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23 April 2018

Terror Became Honor

Last year, the word was Courage. I found myself in a constant conversation with Courage. What was it, what did it mean, and where did I find her? When were the “right” times to be courageous?

This year, the word is Honor. Another of the 12 Lakota virtues I said I wanted to talk about in the fall when I rebirthed this blog. I think I find myself meditating on these ideas in part because when I have heard them spoken of in Native circles, they don’t sound moralistic or static. They feel, instead, almost like living beings I need to meet—or nurture—in myself. Parts of myself, both weak and strong, imperfect like me, who I need to have relationships with. The Brave Woman that I am, the Honorable Woman that I am… the Wise Woman than I could be… (Maya’s phenomenal woman?)…

The closer I came to dropping the book, the more terror took root in my pelvis and my solar plexus, and my shoulders and my very skull, just behind my ears. The more I had to order myself, “stand tall, shoulders back, girl!” Courage did not provide an answer for what I feared.

For decades, I lived in terror of being my self, putting my voice and her words into the world. I imagine that I feared what we all fear: being misunderstood, not being seen for who and what we know we are. So, I just didn’t do it. That way I had “nothing” to fear. Not so much, honey.

I found out the hardest way what happens when we ignore who we are, look away from her and leave her to crave recognition. Courage helped me to do what I need to do, but she didn’t answer fear’s incessant lack of faith... in myself or the world? And, what was the difference?

Perhaps that is why Honor came to me. Courage made me write the book. But it was Honor’s job to make me give it away. If I honored myself, respected myself, regarded my own value, my own truth, my path, my story, my words, my vision, my wisdom, then I had nothing to fear. If I knew my truth was good, then I could stand tall and strong: a tree in my own grounded roots. If I looked on my own story and saw what was good in it, then I had honored it: shed light and rain on my tree to grow and thrive.

That is Honor. It is more than giving respect, more than privilege enjoyed because somebody respects you and what you do and who you are. Honor is born from true regard. I think of the French regarder. From my mother and her family, I always heard that word as not only to see, but to look deeply. One sees because one looks deeply. To regard, then, was to see deeply into another. It is only through that immersion into her watery eyes that we can see down to her depths, her soul, her truth—see her well enough to honor her. In regarding, we honor who we meet. When I regard, when I look deeply, I find love for myself. I needed only to regard my story, to honor it and offer it.

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Massive gratitude to all of you who have stood behind me, stood me up, walked beside me, communed with me, shared and held space with me: you honor me.
Just South of the Solar Plexus will drop soon because you regarded me.