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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Robbins

Learning to Walk with Courage

I have always been on a search, seeking connection and a sense of belonging. Luckily; my career at the time, was able to take to around the world, and I was able to explore cultures and spirituality in a way I could never hope for. Once this round-the-world trip was completed, I was called home and when I returned there they were, the teachings of my own culture. I just had to return home, and ever since then, I have been investing my time and energy into learning more about the Seven Sacred Teachings of our Grandfathers. As I write and allow my thoughts to pass to my hands I hope I will further my understanding. I have just finished a discussion group, where these teachings were the focus. We gathered to shared medicine with each other and round the circle. It is interesting because we have completed this circle twice now and the insights we have gathered and shared continue to get deeper, not only learning to define our understanding of these teachings but learning how to stand and walk with them. I am still learning how to walk them. This is my journey, and the lessons I am learning.


Courage comes from Bear. They embody that value in the way they live. Braving rapids in their pursuit of food, warring with each other in the fight for resources when they become scarce. Standing between predators and their cubs. The courage, it takes to make those risky decisions for the sake of survival, even to leave the familiar to some unknown terrain with family in tow, for a better life.

Courage takes all forms, as humans, life can be a bit complicated and yet our needs are quite simple. Having enough to pay for a roof overhead, my cupboard full, I often take for granted the clean water and lastly a job that provides enough for me to live and provide for my family. I am lucky if I can enjoy the job I chose. That is not always a choice, the jobs available don’t often provide that sense of joy. Those jobs that do have some joy in them don’t pay much. It does make a difference between living and surviving. The living sacrifice that many do, is to provide for their families at the expense of my mental wellbeing. Having my family live well and happy while I suffer in silence behind masks and smiles.

I reflect on the courage it took to change my life. To leave the stability of a job that provided everything, it paid well, benefits and all at the cost of being taken away from my family to fight in a global war, in the pursuit of freedom and peace. Rather contradictory when you are in service to the military. It was a job I hated because I wasn’t allowed to be myself. Individuality is probably the biggest fo paw in the service. Everyone was expected to look and behave the same way. In a world of uniforms and masked faces, mantled with a sense of duty and higher purpose, often we weren’t allowed to know what that purpose was. In that life, the restrictions outweighed everything else. I could attempt to write them all down but, most of these rules don’t make sense. What they did was restrict, the thoughts and voices of the members. No better sense of conformity than a life of silence. No one understands this lifestyle better than those still in the Queens’ and now the King’s service. That duty will always come first, ahead of everything else and family comes second. It took a large amount of courage to leave that, to leave the stability of that pay cheque to explore a career where I would feel more valuable as an individual. So beginning my new career as a Counsellor. I am still very new, only three years in, and I feel more sense of accomplishment than I’ve ever felt in my twenty years of service. I never felt this way before and I look forward to the challenges that are coming my way. Right now, it's having enough patience to wait for decisions to be made on my behave and get my long coveted letters behind my name. I’d be Brandon Robbins, RTC. Becoming a registered therapeutic counsellor is my current goal. Everything else falls into place after that point and it's something I’m looking forward to.

The courage took to be me. To shed the masks and costumes and simply be me. It has taken some time but I am just getting a sense of what and who that is. Not only that but what it means to be me because I have never been able to explore that space before now. I can now shed that sense of obligation, duty, the unrealistic idea of perfection that kept me buried beneath heaps of costumes and expectations of who they expected me to be. I am told that some in my family don’t have this freedom, that can’t be who they are because of similar expectations pressed upon them, to be what companies expect, to embody values and ideals that they may not believe in. Perhaps someday day they will be. That is my hope for them, that then shed their own burdens and step into who they are and live their own life and not survive in it. I may still be exploring what it means to be my two-spirited self. To step into and de-compartmentalize the different aspects of me, I had to keep them separate in my own sense of security but it seems unnecessary now. Even now I am deep in my own shadow work, gathering these pieces of this broken mirror and reassembling my complete view of who I am. Blurring and shattering the lines that kept me isolated and alone.

The courage, it took to talk to my loved ones, and tell them that I wasn’t okay in my own life. Talking to anyone about my mental well-being is never easy. It has always been easier for others to come to talk to me. It gave me a reason to distract from my own but finally needed to be heard myself. It was time and they had to know. It started to domino effect leading to the life I am living now. Gaining their full support, in my career transition gave me the strength to take that leap and release the stresses and fears that have held me in place. I began to understand my own fear better, giving it what it needed to release its grip on me. I won’t lie I am still afraid, but my relationship with fear has definitely shifted. My relationship with all my emotions for that matter has shifted, all of us living together in my house of wonder, that special place inside myself where were are all heard and respected. So in this, I gained the support of everyone in my life and even the support that comes from inside me. That strength comes from believing in myself.

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