Healing together – Edmonton couple to lead workshop on reserve

From left, Robert Godin, Toni-Lynn Buggins Godin and son Trinity. Buggins-Godin of Hay River took part in the first segment of the Heart of Leadership seminars that took place at the Chief Lamalice Complex and is encouraging people in need of healing to attend the second segment.

The art of leadership can only be learned through the art of healing.

So says an Edmonton couple who are travelling to the Hay River Reserve this week to facilitate a Heart of Leadership workshop.

The four-day workshop is the second instalment in a series of two.

Patrick and Betty Bernard were on the Hay River Reserve from Feb. 17-19 and are returning to bring more insights, exercises and practices to help individuals heal from past hurts.

The couple are trained Canadian aboriginal journey practitioners and conscious leadership coaches. They travelled to the reserve to assist in the healing process before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings.

Toni-Lynn Buggins-Godin was very involved in the hearings and workshops, and encourages others to participate this week.

“Your personal trauma and hurts affect everybody and get in the way of your true self,” she said.

The program involves sharing personal experiences in a safe and emotionally supportive setting. Buggins-Godin, also a participant in the last workshop, said she had many past hurts from which to heal. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, she suffered the after-effects throughout her youth and young-adult life.

“I wanted to suppress and run from it. I became addicted to crack cocaine and alcohol to cope,” she said. “I had to learn how to love myself again and forgive myself and the person who did this to me, and not to carry the baggage of shame.”

Now clean and sober, the 29-year-old said she wants to use her experiences to be of service to others.

“What I have to offer right now is my story,” she said. “I want to educate myself in the future to be of service and support to others.”

The Bernards’ seminars are dual-purpose – to help heal the hearts and minds of people so they can find their true self, and to develop natural leadership skills that can only come with healing.

The sessions are free, although registration is required. They are set for the Chief Lamalice Complex all day May 17-20.