An interview with Laura Chasin, the founder of the Public Conversations Project, about her work facilitating a dialogue between leaders of the pro-life and pro-choice movements in Boston after the abortion clinic shootings in 1994. [Read more…]
An interview with Tim Wilson, a senior advisor to Seeds of Peace; bringing youth from war-torn countries together for dialogue each summer in Maine. Tim describes the way that trust, respect and communication are practiced at camp to build relationships that can foster peace throughout a lifetime. He tells the story of how an apology between a Palestinian and an Israeli boy helped build trust that effected relationships throughout the camp. He described the destructive pattern of kids competing to prove that their side had suffered more as a way to gain advantage. We spoke about his own formative experience losing a family member to the Klu Klux Klan, and how his parents had helped him overcome bitterness and hatred.
An interview with Fatuma Hussein, the director of the United Somali Women of Maine. Fatuma describes the pervasive atmosphere of fear in the refugee camps where she lived for two years after leaving the civil war in Somalia. She spoke about the challenge of meeting the United States resettlement categories of family, when extended families are the norm in Somalia. She reported that the role of women in Somali culture has been changed dramatically by the war, life in the camps and the challenges of resettling in an entirely new culture. While, when she was little, the birth of a girl child was not celebrated, now, as Somali women have shown themselves to be the bedrock of their families through extraordinary upheaval, she feels that the status of women is improving. She said that Somali women on the whole do not see the hijab (head scarf) as a form of oppression (as many western women assume), but as a symbol of connection to a culture that they value highly. She also made the distinction between Islam which she feels tends to value women’s authority and rights, more than Somali culture itself. Ultimately she affirmed the courage of the Somali women who have come to this country with absolutely nothing and have found ways to protect and support their families in the face of overwhelming newness. She invites us to see Somali women through this lens.
An interview with yoga teacher, researcher and author, Richard Miller about his adaptation of yoga nidra for use with returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. Richard describes studies done by the department of defense showing that yoga nidra can be effective at reducing the symptoms of PTSD, allowing vets to sleep through the night, to feel safe inside themselves, and to gain a sense of mastery over outbursts of anger and rage. He describes how yoga nidra works to create a state of consciousness where we become aware of our sensations, thoughts, feelings and breath with acceptance and openness. He works with pairs of opposite feelings to help participants gain a sense of being more than their feelings and sensations. As an example he works with feelings of shame, helplessness and collapse, that many veterans feel, at being unable to prevent the death of a friend, and works with its opposite, the feeling of potency and vitality that allow the shame to begin to dissipate. We end with a brief taste of yoga nidra. You can find out more at www.irest.us
An interview with yoga teacher and therapist Deirdre Fay about her experience of discovering her own trauma history through yoga. Deirdre reports that yoga is always an agent of transformation, that softened her defenses to the point that her body began to relive previously forgotten memories of trauma. [Read more…]