Strengthening Communities

So much of our personal, relational, and familial health and happiness has to do with the strength and integrity of our communities.

In a very real sense the business I am in is helping as many as possible to “return to village!”

And, by village I mean for this day and age something very specific.

In the indigenous world, almost universally there were women’s (moon) lodges and men’s lodges. Men and women process information very differently and need to have the opportunity to meet with their own for maximum benefit.

As well, men and women and their relatives (siblings, aunts and uncles, parents, children, etc.) offer the most support when there are community rituals, feasts, parties, etc.

When individuals work with me around building communities I will often have them complete a “socio-gram” that has to do with whom is already in their community, although maybe living vast distances away. This is the support system that we will want to build upon; either through virtual reality and/or real life!

My experience and training is to gather as many of such a group together, or a collection of smaller familial groups and build community.

A common approach used is to create shamanic (drum) journeys where individuals ask for connection and support to ancestors, power animals, healers, etc. for guidance as to how to structure the community.

A talking stick ritual, where each person has the right and responsibility to share what they are bringing to the group (it may only be and maybe especially be silence). The “stick” (which could be a feather or a rock) is passed around in a clock wise circle rather than passing back and forth. That later way of communicating breaks up the flow of mutual sharing and is considered “cross talk”, to be avoided. Each person, be they adult or child deserves the un-divided attention of all in the circle.

Such is the beginning.

For those groups already begun the approach is sometimes different and may involve mediation or problem-solving to help bring about a greater sense of cohesion.