The beauty of New Mexico takes your breath away. Students arrive in Albuquerque and take the scenic drive up to Taos, sandwiched between the Rio Grande River and the mountains. Our cherished and long-standing partner with Weyakpa Najin Win, Woman Stands Shining, one of GYLI’s Native American speakers, welcomed our group with a water ceremony. Weyakpa Najin Win, who also will go by Pat McCabe, drummed and sang as our group walked down to the river. While placing a leaf of tobacco in the river, Pat invited each to greet the ancestors with a welcoming wish or intention. We were encouraged to think about water and how it relates to every living thing. We offered gratitude for nature and throughout the trip, Pat’s words stayed with us, reminding us that, “Our joy matters.” Her infimate wisdom compelling us on, “I want you to want your life and everything that comes with that.”
Words matter and can be used as a way to invite, celebrate, and appreciate each other and all of our strengths. Our gender identity speaker, Jess Clark, spoke about our passive and active contributions to systems and structures that divide and separate us. His personal story and deeply thoughtful dialogue allowed us each to sit with our choices and values. Mindful of our word usage, Jess sparked positive conversations that students carried with them during the storied Year 2 hike.
Living on Lama Mountain and learning from the residents at the Lama Foundation brings environmental sustainability squarely front and center in our minds. Water usage, composting, adobe dwellings, food preparation and storage – our Year 2 groups were immersed with these concepts and can bring these ideas back to their home communities to lead the way to make a lasting impact.
Remember our time at Lama.