Author Archives: JoAnne Dodgson

Hawk Medicine

Hawk Medicine

I received a remarkable gift this morning while out for a walk along the arroyo. A hawk swooped by and landed in a tree right over my head. When the hawk landed on the branch, a feather drifted gracefully to the ground.

I stood quietly admiring the hawk, listening, watching, wondering what messages Hawk was bringing for me. When the winged one flew away, I searched around for the gift. The delicate feather had landed in my footprints in a place I cross over a gully every morning I walk in the mesas.

My sister and I have come to understand that Hawks are bringers of messages from our dad who died a few years ago. He died just before the Solstice, during this season of the year.

It was so heartwarming to feel my dad’s presence this morning. I hear him letting me know he is with me in my walk, watching over as I find my way in my life path.

With love and gratitude for my dad, for Hawk, for the feather, for the beauty and magic of life.

Returning to Our Nature

Returning to Our Nature

There is so much about our humanness that we’ve forgotten and left behind.

Our ability to love.
Our boundless creativity.
Our intimate connectedness.
Our freedom to vision and manifest our dreams.
Our senses, awake and aware, giving and receiving vast fields of information.
Our rich communication with the physical and non-physical realms.

We have an organic nature to grow, heal, and transform.
We’re naturally curious and playful.
Peaceful. Joyful. Grateful.
Filled with acceptance and respect.

We belong in the dance with natural cycles,
the endings and beginnings,
the birthings and deaths,
and all the in-betweens.
In every moment, we are weaving the web of life.

It’s time for remembering the beauty of who we are,
to feel the aliveness and explore the diversity
within us and all around ~
the medicines of the earth who is our home,
the gifts of the sun and moon who shape the flow of our days,
the shifting of the seasons,
the passages of your life,
the quests you are on,
the visions and dreams you hold.

Find your way back home to your heart.

Fall in love with life again.

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Togetherness: A Lost Art

Togetherness: A Lost Art

This morning while walking along the arroyo, I heard a beautiful noise. A flock of geese was flying by overhead, a line of winged ones heading north.

Such beauty and grace filled their movement, a collaborative dance of wings through the big blue sky. They were heading somewhere. Together. Guided by their inner knowings. Each individual choosing to fly. A unique structure instinctively created for their community. Each individual’s presence essential to the whole. Their songs rang out in the wake of their passage, each one offering information from their particular perspective, communicating, connecting, shaping the choices about which way to go and where and when to land.

These winged ones live with a deeply rooted understanding about why they are together and where they are heading. They understand the purpose of their belonging. It is in their togetherness that they flourish and thrive. There is no force, obligation, or resentment, no evaluations of who is worthy of love or not, that we humans tend to infuse in our relationships (even with ourselves).

The relationships of this flock are interwoven within and far beyond their group. They are not functioning in isolation or with judgments of others’ existence. The winged ones are keenly aware of and responsive to the seasons of the earth, the cycles of day and night, the winds, rains, and flow of rivers, the presence of other birds, animals, insects, and plants. They live with a wide-open embrace and intimate connection with the vastly diverse web of life.

We can too.

Come join the Circle of Life  ~ a unique on-line gathering space to cultivate community and deepen connection with yourself, one another, and the web of life. Reclaim your relationship with natural cycles within you and all around. Awaken the power to dream new dreams, let go of blocks and fears, and take actions to bring your dreams to life. Reweave your connection with your own heart and spirit. Live in love with life.

Harmony in the Circle

Harmony in the Circle

In the native language of the Peruvian people who live the ways of Ka Ta See, there is no word for “judgment.” Take a moment to consider what this would be like – when judgment is not the lens or the language that shapes how you see, think, and speak about yourself, others, and the world. No less-than or better-than beliefs about yourself or anybody else. Respect and acceptance for everyone and everything.

This is an entirely different existence than many of us have learned to live. It may be difficult to find words to describe this, so search for the energy, vibration, and feelings. Reach to remember how living free of judgment genuinely feels.

This doesn’t mean we put on rose-colored glasses and pretend that everything is fine. Living free of judgments means seeing what is, just as it is. This is a wide-open embrace, filled with acceptance and love and clear awareness, that leaves no one and nothing out.

Ka Ta See is a way of life that has been lived and protected for many thousands of years. This is an ancient knowledge, a human way of life, that is being lived now on our planet. Though we may not have been brought up in this tribal way, we can learn to free ourselves from judgment. We can remember how to love unconditionally, to live in balance and harmony, if we choose.

The circle is a guiding symbol and dynamic in the traditions of Ka Ta See. Each individual is considered a whole circle, a complete being. Relationships are understood to be interconnected circles. Relationships among humans, between humans and animals, plants, and all forms of life, are constructed heart to heart, Song to Song, wholeness to wholeness. Without any loss of self. Without any expectations of anybody else to be anything other than who they really are.

There’s no better-than or less-than thinking. There’s no evaluation of who’s deserving of love or not. There are no derogatory insults, putting-down, blaming or shaming. Life, relationships, decisions are approached from a win-win-win point of view.

The tribal culture is described as a circle with women in the center. Women hold their own center, living their Song, being awake, aware, unconditionally loving. Women’s energy emanates out from the center of the circle, setting the foundation, the tone, the field, for the whole of the family, the community, the tribe.

In a Song-centered way of life, the center of the circle is filled with unconditional love and acceptance, with purposeful use of attention, with awareness in linear and non-linear realms, with aliveness and curiosity, with passion for living, with nourishment and care. Women are cultivating respectful and loving relationships with themselves, the other women, the children, the men, all the generations, the whole tribe, the vast web of life. Holding the center is women’s personal and social responsibility.

