School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 

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Issue: June 2010
Surrender to the Divine

By Jan Lee

"let him that would move the world, first move himself " (Seneca Indian)

A year ago, I prepared an article for this newsletter. I didnít submit it at the time, but I saved it.

 I wrote;

 "When we return to ourselves,  to our inner Rhythm, our total connection to body, blood and breath; we surrender ourselves to the Divine. We wring ourselves out in sweaty offerings, in our pleas, our prayers, our thanks, our despair, our ecstasy, our giving back, our giving away "

 

 I then made a "giant leap " to the Great Plains of native America in the 1800's. I wrote of the Ghost Dance  ceremonies that swept like wildfire across the Dakotas, as the People, worn down with genocidal battles and massacres and trails of broken treaties,  the poverty and harsh conditions of the reservation system, turned to dance to "bring back the way ". The Ghost dancers were massacred, their ghost shirts did not protect them from the bullets, but the dance goes on.

 

Today I am rewriting this article, because, the time has come. I am Coming to England in July to take my place for all my relations, at The Long Dance Ceremony in Somerset. I feel the activist in me activated ! I hear the call.

My passion for Native American (indeed all indigenous peoples ) culture and rights, has been re-kindled since committing my fundraising efforts for the Long Dance to three not for profit organisations  working to revitalise and preserve Lakota Culture, and give much needed material assistance to people who nowadays struggle just to survive daily lives of abject poverty and broken-ness on reservations, such as Pine Ridge, (which I have visited on two occasions ) During the time I spent in America  doing my teacher training with Gabrielle, I met up with my friend, Sam, and we took off in a battered old van called "henry " to re visit Indigenous America. In Manderson, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge reservation,

 

We were made welcome by Alex and Debra White Plume, on whose land  we camped,  rested up,  rode horses under the big  beautiful Plains sky,  smelled the sweet grass and sage and  watched their herd of surviving  Buffalo in awe, and felt blessed. 

 

As a child, my mother sang a song to me , it went : "Take me back to the Black Hills, the Black Hills of Dakota, to the beautiful Indian country that I love . Lost my heart in the Black Hills , The Black hills of Dakota,  where the Pines are so high that they kiss the sky above ...."

 

Strangely enough Spirit took me there as an adult. Tragically, the story of this area and its people is not all Beauty. I visited the Wounded Knee massacre burial site, and there, echoing the book title " Bury my heart at Wounded Knee ". took off the rose quartz heart i wore around my neck and tucked it into the earth. In this way,  I lost my heart, in the Black Hills  of Dakota.

 

Debra and Alex  White Plume are modern day warriors, fighting the uranium company that is polluting their sacred waters, They are fighting  to protect their sovereignty, for the federal police not to enter their land and  year after year destroy their Industrial Hemp plantation, (designed to bring in money and work for the whole tiospaye (extended family ). They are fighting for their ceremonial places , Bear Butte and Maha Sapa,( The heart of everything that is)... to be  respected and undisturbed by Biker rallies and bars. They are protectors of their land.

 

 I quote a beautiful Joni Mitchell  song, "Lakota"( Chalk mark In a rainstorm )

 

" we never sold this land here, to the Missile heads, to the power plants...

 lay down your reeking ore, 

 Dont you hear the  shrieking  in the trees?

 Everywhere you touch the earth she's sore, 

 Every time you skin her all things bleed .

You think we're sleeping,

 but quietly like rattlesnakes and stars,

 we have seen the trampled rainbows, 

 In the smoke of cars, 

I am Lakota, standing on sacred ground...."

 

A year ago, in my original article , I wrote " I would like to organise  a money and awareness raising event, a modern day ghost dance.... " 

This year, I am so pleased to be Long dancing. Thank you SO  much Susannah and Ya'Acov for speaking with the same voice  and manifesting this! And thank you for the integrity of your work, for its individuality and thank the great spirit it isnít pretending to be a Native ceremony. Much as I revere  Native ceremonies, I have never wanted to imitate, or "play Indian ".The Giveaway, however , is of a very Native  spirit and it so  balances up our western or white emphasis on  the "get-in " (getting what we can for ourselves)."whatever you want, Give it away ", I remember Gabrielle advising...

 

And so, I, personally, am dancing for the Lakota and their organisation Owe Aku  which translates as www.bringbacktheway.org (or type in Owe Aku )Alex and Debra are central in their community, and the community IS literally For All My relations( Mitakuye Oaisin). Every child I met claimed Alex to be his Uncle, and i realised this wasnít necessarily in the narrow way we define our relatives, As 7 year old Tyson explains , Tiospaye is "big family ". And the earth, the animals , the "standing silent nation" (plant people ) are all part of that family. Their fight is not just for the two leggeds. It is Lakota duty to protect the sacred water for her own sake, not just  to protect themselves from the cancers, birth defects, blindness ,that uranium poisoned water creates.

