Ways of Knowing™ Symposium: Exploring the Role of Intuition in Health & Healing

Using Intuition: The Perspective of Healers

Dorene Day
, Ojibway Nation
Patricia Hart, MD, Center for Spirituality & Healing & Fairview Health Systems
Dane Silva, Kumu Lomi, Hawaiian Healing Center

This story telling panel is designed to encourage participants to tell their stories. Panel members have been asked to share some of their experiences with other ways of knowing.

Dorene Day, Dane Silva, and Patricia Hart

Dorene Day, Dane Silva, and Patricia Hart

  • Dorene Day, the keeper of her tribes’ healing the water songs, shares Native American ways of viewing intuition, healing, and other ways of knowing.
  • Pat Hart, a physician, emphasizes the ‘ordinary’ state of intuition and her experiences
  • Dane Silva tells his stories and provides perspectives from a Hawaiian healer’s experience.



The Power of Storytelling

Dorene Day, Ojibway Nation

Dorene explained the way of life called the Midewewin, the “heart way, “ that her people practice. It is ancient, given by the Creator as a way of being. In the seven teachings given by the creator, the Midewewin contains everything one needs.

The creation story takes seven days to tell and contains 64 songs that tell of planets, earth, colors of man, the naming of everything, and the creation of the first law of respect.  Everything was complete before humans—we were an afterthought.  This point should make humans humble, with respect for everything.

Grandfather Story

Look at our brokenness.

We know that in all creation
Only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way.

We know that we are the ones who are divided
And we are the ones who must come back together
To walk in the Sacred Way.

Grandfather, Sacred One,
Teach us love, compassion, and honor

That we may heal the earth and heal each other.

The Midewewin way is to have five days of celebration each season, when the people return to the traditional way of life. When everything was created, they were given “original instructions,” but humans have deviated from theirs.  The Midewewin way seeks to get back to the original instructions man received.

There is a word in Ojibway, a single word, that encompasses many Western ideas: intuition, intent, faith, determination, commitment. The Ojibway believe that these things are all connected and that faith, intent, and commitment play a large role in intuitive work.

Dorene is hopeful that the Midewin way is a healing path for the new generations. She told the story of her daughter, named after her grandmother, who did the traditional ceremony when beginning her menses at age 11.  Her daughter stayed in a hut alone, received traditional teachings about the sacredness of life, fasted to help heal the mother Earth, and prayed to heal the water. She was proud that she could do this to help heal the Earth and waters.

Dorene taught traditional songs to the conference participants, that we all may sing together to help heal the great waters.


#Confessions of a Hospitalist Who Still Pretends to be a Regular Doc

Pat Hart, MD

Pat Hart began by suggesting that conventional medicine has brainwashed many to think that intuition doesn’t exist, and even if it does, physicians don’t have it. Pat, on the other hand, believes that intuition is ordinary and exists in us all. She suggests that we view “intuition” as being “trained observation within a dramatically expanded conceptual framework.”   When this framework is used in the clinical realm, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary, and within each detail is a clue to the whole.

Pat drew from many personal examples in her years of clinical experience.  In one, she spoke of a young woman with diabetic ketoacidosis.  Pat’s intuition that something else was going on lead her to ask questions and discover that the girl’s physical disease was linked to psychological issues.  In another clinical example, she described an elderly man with remarkably young skin.  When she inquired about it, he replied “I played every day—never worked a day in my life.”  Her intuition that this man felt and looked significantly younger than his years led her to understand him much more deeply as an individual.  The truth of the person is in the details!

There are many ways to cultivate intuition.  Some of those Pat discussed included:

  • Meditation
  • Deep reflection
  • Energy healing practices
  • Group sharing
  • Exploring symbols and metaphor
  • Being a parent

Through other clinical examples, Pat explored the questions which arise from a larger framework:

  • How do we articulate what’s “really” going on?
  • How do we transcend culture?
  • Who am I talking to and are they there?
  • How do we find an opening to engage people’s will?

Ordinary Things

“It’s hardest to love the ordinary things, she said, but you get lots of opportunities to practice.”

– Brian Andreas –

The most important take away message was that “intuition” is used by all clinicians daily, though it may be unconscious, and often it is not acknowledged or validated.  We need to support each other, and those who we train, to bring all of our human abilities into the nurturing light of day!


Dane SilvaLong Life – Art of Survival

Dane Silva, Kumu Lomi, Hawaiian Healing Center

Dane Silva began his presentation with a beautiful photo of him doing healing work on his daughter in the naturally occurring hot waters of a sacred area on the Big Island.  This is a place of cultural healing; a place “beyond sight and sound.”  80% of all healing in Dane’s tradition is spiritual healing.  Such healing is composed of awareness, balance, and the circle of life.



Art of

Sense of



Visual Energy



Vibrational Energy




Pa’a ka waha



Hana ka lima



In Hawaiian belief, BALANCE is Pono.  The aspects of the individual that must be in balance are all important and not a hierarchy.  They are the:

  • Akua: the Intuitive/High Self
  • Kanaka: Intellectual/Middle Self
  • Aina: Instinctive/Low Self

The CIRCLE OF LIFE is built on:

  • Pono, balanced relationships between the high, middle and low self, and between heaven, man and earth.
  • E Ola Mau, Long Life, through the union of Ha (breath of life), Ola (life force), and Mana (spiritual power)
  • Uhane, After-Life, through immortality of the Spirit, guiding through inspiration, and preservation through protection.

Dane then involved the audience through shared exercises:

  1. Reading the tea leaves as a way to converge the right and left brain, to open the third eye and to cultivate intuition.
  2. Visual un-focusing exercise, looking at hands with fingers nearing, to “see” the floating fingertips; also for cultivating the third eye and intuition.
  3. Demonstrating the chant and motion of a hula used before healing work.  He later taught this to participants in an afternoon experiential session.


The Hawaiian word aloha derives from alo(presence, front, face, or share); and ha, meaning “breath of life”or “essence of life.”   From ancient times to this day, Hawaiians put their foreheads together and say “alo,”and then breathe out saying “ha,”thus literally facing and exchanging their life’s breath.

  • Ways of Knowing™: Exploring the Role of Intuition in Health & Healing Symposium