Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Reckoning: Ruthless Redemption, Repentance and Reconciliation.

Post Note: This post is NOT about TRAUMA of any sort. Nor is it inherently about grief, mental illness, depression or anxiety. While this could apply in certain ways, because just like an arm pain can indicate heart or gut issues, a singular suffering should not be boxed up into one category, I want to be clear that, for myself, this post is about the pain of facing oneself when parts of self need to grow. This IS about self reflection, self growth and a requirement of honest mirrors. This post is more focused on issues that are self growth related, and should not be mixed up with any diagnosis or need that may require legitimate pills, therapy, or clinical diagnosis. I am not a doctor. This is most assuredly a post on reckoning, redemption, ruthless mirrors, repentance and reconciliation....handily all the "R's" *

I stood in front of a nine foot mirror in a home of 12 foot ceilings. Even though my home is notorious for hosting at least 68 mirrors, most of them are placed to reflect light and not the full reflection of a person. So this was the first time I had to seriously face my physical self. I had been battling self esteem issues since January, most of which stemmed from extremely low iron and medical issues (which do set some of the foundation for this post and are worth mentioning but are NOT what this post is about.) When health is sputtering along, it is hard for the rest of a BEING to fully flourish, but I try to give it my best. However, I knew something wasn't right, but the revelations seemed to be slowly spitting out truths instead of revealing the whole. Until I stood in front of that mirror.

The mirror was only part of the revelation. I looked upon my full self and realized I didn't like what I saw. It wasn't just the chronic illness weight and inflammation or the ridiculous notion that I was completely hideous ( I know when I am being dramatic)...It was the fact that the girl looking back was almost unrecognizable and she was ME. In that moment I knew there would be a reckoning.

It was an overnight holiday that was perfect in every way. I had nothing to blame but myself, I was up until 5 am and woke to a leg cramp at 7. The night was beautifully full of stars overlooking a mountain view outside my 9 foot glassed door. A trusted friend was sleeping in the home a few doors down. My belly was full of good food. The king size bed was even more comfortable than my beloved bed...and yet I was tortured. Insomnia can be familiar to me, but this was profound reckoning. All the revelations hit me. Concealed was revealed. I saw my vices, my created pain ( not legitimate pain that needs support but pain I had created by sitting in habits I could change), and my cruelty towards self and others. I faced the mirror of self...

"I know this hurts real bad right now. I know you feel mad and sad right now. But the sky isn't falling- that's just the rain. It's safe to just call this...pain. Girl I've been there, Yea life isn't fair It's okay to not be all right, just go ahead and cry... It might sound insane but I promise one day you're gonna be thanking you're lucky stars for all this pain."- Ingrid Andreas lyrics - Pain.

I got through the rest of my holiday by sheer grit. My perfect holiday ruined only by my own BEING. I saw my incapabilities clearly, my selfishness, my inability to adjust the way I would like, and my self loathing foamed. I saw the issues I was looking for in my marriage, parenting, and self...the accounts I had been trying to settle since January were ending. The five hour trip home consisted of me bawling my eyes out through sniffled repentance. Specifically with my husband because he was my travelling partner, not only through the holiday and life, but literally. I saw my part in the equation I could not figure out. While he also took ownership, the important parts I had missed before, came to the surface with ruthless intensity. I had a lot to reconcile. 

I've often shied away from the word repentance due to my upbringing. It was misused for varied agendas. But sometimes it is the only word that can state the absolute sorrow at actions that have been done or love that has been missed. Being penitent, or showing remorse, for one's misdeeds, and confessing such to all that IS, oneself and those loved, brings about a different mirror. At first it's a ruthless light that shows all the cracks, crinkles, and bruises. Yet, interestingly enough, after the refining burning of light, there is astounding peace and grace. Repentance suddenly feels like a gift that opens up to true reconciliation. A healing. 

"Without the pain, how would you know? What things to change and what stays the same? And which parts of you still have to grow? It can be ruthless, yeah, I've been there too. But you're gonna get through this pain." - Ingrid Andreas lyrics - Pain.

I'm not where I want to be, yet in those moments of pain, and the days following, I saw not only whom I COULD be, but also bits of light inside that I did not know I had. It is going to take courage to grow. Growth is painful. It's humbling. And there are honestly parts of me that will not, in this lifetime, be mine to fully grasp. Because self improvement is limiting too. There is a point where Grace enters in. The broken tea cup mended with gold still required someone else to make it beautiful. Sometimes, it is the cracks that show us where we need the most Light.

