I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the situation on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. The Dakota Access Pipeline is trying to put a pipeline through the reservation that, to the Sioux, is sacred ground-their home, of which, they consider themselves protectors. Standing Rock was initially part of a greater reservation that in 1868 was established and included with it most of the land west of the Missouri River in South Dakota. By 1889 the United States diminished the reservation and broke it up into smaller ones, taking away quite a bit of what was initially given. That is how the Standing Rock Reservation came to be as it is today.
There are many layers to what is going on in Standing Rock: what we do with natural resources, dependence on oil, spirituality and sacredness of the Earth, standing up for what is believed, peacefully making change, standing against something bigger than you are that is backed by money, power, and a system that says “this is how it is”. I’m certain I’m only glossing over the number of things that are being addressed by this situation.
It is moments like these, situations in which a few peaceful warriors who believe with their entire being that they are doing what’s right for all, make me question what I am doing in this world. These people are standing to protect the Earth, protect its resources, and protect its people. They do this because they believe we are all worth it.
I wonder when the last time was any of us made that stand against something so big and intimidating? Have you ever looked at a system that seems broken and needs change and just said, no matter what anyone else believes or what anyone else says I know with my entire being this needs to change and I will be the one who will stand? Have you said to yourself, I will stand in peace, in love, and in confidence of my belief that this can be different and I can make it different? Ghandi did it, Martin Luther King Jr did it, Nelson Mandela did it. What happens when one voice stands up? Others join right? Others who thought they were too small on their own begin to join in. We look around and see that we were not the only ones who felt this way, who thought this way.
What will you do today to make a difference in this world? Will you stay on your couch watching TV and complaining that things are broken, yet never stand up and help figure out a way to change it? Will you let others deal with it because you think it won’t affect you where you live? Will you continue to think small and question what can I do, I am only one person?
We need voices, we need community, we need people to care and be willing to stand up and say, this needs to change. I’m not telling you to go Standing Rock and face down bulldozers and dogs. I’m not even saying this is where your voice needs to be heard. What I am wondering for you is where in your life does your voice need to be heard, where can you stand in peace and love for change that will make the world a better place? Maybe that is in a relationship you are in, perhaps a work environment, or even in your own mind where you have been tearing yourself down and never seeing the good. Where can you show up today, in peace, in love, and make a change that will change the world? If for today that begins with telling yourself that you are an amazing person who has a smile to share and a kind word to give then start there. You can change not only how you feel, but how someone else feels by just sharing that smile and saying hello. Perhaps that person was feeling alone and down and just those actions connected them to something bigger. It gave them a voice, a reason to do the same thing. You are not small and no action is too small to change the world. Start today, start with you, then we will all be standing together in peace and love.