Wild Rice: The Biography of Vivian Lillie Rice tells the remarkable story of a woman who has led a remarkable life, both personally and professionally. Overcoming an itinerant childhood that instilled in her a fierce independence from a young age, Vivian went on to become a mother, a teacher, and a licensed practical nurse. Questioning the value of conventional medicine, she also became a highly skilled nutritionist, herbalist, kinesiologist, and hypnotherapist. As the coauthor of Wild Rice, I would like to share some of the major events that shaped this extraordinary life.
As a child, Vivian was forced to move from place to place because of her father’s job. Though the family endured many difficult and dangerous living conditions, thanks to the wise counsel of her dad (aka “Slivers”) Vivian learned about the value of self-reliance. Slivers taught his daughter how to shoot at five and how to drive at ten—and even now at 93, she’s still driving with the same skill she learned from him all those years ago.
In Wild Rice we learn about one of the special qualities that guided Vivian throughout her adulthood—her faith in her inner voice. She once woke from a sound sleep and felt the urge to rush to her newborn son Curtis. The baby had already stopped breathing and was turning blue, but the voice told her how to breathe gently into his mouth and revive him. Many decades later when she was white-water rafting with friends, she fell into the water, but the voice told her which way to position her body so that she wouldn’t be crushed against the rocks.
Then came the time that Vivian didn’t listen to the voice and paid the consequences. She was running a printing press at the time, and one day while cleaning the press she felt her inner voice urge her to turn it off. This time Vivian ignored it, and her hand got crushed in the rollers. It took two years of self-administered physical therapy and excruciating pain before she regained the full use of her hand.
By the time Vivian became a holistic practitioner, listening played a major role in her work. She listens closely to what her clients tell her, and at the same time she listens to her medical intuition as it guides her in healing. Vivian brings many other skills to bear in her role as a healer, and she displays a remarkable range of knowledge in all of them.
Since the early 1980s, Vivian has helped thousands of clients—and she hasn’t stopped yet. At the age of 93, she still works four days a week at her clinic, Wild Rice Nutrition. When a client requires intensive help, she will sometimes even make house calls in the evenings or on weekends. Her caring nature shines through everything she does.
I myself have been a client of Vivian’s for 22 years. If I attempted to describe all the ways she has helped me heal spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically, I would have to write a much longer post—perhaps even another book. Now that I’m 79, I can honestly say that I remain in good health and still teach full time thanks to Vivian.
Wild Rice is more than a biography—it is also a treasure of Vivian’s traditional healing wisdom that should not be lost.
Image from SRP.