Aaniin, welcome to another post on Rezidivism. Today I would like to talk about barriers in general that stem from Historical Trauma. There are many other sub topics we will get into as the blog goes on but I would like to discuss from a broad view the barriers that we face as Indigenous People. First, what is a barrier? Second, what does it do? Third, what is it's purpose? I want to describe it from how I see them from my experience. I hope to hear more about how you all perceive them to solidify these thoughts for the next generation to learn.
First, a barrier can be any obstacle that prevents advancement whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. They are different sizes, shapes and weights. Some that may seem large are sometimes the lightest and easiest to overcome, while others are seemingly small but the weight of them is heavy. Our own experiences determine the size and our core beliefs determine weight.
Second, carriers have many functions but the main is to keep you safe. Safe according to your past experiences and your core beliefs about them. Your subconscious mind is your most powerful ally but if it is filled core beliefs that contribute to a negative perspective of self, it can be your strongest foe. Based on all these characteristics, your barriers are then built up around you in all 4 areas of being creating the reality you experience everyday.
Third, the purpose of barriers can be defined as guidelines then again referencing safety. If barriers are meant to subconsciously keep you safe based on experience and core beliefs, the purpose then would be to guide you to safe zones. Whether it is in your mind, emotions, physically or spiritually these safe zones can be unsafe or even self destructive based on the core belief toward them.
I had an obstacle blocking achievement in school. I knew I can do it, I knew I was capable but something deep down (subconscious) was blocking the way. First, the barrier was fear. Fear of success/achievement or to be seen as such. Second, it led me to stay out of the spotlight, SAFE. I was avoiding the opportunity to be viewed and criticized. Stay out of the spotlight, it is safe. The purpose was to guide me through life to where I did not rock any boats, I minded my own and others wouldn't need to mind me. Subconsciously, I did not believe I should be capable in the first place. Who was I trying to be by knowing the answers? I was nothing but a dumb little indian boy from the rez. I do not deserve to achieve, I do not deserve to get things right, I do not deserve happiness. Put that all to together with my fellow rez boys who may or may not have held the same beliefs and we didn't stand a chance. Add the teachers way of treating us so..... we didn't stand a chance.
When I decided I am worthy of knowledge, I ran into barriers. I was learning the Ojibwe Language and having success (do I deserve it?). I started having issues, I hit a brick wall in my learning and could not learn more and had problems remembering recent lessons. I was stuck. I don't deserve to know the language anyway. Who am I to think that I could speak such a beautiful language, who am I to think that I am even capable. Get back down Rez Boy, you cannot achieve anything. I looked at my relationship with the language, as Awanigaabaw always said, "the language is relational." When I was a boy, my grandmother would always be speaking Ojibwe. With her friends, family, at ceremonies and at the store. I was fortunate enough to always hear it. I would sit a the dancehall and the old men would speak and I would ask what they said, "Shhh" is what my grandma would do. If they were visiting and laughing I would ask what is so funny, "Shhh". Also, at that age, they would tell me about when my Weh'eh was at boarding school and they locked him to a radiator in the basement for speaking the language. What I would picture as a 7 year old was the scariest basement one can imagine and he had to be locked in there. I developed the core beliefs that I shouldn't know what was being said and if I were to speak Ojibwe something bad will happen to me. Identifying these as barriers then resulted in me being able to deal with them.
Overcoming: My grandmother was not blocking me from the language. I was interrupting elders and being unaware of my surroundings. To the feelings I felt when I was first learning the language, I felt overwhelmingly nourished!! The ojibwe language is a spiritual language, and I did feel spiritually uplifted. Think about when you introduce yourself in the language. How good you feel, nourished and honoring. The more you learn, the more you feel. If you feel allot spiritual, what you can feel mentally, emotionally and physically is greatly enhanced. Spiritual energy is the strongest energy one can experience, to feel it you need to do spiritual things.
I had to rewire my brain into believing that I am suppose to know what is being said and something good will happen to me if I were to speak Ojibwe. Your thoughts trigger brain receptors and you need to be aware about what is going in on in there. Negative thoughts are toxic. When 1 negative thought comes in, it is usually your subconscious sending the barrier that leads to your beliefs. I don't deserve Happiness. Constant thoughts of pain and sadness would guide you back to your belief. Safe? not quite.... Safe according to your belief? quite so..... When you come across negative thoughts, which are toxic, think it through to develop new pathways in your brain. Instead of "I deserve to be sad" "Sadness is something I feel". "I am unworthy" to "the manidoo deem me worthy because I am still alive." "I have no purpose" to "I am here for a reason". REWIRE your brain and be mindful on your core beliefs.
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