There is deep honoring of women, of the feminine, in the Ka Ta See ways. The feminine energy holds the blueprint for the continuance of life. Feel into this with the intent to explore and understand. This is very different than the less-than, devaluing concepts forced onto women, and which women adopt and impose on themselves and each other, in so many cultures, relationships, and social systems.

In the circle, men too hold their own center, the groundedness and knowing of their unique and individual Song. Men, masculine energy, defines the outer line of the circle, constructing and protecting the sacred space of relationship, family, community, tribe. Men take actions in the physical world to build safe and nourishing space to protect what is held in the center of the circle. They tend to the well-being of the women and children – the promise of the continuance of life.

In a Song-centered way of life, men are cultivating respectful and loving relationships with themselves, the other men, the children, the women, all the generations, the whole tribe, the vast web of life. Defining, constructing, protecting the circle is men’s personal and social responsibility.

There is deep honoring of men, of the masculine, in the Ka Ta See ways. Feel into this with the intent to let go of concepts about the masculine that are limited and confining. There is no better-than positioning, taking power-over, force, competition or domination. The understandings and expression of the masculine are an entirely different existence than what many of us have been taught and impose on and expect of ourselves and others.

I’m sharing here a very brief description of complex concepts and intricate relational dynamics. The exploration of the feminine and masculine in ourselves, in one another, in all life, in how we live and relate, is a lifetime journey.

To step out of the hierarchy, the ways we’re commonly socialized, and into a way of life that is based in harmony, balance, equity, and respect involves un-learning and letting go, awakening and rebuilding, and weaving a new web over and over again.

So search for yourself. Let this be an adventure, a sacred quest. Notice what happens, in any ordinary everyday moment, when you free yourself from judgmental thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is a new (and ancient) and natural way of life that we all have the capacity to awaken and remember, if we choose.

A heart-centered world is made by living in heart-centered ways – with every breath, with every word, with every thought, with every step we take. We can choose the ways of harmony, we can remember the ways of balance, and begin building a loving world in the now and for all the generations to come.

Reclaim the Power of Your Dreams

Reclaim the Power of Your Dreams

Why bother dreaming about beautiful loving things when the world is falling apart? Many people are feeling powerless, discouraged, fearing that change is impossible, believing that harmony, peace, and healing are out of reach.

Without new dreams, without visions that are free of the hierarchy, violence and fear, we will keep re-creating the same old same old.

The awakening of new possibilities and potentials begins on the inside. This is a quest, a remembering, a seeking to discover what lives in your heart.

Here is some guidance (3 short audio clips) from a recent community Bone Throwing Ceremony.

Listen with all your senses. Feel into what the spirits are sharing. Let this nourish you, inspire you, help you find your way back to your center and reclaim the power of your dreams.

Bringing the Dream Alive:


Blueprints for Healing:


Medicine of the Buffalo Nation:

Just As You Are

Just As You Are

I ran across campus, dashing between buildings, trying to dodge the downpour that had suddenly burst from the clouds. By the time I got to my car, I was completely drenched. I sat in the driver’s seat looking around at the puddles on the seats. The canvas top of my old convertible had been left down.

More distressing than the unexpected car wash was my upcoming appointment with a client at the counseling center. This was part of my doctoral training in psychology. And in that moment, I felt like a failure. I wasn’t being professional. I wouldn’t be a good therapist. Primarily because I looked like a mess.

I considered cancelling the appointment. I calculated the possibility of driving home, changing my wet clothes, drying my hair, reapplying my make-up, and driving all the way back. But there simply wasn’t enough time. So I stressed for the next thirty minutes. I paced up and down the hallways, talking to anyone would listen to my worries. I tried to dry my hair and clothes with the hand-dryer in the public restroom. I sought out consultation from my professors about what to do.

It’s funny to remember how utterly distressed I was at that time about wrinkled clothes, naturally dried hair, and no make-up. For many years now, I haven’t owned a hairdryer, clothes iron, or any cosmetics. But this is now and that was then.

So I decided my best strategy was to say nothing to my client about what had happened. I decided to welcome her as usual and focus on our session. I was shocked and relieved when Tamara (not her real name) entered the office and didn’t even seem to notice how disheveled I looked.

At some point in the session, Tamara leaned over in her chair, cradling her face in her hands, sobbing. She was finding her way through the pain and grief around past trauma and significant losses in her life. I sat quietly with her as she cried.

After awhile, she sat up in her chair and spread her fingers open like a fan across her face. I could see her eyes peering out at me. “It’s really good to see you looking like that,” she said. We both smiled.

At the end of the session, Tamara stood very close in front of me. In a motherly way, she gently straightened my collar as if to help me get put back together. It was a simple loving act. Then she reached out and hugged me.

The first time I met Tamara, she’d walked into the office and stretched her arm straight out toward me to keep distance between us. “Don’t hug me,” she’d said. I sensed she’d had enough of ritualized hugs and unwanted physical contact.

So when she stepped up close and gave me a hug on that rainy day, I felt the beauty of the trust that had grown in our connection. By embracing me I felt she was learning to embrace herself too, to feel more acceptance for the aspects of herself and her life that she tended to judge or reject or try to keep at bay.

Tamara clearly let me know it was more comfortable and safe to connect when I wasn’t trying so hard to appear a certain way, pushing a facade in the space between us. What I feared was unprofessional was actually more genuine. Honestly, I’m not sure who received more healing that day. She offered me a powerful teaching which resonated much more deeply than what I’d learned by reading books, sitting through lectures, and writing research papers. Tamara’s words and actions gave me a gift that has stayed with me for decades, still making me smile.

So give it a try – loving yourself, just as you are. Accepting each other, just as we are. Embracing all life, just as it is. Who knows what healing gifts will unfold and continue to touch lives for many years to come.

Unleashing Love

A Gift For You!

A Gift For You!

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