Friday, 2 March 2012

Masay Yaida

Lori Villebrun, coordinator at Chinook Lodge Aboriginal Resource Centre, says one of Chinook Lodge's roles at SAIT over the past deade has been to celebrate Aboriginal culture in the education system.I was talking to a colleague several months ago and catching up on vacation stories.  She is aboriginal and had returned to her reserve and family for a visit during her summer break.  It had been a time of reconnecting with her mother and her roots - very strong, spiritual roots infused with her cultural beliefs and values and a faith that could move mountains with a gentle nudge of her inner self.  She shared an interesting story about a chance meeting with an elderly acquaintance.  This older man spoke to her of hard times and difficulties in his life, of children and grandchildren and their problems, and, of the process of growing old.  My wise friend listened with her heart and said very little.  When she was getting ready to leave, he turned to her and said:   "Thank you for seeing me."  She was deeply touched.

She then explained the meaning of this saying in her culture referencing the film "Avatar" as a recent example.  It is not just "seeing" like I might say I am going to see my grandchildren this week or I am going to see a man about a job.  "Seeing" in her culture is seeing someone as they are and respecting that.  It is about listening without judgment and spending time without expectations.  Seeing is being willing to look into their heart and soul and experience their truth with loving acceptance even if you don't agree.  I like that.  "I see you"  - what a gift!

Fast forward to January 2012.
I just received word that a colleague and amazing woman has been moved to hospice.  She is so wise and loving - it is difficult to accept that her time on this earth is coming to such a quick end.  I quoted her in a previous blog comparing her philosophy to that in Avatar.  “Masay yaida,” in the aboriginal language of Slavey, means "Thank you for seeing me."  - my friend expanded on that and shared “masay yaida means seeing each other for all that we are. It’s a beautiful gift that we can give one another as human beings.”
I thought about this and my "girlfriends" most with 50 plus years of experience and wisdom guiding them - women, in my experience, who, even in this virtual world, see each other for all that we are.  In our moments of darkness and indecision or when the sun is shining and we are standing on the mountain top - it all adds up the whole of who we are.
So masay yaida, my friends.  And, God bless you, my dear friend Lori, as you face the end of your life with us and the beginning of your journey with the Creator - on the other side.

Lori died January 29, 2012.  Masay yaida, my friend.  RIP

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