North Medicine.

So with this current empty feeling, and “white season” we are on the north side of the medicine wheel. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the medicine wheel is a very common practice and symbol in the Native world. The circle itself is very healing to us (representative of the earth, being connected) but also embodies the four directions that represent the four sacred things throughout life. These definitely change depending on which tribe you are referring to, as each has their own take on the wheel. The main colors are white, yellow, black and red which some say is a representation of the different races, but it changes once again with each tribe.

  • Stages of life: birth, youth, adult (or elder), death
  • Seasons of the year: spring, summer, winter, fall
  • Aspects of life: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical
  • Elements of nature: fire (or sun), air, water, and earth
  • Animals: Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Buffalo and many others
  • Ceremonial plants: tobacco, sweet grass, sage, cedar

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This is also what the Zia closely resembles that is present on the New Mexico flag, and why I have it tattooed on me. Moving on, we are in the north season on the medicine wheel which would be the white section. I was with some lovely friends last week venting about life problems, and how I have been longing for summer which they agreed. I feel very “off” in the winter, very internal, and almost as if I am unable to communicate; everything is silent. That’s when it hit me, and I remembered my studies of the medicine wheel, and what winter is supposed to be.

I believe that the earth silents itself because we too need to become silent with it. It is a time for everything to almost shut down, and internalize. It’s a time for spiritual reflection, for contemplation, and to think of the coming months when we will act on our newfound feelings and rebuild. When you are forced to sit silently with yourself, and “contemplate” it’s not the greatest. I feel panicky, confused, and lost. I long for summer days where I’m much more certain, carefree, and loving. After remembering my upbringing, and the how the medicine wheel is truly just a reflection of what our spirit, earth, and bodies go through, I feel much calmer. This is why the medicine wheel is exactly that; it is medicine because it helps us understand “us” a little better.

No I don’t always appreciate this time of year, and it really doesn’t excite me sometimes to reflect and push myself through spiritual change. But, moments like these past few weeks where things are coming to light, I’m figuring out what I want to do, and where I somewhat want to go is exciting! Shedding old skin is exciting, and feeling slight shifts of the east spring air coming in is a relief! If you are feeling internal, thoughtful, or maybe emotional while all of this snow is on the ground, or as the icy air hits your face it’s because it is natural. Let your spirit sort through these times to prepare for our new seasons, and to put your newfound idea’s into action.

-haley.

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We Can Do It.

So recently anyone who’s friends with me might have an idea that I’ve been working hard at a new job. In December I was hired to be a Ski Technician because yes, I live in a tourist town that turns into nothing but snowboarders, and skiers in winter.

When they asked me, “Are you sure you want to be a ski tech?” and I saw that all my coworkers would be guys I got really excited. Not because of stupid reasons but because it was just me, my brother, and dad for a while growing up, and I loved being in a guy environment. By the end of my first week of work as a Ski Tech, I was breaking out from hormonal acne, and crying at home while studying for Ski Technician certification tests. hahahaha. What exactly happens when you step into an arena filled with the opposite sex?

rosie2The war on women is a very real thing in society; there is definitely an invisible line between the sexes, and of course women are considered to be underneath men. If you’re in denial about this then please go check yourself into a mental institution. Its hard to live as a woman (society wants you to be a hundred pounds, the best dressed, Kim K contour makeup, no real feelings, and an acrobat in the bedroom) and you’re supposed to live how society wants you to live…in this perfect little woman box with woman jobs. I mean, BIC even has Pens for women! Society has such high expectations for a sex that has such low respect. Getting hired into a guy position and walking into the tech room (a room full of tools, machines that could take your arm off, and things that catch on fire) I felt like I was stepping into the Hunger Games with all guy opponents. I was the Katniss, and representation of my whole sex. How well was the “girl” going to hold her own? Those are the first initial feelings working a considered “guy” job.

The first thing that’s needed to be successful as a woman in this environment is having the right kind of guy coworkers. The ones who take you just as serious as they do their buddies, and who see you as a coworker despite the boobs on your chest. You need guys that truly want to help you succeed, and don’t view you as a threatening girl that can do their job too. You also don’t want your coworkers to see you as a possible rump in the sheets, and for yourself too, don’t be that girl. The guys I work with are amazing in that area; I am their equal, they help me, but they also expect me to carry my weight.

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As hard as you try, you will not be one of the guys. You will in the way that you can hang out, make jokes, and yeah we all grab a beer after work sometimes. But just know that you might not be friends on social media, or invited to other hangouts because yes, these guys have girls who might not understand your role as just a friend. Also, when they’re talking about ass (other girls) that’s not always fun with your girl co-worker right there. You’ll be a friend just like all the guys…but you won’t be one of “the guys.” Sorry, ladies.

You will learn a lot from these guys (if you make friends out of them) and create great friendships that make you want to smile all the time. I learn so much about what they think, or from talking about their girlfriends that it actually calms my “relationship” anxiety. Also, maybe it’s because of the opposite sex thing, but you feel like you have people to lean on, vent to, and if my car breaks down I could probably call any of them. It totally sounds like an episode of New Girl, but really, that’s what it feels like.

You will be self conscious. Not in the way of do I look fat, and is my hair okay (well actually, that’s everyday for me) but more like “am I keeping up okay”, “I hope I don’t seem stupid”, and “I hope I’m carrying my weight.” You go from styling your hair that morning to knowing what an allen wrench is, and when you need it. You go from winging your eyeliner perfectly to grinding, and waxing ski’s, and also pushing ski’s into extremely tight bindings that take your whole body weight. Basically what I’m saying is that you feel like you’re a representation of your sex in two ways; you need to look and feel like a woman, but go to work as a man. I hate asking the guys to “pop” ski’s for me, or to show me again how to put the grinding machine back together so I don’t blow the place up. I feel like because I’m asking questions, I’m weaker.