There is a different sort of pain in facing oneself. It's different from trauma done upon you. It is different than mental illness needing support. It is different from being a victim or wallowing in self pity. It's the type of pain that comes in childbirth. It is for a purpose. It changes the inside and outside in a short span of time. It is ruthless yet can harness aspects of joy that will eventually grow into peace. What have I lost by wallowing? What have I lost by not facing the mirror sooner? What I have lost in the reckoning? Perhaps all the good lost is redeemed, but I will not fully see it with my mortal eyes? Perhaps I gained more than I lost in the end? Maybe I needed the time to fully face the mirror? 

I only know that ruthless redemption became a balm. For instance, when I reconciled the issues I clearly saw and owned my part in my marriage story (which is fairly a healthy marriage, but I still had to face criticism and derisions I had regularly foisted upon my husband), and when I genuinely cried true apologies with repentance and noted plans for behavioural husband looked at me...and I saw a glimpse of that ruthless redemption. I saw the pain I caused clearly, which hurt even more, but mixed in that was a love that encompassed it all. Mirrored back through his eyes was grace. Reconciliation on the heals of pain. How much more could a Divine presence give?

I've always had a strong faith in all that IS. While I have not adhered, at points, to certain religious standards (and probably never fully will) or institutions...I believe in wrestling with God, instead of the man made ideas or institutions about ALL THAT IS. So of course, this stance encompasses all that I am. I am not a true evangelical (my roots) in that, I don't like to outright state things fully. I prefer to LIVE and let GOD.  I believe God is so much more than my ideas and that powerful presence does not really need me to fight  Divine battles. I also believe those that are different from me, or who do not believe in a Presence, have just as much to give and receive on this plain. I have many Atheist friends whom have turned me, for the better, into a person with more questions than answers. I believe ALL THAT IS GOOD comes from God. Which means, that a lot in life is BREATHED. I'm not one for major sin dialogues. However, there is legitimacy in redemption, repentance and reconciliation. A person can feel the difference when it happens on any level. 

With my children, I saw the need for the same process of asking for forgiveness for my harsh approach this year. When did I become hard? I saw the root, and while some of it CAN be explained or understood, there is another part of it that not only has to be owned, but given up, to become more than I am. I also need to ask for forgiveness because I DID harm them in my tones and eye rolls. A parent is supposed to be a well of guidance, giving, grace and loving support. While I will not be perfect, nor should they expect perfection, they should expect me to reconcile when I have wronged. As I expect the same from them. Without this dialogue I feel we are missing so much Light in the end.

It's true that when one walks through a refining process, there is more necessary pain, than joy. I have cried more in this week than I usually do in a year. And the hits keep coming. Unexpected shadows have creeped up to deal with. I've shattered some hearts including my own. My thoughts can get dark. Yet, acknowledging this is necessary for the Light to seep in. Changes are also becoming part of the process. Slowly behaviour is being refined. Grace covers the rest. "Good person, how do you do it? Do you just wake up with a smile on your face? Good person, what does it look like seeing the world as a happy place? I'm trying to turn the page, do you think I have what it takes? Cause I have cheated and lied, and made people cry, but I pray for the ones that I love every night. And I've shattered some hearts and my thoughts get dark, but I'd stop for a stranger who is falling apart. I'm still learning. Good, good person. Do you ever lose it when somebody steals that one last parking spot? Good person, Do you ever say no? Does the high road get lonely? Do you ever pull off?...Have you cheated and lied or made people cry? The right hand of God, tell me what is it like to throw all the stones? But all mirrors and smoke, they come to my show, but you won't let me go behind the curtain. Good, Good person... Tell me how, tell me how to be a good, good person...I'm trying to turn the page..." - Ingrid Andress - Good Person lyrics.


Song choices: 

Pain- Ingrid Andress

Good Person- Ingrid Andress

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

You're Still the One- Twenty Years Of Marriage Together

"I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you, you had me mesmerized... I thought I loved you then but now you're my whole life, now you're my whole a river meets the sea, stronger than it's ever been. We've come so far since that day and I thought I loved you then!" Brad Paisley

He was a 'Chip N Dale' for Miss Teen Night. 17. On stage with cuffs, ripped off at the shoulders unbuttoned dress shirt and a bow tie with a charming smile and Steve Harrington hair. I turned to my friend, "Who is THAT?!" I had never felt such a zip of attraction before. She stated, "Oh don't even try. He's way out of your league." That night I mentioned his weird last name to my dad (and pronounced it wrong!) briefly and then forgot about him until my father realized he worked with his brother. They crafted an acceptance to his application to college a few months later. Behind my back, they wrote, "You are accepted to this college on the condition you date the Director of Enrolment's daughter on a six month probationary period." I was appalled. He thought it was a message from God. He stated that as soon as he scoped me out at my job cashiering, and I turned around to smile at him, he was hooked... 

