Seven years ago I visited the hills of North Carolina and met a beautiful crystal, eagle-headed stone. Found at my feet on a woodland path, I held this stone and connected deeply, asking what this ancient intelligence had to share with me. What it said was this, “We need to learn to be native to this land”. This wisdom came in words and even more in feelings. Overwhelmed to the point of tipping over, with feelings of awe, sadness, deep grief, regret, love, and hope. Salty rivers ran from my eyes and I could see the progression of years, of humans on this land, who we are and what we have done.
We are a society built by immigrants, refugees, adventurers, prospectors, warriors, criminals, royals, slaves, and people wanting desperately to be free. This land has been taken, stolen, raped, and claimed. It was never ours to have, but we took it anyway. If we didn’t come out of pure desperation and fear, we soon learned the cruelty of the scarce feelings that come from not being sure you are going to survive on a land that you gave no respect to. We do not feel we are a part of this land. We do not feel native to this piece of Earth.
Nearly all of us have been uprooted and transplanted here, with shallow roots trying to grasp at loose dirt in plastic pots. Moving shiftlessly over this majestic landscape, with a sense of blind entitlement and desperation to live the American Dream. And all this has been built on a cracking foundation, forged from the broken bones of the original stewards of this land. Killed by waves of disease, lies, and warfare, the ground water has long been tainted with the blood of the slain. The spiraling winds carry the restless souls of the dearly departed, and this began long before most of our ancestors even made their journey across the oceans in search of a better life. Yet we are haunted by this history, this truth. We may romanticize the native people of the Americas, and yet as the entitled masses proudly proclaim our 1/16th connection to this place on Earth, the few people who are still a part of tribal culture live in astonishing poverty and isolation. The waves of trauma still echoing from the generations past into the present. This is a truth that we must be able to look in the eyes before we can truly heal as a people.
The subliminal guilt we feel over our privilege to be here prevents us from being able to step our bare feet into the soil outside our front doors and say, “Yes, I belong here. I am made from this earth. I am a child of the Great Mother, and no matter where I tread I will respect her as such. I will honor the Great Mother of my body who has given me this air to breath through my brother trees, who has supplied me with fresh water to drink from her many springs of life, who has grown me food to nourish my body and my soul, and who daily makes love to the Sun so that I may be able to be blessed with one more day of warmth and energy.” We need to be able to say this, to feel this , to know that this is true. We need to end our visitor’s rights here and become native to this land. We need to be able to feel the deep grief and rage living inside the Earth, for the way her children have been treated at the hands of the greedy and fearful. We need to draw it up through our bare feet, churn these feelings through our hearts, remembering that it is for her that we do this, and send these feelings right up into the Sun to be seen and dissolved. We need to do this for her so that she can be free. We need to do this so that the restless souls of the dearly departed can rest. We need to do this so that we can become native to this land and can start looking upon her green hills not with an air of entitlement, but with the deep respect and love she deserves.
We need this not only to have more fulfilling and harmonious lives, we need this to prove our right to exist here at all. One person at a time, one heart pounding a beat of change. We need this revolution of perspective and we need it now. Change is not only possible, it is imminent.