Now that we are sequestered,
an entire globe aware
we are sharing a common fate,
which has always been the case,
now that we, so frightened
without our things,
know we are all mortal,
while grabbing our last meals
from the emptying shelves,
imagining our last suppers,
how we will spend
the final weeks of our lives,
Now that we are aware
that the gift of breath
we have always received from the trees
may not serve us --
Is it because we
relentlessly cut them down?
Now that Water,
who is one of the Immortals,
is dying at our hands,
but without planning
for Her last waves and tides,
is remaining Water
for whoever swims within her,
And now that Air,
another threatened Deity
is still holding whatever birds yet fly,
and Earth, Great Mother,
is continuing despite
all her open wounds,
is remaining Earth,
and Fire, Oh!
He will burn and burn
until every tree,
or the very sun, goes out,
Now that we have succumbed
to each other's downfall,
no difference,no differences,
and we, the ones who have done
such great harm, who tried
to rival the Gods
with all our weapons,
are taken down
by the most invisible and minute,
the very littlest one,
such is our common jeopardy,
Now that we know we are mortal,
might we, for this just moment,
hold a broken prayer,
that our hearts open wide
and with such wisdom
that Life will pity us,
will restore the thousand beings,
and give us another
… Danger everywhere, signs and portents,
miracles and catastrophes. The hammer of one ambition against another, fusion
and fission. And then an unending firestorm in the mind. Enter the grim reaper
of the death of spirit. Alarmed, I put my hand into the poultice of earth.
At my feet,
a wild trapezoid of new grace, her legs angling away from her body in a stretch
of memory holding snow, the midnight sun, the blue continuous night in her
paws, and despite that radiance, Isis, the great white wolf of the Arctic, is
helpless against the disappearance of the time before, the time before, the
time before, endless time disappearing.
To walk into
the unknown to make it known may not be the way. To open the door underground
and pass through, flooding it with Herculean light, may not be the way. To
streak in a straight line into the sky, trail of gases blazing, may not be the
way. Traveling forward in a straight line to the end of the universe without
looking back, afraid even of the opalescent curve at the end of the shell of
time, may not be the way….
Star Walk, Ruin and Beauty, New and
Selected Poems, Deena Metzger, 2009
Writing that poem more than twenty
years ago, I was aware that the great suffering of the animals, already
visible, was precisely related to the way we live our lives. In this instance, the Wolf’s history, her
ability to rely on instinct, habit, Wolf
custom, the past, what she had learned from her mother, what had been
transmitted through thousands of years of ancestor wisdom, was disappearing.
Now she had to live by her wits confronting situations her Wolf people had
never known or imagined and also had to develop the ability to understand the
unnatural preferences and intentions of two-leggeds from whom her people had
always happily distanced themselves.
Though she lived with us, with human people, though she did not live in
captivity, was not confined against her will within a house or an enclosure,
both entirely alien conditions imposed upon her pups and their progeny, still,
she died in pain, of cancer, a human condition imposed upon her. We did not attribute her death to natural
Last week, I made a list of people whom I am carrying in my heart with daily prayers because they are deeply afflicted, with cancer, other life-threatening and mind-threatening illnesses, or great emotional suffering. Within a six-week period, six people in my kinship network were diagnosed with breast cancer while several others began facing other grave illnesses. I made the list because the numbers are increasing drastically and I didn’t want to forget anyone or any being… or any being. I had also learned that one out of three dogs will have cancer and 50% of those over ten years old. Cancer is no longer rare in the wild and threatens the existence of some species . “Long-term monitoring of the beluga population in the Gulf of St Lawrence in Canada has revealed that 18 per cent of deaths in this particular population are caused by cancer – making it the second leading cause of death. A further 27 per cent of adult animals that were found had tumours.” Tasmanian Devils, the marsupials of Australia are similarly threatened with extinction because of cancers that develop first on their face and the move to other parts of their bodies.
