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Switch to Forum Live View When an Elder is not whole!
4 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2011 - 3:46PM #1
Forest Child
Posts: 91
I have a question regarding respect, trust and honour.  When a teacher and Elder is suffering, demonstrates profound bad judgement and unleashes damaging anger against a complete stranger then ignores the issue descends into depression and then starts teaching again with increased vigour as though nothing has happened, no discussion of the events, nothing?  How does one trust and approach this Elder with respect and honour when trust in their mental state and judgement has been substantially injured if not lost completely?

Has anyone else ever come across a similar situation?
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2011 - 4:16AM #2
Tenlionz
Posts: 1,792
There may be something missing here. Most Tribes have many Elders in their midst, and we are brought up to show the utmost respect for them. This does not however mean that we will do anything any Elder tells us to do. There is also a Board of Elders selected by vote or appointment, which convenes every so often to talk about Tribal concerns, they are often brought to meet with the Chief or Governor of a Tribe in Tribal counsel and their voice is heard and respected, these Elders have been found strong of mind and of good judgment, also showing a willingness to be involved in Tribal decisions. They hold much sway over the other authorities in Government. Then we have a Council of Elders who Travel and view many businesses and properties of the Nation even the projects back in the old home land territory., they also have much sway and an Elder with a large family has lots of control over many things as they control a large vote.
Ranting and raving about something or some one to you may be very separate from a Tribal perception. I head up the Security Dept for our largest facility and I will watch an Elder put some one in their place saying nothing until they have finished.

Ten lionz
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2011 - 5:05AM #3
Forest Child
Posts: 91
Thanks Tenlionz,  here we really don't have that sort of structure but we do have, within a certain group I belong to, a respect for those who are our teachers and Elders.  An incident occurred over a year ago which demonstrated how unstable and distressed this particular person (who has been a teacher of mine) was at that time.  Given her personal circumstances it was, in some ways, understandable but the clear depression and psychological change carried on for many months and all the time she continued to teach others.

She is a founder member of this group and is a senior Elder (if such a title exists) so it is very difficult to approach her with concerns over her own behaviour.

It's not so much a case of doing anything she says since she has asked nothing but I see clearly that these issues which she is struggling with have not been fully addressed and I am very concerned about the influence she has over the group as a whole.

There is no wish to dishonour her, disparage her or see her lowered in anyone's good opinion but there is deep concern about an Elder who has a position of respect, wisdom and balance yet often, when the mask slips, demonstrates none of these.  The other Elders are her friends and so there is a personal connection there which seems to overlook this issue.

One other member of the group has raised concerns about an incident recently but only in a round a bout way and several members have raised private concerns between a few of us which seem to indicate that this behaviour has been evident on and off for many years prior to the latest event.  I'm not keen on private 'gossip' but in this case it is more out of frustration and concern than mere inconsequential tittle-tattle.

When I first joined this group I was told that members must be whole and present when they attend, meaning they must be balanced and not intoxicated, depressed or otherwise psychologically hampered (generally speaking).  This seems to have been overlooked for nearly 2 years whilst this same Elder who told me this rule continues to attend despite being clearly unsettled and depressed.

I don't want to dishonour her by facing her directly in the group or in private, nor do I feel I can 'dance around' like a hypocrite as though nothing has happend.  She was my teacher for several years and I hold her in fondness but this has me stumped.  My spirits seem unusually quiet about it as though this is up to me to decide.  Either that or it is of little importance in the bigger picture.

???
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2011 - 5:31PM #4
writingal1
Posts: 3,733
Forest child--hi.

You say--

"When I first joined this group I was told that members must be whole and present when they attend, meaning they must be balanced and not intoxicated, depressed or otherwise psychologically hampered (generally speaking).  This seems to have been overlooked for nearly 2 years whilst this same Elder who told me this rule continues to attend despite being clearly unsettled and depressed.

