LSOW Session on Natural Health

FernandoVega, EstelaOrtega?, JackieStratton, LynBazzell, FloydSheets?, AshelEldridge, SherryHelmke, ChristyLeeEngel

(I joined in late and left before the session ended so my notes are mostly from the middle – Christy)

Began as session on How to Shift Culture to Encourage Natural Health

Accessibility is an important issue.

Scary to have national health system if it still replicates the current kind of system – patriarchal, etc

Education is key.

“natural healthcare” can be defined very broadly – includes social justice work, teaching patients how to grow their own gardens, including medicinal herbs

El Centro de la Raza: doing demo gardens for elderly members of the community, container gardens.

This is really a kind of health care.

A system based on expertise – leadership must switch to definition of “anyone who wants to help at this time” a la Berkana.

Many experiences of being in nature – having the experience of tuning into the wisdom around us, learning directly from the woods and the plants.

The experience of nature is still available, even in the city – experience the nature, learn from the seasons, from the way grass can grow through a sidewalk.

Vandana Shiva seed-saving efforts in India. (Bija Vidyapeeth) Berkana in India

Ask Dr.

Cuba: example of self-sufficiency in food production, health, education.

Horizontal leadership – blogging, creating own health – going in that direction. Framing that as OK, good, shift the stories about it

Resilience in food and water issues. Point of transition into changing behavior – 5 minute window after having inspired people, to commit to a change. Framing possibility. Getting people directly in contact with living things – let’s actually see something alive – really powerful – bringing the kids to a garden, telling stories there, showing that food that doesn’t just come from the grocery store, from the faucet.

Concept that food affects my body and my health – lost in our society.

Did an experiment with lab rats in inner city school – fed different kinds of food – organic vs fast-food - & behavior was noticeably different in a week, fast-food rats anxious, etc. Then fed organic food to both and behavior calmed down.

Addressing the health of the planet through natural health too.

Big lethargic attitude in our society. May come from poor nutrition, lack of exercise, etc. Sometimes really due to pharmaceutical medications, overmedication.

Coming back to the self. Be the change we want to see in the world. Long-time meditator. Now on path of natural healing, very powerful, has been inspiring to other people. One aspect of leadership/change is living it and sharing it.

Notion of “male-dominated, white” system. Easy to look at systems/institutions we can’t control and blame them. German acquaintance said: “don’t blame me for something that happened that before I was born.” Important to make the changes we can make – ultimately comes back to personal consciousness/awareness. Doesn’t change quickly.

Also meditator, leads circles. To take responsibility is important, for example: feels responsibility as a male, in the lineage of maleness – there is also personal responsibility around the social contract that exists because of who I am and how I appear. Knows German people who have stepped into taking humble responsibility for what happened before them, has created powerful opportunities for working together, for getting somewhere.

Humility is really the transformation we’re seeking.

How can we tell the truth in a way that includes everyone? Not telling the truth for fear of offending someone leads away from authenticity. The people who run the institutions and organizations are people who all look alike. If we look at the people who don’t have voices and are left out of our society: they also look alike, but not like the people in charge.

Requires real intention, effort to bring more of the voices to the table.

Peoples Grocery. Food and Justice in W Oakland. A lot of food justice orgs not led by people from the community. Offering antiracism trainings to the community, about how to be in solidarity. What is leadership when you’re offering services and education to a community when you don’t live there, and there’s no shared ownership – dangerous.

How do we build that sustainability for each of us, in the context of health? Not sustainable to rely on the institutions, health care professionals, etc, or on the “experts” - people like Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, etc. How do you share the experiences with people?

Not about going to a community with your own ideas but finding out what’s key in a community in their history and essence. Finding out what the strengths are that can be built on.

Still danger in “going in” somewhere – when you’re not from there.

Key is “do I want a real relationship?” rather than going in with an attitude of privilege.

How do we bring more people into the conversation, a wider demographic?

Breaking down the barriers – takes direct contact.

End the thought of separation between people in the medical profession – idea of extended family.

Still: idea of privilege. We can change how we work and relate much more easily than in most of the rest of the world.

What do see as privilege? Do we then want to impose those notions on other people (story: like wanting to give a community electricity, when maybe the people there are healthier and able to get around in the dark with more sensitivity before they have electric lights)

What is privilege, how to mitigate?

1200 people at Green Jobs for All civil rights conference. Had to raise a (large amount of money) to insure attendance of about 75% of the people. Participation of people of privilege was to fund other people being there instead of themselves.

How can those of us who look like me (white woman) support the conversations, maybe it’s by not being there and showing up being behind the scenes. To give people a voice who haven’t had a voice.

Example of microlending that is just in the community.

Working with indigenous communities in Siberia. Educate other people about the communities. Indigenous communities gather & choose leaders, from there, breaks into smaller groups to do the work. The leaders are supported by donated money from outside the community. Very effective.

How do you talk to the people with the money? There is a real opportunity for us to talk to each other about the joys of sharing money that are different from the ways we usually think about.

Would you rather have access to 10 people with only $10 each and strong intention, or one person with $100 and no intention?

Society emergent without money, gift economy.

How do we galvanize that energy? Ex Lynne Twist of being able to galvanize a room in an afternoon to attract a million dollars. Working on self and doing it collectively, bringing together people who have never been together. Have to do actual legwork – to serve the homeless people, have to actually be there. Being out in the space, doing the reflection work, going in and out.

From Van Jones and Lynne Twist. First tell people the best of who they are already. Who you are, where you come from, your tradition. Who we can be together. Comes out of Landmark training.

Passion: to learn more about how do I artificially separate between myself and others?