imgresI can only tell my piece, my very small part of  the story of Standing Rock and their stand against DACL (Dakota Access Pipeline). In this story my role has been as Witness. Not that of heroine, or villain, but I recognize the mirror before me and see the reflections of multiple characters. I am DAPL. I am the Morton County Sheriff. I am the Missouri River. I am the Water Protector. I have profited from oil. I have stood in judgment of others. I am made of water. I am a peaceful protector. I have needed protection. I identify with the light and shadow.

I started to follow what was happening in North Dakota because it’s where I grew up. My father moved us to there in 1969.

In guiding Past Life Regressions, stories have emerged of both victims and perpetrators in the Indian wars. A native woman forced to march only to end up in a log building with too many others, suffocating to death under the crush of bodies. A young warrior scouting for his village, shot before he could warn them of the army coming to wipe them out. Then there was the white man who had been ordered to run over an Indian standing on the tracks rather than stop the train he engineered. In one of my past lives I was again a witness. I came across a battlefield two days after the fighting had ended. I saw the carnage, the waste. I guess I should not really be surprised that what is happening at Standing Rock has triggered me. In my past life, I lived alone up in the mountains, preferring it. Not missing people even a little bit. Not lonely. In this lifetime, I have given myself a deep desire for tribe. In this life I’m finding it much harder to take what I’ve seen and stay silent.

The police who are participating in the violation of civil and constitutional rights of the water protectors will never be the same again. They’ve chosen these experiences. I chose to be a witness who saw and then retreated deep into the mountains. Believe me, I’d like to be able to retreat and go silent. I’d like to go to yoga class and talk about how my crazy old dog traveled with me, as if that was the only thing worth mentioning about my trip back north. I’d like to pretend all has returned to normal now that I’ve left North Dakota. Since this all started at Standing Rock, I’ve been pulled from my grounded center and have been intent of finding my way back there.

I center myself by pouring a glass of water, drinking it, and saying, “This water is clean, today. Today, the water is clean. Maybe tomorrow it will be undrinkable. But that is not this day.”

For some, it is that day.

I tell myself, maybe one day a water protector will lose their life, but it is not this day. I tell myself, maybe one day I will be jailed for writing, for reading tarot, for posting something on the internet, for marching in a peaceful protest, but it is not this day.

For some, it is that day.

While visiting at Sacred Stone Camp with my son and my friend Judy, Judy and I had the experience of having the twenty-something water protectors greet us by placing a hand to heart and saying, “Good morning, Elders.” Judy commented to me how graceful it felt to be seen and respected. To have the feeling of being valued. In Sanskrit this is Namaste. “I see you.” Almost to a person, we were thanked for coming. I thanked all I spoke with for being there, too. There was grace is the gratitude.

We brought a lunch and were sitting by our truck eating when a young man asked us if we were going to the “front” and could they get a ride. Judy did not hesitate. I hesitated. I had no intention of witnessing the front, only wanting to see from the safe distance of the camps. But if Judy went, then I would go, too.

A young native man introduced himself as Long Bow and held out a blue bowl with a pale pink paint. “For protection,” he said. He showed us that we should paint it across our foreheads; that it was made from the same soft stone from which their sacred pipes are carved.

“Is it appropriate for me to do this?” I asked him, feeling like a jerk for hesitating, and a jerk for thinking I had any right to mark myself with what he held sacred. Feeling like a jerk for being a clueless white woman, I guess. Fearful that I would forget the lessons learned when I was the arrogant perpetrator. Too careful? Not careful enough?

He tipped his head and looked at me with curiosity, maybe confusion. I could see myself in his expression. “It’s appropriate,” he said and he showed me again how to mark my forehead.

These young people were going to the front on the day that the Water Protectors tried to cross the river to pray at Turtle Island, but what struck us the most was that they were calm, serene even. To say that they were peaceful protestors because they didn’t carry weapons would be too limiting. They were peaceful protestors because they embodied peace.

Back at home in Florida, where our Indian River Lagoon is in so much trouble, in a large part because of poor choices made by the Army Corp of Engineers, and where I had mentally surrendered my house to Hurricane Matthew’s storm surge only a few weeks earlier, I watched the interview with Kelsey Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners on CBS. His arrogance is palpable. I recognize it from one of my own past lives as a British Imperialist. That was a really fun life, but oh, the arrogance. I was to learn in that life how to be a citizen of the world. Until now, I thought that meant I needed to find a balanced way to be more arrogant. In that life, I walked into sacred temples as if they existed solely for me to explore. Only now do I see that what makes me a resident of the world is an understanding that I am Kelsey Warren. I understand his inability to fathom what the problem is here. I also am so grateful that I know to try to understand the problem now.

I meditate and pray to Creator, “Forgive my unforgiveness.” In a dream, I saw myself as some great supernatural priestess able to stare at Kelsey until he shuttered and shifted his stance. I put my hand on his heart, and realized I was squeezing it too tightly. In horror, I pulled back. It is my own heart that needs to be altered first. I still am afraid of my own power and that it do harm to another out of some passion for right and justice. My own arrogance still.

I want to hope for justice. I really do. I want to hope that we are all that the mystics say we are becoming. Enlightened. More loving. The ones we’ve been waiting for. That this chaos is a final cry before the beast of old is killed. But I fear now, really fear, that what I witnessed at the Front, the militarized police up on a hill staring down at us, dark, armed, harsh, and the constant intimidation of the planes flying overhead, is what this country has become. What it became even before this last election. If it can happen in North Dakota unchecked—North Dakota where most people in the USA have never been, it can happen anywhere. Anywhere.

I realize once again, I’ve flown off center. Here I am at the edge of the spiral and the feeling in my belly is sick and fluttery. A tumble into chaos. My hands reach out for a way to leverage myself back to the middle. I go to the beach. I hold my steadying stones. I sit in stillness. I say the Meta Mediation and say prayers. I come back to myself. Today I have clean water. I pray for Kelsey Warren. For the sheriff and the governor. I pray so hard for Long Bow who offered me the pink paint of protection, that he be protected. I pray for us all as beings made of water.

Finally my gaze finds a still point in my friend Margie, a woman of light and peace. My gaze goes to the super moon rising over the ocean. My eyes find a still point in the Water Protectors who walked to the front line in peace. I find my own road back to myself, to Source, to oneness—to peace. Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.”

Thich Nhat Hahn says, “Peace is every step.”


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    One Comment

    1. 11-18-2016

      Thank you for your words and bravery, I am honored to have spoken with Judy to ask questions and see through her eyes and also through your experience. Blessing to you my friend.

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