FAST WISDOM™ NEWSLETTER
By Lonner Holden
Abundance: The Peacemaker's Journey
A very ling time ago, in a land we now call America, centuries before Europeans came to this land, a remarkable phenomenon occurred. It was called, by the First Americans who experienced it, The Laws of Great Peace and the long lasting peace it brought to the Indian nations who had been at war with each other for hundreds of years was the result of a persevering visionary called the Peacemaker.
With the aid of two contemporaries, the healer Hiawatha and the woman advocate for peace Jikohnsaseh, the Peacemaker succeeded in bringing together all the leaders of the warring tribes unanimously into the New Mind, the way of peace. The main Five Nations of the Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida and Onondaga and the dozens of smaller tribes under them became unified as the Iroquois Confederacy.
The Peacemaker helped the leaders see that their way of destruction divided them from their own families and from what they loved, leaving them isolated, afraid and lost in a violent cycle of desperate survival . The four principles he advocated were love, peace, reason and justice. In this way he helped the people conquer fear and find connection to their families and to what they loved. Hiawatha formed the practice of condolence - of releasing one’s guilt, grief and pain into the shared suffering and non-judgmental listening with another to be able to begin again. Jikohnsaseh brought the understanding of the true experience and responsibilities of women.
Through initiating practices of reflective listening called the Way of Council (which we acknowledge today as core to Restorative Justice and Non-violent Communication), empathy among previously divided people was restored and agreements could be constructed that allowed all people to pursue what they loved, have free access to food supplies, and practice any religion they wished. Diversity, equality of property rights, and individual liberty were intentional and natural consequences of the new cultural architecture that became responsible for the emergence of the combined tribes called the Haudenosaunee, the People of the Long House.
Under this one roof, which was both literal and figurative, all people were created equal. Both men and women had equal right to vote, yet women had been left to raise children alone and bring in the new generation without husbands, fathers and brothers killed in war. So while men were Officers of Peace, women held high stature in the Council and because of their unique capacity to protect and value life were the only ones who could declare war, chose male leaders and make final decisions of policy and treaties.
The Houdenosaunee lived in harmony with themselves, each other and nature. Prosperity for all blossomed and a long period of peace, equality, freedom and abundance reigned.
This was the first full participatory democracy in history and the white authors of the Constitution of the United States fashioned the current form of democracy we know today after it. (Because the all-important women’s role in government was initially excluded in the U.S. Constitution, the Women’s Suffrage Movement of 1920 was initiated and led by Haudenosaunee women.)
In 1621 the Pilgrims were joined by one of the tribes who had prospered under the realized vision of the Peacemaker for hundreds of years, the Wampanoag. At this first Thanksgiving, sharing the abundance of the harvest was a declaration that the food is for everyone, peace is for everyone, equality is for everyone and the power of coming together in one mind and one heart in peaceful engagement and understanding is for everyone.
The Wampanoag expressed in their traditional prayer gratitude to the Earth, from which all people come, the waters, plants and trees, animals and birds, wind and lightning, sun and moon and stars, the four directions (symbolizing directing the psyche), the Creator, and the elders, children and teachers completing the prayer with, "and now our minds are one."
When we celebrate Thanksgiving, we are also celebrating the Peacemaker’s Journey, as he has journeyed to our table, brought to us the government and peace of equality resulting in the abundance we share. And he brings to our table too, the questions, “How do I create conflict which weakens the peace between me and another?; What am I afraid of that divides me from what I love?; How do I criticize or spread rumors or suspicions which are unjust?; When is my thinking incoherent, lacking reason?”
The Peacemaker lives inside all people, dwells as a voice of what is possible if we give ourselves to what is best in the world. The Peacemaker brought a vision, brought light back into the souls of warring tribes who fed on the bitter and lean diet of fear, judgement, conflict and unreasonable thinking. One of my favorite quotes expressing the source of all nurturance is this Chinese proverb:
“When there is light in the soul,
there is beauty in the person;
when there is beauty in the person,
there is harmony in the family;
when there is harmony in the family,
there is order in the nation;
when there is order in the nation,
there is peace in the world.”
May this Thanksgiving rekindle the light in your soul, and may abundance radiate from you and surround you in every way.
NEXT MONTH: Winter Solstice: The Virtue of Deep Quiet
PICK OF THE MONTH: Thanksgiving Prayer from the Iroquois Nation
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Fast Wisdom™ is the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice. Each issue explores a theme of living approached in the context of healing. Included is a simple Jin Shin Juytsu® Healing Hands Self-Care exercise, as well as a Restorative Nature Practice™ activity to practice which relate to the newsletter theme of the month. Nutrition and health tips too, so you can live a happier and more vital life infused with well-being, improved health and more effective and empowered recovery.
© 2015 Lonner Holden