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

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Phoenix, Arizona & The Grand Canyon!

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Back in February 2015, my mom and I decided to pack our things and head down south to Phoenix, Arizona to participate and dance for the first time in the world hoop dance contest at the Heard Museum. It’s an annual event where hoop dancers from all over turtle island gather to mingle, dance their hearts out and represent their home communities. Ever since I had started hoop dancing I had only seen videos of the event on Youtube and I admired the unique intricate routines from established dancers from around the world. The idea of participating in the event myself seemed like such a far fetched dream, so when the opportunity presented itself I was more than thrilled to partake.

3:30 AM Friday morning, we made our way to the airport.
After a long day of travel, we finally arrived in the beautiful sunny Arizona. I was beyond excited to bath in the sunlight and enjoy the high temperatures of the desert landscape. We rented a car and made our way through the winding freeways to find our hotel. We kept seeing various road signs along the way such as Los Angeles and the thought of how easy it would have been to take a drive down to these other various cities excited us. We definitely put that our list of things to do for next year!

IMG_7402The next day began bright and early as we made our way to the venue. Before the day of hoop dancing began, they held a meeting to discuss the rules and answer any questions that the dancers may have had. Then it was time to get ready for grand entry! I was beyond excited at this point, marveling among the hoop dancers I’ve looked up to and only seen in videos. Everyone dressing into their different vibrant beautiful regalia and everyone was buzzing with energy.

Then grand entry began with over 75 hoop dancers both men and women, children to senior, from all across the world dancing together. This is where it all hit me. I was in that moment and felt a strong sense of belonging, like that was where I was meant to be. That overwhelming feeling embodied my whole being, a feeling of pride and happiness. I couldn’t believe I was there, dancing along side with my fellow mentors, those who had inspired me to keep on hoop dancing, those who had such an influence on my life. We were all there in the Arizonian sunlight, dancing  to that sound of the drum that I’ve known all my life. It was truly an amazing experience.

IMG_7406IMG_7416IMG_7418The day continued as they showcased each dancer beginning with the tiny tots then into the youth  and teen divisions. Then they showcased the senior division and then completed with the adult division. Each dancer was marvelous in their own way, dancing in various styles and introducing IMG_7426different hoop formations coupled with their fancy footwork. Throughout the day, all of us dancers mingled and met with each other and talked with the spectators of the crowd. Everyone was so warm and friendly and a mutual acceptance and respect was felt from everyoneIMG_7442. Then it was my turn to dance.

As I waited for my turn, the nerves set in but I kept reminding myself that it was just like any other showcase I’ve done, to just go out there and dance my hardest and even though it may not be the best…the experience would be worth it all. Some fellow hoop dancers came by and gave me some last minute advice and that really helped calm my nerves. I spoke to the northern drum who would be singing for me before walking up to the center and placing my hoops in anticipation. The beat began, the timer started and all eyes were on me. I was full of energy and excitement mixed with nerves but I was more than ready. I danced my little heart out and danced the hardest I’ve ever done before in that center dusty pit under the blazing sun. It felt exhilarating.

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Out of 22 dancers in the adult division I was 15th on the score card and even though I didn’t place I was thankful and incredibly grateful for the experience and for meeting all of the other dancers. I definitely already started making plans for next year, I’m just getting started and it feels amazing. Also a huge thank you shout out must go out to my mother for making it all happen and for supporting me all throughout, without her I wouldn’t have made it there and I am so incredibly grateful and appreciative of everything she had done.

The second part of our trip we took a drive up to the Grand Canyon and the pictures can speak for themselves . . .

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Overall, It was a truly breathtaking trip and instilled a deeper pride into who I have become and who I am as a young indigenous woman. It was beautiful to escape the Winterpeg winter and bath in the warmer southern temperatures and to witness the grand landscapes of Arizona. The trip up to the Grand Canyon and experiencing such a breathtaking view of one of the world’s natural wonders really put into perspective just how beautiful our world can be. I already cannot wait for next year and I look forward to continuing this journey of hoop dancing, travelling and experiencing all this world has to offer.  
Thank you for reading 🙂

 

 

Montreal, Quebec Adventures!

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At the end of January 2015, I had a chance to spend a weekend in Montreal, Quebec. I had recently been hired as a regional intern with a non-profit international development organization called, Development and Peace then they sent me on a plane to Montreal for an orientation and meet and greet weekend with all of the other interns from across Canada.

After our days of meetings, presentations and intense complex debates/dialogue we also had the chance to wind down and spend some time exploring the streets of Montreal. All of it was such an exciting and exhausting whirlwind of an adventure.

