Honesty.

12/21/17

 

Shift of season. Changes and growth,
In perspectives, way of thought and way of life.
Winter Solstice.
Authentic, raw beauty.
The real soul weeding its way through the implemented stories and strategies for survival.
A code decoded.

I’ve always been better with words down on paper. The mess of my mind allotting space for my thoughts to organize themselves out and create structured sentences that makes a little more sense then the jabber in the mind. Creating space anywhere in society, to be read or not. The beauty of my words floating through cyberspace, without an unknown destination or gaze of an individual’s eye. Strangers, friends, my mom, who knows?

As I sit perplexed on weeks on end, bashing myself for not coming up with blog ideas, always thinking of the other. What would THEY want to read? What would THEY like and love? What will get THEM to share, comment and engage in my content? Who’s THEY and THEM? And why are they so important? Instead I actually enjoy the unknowingness of this process. To send out art and words, to release the torments of my mind out into the universe, just for little old me. If it inspires people, great! If not, that’s fine too. I want to share what I want when I want and not fear a response or a lack of response. I want to be authentic and raw and real. I want to share my experience just for the sake of sharing it. I want to release that pressure, that fear and let it go. That’s the beauty of art right? To find solace in the creations that derived from a deep space in your being. The exposé of the soul. This New Year will bring forward more real life stories, rawness and beauty.

So Shanley, how are you? How is your spirit? Well honestly, not well but I’m working on it. The winter months, the darker, shorter days getting to my spirit. The floating stage of my life swallowing me whole. I’m a graduate with no job, with dreams of beginning my own business but I have no idea where to start. People say I’ve already started? Perhaps that’s true. Dancing for audiences worldwide, being the token to be glorified for organizations, etc. But is it really my spirits passion? Maybe. Sometimes it feels good. The energy keeps me sane. The love that is spread makes me feel whole for a little while. But then I always sink back down into the abyss of lostness. I’m healing, I’m learning what this darkness is and what those sparks of light are and how to align and balance those both for longer periods of time instead of one or the other maximized. I’m sure it will be a life long process. Right now, I’m learning what makes my spirit happy like painting, playing, laughing, dancing, writing, drinking an overpriced Chai Latte, seeing my plant babies grow, baby animals, spending time with my family, loving my twin flame and seeing the world.

I’m also trying new things like morning guided meditations meant to clear negative energy and fill it with positive energy, guided by a man trying way to hard to speak relaxingly and stoic. Telling me to imagine a single white cloud drifting through a blue sky. Okay I see it, but I feel the same. Is it supposed to make me feel something? I’m also trying to stretch out my muscles and my body, even if I can only make it to my thighs and not all the way down to my toes. I’ll get there right? If I keep practicing? I’m trying to uphold the responsibility as an Indigenous identified young woman. Because my ancestors fought for me right? I must live up to their expectations and carry on the fight. I’m trying to nourish my body with conscious eats like weird looking veggie meat. It actually tastes pretty good! And little sponges of tofu, I swear I actually like it though! Oh and Soy milk that goes bad in like 5 days after opening.

Anyway, I’m getting off track.
Let’s just say I’m going through things, just like everyone else and I’m not afraid to hide it anymore. I mean I probably will be sometimes. But the fact is I don’t WANT to be afraid and hide it anymore. I feel as though I’ve gotten a lot of praise for some of the work that I do and I know that some youth may look up to me and I don’t want to become one of those role models who’s life seems perfect and wonderful and happy. For that simply isn’t true and just a projection or an illusion created by me. But I want to change that. I want to share my more authentic moments and experiences. To let the soul within this physical body express itself without borders or barriers. So cheers to a new year and the hopes I doing so.

Reminiscence of the Miss Indian World Contestant experience.

The days of April 25th – May 1st and those leading up were a pure whirlwind that took my world by its roots and nourished them with adoration; a whirlwind that took me to new heights and greater understanding and respect for the world around me. An unforgettable experience that consisted of adrenaline highs, altitude sickness lows and all the amazing fun times through that, far and wide and in between.

