A Strong Woman: Hua Anwa By Tobey Crockett
18 March 2009 12,442 views One Comment
I have spent my life surrounded by women. Having been raised by a single mother, and attending all female schools from first grade through my bachelor’s degree, I can truthfully say that I have been lucky to know quite a few remarkable women. As a former New Yorker, growing up in the big city, I was exposed to a wide variety of potential role models: executives, teachers, artists, stockbrokers, lawyers, pastry chefs, and moms. But among the many superb examples of feminine strength, versatility, and sagacity that I have had the good fortune to meet a local Arroyo Grande woman who stands out to me. Hua Anwa, a Metis teacher and the spiritual leader of the Church of Empowerment, a Native American based community which follows in the Medicine Way. Hua, a long time resident of the Central Coast, has been leading an annual celebration of the traditional Long Dance for nearly two decades now. Falling on or about the autumnal equinox each year and lasting a few days, the Long Dance event gathers together some one hundred or more women into a great community circle of drumming, singing, sitting in a sweat lodge and teaching that culminates in an all night ceremony lasting from sunset to sunrise. With the event held on remote, private land near Lopez Lake, both men and women participate in the village building and the communal creation of sacred space that makes possible this highpoint of the spiritual calendar. It is a mighty undertaking, requiring weeks and months of advance planning, organization, and the gathering together of materials, resources and various community partners. It is gift to see this strong woman open her heart to so many and set an example of respect, caring, and yes, deep humor as well, for Hua is too smart to take herself too seriously. She never places herself above anyone else despite the great body of knowledge and rich experiences which she has accumulated over the years. Since she is always open to learning more, Hua inspires loyalty and generosity from other teachers, elders who choose to share with her community, which is a great benefit to us all. Though she is consistently inspiring, precise, and even electrifying in her instruction of others, Hua is nonetheless a gentle and patient teacher. What really touches me and impresses me about the way Hua approaches her various offerings to her spiritual community is the integrity and consistency with which she conducts the daily business of getting things done. There is a clarity and transparency to the way she goes about solving problems, teaching classes, and leading ceremony that communicates the deep respect she has for others, and indeed for the entire Web of Life. Hua is not afraid to show her true spirit and lay her feelings bare, and in this, she sets the finest example. She does not hide from challenges or sorrow, but nor does she dwell on it. Like us all, she is simply a human being. And how rare it is for us to watch the evolution of a fellow seeker? I really admire her gift of spiritual intimacy, her easy grace and compassion and I am happy that I can call her friend, as well as teacher. Thank you Hua.