2008-01-04 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Healthy New Year's Practice
Commentary By Dr. Nancy Gahles

DR. NANCY GAHLES DR. NANCY GAHLES Practice is an act of consciously repeating the same behavior in order to become facile in doing it. Practice requires focus and intention. Practice leads to the goal of becoming good at that which you are attempting to accomplish. This year, I intend to practice a tradition that I found laudable from the culture of a tribe in South Africa. Inasmuch as ill health and disease is often brought about by the harboring of negative emotions, I think that to emulate this tribal custom may yield health and harmony in the New Year. I invite you all to try it as well.

"In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed at the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then, each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, each recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted.. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe." (The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace by Jack Kornfield). Indeed, emulating this behaviour will take practice. When a practice becomes commonplace and is integrated into society, it becomes a standard. Wouldn't that be a laudable goal for 2008? It only takes one person to begin to make the change. I'll go first! Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. May The Blessings Be!

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