As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, peace, and blessings. I wanted to take the time to think and reflect. The truth is that during the past few months I have been very privileged to work with victims / survivors of abuse, trauma, and sexual abuse. The workshops were designed through the life of Frida Kahlo, her diary, and art. Through this exploration, the goal was to reflect upon the self and expressions through reflective writing, arts, and photography.
This experience was very rewarding for me to see the developments, progressions, and healing that took place through this journey. Being a witness to see the growth was so humbling. This is the beauty of giving back to others. It is not to claim and show off to the world that I am doing this or that. Giving back should be seen as moments where we can learn from the communities that we serve. Sometimes we can get so caught up in life, we have so much, yet still feel dissatisfied. Going into communities where there are less fortunate individuals reminds us of everything that we do have. A reminder to be grateful.
In social psychology this would be termed as Downward social engagement. For anyone who feels like that they are in a place where nothing is going right - begin to think about someone who is less fortunate . You will automatically begin to feel a sense of hope. The opposite is true of upward social engagement. This is the process when you want to be in a better place than you are. Think of some one who you aspire to be like, automatically you will feel a sense of hope. An inclination to work towards this goal. The two processes can be put in to practice with a simple exercise.
Exercise - Self Poetry
After this has been done. We can unpack the two diamonds into short term and long - term goals. For example: if the participant wrote the word "Sad" in the first diamond, we can brainstorm how that mood can be elevated to a positive. It may just mean engaging in a daily exercise or self - care.
For the second diamond if the participant wrote the word "secure", we can use this as an avenue for a long - term goal. How will the participant move to a state of being secure. Could it be by finding a job? Or will this job require joining an apprenticeship or formal schooling?
Example of the Diamond Activity
During my time there I not only shared art and writing, but I also emphasized that I am providing a tool. A tool that should be utilized for the attempt to heal. Anyone who has experienced trauma in some sense has the ability to heal. Sometimes it will come from a place where social supports must be put into place, before the real internal healing can take place. Ultimately we can have all the supports, but there must also be a push from the inside. This could just be through a daily goal. A simple daily goal could be the best way to begin to re- build confidence.
Violence can happen to anyone, anytime and at any place. It is the unfortunate reality. I was taking the time to think about the United Nations campaign to end violence against women. There is certainly a need for this type of campaign, Especially when women continue to gain unwanted attention to the point where they silence themselves. This is one example. I was also thinking about the cruelty of women. Do we ever talk about women being mean to each other? This is also another reality. Women also need to recognize women of all faiths, "race", ethnicity, gender and ability as their equals. All women are beautiful, unique in their own way. This is also a topic that needs further attention. One clear example is the baseless comments by Gigi Hadid of Melania Trump in the public eye. What types of messages are these incidents sending? Is it OK for another women to attack another woman in the public eye? I would also like to thank celebrities such as Selena Gomez and Kanye West how have opened up about their experience of Mind health.
You see this is why we must be thankful everyday. Thankful for the breath we breathe, the heart beat that gives us life. As much as I am glad that there is a day set aside for Thanksgiving, where family and friends can gather together. A time for renewal and reviving the very values that we cherish. They should also serve as a reminder, that everyday should be a day to give thanks. Every breath is a chance to say thank you. There is always someone who is less fortunate than you. These thoughts can also be linked to the protests that took place on the day of Thanksgiving. Not only did we witness the brutal deaths of the Football players in Kentucky, we also learned of the violent protests of tear gas that disrupted the thanksgiving for the Native Americans, because of the Dakota Access pipeline. I ask myself - when anyone is protesting the environment - we may also think about the people as well. Are those lives not valuable?
If we are so concerned about protecting the environment and the planet, then we should also be concerned with the protection of people. Both go hand in hand. Humans need a habitat, yet without humans, what is the point of a habitat? "Protests" that risk the life of humans are not worth it. Instead of the protests, why not try to find viable solutions? As with all era's - social and technological revolutions also mean, seeking new ways to enhance and deliver for the sake of social upheaval.
Money that is raised for these protests could easily be given to the Native American people, or even to the development of the Pipeline. These extra funds could involve finding solutions so that a the Pipeline is built safely,ensuring the quality of the waters of the surrounding areas. We can also think about the how this initiative could benefit the economy as well. There will be jobs created. Jobs can be given to those who are desperately seeking work. If you think about it the protests are really setting up false standards. The environment is everyone's duty, and so is the protection of human beings. As I conclude this thought I ask you to think:
Humans need as habitat, yet without human's what is the point of a habitat? - Human life matters.
Dedication: The words of this being are dedicated to the two football players and the four hurt individuals in Kentucky during the NFL football game. Football games are a tradition on the day of Thanksgiving. It is with a heavy heart, I write these words as we continue to hear of the violent eruptions, and loss of life. Habitat needs humanity. My thoughts to share with love & kindness.
Notes: These thoughts were originally hand - written on November 26th 2016. Please note the process of Upward and downward social engagement are described in the most simplest form. Also the examples of the activity are not attributed to any individual directly. Names of client and location are private and confidential.
Image 1 - Web Link
Image 2 - Diagram Created with Pages
Image 3- Web Link
Our thoughts, to invite and inspire. With Love & kindness. :)