 

The two other organisations i am supporting  by dancing and raising money are www.pathwaystospirit.org  and www.heartsofthesacredspirit.org . my friend Lucille Pansy Two Bulls Weasel Bear( check that out for a NAME !) recommended the latter, run by friends of hers.Both organisations are working with the Lakota to improve the material conditions on the reservations, and also to uphold Spiritual Traditions and ways, amidst a background of poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, teen suicide, etc.. you can get more facts of whats going on in modern day America by looking at the websites. it isnt all pretty. I would recommend you look at the fantastic, raw but heartbreakingly beautiful photos of Pine Ridge taken by AARON HUEY (IS A PHOTOGRAPHER) he has a page on facebook too.  His images speak louder than words.

 

To conclude, hereís a nice story about right timing, and things coming to fruition in their own time, like this article.

 

Last year, wanting to support the Lakota on Pine Ridge, I found my friend Pansy Two Bulls, through  a website called Lakota Quilts. She is the youngest quilter, some being old ladies in their 80s, real survivors, but Pansy had email. I ordered a Star Quilt, not knowing for what occasion. Her husband, a descendent of the great Sitting Bull . was  very ill, and The quilt making was delayed, as Pansy made tiring trips to Rapid City HospitalUK address, and finally it arrived.. the day after I came back to Crete after Christmas ! But the wonderful thing is... it will be right there waiting for me when I come back  to take part in the Long dance.. and this is exactly the ceremony it was for, I just didnt know at the time. (miles  off the reservation ). She was struggling to make ends meet when she recieved the full up front payment for my quilt. " I believe in the power of prayer " she wrote to me from the hospital, and so our emailing continued. I asked her to send the quilt to my

 

My big feeling of connection to these people has always been with me, and it doesnít matter why. past life maybe, but thatís not important, What matters is the resonance, I feel, that their beautiful culture and traditional respect for Life is at the very core  of what we all need to return to. In the way that what you give comes back to you a hundredfold, but from another direction, when you arenít expecting it, so it feels with making reparations, that the apology and the healing doesnít always come from the perpetrator. I am glad to offer my prayers and back them up with material help for the Lakota. I am well aware that the genocide continues today, in insidious ways, as with so many indigenous and aboriginal people.

 

 So I was ecstatic, that the Movement Medicine  team chose SURVIVAL ( for tribal people ) as the overall group  organisation to support in the Long Dance. The Giveaway is Beautiful, and I am so glad to be partaking in this event.

 I feel proud and so excited to be joining with you all to dance for this Beautiful Planet, for All My Relations. We Are All related. And How wonderful that other people will be dancing for the elephants, the orang-utans, for Palestine, for so many projects, that this promises to be an almighty energetic and wonderfully tangibly financially materially assisting ceremony.... matter follows spirit and Vision, and projects need financing.

 

If you would like to contribute to the above  native American organisations, please get in touch with me by emailleejanrosa@gmail.com. heartsofthesacredspirit and pathwaystospirit  have their own payment facilities on the website, so you can donate directly, but Owe Aku dont, and I wil be wiring money to the White Plumes, so old fashioned cheques to my Uk address will be fine.

 

 

If you would like to order a  traditional Lakota Starquilt go to Lakota Quilts. For

any more info on how to support Native American People, recommended reading etc, get in touch with me.

 

 here a lot to learn, about the gnarly realities , as well as the beauty of the traditional ways.

 

( For example, the term Squaw to describe a native woman should never be used, as it is a word which means female genitalia in a derogatory way) A small but pertinent example...

 

 And if you are in Crete on friday 14 th May,  come to the fundraising  tribal dance event " "Dancing for the Red Earth "..(see  my facebook soon(janice rosa lee ) 

 

So, "let him who would move the world , first move himself !"

 The Long Dance takes place 2 to 6 July in Somerset, UK. Whether you are dancing or supporting the dancers..

 

 Offer whatever you can, in spirit or matter. Give to this world you find yourself in, with all its beauty and its horrors... 

 

 I leave you with this beautiful prayer from Black Elk (Oglala Sioux Holy Man )

 

 "Hear me, four quarters of the world- a relative i am! Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that i! give me the eyes to see and the strenght to understand that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds ".

 

Jan Lee leejanrosa@gmail.com

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www. schoolofmovementmedicine.com