However, when asking my manager, “does it bother you that I’m a girl working this job?” he replies, “not at all!!” while training me to do something else. These people believe in me just as much because they are the right minded kind of people. Sometimes these invisible sex lines are just that; invisible. After a few weeks, I don’t think the guys care if I come to work with messy hair, or not…and I think they prefer me asking questions instead of almost killing myself or anyone else. Sometimes it really is all in your head, and you hold yourself to higher standards than they do (which is something I’m learning that women do a lot for guys!) But be warned; there are occasional sexists assholes out there like anywhere else. Despite what’s in your pants, you can do any fucking thing that you want to do.

-haley.

Pueblo Dreams.

Recently it was “All Kings Day”, and here in New Mexico at some pueblo’s had a “Feast Day” to celebrate. Most pueblo’s are a heavy mix of not only the Native American spiritual beliefs, but also Catholic. Feast days are a huge mix of both religious, or spiritual beliefs resulting in dances, and on this day that included Buffalo dances. I grew up standing at the drum watching pueblo ceremonies, singing my heart out, and even falling asleep because of how long these went. As I got older, I started participating, and yes, it’s life changing. Every time I attend a pueblo ceremony, or participate – the best way I can describe it is being in a dream-like state. With being educated on the Seventh Generation Prophecy said by Crazy Horse, I’m starting to see that exact prophecy come together.

“Upon suffering beyond suffering; the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things, and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be as one.”  -Crazy Horse

crazyhorseMy hair stood on end when Crazy Horse (His horses are spirited is what his name actually means by the way – not crazy horse) talked about young white people coming to use for wisdom because it’s been in the process for decades. In fact, they were crowded around me at the Pueblo asking questions, and excited to be there. I’m glad people that are not of Native decent are actually interested in the very old, and deep roots in our culture, but some however just want to see us…like the circus.

Most whites will complain about “Native attitude” when visiting reservations – which I understand both sides. Visitors of the past, and present have contributed to exactly why Natives have to act the way they do…and I was horrified to have them around me. Here are some little tips of what I observed if you ever do want to visit a Pueblo Ceremony, and if you truly want to be considered a gracious visitor.

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Do Not Wear “Native Inspired” Clothing

The level of embarrassed I felt for everyone that wore fake Native Inspired prints, and clothing was just beyond high. You will not blend by wearing these items, or make natives happy because these intended prints stick out. You are supporting people that “mooch” off of genuine designs. Support inspired Natives, not “Native Inspired.”

 

Do Not Ask the Families Questions or Applaud Dances

Pueblo ceremonies are exactly that…ceremonies; just like if you were in a church. Don’t interrupt, or over speak to ask questions about what the dances are about. That’s something to research later after the crowd has progressed. Also, it’s not a performance so clapping would be a tad ridiculous.

 

DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT “Keep the Beat” or Dance with the Dancers

Lawd have mercy. I could’ve passed out seeing people jumping and bouncing along with the drums. If you are not a dancer, you are not dancing. Dancers go through a preparation to be a dancer with the correct regalia, painting, praying, blessings, traditional hair styles, feathers…not even the women on the side “bounced” along. It’s disrespectful. Yes, the music is beautiful, and its tempting to want to join in (for me at least) but that is considered just horrendous.

 

These are real things that I observed on Wednesday during the Pueblo ceremony that maybe just might help you understand what not to do, and why. Some visitors looked upon dancers like they were literal animals, or a show to watch. They smirked, not taking anything in, only to want to snap chat later that they saw “real Indians.” Others cried asking me if that was normal (yes it is actually, to be that spiritually moved) and commented that this was the most human thing that they ever witnessed. These ceremonies are older than America. Please go back and see what puts our spirit in balance…and be respectful while witnessing it.

-haley.

 

Find Your Wings.

I’m about to be that ridiculously cliche’ person, and say how much 2015 was packed with changes…but really it was. This year I pushed myself out of so many boxes, comfort zones, and had to learn extremely tough lessons. Because of doing that, I think I’ve definitely become a happier person even though I don’t always express it.

I’ve known this about myself for a while now, but lately I see it developing more inside of me. I love to learn, and experience just about anything I can. When I’m not exploring, reading, learning, searching then I find that I’m dead inside. I love to share this with other people which I think is where I get such a joy in educating kids. Also, plainly it just really sucks to be like this in a generation of people who are so dead to learning. They don’t open their mind, or their books yet they wonder what their problem is. But that’s for a whole other post I guess.

I don’t make New Year resolutions because I think it’s stupid quite frankly. Committing to only one thing? Commit to being better everyday. 2015 was all about change, and I guess you could say I really want 2016 to be full of experiencing, and “finding my wings.” I’ve learned that this is something that I can’t depend on anyone else to do for me, not even support. I’m becoming more confident in my abilities even as a loner, which yes sometimes it actually does sting.

I’ve been by myself a lot of years now, and being tucked away in the mountains I’m really really by myself. I love it though. This year, I’m shedding and pushing myself further into change. I may not always have the time to talk, or write about it, but my soul will live with it. Find your own wings.

snowdeer

P.S. Check out song of the week.

-haley.