On this heart-opening day, watching the memorial for John Lewis, I can think of only one word for the effects our country (the Ununited States of America), is experiencing from its historically progressive devaluing of life: horror.
Guns are used more quickly than words in altercations, dominance over another because of arrogance and prejudice continues to prevail, the value of money over human life is evident systemically, and patriarchal control is fighting for its life and taking other lives in the process.
Relationships have become transactional, Mother Earth has been defiled to the degree of unsustainability, and video games, cell phones and computers rule over the power of our minds to create the world our potential enables us to create. And at this point in the pandemic, watching our government in action is a horror show.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, I had the privilege of experiencing Native American spirituality, ceremonies, and rituals. I listened to the elders, heard the stories and learned the ways, and the essence that predominated through it all, was the teaching of respect for all life.
The Lakota word for it is Mitakuye Oyasin, and in the Native American culture it isn’t just a concept, it is a way of life. It is a demonstration of respect for the two-leggeds (humans), the four-leggeds, the standing people (trees), the winged ones, the finned ones, the stone people and those that crawl upon the Earth.
It is an understanding that all forms of life come from the same source and we are all inter-connected. In our Oneness, what we do to another is done to ourselves and how we affect the world, affects us all.
I received a most precious gift through those years, and it changed my life. I learned to respect myself; to know my own value, and to practice extending that value and respect to all.
How tragic that the original peoples of this country were slaughtered in genocide, and those who remained were forced to relinquish their sacred practices and conform to religious and moral domination of misguided superiority. The motivation of greed for land ruled over the value of human life and, though some tried, the wave of greed and progress was too great for an integration to occur; for us to live together and learn from one another.
And then, slavery. We rob human beings from another continent and brutally enslave them as animals, demanding the sacrifice of their lives for ours, and it takes us decades upon decades to come to the level of decency to free them.
And in 2020 we have still not freed them. Our hatred still flares. Our systems still take their lives. Our prejudice still flies in the confederate flag our current president remains steadfastly devoted to.
It is horrific to witness ourselves in this state, and I say to those who reside in the consciousness of respect for all life: stand for it, demonstrate it, teach it, preach it, live it, sing it, write it, and spread the love as deeply and vastly as you can. It takes more than a village now. It takes a country.