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Beside Restful Waters: Seven Generations

“… the seventh generation has their eyes on us now.”

Paco Fralick

Paco Fralick is a friend of mine. He is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians near Hayward, Wisconsin. These words are taken from a song he wrote, called ‘Women and Water’.

The song speaks of the destruction of the water resources in our world. Our Ojibway teachings emphasize the power of our women as their life cycle is related to the universe as it follows the moon through its phases. Water is life. Women bring life into the world. The water of our world is diseased from our neglect and pollution. Many of us appear to be unaware of the state of our water resources.

So………What does water pollution have to do with yoga and recovery?

In our active addiction, we lived a life of denial. We refused to acknowledge the destruction of drug of choice on ourselves, our families, and on the communities around us. The truth of our destructive, addictive nature was, and is a source of ongoing shame and pain in our sobriety. Yet, we experience hope and peace each day that our sobriety strengthens. The efforts of each of us as individuals and in our fellowships lead us to forgiveness and rest.

Those of us with families agonize over the pains we have left behind. Our families, friends and communities carry the scars of our lies, resentments and hostilities of our addiction. In our sobriety communities, our shared agony is the source of our healing. Our peace and hope grows as we re-establish truth, responsibility, and connection with those we have hurt. Slowly we are able to rest more deeply in peace as these relationships heal. What a powerful sense of healing results when we recognize that our children and grand-children will be able to share the strength of our courage and sobriety.

In the traditions of the Native American communities I have come to know, we are taught to speak and act with the understanding that these behaviors will affect the next seven generations. At first, this seemed like an unrealistic concept. Then I found myself at a family reunion where five generations were physically present. That was a sobering revelation. These people will all carry the impact of my presence into the next generations. Powerful!

The seventh generation from my lineage is not yet born. I truly believe that those yet to be born are watching me from their place in the Spirit World. What should I expect to hear from them when I meet them in the Spirit World?

Today, I hold my sobriety up to them. This sobriety of mind, body and spirit is an ongoing source of revelation to me. The sober life is a life of responsibility. How am I living out these responsibilities? The reality is that I am only one person in a world of 7.5 billion people. The reality also is that my life affects many people. I rest in the serenity that I am not responsible for 7.5 billion people. I also rely on the courage to give my best to the generations within my circle of life. Sacred wisdom strengthens my will, under the power of my Higher Power, to engage this purpose with honesty, focus and energy. These are the characteristics of sobriety I want those in my circle to experience. I can rest knowing that I can live my life one day at a time, with one person at a time. The power of forgiveness is a power I truly want my ancestors to witness.

I also rest in the knowledge that I am not living my life alone.

We bring out these character strengths in each other.

The intersection of your circles with mine has explosive power, witnessed in the quiet of our presence to our world, and celebrated beside restful waters.

I want the eyes of my unborn generation to see how we live our sobriety.

Thank you.


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