"Looks like we made it, look how far we've come now baby?...They said, "I bet, they'll never make it." But just look at us holding on. We're still together, still going strong. You're still the one I run to, the one that I belong to, You're still the one I want for life. You're still the one that I love. The only one I dream of. You're still the one I kiss good night. Aint nothing better. We beat the odds together. I'm glad we didn't listen. Look at what we would be missing!" Shania Twain

We were engaged 7 months later. We were constantly told we would not make it. So we hired 7 different marital counsellors from 7 different churches. 7 months later we were married. 7 seemed to be our number. Teenagers can be strong willed. I expected our path to be tough because I'm an old soul whom overthinks, but I also knew, deep down, that our love was unique and I would love him till the day I died. With each milestone passed, I would hum Shania's song, thankful that thus far, we beat the odds together.

"Remember when I was young and so were you? Time stood still. The love was all we knew...Remember when we gave our hearts, made a start and it was hard. We lived and learned, life threw curves, there was joy and there was hurt. Remember when? Remember when old ones died and new were born and life was changed, life was dissembled and re arranged. We came together and fell apart and broke each other's hearts. Remember when? The sound of little feet was music, we danced to week to week...Remember when? Thirty seemed so old, now looking back, it's just a stepping stone to where we are and where we've been, said we would do it all again. Remember when?" Alan Jackson

Having a newborn and pregnant again before twenty was blissful and tough. I would do it all again. We nestled into each other and built our foundations. There was joy. There was hurt. As the years turned, the ordinary and extraordinary blended into sunsets. Our family was born. Meanwhile loved ones died and we definitely were disassembled and re arranged. Grief does not make all people kind. Only healed grief can be a balm...a wounded healer. We had to learn that lesson after both of our hearts were broken by life and each other ...for a time...but we always chose to come together through our blunted feelings or harsh words. Those stepping stones brought us to where we are today. I would do it all again.

"These times are trouble and these times are good and they are always gonna be. They rise and they fall. We take them all the way that we should, together you and me...When I said I do, I meant that I WILL, till the end of all time, be faithful and true, devoted to you. That's what I had in mind when I say I do." Clint Black

I take vows seriously. I try not to speak something I do not mean. Honestly? I struggled with my wedding day and parts of my honeymoon. I preferred our smaller, ordinary dating moments or random spontaneous sunset watching, country driving evenings. But the part of my wedding day that sticks, in the right way, was when I said I do. Because I meant that I would be devoted in good times in bad... It was true from the start. I was sick and standing in front of over 300 people...not my forte. But I was doing it because I loved him. My Uncle Chris, who was a recorded country singer and sounded like Alan Jackson, sang Tracy Byrd's 'Keeper of the Stars' and my heart wished a thousand 'thank you's' heavenward that I had someone who I wanted to protect and cherish and whom understood and adored me.

"It was no accident, me finding you. Someone had a hand in it. Long before we every knew. Now I just can't believe you're in my life. Heaven's smiling down on me. As I look at you tonight. I tip my hat, to the Keeper of the Stars. He sure knew what he was doing when he joined these two hearts. I hold everything when I hold in my arms. I have all I ever need- thanks to the Keeper of the Stars." Tracy Byrd

I would like to think we have become better together. I would hope that I am more than I was. But I KNOW that he is still my ONE. He has the capacity to render my heart into bits of frustration in one moment (and believe we are going to divorce that day!) and in a few hours I am shocked at how easy it is to forgive and move on. His love dances in the dark.

"Dancing in the dark, in the middle of the night, taking your heart and holding it tight..Oh it's a beautiful thing, don't think I can keep it all in. I just gotta let you know what it is that won't let me go. It's your love- it just does something to me - it sends a shock right through me and I can't get enough. If you wonder about the spell I'm under - it's your love. Better than I was, more than I am. And all of this happened by taking your hand, and who I am now, is who I wanted to be, and now that we're together, I'm stronger than ever, I'm happy and free...and if you asked me why I've changed- all I gotta do is say your sweet name." Tim Mcgraw and Faith Hill

Our song doesn't get old to me. I hear it when the crickets chirp at dusk and the smell of summer BBQ's sing sticky sweet. I hear it on cold blustery days when smells of chocolate chip cookies permeate the air. I hear it on the radio when a new song sings how I FEEL or an old one reminds me of what I felt before. I hear my love in his chuckle which is, besides my children's voices, the most beautiful sound in the world to my soul. Our song is in the mundane, magical ordinary. We do best when we just ARE. 

