Some of my story:
“I come for the antidote for what ails me… kills my people, our children.
Your ancestors have brought a disease.
Now… We carry it strong.
I need the cure, the trainings you have, along with the natural teachings.
I want to go back to my people and work to be healthier as a helper.”
They said to me…
“The Truth will set you FREE…
But… First it will make you very miserable!”
1992, at Onsite Workshops
BlackHills of South Dakota,
Onsite is now located in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee, USA.
Since that first day in 1992, I have spent more than 300 days in deep, practical experiential treatment, therapy, and training. I began the hardest part of my recovery, my quest of healing for a number of reasons:
I tried to escape the torments of my childhood… it was not until, those unique trainings and healings which lasted from 5 to 30 days, did I make significant change in my life. My recovery was supported by countless individual sessions, self-help groups such as 12-Step types and Adult Children, AA, Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, Prayer, Traditional Native American Ceremony and lifestyle. As well I acquired and studied a whole library of those self-help and technical books on healing and recovery. I specifically sought to experience, first hand, the workings of treatment centers… the techniques… the methods… the people… used in these systems and in other places. Healing was a gift and I needed to understand this, so that I could help others. I wanted to do this in the most healthy way. This is my love. I learned the hows and whys of therapy and treatment, first hand… and not just one visit, but many! I wanted to get healthier as well as learn their system. All the while I enhanced this work with individual therapy and support groups at home… Taking notes, writing, recording and learning… what works and what doesn’t… especially for Native North Americans!
I came to realize the bigger picture of what this psycho-social-mental-health healing is really all about. To me, this was all about “spirit“… encompassing emotions and thoughts and behaviors. Aspects became clearer to me, as to why so many Aboriginal people have an aversion to the present mental / emotional help system… how the system is flawed.
In the present psycho-social system of healing, Aboriginal people are far more negatively affected with shame. This greatly influences their participation in this method of healing. Changes need to be made to enhance this way of healing.
I tried to understand what was happening to me… as best a child could. My life has been a mix of successes and trials and tribulations. From the age of 12, I began a determined quest of getting stronger, so I studied the Martial Arts. At first, to escape the violence, abuse, racism, and the fear! No… not just fear – terror! I was literally, terrorized as a child. The severe continuous hurt came from people at school, church, the streets and most damaging – shaming -from home. I suffered personally and saw extreme suffering. Initially, I trained hard to escape the violence… in doing so, I lost my dream of becoming a doctor. Trapped and forced to train to withstand this constant war, this eventually led to me being in the “act” of being successful; A Black Belt Master Instructor, training thousands of people, winning a Canadian Heavyweight Kickboxing Championship, becoming a personal bodyguard… protecting some very powerful people – this began with saving, as much as little child can, mommy from daddy. I was in a constant state of high – alert, hyper vigilance because of the tremendous trauma I’d been subjected to as child and youth. I did everything cosmetically possible to hide my shame. No one would see the real me. I had no trust for anyone and this was safest. I climbed the ladder of success, all the while telling people to do as I say, not as I do. I had such a distorted view of life power, control so I thought. This would keep me free from the deep rooted SHAME. I needed to address all the energy of my memories and emotions and the saddest part was that I didn’t trust anyone to believe that what happened to me and how it was affecting – was true! This scared and hurt me so much… because I knew I was DYING!
I desperately wanted help. But I was so inexperienced and so naive and with such unhealthy people. What I needed was love. Love without hurt, without pain, without loneliness. I had experienced tremendous abuse in my childhood, with little physical nurturing… and much sexual shaming. This left me so vulnerable, even drawn, to those people who were unhealthy and abusive. I know what it is like to fear everyone and anyone. I was molested, taken advantage of. I was ashamed. I was shame. I knew very little else!
At age 22… 1970, I did seek help through the medical system. It is a miracle that I had the will and spirit to not to give up! I had felt even more shamed after seeing my first psychologist! I remember how this “professional” just sat there, seemed so unattached, not even looking at me… writing. I was attempting to share of my truths.. I didn’t know how. I did the best I could. I remember how afraid and ashamed I was. I told “some” of my story – crushing down my emotions. I did not understand the methods he used and felt even more shamed by his way. I left. My shame triggered and I was forced to hide it even stronger. I was disillusioned and devastated and I was going to let anyone know this… so I thought. I coped through life… survived. For me it was a gauntlet of ups and downs, successes and failures.