The Belugas and Tasmanian Devils are far from the only species threatened. “We are changing the environment to be more suitable for ourselves, while these changes are having a negative impact on many species on many different levels, including the probability of developing cancer. … a team of international researchers, point out many pathways and previous scientific studies that show where human activities are already taking a toll on animals. These include chemical and physical pollution in our oceans and waterways, accidental release of radiation into the atmosphere from nuclear plants, and the accumulation of microplastics in both land- and water-based environments. In addition, exposure to pesticides and herbicides on farmlands, artificial light pollution, loss of genetic diversity and animals eating human food are known to cause health problems.”[iii] Very recently, another Whale died, its belly laden with eighty-eight pounds of plastic bags.
In a recent dream, a Mountain Lion was locked onto a glassed-in porch opening to a circle of trees at the edge of a meadow, She was throwing herself against all the walls, trying to get into the house or out onto the land but without seeing a way to freedom. In fact, we had just come upon mountain lion tracks in that meadow and decided, after the dream, to cancel a planned quest so that the lion could have free access to territory having lost all in the Woolsey fire
.In 1977, I thought that illness, as a messenger, would be the catalyst that would inspire us to change how we live in substantive ways that would benefit everyone. People responded very thoughtfully when asked, Why is this illness, in particular, occurring to you, in particular, at this time in your and our common lives? And how, then shall you live to bring healing to yourself and to others? What are the underlying causes of the illnesses which are afflicting so many? Consistently, people found meaningful answers that revealed social, political, environmental, spiritual issues at the core of their lives. Accordingly, healing required them to make significant changes to the ways they were living that could also have impact on others. I thought then that we would change our personal lives and our common lives. That we would change culture and society so that everyone could be more alive. I thought we would find the underlying causes of our afflictions – the social, political, environmental causes – would admit the dire effects of the Anthropocene and devote ourselves so that the healing activities on behalf of any one individual healed all. Seeing the extent of the pain and suffering that was emanating from our life styles and which we were each suffering, I thought, hoped, that each person’s healing path would affect everyone. I would heal – you would heal. The wolves would heal. One action and one beneficent consequence for all being
It seems that is not what happened. Seemingly, the more people felled by cancer,
the greater the panic that is generated and the more docile the population
becomes in acquiescing to how we live our lives or to the medical treatments
that do such harm to the earth, inflicting our suffering on future
generations. Chemotherapy and radiation,
despite the torment of the treatments, have become commonplace. People wrestle
with which tortures to select, not whether one will undergo such, not whether
it will also be inflicted on the earth and our descendants. The sign in the UCLA oncology bathroom says
flush twice to protect the porcelain. Protect
the toilets! What about protecting the water and the earth? Ourselves? When I ask the physicians who prescribe
medications for me how the environment will be affected, they shrug. My physical response will be monitored, the earth’s
responses will not.
Few seem to have the free attention to be interested in the story as messenger, in the
story the illness is telling except when it points to how to get well. There is little encouragement to discover why,
really, we are ill, but there is much emphasis on getting through the
treatment, returning to the old life, the one that is making so many ill.
The authority of the physician seems to be increasing even
as his or her distance from the individual patient increases also, not by
choice, but by institutional fiat. My
country doc tells me his son has just finished his medical residency and has
become a hospitalist in one of our city’s largest hospital. My doc, who is taking his time, regaling me
with tales, who knows healing relies on relationship, who has retained an old-fashioned
private practice, says his son is interested in “efficiency.” I silently vow to
stay out of the hospital. I make a note
to add to my medical directives that I do not want to be treated by a hospitalist
and I do not want to die in a hospital. Chemotherapy, often as extreme as any
torture, is taken as inevitable. Also
radiation. Treatments, again, no matter
how extreme are integrated into one’s life schedule even one’s work schedule. A
friend gets up early to go to radiation treatment and then on to work. When I refuse routine x-rays, radioactive dyes
or CT scans, my doctors are concerned, some will not treat me. They do not understand that I am hoping we
will remember the ancient art of bone-setting or other Indigenous ways of
knowing. It is possible that my life
will be foreshortened by this refusal to accept certain diagnostic procedures
or treatments but the life of the Earth may well be extended
It begins to seem like the only life we can have is the one
that is killing us. Presented with an
application for a rescue Dog, I was asked whether I will provide all necessary
medical treatments despite the cost.