For the first time in awhile I dug deep to find the courage to apply and run as a “Miss Indian World” contestant at the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In past years I had never felt fully confident in myself and my abilities and the title of “Miss Indian World” seemed incredibly prestigious including the criteria of a young, beautiful, confident Indigenous woman with strong cultural knowledge, abilities to represent entire Indigenous nations across the world, speaking from her heart and showcasing her true self to the world. I always thought to myself, of course I wasn’t deemed fit for that. However, at this time I would like to thank those strong, beautiful and resilient women who inspired and mentored me throughout the years to the point where I felt ready to embark on this experience. To my mother Melanie Dean who paved the way my entire life, implanting that seed of cultural knowledge, raising me in a home with our traditional instruments, medicines, teachings and creating intricate works of regalia for every stage of my growth. I also thank my grandmother who also shared with me her wisdom and stories and offered her support and care. These two women were my prime examples growing up, following in their footsteps and striving for self-respect, self-love and an all seven sacred teachings attitude toward our self and the world around us. With this thanks, I would like to extend it to the rest of my family from my Nihithaw “Swampy Cree” roots on my mother’s side from our community of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation. Including all of my aunts, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers and countless cousins who supported my journey throughout the years. I would also like to acknowledge and thank my father Andrew Spence and my Anishinaabe/Ojibway roots from my father’s side from the community of Lake St. Martin First Nation. I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for that acknowledgement of both my Cree and Ojibway identity.

The thank you list continues, hang in there. Please do not turn away, as these people are vital to the story and deserve all of the recognition in the world. I’d like to thank those community mentors who have inspired me, those who I looked up to and found guidance from including Tasha and Leslie Spillet, Miss Lisa Meeches, Wab Kinew and Lisa Kinew, Connie Constant, Ray and Rhonda Stevenson, Violet Duncan and many many others. All of these people have paved the way for us as Indigenous peoples. Becoming well known in their home communities and being amazing people in their own ways, thus becoming role models and mentors for young Indigenous women like myself. Tasha and Wab specifically helped me with writing incredible recommendation letters and Lisa has always motivated me toward running. I’d also like to acknowledge Hilda Bighetty: super awesome phenomenal elder and cousin who helped me with my Nihithaw language that I would later include into my speeches, introductions and recognitions. All of these beautiful souls helped build together the courage to represent myself as a Nihithaw and Anishinaabe woman and to also bring a voice to Mathias Colomb Cree Nation and Lake St. Martin First Nation and speak on behalf of issues that I felt were important in our Canadian society including youth empowerment, mental health and (MMIWG) missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Youth empowerment encompasses youth from all nations and backgrounds but of course also specifically within Indigenous youth. Providing them with the tools and resources to feel empowered toward reclaiming who they are as Indigenous young people; Reclaiming songs, dances, traditions, languages, stories, etc. and being proud of that. Bring empowerment to educate themselves on their rich histories and find ways to move forward in this ever-expanding world. Also empowerment to non-indigenous youth to do the same, learn about who you are, where you come from and learn to keep an open mind and open heart to those around you. Create safe spaces of acceptance and equality among your peers, find ways to diminish racism and discrimination and violence in your community, for we are all related and we all need reconciliation and healing.

In regards to mental health, this is a topic I am also passionate about because I have experienced my own path of mental health in forms of anxiety, panic attacks and depression. It is a story that I was ashamed of for many years and kept a lot of it to myself but it was through the strength of sharing my voice and asking for help that brought healing into my life. The hoop dance and a lot of my cultural teachings also played a major role in this growth. I hope to grow to be a strong advocate for these issues and bring a heightened awareness to mental health and its ties with Indigenous communities in terms of intergenerational effects, adaption to urban lifestyle, etc.

And of course my final platform of MMIWG, after attended countless candle lit vigils, watching the tears and outcries from elders in my community, watching as fear set into the young women in my community and watching close friends, family and community members have to deal with a lost loved one. This is an epidemic happening in Winnipeg and all across Canada that needs to be fully addressed, talked about and given action from all levels of peoples from our self, to our communities, to our nations and through out governments and those in power. We need change.

With each young woman backed with their platforms in mind, the pageant began with a fun orientation dinner where all of us young women met each other and our chaperones. The next day we were straight into traditional wear and private interviews. The holding room was full of nerves, laughs, coffee and snacks as well as beautiful, motivating and inspiring positive talks from the committee members. Following the interviews we had another dinner at an aquarium where we were distracted by the large pointed toothed sharks, funny looking fish and ancient looking turtles. This is when we also did the raffle draw. At this point I would also like to thank all of you who supported and bought raffle tickets even it was only one with the 2.50 in your pocket or if you bought 50! The support was greatly appreciated and I was very proud in the fact that I had sold all 1000 tickets. It was a fun evening and by this point I was more relaxed with the amazing group of women and committee members.

