My Heart and Spirit have Come Home
I had migrated to the city quite young as a runaway, running from experiences of childhood sexual abuse, running hoping to leave painful memories behind me, running with no sense of direction and ultimately running without ever realizing how this act would feed into my being totally disconnected from family, community, culture and traditions.
On a deeper level, the disconnect impacted me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually and I believe this disconnect laid the pathway of vulnerability to HIV for me.
Many years later, through the course of my increasing struggles with drug addictions, I had the opportunity to go to an Aboriginal healing centre to finally try to deal with my issues.
One day, after three weeks of my being at this healing centre, a very special ceremony was initiated for me. The ceremony took place at the traditional lodge where a sacred fire burned 24/7.
I was escorted out to the lodge by a female Elder and my first sight of the lodge was a vision I have never forgotten. People had gathered and were lined up on either side of the eastern doorway creating a pathway for me to walk into the lodge. An Elder spoke about how many of our people have lost their connection to who they are, to culture and traditions, to family and community, and more importantly to our connection to the creator.
I felt a real sense of something lifting away from me as he spoke, and tears were pouring down my face. The Elder then declared that I had come home, and that the people that were present wanted to welcome me home.
In that moment, for the first time in my whole life, my heart began to feel peace and belonging. This welcome home has stayed within my heart to this day, and was the beginning of my healing journey to actually coming home.
This coming home ceremony laid a pathway to addressing my own disconnect at so many levels. I am truly home, no matter where I am now in my journey, my heart is home!
Written by an Aboriginal woman who was diagnosed with AIDS in 2001 in Ontario
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