The Dine' (Navajo) people tell about the two heroes who, in the beginning of time in this world, battled and killed many of the monsters left over from the previous world. But they left some of the monsters untouched because these monsters could become our teachers. Lice were left on earth because they teach us to wash ourselves and keep clean. Stupidity was left on earth because we learn best by making mistakes. The cold was left on earth because it teaches us how to survive, make life-affirming decisions, and take care of one another.
We can mistake these teachings of battle for glorifying war and celebrating patriarchy. But these battles take place inside us, as all religious traditions affirm. The indigenous teachers urge us to see the lower forces, and our battle with them, as our teachers on our road to becoming true humans, and the ones who train our true spirit to work in this world. This lens helps me greatly to evaporate my imagined martyrdom – that it's not fair that that life has discomfort, I shouldn't have to experience this, and someone is to blame for it (not me, of course.)
We need cold in the world to teach us endurance, how to be smart with our decisions, to focus on what's important, and to take care of each other.
If you are in any building right now with heat, it's because, deep in the belly of the building is a little piece of the sun bringing life to you, creating a bubble of safety from the cold. To help us stay alive while while learning from the cold, the Great Sun placed a bit of itself in the belly of the Great Mother (scientists call this the molten core). The Mother delivers that energy to protect us in cold times. So, in cold weather, it's good to thank the Great Sun and the Mother Earth for the way they care for you, and ask the cold what it has to teach you about becoming a true human. (Seriously, I'm saying: make prayer of thanks to the spirit of the furnace. )
The great sun also placed a little bit of itself inside your body – in the upper right chamber of your four-chambered heart. Scientists call this the sinoatrial node. It is a tiny bundle of neurons that deliver a burst of energy about every second, which tells the heart to beat another beat. That energy comes from the other side of the doorway of the heart – the doorway to Spirit. So, inside your heart, about every second, there is day and night, summer and winter, the four seasons, waking and dreaming, and the four sacred directions, all teaching you every second. The cold time is a good time to ask Spirit to open that door and give you a good hint about what you need to learn next on this journey to becoming a true human.
Dine' (Navajo) elder Wally Brown has a wonderful series of YouTube videos with jewels of wisdom. His story of the two heroes is here. The whole series can be seen here.