Little Hollow Bones is the term that Frank Fools Crow - Ceremonial Chief of the Teton Sioux, an Oglala Lakota and Old Lord of the Holy Men as he’s known - gave to healers of his Native American tradition. “We [Black Elk and he] agreed that the Higher Powers had taught us this same thing. We are just holes. But as I have used hollow bones for curing, I have decided that it is better to think of medicine people as little hollow bones… [ hollow bones that Wakan Tanka, Tunkshila and the Helpers work through]…. the power comes to us first to make us what we should be, then flows through us and out to others.” Fools Crow speaks of Harmony, Mind Screens, Lights of Wisdom, Talking Stones, Freedom from Fear, A Big Lift and The End and The Beginning, all chapter titles. When I read his quote: “Anyone who is willing to live the life I have led can do the things I do,” it was like a sharpened arrowhead tip to the heart, inspiring the creation of a Workshop. Winter Count employs Fools Crow’s mind-training techniques while viewing modern day Mindfulness from an ancient shamanic perspective, set to the brisk backdrop of a frozen-white Midwest landscape. Reading that Fools Crow and Black Elk — maybe the most well-known known Lakota visionary — were convinced that the Supreme Being they worshipped was the One True God of the Bible gave me all the more reason, as we honor all traditions and all people here, knowing that in time our work will erase all lines of division and separation between a unified clan that includes all humanity. We don’t just give lip service to Oneness here. We experience it deeply.
That’s the taste of Purification, the enlightened glimpse we acquire and enjoy when we apply concentration, relaxation, and equanimity in practice for an extended period during our weekend overnight retreats. Our Winter Count Workshop took us from Saturday at lunch to Sunday breakfast, with a ritual Ceremony in between that was a key element in the harmonious life ways of leaders like Fools Crow and other guides of the indigenous people of the Americas. I always, always, every time am amazed at the consistency of the healing balm that comes over my mind in Ceremony. But the words of recent attendees perhaps better explain: “It’s been a long while since I felt such stillness. Nothing to plan, no one to impress. From the beautiful guest house with its roaring fireplace, to the powerful meditations, songs, and Ceremony… the entire retreat I felt safe, open, and able to process and receive healing…”. “The Higher Haven is a perfect place to process whatever it is you are dealing with… it’s a magical Haven for healing no matter what stage you are on in your journey… I felt supported and comfortable, and we all received what we needed this weekend, even though we went there not knowing what it was ourselves. If you are being called there, I encourage you to go experience it for yourself.”
Experiencing it for your self is as easy as registering for our February Winter Count, the first retreat in the new year 2019, an awakening brush with nature during the serene season and opening to non-duality that brings a close to our Winter Break. Just prior, I’ll be teaching a Workshop on similar techniques at Yoga Life in St. Joseph, Michigan on Sunday February 10th at 3:30 pm, registration link to come. And then In March, we’ll offer a pair of Workshops on the stories and healing power of the Lakota Heyoka, classes not for the faint of heart, but for those looking to turn things around, shed serious skin in the new year, and make permanent, empowered transformations in their lives, April and May Yoga getaways will soon be posted, with expanded, more comprehensive weekends that include the grand arrival of the Wizard himself, my teacher John Ashbrook, the weekend of June 29-30th. It’s Inward and Upward from there People. Looking forward to seeing and celebrating with you. Matakuye O’yasin.