The next day was the huge talent production at the Kiva Auditorium with rehearsals all day starting at 8am sharp leading up to the main event at 7pm. I had chosen to fuse together traditional and contemporary powwow music together and bring forward my teachings on the traditional Indigenous hoop dance. The day was full of fear, excitement, dancing, massage trains, random break outs in song, braiding of hair, makeup fun with the Aveda team, all of us practicing in any space we could find vacant including showers, bathroom stalls, hallways or quietly in a corner. This was a day where I feel like we all truly bonded over funny family and travel stories, through sharing our experiences and common feelings and creating friendship and networks that would leave us feeling supported, grounded and ready for the night ahead. Let’s just say, I believe this was the pinnacle turning point of the whole week. The amount of adrenaline and pride I had up on that stage, giving it all that I had, dancing hard and speaking from the heart to the audience. Then afterwards being greeted by a roomful of applause from my newfound sisters. This was followed by an influx of crowd after the show; peoples young and old approached me in enthusiasm with an overwhelming array of questions, compliments and photographs. Through the blur of people I was on a mission to find my loving family through the sea of faces. The moment I found them my mom broke out in tears which then initiated the empathetic tear train from myself, my grandmother, my aunty, Lisa (one of the hosts of the talent show) and Candice. In that moment, I felt on top of the world, I felt proud in my performance and I could feel the immense amount of love and energy pouring from my family and those audience members who approached me and the rest of us girls after the show. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I spoke and danced with the strength of my ancestors deep in my heart, I danced to honor my family, my community and those who were in attendance that night. This performance won the award for “Best Traditional Presentation” on the final day.

The days that followed consisted of the the grand “Gathering of Nations” powwow! Nations represented from all over turtle island, North America and beyond. It was held at their new home at the Tingly Coliseum – Fitting name as the grand entry and the powwow always leaves most of us with the tingly feelings. Neeeh haha – This is me trying to offer some comic relief now, not too great at it ay? Anyways, our days were full of dancing in the grand entry, a feeling all on its own. The bright spotlights reflecting off our intricate regalia, our ribbons and fringes ready to whip, our feathers standing tall and our heads held high. The moment of first walking in to that arena, all eyes on you from every direction, the jingles of the bells and the bass of that drumbeat pounding through your entire being. The singing of that grand entry song as the announcer introduces each category into the circle. To be a spectator of the grand entry is marvelous but to be a participant within the grand entry, to be surrounded by nations, pride, dancers and constant flowing energies is beyond anything I’ve ever felt before.

Throughout the powwow times, us girls had our public speaking competition out at Stage 49, our dance competition and of course the crowning and awards ceremony that took place after the final grand entry of the final day of the powwow. During this time I became deeply reflective mode Shan. When am I never deeply reflective mode Shan though, am I right? Anyways…the whole day I was reflecting on everything I had learned, gained and found through this experience. I was thinking about everyone back home and those who were keeping up with this adventure online throughout social media updates or on the live stream. I was thinking about the youth, the elders and the community members back home. I was thinking about our ancestors who perhaps prayed and dreamed about a day like today where we were all gathered in that one place in pride. I reflected a lot on the past, present and future and above all I reflected very deeply about whom I am, whom I’ve become and whom I strive to be moving forward. The moment that they called my name for Second Runner up I was astonished. All of my hard work paid off and excitedly I ran up to Danielle who passed over to me the banner and gorgeous award with flowers. I would also love to congratulate the First Runner up, Mykhal Mendoza and of course the amazing Raven Swaamp. They were both so deserving of the titles they won and I know they will both do amazing at representing Indian country. I also want to congratulate my fellow sisters who also worked incredibly hard and represented their home nations with pride too. Each and every one of them inspired me and brought forward valuable moments and experiences that I will cherish for a very long time.

With all of this being said, I would like to thank everyone for reading up to this point and if I left anyone out of the thank you list I apologize, but please know everyone’s words, thoughts, prayers and immense support was deeply appreciated by little ol’ me and I am honored to have had this opportunity and to have been guided on this path in my life.

You may be asking, “K now what?” and in response to that, I’m going to keep doing the work that I am doing. I am going to continue to represent myself, our ancestors and our nations in the best way I know how through hoop dancing, fancy shawl dancing and speaking in regards to our reclamation as Indigenous peoples, bringing to light issues that are still prevalent in our society, raise awareness of topics I am passionate about and continue to try and inspire the next generations and change the world in the little ways that I can. Here’s to upward and onwards. See you on the trail! 😉

All my relations, ekosi – thank you.