I don't want to dishonour her by facing her directly in the group or in private, nor do I feel I can 'dance around' like a hypocrite as though nothing has happend.  She was my teacher for several years and I hold her in fondness but this has me stumped.  My spirits seem unusually quiet about it as though this is up to me to decide.  Either that or it is of little importance in the bigger picture."




When I read your post ysterday I understood what you meant by "Elder." But I was unable to post a reply due to tech problems.

I would not pay much attention to the "formalized" and defensive response above and instead focus on where this situation might be helpful to you--



the question is--

How does this affect you and your spirtual journey?

Does the presence of the Elder under these circumstances hinder you in any way?

Is it possible that by attending and not confronting you might learn about the paths that others sometimes have to walk and see how they handle/don't handle them as a lesson for your own life?


Just some questions to think about.

At bottom--this is about you--it is really why you're asking--are you someone who can/should "do something"--or is it not up to you?


Let me know your feelings/thoughts about what I've said.

Sending good thoughts your way.


PS--can you send some general healing energy etc for the Elder that is not intrusive?

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2011 - 6:16PM #5
Forest Child
Posts: 91

Feb 3, 2011 -- 5:31PM, writingal1 wrote:



When I read your post ysterday I understood what you meant by "Elder." But I was unable to post a reply due to tech problems.

I would not pay much attention to the "formalized" and defensive response above and instead focus on where this situation might be helpful to you--




Thank you for reading the post, it's not a problem about time, this situation has been going on for some time.  It's ok, I didn't see Tenlionz' post as defensive at all but it does demonstrate a similar regard for an Elder that I also acknowledge.  A dressing down from an Elder when there has been a breech of trust or confidence is understandable but in my case, the Elder 'erupted' without any good reason at a complete stranger who was, quite understandably, shaken and upset.  From anyone this would be a poor demonstration of temper (or lack of) but from a healer it is profoundly worrying.

Feb 3, 2011 -- 5:31PM, writingal1 wrote:

the question is--

How does this affect you and your spirtual journey?

Does the presence of the Elder under these circumstances hinder you in any way?

Is it possible that by attending and not confronting you might learn about the paths that others sometimes have to walk and see how they handle/don't handle them as a lesson for your own life?




Yes, I think it does affect me since I am thinking about it and she is an integral part of my journey as is the group so it is important.  

It is not so much a hinderance as an issue of integrity.  If the group (which she founded) continues to white wash over these things, do I really want to be a part of it?  Who am I if I just go along with the crowd?

I've been observing this path for several years now and couldn't put my finger on what it was that concerned me, this last year or so has enlightened me.  I was the only person (apart from her partner) who witnessed this outburst and I have told nobody in the group about it yet her behaviour since then has prompted others to confide that she has been volatile like this for many, many years, long before I met her.  

Feb 3, 2011 -- 5:31PM, writingal1 wrote:

Just some questions to think about.

At bottom--this is about you--it is really why you're asking--are you someone who can/should "do something"--or is it not up to you?

Let me know your feelings/thoughts about what I've said.

Sending good thoughts your way.

PS--can you send some general healing energy etc for the Elder that is not intrusive?




Yes, this is about how I deal with this situation both inwardly and outwardly but I don't feel that it is my place to confront her or do anything'.  I know there is nothing she would accept from me given what I witnessed, she isn't prepared to even acknowledge that anything happened.  Eye contact is even a problem with her now.  I guess it is the honesty or lack of which is prickling me and I need to make a decision as to just where my own integrity lies.

Perhaps the answer may lie in what Tenlionz says in his last line, that although one can be in a respected position, sometimes we stand back and don't interfere, it doesn't mean we lack integrity or have to make a dramatic exit, but we can just be there.

I don't know, just musing here. 

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2011 - 6:34PM #6
Tenlionz
Posts: 1,792
I believe People are People and no one is above depresion or axiety or even poor behavior at times. Even Spirits go through changes. I believe that true love and respect will stand the test of time, change, and will be there when that one needs them the most.
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 2:34PM #7
Forest Child
Posts: 91

Feb 4, 2011 -- 6:34PM, Tenlionz wrote:

I believe People are People and no one is above depresion or axiety or even poor behavior at times. Even Spirits go through changes. I believe that true love and respect will stand the test of time, change, and will be there when that one needs them the most.




