Heart And Mind Matters

Harmonious Unity: Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Collaboration at the Nisga’a Nation NWTA

As I (Neil Thrussell) set out into the heart of the Nisga’a Nation which is located in the wild splendour of Northern British Columbia on a profound journey of transformation. The Inaugural Turtle Island ManKind Project (MKP) –NWTA (New Warrior Training Adventure) wasn’t just an event; it was a sacred passage of self-discovery and community service for me and many others.

Gathering my thoughts to capture the essence of my experience, I am moved by the unity and shared purpose that defined my path, a journey shaped by the collaboration of Cree leadership, Nisga’a Elders and staff, Metis staff and non-indigenous staff.

I originally signed up to volunteer staff for the weekend, knowing the honour of serving as a staff member was a summons to uphold and fulfill. However, life had its own lessons for me… leading me to serve as a MOS (Man of Service), working in the kitchen to prepare and serve meals. This was a much different role and set of tasks than the support position that I thought I would fill. I expected I would be very engaged with the participants, while MOS men traditionally have very little direct contact with the participants of the NWTA weekend.

After the initial pang of disappointment, resentment (Why did I have to do this?), and disconnection, it gradually gave way to a profound revelation – the realization that my presence was vital and I was precisely where I needed to be. MOS offered me a channel to fulfill my commitment to the community, a commitment that transcended my personal expectations. Even though I expected to play a different role, I had written on my sign-up sheet, “I will do whatever I need to do to be of service to the community!” and the opportunity to be true to my word presented itself.

The NWTA experience demanded more than just physical endurance from me. Walking an average of 16,000 steps daily underscored the emotional and physical commitment required of me. Yet, within the toil, a crystal-clear sense of purpose emerged. I bore witness to an enchanting unity that transcended diversities. Which served to remind me that transformation eclipses our own individual boundaries.

True change flourishes when we acknowledge the collective yearnings of the greater community and assume the role of vessels of service. Which I did do, somewhat reluctantly in the beginning. Yet, somewhere in the midst of the challenging landscapes of the NWTA, I gleaned the wisdom that taking a detour from our expectations can lead us back to our authentic purpose. (The Way of The Heart, the Shin Dao

Throughout the weekend I rediscovered the truth that the heart of transformation pulses in sync with collective aspirations / or goals. It reverberated in the collection of tales exchanged by campfires, the bonds fortified by a shared experience, and the recognition that our life paths intersect to craft a mosaic of existence.

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L. Neil Thrussell

I am a great guy that you need to hire so that I can do great things for you

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