  • Shan

P.S – Please enjoy the snapshots below that don’t even represent or encapsulate the amazing trip that we had or display the multitude of emotions, events and feelings that occurred throughout. Feel free to click on a photo for a longer description of that particular photo.

Hoop Dance Championships

Each year, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona hosts the World Hoop Dance Championships where Indigenous hoop dancers from all over the world gather to meet, compete, inspire and represent their home communities. It was my second year attending and representing my Cree and Saulteaux roots from Mathias Colomb Cree Nation and Lake St. Martin First Nation. Little did I know, that my inner critic would get the best of me and that it would become a very teachable moment in my life that I’ll remember for a long time.

The days leading up to the event were full of excitement, boatloads of support from our communities back home and reminiscing about that buzz I had felt after my first year. I traveled down with 6 year old Rylee Sandberg and her family and we had coined ourselves as the “Winnipeg Female Hoop Dance Team”. We received immense support from our families and communities as we prepared for our big trip by promoting ourselves through social media, t.v interviews, school workshops and extra performances.

The big day arrived and I was excited to meet and dance alongside all of the dancers who I look up to and cheer on Rylee. We drove down to the Heard Museum bright and early under the Arizona sun and after a long day of sitting in the sun and watching all of the tiny tot, youth and teen divisions perform, it was my turn to dance. My nerves intensified as I walked up to the northern drum and told them to give me a nice fast beat.

A
NICE
FAST
BEAT.

Once the drum began, I instantly knew I was in trouble. My mind was a blur and everything I had practiced in my routine was thrown out the window as I tried to keep up with the fast pace. Once I finished, I shook all of the singers hands and walked away with my head low and my eyes filling with tears. I was in a panic, out of breath and felt completely disappointed with my performance. I quickly shuffled to the restroom quickly disregarding many comments that I did fantastic. I was just too engulfed in my own self critique and funk. I swear this story gets better though, hang in there.

I went to go sit in the lounge where many other hoop dancers were. Celina Cada-Matasawagon was one of the first people to offer wise words of support when I was feeling my lowest. She reminded me of the reason why we dance and that we should just go out there and have fun and not dwell on the idea of placing. She reminded me of everyone back home rooting for me and that it’s important to keep my head up and keep going because of those young ones looking up to us. She said a lot of things that I needed to hear and I was incredibly appreciative of that. That evening we discovered that Rylee had made top 6 in the youth division. That evening was full of mixed emotions. My earlier disappointment in myself was overpowered by an overflow of love and happiness for Rylee and for all the kind words and support everyone had for the both of us.

That second day was another wondrous day. I was in better spirits and continued to meet and talk with the other dancers, partake in honour songs and support Rylee all the way up until she placed 3rd over 31 other youth hoop dancers in her division. I also found Celina and gave her a huge hug and told her that I was appreciative of what she had did for me. At the end of that day, the winners were all announced and everyone was saying their goodbyes. At that moment I also experienced the utmost love and support from the hoop dance and Indigenous community. Everyone asking if I was coming back and that I did a great job. Dallas Arcand and Tracy Bone also offered words of advice that I needed to hear exclaiming that even though I may not have placed, I was still a champion in everyones eyes including our home communities and the youth that I teach. They told me that I’ll get there one day and that it’s important to not give too much of myself away and to look after myself too. They also thanked me for all the work I was doing back home by planting those seeds and offering teachings to the younger generations. Those were words I definitely needed to hear as I emotionally gave them hugs and thanked them for their kind words of advice.

This year’s hoop dance gathering in Phoenix was another amazing year. I learned so much more about myself, met amazing influential people and felt all of the positive supportive vibes from everyone there. I learned that we are all human and we make mistakes and that’s okay. Our harshest critique is ourselves and it’s important not to be too hard on ourselves and to look after ourselves first before anyone else. It’s important to enjoy life as a journey and not as a competition, to go with the flow and not focus all of your energy on the top prize. It’s important to remember why you started in the first place and to do it simply for that reason and for all the reasons that you stand for. This year proved once again that everyone in the hoop dance community is incredibly supportive of one another and we value ourselves in building each other up and looking out for another.

