Recently, I lost a friend.
Have you ever encountered a human, upon interacting with, changed your life in profound and remarkable ways?
I spent some time reflecting on our friendship. It was mid winter the year that I heard White Thunderbird was visiting the area. Friends, previous business owners, were bustling about, getting ready to close early. I was visiting their store, and normally there was a relaxed atmosphere. Who is this man?, I asked. A First Nations healer they said. Here is his number. I didn’t know a thing about him, but I felt compelled to meet him. After work the next day, I drove through the darkness, to a house in the middle of Goodfish Lake First Nations. The smell of sage burning greeted me at the door, and I joined a line up of others waiting their turn to meet Leonard. We sat on the couch and were watching something on APTN to pass the time. My turn arrived. I followed Leonard, a dapper, older gentlemen, carrying a Mason jar filled with black tea, to an empty room. We sat down. He looked at me and asked, why are you here? I said, to be honest, I don’t really know. I felt like I needed to meet you, so here I am.
That was the beginning of a great friendship. Leonard was an amazing man with incredible gifts and an incredible life story. His book, from Brokenness to Giftedness relayed his personal struggles with addictions, being homeless and then into his spiritual awakening which guided his work. White Thunderbird Healing, kept him busy, living out of a suitcase and travelling to anywhere there was a need for his guidance. Often leading retreats for couples, teens, women he focused on helping people heal from trauma.
Leonard sat across from me and told me about his past, his gifts and how the session would work. He told me he was a psychic, medium and that we would simply just see what comes up. I remember thinking that it was a good thing I wasn’t aware of that or I probably wouldn’t have come. I was already there, so I thought I might as well hear what he had to say. We talked for well over an hour. In amazement I listened to him describe detailed accounts from my childhood, cried while he relayed messages from my grandmother and took notes as he explained next steps to heal from my failed marriage. Details of which he could not have possibly known, because we had never met before.
I remember him advising me that I was giving my power away. At the time I had no idea what that meant, or how I was giving my power away. But his message was clear, I had to stop that. I have learned that sometimes Elders will teach about something, that in the moment may not make sense. However, in the words of Brene Brown, you may need to “rumble with it; and clarity will come at the right time. Over time I have realized that what is within my power is what I have control over. As I have grappled with what this means, my understanding has evolved. I recognize that understanding my core values and remaining grounded in them no matter what is happening around me or what others are doing, or if others like it, is where my power lies. My values guide me and when I am in alignment with my values, life is good.
One and a half hours, I drove home with just the sound of my thoughts, as I reviewed every detail. Not only did I recognize that he was truly gifted, I felt like I had met a grandfather spirit. We had an instant, harmonious, connection like we had known each other for many years. I was in awe for days.
Over the years, Leonard and I connected many times, over the phone and in person. Often just to chat. He had an uncanny ability to know just the right time to call. Leonard taught me about true resilience, and survival. He showed me a tangible faith in something beyond what the eye can see. With his huge heart he modeled the way, showing the world service and love, even through his own struggles. I am going to miss our chats and his vigor for the things he loved. I am going to miss watching his Métis jigging contests on Facebook, and reading his daily messages of love and guidance.
I wish my friend a happy and safe transition to the beyond, and am truly grateful for his teachings and to have known him.