Together We Stand as Brothers and Sisters – We Care, Meditate and Pray – Share and Learn
Sahaja Yogis were invited to participate to Strawberry Ceremony on Valentine’s Day. Even though only two yoginis from Burlington and one brother yogi from Brampton were able to physically participate on such short notice, many yogis and yoginis from Ontario had meditated that day and prayed for peace and justice for the souls of all First Nations murdered women. Below there are some impressions that help us feel how important the Strawberry Ceremony was and how it made a difference in the lives of few first time participants.
Shulin (18, gr 12 student, Sahaja Yoga meditation youth volunteer)
As a new immigrant settling in Canada only 4 years ago, I knew nothing about the Aboriginal People before. But here I am marching amongst so many that care, holding hands with aunty Phyllis and her son who invited us to this event. I understand, feel and connect with them deeply through what we share, Sahaja Yoga, and the pure knowledge of Mother Earth and our spirit. I pray for equality and Oneness for all Aboriginal women, their families that suffered, especially that we are here in Canada. I pray for all the missing and murdered women to be found and to be in peace. And I pray for peace and healing in all the Aboriginal Peoples’ families and their future generations. Indeed as one Muslim participants have said, if one is hurt, the whole is hurt, because We Are One.
Mohinder (Sahaja Yoga meditation volunteer)
With the divine blessings I was able to attend Strawberry Ceremony this year’s Valentine’s Day. I only heard about the Aboriginal people before about the way they live and believe in mother nature and water etc. This time I got a chance to look at their lives and beliefs very closely. They are so much humble and loving at their hearts. Although they were sad due to the loss of their brothers, sisters and family members, they were absolutely calm. I felt so much joy and love in my heart. These people are all about God, peace, love and collectivity. Paula, Shulin and myself marched throughout the entire ceremony and then we went to YMCA at Yonge and Grosvener, where they had some speeches from family members who lost their loved ones. We had a feast also. Their speeches were a mix of God, peace, love and collectivity.In every which way these people belong to us as in sahaja yoga we learn about how to respect divine, mother earth, how to love each other.Sister Phyllis is an amazing person with so much love in her heart. Daniel is an amazing kid who is ready to help us a lot already with the RAIN to heal ME – Mother Earth projects in Ontario.I pray to divine that they should get all the help to receive answers about their missing loved ones. They should be considered equally in all respects.Valentines day could not have been more beautiful than this one.
Paula (volunteer instructor – Sahaja Yoga Meditation)
I felt very honored to be invited and guests to the Strawberry Ceremony, an open to the public demonstration event by Phyllis McKenna, a member of the Ojibwe Nation and her son, Daniel. It was very moving to hear the painful stories of loss of the Aboriginal People’s daughters, wives, sisters, mothers that have been ignored and uninvestigated for too long. We are praying for solutions, a call for justice, action, to heal their wounds, praying for the orphaned children who were again (during residential school times as well) removed from their native communities and also praying that we can heal together as members of this Mother Earth in a way that respects Indigenous Nations and absolutely everyone as our pure-hearted brothers and sisters. We protested peacefully in front of the police headquarters downtown and hundreds of us marched with banners and media covered the entire event. We marched to the beat of powerful elders and younger members drumming and singing at each intersection, stopping traffic, linking arms at -35 degrees. People from all nations were linking arms not with strangers but to show the brother-sisterhood there, showing the unity, dancing in a protective circle and giving their cause which is our collective cause for acknowledgement, justice, peace pure love and healing. We gave to those that suffered our undivided attention marching as One. We entered the YMCA and hundreds of us were presented with a feast of Three Sisters Soup, and bannock bread. Also strawberries were served and we were asked that if we did not want to eat the green medicine leaves, to put them in a bowl so the leaves could be collected and returned to Mother Earth.
The unity and oneness was felt there, we are all human and we all have hearts that can and do beat as one. John Fox shared the story of his sister’s murder and how it affected him deeply, rendering him homeless and falling into the negativity of drugs. He stood tall in a suit before us, yet so humble, having pulled himself out of darkness, like a pure voice for his people and talked about healing the spirit of the men, pointing to his heart. He explained that the men were also deeply hurt and damaged because of what happened to their mothers and sisters and daughters in the Indigenous People’s community. We felt pure vibrations as he spoke his truth, how they feel very clearly a connection to the whole was broken, but that we can heal through our connection with our spirit. The messages of the Aboriginal People are ancient yet timeless, they are innocent, fair and wise and in complete harmony with Sahaja Yoga principles and language of Oneness, Collectivity, Unity, Respect for all Nations, Family, a Brother-Sisterhood for all People, Inner peace, Mother Earth, Harmony and our Pure Spirit, who we are, above and beyond all the labels we give each other that divide us. We felt their beauty and truth telling to be of great value to our modern society. Hearing impaired members were present and offering their full support with so many others, including members of the Muslim community who shared a simple and powerful message that we hope to share here. Their compassion for the Aboriginal People’s tragedy was felt very much as they explained that to hurt any “part” of humanity is like hurting the whole, because we are One. We took pictures together with our Muslim brothers and sisters, our dear sister Phyllis McKennna and her son Daniel and several other supporters at the demonstration and with Mohinder who came with a homemade sign depicting with all his heart and pure love for all women to be respected and honored, as the Aboriginal Women belong to the Womanhood – and All Women are to be protected as the Source of Life in All Nations.
We were encouraged to mingle, and ask to get to know the community members and let them know how we can and do support and admire them. Mohinder, Shulin, Mitchell and I from the Sahaja Yoga team had a chance to connect with members of the community, and thanks to Phyllis, we were introduced very sweetly as her brothers and sisters from the meditation classes she goes to. I was able to thank a few speakers, and drummers, and we shook hands, and I was so grateful to meet them. My heart was pouring out for them and praying for their healing. Another man waved a large Aboriginal People’s flag. Later he got the courage to speak at the microphone and very emotionally, told the story of confronting his mother’s murderer who was known to him and his community but was never arrested or punished for this crime. He also told us that 4 months ago, a young woman went missing in his community and they needed help to find her. His passion and dedication was very moving. These are the stolen sisters, numbering 1,400 mothers and daughters and affecting thousands of Aboriginal men, women and children. I know many people who stand with all of you, and we will do everything we can to stand with our Aboriginal People to pray for the insulting injustices and for true healing through connection and harmony with each other and through the light of our spirit. Phyllis McKenna and Nancy Rowe, who attend Sahaja Yoga classes, are two of our esteemed and respected speakers of Sahaja Yoga’s Raise Awareness in Nations to heal Mother Earth FREE Public Program series. On Saturday February 20th we invite all nations to attend this open to the public program which is family friendly, interactive, and will include a variety of presentations, world music, meditation, dance, unity, collectivity, and highlight Oneness through our Spirit.
By getting connected to the whole, in harmony with each other and Mother Earth, we can feel the wind of change connecting us to our spirit and the whole world as One. Thank you for a truly remarkable day at the Strawberry Ceremony which I will never forget. Let’s continue to raise awareness and come together by gathering at this wonderful event series.
VIDEO from Strawberry Ceremony on Valentine’s Day in Toronto, 2016