"Ordinary? No. I really don't think so. Not a love this true. Common destiny. We were meant to be. Me and You. Like a perfect scene from a movie screen we're a dream come true. Suited perfectly. For eternity. Me and YOU. Everyday I need you even more. And the nighttime too. There's no way I could ever let you go. Even if I wanted to. Every day I live, try my best to give, all I have to you. Thank the stars above that we share this love- me and you. " Kenny Chesney
We are notoriously terrible at Anniversaries. I am usually sick or have my period every SINGLE year. Andenomyosis, Endometriosis, PCOS and Anemia all make this an exercise in pain. (Birth control doesn't work for me and I can not do the recommended hysterectomy.) So my husband usually spends the day trying to make me feel comfortable. We are usually broke. It IS true that a downside of marrying and having kids as teenagers is that it IS hard to build a financial foundation or catch up. So we don't usually even buy gifts and sometimes we don't even have the funds to travel to the next city over for a coffee.  We have had three anniversaries out of twenty when we bought larger gifts...and we have never gone away together.  I would not recommend it to MOST people because not knowing if the groceries or mortgage will go through sometimes is tough, tough, tough...but at the same time, those who have a very strong love and are extremely dedicated to each other, can make it through if they have just enough to scrape by. Any less than what we had, I am not as sure, because many aspects can break a marriage. I do not underestimate that. Some years we have just enough, a couple years we had more than enough, but usually we just scrape by...and it teaches us different things about life. We do other things well. But as far as travelling the world and diamonds and non thrifting shopping??? We are rich in our love. I would rather write him a love letter and listen to our favourite songs as we drive around our favourite country roads than have epic adventures. While a posh hotel would be welcomed, in the end - it's about us. It's about just BEING with him.

"Last night I had a crazy dream, a wish was granted just for me, and it could be for anything. I didn't ask for money or a mansion in Malibu, I simply wished for one more day with you. One more day. One more time. One more sunset baby, I'd be satisfied, but then again, I know what it would do, leave me wishing still for one more day with you. First thing I'd do is pray for time to crawl. I'd unplug the telephones. Keep the TV off. I'd hold you every second. Say a million I love you's - that's what I'd do with one more day with you." Diamond Rio

The first time I heard the Diamond Rio song "One more Day" we were dating and I bawled. I was already worried I would lose him. My poor guy suffered through years and decades of tears about losing him. I always said that I hope we die together. I have had this fear of losing him since I have met him. I am often shocked we made it to twenty years. Each time I am annoyed at him and I hear that song...I let it go...I remember what matters. One more day. One more moment to choose forgiveness. One more moment to love. He is a life that has been given to me to cherish, honour, protect and love. He's my whole world, given to me from the Keeper of the Stars, and gifting me with a new world in my home, with the three babies we made together and loads of memories swirled into our paired existence. I don't see how I could love him more...but I have said that before...

"I've seen the storm clouds in your past, but rest assured cause you are safe at home at last. I rescued you, you rescued me. And we're right where we should be, when we are together. I know the questions in your mind, but go ahead and ask me one more time. You'll find the answer's still the same, it wont change from day to day for worse or better. Will I promise to be your best friend? And am I here until the end? Can I be sure I have been waiting for you? And did I say my love is true? Baby I will, I am, I can, I have, I do. I know that time will disappear, but this love we're building on will always be here, No way that this is sinking sand on this solid rock we'll stand forever. Baby I will, I am, I can, I have. oh I will, I can, I have...I DO." Paul Brandt
I was born with a flair for the dramatic. In my mind, my story has always been an epic tale. I feel love and ordinary moments deeply which means that I also feel collective suffering and pain easy too. I used to hate this about myself. I didn't understand it either. I heard an analogy recently by Joy Clarkson which resonated; "The same capacity that enables me to rejoice so fully makes me vulnerable to the great consuming pain and loss of our world. Some days holding these two worlds inside makes me feel like I have a superpower. I am like a carbon monoxide alarm for the world. yes, the smallest of things can set me off- joyful and sorrowful- but isn' that the point of such a device? What good would an insensitive CO2 alarm be?" 

