Two years ago, I met an esteemed Navajo peacemaker, the former Chief Justice Robert Yazzie. I had read his amazing work and efforts to promote and revive Native peacekeeping practices and was excited to meet him at a luncheon sponsored by ServiceSpace*. I rushed to the lunch after giving my first talk at BCA** on connection and healing, only to realize later that he was in attendance at my talk. That serendipitous meeting began a friendship that has essentially changed the way I think about medicine and healing.
Since then, we’ve spent many hours discussing Nature, Connection, Healing, Medicine and Peacekeeping. As abstract as our conversations get sometimes, we always circle back to the question front and center of both our work: how to live and be this knowledge rather than only to grasp it conceptually. As our friendship grew, my curiosity about Native Medicine developed and with the support of friends from BCA, I traveled to New Mexico to experience what I could only conjecture from our conversations. The journey was mind blowing, but more profoundly, it blew my heart open.
My main healing was experiencing community in a way I’ve thirsted for--a natural unquestionable belonging. That belonging is a belonging to myself, to community, to family, to the Earth, to this life. I hadn’t realized that even my own sense of disconnection was fundamental to my work, inspiring me to seek out many avenues for healing. I carried my experience from New Mexico in my heart back home and watered the BCA healing space with it and watched it flower in my community, my work, my relationships and my understanding of Chinese Medicine. It was gentle but powerful, much like Chinese Medicine.
Last fall, I felt a call to return and I made another pilgrimage to Navajo lands with more conspirators from BCA. Once again I plunged a bit deeper into the infinite well of healing knowledge. A natural kinship developed between my BCA and Navajo families. We call each other brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and mothers. We are filled with gratitude for their support and healing prayers from Native lands in New Mexico to our little clinic in Berkeley.
On the drive home I shared a growing thought - a return trip to share Chinese Medicine with our Navajo family who had taught us so much about healing. The idea was met with enthusiastic support and we are now actively planning a Spring road trip. The BCA family will return to New Mexico to do acupuncture, sound healing, massage, cupping, gua sha therapy and teach classes on self-care and Chinese Medicine at the end of March.
I think back with wonder at the divine plan that created my first meeting with Justice Yazzie. At that time, I was struggling to express my understanding of the heart of Chinese Medicine. The root of Chinese Medicine seemed so breathtakingly simple, so overlooked, so misunderstood and so needed in this world but I was filled with trepidation and self-doubt about my ability to teach such startlingly simple yet profound ideas. Meeting Justice Yazzie was just the right medicine at the right time for me to grow in my work.
This healing journey has helped me overcome my small self, the source of my self-doubt, and re-connects me to the bigger truth of healing. Healing is the healing of the small self, the one that feels disconnected and therefore insecure, lonely and doubtful. This small self is both the result of and the creator of all kinds of pain and suffering. As this small self heals, she is reconnected to herself and her community which expands to new reaches as her own healing deepens. “Heal Yourself, Heal Your Community” is what we say at BCA.
In Health & Community,