In part 3 I attempted to show a great difference between survival and living. That survival alone will alter the choices we make, the reasons we do things, and the very way we do things.
It appears that I failed miserably, but maybe this topic will help clarify some things.
I attempted to point out that a vast majority of Americans aren’t living, merely surviving. That the difference between these two things is of great importance, and should not be readily dismissed, or thought to be one in the same.
I tend to have an extremely hard time putting into words what I see in my mind and what I feel, regardless of the fact that I have an extensive vocabulary in English.
So I will attempt yet again to put this into words, and I ask that you bear with me. Hopefully the point I am trying to make will come through.
For reasons I will not get into extensively, although some have been included into parts of this series, I came very close to losing my mind. I listened to others saying that certain things were not real, they were my imagination, that I was crazy, that I needed therapy. In listening to this, I began to wonder if indeed I was crazy, and that they were right.
In wondering that, I actually allowed myself to start going insane. This was the biggest trick of all, because I was not crazy, never was, but I had convinced myself that I might be, in doing so, I allowed certain things to happen.
It’s a strange sensation indeed to literally feel yourself slip from reality. The best description for it doesn’t hold a candle to it. But I would describe it as akin to drowning where you “come up for air” from time to time and act normal. Interestingly enough, no one commented about how crazy I sounded during this time.
I have a strange recollection of this as if i were standing behind myself or watching what my eyes saw is if on a television. I had control of my body, and could reason in a strange sort of way, but “I” was not all there, only partly.
It was as if a part of me were hiding, and why I decided to put these two parts of surviving and living. Why I described the detachment from society, because there is a part of you that literally detaches and hides away.
What is truly amazing for me to think back on, is that “I” never left, I was still inside. There was an instinctual part of me that became more dominant, but the thinking part of me was still there.
During one of the times I was all there, I was able to hold onto my full self. To put things back into place, and restore the balance. I have no way to describe this in a way that will make sense to others, except maybe setting a broken bone. If you don’t know how to set a splint right, make sure the bone is aligned, no tendons or muscles are caught in the bone, etc. you can set a bone and it will grow back in a bad way. Including requiring amputation, or loss of a limb, among other problems.
For me it is the same concept as a break in the mind. If you do not know how to set it back in place properly, or if you cannot stand the pain enough, doing it yourself can bring more trouble.
I began this process, and soon came to realize I did not have the strength alone to fight it all. “It all” being the trauma I had gone through, and the pain associated with it, with no teaching of how to deal with it.
So I prayed, and I asked creator for help. I admitted I could not do it on my own, my strength was lacking, and I needed help. I prayed with my whole heart, and the help came, and I had strength to “mend the break” so to speak.
Once I was back, I made a choice with all my will, that I would not ever allow another to convince me I was not sane. In doing so, the “break” was set back in place, and it needed time to heal. I also had to accept that some things were different for me than for others, and I had to try and understand them.
I still do not understand much, but there are a few things that are no longer in doubt for me.
There were also some interesting side effects from this temporary lapse of reason. Experience opens your eyes in ways observation cannot.
I realized that there were few times in my life when I was living, nearly all the time I was just surviving. Fighting for survival in one form or another. I wanted for food little in my life, but my heart was starving.
My family was seldom happy, there were spaces between arguments when we would laugh. But as much as we laughed, we fought. Truth be told we fought more than we laughed. For a long time I thought this was just normal, which in many ways it was, most other families did this. But I always knew it wasn’t the right way. I knew this in my heart, and my head eventually caught up.
My father was a baptist preacher. When my siblings and I were very young, and before we were born, he beat my mother, when we came along he beat us as well. As we grew older and were able to tell others what was happening, he stopped using his hands, and started using a belt or paddle. Which was accepted then. It didn’t matter if the welts went up and down the back and legs, we shouldn’t have wiggled, we should have just taken our punishment.
When I was around 9 I was molested by a member of our church. A “good upstanding Christian man”, according to others, that came to church twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday. I still have nearly total selective amnesia about this. It used to be total, but I had recurring nightmares that would not let it stay hidden. In dealing with these nightmares, the memories came back somewhat. I associate this with a splinter working it’s way out.
As was normal with Christians from the many different churches I went to over the years, it was “my way or the highway”. They believed he was a good man, just like they believed my father couldn’t possibly beat his children. When we came close to convincing someone, we moved. Never more than 3 years in one state, and on average one year per house. My father eventually learned to go by the title of evangelical, a traveling preacher spreading the good word, from the infallible word of god. That explained why we moved so much, and people stopped asking questions.
Again experience trumps observation. There is an understanding gained when you look into the eyes of someone trying to beat you into submission, and laugh. There is an understanding gained, that no matter how much pain someone causes you, how weak or insignificant you feel, you don’t have to give in to them.
There is a power deep inside us, that we choose to give away as a victim, or we choose to hold onto no matter what. It is not an easy choice, far from it, it is the hardest choice I have ever had to make. But it was also the most freeing choice. This understanding brought me back when I was lost, and it has helped me survive ever since.
There were places I found peace, but they were hardly ever at home. Even when there was peace, it was short lived.
So as I grew older, I sought to make peace around me. I tried to make my environment match what I felt in my heart. That isn’t easy when you have no understanding about how to go about it, but it’s not impossible.
