I enjoyed a wonderful Elders’ Pow-wow yesterday. On so many levels, pow-wow hits my reset button. I get out of my daily life and participate in something that is both different and familiar. I reconnect with old friends and new acquaintances, people of all ages. There is a lot of laughing. The pounding rhythm of the drums reverberates through every cell in my body and reorganizes my energy state. The drums and the high singing fill my heart with beauty. As I dance around and around and around, I turn the circle of Life both in myself and in my community. I am refreshed!

One of the songs was a prayer for all of those who are traveling the road of addiction or are close to someone who is. The words of the song, loosely translated, mean, “What I am today is what I want to be when I go Home”. There is a lot of power in those few words. They are asking: am I living in such a way that my Spirit is prepared to travel the road home to the Creator? Not just “could I let go?”, but “am I in a good state?”. Am I living the Good Life?

I do not have to be addicted to drugs to be avoiding the Good Life. I can be addicted to negative thoughts and behaviors––anything that prevents me from being present and well-connected with my Spirit. Hearing the song, I had to think about my own life. What am I holding on to that is keeping me from being fully present? Of course, I was given a good test soon after that.

I did not grow up going to pow-wow, so I am still learning the formal “rules”. I was out dancing in the circle, when someone pulled me aside and told me that this was a dance just for men. Hahahahaha! I had to laugh, of course. How embarrassing!! As I walked back to my seat, I could see other women laughing good-heartedly. I sat down with a friend and we had some good belly laughs about this.

On my way home afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about this mistake. I found myself shaming myself for behaving so foolishly. I am still challenged to let go of that today. I can think of many reason why such a thing happened. I also know that no one there was terribly offended––humor is a great part of Native culture, and I had dozens of other positive experiences there. But I am berating myself. I am choosing to focus on this one situation.

Self-shaming doesn’t help me be present or spiritually-connected, so I don’t want to give energy to the shame. Instead, I am going to practice placing my attention on the other feelings of pow-wow, on reorganizing and refreshing my spiritual energy–– focusing on What I Am Today.