I did not know when I randomly snapped this picture, that it would evolve into having such a deep meaning and connection for me. I just wanted to capture Peter, a man who is dear to me, walking in front of this mural....a majestic piece of art.
I did not know what Mitakuye Oyasin meant. To be honests, I thought it was the name of the artist of the mural. When I found out by chance what Mitakuye Oyasin means, it really changed how I saw this picture forever.
Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ (All Are Related) is a phrase from the Lakota language. It reflects the world view of interconnectedness held by the Lakota people of North America. The phrase translates in English as "all my relatives," "we are all related," or "all my relations." It is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys. (Wikipedia)
A Photograph Comes Alive
As I proceeded to sort through my pictures captured down at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, this photograph became alive to me in a whole new way. Suddenly it wasn't just a capture of someone I care for in front of an incredible piece of art. The diversity of it all stood out to me as I was flooded with so many thoughts.... An elderly white man in front of a mural of indigenous people. The difference in culture, age, color, beliefs...... The realization that some day I could be the elderly person walking along in front of a new mural somewhere.
Somehow the age old wisdom and lifetime of experiences of the elderly reached into my heart out of this photograph. I can't explain it.......it just spoke to me. Although many things change very rapidly in this ever changing and advancing world, there is something to be said for some of that sage wisdom.
As I go through and experience life, I realize more and more that there is an interconnection among us that goes much deeper than what we can see or experience. Whether we want to see it or admit it or not, we are all connected just like parts of the body. If the hand is hurt, the whole body is suffering. I sense it is very much the same among the people in this world.
Yet there is so much much hurt everywhere that causes the whole "body" to suffer. This hurt comes in so many ways, I actually dread thinking about it, never mind listing it. Mental Health, abuse and the sex trade are just a couple of topics that are dear to my own heart. There are many things one could list ranging from homelessness to war, including third world living conditions in our own first world countries, neglect of the elderly, addictions......and the list could go on and on.
Healing And Restoration
When the hand is hurt, the whole body is suffering. Other parts of the body have to compensate for what the hand's duties are while the hand is hurt. To me, this is very much the same among the people of this country and of this this world. When there are pieces of our country or world that are hurt, we are all suffering and having to compensate for what is hurt and broken. Take a look around......the evidence is everywhere.
Even as I write this, I'm almost overwhelmed by the magnitude of the hurt we are surrounded by. We all have had our own experiences of being hurt. We all have met people who have been hurt in a variety of and at times horrific ways.
As we heal ourselves, we become stronger and we can love others so it sets the stage for them to be healed if they are willing. It all starts with ourselves. When you are in a good state of being, you can help impact the world around you one person at a time. Show love and kindness. Give how and where you can.
The more whole and healthy we are individually, the more we impact our immediate world in positive ways. As we let our own light shine, we light the path for others near us.
It is my hope that we can all return to oneness and harmony with all forms of life. We are all related.
©Sigrid Sauereisen 2019