Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Living to the Beat of Seven Generations
The Sacred Circle (Medicine Wheel) teaches us that life is about movement and along this spiralling lessons are handed to us with the help of specific natural or cosmological themes; which bring about personal healing and personal growth. Eight years ago we searched to find a home; which could benefit not only our family but a whole community. For the first few years we learnt what it meant to commit to community and what it took to manifest it. Lessons and sychronicities followed us closely. Finding a house to suit our vision was the easy part. Devoting and manifesting our dream was a bigger challenge. Now, we find ourselves embarking on the next leg of our journey. This time, our hunt begins with the realization that most homes these days aren’t built on the concept of lasting forever. My grand-mother once told me while flipping through some pictures that “her father built their family home with the help of his brothers and sons.”
“He wanted the house to stay in the family,” she explained, “and he believed the house would take care of us all for at least seven generations.”
First Nation traditionalists often speak about building a World for the next seven generations. Native Spirituality or First Nation culture and tradition supports in countless ways this idea of leaving an impact on seven generations to come. Unfortunately when we look at what is going today on most reservations or pay attention to our Western society it’s clear that we’ve stopped committing to the notion of “inheritance”. Most homes these days are built or bought as well as sold for investment purposes. What are we leaving behind to our children and grad-children? What can we say we are creating for the people of tomorrow based on our actions, our thoughts, our choices, our behaviours, our values etc… Nobody sees their family living in one house for over twenty years. We may be re-inventing the word “community;” but we haven’t quite figured out yet what it means for the future or for the next seven generations.
Many of the homes we visited were “museum homes”. It was a bit surreal to walk into homes where pets and children weren’t even allowed to run through the halls or through the rooms freely. In one house, the golden retriever had to wear slippers always -- except when outside on walks. In a small bungalow built in 1968; but completely renovated from head to toe two over weight cocker spaniels were literally kept in a cage in the basement and carried out each time they needed to go outside. According to the owners the dogs had never touched the brand new wood floor since it had been installed two years earlier. After listening to countless similar stories I couldn’t understand why so many of these people seemed surprised to be faced with failed relationships. One lady explained to us that she wasn’t happy if she wasn’t constantly decorating. One room she had decorated 9 times in less then 2 years. Still she wasn’t happy with it. ET and I couldn’t believe how many people had their bathrooms or master bedrooms featured in magazines. They displayed these magazines on tables for visitors to see and obviously believed it improved the value of their home.
Almost four years ago I was asked to visit this century old home in a prestige and historical area of Chambly, Quebec. The owners believed their house was haunted because they couldn’t sell it. Despite literally trying everything – including major renovations, the house was still very much under their name. On my first visit I was left to explore the house on my own. I loved it! It was beautiful. There was no doubt the house was filled with memories dating back to the early 1700’s. Not all of them were pleasant but they weren’t overly traumatic either. All I could see was “that the house wanted to remain in the family because it was built stone by stone with that intention.” The present owners were actually close to the 7th generation of the first family who had built the house. I found it incredible. I couldn’t see how anyone would want to sell such a treasure.
On the 2nd visit I received a tour of the house with the help of the owners. It was nice how they shared historical stories mixed with their own family experiences. They obviously loved their home.
When I asked: “Why are you selling the house?”
They replied: “Because work transferred us to Quebec city.”
They couldn’t possibly keep two homes. It was too expensive and not at all practical. On the other hand, it was clear to me that “old values” were being sacrificed for “modern ways.” It was sad and from my perspective the house simply wanted the family to acknowledge the loss and to feel the sadness all through their ancestral roots. The house wasn’t haunted it was alive. So much so that it had reached a point of maturity where I could “hear it sing” just like the trees…
After telling these people a bit about my shamanic experience and bringing up some traditional stories they were quite touched by what their family had unconsciously accomplished through their house. They didn’t doubt for a minute what I was bringing to the table. It was as if they had an archive of synchronicities capable of confirming me. The young couple, the last in a long line of family members who had inherited the house looked pained by the idea of letting it go. It’s strange sometimes how one intention can be flipped over by a shift in perspective. They watched their children play just a few feet away and within a moment of silence I could feel a cluster of ancestors come together and stare at the beauty of progeny. Tears wet my cheeks and I found myself struggling to quickly disconnect from the phenomenon or else I would have openly wept uncontrollably.
I left their home that night in reverence of their ancestors. I touched the stone wall near the front door while reciting a prayer of gratitude and walked away with a smile. I found out a year later that the young couple decided to refuse the job in Quebec, and remained “at home” (as they said) for as long as their ancestors offered them “healing and learning” (my words which seemed to leave an impact).
My son was saying just last week end that what was difficult for him when he moved out was the shift in energy. He hadn’t realized that our family home offered a very particular vibe, the kind of energy that left him feeling safe and content. In his new apartment he noticed how he often felt insecure and somewhat lost. ‘Til this day he calls “our family house” – HOME. His apartment is simply that “an apartment.”
Yesterday, my daughter explained to me that “she couldn’t see herself leaving the family home.” She talked about how important it was for her to “live collectively.” For as long as she can remember we lived with other people. Even before ET and I got married we were interested in learning about different religions, cultures and ways of living. We were never satisfied with Western thinking. Life brought us to Shamanism and soon we naturally gravitated towards living communally. We opened our home to other students of shamanic living and eventually, our kids grew up to in such a way as to value the presence of others in their life. Today, they have a difficult time seeing themselves living alone; or simply living alone with a spouse or a room mate. For them a home implies “building a circle for seven generations to come,” and it implies working with a group of individuals who dedicate to a communal vision or dream.
Strangely enough it was through a car-wash-drive-through yesterday that I was blessed by a moment of pure gratitude. KT hugged me affectionately and said: “I certainly knew what I was doing when I chose you and dad as my parents because you teach me through every breath what it means to give to seven generations. Every thing you do whether it’s practical, spiritual or just plain fun is huge and considers what comes next.”
This month is the Moon of Drama (third moon on the Medicine Wheel) and every year the Moon of Drama teaches us about beauty: How we create it within; how we inspire others to mimic it; and how we bring influence or leave an impact on the World around us. The Moon of Drama in 2012 synchronically brings us to explore the topic of “influence.” This year, more then ever before for example we have discussed the behaviour of “bullying.” We are exploring at the collective level what it means to “leave an impact.” What are we teaching our children? What type of society are we? How are we going to change and make a difference? Basically, we are being called cosmically to look at this old tradition of “considering ourselves as the center of a circle and looking out towards seven generations.”
My husband and I along with several hundred people for which we call “community” have chosen to experience the concept, and live it at different degrees of reality. There’s no doubt we often hit limitations because despite living somewhat outside of the mainstream reality, in many other ways we have also chosen to live within it. We believe that we can be an influence. There was a time when Shamans or Sorcerers needed to live in the bush; but these days it seems some are being called to emerge in the most unexpected places and become contagious with timeless ideas and timeless perspectives.
By the way – we finally sold the house and we bought a new one.