Stephen Jenkinson Interview Excerpt: Orphan Wisdom, Truth & Reconciliation, White Supremacy

This is a powerful excerpt from CHI’s interview with Stephen Jenkinson last week.   The full interview is on our youtube channel, linked below.

You can subscribe to CHI’s new youtube channel here .


Announcing Die Wise, A Manifesto for Sanity & Soul Event with Stephen Jenkinson

We are very pleased to present this offering of a day-long soul-based village training experience with a visiting teacher.

This experience is for anyone who is on to the scent of better ways for the health of people, leadership, culture and community.  It is for youngers and elders, health workers and community leaders, and anyone else who wants to make a better life for themselves, their family members and the world we make from home.  This event is for you if soul and culture are coming to feel like matters of life and death, and if you are wanting to be and do more with this life as you make your way through your personal opus before moving into your next realm.

Die Wise,  A Talk with Stephen Jenkinson
Monday, November 13, 2017
German Cultural Centre, Saskatoon
9:30 am to 4:30 pm, lunch included
EARLY BIRD – $125 if purchased by October 13th
FULL FEE – $150 after October 13th
STUDENTS AND ELDERS 60 & up – $100
~ Some partial scholarships will be available for earnest learners with limited financial means.
~ To donate to CHI’s scholarship funds to make our offerings accessible to all earnest learners of any means, or for any other reason, please reach out.  You can also donate on the ticket purchasing page for this event.
~ Stephen’s book will be available for purchase.

Purchase tickets online (service charges apply).
Or place your order directly to be paid by cash, cheque or e-transfer to the Saskatoon Community Healing Initiative / 306-229-1978

Stephen Jenkinson, MTS, MSW, is an activist, teacher, author, and farmer. He has a master’s degree in theology from Harvard University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto. Formerly a program director at a major Canadian hospital and medical-school assistant professor, Stephen is now a sought-after workshop leader, speaker, and consultant to palliative care and hospice organizations. As well as being the founder of The Orphan Wisdom School, he is also the subject of the documentary film Griefwalker.

Here’s a taste of Stephen’s medicine:

“If you have ever seen a counsellor or therapist you know that the focus seems to go automatically to your childhood and your parents, or to your personal style or lack of it, or to your ideas and your conjured personal myths. It goes automatically to you. The reality that psychology and self help grant you is the reality between your ears, as they say, your interior life, your Own True Self.

At the end of the counselling session you are released back into the sorrows and consternations and, yes, madnesses of the culture that went a long way towards giving you your personal limp and ache in the first place, a culture as utterly unchanged by your personal improvement as it was inured to your personal misfortune.

In a culture like ours, so unsure of itself, so without a shared understanding of life for its people, there are subtle, enduring consequences that look like personal inadequacy, failure of will, inability or unwillingness to live deeply. But what I’ve seen over twenty five years of working with people convinces me that these problems or struggles are not bad psychology, worse parenting or lousy personality development.

What we suffer from most is culture failure, amnesia of ancestry and deep family story, phantom or sham rites of passage, no instruction on how to live with each other or with the world around us or with our dead or with our history.

Any counsel worthy of the name should have culture at its core. Any counsel worthy of the name should begin to make a place in personal life for the rumoured, scattered story of who you come from, where, and why. Counsel well done and honest makes a home for the orphan wisdom of personal life in the life of the world. It tries to ask the questions that the Sufi poet Rumi asked of himself eight centuries ago, and it tries to answer them:

All day long I think about it, and at night I say it: Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? Who hears with my ear, and speaks with my tongue? And what is the soul?

Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well. Not a seven step coping strategy, not an out-clause for trauma or sorrow, Die Wise is for everyone who, hell or high water, is not going to pull off eternity after all.

Dying is not the end of wisdom and wisdom not exhausted by dying. Dying could be and must be the fullest expression and incarnation of what you’ve learned by living. It’s a moral obligation to die well. If you love somebody, if you care about the world that’s to come after you, if you want somebody to be spared the lunacy of what you’ve seen, you’ve got to die wise.

Dying well is not a matter of enlightened self-interest or personal preference. Dying well must become an obligation that living people and dying people owe to each other and to those to come.”

Stephen-Jenkinson-Die-Wise-Post-450x328Die Wise A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

Die Wise – A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, is Stephen Jenkinson’s latest book about grief, and dying, and the great love of life.  Published by North Atlantic Books, it is a 2015 Nautilus Award Winner.

