Reclaiming the Indigenous Within Us....
In this world at this time we are, each of us, an amalgamation of our ancestors - of their hopes, fears, shame, perfection and beauty. But we are not always that. We are not born that....When we come into this world as uniquely helpless infants, we are fresh with the possibility and newness of our own soul's purpose. But in a culture that has not done its work in attending to its grief, its love and its rage, very quickly we begin to take on the burdens of our lineage; burdens that have become too great for our individual relatives to carry. They very generously offer these unresolved intricately woven stories to us to help unburden themselves. They offer us their cultural shame, their shame for their human-ness, the shame for their gender, for their sexuality, for their own 'failures' and for the 'failures' of their relatives. In this way, we pass along this inheritance, generously bestowed on us by our ancestors. As humans we are predisposed to pass the 'gifts' we have been bestowed from our elders along to our youngers. Perhaps it is part of the insistence of Life to survive. And it just so happens that particularly in Western culture, a culture that has all but forgotten the importance of Story and inheritance, what gets passed along is what most desperately needs to be honored, purged and exorcised in the moment rather than ignored, silenced, repressed and dishonored. What gets passed along is the smallness of what humans have become, not the beauty. Certainly there is still tremendous beauty in our culture and in the world...it survives despite this war ...but in order to bring it back as the norm and not the exception, we must become fierce in our reclamation and protection of it. We are, each of us, a beautiful tapestry of those things inherited and those things indigenous. In this context, when I say 'indigenous' I mean, those things that are unique to you and to me (different for each of us) that we are born into this world with. I have come to believe that each of us is born with an indigenous language that, when spoken, is understood clearly by those around us who are freely speaking their own indigenous language. And, in its own way, in its uniqueness, each of these languages is designed to honor something about Life that has no other way of being honored. When we all come together speaking our indigenous languages, we create a Story about the World that cannot be told any other way.
I have noticed, with tremendous grief, that when we are born into this culture it seems most of our experiences are designed to slowly wean us off our indigenous language, slowly talk us out of this innate honoring. Believing they are doing their jobs as parents and teachers, those responsible for our development coax us away from this way of thinking, from the BIG-ness of our Story (that there is something only I can do for The World, some way of honoring Life that only I am capable of). In its stead, we are offered a small way of being. We are offered shame, doubt, fear and - to a greater and greater extent, we are offered hopelessness.
Re-Wilding requires that we reclaim the indigenous within each of us. It requires that we take time and create space (literally, a physical space) in which we can hear those voices that are speaking deep within us that are speaking the language unique to each of us. It requires that we cultivate enough hope and faith to allow the inherited language(s) of shame and hopelessness to die off, to be burned on a fire of great honoring (with grateful recognition that this inheritance is a by-product of our ancestors desire to do the right thing), but burned nonetheless. This work requires that we enter a dangerous dialogue with ourselves that starts with the audacious assumption that we are, each of us, a uniquely created for a specific thing. In this way we can look at ourselves as ecosystems. As ecosystems within the larger biome of this Western culture, most of us, to a greater or lesser extent, have been burdened with the weight of invasive species; stories and belief systems that inhibit the natural wisdom and relationship between the indigenous life within us. If we are to re-wild, we must take the time to explore deep within ourselves, tracking the life that is indigenous and the life that is parasitic; differentiating between the two and ceremoniously but fiercely sacrificing those inherited parasitic stories and belief systems. Once we have identified them, it is possible to reverently offer them back to wherever they came from. "Thank you, but these are not mine, and I can no longer carry them for you..." If we do this with the help of those who see us in our truth, who mirror back to us our purpose and hear the beauty of our indigenous language, we are powerfully positioned to survive this Re-Wilding transformation.
There is a greater human story that each of us is born into. Each new life holds a different chapter deep within its fragile fierce bones, endowed with an indigenous language unique to itself that is perfectly created to speak a new strand of wisdom about the largest weaving that is Life. We must reclaim what is indigenous within each of us and give back what does not serve. In fact, at this point we can no longer afford to carry the small stories of our lineage. The cost of our deafness and our inertia is far too great for the human soul to bear.