Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Talking Stick

Last night I had a very fun time in the Tu Diabetes chat room with some delightful people.

We were talking about art and my beadwork and Beth asked if I’d ever done any beading on wood. I said yes, I had made a talking stick.

Several years ago I worked at a center for troubled youth, many of which were Native Americans. We decided to adopt some traditional rituals and use them as tools for healing. One of them was the talking stick.

Any type of group of people can use a talking stick - whether you are discussing a topic, trying to come to a decision, sharing victories and defeats, offering support - the list is endless. The one rule is that the person holding the stick is the only one speaking - no interruptions. When he is finished, he passes it to the next person. It was a great tool for shy people (of which I still am). Somehow, just holding the stick gives one the courage to speak their mind. It was empowering.

I have been blogging for over a year now, and feel that both the Diabetes OC and Tu Diabetes have given me the courage to put my thoughts down on paper. I was really “stopped up” for many years - just kept stuffing things as deep as I could get them. This certainly was not healthy.

Things are different now. I have friends who understand me. I have people across the country (and the world) that I care about. We are bound by the fact that we have diabetes, but also connected in our vision to take care of our health, keep up on new developments, nurture a positive attitude, problem solve, and live a vibrant and fulfilling existence. This has had a big impact on my life, and I say “thank you”. (sniffle, sniffle).

Anyway, about the stick - I love the Mississippi. I could sit on the shore for hours and watch the clouds go by and think of how the settlers came upstream by riverboat and how Minneapolis was once called The Mill City because all the big barges of grain came up the river to be processed. Cool.

The wood for the stick was found along the river’s edge. It had been polished by the current (somewhat like driftwood). I have stopped going down to the spot where the driftwood accumulates because it is isolated and I am no longer young enough to outrun someone with harmful intentions.

But, the wood still reminds me of the grounded stability of the river and the current that keeps moving forward, as it has for centuries.

Life transports us onward, whether we are willing or not. I spent many years paddling upstream. It was exhausting and got me nowhere. By being a part of two blogging communities, I have given myself permission to flow with the bitter and the sweet, and stay upright in the process.

This is good.


Scott K. Johnson said...

Very cool story Kathy.

I just love hearing about some of the things you have experienced, and really appreciate getting to know you through the online stuff.

I am sure we will get together in real life one of these days and really enjoy each others company.

If you are interested, it would be my pleasure to escort you to the spot on the river. I promise to scare away any "bad guys". Maybe the kiddos can come too?

You have been one of the people I get the most from, your stories, your experiences, your comments to my posts. Whatever it is, it is jam packed with rich value and wisdom for me.

Thank you!

Zazzy said...

I love your talking stick! When I lived in Wyoming I was part of a Moon group. We used many different things as talking sticks over the years. That is a really special stick.

Do you take orders?

in search of balance said...

I love your talking stick. It's gorgeous... and such a wonderful thing to use as you did!

So pretty!

Jayne said...

Wow...thank you for sharing that. I'm going to find a stick for my family. It won't be as beautiful as yours...but it will work beautifully. Thanks for being so nice.

Donna said...

Thanks for all your comments & encouragement you've given me in the short period of time I've been blogging. I am a very shy person & I think blogging has helped me, too. Thanks for sharing & keep it up!

BTW, the talking stick is beautiful!

Vivian said...

Kathy, I am so blessed by the fact you are online and willing to form relationships with us. It is wonderful to hear that this past year has been a positive one for you because you have made it so for us as well.
I love the talking stick, it is beautiful and so full of meaning. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Amylia said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, Kathy. I love the talking stick. Beautiful in concept and reality. And oh how I miss Mpls. right now. I, too, have a soft-spot in my heart for the mighty Mississippi.

I was just at my dad's house on the Milwaukee River, and the current was so fast and the water so high from recent heavy rains, and my dad wanted to go in the canoe. My dad and I are not very coordinated. Not too experienced with canoes. Used to living on Lake Michigan, not a river. I decided it was a bad idea to jump in the canoe. We could have had an easy time at first, padding with the current, but would eventually have to return home and that would have meant turning around and paddling against the current and upstream.

I'm happy to say I decided to pass because as much as I love my dad and love the river and love canoeing, I also like the ease of a right decision. Sometimes paddling with the current is the wrong idea when life just whisks you too quickly downstream with no viable way back up.

Sometimes it's okay to agree to not "go with the flow" and observe it from the sidelines.

Melissa said...

It's awesome Kathy!! Gorgeous, indeed!! I too had an awesome evening chatting it up with y'all on TuDiabetes! :0)
Thanks for sharing your lovely creativity, and your story, with us all!


Jayne said...

Just to let you know ~ that talking stick has opened up a new and improved way of sharing time with my daughters ~ very effective.
We had a great time last night with it.

Chrissie in Belgium said...

WOW Kathy, can you write!!! What a post! You should have been an author...... Yeah, you DO have today friends all over the WORLD, even in little Belgium. DOC is one great community - isn't it?!

Molly said...

Can't believe I missed this post when you wrote it. Better late I guess.
Very cool. Awesome picture.
Sparks a lot of memories for me.
Thanks for sharing it.

BetterCell said...

If you were a Comedienne instead of a Person w/Diabetes Kathy, you could have said, "The Talking Schtick."