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emilyryan 10-13-2015 05:49 PM

Lost my spirituality
Hi my name is Emily and I'm really not happy with my life. Nothing has really happened to me but I have diagnosed depression, anxiety, and bipolar. To be happy, I feel as if I need to get outside of myself.
When I was fifteen, I was sent to a wilderness camp in Utah where we lived off of the land and learned much about native american culture, even having our own versions of some of their ceremonies occasionally. When I went I was too bitter about being sent off to really appreciate the experience and too upset about hiking to learn anything. In short, I regret not fully taking part in the camp.
Since then I have lost my spirituality. I'm confused and I'm not sure What I believe anymore. I want to dive into rich, spiritual culture as a kind of self-medication. I need to connect with something again to feel, well anything. I guess my question is, is it possible for a non- native person to visit a reservation for a while as a sort of self-exploration? If not do you know of anything similar where I could immerse myself into something bigger than me? Any help you can give would be great! Thank you so much for your help!

OLChemist 10-13-2015 07:26 PM

Hello Emily, welcome to powwows.com We are a forum for the discussion of the forms of social dancing that are part of the modern powwow, and the related arts.

I'm sorry you are in pain. However, I'm afraid I have some harsh words for you:

It seems you are romanticizing our cultures. As individuals we are no more or less spiritual than any other people. Our ways are just different from yours; not better or worse. Also, we have many very different ways, and many varied cultures. There is no one set of customs or ceremonies.

Our ways arise from different intellectual traditions and the specific instructions given by the Creator and Powers to our peoples at the time of their emergence and/or creation. They are rooted in specific geographies and languages, and the unique ethoses shaped by those forces. They are passed through families, clans, religious orders and societies. By and large our original instructions weren't intended for other peoples, Indian or non-. They seldom translate or transplant well.

Modern Indian people come from post-apocalyptic communities. We are the descendants of survivors of virgin-field epidemics, war, economic devastation, colonization, dislocation, religious persecution, and political oppression. We have learned to guard the precious shreds of our traditions. For this reason, many of us oppose the kind of colonial violence done by the appropriation of our ways.

Further, many reservation communities are places of economic and spiritual deprivation. We have our hands full helping our kin. We don't have the resources to salve the wounds to the dominant culture's lost and wounded. We are too busy trying to keep our teens from committing suicide.

However, do not despair. I have studied some our your cultures and religions while in college. There is beauty and power within your own traditions. The Creator gave you great riches -- riches which are yours by birthright. Your answer lies there.

milehighsalute 10-15-2015 12:30 AM

well emily......you werent really taught spirituality.....much less OUR spirituality so be thankful you didnt lose much

as for depression i seen many follow "the red road" so they can replace substance abuse with spirituality just as i seen all the chicanos/whites/blacks turn to jesus......and at least 2 asians turn to acupuncture and eastern medicine.......we are no more mystical creatures than any of the above

its NOT a bad thing......but most that seek spirituality to replace depression are often disappointed and thats why the lapses into substance abuse is so common

im NOT saying you abuse substances.....just saying that when you have that frame of mind and spirituality becomes a way of self-medication you never really tackle the problem so you just are filling the void

may i suggest leaving ndn spirituality to the ndns and taking up the gym?.....because when you run across REAL ndns with REAL spirituality i highly doubt they are going to be willing to share much, at least not enough to your liking (i guarantee that) and you will become more frustrated with all the doors being closed on you and you will feel WORSE as you will feel we are excluding you (we ARE)

im just being nice though you may not see it.......but i see a whole lot of bad happening to you if you decide to take upon a quest to conquer your depression through native religions

talk to your dr about wellbutrin

DeafElderWoman 10-16-2015 06:45 AM

You said you are non-native, so my question is are you a city person or rural person? If you live in the city, only solution I could think of is that you can be sort of spiritual is by meditating yourself with calm thoughts and listen to yourself inside of you. Ask yourself why are you depressed? Talk to Creator or God (if you prefer) and asking questions. Maybe you might get some answers from yourself.

If you live in rural, either town or village, you could enjoy your spirituality by being with nature. We are all related with Mother Earth, animals, insects, birds and human beings no matter who we are. You don't have to do the ceremony if you don't want to. Just sit quietly and listen to nature surrounding you. Sometime when you go to powwows, they might have firesides where you can talk to Elders. Not all powwows have them. First Nations up in Canada have firesides. Anyway, you can talk with Elders anything that bother you. They will listen to you and you better listen to them. I hope you get your spiritually back to you. Good luck. :regular_s

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