At Heart-Mind 2019: The Art & Science of Calm Conference in Vancouver, BC, held October last year, keynote speaker Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams presented “Kat’il’a: Learning Stillness and Peace”. The Director of the Office of Indigenous Education at UVIC since 2004, Dr. Lorna Williams has a legacy of promoting, restoring, and saving Indigenous knowledge and language in her own community of Mount Currie, BC through to global levels.
We are focussing on Dr Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams at our Sharing Circle tonight, at 8pm. All our welcome, (even if you haven’t had a chance to “do the homework”, which is to explore some teaching or offering of Wanosts’a7’s.) (PS This one is under 30 mins, if you want to “cram”. :))
To join, please register for the link at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwtd-mhqD8iH9fUnBx_EOIuMniPQni5yIPy?fbclid=IwAR3Tuw81AmD5EMm4zv5qBal2-yL_cBFOYW5Y3PVXXEVUlorf1gOWfO-YLJw
Here are a few of my favourite parts:
“To be calm has been a lifelong learning experience for me. It surprises me, now that I’m older and have been learning my lessons, that people say that I’m calm. It has been lifelong, this journey of learning how to do it. I thought I would share with you how my community, my family, my culture and my language helps us to achieve this state.”
In my language Kat’il’a means to be still. And stillness for me is being calm, is finding that place where you can be still.
Kamúcwkalha is a really important concept and I know that this concept exists amongst other people, when people come together, to be together, and you can feel it particularly when you come together under stress, because of stress, when you come together during that time, people always talk about the sense of connectedness that they feel, that you’re all in this together. So that concept was a very conscious one amongst my people. And when people came together, like we are today, there was time given to helping people to connect and to feel a part of the whole.
This is really important and if you’re going to come together, to solve a problem, if you’re going to come together to share, if you’re going to come together to learn together, if you’re going to come together to achieve something, it’s important that there is a sense of connectedness with one another. This is a very conscious thing, when people would come together in my community, there was always time to sit together, to laugh together, to greet one another, to have something to eat together, just to feel that sense of connectedness.
So in order to teach this concept, this idea, I looked at this word, and felt that word, and the way that words in my language were, is that there’s a root in the word, and then we build it… with prefixes and suffices, so it’s really important to think about what that root was. So as I was contemplating how it is that we come together, and what it is – what it means is the energy that we feel that flows through a group. When you come together, there’s a moment in time, in the gathering, when you feel that you’re connected to others. The root of the word is belly button. Everyone laughs when I say that. But when you think about the belly button, and the force that was carried in that belly button for you to be here, it’s energy. It’s life force. And that is what is being recreated when we come together, and when we pay attention to how we come together, and how we connect ourselves to one another.
And as part of that, it’s important for us to feel our connection to the ground on which we’re standing. And the ground on which we’re standing, it’s hard to feel it through the floor, the boards, but think about it, you are connected to this ground. And this ground that we’re on has stories, has songs, it has a life force, many layers of it, that is affecting us. So it’s important for that reason, to acknowledge, to acknowledge the ancestors, to acknowledge the spirits that live here.
It’s important to be able to come together, to be able to listen to one another as you are today. And I’m just so blessed to be a part of it, and to be a part of all these teachings.
Kamúcwkalha is one of the Lil’wat principles of learning: see https://sites.google.com/site/lulwatprinciples/home