Philip taught me that my sensitivities and differences were a gift from God. He cherished what I struggled with. He laughs when I go off on a dramatic tirade. If I was him I would not have the patience. I live moments of tragedy over and over again and it rips me apart. He stitches me back together with the reminders of the little things I love. I could not ask for more than our time together when my favourite lyrics seep into my soul, the sunshine warms my face, and he is holding me with his familiar muscled arms. I feel safe. I feel like I am actually OK. These are the moments I thank God that I am alive. These are the moments I cherish existence. When I realize I have FOUND all I have waited for.

"... I've seen the sunset dance...I got real high on Rock N Roll and seen a lot of dreams come true but ain't no moment like when I am holding on to you. Baby all through the years, I've been moved to tears by the wonders of this old world, but one of God's mysteries that never fails to get to me is the moment that I am holding on to you." Miranda Lambert

Twenty years. It feels like maybe 7 tops! How did we get here? Where did it go? Part of me knows it went to days of fighting and loving, laughing and crying, holding and dancing, singing and yelling, breaking and redeeming. He often will tell me that he finds me more beautiful than when we first met at 17. I actually believe him. The queen of physical insecurity calms down when I hear him say that. I have always known he is the better looking half in our marriage. I don't mind. Those smile crinkles man! And those bulging biceps and that charming chuckle. I can't compare. So I don't. But he thinks I surpass him and I am fine with fairy tales.
"Has it been (20) years since we said I do? I've always heard marriage made one seem like two, but you're looking better than you did back then. You still make this ol' heart give in. And if I had it to do all over. I'd do all over again. If tomorrow I found more change to begin. I'd love you all over again. " Alan Jackson

I love him more than yesterday and I hope we still have forever to go.

"It's in the way you move me, the way you look right through me, still brings me down to my knees every time you smile. And after all this time love, It's still hard to get enough. The very first time I thought you were the one, who'd make all of my dreams come true. I STILL DO. I'm still amazed every time that we kiss. I still do. I'm never gonna stop feeling like this. Like the first time that I feel for you. They all thought we were crazy- sometimes I think they may be right- thinking we live life minus a day." Paul Brandt
On our good days? It's hard to get enough. I want time to pause. My heart still gets my seventeen year old zaps. He gives me some nightmares, but mostly he helps me build dreams. We tend to live life minus a day. We fly by our intuitions and are often unconventional. We are truth tellers which many do not understand nor necessarily like... but we get that about each other. It's one reason I believe we have lasted. We have told the truth of our struggles to love each other but also kept respect utmost. We have truthfully lived our feelings. We have been honest in our communication even when it hurts but we also remind each other to live the GOOD, the BEAUTIFUL and TRUE. For every hard moment or word, we strive to make 5 more good, beautiful ordinary or lived kindness.

"...We were meant to be together and that's why we can roll with the punches, we can stroll hand in hand, and when I say it's forever you understand that you're always in my heart, always on my mind and when it all becomes too much, you're never far behind, and there is no one that comes close to you that can ever take your place, cuz only you can love me this way." Keith Urban

He is often the face of God to me when I can not see my way through. It's almost like God said, "Here. She sees so much and feels so much but the one thing she struggles to see is her worth. She knows I love her, but she does not ever feel she is worthy...and that is why I brought you to her so early in life. You will have more years together than you will have apart. I have blessed the broken road that has led her straight to you. She will learn my Grace mostly through you. She will learn love. She will become beauty because you will be her mirror. She will find that your cherished love is only a faction of mine and she will finally have moments of understanding." And my heart weeps with gratitude to Ineffable Grace. The Divine embodied in a gift.

"I like the feel of your name on my lips. I like the sound of your sweet gentle kiss. The way that your fingers run through my hair, and how you're scent lingers even when you're not there. I like the way your eyes dance when you laugh..and how you convinced me to dance in the rain, with everyone watching like we were insane but I love the way you love me. Strong and wild, slow and easy, heart and soul, so completely, I love, the way you love me." John Michael Montgomery
On this anniversary of our twentieth spiral, I lift my heart up with gratitude. I am so grateful to be alive with him NOW. I expect more hardships, brokenness and struggles. But if I have been taught one thing it is that beauty and pain are intertwined here on earth. You can not have one without the other. If one can not be embraced or reconciled, the other will not be either. I'm learning to embody them both without apologies or excuses. The beauty is also in the future. There are more sunsets to be stunned by. Moments when I look around my living room and see my eldest son smiling as he builds an ATAT, my daughter giggling at a meme, my youngest strumming his Ukulele and my husband catching my eyes. He knows what I am thinking and we share a smile as our gazes sweep around the room. We can not get enough of this EVERYDAY LOVE.