For more information about Stephen Jenkinson and his work, visit

BIG THANKS TO Melva Armstrong and Wholife Journal for your sponsorship of CHI from the beginning. We are happy to have Wholife in the village team.

Women’s Sharing Circle + Potluck Lunch

Friday, July 7, 2017
Friday, July 14, 2017
Friday, July 21, 207
No circle July 28 or August 4th
Watch for updates to activities in August.

Sharing Circle from 9:30 – 11:30 am
Potluck lunch, noonish, disperse by 1:30 pm.
Children are welcome.
Come for either part or both.
Voluntary donations of material or service nature toward the work of the Community Healing Initiative are gratefully accepted and not required.

♥ Please share the love. ♥

If you are a woman looking for company and sisterhood….
If you want to find others who you can connect with over challenges and opportunities…
If you want to feel supported with sisters of all ages and archetypes – visionaries, healers, teachers and warriors for love….
If you want to feel safe in vulnerability….
If you are doing something exciting or helpful for our times….
If you want to be encouraged in your creativity….
Enhanced by cooperation and grounded mirroring….
Safer and happier in the world in the arms of sisterhood…

If you want the kind of community that will surf the ups and the downs with you, while getting serious about finding the ways to channel our love into the world in the way that we need so that we can ALL be well…

Please join us Friday mornings at Patti’s house.  (Call ahead to be sure, for the occasional exceptions.  306-229-1978)

If Friday mornings don’t work for you, but you’d really like to be part of something like this, then please let us know at, and we will see how we might be able to provide support to help you find another circle or start your own.

This women’s sharing circle comes from the hub of CHI Saskatoon, The Community Healing Initiative. We are a gathering and conversation among ordinary people, self-organizing for conscious, connected, caring and naturally co-creative community.

We are working together to heal and renew the feminine, to reconcile and reunite with the masculine, and to remember our natural state and earthly responsibilities in a soulful, peaceful, wise and village-like way.

Please send an email to to let us know you are coming and get the address.  Or, you can check in via our event notice on facebook.


CHI Community Healing & Building Network Gathering

Please join us!
Saturday evening, April 29th & Sunday, April 30th
at Ancient Spirals, 15 minutes south of Saskatoon. 

If you are a healing facilitator, a leader, an elder, a visionary or anyone else…

Who is working with Soul’s Call to come present with and acknowledge what is going on in our world and respond for the very life and the honest joy of all beings…

If you are developing your own gifts, knowledge, wisdom, compassion and compass for helping to co-create a world that works for life…

If you are committed to living for the kind of truth and love that is a healing way through the troubles within and without in our times, in how we relate to ourselves and each other, to earth and to life…

If you are looking for meaningful connections with others in everyday life and livelihood that are based in truth, love, joy, nature and soul-driven creativity and cooperation from the ground up…

If you are looking for a pack, a tribe, and a community where you can be supported and supportive for everyone’s health…

If you are ready to join hands in co-causing communities for the future that render our old world obsolete,

Then please come to be welcomed, to welcome others and participate in our collective emergence as a community of people healing ourselves and the world we make.

We will gather in the beauty of Ancient Spirals Retreat, riverside, surrounded and held well in the powers of Nature, Spirit, and Village.

Fireside Chat – Saturday evening beginning at 7 pm.
Bring your own snacks and beverage, instruments and outdoor gear. This is for having some fun and relaxing in.
Community Conversation & Networking
Sunday 9:30 am to 4:30 pm with POTLUCK lunch around noon.

We will introduce you to the founding values from nature and village that CHI is emerging through, followed by group sharing, connecting and mapping over dreams, concerns, resources and needs.

Please bring a water bottle and or travel mug, comfortable clothing for indoors and out, an offering for Sunday’s potluck lunch, a drum or other circle instrument if you are so equipped and inclined, and your business cards or other livelihood communication materials.

Be sure to tell the people in your world who you think would like to know about this to help us build and grow strong in connected and caring community.
Please RSVP with an email to to help us know how many and who to expect.

Children & Spouses welcomed and encouraged.

Dogs welcome outdoors, supervised. Please pick up after your furry friend.

Donations to fund the organizing work of consciously healing and co-creating community via CHI will be gratefully received.

Please direct questions to Patti Lindgren Gera, 306-229-1978 or

An Invitation to Shift with CHI: Community Healing Centre Visioning

Entry by Patti Lindgren Gera, CHI Co-founder

This is our first hello for 2017 and an invitation to join us in the next level of CHI emergence.  Full details on the event in the subject line, image and video are located on this page of the website.  This blog entry is combination invitation and summary on how we came to be here in this place.