Below I will post some snapshots of the championships. Thank you once again to everyone for your overflow of support and love. I am incredibly grateful, appreciative and humbled to have such wonderful people surrounding me. I am looking forward to what’s to come, looking forward to keep on doing what I love and to continue to discover and learn through this crazy rollercoaster we call life. I’m so cliche. Anyway, hope you enjoy the snapshots. Take care for now.

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Myself and Patrick Willie from Orem, Utah.
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Rylee, 6 years old.
Meeting Nakotah Larance, 2nd time world hoop dance champion in the adult division, been attending & bringing home titles at the world’s since he was a kid.
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James Jones from Edmonton, Alberta.

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3 6 5 Days Later . . .

1yearblogI can’t believe it’s already been a whole 365 days since the start of this little creative space!

I also can’t believe how much it has grown and how you guys are actually enjoying the content I put out there to the point where I receive such long sweet messages from readers. I only hope that this is the beginning and that it will continue to grow for another good handful of years.

Blogging is something that I really enjoy doing and hope to do for quite some time! I just want to take the time to thank each and every one of you who have either been here since the birth of ani[shan]aabe or even if your just discovering this blog and post right now! I also thank you if you’ve read, commented or shared these little posts. I appreciate all the love and support and I offer a huge cyber group hug to all of you! I only hope you’ll stick with me on my journey’s as  we move forward.

I have a lot of plans for year 2 in this space which include a lot of exciting things. I don’t want to give too much away because I rather not spoil the surprise for future posts but it does include some exciting travel and life changes but please stay tuned, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it very much!

I also get asked a lot for any tips or advice from individuals who have either started up a  new blog or if they are simply thinking about it. Below I will share some of my blogging wisdom :p and things I’ve learned throughout this year!

1) D E B A T I N G ?
If you are thinking about doing it . . .  DO IT! It’s a lot of fun.

2) P A S S I O N 
Make sure to share and write about things that you are passionate about, it shows in how you write. So if your not passionate about it or if it’s boring to you, most likely readers can tell.

3) V I S U A L S
Make sure to make it visually appealing. Readers always love a unique style blog and photographs to compliment your words.

4) C O N N E C T 
 Connect your blog with all of your social media outlets which could include, tumblr, twitter, facebook, etc. and once you publish a post you have the option to share with any or all of these outlets which can increase a great following and more potential readers.

5) W O R K  H A R D
Even if you only have 1 or no followers at all, still create the best content that you can because you never know who will drop by and read your stuff plus those few followers you have will appreciate your hard work.

6) C O M M U N I C A T I O N
Communication is key. If someone comments, its always nice to receive a reply or simply ask those who read what kind of posts they would like to see.

7) P E R F E C T I O N ? 
Your blog doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s taken a long time for me to develop this space into something I personally enjoy. You’ll probably go through multiple themes and changes and that’s totally okay! In fact, who knows what kind of future changes my blog may have,

8) C O N F I D E N C E
Don’t be so hard on yourself! I should take my own advice because I still have those moments where I feel low. Sometimes you see or read other blogs and you start comparing yours to theirs and that’s not cool. Be confident in your space and own it.

9) P R O M O T E 
Don’t be afraid to promote your blog! Share it with your family and friends, on social media or even comment on other similar blogs, its a great way to network with other like minded people and gain a few more readers as well!

10) B E   Y O U 
It’s okay to not do what everyone else is doing! Be unique, Be Weird, Be yourself. 🙂

Again, thank you so much for reading guys! I hope these few tips may help and that you continue to follow along in my adventures and I’m excited to share that with all of you!

In friendship,
– S H A N

Let’s Talk

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January 28th, 2015 marked an important day. Million’s of people brought down their walls and began a dialogue concerning mental health and wellness in hopes to diminish the stigma, re-direct our language choices and support one another.

I decided that this would be the time to also share my story despite how anxious and afraid I am to do so and have been for as long as I could remember. First off, I need to be clear that I am not sharing this for any attention or sympathy whatsoever, I am simply sharing it in hopes to reach out to at least one person who also may be too anxious to discuss how they are feeling and to spread awareness that it’s important to re-shape how we think about mental health and wellness.

