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Spirit Moon

By: Joanne Okimawininew Dallaire, Elder (Ke Shay Hayo) and Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
January 21, 2022

A teaching regarding self-care and the Spirit Moon from Joanne Dallaire, Elder (Ke Shay Hayo) and Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

Hello everyone — happy new year. I'm hoping that you're planting good seeds in your mind, for what you want to achieve in the next year.

More set expectations. I've come to realize with my age that all the great plans you know kind of have their own direction.

So what I wanted to talk to you about is first of all what in my culture is called a Spirit Moon.

Each of our 13 moons in the calendar year have different names, but this is the Spirit Moon, and I wanted to pass some teachings on about that it's about it's a time to be in silence with self.

And to recognize our position in the world and to the immediate life around us.

And that can be awkward for people because it's been so unpredictable.

But I want to talk to you about the fact that we've all survived this; those of you that are listening to me and those of you and your circle of family and friends have all survived this.

It's messy know all kinds of ups and downs, but we're here and I want you to hang on to that.

Now, sometimes we're so busy pushing the fear away or feeling so inadequate that we forget how strong; we we fail to see how much we move forward and changed and grown and just gotten through, even if that meant some days we just lie down and did nothing; we got through that day.

You know we're far stronger than we ever recognize.

Because we don't spend a lot of time in our North American culture recognizing strengths, recognizing you know someone's perseverance; someone's ability to be able to whatever your gifts are; we don't spend a lot of time acknowledging that with each other.

So if we don't get it from each other, we need to get it from ourselves. So when you're thinking “oh man i'm not doing very well” yeah you're doing great you're here. That's great, that's great and really look for those small things that you're good at. Pay attention — as I've said before in my teachings — to yourself talk, how are you talking to yourself how are you treating yourself.

Are you being kind and gentle and empathetic towards yourself? Focus on that. With each negative thought, get in the hours of practicing, end it with a positive side to it.

Because otherwise it's just a waste of your time worrying about being angry; about things that we can't control; a luxury or an indulgence that our society, sometimes takes pride in, but it is a total waste of your time and energy.

Practice reminding yourself of all your wonderful qualities, but most of all for all of us that we persevered through times and challenges and situations that we didn't think we could make it through, we did it and we will continue to face other challenges that's for sure.

But we're doing it.

Just, on the other side of that coin, one of the things that I’ve become aware of both within myself and with others that I've talked to this is awful lot of grief right now.

And yes, of course, we have that grief of grief of losing a family or friend, pets, but I'm talking about the grief of just a loss of way of life.

How we used to do things and how we would say hey do you want to go out for lunch and go pick up a frantic go meet a friend, you know how we actually had clothes that we wear to work, looking forward to winter, clothing and all that kind of stuff it's like okay I've got I don't know about anybody else but I got a lot of tops in my wardrobe now with a lot of very comfortable bottoms that nobody really sees.

But we're breathing a lot of things; sense of family; a sense of being able to plan.

But we should be celebrating a lot of things. It's a time when we've really been able to indulge in spending time with ourselves and alone, you know people spend a lot of money, just to be able to spend time by themselves.

But is it quality time, make sure you make it quality time, please remember. That everything that you do makes a difference. Please remember that every thought you have makes a difference, please remember to try to make them as positive as you can. I'm not talking about pretending. I'm not talking about minimizing, I'm not talking about skipping down the yellow brick road singing kumbaya, I'm talking about real just accepting surrendering to what we have to accept.

And just learning to acknowledge that we've gotten through another day and your day with gratitude, you should lie down and put your head on your pillow. Give thanks for the things that you have, but most of all give thanks for you.

For your perseverance, your ingenuity and your incredible wisdom and strength.

So, as you plant your seeds for the rest of this year, or maybe even just tomorrow, make sure that every time you plant a seed you plant, the seed of self-love and self-appreciation. Take care of yourselves.

Until we talk again, I say chi miigwetch (traditional Cree salutation).