Strands of life

Many cultures believe that hair has sacred qualities. A physical element that holds mana as well as memories. At times in my life I have cut my hair to release me from the past. With the death of my father this year, I had thought about cutting it in his honor, an act that would have been common practice by my ancestors. However, I have come to see the memories held in elements like my hair as a static or a neutral record that is vital to who I am becoming, versus memories held in our muscles that is “living.”  

The key difference, from my perspective, is that releasing the past is about letting go of the negative charge in our bodies so that we can remain healthy (as possible) from a spiritual perspective. However, the actual experiences, regardless of whether they feed us or drain us are teachers. The lessons are important reminders and can serve us. Our hair, like growth rings in a tree are our internal library of self-knowledge. 


As someone who channels the energies of people and experiences through my physical body it is vital I release my emotional baggage on a regular basis ...but I accept and take responsibility for all that I have done and experienced. Remembering and honoring is different than remaining locked into or defined by singular point in life. At this point, decisions like not playing volleyball in college and leaving all together to figure myself out and take a few motorcycle road-trips, giving a decade to hardcore activism and community, leaving a (semi) secure job for self employment, divorce, and the many challenges of being a single mom... have made me the deep, empathic, tolerant and messy but awesome human that I am. 

I could cut my hair to honor my dad—but I am keeping it long. In fact, until his passing at 82, my dad wore it long and I know that my greatest gift to him and to future generations is to ensure that I continue to walk through this life carrying what he taught me and what he stood for. 

Naiʻa Lewis