Picked from the AoH emaillist, summer 2012:
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to participate in a sharing circle as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada (a process that is a follow-up to the government's apology for forcing our First Nations youth into residential schools). It was a moving experience, and it's left me with a lot of thoughts and questions about how people, communities, and countries heal. One of the questions put forward in the circle was "what does reconciliation mean to you?" When the talking piece came around to me, the most important thing I could think to add was that "reconciliation must begin with me". If I am to participate in the healing process, than I must first seek my own healing. I have to address the shadow in myself before I can begin the work of helping others. I wrote a blog post about it that some of you may be interested in reading: http://heatherplett.com/2012/07/reconciliation-it-begins-with-me/ (It's a very personal post that was hard to write, but important in my own healing journey.)
Before going to the sharing circle, I had the privilege of having a conversation with Mary Alice Arthur about the Art of Hosting, and part of our conversation was about how, in the four-fold way, we must begin by first hosting ourselves if we are to bring value to the circle. (Thank you, Mary Alice, for that reminder.)
I would love to hear more thoughts on this. What does reconciliation mean to you? How have you seen circle and Art of Hosting serve in reconciliation work in communities and countries? What do we need to do first before we can help in the healing of the world? Just after writing my post, I read an article about the 1100 women who are raped on a daily basis in the Congo, and my heart aches for the healing that needs to happen in that country. I wonder how I/we can serve them.
After attending the sharing circle, I feel challenged to find my place in helping my country (or whatever community I'm called to) heal. I offer you the same challenge for whatever healing your community or country needs.
Art of Hosting - Art of Healing.
Thank you for your reflections. They resonate with me and reach me at a moment of wondering how to deal with racism and how to become aware of it within myself.
The blog that I read before yours was about Congo. Charles Eisenstein calls for a revolution of Love: "If force is what one object exerts upon another object external to itself, then an alternative to force would include and not externalize this other. The alternative is, in short, love. Love is the expansion of one's self to include another. It is the felt experience of non-separation. When I love someone, their happiness makes me happy, and their pain hurts. Love is the felt truth of interbeing."
I guess you will appreciate his thoughts and maybe you want to support the project of the women that is mentioned in the article.
Dear Heather and Griet,
I feel deep appreciation for the beauty and sensitivity of the theme you both have weaved into our circles. Yes, I also feel deep care about how to create healing spaces, space large enough to hold the whole ( us and the other ( within us as well ).
Both in my AoH work, and family constellation, co-counselling, etc. in Hungary, I still come up against deep wounds of the 20th centrury caused by both WWs (splitting countries and families, lives and communities ) as well as the outcome of it when the winning countries split Europe in two and the communist terror caused deep wounds soon after...
Dear Heather (and AoH community),
That's only the topsoil of why I starred this email on my inbox.
I too, like you Heather am in circle work and mandalas. I really admire how you are working on this process with AoH. I want to thank you for your authenticity and integrity. I regret not having been able to join your call while I was in Singapore that time. I would have wanted to learn more for you have gone ahead in this field and have worked with many people on this. I'm looking into deepening my study on this (as shared with you and Janell Kapoor) and how mandalas and circle work can be used for interfaith and intercultural dialogue and peacebuilding, a field that I've been working in for the last 4 years now.
I love reading you all, deep thank you. I participate in and co facilite Restorative Circles every week, in prisons, or just in communities wanting to deepen trust and community building after a hard event. I am also in a group of with some native peoples, learning even more about how to live and work with deep trauma from how we have lived as a society, all of us, and native peoples in particular. Student of aliveness beauty and spirit, Gina