heart medicine


Heart medicine.

Every year I take my daughter to the Winter Storytelling by Native American storytellers at one of our local museums. It’s a tradition. It was on the calendar for today. Today though, I didn’t feel like going. I felt overdone. I felt down. I didn’t feel like getting dressed and going out. I knew I had to though. For her. Our tradition. Her tradition. Beautiful stories. Inspiration. Show her the way.

For me. When I’m wallowing and wanting to “hermit” myself in, I must get out. I must do something of depth and meaning. I must look to the spiritual world and connection.

This evening back at home I am using the words “I must be responsible”.

Here’s why…

We went to the storytelling. There was a new storyteller this year, amongst the others.

For some reason there weren’t as many kids in attendance this year. A lot of adults. As he spoke he said “seeing as the room was mostly adults, he was going to break from his usual and tell a personal story”. He did.

He spoke of a tough childhood, loss, challenges. I obviously can’t go through his story here, but he coined the phrase for me: heart medicine.

Everything he went through, every loss, every hurt, every neglect, every challenge -he eventually was able to heal from and realized those pains were his “heart medicine”. Those challenges and learning how to heal from them were, indeed, the heart medicine that brought him here today, to who he is today, to become a healer/helper for others. He works now with the youth of the tribe in social services and in substance abuse treatment.

He told his story, he spoke of heart medicine, he played his flute, someone gently drummed off to the side, he tended the fireplace, he lit a cedar smudge stick, he prayed and blessed everyone, he told more story, he played more flute -his words, his movement, his music healed, he shared his heart medicine.

It was so powerful.

Heart medicine.

He got up later to tell another story. About our responsibility in the web of life. Our responsibility to ourselves, our family, others, the earth, the Creator.

He said he felt “pitiful” yesterday and wanted to bail on speaking today but he couldn’t because “he had to be responsible”. I believe I understood the metaphor in that.

I’m so so grateful he was responsible.