First off, because there are still many holes in the web presence due to our meager emerging resources, and CHI still largely unknown, I want to begin this post with a few very basic characteristics about this project.  Hopefully they will help you to find your bearings on what kind of ground it comes from and takes its stand.

CHI is an acronym for community healing initiative and also the word in Chinese medicine used to describe life force.  When we take bumps and knocks, energy gets pinched and can stagnate, causing illness.

My co-founder in this CHI Experiment, Esther Stenberg — who is a practicing physician and psychotherapist in Saskatoon and the keeper of Ancient Spirals Retreat — is the being who brought Community Healing Initiative (CHI) through as a name to express and carry this active experiment we are bringing into the world.

Our base principles for going about the work are:

  • to attune to and practice our original intelligence and orientation as living beings in a living world,
  • expressing the essential creative essence of our souls,
  • act in service to healthy community (village)
  • within a vision for the future that is a peaceful, fulfilling and vital existence
  • made equally possible for all by each of us stepping up to share responsibility, resources, creativity and needs.

Esther and I started working together in the spring of 2014, rather randomly in many ways at first, and then gradually more and more intentionally, more wisely, and to greater effect.  We have been intentionally gestating CHI for just over two years and came out publicly with a soft launch in March of 2016.

Falling in love with the mystery might be the secret to success if there is to be such a thing.  Certainly, we must come to terms with a kind of creative tension, within ourselves and among ourselves, and in the world at large, that is not the likes of what we are accustomed to.  I don’t think it matters who we are, this is a truth embedded in human existence at this time, and it is also much easier said than done, and for some, still yet out beyond belief in what is possible.

Things change significantly, though, for bearing the tension of stepping into what I call the original intelligence and orientation; for being a willing participant in a human experiment as a spirit and a soul within the context of one’s ecologies of all kinds.

The shift in orientation from working stiff to a living being in a living world is significant in any moment when we ask ourselves and each other questions that bypass the structures of belief and society, entering the transcendentally valuable existential zone of nature, spirit and soul.

Questions like:

What’s really going on here? /  What is my life really about?  /  What kind of power am I?  / How do I spend myself? /  What am I making with myself?  / How am I showing up?  / What am I responsible for? /  What is needed most today?  /  What does my soul have to say about needs, and wants and fears and plans?   /  And yours?  /  What grief and praise do I have for the cauldron of human transformation and renewal?   /  Am I good with Grandmother Ocean, or have I got tears to return?  / What is the new dream that knocks at me in the daytime, the nighttime and the in between?  /  What is life asking me to birth?   / What have you and I got to do with each other? /  What is next on our quest?

What’s even bigger than us, that is The Idea, that One giant unifying orgasmic Idea, so exciting and potent and fertile, that we all want to create within it, and gestate together until we birth a new earth?  

Chi is lifeforce in its original use.  In our application, it’s the lifeforce that we all share, by separately and together in community.  It is a healing idea, release of stuck energy, a breaking of a dam….it is the freedom by which energy gets to move the way it wants from soul to soul.

It’s All My Relations, Ubuntu, Minga, Familia – and all the words from many places and languages that, in their own essence, sum up the essence of all life:  inter-relations, non-duality, unity, life, and community.

Today we are happy and excited to invite you to join us to share in the visioning and building of a community healing centre. 

Today we are happy and excited to report that we’ve made it this far, that we’re still in the river and on the winds, and that we’re not giving up.

Today we are happy and excited to report that we are growing, slowly, deeply, and well.  Spirits in action.  One foot in front of the other, together, side by side.  We’re showing up, practicing truth, paying attention, and remaining, always – even when its hard – open to receive and to give,  and to outcome, and to something audacious, like growing alert and wise.


From January 27th to 29th, we are holding space for a new leg in the CHI experiment to begin, and if you’re seeing this, then we hope that you might be One of those who’s here on your purpose by chance or design; and that you might just say:

“Yes! I feel called.  Yes, I am ready.  Here I go, deep breath…leaning in.”

Before I go, I want to express gratitude to the Ancestors, all good teachers who have led us to this day and to the many individuals, good humans like you, who have done something specific and special to help the cause by showing up, sharing knowledge, sharing skills, sharing perception, sharing talent, being courageous, getting vulnerable and dirty, falling down, standing up, maintaining resilience, and carrying yourself on.  Thank you all so much.

