Letters From Elders to Us All: Sun Dog



“You have to look deeper, way below the anger, the hurt, the hate, the jealousy, the self-pity, way down deeper where the dreams lie, son. Find your dream. It is the pursuit of the dream that heals you.”
– A quote from Lakota Nation Member- Billy Mills father.  Said to him after the death of his mother.
There is a moment, where the world gets so out of balance, so extreme, so senseless,... we despair.   Despair feels overwhelming.  It hurts.  It slows us down with its weight.  Sometimes despair can even make us… stop, think, retreat.  But despair has a role.  It can be a friend, one that shocks you with that moment of brutal truth. Not always appreciated, but still life changing.  We sit with it. Walk with it.  Despair makes us dig deep. Despair makes us question. Despair opens us to what we feel.  At first, despair may give birth to Anger, Outrage, Shock, Hate, but walking with it, opens up to Determination, Hope, Dreams, Unity, and Action. 
 
Mesquite tree in foreground with sandy desert path leading into other mesquite trees and agaves blooming. In the background thick clouds cover and obscure mountains.
Despair is the season before there are Dreams. Dreams partner with Hope. Hope gives birth to action.  This is the fire to make us seek out others, to pray, speak out, march, shout and stare down injustice and inequality. Dreams and hope are what make us unite.   Dreams, backed against a wall of despair are the force that makes our opponents quake.  Hope, backed against a wall of despair gives birth to the most powerful force in the world.

In this particular time of turmoil. I found myself using the First Nations television channel as soothing background while working.  The First Nations channel gave comfort to my despair- with the generational continuity of how to make acorn soup, farming, and artwork.  It also educated me with the updates on indigenous, native issues… updates on tribes from Canada to Mexico.  Gentle wisdom from a heritage I respect, (but don’t have) wove itself into my subconscious.

Then I heard an interview with Billy Mills.  A Lakota Ogallala member and elder who became an Olympian.  He spoke about his path.  About losing both parents at a young age.  He has used his experience to heal, motivate and educate others for many years. It had little to do with a gold medal, and everything to do with moving from despair to hope, vision, motivation and action. It wove the spiritual, and his father's wisdom into his dreams.  I could not find the exact interview I heard that particular day, but will leave you with a link to one of many.  I wish you strength and motivation in your particular path. - Sun Dog


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"Indigenous with Stacey Thunder" Episode 2 - Olympic gold medalist, Billy Mills. October 2014 was the 50th anniversary of Billy winning the medal in the 10,0...

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