In June 27, 1989, I wrote what I knew about my situation and my dreams. They were distorted for sure, but I wrote them out. I was lost and didn’t know where to start… so I went to the Alcoholism Foundation and they said I wasn’t an alcoholic. Damn! That would have made it so easy I thought. I dug deep down. I voluntarily applied to and finished a family violence program. Then a Parenting Course. I entered the Family Program at the Alcoholism Foundation of Manitoba I attended almost religiously, Adult Children… for 3 years solid, almost every night! I did this, until I it became apparent that just talking about problems wasn’t enough. I needed to release the energy of emotions and the legacy of painful shame.
In 1989, as the personal assistant to the Grand Chief of Manitoba, Phil Fontaine, who is currently the National Chief of Canada, I learned so much more about Native Americans / Canadians… my people. He is one of the most wonderful human beings I have met and I am humbly grateful for his support on my journey of healing. So many times I felt so alone. He was there. He listened and nurtured me like a true brother. My healing process was so very difficult at times.
I came to meet Grand Chief Phil Fontaine, when he enlisted me to care (bodyguard) of Elijah Harper MLA, during the Meech Lake Accord. The Meech Lake Accord was bill produced by the Brian Mulroney Conservative government that specifically excluded First Nations from the founding of Canada. This bill was stoppage was crucial to the lives of all Aboriginal peoples. My experiences in this time were so revealing for me in many ways. I will be forever grateful to Grand Chief Phil Fontaine for the sharing of his life and the continued friendship. Phil Fontaine a true leader, statesman and humanitarian… Cha Meegwetch and blessings.
At this same time, I found Onsite Training & Consulting, a unique treatment center, that was then, located in the BlackHills, of South Dakota. I was also called to the sacredness of Paha Sapa. I began going through intensive, extensive healing and training with these willing professionals… who shared their true stories and still kept their responsibility and focus! Probably the most important part of therapy is developing trust… and then relearning about safe touch, nurturing and love… the way it was in the beginning.
There is a Cheyenne saying,
“You can have the strongest of spears , the straightest of arrows, the swiftest of ponies… but as long as the hearts of the Cheyenne women are on the ground, we will not be free!”
This applies for all people.
Humbly, I believe that while I have struggled with some issues in life – I have an indomitable spirit and strength. From and through the Sacred Teachings of my Elders… through the Pipe, Vision Quest and Sundance… I was nurtured – prepared – repaired to get this and NOT ESCAPE, nor make excuses. I believe with all my heart this is my true source of power. Yet, I have true respect for the teachings of Jesus and Buddha and all other messiahs and teachers of faiths living life. I have learned to have stronger faith and I now pray with anyone who wants to live… to share hope for goodness and love and safety to permeate this world. I am strongest with my way and I will leave this world like this… I do not judge others for their choice of spirit or life… I am committed to seeing people free of violence and abuse and to live compassionately. I have learned forgiveness for past hurts of others of different faiths. I am no longer with my young fledgling faith… Now my faith is strong and ever growing. I never stop learning and I will never shut people out who express the need and want to stop abusing. And this is how I will end my days here. I will seek to forever associate with all peoples, who are seeking awareness and conscious contact with a loving, kind and compassionate higher power or way to live. People who are willing to speak of love, nurturing, compassion and live it. I must do this to keep up my strength… to continue to do the emotional work. I must do this to live.
The antidote or cure,
that I asked for in the beginning, is really about the coming together of the old and new ways…
developing the ability for emotional capacity to deal with the traumas – the hurts and the shaming pains of the present, past and future…
without further shame or hurt to myself or to others.
I do not act to exclude others for their way of faith.
I do not have all the answers, I have knowledge and skills. I know I can help… in a healthy way. ”
Pilamaya – Meegwetch – Thank you
If I can be of assistance, support or help for someone you know – someone who asks and wants help – please feel welcome to contact me.
Phone area code 204 – 224 – 9520… Sessions are 1 – 2 hours in time.
Pay as you can afford or what you can.
Our initial talk or meeting is no-charge or no-fee…
Come to train or just to share…
YOUR CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY IS ASSURED!
The Five Freedoms – Virginia Satir
TO SEE AND HEAR… what is here, instead of what should be, was, or will be.
TO SAY… what one feels and thinks, instead of what one should.
TO FEEL… what one feels, what one ought.
TO ASK… for what one wants, instead of always waiting for permission.
TO TAKE RISKS… in one’s own behalf, instead of choosing only to be “secure”, and not rocking the boat. By Virginia Satir