When I was young, I was in charge of my reality, how it was known and how my reality connected to the world around me. That sacred connection I had with my surroundings was my experience of true and constant healing.
I often talk about the teachings my grandfather shared with me while growing up. My earliest memories roll through my mind like a beautiful wind that wraps around and surrounds every corner and space like a gentle hug. My visions of the land we lived were grand, as they would be for a child. We lived in the rolling sandhills of the South Dakota prairie on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The land around our family’s land was covered in a green and golden wild grass that would flow and dance with the wind as it gently blew through the hills and valleys of the land. My grandfather and I would walk out on top to a hill that gave us the most beautiful view. We would sit and listen and watch the world around us. Often I would stare at my grandfather, the crinkles around his eyes often showed when he smiled at me. His silver hair and grey eyes would shine and sparkle in the warmth of the sun’s rays. He would hummmm, as we watched the world around us. His voice was gentle with a bit of a crackle in it, and he would reach his hand and pat my head. I would smile the biggest smile and close my eyes, breathe in deeply the smell of sweet grass, feeling the breath of the wind whispering to me, hearing the sounds of the birds and the bees flying around us, singing to us. I was at peace, I was happy.
And in that moment, the moment when you breathe in and just before you release that breath, is this moment of sacredness like no other. It is in that moment where healing happens. Where the full presence of our Creator is felt. A moment where time stops. And then I would release my breath, open my eyes, and see the world in a new way. My grandfather taught me to see the beauty in my surroundings. Let the land and all that inhabit it, teach me, heal me, bring me peace.
When you entered my grandparents homestead, you were greeted by a towering tree line whose role in the life of the ranch was to be protectors. They protected the ranch from the strong and ever changing seasons, a home for the four legged, two legged, winged and other beautiful creatures that also called this land home. And, almost daily, they provided protection and comfort to a child who often looked for solace. I remember my tree, my friend was always there to greet me. She created a chair for me, a spot that curved around me when I sat at her feet. Almost like she was hugging me. Within her branches lived my friends, who would sing to me a beautiful song while the life around me would sing along. It was a beautiful choir that often can get neglected in our daily lives. Again I would breathe in, connect with the world around me, welcome that full moment of peace, of happiness. I would release my breath, open my eyes and my peaceful, authentic reality was created.
I could sit in these moments, talking to the trees, the birds, the horses, and the life that was all around me. Learning, sharing my thoughts, my dreams, my difficult times. There were no secrets, no judgement, just pure authentic loving moments. In a time where we are feeling alone, struggling with being separated from those we love, those who help to sustain us, give us strength, lift us up when we are down, there is a lesson in all of this.
What my grandfather taught me was the Lakota understanding of life. Find a place outside where you can have this sacred moment. It does not matter if you are in a city, or the country, you can find this healing anywhere. Find a place to walk or to sit, close your eyes and feel and listen to the world. Feel the breeze hug you gently. Hear the music of the world around you that God created. And breathe it in. It is in that moment, that sacred moment, that God created to be close to us, even touching us. This sacred moment we share with our Creator, allows us to experience the beautiful relationship with creation around us in such an amazing and wonderful way. Open your eyes and let this beautiful gift lift you up. Because, in this time when we may feel the most isolated than we ever have before, it is in this moment we can know, we are not alone. Remember this closeness we have with our Creator through the world around us wherever we are. Live into this wisdom and let it give you the strength, hope, peace and healing you need.