Just finished out first day of work with Navajo Area Health Promotion practitioners and 30 community wellness workers, Elders and healers from across the Navajo Nation. We are blending an Art of Hosting workshop with content and process from some recent research in neuroscience, epigenetics, and adverse childhood experiences and with wellness and leadership models from our Navajo colleagues with whom we have a ten year relationship.
One of the pieces of work we are doing is supporting these folks in launching or accelerating some community based projects using the social networks they have in place here. This will involve us spending time in Open Space tomorrow and on Friday running a ProAction Cafe in which 6-8 projects will be able to to be developed. As a way of grounding these projects in patterns that are useful for this context we spent this afternoon generating a Navajo pattern language for resiliency. We did this with a two round World Cafe in which we asked for stories of supporting resiliency and stories of leadership challenges. This is a kind both/and appreciative inquiry. At the conclusion of the Cafe, I asked people to reflect on one teaching or piece of advice that would be useful based on the discussions. I invited them to write a word or a phrase on one side of an index card and write some explication on the back.
The attached collection of 27 or so patterns include both expected patterns such as “Presence” and “Listening.” They also include some Navajo principles like “Ádáhodí?zin” meaning ‘Letting our children go, to learn and discover who they are.”
On Friday we will use these principles to help design projects. I’ll hand a few out to each project proponent and ask them to take a few minutes to brainstorm how to incorporate these pieces of ground tested advice in their project design.