One year ago I left my job to go to the pipeline protest that was taking place at Standing Rock, the ancestral homeland of some of the first Americans, the Lakota people. I was proud of them for taking a stand, as the Lakota people are part of my ancestry and I’m proud of that. I somehow feel the pain that has trickled down through the generations of a broken people though I don’t have the right answer for many who ask, “What percentage are you?” That question has only been asked of me before and after Standing Rock, I never heard it once at camp.
What I found there was life changing. I lived there from October through December 2016. I celebrated my 30th birthday there. I have no words to describe the place other than to say:
· I did try to do it justice and have completed a book, Peace Standards: Standing Rock, that I look forward to getting to you
· I knew there was no going back to life before Standing Rock; no going forward with eyes closed, now that they’ve been opened
· It’s driven me to spend 2017 learning what there is to do about it all, my part in it and how to do it.
Here are those lessons:
Mother Teresa has so sweetly summed up the internal journey that I continue to work at:
The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.
Yes, that speaks to the truths I saw, in practice, at Standing Rock and which have been my compass since. In 2017:
- Spreading love through service kept me busy and travelling Texas, Utah, Florida, back to Texas, St. Louis, MO, Colorado, and back home to California.
- Finding wisdom (the what and the how of my why!) and peace in solitude got me lost for many, many enlightening days in the great wilderness that, currently, struggles to remain protected across the states.
- WWOOFing for the first time introduced to me to real life heroes who showed me that any and every adversity may be overcome and can be achieved through the vehicle of good business; mindful resourcefulness, neither losing sight of quality nor sacrificing the gifts of Mother Nature with frivolousness, despite success, growth, and the creeping effect of many years.
- Divesting (the teaching of it) has and continues to be the most important flag that I can fly in the wake of the Standing Rock pipeline protest: we must stop buying into, and therefore perpetuating, the toxic aspects of our society. The possibilities are endless; the easiest way to start is by personally reassessing needs from wants… for example, can I curb the materialism of the holidays by choosing quality(time) over quantity? Do I need to use individually packaged coffees every day or is their a less resource-consuming solution? Can I get in the habit of carrying and using my reusable cups and grocery bags? Most powerfully, can I move my business from corporate banks to local credit unions? Our money is their wealth and their target, conversely the taking away of our money is their Achilles heal.
- In feeling conflicted by the direction of that compass, presence of moment, anti-materialism, and simplicity against my forced engagement in the very social media which was the only channel allowing our voices from the ground in bloody, violent, DAPL-owned North Dakota to be heard … I learned to silkscreen (print) my own tshirts. With each step forward, like a highway billboard, Love or Happily Divested speaks across all of my clothes; I pass them out as I travel along.
- I became a certified RAD Self-Defense instructor. This option brings practicality and affordability to defense education. Go to a class near you.
For me it was a year of becoming lighter and feeling freedom as I’ve never known it. It has been the best year of my life and I look forward to all the rest, however many I’m gifted, topping it!
Gofundme to launch soon 🙂