller and many others organized a 330 mile ride from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota with the intent of healing and reconciliation. As Jim Miller is speaking of the journey, he says, “We can’t blame the wasichus anymore. We’re doing it to ourselves. We’re selling drugs. We’re killing our own people. That’s what this ride is about, is healing.”

Their story is one of suffering, reconciliation and healing. Throughout this story, we are given a glimpse into the suffering of a people. A peaceful people that lived in harmony with the earth and have been struggling for nearly the past couple centuries to heal from the genocide, the let go of the fears of their ancestors, and release their anger from the past.

Hundreds of years ago, there were nearly 16,000,000 Native Americans in the United States. Today, there are less than 300,000 struggling to maintain their dignity in a world that does not support their culture or way of being. In the 1800’s there were bounties for the skin of Native American’s head: $200 per a skinned head. There were treaties that were signed to force them to stay in specific areas and if they attempted to leave without permission they would be killed.

I have been completely ignorant to the suffering and pain of our fellow humans until my travels through British Columbia, Canada where I saw Native American reservations and watching this film. The reservations are communities that are living in poverty, healing from the massive amounts of depression and suicide of a generation who lost their children from reintegration camps (i.e. schools where children were forced to renounce their culture and religious beliefs), and struggling to invite a new future that supports their culture while being a part of this world.

***

Early this morning when I saw Timber — I saw fear and anger. I felt suffering. I felt oppression.

To be confined and have fear of exiting a physical space — I have not had the wisdom of experience of such. But, I could not help but think about the oppression of the Native Americans over so many generations; the mental, physical or emotional prisons and shackles that our parents and previous generations had to endure; and, the self-imposed limiting beliefs and shackles we place on ourselves; and, the importance of healing and reconciliation that is necessary and important to heal the suffering past, current and future generations.