Please let me introduce myself and inform the Creator who is sharing these thoughts: Memashkegaabowek ndizhinikaaz (My Spiritual Name is Standing Strong). Adik ndoodem (My Clan is Caribou). This is actually my second Spirit name and I will be retelling the story of how I received my first Spirit name in 2003 in an upcoming blog post.

My ethnic background is Ojibwe (from north of Lake Superior), Cree (from northern Manitoba), French (from northern Manitoba) and English (straight from England). Having an Anishnaabe Spirit (Anishnaabe – I understand this to mean beings lowered down from the sky) while being carried in a ‘white’ body presented me with many opportunities to learn as I was growing up and it also provided me with some unique gifts as I am learning now in my mid-life years. My parents raised me as a Roman Catholic and somehow I was always separated from my Anishnaabe brothers and sisters (father’s choice). I always knew I was missing something in my life. My Spirit has always been Anishnaabe but I was not receiving the crucial Spiritual guidance that I required to feel ‘complete or balanced’.

In addition to missing a traditional upbringing, I was always searching for unconditional love which I previously believed I would find in a ‘warrior’, a man. I thought this man would fill the voids in my life. Three marriages, three divorces and five live-in boyfriends later proved that I would not find that ‘unconditional love’ that I was desperately yearning for, at least not in another person as I had originally thought. Even the love for and the love of my five children could not seem to satisfy my yearning for that unconditional love.

The chemical imbalances, living a life without listening to my true essence left me with a life of what I call a ‘foggy brain’, a debilitating depression and many emotional episodes. I had been diagnosed with a mental illness when my children were still young and the depressive episodes lasted days sometimes. Sometimes I was not able to come out of my bedroom for three or four days at a time not even being able to make myself a cup of coffee. This was not a good way to raise and care for my children. I remember asking this question over and over again: why does this keep happening to me? Why do I keep having a partner that does not seem to grow with me? Why do I keep having these emotional outbursts? Why do I feel so down all the time? Of course I understand now that every time I asked those questions, I invited more of that into my life.
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I remember in 1981 when my first child was born, the drumming began in my heart and the yearning to come ‘home’. Home to me is the Thunder Bay region. This is where I have come to remember who I am. And somehow from the time that Cynthia was born, I was yearning to come home which I did finally in 1994.

There was many instances of what I would call magic or some people may call them metaphysical experiences before I consciously remembered who I was. One example of this is a tiny bird who tried to get my attention just before my big wakeup call in January 2004. We were living on Court Street in Thunder Bay in a very large older home that had three levels in it. We were renting and a relationship that I was in at the time was escalating into some high drama. One morning as I was getting ready to leave for the day, a starling had appeared on my bedroom window. Now you may think that there is nothing too special about that. Well my bedroom window was on the third storey AND the starling was ‘tapping’ on my window. She was trying to get my attention. She was probably one of many trying to get my attention.

So that day when I was attending a gathering at the Victoria Inn in Thunder Bay, I approached a couple of Elders Freda McDonald and Isabel Mercier to ask them what they thought about that. Freda asked me a couple of questions. She asked if I had put tobacco down to seek guidance. I said that I had not but would do so. She also asked how I ‘felt’ when I heard and saw the bird. Did I feel anxious or alarmed or how did I feel. I told her that I had not felt alarmed but was unsure what the starling was trying to tell me. Today I believe that the starling was trying to caution me to wake up! To realize that I was not being true to myself, listening to my true essence or being aware of the harmful relationship that I was in.