There was no room to say, I will only do what I will do for myself. There was no room for me to refuse what I
will refuse for myself. I did not
qualify for the dog. Fortunately,
another rescue appeared. My new Dog, GentleBoy
will not be tortured and I will do what I can so that he lives a life aligned
with his animal nature.
I have been greatly affected by a story I heard years ago of
an American lineage carrier for a Siberian shaman who told an audience that she
most probably would not take the shaman’s place when he died. She said, his daily job was to tend all the
souls of the community in the soul hut and she was not sure she was able to
carry such a responsibility. When I
heard the story, I didn’t know if I was or would be capable of such a spiritual
task but I hoped that as I developed as a healer that I might approach it. Accordingly, I certainly didn’t want to
forget any of those on my personal list which is very long for the moment
though relatively short given the list of lives threatened by Extinction and
Climate Collapse and I certainly don’t want to forget any one of the species
whose life is threatened by the ways I live my life. My body, our bodies, the animal bodies, the
trees, the wind, the water, the earth.
Carrying the souls of the community …. Today when I think of
such a task, I know that I have to include the souls of the non-humans who are
suffering such extreme anguish. And the
Elementals. How do I know? I know it in my own body and through yours. And through the Earth actions we call
weather. As the Earth is a living being
… what do these fires, floods, storms, extreme droughts tell us…? Isn’t the
Earth living in extremis from our activities?
Maybe it is not too late for the changes that might spring
from empathy? That is, maybe it is not
too late for such changes which could save the planet and all life?
January 6, 1999. That
was a moment in my personal history when, without understanding fully the
change of mind I would undergo, I said to an Elephant, we were in a few minutes
to recognize as an Ambassador, “Your people are my people.” I didn’t know then that I had stepped across,
as is required for these times, from a human-centric belief system to a more
appropriate ecological understanding of the reality of kinship among all
beings. Mitakuye Oyasin. All my
relations. Or, your people are my
people. I was not taught or directed to
say these words. They did not come to me
from my culture, nor from a teacher nor from anything I had read or
studied. They came in the moment,
through what can only be described as a Spirit, or spirits directed
experience. The exquisite orchestration
of wonder in a moment revealing the true nature of reality that could not be
communicated by any other means – it had to be revealed to be known and it
Once animals lived with the natural order – then death was
part of the cycle. In Botswana, I watched the young lion walking through a herd
of impala who barely moved out of his way.
He was not hungry. They were not
prey. Similarly, the Elephants on the
veldt in Kenya paid no attention to a young lion who was, from our human
perspective, stalking the newborn just behind the mother’s legs. Filled with
anxiety and disturbed by the mother’s seeming oblivion, we still adhered to out
pledge not to interfere even when he crouched.
We could see the taut energy in his limbs as he prepared to spring, the
baby surely doomed, when the mother, just before he might have been mid-air,
turned on a dime and reared as casually as we might swat a fly. She had known he was young, and practicing,
not skilled enough yet to be of concern.
She returned to grazing, her little one remaining behind her massive
legs and the lion, seemingly chagrinned, ran off.
The non-humans have not until now carried the fear of death
the ways humans, or at least modern humans carry it as an on-going anxiety, as
beings whose survival seems threatened increasingly (though by our own hands – our adamant species
auto-immune response and so organize their lives to ward off danger by carrying
weapons, gating communities and setting up surveillance systems, the private
equivalent of waging on-going war, building walls between nations and spying on
each other’s every move with increasingly pervasive and invasive technology. And
fear, we know, begets fear.
Though all animals do
not respond the way we do; the animals know that their species are threatened. One sign is the new herds of Elephants in
Namibia who no longer have tusks, another is atypical behavior of Elephants
such as young bulls sexually aggressing on Rhinos, or the desperate Polar Bears
who invaded Belushya Guba in Russia
The body knows and
changes accordingly or it is altered by the untenable forces acting against its
Some people on my list were recently given a temporary
reprieve – that is all any of us get.
