Welcome to My Fire …

I am awake, I am alive. Welcome to my fire.

I smile as I type those words, still thrilled with the revelations of yesterday and the power of unpacking.

To explain, “unpacking” in my world is best described as a “conversation with self”. It begins with noticing an emotional reaction I am experiencing. At that point, it is time to ask, “Why?”

Determining the reason behind the reaction is the unpacking and no, it is never “because he is being a jerk” because it is never about anyone but you and whatever an outside action or words triggered.

Yesterday, an unexpected critique from a collegue, written in response to a blog post I had shared here on my page. In his comment, he suggested I refrain from using the word “settler”, that it is considered derogatory by many and therefore shouldn’t be used (as suggested by him and a much-loved now-passed elder he was quoting).

There was a most definite reaction but I had to determine why. Was it the passive-aggressive first sentence of his comment? Was it the way he implied not doing as he suggested would be going against the words of an elder I knew and loved? Was it his assumption that his unsolicited opinion was welcome? What was it?

The answer was as beautiful as it always is – this is my fire.

To explain, in Anishinaabe culture, we traditionally had the option to be invited to sit at someone’s fire. There we would listen to their words. Silence was the norm but when agreement was strong, the response was nothing more than head nodding and a quiet “Hmmmm”.

In present day, it still happens and I love it each time it does. An Anishinaabe person is at the microphone, the audience silent but in unison, at different key points, the nodding and the “Hmmmm” spoken in unison.

Yesterday’s events helped me to realize that I view my page and the offerings I share on this page as my fire (a view that I had never sufficiently explained to my readers, until now). I invite all to join me here, to listen, to contemplate, to learn. You have full power to reject all I say but at no time is it appropriate to criticize or suggest alternatives. That is just not done. That is not the Anishinaabe way.

Now if I post something to a public thread, debate is welcome. I often engage in debate there, sparked by something I posted, by a response, or by something someone else posted. There I play the Western way.

But not here, not here. This is Anishinaabe territory. Ask respectful questions. Ask for clarification. Walk softly always but suggestions are not welcome, not here, at my fire.

The boundaries have been drawn.

Sigh … cross-cultural relationships – so nuanced with the potential for such beauty. #beautiful

Enjoy your day, my amazing friend. Thank you so so much for coming to my fire this morning.

I love you!