IMG_7385Our hotel was right in the middle of downtown Montreal, right in the heart of the beautiful city so it was easy for a group of us to just walk down the street and discover something new on every corner. My room was a small cozy area on the fourth floor with a gorgeous view of the sunrise every morning glistening on the rooftops and filling the room with an uplifting natural light. The only downfall was the very loud mini fridge and the constant sound of the elevator near by going up and down all night. Besides the noise it was a cute little room where I felt very comfortable and safe.

On the first evening after orientation we went out to dinner at a very busy restaurant (which I forget the name). After we finished our delicious meal we walked down the street to explore the shops and cobblestone roads. Besides the freezing cold temperatures and the bitter wind scuffling at our faces it was nice to venture around the streets and catch a hint of the Montreal essence.

On the second day after orientation we had time to do some more exploring before catching our flights back home. We jumped in a cab and told him to take us to the famous Notre Dame. It was beautiful. It was closed so we couldn’t witness the beauty from the inside but the outside was just as gorgeous. After that we walked around old Montreal for a while, marveling among the gorgeous old architecture and French style boutiques. We all instantly turned into the typical tourists, snapping as many pictures as we could with nearby sculptures and under intricately designed arches and doorways. We then walked through the cold up to a street full of small shops and restaurants and decided to go warm up with some soup. After our quick but exciting exploration it was time to head to the airport and begin our journeys back home.

I really wish we had more time to adventure around the city and I know for sure in the future I will be coming back to explore this beautiful city. I met so many inspiring and friendly people who I hope to keep in contact over the years and felt comfortable in cozy Montreal. I hope you guys enjoy the few photographs I was able to snap from the very short but pleasant trip from the weekend.

please leave a comment below with your blog because I’d love to check some new ones out! Also feel free to leave any suggestions for future posts or anything else you’d like to share, thank you so much for reading up to this point. Take care everyone!
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montrealll

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?

Reaching Out

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Hey guys,

The issue of violence has been bothering not only me but communities worldwide for quite sometime. Especially in my own home community of Manitoba, Canada where each day I’m constantly greeted with posts about missing persons, news reports announcing more and more violent events. I feel like violence is more prominent here in Canada that it has been ever before and it feels like it won’t ever stop. I can’t help to think of those effected by violence such as the families and communities with the growing cases of over 1181 missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada alone. The fact that verbal, sexual, physical and emotional abuse is still effecting families all over the world. The fact that a girl as young as 6 was found in critical condition after being sexually assaulted and left outside in the snow. The fact that a 13 year old girl was sexually assaulted and later found bound in our local river; tragedies such as this with victims too young for such awful things to happen to them as well the fact that abductions, wars, and many more horrific tragedies continue to happen each day.

One particular experience has stuck with me when I was at a performance for a group of elderly tourists from the U.S, one lady asked,

“The Native American people here in Canada are treated much better here though than in the U.S right?”

After that question, we all looked at each other and continued to say,

“We wouldn’t say that, our government system isn’t cooperating well with us and let alone the fact that there is over 1800 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls that are often unsolved.”

At that moment we were greeted with gasps, disbelief, enormous amount of questions such as why? what’s being done? why is this happening? It was so incredibly overwhelming to learn that these individuals had never heard of what was happening and that there is probably much more individuals out there who aren’t aware. This one moment has stuck with me ever since that day. There is so much more we can be doing to outweigh the bad with the good and so much more work for us to do in terms of becoming aware ourselves and educating others on what’s happening.

I recently read Michael Champagnes post concerning violence as well and how important it is so spread love, spread awareness and even come together to pray in whatever form that may be. It inspired me to extend that invitation, to ask all that are reading this right now to find extra little ways to spread that love, to become aware of what’s going on, to begin more dialogue about the truth and to pray. Pray for the families who have lost loved ones, pray for those children living in fear, pray for world leadership to find ways to handle conflict in sincere and non-violent ways, pray for the world.

Let’s acknowledge and focus on the positive but remembering to keep ourselves aware and educated of what’s going on. There will always be good with the bad but if we all look out for each other, lend a supportive shoulder to cry on, lend a helping hand, come together and hope for the future, we just may create a beautiful contagious array of hope and love.

I hope you’ve made it to this point and thank you so much for hearing me out. I know for myself I will continue to focus on those who are doing good, to teach those around me the importance of respect and love, to continue to support families and communities who need it and find those small ways to help implant that positivity.

Pass On The Message
Love You All
– Shan