But others joined the list. We are living in a world of sorrow and
pain. Grief groups and grief counseling
burgeon dramatically – a sign of the times. People have always died but now our
grief and anxiety seem inconsolable and entirely disabling. Are we suffering something more than we have
in the past? Is our extreme pain and
accompanying dysfunction a symptom of our unconscious perception of the tragedy
of this time? People have always been
dying but the grief in the atmosphere seems to increase with the carbon
content. And if we track shifting animal
behavior in the wild, we must surmise that the animals are also consciously
suffering the grave threat to all life but without the benefit, if there is any,
of easing the pain with anti-depressives, opioids, individual therapy or grief
A veritable mental health specialty has been created in the
last years to counsel those who are suffering loss. The death of loved ones, spouses, friends,
parents and siblings seem to induce
breakdown, disabling depression, overwhelming anxiety and lack of
ability or desire to function. Are we so
devitalized by loss because we no longer live in villages supported by each
other’s presence or because this personal loss signifies the greater loss, not
only of our own life in the impending near future but of all life? And when the future disappears from view,
then meaning, associated with posterity, disappears and we are left
A friend suffered
several bouts with different cancers a year ago. He has recovered
physically but despite his developed consciousness and deep meditation
practice, he is the victim of childhood memories which rise unexpectedly in
response to relatively slight provocations. And it seems to be increasing
in these times. He viscerally re-experiences the times in his life when he was
the young victim of violence and aggression in his family, plus racial and
other violence in the neighborhood, and life in general. He was born into
family and street violence in a violent time. 1946 was a violent time.
Perhaps that war which had supposedly ended, never ended though the future is
being foreshortened. Perhaps that war is still with us – on-going
Holocausts and nuclear explosions persist calling into their vortex the World
War before it, the Civil War, the invasion of North America, all the wars
against the Indigenous people, the Crusades against the Muslims and the Inquisitions
against the Jews and the subsequent wars which followed those and are cohering
in the present moment so that the body mind cannot hold itself intact.
My friend can no longer separate his current life from its violent
history, as I cannot separate my life from the on-going desolation of all the
non-humans around me. We are, no matter our species, anguished by the
threat to all life. To live in constant fear and trembling of a disaster
that cannot be prevented seems to have become the human and non-human condition.
We have two alternatives.
Pervasive sorrow and fear can lead us into increasing self-involvement so
that our focus becomes our sorrow and not the myriad unbearable affliction
suffered by all the beings. Or it can
open us to the great wisdom of compassion.
To live in response to the knowledge that our unbearable grief results from mourning all
life changes the quality of pain.
Suddenly it is has to be bearable so we can stand with the starving Bear,
the hunted Wolf, the homeless Puma, the starving Whale, the cancerous Tasmanian
Devil, the harried Coyote who have no recourse and greatly diminishing
resources for their survival.
Oddly enough it is in our best interests to focus briefly on
our own grief, long enough to create an alliance with the other suffering
beings. Pain can do what pain is designed to do – create awareness of the cause
and source. My broken heart, the
exquisite nature of hartzveitig,
takes me to the suffering of the natural world.
If I bear witness without turning away, I may learn how to live and act
and on whose behalf.
Yesterday, two experiences early in the day assured me of the existence of spirit. Then I was, as are many of us, mystified, stunned and fearful as the unimaginable came closer. Donald Trump was elected president. For some the world shattered.
I have to ask: What are we called to at this moment?
Let me say what I must directly. We are stricken. We don’t know what is coming toward us, what we will be called to meet. And we don’t know what to do or how to do it.
I am thinking about the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. Despite adversity, they have created a village. It formed on behalf of endangered and violated Water and on behalf of sacred land and the ancestors. The elders created protocols for entering the culture of Standing Rock:
“Ceremony and prayer are the bedrock of Indigenous peoples’ connection to land and water and are central in protecting them. Actions are ceremony and along with meetings, usually begin with prayer.”
