two worlds, two dimensions

appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had

Had this conversation today with someone – let’s call them S.

Me [talking about indigenous peoples and their rights and Canada and #idlenomore and all kinds of such things]
S [finding it all very interesting, then asking suddenly, in the end]: Have you ever been to Canada?
Me: No, I haven’t. Have you?
S: Yes! I’ve been to Nova Scotia, Halifax [starts explaining where it is and what it looks like on the map]
Me: I happen to know very well where Nova Scotia is. I’m kind of learning the language of Nova Scotia, and around.
S: Really? Oh wow. Yes, they speak a bit differently [starts imitating a strange English accent to illustrate]
Me: No, I’m learning the indigenous language of Nova Scotia.
S: ??? There’s an indigenous language in Nova Scotia?

Two worlds. Two semiospheres. Two completely different background systems.

A year ago, I didn’t know where Nova Scotia was. I did know where the Mi’kmaw people were located on the map, though – more or less. By now I seem to be more familiar with the Mi’kmaw names for places than the other ones. It was a natural choice for me – to learn from the people of the land.

Sometimes I come across a similar semiospheric confusion while talking with people who live in the world of French-speaking geography that I am not very familiar with. The confusions are easily solved by giving the English equivalent of the place name, and I learn, quickly.

In any area with indigenous peoples there’s a yet different reality layer, though – consisting of place names that often make sense, a language, a culture, a relationship with the environment around. It is all so very interesting, unique, rare, and often endangered.

The general public tends to know the layer of the prevalent culture(s), and very often they are not even aware that an alternative exists. Yet it does, and it’s in most cases not dead, decayed, deteriorated and forgotten, but alive, thriving, surviving, and carried by real people in the real world – as real as anybody else.

But the average occidental regards this as a dream world, long gone, dead, buried, and fairytale-ish. It’s so very romantical! To wear feathers on Halloween and remember the lovely natives with a good word on Thanksgiving, but living your whole life not knowing where your neighbours actually come from, or even that they exist, to say nothing of… knowing and understanding what they feel and think, or trying to learn some of their language in return of their having learnt yours. There are so many little things, being “the least” we could do! I suppose it hasn’t been made easy over the history, but it doesn’t excuse the ignorance.

It’s the diversity we all share and should attempt to keep and hold on to, until we still have it, in the present tense.

Advertisements

between me and my dreams

I get confused quite often. Confused about what I’m doing, why I’m here, if I am happy or is there something missing…

Guess I’m not the only one. Not wanting to be bold, but it seems to me that most of the world – at least the Western world as I know it – is confused like I am. Maybe even worse.

But happiness – true, genuine, intrinsic happiness – isn’t something external, achievable, is it? I’ve talked with happy people. They say that they are happy – they have their life, job, dream home, dream spouse, children, hobbies – whatever. But something makes me think that they were actually happy before. They are not happy because they have a home / spouse / children / dogs / money. I’d rather say they have all those things / people in their lives because they are happy. But some of them would be equally happy, sleeping naked under the desert sun or wrapped in the rain forest leaves…

And I wonder what kind of brain chemistry makes people like that. I’d really love to have that pill!

A few days ago I got really fed up with sadness. What am I doing, I thought, wasting my time and energy on something that doesn’t depend on me? I should project my thoughts and hopes into positive, rewarding actions. Do what you love, and do it often.

But sometimes it’s not easy to see what it is you love while you’re just filled up with shadows. Everything seems dark and hopeless. You know that you have to keep it light, but it keeps coming back and drowning you again.

So out of the bottom of that well I cried out for help. To whom? I think it doesn’t matter, really; that in the end everything that we could possibly cry out to is just a projection of our own minds. But funnily enough, this strange way of talking to your imaginary alter ego sometimes works for good.

I asked to be relieved of the sadness. I chose to let go. I chose not to cling to the reasons any more; and it opened my eyes.

Over the next days I just stumbled upon things and discoveries that made me see the brighter side of life. I got ideas; I got hope, confidence, inspiration…

It seemed like I had been standing in the shadow, and just one step took me to the light. My mind was cleared. And I wasn’t running to the light completely… I wanted to stay on that border, embraced by both light and darkness. To love myself as I am, to turn my weaknesses into strength and courage. By pulling myself mentally completely back from the outer world, I discovered an intrinsic balance I’d never encountered before. A balance free of fear, but full of curiosity. And all that because I had just asked. Why hadn’t I taken this one step before?

Sometimes happiness is just a question away…