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Woodrow Morrison, Jr.

As we strive to end violence against all people, we especially focus on those most vulnerable; women, children, and elders within our Native communities. The story and lessons addressing anger help us to understand the need for balancing emotions. They also help us to know that all of our emotions are valuable, and that we must learn to listen to the messages delivered by each one.

In the following lessons, writer Numpa Foxes Singing presents teachings designed to help us re-establish respect and harmony throughout all generations of Native families and communities. These teachings include the integration of positive identity development with building healthy relationships, encouraging appropriate conduct and skills development, and the restoring of traditional cultural values back into our family relationships.

Lesson 4 – The Warrior: Understanding the Fight

Goal

Learn about how the battle with anger signals something that is greater to heal which will lead us to health and happiness and that there is support and protection along the way.

Activity

Listen to Woody’s story in Video #2 and review the information and questions presented in this Lesson for self-reflection.  Use these links to access the available resources with this lesson:  Woody Morrison’s BiographyHistory of the Haida TribeAnger Information SheetFeelings Resource Sheet, and the Historical Trauma Resource Sheet.

The Sacred Hoop:  We are always connected

All tribal people have Teachings of a Truth that we are all connected.  Many know this as the Medicine Wheel and the Sacred Hoop.  These Teachings share that Life consists of relationships with our families, with nature, with spirits, and all of creation.

In the Hero’s Journey, the orphan takes a journey and wanders from place to place. During the wandering, the orphan meets various people and begins to develop relationships.  A caring and empathy develops.  It is with this support and in this caring the orphan takes on a cause that is greater than self.  We call it becoming the Warrior.

Woody’s life reflects the Hero’s Journey.  Through his wandering he began to meet people who cared about him and whom supported him in learning to care again.  We will explore the support he received and then begin to look at the Warrior he became.

Healing comes in many forms and in many places.   Here are observations made by Woody in some general areas of healing.  Compare them to your own thoughts.  Do you agree with them?  Have you experienced what he is saying?

The Effects of Alcohol . . .”One of the things I learned in there was that it does not matter what culture, what language, what nationality, what religion you are, alcohol affects everybody exactly the same way, addictions do. And you can go to a program like AA or NA or whatever, that’ll keep you clean and sober, but once the addiction begins, personality growth ceases. And so by just staying sober or clean does nothing to restart that growth.”

– Woody Morrison, Jr.6

Desire to be Happy . . . “One of the things I learned from the Adult Children of Alcoholics was about this co-dependency, is that, the only requirement for membership was the desire to be happy, and once you start the process, you start again finding out that you have feelings. Because when you’re in the other situation, like with PTSD and the rest of this stuff, you have two feelings—fear; you scare me, you better run, because immediately I switch it into anger.”

– Woody Morrison, Jr. 6

How to feel feelings . . .  “So when I started experiencing these other feelings, I had no idea what was going on. So they gave me a sheet that had the names of all these feelings on it. So I used to keep it there in my office and I’d feel something and I’d look at it and say oh, that’s what I’m feeling. And it was really fascinating to find out I had so many different feelings about different things.”

– Woody Morrison, Jr. 6

Don’t know the rules anymore . . . “What you learn is that when you hit a certain point in your healing, your recovery, you get scared, because I don’t know what the rules are anymore. There are no rules. Trust your feelings. That’s why you have them. And so I make these faux pas, these mistakes, and it makes me feel insecure. So any time I start to feel insecure, I become aggressive. And so I start forcing my way through things. Again, I’m getting worse, rather than getting better.”

– Woody Morrison, Jr. 6

Accept change . . . “So when people start getting into healing, they’re going to have to be aware that their whole world is going to change because it has to change. You have to get back to the other side.”

– Woody Morrison, Jr. 6

A new way of competing . . . “We have to learn again about competition, how instead of me trying to run faster than you, if I know I’m faster than you, I’ll run a little bit behind you to make you run faster rather than trying to beat  you.”

– Woody Morrison, Jr. 6

Listed are several healing paths.   Explore these by comparing Woody’s life to your life in what has worked or not worked.  Have you attended any of these listed?  What has worked?  What has not worked?
1. Accepting words, advice, help from others
2. Adult Children of Alcoholics
3. Sweat Lodge
4. Outpatient Therapy
5. Peyote Ceremony
6. Inpatient Therapy
7. 12 Step Meetings – AA & NA
8. Drumming and Singing
9. Talking with Elders
10. Helping someone else
11. Eating & Drinking healthy foods and drinks
12. Spiritual Practice

Conclusion

Do you want to become a warrior?  Seek friendships, ceremonies, treatment, storytellers, Elders, and healthy places to live and be.  Can you do this?  Name one of the healing paths above that you will make a commitment to see if it is helpful to you.

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