For years and to this day, I have dealt with anxiety/panic attacks and periods of depression. It was at its worst through high school where I tended to withdraw myself and enclose myself with feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, and weakness. I would constantly ask myself questions in my mind such as, “Why am I feeling this way? Why am I so stupid? why am I so weak” After thinking this way nearly every single day it came to the point one night which resulted in a one-time case of self harm and thinking how easy it could be to end everything. I was a mess, I hated who I was and who I saw in the mirror, I hated the way I felt and I had no idea how it would get better. This terrified me and I knew for sure that something was wrong. I ended up talking with a close family member but even then I was too hesitant to discuss the full details and the full extent of the situation. Explaining and releasing those bottled up feelings felt great and to hear and feel listened to really made a difference. I didn’t tell anyone up to that point all of what I was feeling and thinking. I was afraid of losing friends, I was afraid of disappointing my family, I was afraid of what everyone would think. In all honesty, I’m still afraid but I’ve been inspired by others who had shared their story so courageously and I felt like it was something I needed to.  I needed to be honest, to be real and truthful with my situation.

I feel as though many who know me view me as a smiley, happy, strong person who can get up in front of an audience no problem when really deep down on some days I don’t truly feel that way and a lot of  times the way I’m feeling or used to feel is hidden behind a smile. It’s very frightening how easy it is to hide that and if something wrong peeks through it’s so simple to just state that I’m tired or not feeling well and the discussion ends.

To this day I still find myself thinking negatively and I have many days where I feel lost or I break down and get in that state of mind again. Or I’ll have days where I tend to withdraw myself from everything and just want to curl up in my bed at home. This can last as little as an hour, can turn into a day or can even go on for weeks. I still deal a lot with anxiety and panic attacks as well but I’m slowly learning what to do in those situations, how to deal with it in a healthy way and I can say that I’ve come a long way from where I used to be. I still have a long road ahead but I’m determined to try to learn how to love myself humbly and greatly and to re-shape my thinking behaviors with hopes of inspiring other young women or girls who may be going through the same things I had and still are at this point in my life. Children, youth, young adults and even seniors shouldn’t feel ashamed of what they are truly feeling and shouldn’t have that fear of being  judged. We are all human and most of us have dealt with mental health or has known someone who has. The issues surrounding mental health and the way everyone perceives it is in a state of transition and it’s a good start to be discussing it in our communities. We are showing the youth and everyone that it’s okay, that it’s normal and something that shouldn’t be shameful.

I hope that this transition and journey toward better understanding continues and that we will see a day where people feel safe and comfortable enough to share how they are feeling and that the societies way of dealing with mental health improves. If any of you are reading this right now and need someone to talk to, someone to rant to or maybe need some advice, I’m always open to listen. You can shoot me a message anytime. I will also leave a list of resources below if you or someone you know may need them. Love you all, let’s take care of one another.

WORLD SUICIDE HOTLINES:

Austria 01-713-3373
Australia 1-800-817-569
Barbados 429-9999
Brazil 21-233-9191
Canada 514-723-4000
China 852-2382-0000
Costa Rica 506-253-5439
Denmark 70-201-201
Egypt 7621602
Estonia 6-558-088
Finland 040-5032199
France 01-45-39-4000
Guatemala 502-254-1259
Holland 0900-0767
Honduras 504-237-3623
Hungary 62-420-111
India 91-22-307-3451
Italy 06-7045-4444
Japan 3-5286-9090
Maylaysia 03-756-8144
Maurititus 46-48-889 or 800-93-93
Mexico 525-510-2550
New Zealand 4-473-9739
Nicarague 505-268-6171
Norway 815-33-300
Poland 52-70-000
Portugal 239-72-10-10
Republic of Ireland 1850-60-90-90
Russia 8-20-222-82-10
Singapore 800-221-4444 or 000-227-0309
South Africa 0861-322-322
South Korea 2-715-8600
Spain 91-459-00-50
Sri Vincent 1-692-909
St. Vincent 809-456-1044
Sweden 031-711-2400
Switzerland 143
Thailand 02-249-9977
Trinidad & Tobago 868-645-2800
Ukraine 0487-327715 or 0482-226565
United Kingdom 08457-90-90-90
United States 1-800-SUICIDE (7842433), or 1-800-TALK (8255), or 1-800-827-7571

 

RESOURCES SPECIFICALLY IN WINNIPEG, MB

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H A P P Y 2 0 1 5

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I understand that I am a little late to the game of wishing everyone a happy new year but it is better late than never! Right?

I hope that all of you had a great 2014 and wishing that you all to have an even greater 2015! As for myself, during times of transition, I tend to get in major reflective mode (as does everyone I assume). I learned so much and feel as though I grew a great deal over the past year which came with its ups and downs.

