Last November I heard Hopi elder Vernon Masayesva speak about his work protecting water. I was struck by how he described his work as a response to the question “who am I am as a Hopi?”

His repetition of the question helped me hear that he wasn’t asking a self-absorbed question at all. He was asking a very deep question related to what his place is in creation and purpose in life. It was clear that his “who am I as a Hopi?” was integral to his work protecting the water and leading Black Mesa Trust.

I have great admiration for people who act from a great sense of clarity about their role in the world. They shine with authority.

We ask the “Who am I?” question in different ways as we age. The lack of good answers and role models means that we sometimes chase youth and buy fancy cars in a search for the answer. What if the way we leaned into the “Who am I?” question set free our authenticity and power?

Child of the Universe

I find it very helpful to transcend the details of my particular life and ask “Who am I as a human?” The answer is cosmic. We are stardust. We are the universe becoming conscious of itself. Through the food we eat, water we drink, and air we breathe we are a brief embodiment of the earth.

Through the many traumas of our planetary history many of us have lost this embodied knowing of ourselves as inseparable from the earth. Yet when we do tap into a conscious connection to our larger earth body, even the body of the universe, we have the authority of the entire earth and the universe speaking through us. From this point of view how can the human role be anything other than honoring all of life?

The Source of our Authority

I appreciate how the Women’s Companion for Political Change begins with the reminder that our authority lies in who we are. As a human our bodies are made of mother earth and therefore speak with her authority. The future generations pass through women’s bodies. As the bearers and nurturers of future generations, women have authority to speak for the future.

I haven’t always identified as a life-bearer in this traditional women-giving-birth sense; medical treatments have most likely sterilized me and I adopted my child. Generally I’ve also resisted any sentence that begins “it’s women’s role…” Yet one of the most alive things I’ve learned in my life is the sense of carrying and nurturing life in my body. My in-depth training in traditional dances with Laura Shannon taught me how to move as though I carry the seeds of the future within me. It’s my favorite way to dance and live. My body remembers its sovereignty and authority.

We are our relationships and our actions

Like Vernon Masayesva, remembering who I am has brought me into deeper connection with the water. Our bodies are mostly water. We are the water. The next generation is born of water from their mother’s womb. All life comes through the water. For me, caring for the water is an extension of caring for myself. It is how I care for all of life.

Through caring for the water, I also learn more and more about who I am. I have a deeper appreciation for how the role of protecting water is a counterpoint to protecting fire. Both are essential for life, a balance of yin and yang. The water teaches me what it means to be a bearer of life and how to powerfully inhabit a feminine role in the cycle of life.

May we be continually expanded, more alive, and powerfully authoritative by asking “who am I?”

With love,



Spiritual practices to support the who am I question?

Healing Waters Qigong, a Spring Forest Qigong Practice Group, helps you tap into the infinite source of healing love, and every week we use this love to heal our own bodies and heal the water.

The Wisdom Dances dance practice draws on Laura Shannon’s pioneering approach to traditional circle dances to cultivate an experience of being part of a much bigger whole while also building individual expression and leadership.

Having trouble breaking out of where you are now?

Sometimes we need individual support to reset our body, mind, and spirit to a different connection to the infinite source of love. Learn more about my one-on-one healing work here or contact me for a free phone conversation to see if this is right for you.