A small group of us will join those at Standing Rock from 11/29 to 12/2. It is more important than ever to stand there on behalf of Water.
There are sacred circles of standing stones across the globe. Dan Berrigan spoke wisely in the midst of the Vietnam war: “Just don’t do something, stand there.”
Several people met at my house on election night. No one should be alone tonight, we said. We agreed that rather than watching the returns constantly, we would spend the night in silence, prayer and council. We invited spirit, we passed a prayer pipe several times; we listened deeply.
A core question repeated itself: How do we meet this moment?
For myself, there is a clear call to divest myself from all the systems in which I am / we are embedded that have led to these dire circumstances. Even as they will beckon more powerfully, so determinedly must I refuse them. I am aware of a similar need to disentangle from Western and colonial mind that have brought us to this brink.
Watching a tsunami of fear and analysis which is reifying the divisions and the danger, I will not declare war or name enemies. i want to walk the No Enemy Way.
It is a time for living the medicine without compromise or accommodation. We are being called to lives of exquisite integrity.
Let us try not to be self-righteous; let’s try to be courageous.
In the darkest times, we have seen people abandon each other out of fear and to serve power. We saw it in this election. Let us try not to be like them. In the darkest times, we have seen people join with and sustain each other. Let us be those people.
We are being called, once again, to meet what we must. Perhaps this is not just a spiritual opportunity but a spiritual demand.
In our circle last night, simple ways repeated themselves:
Invite spirit. Listen deeply.
Move with heart and prayer.
Create, confirm and sustain community.
Stand in communion and community with each other, with all others. Stand in the community of all beings. The 19 Ways became increasingly relevant: http://deenametzger.net/19-ways/
Protect the Mother, Earth, as the primary, daily, on-going activity.
Last night we consulted the I Ching. Question: How do we meet this time?
Hexagram 50. The Vessel. (No changing lines):
Ding is a ritual vessel that signifies connection with the spirit world and the ancestors. It is divination… submitting questions to the oracle, as well as the right moment to act. …It offers nourishment to the warriors and sags and the sage-mind in all of us brightening the eye and ear. It suggests a mandate, a fate conferred by heave that is also a duty or responsibility. It means becoming a true and responsible individual.
1972, I marched with thousands of people in Santiago, Chile, in support of President Allende and the Unidad Popular. One year later, I was in Cuba on 9/11/73 when the brutal golpe in Chile occurred. For the next years, I recited the names of those I had met in Chile as if saying a rosary to protect them. (It was not all I did on behalf of Chile to end the horrific violence. I was devoted.) Whether coincidence, magic or the power of prayer, those whose names I said, were not killed by those who were torturing and murdering.
Today we are putting all the names into the circle. We call you into the circle. Let us stand with and love each other and the Earth very well.
Join Us For a ReVisioning Medicine Council foR Physicians, Psychotherapists, Health Professionals and Healers
Feb. 15-17, 2014 in Topanga, California [Los Angeles area.]
In the old days, when a people were gravely threatened, the Chiefs, Medicine People, Healers, Shamans, and Elders, the spiritual leaders of their communities, called Councils. They looked for solutions to problems by aligning themselves with the ancestors, the Natural world and their wisdom traditions. They were careful to consider dreams, signs, myths and stories. Recognizing that illness is often the consequence of having violated the earth, the community and the spirits, they searched for systemic responses to assure healing. The spirits, animals and plants, even the elementals, communed with them, extending teachings, blessings and wisdom. In times of crises, they gathered, as we are gathering now.
This is an invitation to a ReVisioning Medicine Council to be held in Topanga, California, Feb. 15-17, 2014.
A core group of physicians and healers have been consciously exploring ReVisioning Medicine since 2004.
Deena Metzger convened the first gathering after giving the keynote address at the annual meeting of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA). In that talk, she identified both medical practice and the earth as the patients we were called to heal.
