A toolbox to help shift from violence to kindness

After being offered “be calm, be safe, be kind” as the COVID-19 mantra for the past year, I’ve felt of late a little… um… resistance to the phrase. (Kind of like the aversion I developed to being told to get a gratitude attitude by a ton of perky blog posts and wellness-oriented magazine articles. Until I talked with Susan Reifer for an article myself, and got all the neuroscience on why it’s a truly game changing practice… but it is a practice…)

I mean, of course I agree. It’s good to be kind.

But that’s a practice too. And it helps to have resources, tools, community, elders, in order to grow it. And to grow it in the face of challenges.

The Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society (SSHS) has been growing kindness in an intentional way.

The Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society serves N’Quatqua, Samahquam, Skatin and Xa’xtsa (Douglas) First Nation. (Follow them on Facebook for excellent information.)

In 2019, SSHS launched The Kindness Project, specifically to address lateral violence – an effect of colonialism that sees the damage wrought on Indigenous People by colonization, reverberating throughout families and communities, as traumatized people hurt those around them.

When a powerful oppressor has directed oppression against a group for a period of time, members of the oppressed group feel powerless to fight back and they eventually turn their anger on each other.

Jane Middleton-Moz

Lateral Kindness is a positive response to Lateral Violence

Imagine a world where we love and support each other, communicate with respect, and respond with kindness. That was the traditional Stl’atl’imx way. It can be our way again. All it takes is a willingness to treat ourselves and others with kindness and the ability to say sorry when we don’t get it quite right.

Colonialism has kept us from ourselves and each other.
Together let’s can make lateral kindness a Stl’atl’imx value.

Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society

Take The Kindness Pledge today!

A recent offering from the SSHS adds tools to the toolbox, to help develop your kindness.

My experience of meditation over the past few years, most often guided by Susan Reifer, is that it centres around becoming more skilful at meeting yourself in kindness…. encountering your mind distractions, your self-punishing thoughts, your relationship with your body, your body itself, things that arise in your life, with kindness.

It’s such a beautiful default… when under stress or when confused, to default to kindness. AND IT TAKES PRACTICE.

The lineage of many of the practices I’ve been introduced to trace back to Buddhism, but have a lot of validation from current neuroscience and psychology.

Ancestral Wisdom is a free series of recorded meditations shared by elders, and knowledge keepers, and offered to all. These tools are grounded in traditional Stl’atl’imx wisdom, embodied by Frank Andrew, Bernita Saul and the late Ernie Thevarge.

The effort to record these guided meditations pre-dated the pandemic – it was to help people cope with generational trauma, a tool to “help you regulate your body and calm your mind and spirit during a tough time. And then, the pandemic hit, and I think we need it even more than ever.”

It’s offered as a kind of spiritual medicine.

Click on Ancestral Wisdom to hear a collection of calming and inspiring Stl’atl’imx guided meditations and prayers.

This FREE collection is good medicine for these stressful times. You can listen online or download to your computer, cell phone or tablet.

Featuring the prayers of esteemed Stl’atl’imx Elders and five original short meditations,  Ancestral Wisdom can help connect us with our spirits and increase our sense of inner peace. 

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