The Kids’ Corner: “I am not going to Harvard…. I am going to plant corn.”

The Woman Who Chose To Plant Corn

Not long ago, a Diné (Navajo) friend of mine, Lyla June Johnston, sent me a one-line e-mail: “I am not going to Harvard…. I am going to plant corn.” Her statement signals a profound divergence from the path she’d set out on when she was an undergraduate at Stanford University. She is choosing instead to learn the lifeways of her culture, to become fluent in her language, to relearn traditional skills, to be intimate with the land. The dominant American culture does not encourage such a path.

We’d talked about it before, her decision to take a prestigious graduate course at Harvard. The usual themes came up: the doors that might be opened, the credibility that might be turned toward a good cause. I remember observing how common it is to adopt the values and mindsets of the environment in which one is immersed—to become a creature of the very system one sets out to subvert. We appreciated the toxicity of the story: “See, a Native American woman can make it big, too, and go to Harvard.” Toxic, because it celebrates the very same system of status and privilege that has marginalized the worldview, culture and value system she comes from.

It is often said that people like Lyla are role models for others of like background. Role models for what, though? For being bribed into complicity with the oppressor? For joining the world-devouring machine? For sacrificing local relationships and culture to the melting pot? Certainly, Lyla could rise high in the world symbolized by Harvard; she could become a professor herself one day, teaching young people anti-colonialist thinking. Nonetheless, all that instruction would be happening within a container—a classroom inside a course inside an elite university inside a system of higher education— that implicitly contradicts all she would want to teach. Her students would be thinking, “Sure, but in the end she is benefiting from the system too.”

Then there was the matter of a Harvard degree opening doors. The question is, doors to what? To be sure, many people today are more likely to listen to a native woman who also happens to be a Harvard Ph.D. than to one who “only plants corn.” The door to the prestigious conferences, the think tanks, the halls of power would be closed. (Or so it would seem. Actually there are back doors to such places.) And that would be a shame— if indeed such places constituted the fulcrum of change in our society, if indeed such places are where the important things are happening. Certainly, what is happening on Wall Street and in Washington is more important than anything that goes on in a cornfield, right? Certainly, it is the people of talent and worth that get to rise to positions of power, and those of lesser gifts and lower cultural development who must settle for the fields, the hearth, the humble realms, right?

Wrong. What we see as the locus of power in the world is an illusion, born of the theory of change that our cultural beliefs dictate. It is one kind of revolution to enter the halls of power with the intent to turn them against themselves; to (paraphrasing the Caribbean- American writer Audre Lorde) use the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house. It is a deeper kind of revolution to recognize the limitations of those tools, and to know that change might originate in the people and places we have seen as powerless. Lyla and the many people I meet like her no longer believe that the smart people at Harvard and Yale are going to find the answers and fix the world; therefore, they no longer seek admission to the elite club of world-fixers.

Lyla’s decision is also a sign of changing times. In past generations there were a few who overcame inconceivable obstacles to go to college, to make it in the White Man’s world. Their presence there was an affront to a ruling ideology that considered them part of an inferior race. Their achievements helped to unravel that story, both in the eyes of white people and, more importantly, in the eyes of those of their own culture they inspired. Today, though, elite institutions salivate over people like Lyla, because their presence buttresses a new, more insidious story: a story of “equal opportunity” and “diversity” that obscures the ongoing systemic oppression of minorities, and ignores the demolition and absorption of their cultures into the dominant monoculture.

I am not saying there is not important work to be done within the institutions of power. I am only saying that such work is no more urgent than the work that older cultural frames validate, but that ours does not. Nor would I condemn anyone who chooses to work within the system. Some of us have gifts that are well suited to that work. But let us not overvalue what goes on in the halls of power; let us not blindly adopt the metrics of success that the establishment offers. It may very well be that a sense of purpose, play and life keeps you in the system—or it could be its ubiquitous bribes and threats. We can all tell the difference when we are honest with ourselves.

Who can know the effects of the story of The Woman Who Chose to Plant Corn? What I do know is that such choices operate levers of power that are invisible to our culture’s Story of the World. They invite synchronicity and induce the unexpected. They bring us to places we didn’t know existed. They create movement in a new direction, whereas abiding by the conventions of the dominant system merely adds to its inertia.

We are done with a world in which the logic of power is more important than the corn. When enough people live by that, the powerful will make different choices as well, acting in their role as barometers and channels of collective consciousness.

Please do not mistake Lyla’s choice for an exercise in ideological purity, as if she wished to avoid the taint of power. A better explanation is that she knows that Harvard is not where the action is. There are other paths to walk that are no less important, and it is crucial that someone walk them. I see more and more young people seeking them out today, from within the dominant culture and from its margins. They are walking out of our civilization’s Story of the World; some are not even entering it.

The best and brightest are abandoning the ship, and even those who remain aboard are participating half-heartedly as they sense the inevitable shipwreck. Eventually even going through the motions of complicity becomes intolerable, as our hunger to live a meaningful life draws us towards a new and ancient story of interconnection, interbeing, and social, personal and ecological healing. Yet few of us are free of the programming of our youth, our indoctrination into the values of the system; therefore our exit can be messy, subject to hesitation, relapses and diversions. As Lyla told me more recently, “While I know intellectually why I am doing this, I am still so brainwashed it is hard to really know it from my body.”