ReVisioning Medicine is a council that honors and relies on deep dialogue between medical and health practitioners and medicine people – healers, pipe carriers, shamans, energy workers, dreamers, story tellers, sound healers, indigenous elders and practitioner – as peers. To address healing with heart, complexity and profundity, we gather a broad based healing community to inform and sustain each other.
In a circle of trust and camaraderie, ReVisioning allows each person to examine the gulf between the original call to be a healer and the increasing limitations and distortions imposed on medical practice by different aspects of corporate and institutional medicine, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and government. It is so important now to have working connections that support the expertise and the heart and soul of our work. Through ReVisioning, healing teams emerge – teams that gather around patients and also improvisational, impromptu teams of and for the practitioners as well.
ReVisioning is an on-going creative process. In the ten years we have been gathering we have learned that community is essential to healing, that community, itself, heals. Those who come together for ReVisioning create a community, albeit far flung across the country, that continues to support each individual’s exploration and activity on behalf of a new medicine.
Based on Council principles, everyone’s unique intelligence, medicine tradition and wisdom is appreciated. ReVisioning Medicine is a spirit-based medicine, as healing is a spiritual practice for medicine people. It promotes alliances between the patient and physicians, healers, the family and the natural world. Such partnership has major implications in terms of diagnosis and treatment as does including ritual and ceremony in the healing process.
Medicine determines culture. Therefore our medical practices need to change for individual, social and environmental health to improve and flourish. Medical practice itself is one of our patients. So we gather physicians who can carry seeds of change to create circles of support so that physicians and health practitioners can return to their original calling as true healers.
At ReVisioning we ask: Can medical people also be medicine people? Can a physician serve the community in the best ways that medicine persons served theirs indigenous communities? Can we speak honestly and from the heart about the grief and vision we carry around medicine and healing? Can we examine together what we must step away from and what we want to change? Can we create medical practices and treatments that do not harm people or the environment?
With the hope of approaching the entire Story of an illness or affliction, and seeing how it may affect both an individual and the community, we seek to expand the narrow medical focus, looking beyond symptoms, the physical and emotional components, beyond testing, seeking many ways of knowing and a range of possibilities for treatment. In the intimate process of healing, we also learn and carry each other’s stories, what we have suffered and how we have triumphed, we recognizing the healer in ourselves and each other and support the path we are each called to walk.
We have each experienced, participated in or witnessed unexpected healing events; this is a safe place to explore them and consider their import. We begin to imagine on-going alliances as we become true healers in a time of history that requires such transformation.
ReVisioning gatherings are always small so that true exchange can occur. While the days together are planned, they allow for spontaneity and improvisation. We always hope to spend time on the land and in silence or solitude. When possible we sit around a fire in the old ways to access inner wisdom.
Someone volunteers to be the focus so that together we might discover the deep story of an illness and illuminate the coexisting paths of healing that extend beyond the “patient” to the people and the earth. Particularly attentive to and respectful of what the patient knows about his or her affliction, we listen carefully for the Story. We call this exploration Indigenous Grand Rounds.
Over the years, we have worked with such Volunteers who have been afflicted with various cancers, heart disease, leukemia and kidney failure (from playing in uranium tailings on the Reservation) agent orange poisoning, (Viet Nam), chemical sensitivities, and other ailments. (A good percentage of our Volunteers have been also been participants working in conventional medical fields.) We always try to focus on someone whose affliction has ramifications for the society as a whole and to see how non-conventional ways of healing might inform us and the patient in new ways.
The Volunteer for our February 2013 gathering was a 21-year-old woman who had suffered continuous pain since she was 18 months old, later accompanied by depression and fatigue. We were acutely aware of the great number of young women suffering similar often undiagnosed afflictions or variously diagnosed as lyme disease, fibromyalgia, etc. We were, and were not, surprised to observe that that the young woman’s energy increased with her willingness to explore and comment upon the field of her suffering. She, who had because of pain insisted that she not be touched, embraced each one of us at the end. A few weeks later, her mother wrote, “M is doing great! She is lifting weights, running a mile, doing yoga, dancing, hiking and meeting new people. She is even boxing.
