Group Magic: Sedona, AZ

“Certain things catch your eye,
But pursue only those
that capture your heart.”
–Native American Saying

I just completed a transformational workshop, co-teaching with my friend Suzanne Sculock-Durana in her annual New Year’s Retreat in Sedona, Arizona. In the “Release and Renewal” workshop, we honor the wisdom of the Native American Medicine Wheel and apply it to our New Year’s Intention. “Medicine” is not just a chemical that heals the body, but anything that heals the body, mind, or spirit. “Finding your medicine” often refers to finding your purpose, your passion, your gifts that you will give your tribe or even the world. The Medicine Wheel represents a body of spiritual teachings. This workshop scratches the surface of that wisdom.

Over the past decade, I have taken and assisted this workshop multiple times. Since the first time, I was ignited with a passion that captured my heart for the Native American teachings. The connection to the earth and the all things resonates with my own beliefs.

All spiritual teachings contain a perspective on Truth. In the story of the three blind men and the elephant, Truth is represented by the elephant. One man feels the trunk and says “An elephant is a long tube that moves. It is a hose.” The second man feels the foot and says “An elephant has a trunk rooted to the earth. It must be a tree.” The third man feels the tail and says “An elephant stinks.” Truth is an experience that changes with perspective. The Native American teachings speak to some ancient part of my soul and awaken a passion to share the wisdom. It is in sharing and teaching that the wisdom of the Medicine Wheel becomes clearer and clearer. Each year, I am astounded by the depth of the teachings and the transformation that it facilitates.

Suzanne has a magic for creating community, holding deep and full presence, guiding a meditation process for grounding, and facilitating the group process. She has been leading healing circles in her Healing from the Core circles for more than 25 years. I was honored to be invited to co-teach. I could feel her blessing, as we weaved together a magical reorganization of the curriculum. With a year of planning, I created the content with the support of my public speaking groups (Toastmasters) who listened to me, my storytelling groups that helped me hone my craft, and Kindred Spirits that gave me feedback as I developed the changes.

This year, I brought my magic of sacred ceremony, clarity with slide presentations, and storytelling fun. My goal was to show up fully. I left Naples with the blessing of my circles here, and I arrived to the support of Kindred Spirits who came to support me from around the world. I felt so deeply held that it was almost effortless. (I did say “almost.”) In the end, I felt the power of a thing done well, a thing that moved through me, and a thing that taught me more of the “magic” and “medicine” that is my gift to the world.

We started with building community and safe sacred space to connect to our intentions for the New Year. With daily meditation, Suzanne led us in her process of “grounding and filling” to deepen our presence and our connection to our own internal and external support. With ceremony, we invoked the Medicine Wheel. We used the Four Elements to call in all the aspects of ourselves, so that we could support our intentions fully.

We then “prayed the lodges of the wheel” to create a full and complete prayer with our intention. When your intention is full and complete, when you have looked at it from all perspectives, only then can you manifest it with clarity. We took our intentions and prayers with us on a sacred journey and then ignited our prayers. We celebrated as a group, held each other, interpreted dreams, danced, shared food and laughter.

On the final day, we distilled our prayer into an affirmation to carry us through the year. We blessed and affirmed each other with sacred intention. Empowered by both the giving and receiving of a blessing, we visioned together the practical steps to manifest our affirmation in our world with daily, weekly, monthly, and even annual action steps. Releasing our prayer, letting go of the outcome, and knowing that “This or something greater shall come to pass.” We joined hands in our final circle, and left with a powerful Celtic Blessing by my friend (and guest blogger) Janis McCall: “May the circle be open, but not broken.”

And so we part ways, carrying the support of this new circle. This circle will never be formed exactly the same again, but “we will remember you.” It will come together again in a new form next year in Sedona, Arizona, Wed Jan 10 – Sun Jan 14, 2018, for the next Release and Renewal Workshop. Suzanne and I will be co-teaching again in 2018! The circle is open, but not broken.

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

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3 thoughts on “Group Magic: Sedona, AZ

  1. Joel. Beautiful piece on our week together. So powerful. I feel such deep gratitude to you and Suzanne for carrying this important work forward. I rest in Balance and Walk in Beauty.

  2. Jody Gray says:

    Enjoyed connecting with you all last year via phone for a grounding and filling. Hope to connect again in 2017. Blessings to you all!

  3. Thank you for your kind words Joel. It was a true pleasure to co-lead with you. And what a powerful circle. You brought a new, clearer perspective to the whole process and all feedback was that your gifts touched us all. I look forward to next year’s class with you.
    Hugs – Suzanne

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