One of the places that our power is dissipated is through forgetting and losing our cultural context and identity. Reclaiming who you are, your whole self is crucial to the journey to your power.
Our culture in the western world is difficult to maintain. The indigenous cultures are by and large ignored, destroyed while the dominant 'culture' or lack of culture is maintained. In this context, we've forgotten who we really are. A big part of recovering this is finding our ancestral nature as humans and our cultural identity.
We push our physical movements into the small space of counting our steps or going to the gym. But ancestral movement was varied and overall more 'nutritious' like squatting, carrying water, foraging and hunting and farming. It included building, entertainment, defence.
Our foods have become morphed by processing, with the interest of increasing shelf life and profitability, not nutritional status, environmental sustainability, or fair living wages for workers. Instead our ancestors, lived from the land, they understood the cycles of time, the nuances of the connectivity of living things and natural cycles. Foods would have been local, nutritionally dense, and valued--nothing thrown away.
Family life was not just limited to the nuclear family and relatives for national holidays, it was a way of life. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins were all a part of everyday life: child care, cooking, education, were shared responsibilities. Also protection, food, and connection were for the benefit of all in the tribe.
Education was not merely sitting in a school room with a book. But was varied, the school room was the foraging done with a mother, the babysitting done by a cousin or older sibling, the hunting of game, the learning of farming and subsistence with your community, the passing on of teachings through oral stories, songs, traditions and dancing.
In these and in hundreds of other ways, we have allowed ourselves to be sold a lie, a manufactured, easy, shadow version of who we are as people, as individuals, as a collective. It's no longer wonder that we have collectively lost our ways. It's not taught, not role modelled and purposely dismissed in the mainstream culture. But that is our true nature.
Instead of culture being separated by a music appreciation class in school or an evening at the theatre, or an 'ethnic' dinner out with friends or a Zumba dance class, let's make it a part of our everyday.
We have externalized our culture, just like we have externalized our utilities, our movement, our entertainment, our relationships, our food, our labor, our identities and our education. It's time to integrate them back into our very essence. Recovering yourself in these ways is not only essential but transformative.
Before you leap into this, get very clear on who you are and where you came from. By this, I do not mean merely your culture, ethnicity, race or location. I mean, where we came from as humans. What you stand for as a person. Why you're here now. What is the greater meaning to your life.
Yes, parts of our own personal histories and herstories have been lost, just as those of the collective and the marginalized. Yet, they can be recovered. It's easier to do that now before they truly do disappear. Start by dipping your toe.
Beyond the personal, you can find out about your relations, your family, your heritage. You can learn the language of your ancestors, if it indeed still exists. You can recover the art, drama, dance, and creative expressions. You can rediscovery native foods, flavors, textures, garb and fragrances. You can allow yourself to learn the old ways, the old stories, the old movements.
It's a bold move and one that centers your life around you, instead of in the dominant culture that alienates you and separates you from community and yourself.
Take the courageous steps to rediscover who you are.
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