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The Four Sacred Gifts Series: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times
This conversation series is adapted in part from themes from The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times, by Anita L. Sanchez, PhD. It includes Forgiveness, Healing, Hope, and Unity.
Forgiveness: The first of The Four Sacred Gifts is - Forgive the Unforgivable. Why? How? Must we? Forgiving wrongs, intentional, unintentional, historic, big and small is not a simple thing. For many of us this can be very challenging. There are so many ways that we are hurt by others and that we hurt others in our lives. How we manage those hurts is a key part of shaping our lives internally and externally. How can forgiveness help us to become the person we want to be?
Healing: Healing takes many forms and can mean many things to different people. Going to the doctor and pharmacist can be part of the process of becoming healthy again. Accessing our internal power to engage in the process of becoming and/or remembering our wholeness may be part of healing. From an Indigenous perspective, healing is a process, rarely a one-time event. We each can choose to be “good medicine” or “bad medicine” for ourselves or others. Good medicine is anyone or anything that brings into alignment the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. Bad medicine is anyone or anything that takes our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellbeing out of alignment. The desire to be happy and to avoid suffering means that we can draw on the gift of healing in the dailiness of our lives, helping us become the whole, healthy human being we want to be.
Hope: Instead of resigning ourselves to our current situations, we can dream and build new possibilities. This is hope in action. In this way, hope is an energy source that resides in each of us. It is a type of knowing beyond the five senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. When we hold hope in our hearts and minds--when we hold the vision or dream of something new, better and more life-giving--we are compelled to move toward it. We have a choice: to keep hope alive or to give in to doubt and let hope fade away, calling it a waste of time, useless daydreaming and overly optimistic thinking.
Unity: The power to come together within similar and across diverse communities seems more and more elusive. Our alienation from the people around us, manifests in ever-growing depression, addiction, physical and psychological abuse, crime, violence and suicide -- indicators of spirits in distress and despair. We are caught in giant social and political arguments about the symptoms of our dis-unity that ignore our heart-felt desire for harmony and peace with one another and the earth. In the face of all this, the gift of the power of unity calls us to find our way back to a deep knowing of interconnection and community. Our challenge is to trust in unity, even when we have a history of experiences that lead us to distrust and feel separate from others.