It’s March and cold; winter seems unrelenting. . Close to a foot of snow and ice covers our yard. This winter Lake Champlain froze over for the first time in years. While the winter has felt severe, in reality it has been more of a normal season, much like the winters prior to 1990. The past ten years have witnessed consistently warm temperatures; some Vermont ecologists have monitored a winter temperature rise of over 5 degrees F at their recording stations in the southern part of the state. Now a winter filled with below zero nights seems cold indeed. Continue reading
The term Medicine Wheel has been used by anthropologists and others to cover the many traditions from the Americas of seeing life’s journey as a hoop or circle. Over time the name gained common usage. That said, I believe we must remember that each culture has a unique understandings of these things, and we must be respectful of this. Continue reading
I am sometimes asked about the use of ceremony in healing, and whether ceremony in the context of psychotherapy has benefit. I believe that while the form ceremony takes in shamanic healing may be different from its appearance in psychotherapy, the essence remains the same. I also find that the intention brought to ceremony determines whether it has healing power.
This is the second in a two-part post about perfectionism, disability, and the Olympics. I am grateful to all who read Part One, and wish to express my added appreciation to those who participated in the discussion of the post. Your sharing enriches our understanding of the complexity and power of the Medicine Wheel teachings.
Yesterday the Olympics came to a close; the Paralympics begin in 11 days. Saturday evening Jennie and I watched a Gimp DVD. She is planning to show it to her Expressive Therapies class, along with some material from Bill T. Jones. Its been a while since we last saw Gimp in performance so revisiting their work was a revelation. Continue reading
I am an elder, and as such I am given the task of teaching and supporting the young. On the Medicine Wheel of this lifetime I am in the Northwest, the place of honoring the challenges of my life, understanding them as best as I am able, and sharing what I have learned with others. Perhaps you will share your thoughts about the thoughts I offer below; I would greatly value that. Continue reading
Many of the Holy Ones who have aided First Nations people in North America are both tricksters and creators. They may bring both chaos and wisdom. Spider Woman is a bringer of culture, a nurturer of community. There are innumerable stories told about them. Most of those stories are owned by specific tribes or families, although printed versions of many stories are widely available. These stories remind us that in at one time all beings were equal and could talk together. We were/are all people, although not all humans. The stories wrestle with difficult issues, often in a playful, even seemingly irreverent manner. Perhaps because they can approach the most difficult of issues, clowns are holy.
In spite of what you may have read or heard, these Beings are still engaged in the world. The stories I tell here reflect my experience of them. Continue reading
A few days ago I posted about Australia Day and the challenges created by governmental policies of assimilation. In response, Tree Girl wrote a profoundly moving comment about Australia Day and assimilation, drawing from her experience as an Australian of Aboriginal heritage. I then asked her whether she would share more with us and she graciously agreed. I am grateful to her. All photos are Tree Girl’s. Her essay follows:
Disclosure – All of what I write here is based on my observations within the community I work in. I can’t talk about what is happening within other communities. It may be completely different for other communities. Aboriginal people have not been a homogenous group for many thousands of years. I have worked with Aboriginal people for the past eighteen years. I have Aboriginal heritage on both sides of my family, but I can’t speak as an Aboriginal person because I have never lived as one. I am not regarded as an Aboriginal person in the Aboriginal community, as there is a process involved in being ‘identified’ and it is not what I wish to do. I pass as a white person. My parents and grandparents passed as white people. Therefore, I have white power and privilege. An Aboriginal colleague said to me a few years ago “you live and breathe Aboriginal social justice”. It was a lovely compliment but it gives me no power to speak on behalf of anyone. I can only make comments based on my observations and skewed vision of the world based on my membership, values, and experiences. Continue reading
Coyote slowly climbed the hill, kicking the empty can before her. Her course was a rough zig-zag, although the slope of the incline was not severe. Every now and again the can would disappear into a pothole and she would have to stop and dig it out.
Coyote was deep in thought. Something was nagging her although she was not clear yet as to exactly what that might be. She looked around, noticing the state of the landscape through which she passed. Every now and again she shook her head. This head shaking was entirely unconscious, tending to occur in the space between can kicks. Continue reading
It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and a couple of hours before dark. The sky has a stormy cast, only occasionally allowing Father Sun to break through. If the weather service is to be believed there will be no inclement weather until tomorrow, when there is the chance we will experience a brief thaw and various and sundry forms of precipitation. I am reminded of T.S. Elliot’s notion of the midwinter spring, although we are well passed the halfway point of the season. Continue reading
Today is “Australia Day” in Australia. Like so many of our civic holidays here in North America, it is a difficult and complex event for Aboriginal people. This set me to thinking about recent conversations with friends. Continue reading