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Elements of Care in a Decolonizing World

The word “Ginhawa” is both a noun and a verb in Bisaya (Cebuano), it can refer to breath or the act of breathing. “Ginhawa” is a more powerful concept than “well-being” or “wellness” with its integration of the physical, social, emotional and spiritual.


Disasters and catastrophes affect our ginhawa by reducing our hininga. Thus, our distress is described by words like “paghahabol-hininga” (literally a chasing after the breath), naghihingalo (panting for breath), buntong-hininga (sighing), kapos sa hininga (running out of breath), 
all possibly ending with huling hininga (last breath).


Ginhawa, can be defined as a breath of life, and can be used to remind people that there is life, even after the worst of disasters.” - Lyra Verzosa

In the time of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are faced with the need for deep care and we are being given a Sacred Opportunity to re-member the medicine within and around us; we are asked to heal Colonial Illnesses of the Body, Mind, Spirit and Relation. 

We understand that this moment, faced throughout the globe, is part of a larger moment of healing within the Time of Decolonization, where the complexities and constructs of our identities including gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, religion/belief structures, and ability are untangled alongside the untangling of our attachments to Colonization. We are asked to examine and unpack the ways in which the colonial empire has cast us into roles that pit us against each other and harmed our communities as a means of distraction in service to extracting wealth and resources from our Lands and communities.


We see this as a time of re-membering the Indigenous ways of living that return us to the Land and all of creation, and remind us how to protect, honor, and live alongside the Sacred. We understand how our bodies are chronically, persistently, and historically made most vulnerable to illness and death because of the decisions made by Empires to exact physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and epistemic violence upon our lives, communities, and environments via Colonization and Globalization. 


This also is a time of re-membering our lineages, understanding the traumas within our ancestral lines, honoring and forgiving what has been compromised and lost, as well as reckoning with what we have contributed to and served for the preservation of Empire to Survive Colonization. 


We are re-membering our Bodies and Spirits, how to care and Love ourselves in a world that taught us to destroy and hate ourselves, as a means of Empire maintaining dominance over us. In this we also re-member the Bodies and Spirit of our Earth and of the Creator(s) for forming this existence, and we honor them in each other and ourselves.


This is also a re-membering of our interweaving communities as we go beyond imagining radical change to our systems of governance, exchange, and relation, and as we seek to enact that change we envision. We see our communities rising with one another to replace systems of oppression (with new systems born in radical visioning, creativity, and responsiveness) that have destroyed us and our Earth . We are re-membering how to use and create systems of equity, justice, preservation of dignity, to return to  collective power and liberation.


This month we reflect on our knowing and we rise with our community in re-membering Ginhawa, teaching us to Care for each other, connect to each other and honor each other as Sacred.

Week 1: Earth

Physical Health

This week we focus on decolonizing ways to take care of our Physical Health and the ways that  dis-ease and injustices show up in our bodies. We call on our community to listen and re-member our physcial vessels and are reminded of the medicines of the Earth that can support us in living in wellness. This also is a week to look at Land and Food Justice and our right to self determination 

for our families and our communities.

Week 2: Air

Mental Health

This week is about decolonizing Mental Health and breaking down Colonial Mentality in aspects of self awareness, self care and self preservation.

This is a week to tap into medicines of shifting mindsets that hinder us from rising in wellness and tapping into the power of radical visioning and creativity.

Week 3: Water

Spiritual Health

This week is about strengthening spiritual ties and creating honorable ritual to bring us closer to our ancestors of lineage (living and dead), to the ancestors of the land and all of creation. 

We will also tap into and liberate the medicines of magic and divination work that Colonization worked to strip us of, or has exploited for their benefit and gain.

Week 4: Fire

Relational Health

This week is about strengthening confronting and healing colonial ties, relational ties and healing community ruptures, to re-member the strength of solidarity and unified frontlines of resistance against the oppressions of Empire. This week is about returning to each other, and learning how to love each other across lines of difference in a world that seeks to divide us.

This week is about Kapwa.

Each week will be centered on an aspect of health and care that is meant to hold our community at this time dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 Virus.
Thank you to all those who attending our Ginhawa Programming! 

Please take a few minutes to provide some feedback on your experience with Ginhawa to help us continue to improve our community offerings.

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