Friday, November 30, 2012

In the Giant Wound People Talk in Images

What I have found in many settings of conflict is this: People rarely talk about conflict analytically, unless they feel they are compelled or required to do so in the formality of explaining the mess they are in to a specialist who is analyzing their conflict. People talk in images. Much literature has attended to the importance of metaphor for creating and shaping reality and experience. But less has been discussed about the aesthetics of metaphor. I have come to treat metaphor as if it were a canvas. Metaphor is a creative act. The spontaneous way it is formulated brings something new into the world. This something new interacts with the world and has a life. It creates an image of what the experience of living in the world is like (...) In conflict conversations I don't just listen for metaphors, I watch them (...) Metaphors are like a living museum of conflict resources.

John Paul Lederach from The Moral Imagination

3 Leadership Lessons interacting with the Giant Wound

I am trekking through the Oman desert. It’s over 100 degrees with no shade in sight. The dunes are endless, some peaking at over 300 feet. I have chills because I am so hot, our group is scattered, I am caked in sweat and sand … and I am having the time of my life.  No, I am not a masochist; I am on an Outward Bound expedition.
What do extreme challenge and discomfort have to do with leadership? Everything, if you ask an Outward Bound instructor. Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization, which for over 60 years has used extreme wilderness environments and challenges as incubators to cultivate character, leadership, compassion, self-reliance as well as to foster team and international peace building initiatives. The guiding philosophy is a blend of tenacity, physical challenge, courage, and perseverance melded with compassion, self-sacrifice, and tolerance. Leadership is not for the faint hearted; a unifying ethos is feeling a level of comfort with discomfort, and Outward Bound provides conditions for facing and harnessing the power of fear.

The Biology of Belief: Giant Wound surrenders to New Awareness

The Biology of Belief is a groundbreaking work in the field of new biology. Author Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., is a former medical school professor and research scientist. His experiments, and those of other leading-edge scientists, have examined in great detail the mechanisms by which cells receive and process information.
The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; but instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.
This profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics is being hailed as a major breakthrough, showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.
Using simple language, illustrations, humor, and everyday examples, he demonstrates how the new science of Epigenetics is revolutionizing our understanding of the link between mind and matter, and the profound effects it has on our personal lives and the collective life of our species.

Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized authority in bridging science and spirit and a leading voice in new biology. A cell biologist by training, he taught Cell Biology at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine, and later performed pioneering studies at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.  

Giving your Life Away

The Jewish prophets had one foot in Israel and one foot outside and beyond. So must you have one foot in your historical faith community and one foot in the larger world; one foot rooted in a good tradition of accountability and another in your own world of service, volunteerism, and occupation, or what I call “lifestyle Christianity,” moving beyond belief systems to actual practices in giving your life away. How else can we imitate the surrender of Jesus, who did exactly the same in relation to his own Jewish religion? He never left it, and yet in some ways he always left it when it did not heal or help real people.
As the 12th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes, we do not really appropriate things ourselves until we actively hand them on to others. We have to find the Love, and then give the Love away; and it is amazing how the two events do not always happen within the same group. I think they are both training grounds, one for the other. The first is our spring and our well (home base); the other is the channel away from home base that keeps our well from becoming brackish and stagnant water.
 Richard Rohr 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prophetic Vision Dealing with the Giant Wound

A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in

On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.

Things you could take in your stride before

Now become labor some events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.

Gravity begins falling inside you,

Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.

And you are marooned on unsure ground.

Something within you has closed down;

And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.

The desire that drove you has relinquished.

There is nothing else to do now but rest

And patiently learn to receive the self

You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken

And sadness take over like listless weather.

The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;

Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses,open up

To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain

When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,

Taking time to open the well of color

That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone

Until its calmness can claim you.

Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.

Learn to linger around someone of ease

Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,

Having learned a new respect for your heart

And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

John O'Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Trauma, Peacebuilding and Development: An Africa Region Perspective

With the trauma paradigm increasingly questioned, this is an appropriate moment to step back and reflect on what are the alternatives. The purpose of this paper is develop an alternative framework for conceptualizing mental health and psychosocial issues in the post-conflict environments in Africa. It begins with an overview of the region and an analysis of the competing conceptual frameworks that have guided mental health and psychosocial interventions within it. Next, it examines critically the concepts of trauma, peacebuilding and development and offers a transformational perspective in which healing is integrally interconnected with collective processes of social mobilization and transformation of institutionalized inequities toward the achievement of social justice and human rights. In place of the dominant trauma idiom, it identifies a holistic conceptualization of psychosocial well-being that centers around risk, resilience, and protective factors and that highlight the importance of community mobilization, culture, social ecologies, and social justice. Third, it examines practice in the region in regard to issues of trauma and more holistic mental health and psychosocial support, with an emphasis on children and youth. It argues that although trauma work is prevalent throughout Africa, a trauma focus is less useful than a more holistic, community-based and culturally grounded approach. It concludes that although this approach is proving useful in the field, a key task for the future is to connect community-based work with larger processes of social transformation for peace with social justice.

Link to the paper >>

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Field of Compassion

In the tradition of Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry, Judy Cannato invites spiritual seekers to embrace the way in which an understanding of religion and the spiritual path is informed and illumined by cutting-edge science. Cannato's newest book is a must-read for those interested in how the new cosmology and the Christian story can be understood in harmony with one another. She shows how modern scientific discoveries demonstrate that at the most fundamental of levels all life is connected and that humankind participates in the unfolding of the universe. This book's compelling and radical call to transformation will inspire readers to choose collaboration and peace over competition and conflict.