This post's title comes from the response of an 11 year old child. I had the absolute distinct honor and privilege to be a presenter, for a second year, at a "Health and Wellness Conference" at an elementary school here in Vancouver. My presentation is titled: "The Beauty Within: A Journey of Self-Discovery." I had three forty-five minute sessions in the morning and a one hour session in the afternoon. The groups were grades six and seven with thirty plus participants in each group. My sessions consist of music, poetry, and storytelling. I was assigned two helpers through out the day- two students who would assist me in setting up and be there at all times for further assistance and support, do a formal introduction of myself, and the "Thank-you!" at the end of each session. This is one of many presentations that I've done in the past few weeks, months, in the elementary schools, high schools, and the Native Education College which had me back for a second visit in late May.
Each session takes a natural path of its own; my preparation most times (fasting...) and prayer. I do practice my songs very often, acoustically, and practice all the time singing to my CD. Truthfully, I never know which direction a presentation is going to take in terms of storytelling, until I am in that moment. One thing has proven itself sure, every session is different, very passionate and very powerful. The stories can be very intimate and personal and the descriptions extremely vivid. The responses from people, young and old alike- too, are quite powerful. One teacher said, "Godwin. When you do your storytelling, it's like you go to a different place; as if you are translated to a different time: the way that you speak, move, and express yourself- the words that you use. It's very obvious, as you're telling your stories, you're re-living the event all over again. You're right there...in those moments. That's what makes it so powerful, so effective. As you shared the story of your encounter with your father- its as if I were right there with you. I felt everything you felt; I experienced everything you experienced. I cried with you. And when you made restitution with him two years later- wow! Powerful. I cried even more. It's such a powerful image."
This is me- the absolute and true contents of my heart: all that I am, all that I was, and where I am today. The tragedy, the healing, the love, the forgiveness, and the peace.
This is why I pray before I sing, before I present...I want to give you the truth: complete honesty, complete humility. I want you to see inside my heart, inside my spirit, and into my soul. I want you to know that no matter how dark the day may be, or how deep the deathly blackness of the clouds- when there's not a glimmer of light in the sky and the thunder rolls deafeningly loud and the lightning's flashing with the rain pouring ice-cold: "There will come a brighter day! The sun will shine again and all will be well. Nothing is too great that you can not make it through it; nothing is too great that you won't smile, laugh, experience health, hope, healing, peace, and love again. Nothing is too great that you'll not reach your brighter day! You will make it through- you will be well again. Life will get better."
People laugh with me; people cry with me. People are encouraged, helped, and inspired. I've been through the darkness, I bring you the light!
Here's a response from one of my helpers at the "Health and Wellness Conference".
"Godwin is a VSB Aboriginal Counselor. On "Health and Wellness Day" he came to my elementary school to tell us stories and to sing for us. I was the one chosen to help him and introduce him to every class that came to our session. I am 11 and people say we young people don't care about this stuff but while I was listening to his music and stories I kept bursting into tears. Godwin has had such a tragic life and has dealt through it so well and it's all in the song. The songs have both the 'love and the tragedy'."
Thank you my friend! Such deep words from a young heart!
Did I feel like a Rock Star? Oh yeah! Especially when singing to the CD and the response/reaction from the staff and students was, shall I say..."Rocking!!!!!"
In the words of George Dawson: "Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better."
Lovingly, from my heart to yours...
Photo: My home community, Kincolith, in North Western British Columbia.