We hope you enjoyed our home-made video invitation. If you feel called, please join in the possibilities of growing together like this from the ground up. and share it with the friends who you think are also looking, needing and longing for something true to essence like this.

WE can do this fellow humans.  The mount is steep, the learning curve high.  But we’ve already been at it for quite some time already now, haven’t we?  Yes we have.  We can and are being and becoming better all the time.

We can do this.  We must do this, and even better, we are already doing this.  Onward ho, to our next realm.

Full details on this event are located on this page of the website.

Let’s Minga – which translates (in my words) from Quechua into English as ‘big work, all together, short time’.

We look forward to co-creating with you.

Patti Lindgren Gera
Co-founding being of the Community Healing Initiative (CHI)
with Esther Stenberg and Patricia Smith and our growing circle of co-creators.

An Invitation to Community Building

Location is Ancient Spirals Retreat, 15 minutes south of Saskatoon
Directions here.

Thursday December 29th – 9:30 – 7:30
Come & Go or Come & Stay Community Day w/Potluck Supper at 5 pm.
Bring food (labeled with ingredients please)
Bring instruments or games
Warm clothes for being outside
A water bottle or hot drink cup for time spent in the big room

Come, see friends and make new ones.
Get a sense of welcoming into a village that cares with its roots in life.

If you’d like to stay over, a bed is $11 per person for the night.

Friday December 30th – Time in the Hub of CHI – 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
A Day of Exploring Ourselves in the Hub of the Community Healing Initiative –
Potluck Lunch

Sharing perspectives, learning about CHI ideas and maps, finding one’s own position as both a giver and receiver in community.

In the evening we will celebrate the old year passing and the new year to come for those who wish.

Friday’s CHI building will be of particular interest to people who are looking for a place to put their energy and gifts wisely toward the transformation of our communities of all sizes into rooted, life-giving, care for everyone.

Are you tired of wondering how you can help in a time when our world is confused and hurting to the degree it is today?  Do you wonder what’s happening in the larger picture, or are you a big picture researcher, needing others to share and sort your findings with?  Are you a new kind of leader for a world that works based in kind and generative principles, a natural healer, a medicine person, or someone who is embedded in the systems we have and is looking for solutions that are difficult to find on the usual pathways?

We are working to establish a strong frequency by working with those who are ready to step into a new conversation, to share their gifts, and to plug into the making of the kind of community that catalyzes transformative and holistic community building work.

We will explore the maps for village and natural intelligence we are guided by in this emerging experiment, including the ideas for a council, a community healing facilitator’s network, eldership circles, women’s circles, men’s circles, and visionary circles and a central hub for co-creative community building through livelihood or service.

The Community Healing Initiative is about waking and and stepping up into a new conversation that treats the troubles of our world as though the very fate of humanity and creation was in the care of the village.

Everyone has a gift and a contribution to make.  Please join us.  Send a note to let us know you’re coming if you can to  If you have questions, please call Patti at 306-229-1978.

To see Patti’s casual and heartfelt video invitation, please go here.

Reciprocity for both days is voluntary and flexible.  All donations, financial, goods or services, will go toward the work of building the Community Healing Initiative together, catalyzing our transformation into an awakened community, consciously healing and co-creating.

One World Cafe: Reviving the Commons

1pm -7pm, Sunday, December 4, 2016

One World Café in CHI at Ancient Spirals Retreat
15 minutes south of Saskatoon – Get Directions

Reviving the Commons, Reviving Care
This is a community conversation for waking up to what is going on in the world and responding as if the fate of all beings and the rest of creation was held in the care of the village.

with Patti Lindgren and Esther Stenberg, co-founders of the Community Healing Initiative (CHI)

CHI is a grassroots experiment in co-creating space for the emergence of a community that is connected in our shared humanity, with practical co-creativity that is kind and in harmony with nature key.

We are working to co-create a space where we can be ourselves, be heard, share skills and practice active participation in the revival and permanence of community, nurtured by our capacities for care and reason.

We invite you to join us for a commons conversation to be part of CHI (lifeforce) building.

Afternoon Conversation, Potluck Supper and early-evening Closing Circle.

1 pm     –  Greetings and settling in
1:30pm – One World Café
4 pm      – Potluck preparations & visiting
4:45 pm – Potluck Supper
5:30 pm – Clean up & visiting
6:15 pm – Closing Circle
7:00 pm – Conclude

If you can take a few moments for tidying up the place and getting supplies out to cars at 7 pm, your help will be appreciated; and if you’ve kids to get to bed, off you go home!

