The fact is, that for the Huichol, and for all those who refuse, who are in flight, words and things are precisely what language does not speak about. Language is a natural act which implies belonging. He who exists, speaks. He who does not speak, does not exist. He has no place in the world. The Huichol language is Huichol to the same degree as the Huichol earth, the Huichol sky, religion, tattooing, dress, the peyoteros' hat. It is not enough to pronounce the syllables of the Huichol language to be Huichol. That is obvious.
She squeezed her eyes closed. She heard the buggy stop, heard Colin’s boots hit the ground, knew that he strode toward her side of the wagon. “Felicia, where do you think you’re going?” “Away,” she whispered. Strong hands closed around her waist, and suddenly she was airborne, lifted off the wagon seat and then set gently on the ground. Her eyes flew open. “You’re not going anywhere, Miss Kristoffersen. Not until I’ve done this.” His lips claimed hers in the kiss she’d longed for, even when she hadn’t known it. The kiss was gentle, yet it sent her senses reeling. She felt turned upside down and wrong side out. His arms gathered her closer, and she felt their hearts beating as one. Oh, if they could only stay like this forever.
Miss Kristoffersen.” He offered his elbow to her. After a slight hesitation, she slipped her hand into the crook of his arm, and the two of them walked toward the barn. Just before they reached it, guitar and fiddle, flute and banjo, drums and tambourine began to play a lively melody. Very soon, couples swirled by the open doorway, the women’s colorful skirts soaring out behind them. Colin dared to look at Felicia again and was rewarded with an enormous smile. “It’s wonderful,” she said, loud enough to be heard above the music. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” “Your first barn dance?” She nodded. “Would you like to dance?” The smile vanished, and she shook her head. It surprised him how much he wanted to change her mind. “Are you sure?” Color infused her cheeks. “I don’t know how to dance, Mr. Murphy.” “Tell you what.” He leaned closer so he didn’t have to raise his voice. “We’ll wait until they play something a bit slower. Then I’ll teach you. Okay?” For a heartbeat, he feared she would still refuse. But then she nodded, and pleasure flowed through him. Mrs. Summerville be hanged.
While in principle groups for survivors are a good idea, in practice it soon becomes apparent that to organize a successful group is no simple matter. Groups that start out with hope and promise can dissolve acrimoniously, causing pain and disappointment to all involved. The destructive potential of groups is equal to their therapeutic promise. The role of the group leader carries with it a risk of the irresponsible exercise of authority.Conflicts that erupt among group members can all too easily re-create the dynamics of the traumatic event, with group members assuming the roles of perpetrator, accomplice, bystander, victim, and rescuer. Such conflicts can be hurtful to individual participants and can lead to the group’s demise. In order to be successful, a group must have a clear and focused understanding of its therapeutic task and a structure that protects all participants adequately against the dangers of traumatic reenactment. Though groups may vary widely in composition and structure, these basic conditions must be fulfilled without exception.Commonality with other people carries with it all the meanings of the word common. It means belonging to a society, having a public role, being part of that which is universal. It means having a feeling of familiarity, of being known, of communion. It means taking part in the customary, the commonplace, the ordinary, and the everyday. It also carries with it a feeling of smallness, or insignificance, a sense that one’s own troubles are ‘as a drop of rain in the sea.’ The survivor who has achieved commonality with others can rest from her labors. Her recovery is accomplished; all that remains before her is her life.
Like most people, when I look back, the family house is held in time, or rather it is now outside of time, because it exists so clearly and it does not change, and it can only be entered through a door in the mind. I like it that pre-industrial societies, and religious cultures still, now, distinguish between two kinds of time – linear time, that is also cyclical because history repeats itself, even as it seems to progress, and real time, which is not subject to the clock or the calendar, and is where the soul used to live. This real time is reversible and redeemable. It is why, in religious rites of all kinds, something that happened once is re-enacted – Passover, Christmas, Easter, or, in the pagan record, Midsummer and the dying of the god. As we participate in the ritual, we step outside of linear time and enter real time. Time is only truly locked when we live in a mechanised world. Then we turn into clock-watchers and time-servers. Like the rest of life, time becomes uniform and standardised. When I left home at sixteen I bought a small rug. It was my roll-up world. Whatever room, whatever temporary place I had, I unrolled the rug. It was a map of myself. Invisible to others, but held in the rug, were all the places I had stayed – for a few weeks, for a few months. On the first night anywhere new I liked to lie in bed and look at the rug to remind myself that I had what I needed even though what I had was so little. Sometimes you have to live in precarious and temporary places. Unsuitable places. Wrong places. Sometimes the safe place won’t help you. Why did I leave home when I was sixteen? It was one of those important choices that will change the rest of your life. When I look back it feels like I was at the borders of common sense, and the sensible thing to do would have been to keep quiet, keep going, learn to lie better and leave later. I have noticed that doing the sensible thing is only a good idea when the decision is quite small. For the life-changing things, you must risk it. And here is the shock – when you risk it, when you do the right thing, when you arrive at the borders of common sense and cross into unknown territory, leaving behind you all the familiar smells and lights, then you do not experience great joy and huge energy. You are unhappy. Things get worse. It is a time of mourning. Loss. Fear. We bullet ourselves through with questions. And then we feel shot and wounded. And then all the cowards come out and say, ‘See, I told you so.’ In fact, they told you nothing.