"You just get better all the time. Darling, don't you change a thing. Lately you're the only song I want to sing. You're my reason to try. You just get sweeter every day. The little things you do and say. If only you could see you through my eyes. You just get better all the time. Oh and I get the feeling we can make it babe, as long as you are by my side, you're the music in my ears, the laughter when the tears are falling down through my life." Tim Mcgraw

Philip, You are the main song I have been gifted to sing. Our love is the same old, same old,  keeping it new. Yet, I can not get enough of our lyrics set to the song of life. I love the daily phone calls when I hear your voice. The voice that grounds me and enables me to find my own. I wish you could see you through my eyes. You are my hero and also the one I often have to pick up by the bootstraps. You say I am your spiritual compass and you are my physical one...and mostly that's true...but sometimes I realize I have learned many spiritual truths through loving you. You're my best friend but more so, my soul mate. I know those do not come along often in life and I am so glad my eyes were opened enough to SEE you and that you saw me. I recognize something eternal when I look into your gray blue eyes. Thank you for twenty of the hardest and loveliest years of my life. Baby I will, I am, I can, I have, I still DO. xoxoxo Yours Kissa

For a post written this Valentines Day from my daughter and how she views how my husband loves me ( along with a home made video she made of some of our highlights that you can watch with password) Click HERE:

Songs referenced in the post (click for the beautiful lyrical song links):

I Still Do- Paul Brandt

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Receiving My Canadian Certification of Indian Status; A Heritage and Ancestry Celebration

I wasn’t going to share this, due to misconceptions, judgements and opinions. But there is something to the poetry of BEING that is meant to be shared, despite all of that harsher reality. It’s worth it. Now, l
et's get the boring political jargon and myths out of the way before my celebratory post:

(My husbands gift to me for this celebration) 

 **Note on terms: "Indian Status" is what the Government of Canada terms my card due to the treaty. Currently, I know that "Indigenous" is a preferred term. Some of my relatives are all about the terms, while others could not care less. My Grandpa is one of the latter. From an early age he taught me that it is not the words themselves but the way they are stated in, or the love, respect or dignity (or lack thereof) within context given. He has been slurred with the word "Indian" and he has been honoured by the word "Indian." He taught me, when I was a wee one in the early eighties, to be proud of the term. "First Nations" became larger a term as I grew up, followed by "Native," followed by "Aboriginal," and now "Indigenous." I have written about vocabulary on terms based on my Autism diagnosis Click HERE. I feel the same mentality applies. This blog is my home and I am comfortable using the terms interchangeably based on my personal history. I believe each of them has been used for harm but also for good, depending on the person behind the words. I am personally honoured to have each term applied to myself. If you carry wounds from these words, please translate them to words that cause less pain for yourself, but know that I am saying them from a place of empowerment, honouring, and personal heritage. ** 

**Note on the myths of benefits: I do not live on a reserve, neither do most of my relatives that carry status cards. The government does count my status to give to the band I am registered with, to determine the benefits for that reserve, however where I live, there are not many benefits (if any). No, we do not just get free university. No, we do not all have tax free lives (it does not affect me at all.) The one benefit I have besides border crossing more easily (which I do not really need) is some prescriptions covered (which I have not used in years.) Here is an article on this before any assumptions are made on what I do or do not deserve: So, if I do not receive benefits, why is it important to me? Why did I apply? Well, that is answered in my post below. 


What does it mean to embrace a heritage, if one is the true definition of a Canadian: A mosiac of varied histories, legacies and nations? As I wrote in THIS (click) post about being Canadian: "I belong to this land. I have cherished its freedom. I am proud that my ancestor from Spain drove cattle from Mexico into the heart of Caribou County. I have often wondered, when I was in the heart of the mountains, if my Indigenous ancestors from the Secwepemc/ Shuswap nation traversed similar paths. I am thankful that my German, Danish, English and Romanian ancestors on the other side of my family tree, found their freedom when they were being persecuted in their home countries. They dug roots so that my down home could run deep. They celebrated that their country allowed for the freedoms of worship, community, health rights, and autonomy. They built up generations for the place I now call home. " (For more on the personal Indigenous/ Spanish history of my Grandpa T. Click HERE