At the beginning of each new year I despise creating “resolutions” for myself because in the past I’ve known to never stick to them so instead I like to set goals (probably the same thing) Things I feel I could do realistically and projects that I’d love to get a start on. I usually try to also take these in baby steps and creating monthly or weekly goals instead of for the whole year – if that makes sense. I’ll share some below for you and I would also like to hear your goals for the year, or maybe even the month or just for today. I’m sure it would inspire both myself and others.

Other than that this will be a short entry but get ready for some more frequent killer posts . . . over selling it? maybe a little but I’m excited to start dedicating some more time to this little blog and see where it grows.

Goals/Projects 4 The Year:

– Continue to dedicate more time & effort into this site & its content

– Dedicate more time & effort into hoop dancing, lots of exciting opportunities for this year already

– Do more of what makes me happy (e.g, filming, singing, travelling, meeting new people, etc.)

– Travel, Travel, Travel! 

– Learn to not worry what others think & try to stop comparing myself to others

– Move out on my own

– Start the process toward publishing my own book

– Find balance 

– Keep healthy in all aspects of my life 

– Spend more time with friends, family & meet new people

– Learn to love myself 

– Tackle some of the items on my bucket list (e.g, learn to tap dance, skydive, para glide, etc.) 

– Continue to not bite my nails (Yes I was a nail biter for most of my life) 

There are probably many others but that is all that I can think of at the moment, I’m sure throughout the year many more will be added to this list as well. Many of them are also very vague so I apologize for that. I’m just excited to tackle everything and to experience everything headed my way with exciting opportunities and wonderful ambitions that have been flooding into my mind over the past year. Thanks for reading, you are all wonderful. Leave a comment?

Travelled Northern Manitoba

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I’M BACK!

Hello wonderful people! I feel like I haven’t written a post in a very long time & that is true so I am sorry for the lack of content & for my foolish unmotivated ways. Anyways… I have a nice adventure to fill you in on!

During the week of July 27th – August 4th I travelled up north in Manitoba with the family. We drove up to The Pas and visited some family in OCN then caught the train to Pukatawagon, Manitoba which consisted of a slow 12 hour ride full of hyper restless children, bone chilling air conditioning, beautiful northern scenery and the fresh smells of the outdoors. Luckily we managed to keep ourselves productive and occupied through that journey. Once we arrived in Puk we met up with more family; cousins, aunties, uncles, etc! During our stay up in Puk we danced everyday at their powwow which took place at their youth center for 3 days. We all felt so grateful for their wonderful hospitality, friendliness, and welcoming arms. We also had the chance to explore the area. Swimming at high rock, shopping at the Northern, driving up to the airport, carpooling to the sweat/sundance grounds and climbing up the Pukatawagon “mountain” and taking in the sights. I felt so humble and proud to meet so many strong women and family members who I am related to and share ancestry (sorry for the cheezyness). After the trip to Puk we headed back down the province to camp for one night in Clearwater Lake at the Guy Hill Residential School Gathering that was taking place. As we approached the grounds we all sat silent through the drive down the long, twisted, eerie gravel road with nothing but brush and solemness as we thought about those young children that were forcibly taken from their families and taken to this place. Some of my relatives attended this residential school which had one of the bad reputations of horrific abuse. My family and I had the chance to learn about local medicines and how to identify them. We also heard many stories that I will forever hold in my memory and we were surrounded by the spoken language of Cree which I was particularly grateful for since I would really like to learn it. After our stay at the grounds, I left feeling like I had the responsibility to keep the memory of these elders and their stories alive and to further educate people on what was on the residential school system and the effects it still has on our communities today. I also left feeling incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such strong, loving relatives and lucky to have had this experience and meet all those people. After we had left, we returned back to some civilization back in The Pas where we went to visit my grandpa who had passed away approximately 4 years ago. It was a lovely way to end our trip and we are all happy to be back on the road to hit back for home. 

After this trip and the entire experience I felt so much more grateful and humble for the experiences I have had in my life so far and grateful for the chance to see, hear, listen and learn from my family, elders and community. I hope to carry these memories far off into the future and educate others on what I have experienced in hopes of continuing the memory and not allowing our important indigenous heritage/culture fade away throughout the years.

