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THE CIRCLE: Healing Medicines

Medicine can look like different things to different people. When I think of medicine, I did not think ‘column-writing’, despite this evidently therapeutic space. My children have taught me that therapy exists in every form to meet the wide range of human experiences.

I view traditional medicine as ways of healing when I am misaligned with the sacred grandparent teachings. To be mindful of your energy and what you are setting as intention into the world is an important practice. The reciprocity works both ways and I have some medicine tips to share:

  • Community includes caring for all.
  • One of the best healing medicines in our community is laughter; and
  • People may be brought to ease through traditional tools such as humour.

Relational humour is funny. When someone has struggled to identify, to be seen, and to be heard, it can also be incredibly validating. Consequently, if one is not mindful of what they create in the world, it can cause real harm to real people, especially if the people belong to a group often targeted for violence.

Humour is subjective, and like most subjective matters, how do you safely maintain and uphold community standards? Context matters. Situating a racial issue on people who may not be impacted is irrelevant. Ask a black, Indigenous, or person of colour (BIPOC) and they will likely centre around personal safety for themselves or others in their community. Within a lot of these communities, it is important for everyone to be self-aware as accountancy to their own community standards.

Part of who I am means holding a role that takes up space. Speaking up and speaking out has been a new level of awkwardness placed on my friends and family, and, at times, has been quite animated. However, these moments are an important key to moving forward within a society. As the world opens up, I am reminded that these are trying times. I fondly think of this stretch as growing pains, making room for kindness and compassion to lead. For myself, I’d throw laughter on top of that list as an underutilized tool to diffuse tense situations.

The restoration of societal balance has yet to be seen through a communal lens and healing framework. When you admit your own shortcomings, or missed attempts at understandings to truly embrace yourself, flaws and all, that is beautiful. And when you leave space to make and share fun with others, now that is contagious.

After all, laughter is the best medicine.

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About The Author

Janine Seymour is an Anishinaabekwe organizer and lawyer practicing in Kenora.