What a wonderful day and a half we had at Wishtoyo! I am definitely thankful to have gone back once again because the last time I went was one of the BEST experiences of my life. Learning about the Chumash culture and living in the village for as long as we did was a true blessing. I am also very grateful for the opportunity to return to this program as a mentor for not only my benefit but for the benefit of the students who I have been lucky enough to build a relationship with.
While at Wistoyo, I made an abalone necklace which is very sacred to the Chumash people. The last time I came, I made an abalone shell basket and this time I got to carve a necklace design which was super awesome and enlightening. I also got to make a clapper stick out of an elderberry branch from scratch which was an entirely new experience for me. I have made two clapper sticks in the past but they were already cut out for me (all I did was design it) but this time, I got to carve it out myself in addition to designing it.
One lesson that I will take away with me and share with others is the idea of saying out loud what I am thankful for and what I am looking forward to in the future. It’s not often that I get to do that, which might be one of the reasons I get down on myself sometimes. Even though I occasionally pray to my creator, I do not get to talk to myself about what I am thankful for. So I think it is really important for everyone to remind themselves what blessings they have received in their lives in order to make them hope for greater things in the future.
My favorite cultural experience was morning ceremony. It was the most awake I have felt my entire time at the program and I felt nothing but exciting energy. I came out before 7 AM with my clapper stick and my love…which made my happy to be awake and sharing my happiness with others. As soon as we all stood in a circle, I felt nothing but beautiful blessing and I could not have asked for a better morning (plus the weather was SO BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT that I did not want to leave ever again!!)