March 1, 2008

I have just returned from working in Navajo Nation on a four day art of hosting focused on wellness in community. I find myself filled with many insights, each of which are worth much more description and illumination. I also find myself aware that I will never harvest all that happened there. In fact, in one of the exercises we did, led by Roq Gareau, I set an intention statement to Harvest Quickly. This was an exercise of refinement and clarity, first asking 10 questions of myself in an open thought stream. My intention moved to Harvest Simply and with K'e. K'e is so many things. However, the greatest clarity I had was that k'e is a respect for all relations and all creations as if there were no separation. It is a word that describes wholeness. At this point in the process, we began to meet with others for rapid fire questions about our intent. Mine then shifted to Harvest with Purpose. We then met as a group of four to simply ask for whatever we needed. The exercise closed with a guided meditation to the center of a mountain to listen to a wise one. The wise one told me, "you are the harvest. Relations are the harvest. Live well." I carry this in me now. And I want to note simply a few of the experiences that are very alive.
  • Our team, Teresa Posakony, myself, Roq Gareau, and Chris Corrigan have a beautiful wholeness with each other. Each of us brings something to working together. It is our k'e, our natural love of each other that deepens us and opens us to working with the group.
  • Our internal team is equally beautiful and lovely. Tina Tso, who came alive for me this time with all of her beauty. Karen Sandoval, Orlando Pioche, and Chris Percy. These are people working at the heart of wellness in Navajo Nation. Our hosting work is alive in them. They have taken it in to new levels.
  • Teachings = gifts = medicine = stories = questions. There may be a few more to add on here. But these are the ones I see now. So often the people from this group would reference our teachings as medicine. The Navajo as a culture, as a people, are so open to receiving the gifts, the learnings as medicine. It is quite amazing to be received this way. It surely does not feel like a simple little facilitation anymore.
  • Treatments that I feel will live for a long time. I felt like the experience was a multi-layered treatment. It included a sweat hosted by Orlando Pioche. Four rounds of about 15 minutes each in the dark space, the womb that held room for 12 of us to sit in circle round rocks from the fire, sprinkled with sage, sweetgrass, tabacco, and cedar. There were songs, chants, prayers. It was a holy, a ritual in this case with men, that I have not experienced before. This was just one. There was the treatment of energy that I received as healing. There was the treatment of relations in being together. The land -- the four directions. The people -- k'e and ina twho, the river of life. There was the treatment of teachings from Chris Corrigan's story of talk saving lives. Marge, a medicine woman encouraging all of us to trust what is in our hearts and to watch for our dreams. I was just thinking I wanted to separate out more teachings from treatments -- however, in the spirit of k'e, I think these belong here.
  • A few comments I heard, offered in thanks. "You helped us to remember what it means to be clan." Well, coming from a group that states clan upon meeting, this as remarkable. The thanks offered were about depth of clan.
  • "There is no bad corn." The Navajo use what they have. Even corn that has bugs in it will go to the animals as feed.
  • Ritual -- I learned this in the sweat. Ritual is alive in this group. It is alive as passage. As healing. As connection and relation.
I feel deep gratitude for working with these people. I feel very blessed with and by them. I feel very well.

Chris Corrigan's blog post -- In the Land of K'e

Photos -- Mine, Chris Corrigan, Chris Percy

1 comment:

Kelly McGowan said...

Tenneson - I posted the comment below on Chris' website also. For you I would like to add that I will miss the Boston AoH only because I have a big community celebration here that I am co-hosting! The theme intrigues me immensely and learning with you and your mates is a powerful magnet! peace, Kelly

Thank you chris and tenneson for harvesting your learnings for us. The Dine are powerful teachers. I learned life transforming lessons that still resonate and recycle -- about community, ritual, relations, power, hosting, healing -- in '86 when I responded to an invitation from the elders to come to Big Mountain and support their struggle against a government-fabricated Hopi-Navajo land dispute.
The elders welcomed the supporters with the most powerful gratitude. We were a messy collection of international lefties (comfortable with the language of power/who needs love?) and new agers (comfortable with the language of love/power is bad). The elders made us whole, connected, and useful simply by hosting/welcoming us with gratitude, immediatly orienting us to their ritual (sweat lodges) and putting us to work (digging ditches, herding sheep).
I returned in the 90's to the Chinle Health Center to work on a diabetes project and experienced the same hosting energy in the way that the Dine welcomed and valued Western/non-Indian medical providers.They brought us in to their way first and engaged our hearts through gratitude and profound lessons (the beauty way). Then they asked us to give what we had to offer.
I have drawn on this experience (I am the harvest) without great ability to give it legs (story, take aways).
Your learnings are helping me to write about it for the first time here....when I am working in a setting with 'supporters' and 'supported' (primarily community leadership around HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention in science/medical based paradigms) I look for the place were Power-Love lives (maybe not exactly what Kahane means by Power, but a close cousin). How/where is the place where the 'supported' can truly lead the 'supporters' to give what they have to offer? I have yet had the opportunity/courage to ask 'what would it take to be/act as co-supporters?'
Peace, Kelly