The Break In Our IRT Flow

In one of the Turner readings from last week the idea of flow is presented. I find this idea of flow within a ritual very interesting, especially when I think of what qualifies as a ritual. Some people in our class might define a ritual as simply one of the ceremonies we participated in while on the reservation. Others might even view our whole trip to Pine Ridge as a ritual. I personally like to view our entire block as a ritual in which flow was constantly felt.

Within this block I have felt an intense feeling of flow. One of Turner’s statements about flow is that it is difficult to define time within flow. One is not able to differentiate the past, present, and future. This class has been a continuous flow from one moment to the next while still feeling in control. In my opinion this sense of flow started with our first pipe ceremony in shove. That ceremony was proof that everyone in the class was enthusiastic and open to learn more about the Lakota culture and people. From that ceremony on our class quickly and attentively went from one moment to the next without much, if any, breathing time in between. Although the block plan lends itself to not giving us time to process these events fully as they were happening, we are now left with the task of unraveling our experiences from this class. I think many of us started to feel this way upon our return to campus after being on the reservation, but now we all realize this feeling more. Now we actually have the time to fully focus on the aspects we want to understand from the events that took place and the things we learned. While this process seemed to start upon our return, we all are realizing that our understanding of our unique experiences will only deepen with time.  These ideas of flow presented by Turner help me understand why some aspects of this class were hard to process, and will only become easier to comprehend as time goes on; because the flow was so constant, now being out of the flow is it easier to analyze the occurrences.

Although it is easier for me to realize that there was a more recognizable flow while we were on the reservation and sharing in ceremonies, I still recognize the different sense of flow in our normal class atmosphere. I can pretty confidently say that most of us felt the interruption in our flow that first weekend and Monday back from Pine Ridge. Some people were sick and some were just talking about how it was difficult getting back into the CC campus life after being on the reservation for 5 days. While that could be seen as the end of our flow because we were back on campus, I only see that as an interruption in the overall flow of our entire block.

I think now with our class coming to an end it is easier to grasp this idea of our class being a ritual with a constant flow without. Having no more class time left makes me realize how real the flow of our class was because I will not have that flow anymore. I think that flow makes sense when thinking of the saying “you don’t know what you have until its gone”, its easier to notice a flow once it is not occurring anymore.

Thanks to all of you for making this block so amazing!

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