I look forward to travelling back up north to possibly teach and host workshops on our culture, specifying on the hoop dance since their was a great interest from the community for that. I also want to find a way to give back to the community of Pukatawagon for everything they had done for us during our stay. I came home feeling a sense of renewal. I captured much more images of our time up north, if you would like to see more just “like” this post or comment down below requesting them! I must just do an extended post to showcase the beautiful images I had captured throughout our trip!

Thanks for reading! Much Love

Adventure Is Just Around The Corner. Literally.

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If you are anything like me, you tend to crave adventure. 

This past month, I had the chance to visit the old jails on Vaughn Street here in our little city and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The old, grotesque and odd stories of past sinister villains, public hangings and other oddities that had happened there filled my mind with awe and wonderment as I tried to picture the things we were being told; some of the stories happened as recently as the 1960’s! The tour continued as we were brought down into the basement into the actual old jail cells where they continued to tell us horrifying stories of past prisoners and other things that had gone down in the spaces we were standing.

My advice to you is that if you don’t have the funds for an extravagant trip, or if you don’t have the time or simply want to fill that void of adventure but would like to stay close to home go out and explore that area of your city or town that you’ve never been before. Book a tour of an old building or a part of your hometown that has a lot of history. You’ll be surprised to learn about things you’ve never known before in your own backyard.

Thanks for reading, Hope you are all doing well!
P.S – Stay tuned for more adventure & photography type posts, summer is here & will be full of travel! 🙂

Canada’s top priority?

  Stephen Harper recently got back from a summit in Toronto which dealt with the importance and top priority of saving the lives of mothers, newborns and children in developing countries. I understand the importance of helping others and many individuals around the globe certainly need that help. The thing I don’t understand and can’t […]

Self Doubt, Insecurities, Etc.

332Self doubt. we all have it from time to time. some more than others. In fact, I’ve had major self doubt about this post. I haven’t written anything in awhile because I’ve been over thinking on what kind of content to write. Should I write about serious personal stories? perhaps a comedic piece? or how about just some photography? maybe a story about an upcoming event? so many things crossed my mind and then I would scratch them out because I would think that it wasn’t interesting enough. Then I got to the point where I was questioning my previous posts. After way too much thinking about what to write next I realized how ridiculous I was being.

I started questioning myself, why do I always worry about what others think? why do I always compare myself to other people or other blogs? I can write about whatever the hell my little heart desires! Then I got to thinking that I’m not the only one who does this. Just by reading this post so far you can imagine how deeply I think into things and how my train of thought can be crazy sometimes. Anyways, after all of this wondering I starting thinking, why do so many of us doubt ourselves? maybe it’s the messages and images put out by the media or the way society raised us or maybe it’s just all simply a part of human nature. I guess no one really knows. This is starting to turn into a ramble which is alright and I’m glad that I warned you about ramblings in my blog title and my first post entitled, “New Beginnings”. So don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Anyways, after all this thinking of self doubt, insecurities and things related to this I started wondering about how it would be if more of us started to not worry about what others thought, if we lived in a world without self doubt. Sure, there must be a balance of consciousness obviously, we don’t necessarily want murderers to be running around our neighborhoods confidently. But what if that boy down the street wasn’t afraid to go after his dreams, what if that woman went beyond her self doubt and created a masterpiece of art, what if YOU moved beyond all that self doubt, all those insecurities and purely did what you loved without worrying about what the outcome would be. Sure, they may be individuals out there who have come to this epiphany way earlier that I did and they are doing this as we speak but my point is, we all have the potential to do great things, we all have the potential to create wondrous things! It may sound incredibly cliche but it’s true. We may fall down sometimes and we may fail but with hard work, passion and moving beyond those fears we can all bring great things.

There is so much things I would love to do and things I’ve been wanting to do or try for a very long time. I also find that I compare myself to other people  who are doing all these cool things which lead to me saying, you know what..I can do that! Instead of holding back in fear of being judged, envying others who are doing them and forever being to afraid to try, I should just get off my lazy ass, shut up my loud insecure mind and do it!  I’m taking it upon myself to move past my comfort zone and finally do all the things I’ve been wanting to try or do and I challenge all of you who are reading this right now to do the same! Life is all about experiences and learning from them, I know that far off in the future I don’t want to regret not trying something just because of fear of being judged or fear of failing. But please take into account, I am not advising that we all go try the new drugs or that new cocktail at the bar. Everyone has their limits, everyone has their choices so please move past your comfort zones responsibly.

Let me know in the comments below what you’ll do next!