I talked to white Elders about how things used to be, and built a basic understanding of how things have changed over the years in many ways. I talked to other people about how they felt about things, what they would change, and what they wanted in life.
I watched people, listened to how they interacted with each other, what they fought about, what made them happy. I talked to little ones about what troubled them, and always returned to Elders to try and make sense of it all.
I asked questions, I listened and ask more questions. I talked to my mother about her abuse, and why she stayed, I talked with other women in abusive situations, and women who were in abusive situations and asked questions, and listened to what they said.
I offered help in any way they wanted to get out of the abusive situation, and it was always turned down. Many were afraid the man would track them down and find them wherever they went, even if it was across the country.
I talked to women who had been raped, and some spoke of the defiance, some spoke of “going somewhere else”, where what was happening would not effect them.
I talked to homeless people whose minds were broken, and when they were lucid I would ask them how they came to be where they are.
All these totally different situations and one thing kept showing up in the words people used. I didn’t see another option. I felt like I had no choice.
I began to wonder if the breaking of the mind can come from people thinking they have no options, no choices, why can’t that be used in a good way like I had and say I have no choice but to fight back?
This thinking there are no options doesn’t only apply to rape and abuse victims, people who have lost their mind. My grandfather fighting to keep his land felt like he had no options. People see the power of the government and the control it implements and think they have no options.
I feel that I have no option but to try and help people be happier. To live happier lives. Americans included. For me it doesn’t matter that my heart is tethered to the Cherokee people. On the contrary, I see that the suffering of the American people, and their unhappiness brings suffering to the Cherokee people in time. The bigger and more powerful the suffering of any people is, the bigger, more powerful, and longer reaching the suffering will be that they inflict on others.
But the reverse is also true. The happier and more content a people are, the happiness and contentment will go even farther from them. So, if the ones living around my people are happy and content, they will not fight the happiness and contentment of my people. One circle effecting another.
This speaks back to the energy I wrote about in part one. If you do not understand that, you will not understand what I am meaning in survival and living. You will not understand all the ways I mean in regards to strength, and weakness. You will not understand what I’m describing in life and death. And you will not understand what I mean by perpetuity and all the effects that meaning has. If you cannot understand the sign, you cannot follow the trail. Simple as that.
I also want to make it perfectly clear that the things I put in this series are my own ideas, experiences, understandings, etc. and do not reflect the ways and views of the Cherokee nations. I use stories from my people because they mean something to me.
There is much more I will add later in regards to living.
Living requires happiness. Happiness is a byproduct of peace. Peace in the home, community, nation. One can lead to the other but not always.
Peace requires acceptance when understanding cannot be found. Both acceptance and understanding require respect.
Respect can come in many ways, respect of the power of a storm. Respect combats fear, understanding even more so, acceptance even more so.
Acceptance can breed a “you live your way, we live ours” mindset, that allows fighting to stop or never occur in the first place. But doing that, people have to be separate and distinctive. It cannot be like those who attempt to replicate or assimilate some indigenous ways, no matter where they are from.
Indigenous ways are a whole or nothing type of thing. They are cradle to grave understandings and ways of living that cannot be pulled apart.
Humanity is not a pulled pork sandwich. We are a living organisms
Living organisms require the whole. We cannot live as a Frankenstein monster. Neither can a nation be healthy with pieces and parts from dead nations.
Living is being a part of a whole, AS a whole. Meaning a nation has to be whole and healthy with only it’s own parts, in doing so, it finds it’s place in the whole.
A healthy distinctive nation makes a circle that fits into the other circles, that makes up the big circle.
Americans try to understand how to live with the earth in a sustainable fashion. That cannot be done until they figure out WHO they are, become distinctive, and learn to coexist instead of dominate.
American society is rigid in many wrong ways and fluid in many wrong ways.
Our bodies, the trees, plants, point out that the core needs to be rigid and the exterior flexible, but both need to be adaptable.
Americans have trouble with things that should never have become an issue, much less a national one. Things like dislexia, ADHD, obesity, Elder care, child care, domestic strife, crime, and so on.
There are certain things that facilitate smooth operation of a group of people. Anything from a family to a nation. Simple things that should be a no brainer, things that show a positive result in such a short period of time that the solution can be apparent to everyone.
The problem is, Americans don’t pay attention to the short or the long term. They pay attention to the moment. What feels good, what they think is right in the moment they are faced with a decision. They generally don’t stop to consider consequences beyond the moment. This does change as age progresses, but in America, it is not heeded like it should be.
We have a heart and a brain for a reason. Our hearts indicate certain things, our brains store information and calculate the best outcome. Over generations, the best outcome can build to the extent that an entire society is built on generations of picking the best outcome, and weeding out the wrong ones. But that requires young ones listening to what old ones have experienced. That is sorely lacking in American society.
Humans are meant to make societies based on the growth of our bodies. We are meant to pay attention to ourselves well enough that we see and know ourselves, the world around us, then join together or move apart based on that.
Societies can not exist on flights of fancy. The roman republic fell apart because of this, just like this society is collapsing in on itself because of it.
More and more Americans are thinking about sustainability. But look closely at what is being changed and what is seen as the problem.
It is said time and again that American society operates on a non sustainable platform, yet what is being changed? The society isn’t, only a small thing here and there as a stop gap, a band aid, to try and sustain the unsustainable.