The Volunteer for the Nashville Council, September 2013, was a woman who had suffered chronic pain in her arm for six years. We (and she) did not know when she was invited that she is one of the Great Storytellers. In telling her story, she detailed the ways historic, religious, political and economic circumstances combine with medical and institutional abuse to exacerbate symptoms and illness. We do not know yet if / how her physical condition will resolve, but it was confirmed that sometimes listening to the story, without pathologzing, can be the medicine.
We are very concerned with iatrogenisis. Too many are suffering the side-effects of prescribed medicines, and/or complications from medical or hospital treatments. One physician, using a short hand, referred to the majority of her contemporaries as practicing “pharmaceutical medicine.”
Physicians also become patients and endure iatrogenic events. An M.D. colleague, who was planning to attend ReVisioning, suffered acute kidney failure in 2011 from the prescribed medication for rheumatoid arthritis. Despite having insisted that rigorous research precede treatment, he became the victim of a protocol that was known to cause harm.
If we are free to think differently about the nature of illness and healing, as well as the relationship between common illnesses and modern life, we might seek other interventions, invent treatments that do no harm to individuals or the planet. ReVisioning calls us back to the original call to physicians to heal and not do harm.
We also gather to support each other on our individual journeys. ReVisioned Medicine is reciprocal medicine, based on relationship, collaboration, on taking care of each other.
During the last meeting in Topanga, a physician asked for community support. He was torn between the restrictions of corporate for-profit medicine and his heart’s call to a spirit based, indigenously informed, humanitarian medicine. He was relieved to discuss the heartbreak of his devotion to his patients and the compromises he was forced to make. Deena met with him in October 2013, in the city where he is currently practicing medicine. He has formed a deep healing alliance with a medicine woman who lives in this area and also attended ReVisioning. Far from being lonely in a new city, he is creating unexpected healing possibilities for his new patients.
ReVisioning Medicine seeks to bring medical wisdom together with time tested indigenous ways and contemporary vision. Cooperation between western medicine and non-western healing practices is implicit in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, but these are still parallel systems operating from different perspectives. A new collaboration is essential. Integrating the old, old medicine of Story, right relationships and respect for the communities of all beings, can bring us back into alignment and health. When medical ways and medicine ways are aligned, then community itself is healed as are many of the grave ills and illnesses of modern life. ReVisioning Medicine brings all the ways into a unified and dynamic council; it is, we believe, the future.
A few days after the Nashville Council, one physician wrote: “My connection with patients was subtly different this week. I found the willingness for more risk-taking, and the directness on multiple occasions led to some remarkably beautiful sessions. There were shifts in some long- term patients, with whom I’d begun to feel resigned to the status quo. I feel very grateful to you all.“
ReVisioning Medicine in Topanga, February 2014
As this will be the ten-year anniversary of ReVisioning Medicine, we expect this gathering of medical and medicine people from across the country and even the world, will deepen our understanding of how we may collaborate to create and restore a medical/medicine culture that seeds health in every interaction.
Deena Metzger will be leading the gathering again in alliance with Kjersten Gmeiner, MD, Karen Mutter, DO, and Muz, Richenel Ansano, formerly of Global Medicine Education Foundation and now with the NAAM Foundation, the National Archeological – Anthropological Museum of Curaçao. Joining them will be Lawrie Hartt and Danelia Wild, dedicated healers and musicians who have been carrying ReVisioning Medicine since its inception and Tobi Fishel, PhD, Director of Psychological Services at the Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health (VCIH) and Associate Professor in the departments of Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics who organized the ReVisioning Council in Nashville, September 2013.
These include: Thinking About Healing; Illness Heals the World; On ReVisioning Medicine and the Possibilities of Miracles; The Soul of Medicine (Deena’s address to the AHMA in 2004); Illness Can Heal the World and Healing in the Community. Her books related to healing include, Tree: Essays and Pieces, a journal of surviving breast cancer, Entering the Ghost River: Meditations on the Theory and Practice of Healing, and From Grief Into Vision: A Council.