“I never felt an attraction towards violence. I never tried to express myself through violence. Violence is a language. When language fails, violence becomes a language. I never had that feeling. Language failed me very often, but then, the substitute for me was silence, but not violence”
~ Elie Wiesel
Recently I was invited to lead a circle in medium security prison. In the past, I would look forward to working with the inmates because they always ask profound questions and are appreciative of what we do together. And when I work in the prisons, I never know what to expect from staff or inmates.
As I sat in the room with this group of men, I began with my usual introduction of myself, and what we would be doing together. Nothing stood out about the circle except all the men were white. It dawned on me quickly that they were all white separatists looking to use spirituality to support their separatist views. I suppose when I was young, I would have gotten anxious or upset realizing I was in circle with a bunch of Nazi wannabes. Now I just see the wounds that need healing. The divisions between us based in lies propagated by a history of divide and conquer. We are in our humanity more alike than different. As our time moved along, I watched most of them being transformed by the drumming and the shamanic journeying they were experiencing. You could watch the flashes of new awareness in their faces transforming them. Of course there was one particular inmate who seemed the most traumatized of the group. His spiritual imagery was filled extremely violent imagery. As our hours slipped by, the feeling in the room had softened as one by one the men described a feeling of peace they had not experience before. Once again, I am reminded that hate cannot heal hate, only compassion and the loving presence of spirit can do so.
Later, the prison staff told me I had indeed been in a circle of various hate group members. The staff was particularly surprised that the toughest inmate for them to deal with had been so cooperative with his journey experiences. They had fully expected he would run his game on me and were shocked that it didn’t happen once. My own belief is we become who we are through relationship and through the meaning we make of the other’s perceptions and of us and interactions with us. I know that the prison staff would not understand a view that being in circle with hate group members would help me know myself more. Nor do I believe they would understand how these events could lead to new stories in the lives of these men as well as myself. Role definition and prison rules would prohibit their being able to explore these questions.
My Heart Goes Out To Jordan
As I read the news of the killing of Lt. Moah Al-Kasabeh, the Jordanian pilot, my heart fills with grief for his family and for the many touched by this horror. I understand the anger and the call for revenge and pray there can be a moment of quiet reflection before action. To paraphrase an old Middle Eastern proverb, “if you want revenge, dig two graves, one for your enemy and one for yourself.” The smallest vengeance poisons our soul. And I am afraid for my many dear and very loved friends in the region.
I wrote reflection before action, because these events do call for action versus reaction. Advocating revenge in lieu of all other creative options is the ultimate form of traumatized “stuckness”. Never is trauma so prevalent as in war. When we become a-historical, lose sight of the big picture, we forget all we know and are condemned to repeat historical lessons. More violence breeds more violence.
As a young boy, my father once taught me that what we give our attention and love, we are giving life. Our media has become a tool of what some call the trauma vortex, the use of trauma to draw our attention into an energetic downward spiral depleting us of our life force and common humanity. We watch the hideous acts of terrorists and in responding, we give them more life and energy for their dark efforts. If revenge is a force so strong that we are willing to react not matter how much harm we do to ourselves, then our humanness asks of us to acknowledge the limitations of our power and ask that our prayers seek wisdom and guidance to bring healing and change.
I don’t know what creative acts we could generate to diminish the so called “Islamic State”, but I do know we need a much larger vision to address the situation. Yes, we must hold to task those people who perpetrate these hideous actions. And if we were to give our attention, let it be to healing the larger story of direct and indirect violence that creates these groups. Let us understand that the conditions of high youth unemployment, racism and Islamaphobia, lack of decent housing, lack of decent education for boys and girls, and our lack of engagement in construct joint dialogue/action with the Other is feeding the cancer of violence in our world. Let us ask questions of who is funding these groups, making the weapons, selling the weapons, benefiting from the violence, and contributing to the spread of violence. Let us look deeply at the histories in our world that seeded the conditions of division which plague our world and ask “how can we heal and change this story?”
Then maybe we can rid our world of this destructive tendency in the human story.
It is easy to say hate only brings hate and violence begets violence. The hard work and creative energy needed to heal the root causes of violence in our times is the calling of the peacemakers and peace builders. It is they who need our attention and full support. I pray we find the wisdom we need and the inspiration we all need to be lifted above this darkness.
I just saw the following on Facebook posted by dear friend Tanya Awad Ghorra of Lebanon who has a unique and wonderful gift for phrasing things:
Jordan had accepted the deal with the terrorists, Yet they burned Kasasiba alive anyway, filmed like a Hollywood Drama movie.
Got it? Not yet?
What is the most common reaction we are witnessing? Revenge, hatred, call for more violence. Eye for an eye.
Got it? Not yet?
Do you think those so called ISIS wanted the reaction to be anything else?
Got it? Not yet?
We are right where they want us to be when we give them what they want.
Exposure, legitimacy, hatred, revenge…Got it now?
