Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tending Our Broken-Open Hearts:, Keeping Family Peace at the End of Life

Restorative Justice is one application of Restorative Practices. Over the years, as we continue our involvement with this approach to conflict it penetrates deeper and deeper into how we live . The foundation of my work in R.J. has been Council Process, sometimes known as Circle process, where everyone has a chance to speak from their own perspective and 3 practices I learned as a Zen Peacemakers:  Bearing Witness, Not Knowing and Healing Action.

This link is to a blog radio show . In this interview with host,  Pattie Porter, I describe a bit about Council process as one practical way to increase cooperation, reduce conflict and create more peace and harmony among family members when someone is dying.. Acknowledging our  Broken-Open hearts and our hopes for peace in the family,  using gratitude, appreciation and keeping everyone in the "loop" all become restorative ways of connecting that can encourage more peaceful and sustaining relationships in the family. .

I hope you'll listen and share your thoughts or questions.

 In my next blog I'll describe Council Process , Bearing Witness, Not- Knowing and Healing Action  in some detail. ..I'll share a reading list too.

Go towards the bottom of the page to listen to the PodCast....

Texas Conflict Coach – Tending Our Broken-Open Hearts: Keeping Peace

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The fabric of our life and the hidden stitches that hold it all together.

Welcome to Restorative Connections.  Whether through my work in death and dying, meditation, learning ceremony from gifted teachers, or facilitating Restorative Justice,  my work and practice and personal growth for the last 2 decades has shared a common focus: a commitment to learning how connections can be strengthened and repaired and how a heart that is not broken, but broken-open, can make all the difference.  

Not long ago I was looking at my Rakasu, a small Zen "bib" made of several pieces of fabric that create a whole; stitched together with hidden stitches.  In making a Zen priest's robe, every stitch is a prayer. 

Our lives are like that too.  The fabric of our life is fashioned from experiences and relationships; relationships to people, to animals, to our work and to the natural world.  Relationships built from experiences with our own true nature and our own good heart. 

And its all held together with small hidden stitches that are not visible to others; threads of experience and relationship that are perhaps prayers, or the answer to a prayer.  

Sometimes the threads can seem to unravel or the fabric becomes frayed, not merely by the inevitable wear and tear and passing of time, but by conflict, disappointment and loss, by forgetfulness or fear. 

Perhaps there's been conflict with loved ones or disappointment with our larger community. We might have "lost" people or places we loved, or find that we no longer have a sense of global connection.  Maybe we've lost touch with what used to have meaning, lost our sense of being part of nature,  lost our sense of "belonging" to the world around us, or become disheartened. Maybe we can't seem to find the optimism that once enlivened our days...or the open-hearted love and joy that gave color and texture to our life. 

The unraveling and fraying can seem irreparable.

I'll be sharing my experience with Council Process, Bearing Witness, Peacemaking Circles and Restorative Justice with you as ways to make restorative connections.  We'll explore the ways that deep listening, mythology, ceremony, poetry and art can bring us back to a sense of wholeness.  

We can bring the fabric of our life with all its pieces, with their imperfections and beauty, close to our heart again, where it belongs. We can restore the fabric of our life.

I hope you'll join me in this exploration and share your hard won wisdom and the restorative connections you've used to re-create wholeness. 

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