“When the Shawnee and Chippewa (and other early people) went on hunts or vision quests or long journeys, each traveller would carry in a small rawhide pouch various tokens of spiritual power–perhaps a feather, a bit of fur, a claw, a carved root, a pinch of tobacco, a pebble or a shell. These were not simply magical charms; they were reminders of the energies that sustain all of life. By gathering these talismans into a medicine pouch, the hunter, traveller, or visionary seeker was recollecting the sources of healing and bounty and beauty.” (Adapted from Scott Russell Sanders, Hunting for Hope)
The other day my 21 year old son was in his room playing online video games with his friends. For many right now, this is a form of connection and entertainment as we once again face restrictions because of the pandemic. Covid numbers are rising all over the world and it’s easy to forget that the fallen have faces, family, loved ones, hopes, and dreams because we tend to focus on the number rather than the human hearts behind those numbers.
As I was walking by my son’s room I asked him a question and he gave me an off the cuff answer. His answer was short and he seemed very annoyed. I asked him if everything was ok and he said to me “this is not what I want to be doing at 21 years old.” I was taken aback because he is really quite fortunate. He has a job right now, he lives in a house with property and plenty of space for him to get out and relax in the fresh air, we live in a province where there is plenty of open space to go for walks outside in forested trails, he has a beautiful girlfriend and he has loving family all around him. From my point of view he is sitting in a pretty good place right now.
However, at the moment he wasn’t seeing it. I pointed out that his life is full of positive and hope right now and he needs to focus on the positive not the negative. He mumbled something to me that I didn’t hear and I decided to just let him be as everyone has days where they feel like the world seems to be sitting on their shoulders. Unfortunately, the world is sitting on all of our shoulders right now as it’s hard to get away from the depressing news day in day out with the pandemic in our backyards.
At the moment it seems like the world is split into two types of people. Those who have hope and faith for the future and those who feel despair, anger and have lost their faith and are without hope. The reality is that the world shifts and right now the world is shifting. This is nothing new, we have known that a pandemic would eventually hit the world so there is nothing surprising about that. When the pandemic first hit and we headed into a lock down, I remember going grocery shopping and there was this mass disconnection among the shoppers and all had this harrowing look of fear in their eyes. To be honest, even though I expected this reaction, it stunned me somewhat. I started to feel fearful and it wasn’t the virus that feared me, it was the look of lost faith and hope in the eyes of the patrons shopping for groceries that day.
The Shawnee and Chippewa would prepare for their vision quests, long journeys and hunts by making sure they had their faith to carry with them in their small rawhide pouches. They were small tokens of what they believed to be energies that sustained their lives. As a society we have lost that faith, the belief in the energies that sustain our lives. Instead we put our faith in things like cars, houses, jobs, and the endless consumer products that we buy to sustain our happiness. It seems we’ve stopped carrying the energies that are within us to sustain our lives. Instead we turn to false power that we believe increases our self worth, but in actuality focusing only on things that we think give us status takes all of us further away from getting to know the energy that sustains our lives and that is the energy that resides within us; our being.
Recently I read this story and it caught my attention as the story takes place a long time ago, yet here we are in this century and really nothing has changed.
“An American traveller planned a long safari to Africa. He was a compulsive man, loaded down with maps, timetables, agendas and “stuff”. Coolies had been engaged from a local tribe to carry the cumbersome load of supplies, luggage and “essential stuff.”
On the first morning, they all woke very early and travelled very fast and went very far.
On the second morning, they all woke very early and travelled very fast and went very far.
On the third morning, they all woke very early and travelled very fast and went very far and the American seemed pleased.
On the fourth morning, the jungle tribesmen refused to move. They simply sat by a tree. The American became incensed. “This is a waste of valuable time. Can someone tell me what is going on here?”
The translator answered, “They are waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”
Many don’t see it this way, but the pandemic has given us the time to sit, rest and wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies. All of us have the power to ignite the power within, our being, our soul, and it is time to sit with our being and not let the distractions of the world interfere with this relationship.
As we rest and strengthen, we can plant the seeds within our being and sow those seeds during the restriction to prepare and fill our small rawhide pouch with spiritual power, small tokens of energies and faith that we believe sustain all of life. Surely, when this pandemic is behind us we, will take a long journey and we will need that small rawhide pouch, filled with small tokens of energy and faith that we believe sustain life, for the journey to share with others the source of faith, healing and beauty as we continue to walk on this path called life.