What is ‘Life’ After Standing Rock?

Coping With A Hard Truth

By Emily Mancini

Photo Cred: Rob Wilson Photography

Sometimes I find myself wondering what interweaving operations are really here at work in my life. I try to not look at the big picture all too often, but rather at life’s little nuances, it’s interconnected webs of divine intervention. I try to focus on the here and the now, and the ever changing work that needs to be done.

I will admit that I tend to get lost sometimes in the best laid plans, constantly trying to find a balance between those plans and the serendipity of life. It’s easy to get lost. It can even be hard at times to trust the process, but I have to believe, deep in my heart that there is some cosmic reason for it all.

I find it even harder however, to find a lesson here, in life, after Standing Rock. The trauma of the loss of camp on each and every soul that it has touched seems impossible to wrap my head around. I wake in fear of the world we have created. I weep for those who have given up all that they have and all that they know to fight for a cause within a place that no longer exists. The sounds of drums a faint echo in the night, the beauty of prayer now only deep within ourselves.

Sometimes, even the best laid plans, or the most well intended spontaneous actions of our hearts, made out of goodness of others or for the earth itself, aren’t even a smidgen of the big picture. I find almost always, that there is another lesson in there, one maybe meant just for me or just for us, that I have somehow missed along the way. Life is saying ‘hey, look I’m here!’, constantly teaching us and giving us the tools that we need to make our world what we need to make it. The fear and the anguish are all destinations along this road map of life that we cannot cross through, until we’ve conquered them within our own self first.

I wish I had more to offer about life after Standing Rock, more words of advice for myself and for the many now living with this emptiness in their hearts, but sometimes healing is only available after we have literally lived straight through the pain. And with something like this, where it is so much bigger than we all are, it is so very hard to allow ourselves to feel lost or helpless, almost as if ‘there’s no time for me to feel like this! There is so much more to be done.’ But unfortunately, it is all a part of it. There will always me more to do, more change to fight for, more work that needs to be done, and there will always be a new way to help. We can’t allow ourselves to get stuck, stuck between the transitions in life, second guessing which way to turn. There will always be an open door, a new path, a mountain to help each other climb. But we are only as helpful as we are when we have done the same work for ourselves, and when we have first given ourselves the time to heal. So for now, we must breathe our way through this devastation, pray for our brothers and sisters, and spread kindness and love as best we can not only to one another, but most importantly to ourselves.

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