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How traditional teachings helped one woman make a real change

Alison Sappier is a busy single mom of 6 kids. Her household includes two generations—both children and grandchildren. As a result, Alison had a lot of stress in her life and found it hard to take good care of herself. But she really wanted to be a role model for her kids. So she decided to find ways to make positive changes in her life and change her story. In addition to eating better and exercising, Alison decided to try Reiki, a natural healing technique where the practitioner channels energy with their hands. She found it so helpful that she ended up becoming a Reiki master. Over time, she became more and more interested in the connection between emotional well-being and overall health.

She realized that, as an aboriginal woman, she felt disconnected from her culture. So she decided to learn more about traditional teachings. The seven sacred teachings—love, respect, courage, humility, honesty, wisdom and truth—became extremely important to Alison. She would ask for guidance and strength to make it through any challenges she was facing. And as a busy single mom, challenges were coming one after another! But as she learned to use different teachings, Alison found she gained self-respect and took better care of herself by doing little things like substituting processed food for fresh food and drinking herbal tea instead of sugary drinks.

Now, she’s keen to pass the knowledge she’s gained on to her kids and even to her grandmother and mother, who were never open to learning about things like using stones for meditation or teas for healing before. And while Alison acknowledges that this type of wisdom would traditionally have been passed down to her from her grandmother and mother, she’s just happy that the cultural teachings are returning to her family. She’s even sharing some of the teachings with people who show an interest in the local rehabilitation center where she works in Tobique First Nation.

Alison acknowledges that she met resistance when she started making changes but that it only helped build her resilience in the long term. And it has paid off! She says she feels more confident and accepting of herself, she’s eating healthy and exercising, and dealing better with stress. But her biggest achievement is that she’s passing her culture, knowledge and good habits on to those she cares about most—her kids.

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