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Let's talk about relations

In this edition of The Other Side, Ed Belliard takes on loneliness
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There is an endearing and enduring saying that they Ojibway or Lakota peoples have incorporated in their teachings. It is at the heart of their spiritual beliefs.

“All my relations” regards and recognizes the interconnectedness of everyone to everything. Every living person is somehow attached to all others.

As well, every person’s thoughts, emotions, and actions affect his surroundings in some capacity. These, in turn, reach out beyond himself or herself.

They touch and influence others. These Indigenous Peoples believe that Spirit resides everywhere, and therefore, we all take on the role of co-creators. Following that reasoning, the world in which we live, the lives we conceive, are rooted in our relationship with the Creator and our extended families beyond us.

Realistically, as they see it, we are never alone.

At present, in the modern world when everyone appears electronically connected and surveilled, is it not peculiar that many people feel lonely?

Recent research on Canadians reveals an increasing number of adults are living alone: as many as 28.2 per cent in 2016 (Statistics Canada).

Accordingly, with longer life spans, the modern seniors don’t always have access to friends and family members as readily as they once did a generation ago. Many of them find that they have too much free time and too few companions nearby to assist them in daily living and chores.

Add to that mix limited mobility, lack of funds, resources, increased household expenses, declining physical and mental health, and the findings should not surprise anyone. Suffering in silence needs not be the norm or the only option. Loneliness in the elderly and the younger demographic is increasing. It is fast becoming a serious public health concern, as well as mental health issue. Is it not disheartening to hear frontline workers publicly admit that despite increased demands for mental health services, their budgets are stagnant?

It should bother us. 

Social isolation, whether by choice or unforeseen circumstances, can quickly lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. Loneliness is deserving of attention not unlike other pressing mental health issues.

During the cold wintry season, loneliness is more likely to set in. People generally lose their vitality as the daylight shortens its stay. They are more likely to feel cabin fever as the snow piles up and getting around becomes tedious.

Productivity within the house and outdoors tend to decrease in poor weather conditions. All these factors affect one’s mental outlook and health. All told, maintaining one’s positive outlook and contribution to our collective consciousness can be daunting when one feels alienated. 

A befitting, a proper, and respectful response goes back to Spirit. In order to remedy a situation whereby an individual feels distant, separated, or disconnected from others, swift measures are required. His bonds with his family, friends, and nature need mending.

To go even farther and upward spiritually, they need tethering. When she or he feels needed, and precious as gold, connections to a Greater Power are undeniable.

Reconciling with her or his harmonious self, self-worth, and extended relations can only head one way. Onward and upward is that direction where “all my relations” meet and mesh.