I’ve been thinking a lot about grief lately. A dear Sister-Auntie-Friend has suffered an unimaginable loss. In our families and communities, we are not unused to young death, violent death–both are grim. When they intersect, exponentially so. So what do we do? What can we do? Pray. Write. Create messages of love and kindness. Send these, with gifts that can hopefully help our grieving loved ones. Our efforts feel so small, especially now in this strange and isolating time of the pandemic. But we keep going, keep doing, keep trying. Keep the steady streams of prayers and love flowing that have always seen our communities through impossible times. Goodness knows we have enough practice.
And then I remember. It’s not enough to pray with my mind and heart. I must use my feet–get my whole body involved. And so I tie on my running shoes on an eerily warm winter morning and run on my most favorite running surface in all the world: the slightly damp dirt and gravel roadways on my Indigenous homeland. The earth, damp from melted snow, isn’t dry and dusty when the cold wind moves across us, sending greetings from the snow-covered foothills and our sacred mountain to the west.
Pat, pat, pat, I hear the soft sound of my feet kissing the earth with each step. I sense Mother Earth inviting me to release days, decades, and centuries of grief. She knows I can’t carry it myself. Like all wise and generous relatives, she offers to help. And so I let it go. Pat, pat, pat. I feel lighter and faster as I release the troubles I’ve been holding. I feel wind’s approval at my back, gently pushing me to go faster. Pat, pat, pat. A gravel and dirt road becomes a sacred healing place.
Michelle believes in the power of stories to help us heal. Learn more at the Dare to Soar Telesummit, a free event on Saturday, February 6, 2021. Michelle will be speaking from 11:30am-Noon Pacific time.