Learning to Walk in Truth
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.
The turtle was chosen to teach the truth. The reason is that out of all the animals in the kingdom turtles change the least. They hatch as smaller versions and grow into larger and sometimes enormous selves. While many animals if not all animals, go through a change. Truth doesn’t change, it is known to some as law.
Laws are something which people can depend on. Not to confuse laws with beliefs, but over time beliefs can shift and change according to the way I choose to live. But that is exactly what the turtle teaches, the truth that everything changes and everything dies. Of course, the loss is not limited to people, but also includes relationships and career ventures. It can all change instantly, leaving the feeling of loss in its wake. It is interesting to learn that many things in my life have a shelf life, but what is more interesting to me is how does that truly affect me? Has my experience with these people, these places and these things, have an impact enough to change me and aid in my growth? If it does, what would it be? I can ponder on this for hours and never come up with an answer because none of it is real, it is only a possibility. As might as I might try to anticipate, nothing can really prepare me for what will actually happen. That is a truth for me, I can prepare, and plan but there are things in life I could never be prepared for.
How could anyone prepare for the times a relationship ends abruptly or one that reaches its shelf life and expires? How can anyone prepare when you’re fired from a job or quitting without thinking it through? It's hard to prepare for those moments, walking through life where I believe that everything is ok and then learning it is not—then learning to deal with the living ghosts of those past relationships, haunting me and my choices. Processing the anger, regret and rejection that comes with all of that. To sit in reflect on how those moments changed me, how to moment beyond it.
The same could be said when things go well. How do I prepare for that, being a counsellor and hearing that I helped them? That my presence was meaningful for them, and the gratitude I wasn’t prepared to receive. It is interesting to learn how receiving positives and accolades are far more challenging to hear. “Do I really deserve this, why do I deserve this? I didn’t do anything.” Hearing how others value me and the work I have made my life’s purpose is still hard to hear and I also sit and reflect on how those moments changed me. It is not always the negative moments that impact me, but the positives do too. What is it like to process joy and gratitude in those moments? To be fueled by those words and intentions, driving me forward to continue my life purpose.
Another truth I have found in no matter how much I change, I am always me. I look in the reflection and see my face and no one else. I may not be able to see what has shifted, I don’t often see the age on my face. It's just my face. Just like a turtle, it would look at itself and see only itself, never seeing how big it's gotten, or the deep grooves in the sand behind it. Those marks are temporary, eventually being washed away by the tide or blown over by the wind, it might take longer before those marks blur but they will eventually.
Truth comes into practice for me when I think about the way I want to live, living knowing that everything changes, that everything is temporary. Temporary can be a long time, spanning decades or a few days. What I do in those moments is what’s important. Living and embracing change and the feeling that follows in its wake. Trying not to live in the past and dwell on things that have no more control over, but to be accountable for the choice I made in those moments, acknowledging that not all my choices were the right ones. Some of my relationships had to die because we simply outgrew them, we outgrew each other becoming different people right before my eyes. How would I deal with that? I couldn't expect that we would be the same person, locked in a singular form for all time, and yet there is that expectation, nothing would change and I would stay the same. That all my relationships would last forever, but that isn’t so. I am growing and I will continue to grow, and so will they, often in different directions.
Permanent loss is by far the most difficult challenge. When loved ones leave us for the next world, it leaves a mark and affects everyone differently. How I handle loss is tailored to the person. The lingering thoughts of what next. How will I go on? The rush of emotions that crash down, the tears that must fall. The anger, that often follows. The release of acceptance once I decided that I am going to be ok. Loss isn’t something that I can overcome in a day. I like to light a candle and reflect on the person who has left me. Consider the hole left behind and how I can heal the wound left in me. It doesn’t go away quickly, but finding solace in their memory. The good and the bad. How has this person changed me, how have I been inspired by them? And how will I choose to live my life from this point on? When a loss occurs, I find myself thinking about how they would make their choices, and if that choice is right for me. What would they do in situations I’m faced with, and motivate me to meet the challenge?
There are moments I find myself uncertain, reaching forks in the road and I’m faced with too many choices, I find myself looking upward and asking my ancestors for guidance. Which way is the right way, or at least the right way for me? As much as I am met with silences, I hear in the mind -
There is no such thing as the right way, there is only the way. Each road has its ups and downs, you don’t see it yet, but these roads lead to the same place. The only difference is the journey getting there.