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Suicide is a Spirit – Message for Native Youth
Precious Young Bloods, suicide can be seen as the refusal to see another way out of what seems to be a hopeless situation. Refusal of something is the unwillingness to accept, do, give, or allow. The fact that one is unwilling means that they indeed have a will in the first place. As humans, free will means the mental power by which we deliberately choose or decide upon a course of action. Unwilling means not wanting to do something. So from a viewpoint limited to black and white, with living in misery or death by suicide as the only two choices, what exactly is it that some of you are unwilling or refusing to do or see? Many are refusing the light of hope, the promise of life’s possibilities, and the map that leads to paths of freedom.
Suicide is a sensitive subject in any human culture. The statistics on teen suicide in Indian Country, however, makes the topic more of a reality show rather than a taboo topic no one wants to talk about. Teen suicide has reached epidemic proportions and tribal nations are declaring a state of emergency for our youth.
Young Bloods, take a moment to realize that suicide is found only in the human species. The magnificence of Nature and life on Earth is all about survival, right? Our ancestors taught that all life is a sacred gift from the Creator and that the Earth Mother is a nurturing, living entity. Clearly, suicide does not come from the mysterious ways of the Creator.
So, is there actually a spirit of suicide? Take a look at some other terms that describe the word SPIRIT: energy, essence, mood, will, animation, boldness, breath, guts, motivation, nerve, temperament, willpower, frame of mind, life force, outlook, and disposition. It’s down-right chilling how every one of those synonyms for the word spirit can be used in a sentence describing what it takes to kill yourself!
Regardless whether you believe the spirit of suicide is something outside of yourself or inside of yourself, just the act of shining a light upon the dark subject is enough to make change happen. Your Elders are correct. Knowledge is power. Take hold of the wisdom of your ancestors and cling to it as a life saver in deep waters.
The first step to lifting your face up to the light of hope is to master the art of filtering your thoughts. Claiming dominion over your own mind is like being the boss of yourself and what you think. Knowledge and wisdom are known as forms of light. A good example is the icon of a light bulb to symbolize ideas and thought. Hope is an emotion formed by hopeful thoughts. You may have heard that the mind is a battlefield. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, as a young Native warrior you have the power to choose which thoughts to keep. Thoughts come to us from many sources. Filter out the negative, harmful thoughts and keep the life-giving ones. It takes practice in exercising your free will but you are young and strong and you can do it! You are not alone, there are many Elders from many Indian Nations working on it right now to get to you and teach you the ways of our ancestors. Hold on and be brave as you summon your own true spirit for the battle of your life.
The second step is to develop a prayer life that is all your own and use it to explore the possibilities of life. Miracles happen when you choose your own words to make a prayer that speaks from your heart. It does not matter if you do not have a church or do not know a formal way to pray. Our Creator already knows our deepest hearts and only wants us to go to Him. Our ancestors knew this and lived their daily lives by it. They realized fully that the spiritual world is not just for beings of horror to influence us or pester us, but that the spirit world is also full of Medicine Helpers that guide us and assist us in ways that are good. Pray in gratitude, even though it seems there is nothing to appreciate at the moment. If you can see, then give thanks for your eyes. Start from there and move forward and upward. Darkness quickly fades in the light of praise.
The third step is to live on purpose! Live to teach the wisdom of our ancestors to a fake world. Our Creator designed you to learn by example in a world of natural order, to learn though the lessons of cause and effect, and to observe that life moves in circles so that we can never fall off the edge. Use the wisdom as a map for your life and as proof that your life has purpose and destiny. Young Bloods please have hope, know that our Native race has not only survived a history that was meant to destroy us, but the Red Race is evolving to lead the world back to the realm of possibility and freedom. Hear the words of our ancestors.
“All things in the world are two. In our minds we are two, good and evil. With our eyes we see two things, things that are fair and things that are ugly...We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, and the other foot may lead us to good. So are all things two, all two.” Eagle Chief –Pawnee, 1905
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