My Indigenous ancestors tried their best at survival, and when they had access to animals such as the buffalo, they did a pretty good job. The buffalo, or the bison, was a staple animal for my fellow people all over North America. Why? Because this large animal provided so much, and my ancestors did a great job at making use of every part of this larger-than-life animal. The only time you see the buffalo roaming now is usually on a farm, or in a protected national park. It is too bad hunters don’t have access to this source of abundance – to fill their freezers, like they do with the moose, elk, or the deer.
Considering what the Indigenous People of Canada, and the Native North Americans of the United States have been through, we have done a good job of navigating the ups and downs of history, of surviving. Yes, there are many of my fellow people who never learned to cope with the scars of life. This is why Indigenous People have the highest rates of all social ills. But, as time moves forward, there are more and more of my brothers and sisters, who have learned to not only survive, but who are thriving.
My brother paid me a huge compliment during our last coffee visit. He said, “there is a low percentage of people, who have been through what you’ve been through, and are doing what you’re doing.” Then he said, “that’s what I call success!” Believe me, when I say this, I’m not trying to brag or honk my own horn, I’m simply being vulnerable and transparent, and give you a glimpse into my life. Of course, there is no time to go into the details of what I’ve been through in life, but let’s just say there’s enough of the good and bad to fill a few books. If you go to TallPine Press you can purchase a copy of my second book, and at the beginning of each chapter, I tell a brief story of each phase of my life. That’s the best I can do for now to give you some insight.
As a believer in the Creator Jesus, and a member of the Christian community, and an Indigenous person, who also keeps his ear to the ground of what’s going on in the Indigenous community at large, I have heard similar themes in both communities. We all need to hear this advice that gives insight into one of the secrets of life. We all, no matter who we are, and no matter what has happened to our own people, and our own families, have to learn to move forward. When life throws us curve balls, and as we all go through Covid-19 and Omicron, we all know too well this reality of moving from surviving to thriving.
The holy sacred scriptures that were inspired by the Creator, say in many different ways, and in various places, that we should make the best use of our time. As we go through our ups and downs in life, this is what develops our character. This is what molds us into the best we can be. I don’t think anyone wants their life goal to be to just survive. Deep within our souls, our hearts cry out, “I want to experience the best that life has to offer!” Our souls also cry out, whether we believe this or not, “Creator I can’t live without you and only You can fill this void.”
A few years ago, I attended a retreat that was titled, ‘Thrive’. The whole purpose of this retreat was to instill within leaders, the ability to not just survive in our chosen career, but to also thrive. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it’s still a great way to give clarity and meaning to your life, no matter how old you are, or what circumstances you find yourself in. Thriving isn’t pretending that there are no struggles, it’s simply acknowledging that yes there are struggles in life, but those struggles don’t have to define us.
Remember, I said that my ancestors used to survive on the buffalo and made use of every part of that animal. Then history dealt us some hard times, but despite the fact that many of my fellow Indigenous people, have struggled to make sense of those hard times, many of them are now in every career imaginable. Then I said that the Creator’s holy, sacred scriptures, pointed us in the direction of thriving too. As a leader in my family, and my career, I’ve chosen to focus on thriving, rather than just surviving.
Life can be hard, but staying in the survive mode all the time is even harder. Let’s all encourage each other, uplift each other, make the most of what’s in front of us, focus on what we do have and not on what we don’t have. We’ve all been through the ringer this year and last year, so let’s make this years’ theme “Thrive!”