When I say I hope that many others follow Lyla’s example, I do not mean to offer her as an ideal of impeccable integrity. Like many of us, she has no map to follow into this uncharted territory of our civilization’s transition; she has only a compass and, if my own experience is any guide, it is a wobbly one at that. It points towards a healed and just world, and guides us into its service. When enough of us follow it, however imperfectly, we will cut new trails leading out of the maze that entraps our civilization.

AUTHOR // Charles Eisenstein

Information provided by Dr. Dan Yachter, D.C., D.A.C.C.P., Elevation Health Lake Mary

This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #49.

His decision to attend Chiropractic School was based on watching his father receive Chiropractic Care and then heal and completely recover from lifelong crippling migraine headaches and an assortment of disabling conditions. Dr. Dan was fascinated with the fact that a person could heal naturally without the use of drugs, surgery and harmful side-effects. Dr. Yachter’s passion to serve a sick and suffering humanity has caused his practice to become one of the largest health centers in the world.He is one of the 5 chiropractic thought leaders to co-found Elevation Health. The vision of this company is to “Ignite the healthcare revolution, one family at a time.” This company is building principled chiropractic offices internationally as well as helping chiropractors lead and teach the families of their communities wellness lifestyle strategies. The founding 5 chiropractors all share a passion to spread God’s laws of life, health, and healing throughout the planet, thereby freeing families to live life without fear; empowering and equipping them to live high potential lives.Dr. Dan Yachter is the founder of the Elevation Health, Lake Mary office, one of the most successful practices in the world, and has been in practice for over 12 years. Today, Dr. Dan cares for thousands of patients each year at his state-of-the-art wellness center as well as conducting numerous educational workshops on the Elevation Health Core 4 wellness principles each month.Dr. Yachter also has extensive training in pediatrics and maternity care and is certified in the Webster Technique through the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association. He is currently enrolled in and completing their 360 hour pediatric diplomate program. Dr. Yachter cares for one of the largest patient bases in the profession: over 1,500 active individuals. Most importantly, he cares for the largest (single office) practice base of children and infants in the profession. This significant clinical experience has allowed Dr. Dan to achieve a high level of clinical proficiency in a short amount of time as well as deliver a high level of competency and certainty when caring for patients, specifically the tiny ones!In the chiropractic community, Dr. Yachter is known by his peers as the ‘chiropractor’s chiropractor’ having mentored, lead or consulted over 1,500 chiropractors over the last decade. Dr. Yachter is a frequent college lecturer and has spoken at Life Chiropractic College West (San Francisco), Parker Chiropractic (Dallas), and The New Zealand School of Chiropractic.Several of Dr. Yachter’s current or past community affiliations are as follows: Seminole County Chamber of Commerce, Lake Mary Chamber of Commerce, Public Speaker and Corporate Health Educator for the Employee Awareness Association, AAA ergonomic consultant (Lake Mary), Community outreach and spinal screening consulting at local Sam’s, Wal-marts, Costco, Target, L.A. Fitness, YMCA, & Florida PTA. For the past 8 years, Dr. Yachter can also be heard daily on his program Health Living on the 950 am WTLN radio.Dr. Dan is also the author of the book, “Doctor of The Future” and a world renowned Chiropractic wellness expert and speaker. Patients describe Dr. Dan as a wellness expert/enthusiast with enormous vision, unbridled passion and a contagious obsession for spreading chiropractic principles and the message of healthy living locally and globally.He grew up in South Florida, earned his bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences at the University of Florida in 1993 and his doctor of chiropractic at Life University in 1997.Away from caring for the wonderful families of Seminole County, Dr. Dan likes to spend time with his wife Mindy and their new baby girl, Juliet.http://www.elevationhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/EH-Dr-Leif.jpgDr. Leif MartenssonDr. Leif Martensson is a native of Eskilstuna, Sweden. He left a semi-professional soccer career to come to the United States in 1991 after receiving a full soccer scholarship to Radford University in Virginia. While at Radford, Dr. Leif became exposed to chiropractic through a fellow teammate. His love of natural healing without the use of drugs or surgery was right in sync with the principles of chiropractic. When he realized that chiropractic was the “missing link” to the health principles he already embraced, Dr. Leif decided to pursue a Chiropractic degree at Life University in Marietta, Georgia. While at Life University, he was also able to continue playing soccer on the collegiate level and then graduated in 1999.Following graduation, Dr. Leif returned to Europe and settled in Galway, Ireland, where he served as the Clinic Director of a busy practice until 2002. In 2002, Dr. Leif returned to the United States to marry and practice with his wife, Annette, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In 2005 Dr. Leif relocated his family to central Florida and joined Dr. Yachter at Elevation Health.Dr. Leif and his wife are the proud parents of two healthy, drug- and vaccine-free “chirokids.”Dr. Leif’s passion is to create a paradigm shift in the way people view health and wellness. He strongly believes that health comes from within, and the power that made the body, heals the body. He feels privileged to help people heal and recover from sickness and disease, without the use of drugs and surgery through chiropractic care. He is especially in tune with the mental and physical needs of the athlete through his experience as both a professional and collegiate athlete.

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