Children are welcome and encouraged.
Maximum Capacity – 48

Voluntary contributions of resources to the work of CHI building will be gratefully received.

To help us with organizing, please register your intentions to participate and say something about why you are interested within an email to  Questions may be directed here as well, or you can call Patti Lindgren at 306-653-7086 for a chat.

If you need to change your plans for coming after registering, please let us know that as well.


Our Approach
We set the intention to hold this space in village form, in a mythic context, with life’s initiations into eldership, partnership, parenthood, and coming of age in mind and heart while we open to share and witness the words of trouble and potential that live in the people of our community.

We will open with a prayer and a call for assistance from the Ancestors.  We will have water and soil, nature and fire, mineral and our gifts on hand as wild medicine helpers.

While we share and witness, the children can play together nearby, coming and going in the conversation with their own wild timing, as do they do on ordinary days.

Those in the life stage of eldership will take responsibility for holding our emerging community’s circle with care by bearing witness.  Elders have a specific assignment, are asked to prepare themselves in advance by reading this brief eldership preparation piece:  eldership-curriculum-brief

Eldership students and veterans are asked to arrive by 12:15 for a short live orientation to be ready to welcome everyone else when they start turning up around 1 pm.

Once we are in circle, those in the life stages of partnership, parenthood, and coming of age (13 & up) will each have 3 minutes to share something inspired by these questions:

How are you doing?  What is happening for you?
What do you suppose is at the roots of this from a personal and/or community health perspective? What would be helpful for you at this time?  What do you need? 

After this sharing is complete, we will break into smaller groups, organizing ourselves for diversity, and go to the white space on the wall to spend some time sharing our creativity further, stirred by these questions:

If we had a community to help with this kind of trouble and potential, that was connected, caring, and flowing with the energy of nourishments that people need…

How might it look and work?
How would you be getting what you need while helping others do the same?
Where and how might you fit in?

We will socialize through the supper hour, sharing in preparations and cleanup.

When we are finished with our meal, we will go back into the big room for a closing circle, each sharing very briefly – one minute – with our final thoughts.  Those from the eldership group will share last.  We will finish with gratitude and a blessing.

From this day’s experience, we ask everyone to consider continuing to flow with us in this experiment of emerging community, realistic with trouble and potential both, intentional about organizing ourselves to help revive the principles of care, reason and connection and walk them into the world together each day.

We will build forward from wherever we end up.

We intend that this conversation be an opening for touching grief, ideas and dreams for the future.  While we won’t have time to go deeply into any of these on this day, what comes out will inform CHI building moving forward.

Please help us invite others to help make the most of this opportunity for community healing and co-creativity.

We have set our intentions and prayers for a balanced mix of people on the masculine to feminine spectrum, with concentrations through life stages of eldership (12), partnership and parenting (24), and coming of age (12).

The numbers in brackets represent the ideal numbers in each stage for balance, based on our capacity for 48 people.

As previously stated, children under 13 are welcome and encouraged, and free to play with the other children or sit among the adults as they wish.

Yours in the Spirit of Soul in Community ~ Esther & Patti

Welcome to CHI Saskatoon

The Community Healing Initiative (CHI) is for people who are looking for new ways to address dis-ease in their bodies, hearts, spirits and minds; in their families, livelihoods and communities, including the systems by which we share the bounty and responsibility and joy our shared world offers to us, simply for being here.

CHI is for people who want to be part of a holistic process of healing and guiding that walks humanity into a culture of connection with Earth and each other, in the heart, with love, cooperation and regeneration our goal, rather than fear, competition and death.

CHI is for people who wish to move into wellness themselves and collectively, by the powers of Nature, Spirit, Soul, Genius, Eldership and Community we all possess within.  It is for people who need relief, for those who are bored, for those who are ready for their next steps into leading, healing, eldership, and genius.

CHI is a technology for village and life that comes from life.  It is emergent and essential, a product of wild loving nature.

CHI Saskatoon is the first experiment with the technology.

Saskatonians are leading the way by coming together for honest connection, playing in the maps, celebrating, grieving, connection, and co-creating.  We are strengthening ourselves to strengthen our families, to strengthen our neighbourhoods, our towns and cities, our provinces and countries, our beautiful world.

Whoever you are, whether you have needs or resources to help fuel the engine of community healing and renewal, all are equal, all are welcome, and CHI welcomes You.