I could say ‘long ago and far away’ I spent a quarter of a century being around, participating with, studying from the heart, and learning about Native American Indigenous ways of being. Yet what I learned and what I came to understand has, I most hope, become connected within my soul-self with all that I was born to be. In this way, all of those experiences have become a integral part of who I am this moment in some important ways.
Even though I grew up a white child within a mostly white culture, the abusive environment within my home was its OWN culture. I don’t believe, therefore, that I was ‘acculturated’ the way an ordinary child would have been. Of course my infant-childhood left many holes within me because I was so deprived of early interactive experiences with any other world (except for my very narrow experiences at school) other than the abusive world that encased me.
Yet as I struggle to learn who I am as a person I know that my mother’s abuse of me changed my physiological development but it did not SATURATE me. I was left with one of my greatest gifts: Questioning!
As time has gone by in my adult life I have used my ability to question to my advantage. Left with huge gaps in my social development, at the same time I was deprived of any ordinary pattern of acculturation within my own ‘society at large’, my open, questioning soul-self-mind has been able to range freely to find answers to my questions.
I hardly believe that I have accepted the dominant ‘Western worldview’ that would probably have filled so many questioning gaps within me that there would have been little room (or freedom) for me to INVENT myself the way that I have. I have been able to seek — search for — answers to my inner questions without being overly hampered by a solid mass of cultural beliefs, prejudices, and assumptions about life that COULD have automatically filled me up from the time of my birth.
In many ways the emptiness that followed me throughout the first 18 years of my life and on through into my adulthood has been my greatest gift. That emptiness, coupled with my ability to question, has left me free to learn on my own based on a matching-up process within my own self.
I can notice things like, “Does what this person believe make sense to me? How does what they say and what they do FEEL LIKE to me? Do I truly believe ‘it’?”
I look instinctively for what resonates within me. And I have evidently used my freedom to fill up the empty spaces the abuse left within me with goodness.
The Native American people were banned by national law from outwardly practicing any aspect of their Indigenous spiritual ways until they were legally given their freedom to do so in 1974.
One of the most fundamental aspects of Indigenous belief that I discovered is the understanding that every aspect of life is engaged continually in a CO-CREATIONAL process. Humans are not only included in this process, they are prime movers on its stage.
Creation was never a static activity that some obscure and distant Creator performed alone. Creation PARTICIPATES together at all times.
My innate desire to ‘make things’ or to ‘be creative’ is intimately tied to my desire to both ask questions and to look for answers. These patterns within me are both intimately tied to my desire to find – and to contribute to – that which is beautiful. Although any contributions I might make to adding into and onto the beauty that exists in this world are humble and meager, I also understand that the Most Great Picture of how everything fits together is beyond my ability to comprehend.
But because I was left without human relationships for the first 18 years of my life I am free to explore relationships on many levels that I might not otherwise have looked for them. I wonder about the breath I just exhaled – how does it relate to the bird I hear outside my door chittering away as it pecks tiny insects off of my sidewalk. I wonder how the action of my fingertips clicking away on this keyboard are connected to the motor that just kicked in for my refrigerator. I wonder how my every thought connects to my past and to my future as I wonder about this great web of life that envelops this globe – and beyond.
While I try not to be prejudiced or judgmental about other people, I can’t help but often notice how so many people don’t seem motivated in any way to question! The more complex the world becomes the more narrow I see so many people becoming in their thinking. As if the process creates some illusion of safety in response to threats people feel helpless to combat, so many people simply takes tiny pieces of information and put it together in such a way that no questions need to be asked – and therefore no solutions need to be found.
To me, that way of being excludes opportunities for ongoing creativity. Humans are innately creative! Perhaps I share with many, many early abuse survivors the need, desire and ability to QUESTION in ways that ‘ordinary people’ do not have. At this moment I would not want to miss the opportunities this gift of questioning I possess! This ability has kept me anchored in the co-creational process of life on a conscious level. I like that!