Very true but where does our responsibility to others lie when a respected Elder is having outbursts which injure people?  I fully agree that we are all human, none of us are perfect and I don't expect that of anyone but age alone does not make one an elder, depression and life problems don't make us bad people but part of the spiritual development of growing to a position of teacher/elder/counsellor should make that person acutely aware of their own need for honesty and self reflection.

I don't know what I can do, if anything, but something feels very wrong and has done for a long time.  It is uncomfortable, untenable and worrying.  

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 3:03PM #8
writingal1
Posts: 3,733
Forest Child--hi.

By iojury do you mean direct physical attack like hitting or kicking etc?
If so you may have to report the person to the authorities.


Nobody has the "right" to injure another person--no matter what their '"Standing" is in the community.

I know that doing this--reporting them--might be very difficult for you but it may be the thing that needs to be done.

Let the authorities handle the person. Think about protecting the people who are being assaulted--and remember that hitting, kicking etc is an assault--and that is a crime.
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 4:11PM #9
Forest Child
Posts: 91
No it wasn't direct physical contact.

The stranger's child was coming back down a hill, the stranger called to the child not to run (child only 3 or so - still using a push chair so it is sensible to tell her not to run so that she doesn't fall) which any reasonable parent would do.  Then the 'Elder' (who is in her 50's and has no children) said aloud something about it being pointless to tell the child not to run, she wasn't a dog, of course she would run because you just called her.  The woman was speechless, then took a gasp and said "excuse me"?  "Who the **** are you to tell me how to look after my child"?

At this point the 'Elder' then started screaming and shouting at the woman, some things were incoherent, others were swearing and venomous attacks on the stranger about the pointlessness of her directions to her own child.  The woman and child were visibly shaken, they hurried away.  At this point neither I nor the 'Elder's' partner knew what we had just witnessed.  As the 'Elder' walked away in another direction, we went after the stranger to try to apologise and/or help her.  All this happened so fast and at a small distance from me (we were walking through a park leisurely) that it rather knocked us all sideways.

As the 'Elder' walked off, she started to scream something at us, I don't know what it was but she was incensed that we had gone to offer assistance to the stranger.  She was screaming with rage then stormed off.  It was dreadful.

Can you imagine being in a sacred circle with someone (supposed to be in a position of trust and respect) who has expressed this incandescent rage, out of the blue and completely unecessarily to a complete stranger, not faced it or talked about it but instead just sat in stoney silence glaring at everyone.  Only a few weeks later this same 'Elder' is promoting a new year long course in shamanism!

Basically, I have had my trust in this person's spiritual integrity quashed and I cannot believe that it is mere coincidence that I was the only other practitioner there apart from the partner who I can't blame for shielding their loved one.

Perhaps it is just me but I believe that anyone in a position of trust, respect and spiritual authority who purports to teach these deeper, enlightened, spiritual concepts, should have the integrity to admit when they have a problem so that others are not damaged by their actions.  All I have observed so far is ego, fear and cover up from the person in question and those around them.

The more I think and talk about this, the more I feel I cannot simply look the other way.  What I should do, however, is quite another matter . . .
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 4:34PM #10
writingal1
Posts: 3,733
Forest Child--hi.

Thanks so much for relating the specific event. I can see how disturbing that would be to witness someone who has had your respect act in that very disturbing and absolutely inappropriate way.

Having read only this one event I do have to wonder if there are serious emotional/mental issues involved?

Is that what you are thinking too?
Lack of control due to possibly mental problems?

If you'd rather not discuss this that's okay but it does seem that things rae getting clearer for you as you talk about this more.

Either way is fine with me. Also we could talk about this by bnet Private Messaging.
It's all up to you.

I can definitely see how upsetting this could be for you--for anyone who witnessed something as shocking and inappropriate as this.


Sending good thoughts your way.
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