One of the foundations of the prayers we use in our plant medicine work, and sacred ceremonies, is the call/prayer for Unity. One of the four main prayers to hold our space, our ceremonies, our lives.
With that prayer, we call the Grandmothers and grandfathers of the North. We call the Grandmothers and Grandfathers Wind. We call all our relations. The stone people, the 4 legged, the one-legged, the plants, the spirits of the 7 directions, our ancestors, the lands. There is great power in this prayer and even greater wisdom.
Over the last 10 years of deepening my prayers, through learning to point them in better ways, which often comes through making sure they are very focused and “aimed” while making sure I leave enough space around them to hear the answers from Spirit. Spirit will speak, answers with what I need not what I want. Yet the pointing is essential as if not things can get quite wild.
I recall a prayer for abundance I worked with for months many years ago until I realized it came with an overwhelming amount of work I received through patients and clients. Oh! I asked for Abundance! Spirit answered! But did I want abundance of patients, money, time, friendship, love, …? Beyond the fact that I did not realize at the time that abundance is the “by-default” prayer of Spirit for us. So, I realized I “missed” my aim. I had to re-aim my prayer. I had to point learn what it means to truly point them, and how to do so.
I want to share a story that really moved me recently in a ceremony. A prayer that I was making and that was answered in the most perfect way. The way I needed to receive, not the way I imagined or “wanted” to receive.
My prayer for this ceremony was for “connection”. In my heart, at that moment I was calling for a deeper connection with others and with self. Calling a deeper intimacy with my sexual trauma, deeper intimacy with my partner, and a deeper intimacy with all my relations, especially grandfather Fire wisdom. All that was present in my Heart at the moment I voiced “Connection”.
Within 20 to 30 minutes into the ceremony, a very intense belly pain (a very intense fire) started to burn my intestine to an intensity I have never experienced before. Humbling me for over 4 to 5 hours to the ground. During that process, I kept praying to the Great Mystery, to the Fire, for an answer, for healing, for wisdom.
Before I share the answer, I got from the Medicine, from Spirit, let me share the context. My partner has been suffering from very intense and often debilitating pain in her belly. A pain that is pretty constant, to various intensity. For over 10 years. I have held space to the best of my ability for her in those moments despite never truly “feeling” what it was for her. I never was really able to “walk in her shoes”. Despite the immense love and care I have for her, my ability to hold space for her was limited by my understanding of what this really felt in HER body, what it really means for HER daily life.
So when I asked Spirit about this pain I was experiencing Her/His answer was “This is the pain your partner is living with. Now you can connect to it and to Her. Now your Heart is opening for more compassion through a deeper understanding of “someone else” pain. Now there is no more separation. Now there is no other anymore. There is just one pain. One body. One Heart”.
As we understand more and more our purpose on this Earth, everything leads to more Love, through a more opened Heart. And that includes fully seeing through feeling each other pain. The pain of all my relations. The pain of my mother. The pain of my brothers. The pain of my sisters. The pain of Grandmother Earth. The pain of humanity. This pain was a gift. This pain brought me into deeper closeness with my partner, with my own Heart, with my mission, and with my medicine.
I don’t know if there were other ways for me to truly understand. In fact, I am pretty sure there was not. As I opened to “her” pain, I also opened to my pain. After the revelation from Spirit about this, my body shifted into the pain in my lower body, my lower back, the place of my sexual trauma. My body started shaking deeply. My nervous system was releasing a deep amount of fear, shame, and abuse. My incapacity at the time to have the respect of my physical boundaries.
Here I was under a magnificent night sky, with a divinely painted milky way. Praying for the unity and compassion for my perpetrators. For unity and compassion with all of those who judged and abused me. And at that moment a shooting star crossed the sky, a burning fire of pure white Light.
All the pain immediately went away. And a deep state of bliss washed over me. God’s Grace. The gift of all those medicines. The medicine of my partner. The medicine of my prayers. The medicine of my perpetrators. The medicine of being fully human. Humbled to the ground I cried. Sacred waters of joy that rinse, calmed and blessed my fire. Her Fire. Our fires.
For a moment I felt this oneness with all my relations. One Body. One Heart. One Pain. One Fire. One Love.
As I reflect back on this experience, I can hear a softer whispering of Spirit. One that tells me that unless I, we, reconnect to the pain in our bodies we won’t be able to fully heal. That also tells me that my perpetrators were here to allow me to better serve those who come to me, 35 years later, for Sexual Trauma de-armoring. That shows me that unless we can feel the pain we inflict on all our relations in this age of ecological, economic, political and societal collapse, we won’t be able to heal our own inner collapse. That unless we can build bridges of connection with all relations, beyond how they look like, how they Love, how they behave, we won’t be able to build bridges with our own contradictions and wilderness.
Maybe the Great Spirit let us bring upon ourselves this great collapse so we can unite through one Pain, one Love, one Destiny, and one Prayer.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin*
To all my relations
We are all related
Shawinigan Ungaia / The Sanctuary
* Mitakuye Oyasin is a Lakota prayer. These two words mean “All My Relations” or “We are All Related”. To pray this prayer is to petition God on behalf of everyone and everything on Earth. Mitakuye Oyasin honors the sacredness of each person’s individual spiritual path, acknowledges the sacredness of all life (human, animal, plant, etc.) and creates an energy of awareness which strengthens not only the person who prays but the entire planet.