Peace with Cancer
I keep current on literature about cancer and new treatments being developed. Recently I was seeing for the first time in a long time, cancer rates around the world are rising. Survivor rates remain about the same though new treatments being developed offer new hope. When I wrote Peace with Cancer, I had chosen that title because of the power of words especially words like war against cancer or the word cancer itself. Came upon this article that I thought might interest you.
Because of the book, I continually hear from people around the world who have found it a helpful support in their healing journey. It’s been an honor and a source of awe in working with people diagnosed with a cancer in the last couple of months. I’ve seen some people scheduled for surgery where after working with the spirits there was no longer any cancer to be found. I’ve also worked with a case where the cancer had spread to the brain and the client through her journeys was later found to be cancer free. The moments of awe are personally inspirational when you see a client touched by the power of Spirit in their journeys and the light you see in their faces as they describe their experiences.
Workshops & Meetings
Transgenerational Trauma and Healing Ancestor Syndrome
April 11-12, 2015 9:30 AM to 8:30 PM Sat, 9 AM to 1 PM Sun
A Two Day Workshop with Myron Eshowsky, MS
“The dead are invisible, they are not absent” — Saint Augustine
This workshop focuses on personal soul healing and our ancestral past. Each of us is a living story in influenced by generations past. If we learn to hear what is difficult to hear and see what is difficult to see, then we can grasp, better understand, repetitions and coincidences in our family history. In a way, we are less free than we think we are as individuals when we recognize we are reliving stories of past generations. We gain freedom by understanding what happens and bringing healing to all the complexity we have collectively inherited.
In this workshop we will explore:
- Shamanic notions of ancestral soul loss which cause disruption in family connections, create family patterns of illness, and other patterns of disharmony.
- Tools for exploring and understanding transgenerational trauma and how it is transmitted through the generations
- Rituals and healing methods to bring our lives into balance and harmony. is is the beginning place for healing future generations to come.
Red Cedar Lodge,
Squaw Creek Park, Marion Iowa
$245 Fee, $100 deposit by April 1, 2015
Send inquiries to:
Andreya Schneider (mailto:Andreya2U@gmail.com)
She is the Iowa coordinator for this workshop. She will help get you directions, hotel options, and answer any questions you might have.
Annual Shamanic Training and Gathering, September 2015
The organizing committee for this event has decided that this year we would create an event that would be even more family/children friendly/cost efficient. We will be gathering for a one day event on September 12, 2015. ^Training options will be made available for children. The event will be held somewhere between Madison and Milwaukee as we firm up the site rental. This year’s event will offer training on work with Middle World/nature spirits; community healing rituals; advanced healing techniques; and divination. Watch the newsletters and the website for further details of the event and costs. We hope many of you will be able to join us as it’s our desire to continue to build this into a yearly community wide event. Your help in spreading the word about this event will be greatly appreciated.
Latest news on Social Health Care Program for Syrian Refugee Children and Families
This month SHC staff/students/and volunteers (http://cbiworld.org/home/training/shc/) join with a medical mission for five days of field clinics serving the refugee populations. Typically, we served 500 or more people per day with medical treatment and psychosocial counseling support. I will not go on this current mission. I will along with Steve Olweean and Nancy Egger provide back up case consultation and support via videoconferencing to the SHC staff on site. In October 2015 another mission of similar scope has been set up and I will be there along with others to provide direct treatment and consultation as well as continuing direct training for our collaborative partners and SHC volunteers/students. We continually are fundraising to support our efforts to provide trauma informed support and care to the massive refugee population. Please consider giving to the Social Health Care Program for Syrian Refugees via Global Giving Campaign.
I’ve attached an article here recently published in the New York Times that speaks to the overwhelming refugee situation.
Personal Consultation, Healing Services, and Training
In office and Skype sessions available, Monday through Friday. Office hours are 9-5 Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursdays some early evening hour appointments are made available. Occasionally, on rare occasions, I am able to schedule weekend hours. To schedule an appointment, email is best. firstname.lastname@example.org.
New One Day workshop: Shamanism and Madness: Shamanic Viewpoints on Psychosis and Schizophrenia.
“Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors” – Jonas Salk
May 30, 2015 | 9:30 AM-4:30 PM | Center for Conscious Living
This workshop will explore a shamanic view of mental illness and present material on how shamans might or might not address these issues. Workshop will be heavily didactic based on 40 years of practical experience and offer understandings which can then inform the possibility of treatment within shamanic practice. Participants will explore a number of experiential spiritual skill sets necessary for engaging and bring healing understanding to these issues.
Topics include but not limited to:
- How does shamanism view schizophrenia and how can these understandings aid in alleviating suffering? How do we understand the sparks of divine in the midst of other psychic negativity?
- Healing approaches helpful in treating spiritual emergencies and the case for supportive communities.
- Moving from individual to global, understanding how unhealed energies in the larger whole impact us all and are a source for our own distress individually and collectively.
$100 cash/check fee, $105 credit card,
Contact me at email@example.com to make payment.