There’s something in the awe-inspiring beauty of fall here this year that’s had me thinking about this post I wrote a while back on Sacred Spaces in Nature– how we create them and how they help us to tap into a sense of something greater than ourselves. It feels timely to share that post because of that beauty, but also for another important reason.
Many of us have been following the struggle and fight of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of the Dakota to protect not only a prominent water source but their own sacred lands. We have watched in horror and anger as their peaceful protests have been met with militarized force and unjust arrests. We have watched with admiration as they have persevered as the pipeline digging continues to wreck their sacred burial sites and they continue to meet the needless violence of militarized law enforcement.
As a non-indigenous white person, it’s hard for me to imagine having land that feels personally, culturally sacred in the way that this land must feel to the Sioux Nation. I try to live with appreciation and respect for nature, to live seasonally, respect water usage, and reduce waste. But there is no one place where all of my ancestors are buried, where all of their sacred ceremonies have taken place over countless generations, where everyone in my family, extended family, and tribe believe it to be deeply sacred and treat it with great reverence.
If I did have a place like that, how would I feel to know that a number of big banks and companies were paying a lot of money to dig it up and destroy it to build a pipeline that would only benefit their own wallets? How would I feel to know that people who cared nothing about my legal ownership of that land by treaty– let alone the meaning of that land to me and my family– cared just as little for the safety of all of the people who would be affected by poisoned water if the pipe experienced leaks, malfunctions, or explosions?
In yoga, we continue to develop our personal practice until we truly understand that we are all connected– that what affects one group of people effects us all, that one person’s suffering is our own. A teacher and friend of mine who is deeply connected with Lakota teachings introduced me to the Lakota saying “Mitakuye Oyasin,” which means “All my relations”– or we are all related. What is happening to the Standing Rock Sioux is happening to all of us.
In that spirit, I please consider supporting the important fight happening in North Dakota by taking a look at this very helpful list of actionable steps to offer support. Pick up the phone and call one of the listed agencies; sign the petitions; send supply funds– whatever you feel called to do. Let’s increase the sound and scale of the collective voice in support of the courageous Water Protectors at Standing Rock. #noDAPL
Thanks for reading! Share your thoughts and replies in the comments below. – xo
* Pictured above: Tibetan Prayer Flags at Earth Sanctuary… Sending out prayers to all those in need, all to whom we are connected.