If I could, I would love to live on the land of each of my ancestral blood ties. I love learning about each of the histories and tracing back as far as I can, into the shared hardships and joys of the different ancestors in my genetic line. It is a crucial part of BEING. Just like my Autism diagnosis was a crucial part of discovering myself, or my MBTI of INFJ. Having my Status card is another piece to the glorious BEING of ME, shaped by generations before. However, just like INFJ or Autistic, these terms do not explain the WHOLE of myself. Genetics ARE important for many aspects of living in health and family, but they are not the END STATEMENT. Family is not only blood, but those who CHOOSE to love. Health is not just genetics but also choices. Complexity is in BEING. There are so many facets. That stated, each layer of self discovery, and honouring roots, adds beauty to life.


This year has been so full of change, grief, and joy that I almost forgot I had applied. I had given it a brief thought a few weeks ago, wishing that I had my status when I was filling out a form, just so I could honour my Grandfather's roots and state,"Yes, that is in my history." But I couldn't and I promptly was swept away with daily life details. Until yesterday, when my husband walked into my bedroom humming a Native trill that my Grandpa used to sing while he patted my back as a baby, and waving a letter. His face shone with excitement and immediately I KNEW. My sense of home shifted once again. I did not think I could feel more at home, but a settled rootedness grew in an instant of confirmation, before I could even rip open the letter...


Blood ties appeal to my mystical soul (herbalist/ folklorist/ and nature based, which I call fondly 'witchy' due to my love of all things Harry Potter and Broadway's Wicked.) I am the one who loves nature and feels deep ties to the land. My spirituality has always been connected to nature. God is in every speck. I knew God before I could speak. I FELT Divinity playing in my Grandmother's yard and watching the flowers sway. Before my Christian upbringing combined with my Mystical upbringing gave me words, I had an inner KNOWING. It was easy for me to accept a God I could not see, because I saw and adored the Creation. Talking with others on the topic, I have found my way of seeing the world was not as common as I thought. There were outdoorsy people (which I am NOT) and then there were lovers of nature like me...(See THIS post for more on my love of nature.) I spent much of my childhood on the lands near my band's reserve. My Grandpa would take me on hikes in the forrest to pick Saskatoon berries and blueberries (still some of my favourites!) As I wrote HERE (click):Half of my life growing up I spent at each of my grandparents' houses for the summers in the Cariboo Mountains. Grandpa would take me into the forest and give me instructions on bear safety and the sounds of the forest- most of which I have unfortunately forgotten but some rules stuck. As we trudged up the path, me weary and him bursting with energy, he would stop and point out waterfalls and flowers.  The man who would kill to eat, stepped aside to not crush a flower. "Missy, a good person won't leave an imprint in the forest they travel, unless it's to mark their path." He would break twigs off to show me how to know where I have been while looking forward to where I should go. My favourite part was when we'd see the orange/ red peeking out from the grass. Indian Paintbrush. They symbolized Grandpa T. to me. I'd rush over and exclaim, "Grandpa, I found Indian Paintbrush!" He would crouch down and touch the pretty flower weed. "This is fire just like your ancestors. They understood that each living thing is a gift of creation. Each living thing possess the breath God breathed to create."  Occasionally he would allow me to pick one and take it home. Grandma would put it in a pretty vase and serve me cookies as I stared at the fiery passion of nature, grateful for my roots.


A few weeks before he died last October, my brother in law freely took my picture for my application for Status. I was awkward. He, of course, was smooth and charming, so he tried to make me feel at ease with his smile. He told me he read up on it and I was not supposed to smile. As I was walking out, he asked me to inform him if I received my status. I knew he was probably just being polite, but I made a mental note to inform him regardless. Unfortunately, I can not thank him personally once again and tell him I received it. However, I believe in the spiral dances of life. Part of my process oddly carried my husband's German ancestry. His relative was part of the process. That feels a bit more WHOLE.


My Auntie Donna died a few years ago. She had her Status and always wanted me to get mine. I had applied in my early twenties but the paternal/ maternal laws were different and I was denied. When the laws switched to honour maternal, with my extended family's encouragement and my brother's print offs, I re applied. Honestly, it's a lot of work, as anyone who deals with forms and red tape can attest to, and part of me did not feel like doing the work again only to be denied. 


