& Program Visits - Apr, 2001 Issue #80
Jenny Dixon Admissions Director
Visit Report on 3/17/2001
By Steve Bozak, CEP
Anasazi’s “The Making of a Walking” involves intense, profound, and gentle walking in the wilderness for 42 days. The goal of the “Walking” is to touch the heart of the child, rather than to change the behavior of the child.
Each week a small group of students aged 12 to 17, called “Young Walkers,” leaves with their counselors, the “Trail Walkers” to start their walking. Miss Fi, the nurse, checks and watches the health of the Young Walkers to be sure they are in good condition while they walk in the beautiful Arizona desert. Miss Fi is also a good contact point if the parents call and want to talk regarding the physical well being of their children.
Every Tuesday the Young Walkers look forward to their “Shadow”, the term used for their personal counselor, who comes out to the trail to see them This personal counselor keeps track of the Young Trail Walker’s progress as they learn to “walk safely” through the wilderness.
Legends, stories and metaphors are used to help the Young Walkers develop insight about their daily life and to help cultivate a profound change of heart.
In one group of Young Walkers, who had been out walking a few days, one boy who hadn’t yet settled into the program said in private to the others, “If we can just walk in that direction for about a day we can be in a town and go home.” The other Young Walkers pondered the idea and one boy answered, “No thanks, we don’t want to leave the group.” “Why?” The first boy asked. “Are you afraid your father will hurt you?” “No” the other replied quickly, “Quite the opposite. I am afraid it might hurt my father if I leave!” This helped the Young Walker have a true change of heart, an awakening, and he began to start to “Walk Forward” in his new life.
Larry D. Olsen and Ezekiel C. Sanchez, a Totonac Indian, found the ANASAZI Foundation about 14 years ago. Now at any time of the year there may be 40 to 50 kids on the walkings. They go in groups of up to 9 young walkers. The groups are single sex and are at any one of 3 levels they have reached during their walking. The first level is the “Rabbit Stick Walking”, the next is “Badger Stone Walking” and the third is “Lone Walking.”
The “Rabbit Stick Walking” sets the tone for the Anasazi way of walking. The Young Walkers learn about having a “heart at war” or having a “heart at peace.” These Young Walkers often come having much anger and academic failure in their backward walking. As they walk they leave behind the old and start anew. They learn to “walk forward” and not “walk backwards.”
The “Badger Stone Walking” is a powerful time in which the impact of the natural environment around them and the other Trail Walkers invite the Young Walkers to have an “Awakening.” It creates the time for a “Pondering,” during which they think about putting out fires in their lives and making things go right in the future.
The “Lone Walking,” is a gift of solitude to the Young Walkers and their parents. It is the Talking of the Heart, a time to ponder about life and how their choices effect their lives. While alone, the Young Walkers think about the influence this trail walking has had on them. They may plan on how to make a peace offering to those they hurt in the past. They ponder their commitment to have forward walkings, how they can help make things go right from now on and how to have their heart at peace rather than a heart at war.
This program is not a behavioral modification program but it does change the Young Walker’s behavior. The Young Walkers are searching for reasons, answers and truth. Mother Nature, the Trail Walkers, and Shadows of Anasazi can’t perform miracles but they act as helpers to assist the Young Walkers to find meaning in nature and a deeper understanding of life. This leads the Young Walkers to a truthful awakening that will give them a positive purpose and direction in life.
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1999-2001, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)