Lessons from Standing Rock

“I heard you were in Standing Rock.” So began a visit with Mr. Y., and we leaned in toward one another.

In the past, I’d felt off balance with Mr. Y., who often seemed to push me away. “Why can’t you just fix this?” he asked, referring to his diabetes. Mr. Y. is a traditional Navajo, or Diné. In the Diné culture, medicine men and medicine women sense and name the source of their patients’ disharmony in the world — perhaps a lightning strike, an accidental offense to nature, or contact with the spirit world. Ceremony restores harmony and balance, often over several days and nights. The medicine man or medicine woman guides the patient’s clan and loved ones in deploying healing songs, herbs, fire, and prayers. The practice reflects a radically different relationship to health and tempo of healing from my chronic disease management approach of incremental adjustments over multiple visits.

Read the rest of the excellent essay by Dr. David Goldberg.

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