For those of you who might not know the term Walking the Red Road or its intended purpose, I’ll try to explain it as simply as possible. Walking the Red Road is a determined act of living within the Creator’s instructions. Basically, it is living a life of truth, humbleness, respect, friendship, and spiritually. Those on this road are by no means walking a perfect path, but are in search of self-discovery and instructions. While there is much more information and teachings about a life on the Red Road, a more complete understanding would come from our Native American elders and leaders, who themselves have traveled this path for a while.
Standing or Walking the Red Road?
As someone who has stumbled down this road for a while, it seems to me that the main requirement for anyone interested in this route is -- Action. There is a large difference between being “On” and “Walking” the Red Road. There are certain acts that get someone on the Red Road. If someone attends sweat lodges, participates in purifications, or other ceremonies, they are on the Red Road. If they know Native American songs, languages, or other related traditions, they are on the Red Road. These are all very important acts and place an individual on the Red Road. If being on the Red Road is the main goal for someone, do these above things regularly.
If however you are interested in “Walking” the Red Road, much more is necessary. Consistently participating in the activities listed above puts someone on the path, but traveling on that path requires more. I have met folks who attend sweat lodges and other purification ceremonies, self-help recovery meetings, abstain from alcohol and other drugs, and several other related acts, but all other areas of their lives are disconnected from the ideas behind Walking the Red Road. Now…please know these comments/opinions come from my own personal experiences, not from the idea of traveling a perfect Path. If I was reading these same words written by someone else, my humanness would encourage me to stop reading this BS immediately! Hopefully you’ll forgive my human opinions and continue reading.
Walking the Red Road is a Balanced 24/7/365 Life
Participating in sweat lodges, purification ceremonies, recovery groups, etc. only requires a few days per year. The idea behind Walking the Red Road requires action in all aspects of one’s life. Doing and saying the right things during a four hour ceremony is fairly simple. The primary focus should be on the remaining 20 hours in a day.
There was a young, single parent who did not treat the children very well as the result of an alcohol and drug problem. After several months of being clean and sober and regularly attending ceremonies, the parent hastily made a typical dinner for the children consisting of sandwiches and chips. As the parent was rushing out the door to attend a regular ceremony, one of the children said, “What…sandwiches again tonight?!” The parent angrily replied, “I need to take care of myself. Did you like me the way I was?” The child replied, “I did not care much for you then, and I don’t care too much for you now!” The original story I heard was about a mother. I use the word parent in this story as it applies to both mother and father.
Walking the Red Road is a substantial personal commitment and responsibility. It is a 24/7/365 balanced life between self, family, community, and Creator. I write this not as a judge of who is or is not Walking the Red Road, but as someone who struggles with this balancing act. No person can judge if you are on the Red Road, where you are located, how fast you are traveling, or if you belong on this Path. That is the good news about this life/living route.
Widening the Path
The bad news about traveling this way of life is that no one can judge your Path. You are in total control of your route. Wouldn’t it be so simple and easy to have GPS? All of the help you need would be stated with one word – Recalculating! You hear that word and would instantly know you have meandered off the Path. Unfortunately, there is no GPS guidance while traveling the Red Road. The best way forward is joining other walkers and following the same path that has been paved by past generations of walkers. Also, the more people we travel with, the wider the path will become. Cohort of walkers are joined at the shoulders rather than walking single file. Walking the Red Road is very hard and requires much effort. What may be more difficult is being on the Red Road and not doing the necessary things that result in forward movement.Peace, DAP