PRESENCE. My aunt had a presence and part of her essence was driven by her deep love of our Native roots. She knew more about that aspect of our history, and was more attached to our relatives on the reserves. Pre internet, she was constantly researching the background of our original tribe. My Aunt has been on my mind more so than when she first passed away. This last year I have had moments of grief so strong, in random places, remembering her. Recently, we attended an event where a lady sang, "Love Can Build a Bridge." She sounded just like The Judds. I stopped her afterwards and with choked up tears I stated, "You sang beautifully. I felt like my Aunt was sitting beside me. She loved that song and the Judds whom you sounded like. She passed away recently, but I felt her tonight. Thank you." Part of why I applied again, was because of my Auntie Donna. The spiral has circled back and I am incorporating her legacy and Spirit into my own dance of life. I wish I could show her my card. She would have been so excited. I partially re applied because of her. (Click HERE for her tribute post.) My Grandmother, who also recently passed away, also wished this for me and I sent sparks of gratitude to heaven for her part in my story.


A few years ago, an Anthropologist/Archeologist was visiting our home to speak at one of our 'Called to Questions' (a monthly gathering where we invite professors from Universities/Tradespeople passionate about their topics etc. to present and enter into dialogue with invited guests.) We conversed on the topic of being Canadian, and what that means. I told her a bit of my history and how I was debating on re applying but felt guilty because I was not full blooded Indigenous. She surprised me with her passion, "It is actually your DUTY to try again. Even if you carry a speck that the government acknowledges, it is a priority to show them the many people of their country who carry these ancient bloodlines. These peoples who lived on this land are integral to our being... many of which helped us to survive here. I study various cultures and have headed up many digs. I especially loved being with the Natives of Nicaragua. From my standpoint, it is not only a duty, but an honour to be able to have ties to the land you walk upon and to state it and show proof of it to those who doubt. I strongly encourage you to re apply." 


A few months later, I was conversing with my adopted Aunt on my husband's side who is fully Indigenous, I asked her if it would bother her at all...since I clearly have many other bloodlines within me. We had a beautiful conversation but I can recall her saying something akin to, "It's a part of you. I can feel the connection we share of the love of nature. I recognize this in you. I would never hold it against you if you applied. I would celebrate it." And yesterday, when I texted her...she did.


Canadas National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21. The mystic in me loves that this is also Summer Solstice/ Litha. (click.) Our family loves to mark the seasons. This year my spiritual worlds collide on this day. I love marking the moon and discovering new names for the moon from the T’exelcemc is even more special. 


These are some of the myriad of reasons I teared up when my Status card arrived. This is why I texted anyone I could think of to celebrate. Most did not bother to acknowledge the beauty in it, but the friends and family who did, KNEW. They KNEW my history, my bonds, my spirituality and their statements of congrats or acknowledgement, whispered understanding, community and connection into my soul. Spiralling into my heart's dance, their voices combined. They are a part of my status too. They are a part of my journey and rooted belonging. On and off, the entire day I felt like I was walking on clouds. I felt euphoric. I felt immense gratitude for belonging, peoples, land, earth and sky. The landscape of ABUNDANCE. I felt closer to God. I was reminded I am still BECOMING. There are more layers to my story, but this is one. This is important. This is me.

I felt belonging.

Post ADDITION : I actually do get one benefit- it turns out my dental is almost all covered-  even though I do not live on a reserve-  which is amazing as I have terrible teeth and no insurance so now that saves me my teeth and a ton of money!!! 

Song Choice: My husband loves this because it's his Viking roots mixed with Native American he also played me "Indian Outlaw" which is probably considered culturally inappropriate today but it did remind me of the nineties when I loved the fact that our culture was mentioned in a country song! I loved the yes, I'm guilty of throwing my head back laughing and dancing along with it in celebration with my family! And of course, anyone who knows me, knows my love of the song "Colours of the Wind" which I have sung to my children for 19 years at bedtime. I loved Disney's Pocahontas as a child, and still do, despite it being called to cancellation by some. To me it represented aspects of my heritage, when many of those stories were lacking as main heroines at the time. I sang Colours of the Wind to my children every night that I tucked them in (followed by Part of Your World (Little Mermaid) and God Help the Outcasts ( Hunchback) to which I still choke up at every time! The lyrics to Colours of the Wind still apply to our times, "How can there be so much that you don't know? You don't know…" We don't know each path for each person. The riches of the earth are all around us. We are all connected to each other. The hoop of Life spirals amongst us. The wolf cry ignites my spirit. We all need to sing with all the voices of the mountains and paint with the colours of the wind...: