Tag Archives: life

Rebelliously Entering The Forbidden Land Of Self-Love

“Our era is calling us into unknown territory. This uncharted place cannot be held in your hand but is a realm within the mind. This is a prohibited realm, as taught to us by our foremothers and forefathers. This forbidden world is the land of self-love.

In many cultures and in many ages, humanity has defined itself as a misfit of creation. Whether it is Adam and Eve as blemishes in the heavenly Garden of Eden, or our current self-assignment as “the planetary pest,” there seems to be a profound sense of non-belonging in our collective unconscious.

Today we are being asked to move beyond this misunderstanding of self. We are being asked to muster enough faith to remember that everything in creation is wanted and here for a reason. We are being asked to re-assume our identity as beloved children of the Earth.

Something alchemical occurs when one holds oneself in one’s arms and says to oneself: “You are precious and I love everything about you: your perfections and your imperfections.” I would challenge you to look into the mirror and say this, but one must be ready for the experience. If you are anything like me, it may trigger some very strange, foreign and maybe even uncomfortable sensations. Not because it isn’t true, but because it has been so many hundreds of generations since many of us have actually said this to ourselves and meant it.

The poem I share here is based on the Diné philosophy that we are not only accepted by Creator and Creation, but that we are celebrated by Creator and Creation. We in turn celebrate Creator and Creation. This all makes for one grand party that my Diné ancestors knew quite well.

In fact, our European ancestors knew this world quite well, too. The only difference between the white woman and the red woman is the white woman’s ancestors were slaughtered and tortured much further back in time. We often forget the 8-9 million European Medicine Women who were burned alive, drowned alive, dismembered alive, raped, beaten and/or tortured as “witches.” We often forget how this not only harmed them, but spiritually wounded their brothers, husbands and sons who loved them. These were the women who prayed to stones, who made herbal medicines, who knew the land and the language of the land. We often forget how this episode and others served to severe our connection to the sacred motherland of Europe and engendered this sense of non-belonging.

Even in the face of this trauma, it is never too late to abandon the lie and enter the forbidden dimensions of self-love. For it is not the Creator who forbids us, but the dark. We are not only permitted by the Creator to enter this land, we are begged to enter it. For only then, will the party start again. Only then, will humanity know the joy it was created for again.

The topic of this poem is Hozhó (zh is pronounced like the j in taj mahal). Hozhó has been translated as beauty, but it means something more close to joy. Joy/Hozhó is the natural result of knowing oneself. Because to know oneself is to understand the grand celebration we are a part of. It is to know, profoundly, without a doubt, that we are loved, profoundly, by the Creator.

There are many things that keep us from feeling loved by the Creator. For women, rape can make us feel unlovable if we think it was our fault. For boys, domestic violence can make them feel unlovable if they believe they failed to protect their mother. It is our divine task to fight through the voices that say we are unloved and unworthy and find our Creator.

Only when we accept the truth of our beauty, will we let go of fear and insecurity. And only when we let go of fear and insecurity can we begin to have a real relationship with Mother Earth. A relationship that is not based on domination, separation, hierarchy, or other forms of insecurity, but a relationship that is akin to the relationship between a tree and the sun. Like this tree, we become the grateful receiver of life who, in the midst of this gratitude, is moved to give life to others, lovingly offering everything it has (shade, fruit, wood, beauty) to all that it sees.

What is really spectacular is when you have a community of these givers. In the context of the forest, even the giver is gifted with blessings unconditionally. It is not a trade. It is two beings that happen to be pouring out their heart at the same time, overtaken by the splendor of living in and as Creator’s design.

This is who we were created to be. Perhaps the pain we feel is the pain of trying to be something we are not. We are not the black sheep of the earth. We are the welcomed sons and daughters of the land. Remember this, and you will be doing your part to heal the whole earth.

Hozhó

It is dawn.
The sun is filling the sky
and my grandmother and I
are singing prayers to the horizon.
This morning she is
teaching me the meaning
of hozhó.
Although there is no direct
translation from Diné Bizaad
(the Navajo language)
into English
every living being knows
what hozhó means.
For hozhó is
every drop of rain.
It is every eyelash.
Every leaf on every tree.
Every feather on the bluebird’s wing.
Hozhó is undeniable beauty.
It is every breath we give to the trees.
And every breath they give to us in return.
Hozhó is reciprocity.
And my grandmother knows this well
for she speaks a language that
grew out of the desert floors
like red stone monoliths.
A language like arms
out of the earth
reaching into the sky,
praising creation for all
of its brilliance.
Hozho is remembering that we are a part of this brilliance.
It is finally accepting that
(yes)
you are a sacred song that brings the Diyin Diné’é
(the gods)
to their knees in an almost
unbearable ecstasy.
Hozho is re-membering our own beauty.
And my grandmother knows this well
for she speaks the language of a
Lókʼaaʼchʼégai snowstorm.
She speaks the language
of hooves hitting the dirt
for she was a midwife and would
gallop to the women in labor.
She is fluent in the
language of suffering mothers;
fluent in the language
of joyful mothers;
fluent in the language
of handing a glowing newborn
to its creator.
Hozhó is an experience.
But it is not something
you can experience
alone
the eagles tell us
as they lock talons
in the stratosphere
and fall to the earth as one.
Hozhó is inter-beauty.
And my grandmother knows this well
for she speaks the language of the Male Rain
which shoots Lightning Boys through the sky,
pummels the Green Corn Children
and huddles the horses against cliff sides
in the early afternoon.
She also speaks the language of the Female Rain
which sends the scent of dust and sage into our hoghans
and casts rainbows in the sky.
Us Diné, we know what hozhó means!
And you! You know what hozhó means!
And deep down I think we know what hozho
does not mean.
Like the days we walk in sadness.
Like the days we live for money.
Like the days we live for fame.
Like the day the conquistadors came,
climbed down from their horses
and asked us
if they could buy
the mountains.
We knew this was not hozhó
because we knew
you could not own a mountain.
But we knew we could make it hozhó once again.
So we took their silver swords
and we took their silver coins
and we melted them
with fire and buffalo hide bellows
and recast them into beautiful
squash blossom necklaces
and placed it around their necks.
We took the silver helmets
straight off their heads
and transformed it into
a fearless beauty.
We made jewelry:
Hozhó is the transmuting of broken bones.
Hozhó is the prayer that carried us
through genocide and disease.
It is the prayer that will carry us through
global warming;
through this global fear
that dances like a shadow
in our minds.
This morning my grandmother is teaching me something
very important.
She is teaching me that the
easiest (and most elegant) way
to defeat an army of hatred
is to sing to it beautiful songs
until it falls to its knees
and surrenders.
‘It will do this,’ she says, ‘because it has finally
found a sweeter fire than revenge.
It has found Heaven.
It has found Hozhó.’
And so my grandmother is talking
to the colors of the sky at dawn
and she is saying:
hózhǫ́náházdlíí’
hózhǫ́náházdiíí’
hózhǫ́náházdlíí’
(beauty is restored again…)
It is dawn, my friends.
Wake up.
The night
is over.”

Copyright 2016 (c) Lyla June Johnston
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