On my last day in LA, I headed to the Hollywood Farmer's Markets. At one of the stalls, I met a man called Andrew @nativeimagela - the first of many Andy's I was going to meet on my journey funnily enough. Andrew's stall, Native Image LA, is a bit of an icon at the Markets. While I was checking out some silver bear earrings, in amongst the sage. cedar and dreamcatchers, he walked over to me and said,
"I never normally make bear products," he told me, "but I did last night - I think it’s because it was meant for you. I must have known you were coming."
This sounded pretty awesome to me (he was also perhaps a brilliant salesman!). He then showed me a bear claw he had made (fibreglass, of course!). Telling me about his family, about healers and festivals happening up the coast, and how he normally 'dealt' in other animals but had felt he needed to make this the previous night. I told him how I was going on an adventure with the bears and he nodded and then told me how I should learn from the bear.
Since bears continue fighting after being seriously injured, Native Americans often believed they were capable of healing their wounds, and so are associated with healing. As he was showing me the beading on necklaces, he turned to me and said:
“You're going to need to be strong.”
Then he turned and looked at me front-on, gently held my shoulders and said "I don’t mean physically, I mean in here,” and he gestured into his chest and core, "I mean emotionally. You know what I mean? You're going to be facing a lot of things inside... but remember the Bear and you will be okay. Be strong in here".
"Learn from the bear. They are the masters of the season and for tapping into our natural instinct. They are the ultimate mothers and the great healers. The Bear lives for the seasons. It knows when the right time to rest is, the right to fight, the right time to hunt, the right time to play. They know when to nurture themselves".
The perfect send-off <3