So, here’s my problem.
I went to the h’OMgrown Fest in Pemberton this weekend thinking I’d be able to spin a column out of a seminar — maybe bang out a listicle, offer up some bullet-point worthy wellness wisdom about yoga, family life, staying sane. Simple!
How was I to know that I’d spend two hours bent-double sobbing? That I’d leave with my head swirling with ideas, none of which I’m quite able to articulate.
In addition to being a five-year return guest of Tanya di Valentino’s annual yoga conference (first the Whistler Yoga Conference, and now h’OMgrown, her rootsier, Pemberton-spun, totally awesome version), a yoga teacher and mindfulness expert, Shahar
Rabi is a counsellor and the clinical director at the Orchard Recovery Centre on Bowen Island, so if one is going to have an unexpected emotional breakdown, those are probably pretty good hands.
These days, Rabi said, he prefers to facilitate group sessions over one-on-one counselling, because it’s so mind-blowingly effective and powerful. (I’ll say.) Somehow, the force of community enables us to tap into the collective unconscious, the Great Intelligence — something we access way more effectively if we network together to boost our bandwidth.
Nice in theory. Easy in practice?
Not so much.
I didn’t want to go into that room and share the kind of thoughts that reduced me to a puddle on a mat. I prefer to keep a brave face. I’d rather be thought of as “that girl who really has got it together.” (Ha.)
But when the first person shared in the space that had been opened up for a small gathering of folk, that initial act of vulnerability seemed to work as an invitation.
A Mexican proverb that popped up on my Twitter feed this week, goes: ‘They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
I’d been thinking about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report: 150,000 children taken from their homes. Over 6,000 died in care because Canada “wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to aboriginal people and gain control over their lands and resources,” found the report. It was a systematic century-long program that “amounts to nothing less than cultural genocide.”
That proverb felt like words meant to honour the resilience of aboriginal communities, survivors who somehow managed to keep on walking and moving forward through a landscape of emotional carnage.
Honestly, if someone stole my kid from me, I don’t know that I could get out of bed the next day. Or ever. I don’t know how I would carry that grief, that great load. I don’t know how people sit with loss.
Except maybe together.
Di Valentino calls h’OM grown Fest “a NOW inspired vision for the future.” She means that, “each and every choice we make in our ordinary daily lives is like the planting of a seed that will mature and manifest as our future. If we choose to purchase the organically grown apple that sits beside the non-organically grown apple then we cast our vote to see organic practices strengthen and non-organic practices weaken in the future. If we choose to attend a yoga class or other activity that supports wellness rather than choosing to go to the bar to drink then we upshift the possibility for us to continue to support wellness in our lives. All that it takes is one choice to completely re-direct our lives to one that develops into a life that is directed at lasting happiness, peace and love.”
If we choose to stand, brave-faced and alone, then we’ll face the dark alone. But if we choose to stand in a circle, who knows what great healing lies there when the sun comes up.
This column runs every other week in the Whistler Question, to help raise awareness for TheWellnessAlmanac.com – a daily blog dedicated to wellness, recreation, reconciliation and community awesomeness. Because healthy living is a team sport.