Monday, December 7, 2009

Undoing the Mechanical: Narrative Medicine

Continuing my thread, about the mechanical, there are some ways to undo this story and replace it with another story.  I began with the simple question, "How long have you had this pain?"

Answer: "Low grade all my life, but severe for the past three years

Me: "What does the pain interfere with your doing?

Answer: "Everything I love to do: swim, weed, take care of chickens, walk the dog, be out on the land…"

We need a new story to support before we do a ceremony to ask for a change. Ellders have consistently explained to me that most of the work happens before the ceremony, which happens last.  Ceremony is meant to be what Malcolm Gladwell calls the tipping point, the last snowfall before the avalanche.  Before doing ceremony, we need to line up those ducks in a row (a long line of dominos makes another great metaphor) so that one touch change everything. One breath of spirit of spirit is sufficient.

I have seen healing elders go to someone’s house for a week, talking to everyone and engaging in a story changing process so when the ceremony came, everyone was already in line to expect a major shift. We need more richness to the story in order to change it.

So, I ask, "three years ago did something changein your life? I start in the western perspective of the medicine wheel with "did anything traumatic happen to your body?" She answered No.The northern perspective would be about change in community relationships? No. The eastern perspective is about change in spiritual relationships. She answered, no. The southern perspective is about changes in relationship and family.  She said, "Around that time I started resenting my husand because he wanted me to do things I didn’t want to do."  Now we are getting somewhere!  More later....