The Element Minute

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When Did You Stop?

April 4, 2022

by Wendy Pecoraro

From: “The Four-fold Way: walking the paths of the warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary” – by
Angeles Arriene:
The four universal healing salves.
In many shamanic societies, if you visited a shaman or medicine person with a concern of feeling
disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

Wow. I’ve seen this a few times over the years – but it strikes me more and more as it sinks in. When did
you stop dancing? Did I ever start…dancing? My grandparent’s generation danced – they made it a point
to dance – square dances, dances to live music at our small-town bar, wedding dances, anniversary
dances. There was celebration, joy, happiness…and dancing. Not everyone was great at it but they did it
anyway! There was no one recording or taking selfies. They were present – fully immersed in the energy
of the party.
Oh, the singing! I remember singing (and dancing for that matter) into a hairbrush microphone to Rick
Springfield, Shaun Cassidy (his poster adorning the wall), Journey, and all of the other great ‘80’s bands.
I sang my heart out in those days and for a lot of my life (in the car, in the shower) but a few years ago, I
even stopped listening to music in the car in favor of podcasts. I still put on music sometimes, when I
clean, but not often enough. This is first on the list because you must have the music to have the
I still love stories – now I use Audible in the car – and have someone read to me while I drive because I
tell myself I don’t have time to read. I don’t make time to read. Why? I have no idea because I love to
read! I was one of those kids who stayed up way into the night because the book was too riveting to put
down. I cried – even into adulthood – at stories and mourned the loss of characters who’d become my
friends by the time the book was finished. Who am I to not make time to read? My soul loves books.
Ah, comfort in the sweet territory of silence… I so enjoy silence, but it’s often disturbed by a text
notification, a phone call, or by the distractions of social media or news. True silence (even in my head)
only seems to happen when I meditate or when I’m out for a hike or on my bike. Where else can I
cultivate silence, and take comfort in it? Walks, daydreaming, while drinking my tea at the start of my

It’s true that there is much in the world to be disheartened and dispirited about. Instead of giving into it
– join me in dancing, singing, storytelling (or reading stories), and sitting in our comfortable silence and let’s see if we can’t turn ourselves around a bit. If you need help getting the energy and enthusiasm to
do so – come see us at Element – we have just the gentle nudge you need!

Categories: All Posts, Mental Health