Tuesday’s Wild Child (professional) Conference held in Marion, Ohio featured keynote and presentations from Shianne Eagleheart, LICDC, ICCS, Executive Director of the Red Bird Center, Inc., member of The 6 Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) “People of the Longhouse”. Ms. Eagleheart, a Native American counselor, elder, healer, teacher introduced a large group of social workers, counselors, teachers, probation and court folks and agency personnel to best practices in healing the deep seated woundedness of trauma and abuse. Often, at the base of anger, destructive behavior, and rage is unimaginable pain. Coincidentally, it was held on 9-11. Most of the ceremonies being held, probably included a moment of silence; perhaps bagpipes. It seemed, a drum might have been a powerful addition.
The conference talk began with sacred drumming and the story of Wounded Bear, a Native American medicine story. Speaker Eagleheart said the story has the ‘power to heal you if you allow it to do so’. It heals by ‘releasing pain, empowering, as you experience the medicine of the story’. We have been given new stories brought to us to receive a special message and put it into action in our time. (An example is for those suffering PTSD, which is actually an injury of the human spirit; a soul disorder). One thought of those commemorating the fall of the twin towers and loss of so many lives. So many stories.
Eagleheart instructs by beginning with drumming, which is akin to the ‘heartbeat of the earth’ and on the ‘circle of courage’ (inspired by Seneca, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onodaga, Tuscarora tribes of the tribal confederation). A central point of her talk was that ‘behavior is language’. We all start out safe, beautiful, holy, and good. Challenges emerge in life as emotional pain, anger, fear, ignorance, and hopelessness build. How we respond, how we behave tells a story, even when it cannot be verbalized. She shared tools for healing ceremonies and processes.
It is important to be in touch with ourselves; our emotions. ‘Feeling is healing’ and one can often then let the pain go after walking through it- in the presence of light and love. It’s important not to disconnect from humanity in the healing process, but teach people how to help us; to be a partner in our own healing process. Eagleheart told how important it is for caregivers to do a good job of mirroring the positive through affirmations. Each individual, even the most wretched, has a soul fire within. The positive truths are a connection into one’s soul, like collecting acorns in a basket, which when they take root, even in fertile darkness, may produce seedlings of possibility. Hopelessness is an illusion, and it’s important to help people believe in their capacity to heal. People crave connection/community/neighbors today. Culture is important as intervention/ restoration of that sense of belonging; a shared tradition. Our culture has lost and is losing its meaningful traditions. Individuals scattered in their own electronic worlds do not connect as a family over dinner or gathered around a fire might, sharing dreams and stories.
The day concluded with sacred drumming and a vision exercise for those assembled.
Drumming is used to call the people together for story telling, important announcements and meaningful sharing. I’ve attached some links for you to listen to examples of drumming. Indigenous cultures from Africa, the Celtic peoples, Australia, Asia and the Americas all have used unique forms of drumming, with/without flute and other accompaniment.
Some Sacred Drumming Links
Meditation for this post:
“We cannot confine the mind to the brain anymore; it is in every cell of our body. As we look more closely, we cannot confine it to the body either. It is non-local; it exists everywhere in the universe. All these processes-eating, breathing, digestion, metabolism-are functions of movements or fluctuations in this non-local mind of which we are a part. . . The self, that field, that consciousness, is not confined to the brain; it is in every cell of the body.” -copyright, Excerpt from “The New Physics of Healing” CD Album recorded in 2002 by Deepak Chopra M.D. at the American Holistic Medical Conference.
Listen to a presentation on ‘Being a Grown-Up for the Sake of Our Children’ 10am-2pm at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Delaware. http://st-peters-delaware.episcopal-dso.org/digital_faith
Rosh Hashanah begins September 17th, the start of The (Jewish) New Year. http://www.templeisrael.org/
September 22nd marks the autumnal equinox when day and night are equal in length.
Over age 50 and interested in interfaith spirituality? There’s a series beginning
September 26th at The Martin de Porres Center. See http://www.martindeporrescenter.net