Crisis: A Time Of Danger; A Time Of Opportunity

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The loneliness in any crisis can be the worst part. I am grateful that crisis  brings with it opportunity to come together. To show compassion, love and strength. We can do and be exponentially more in collaboration than we ever can be alone.

We see the nation coming together in the face of tragedy in Boston. Sending prayers, money, and donating blood. Facebook is plastered with heartened messages of people seeing the helpers coming forth so prevalent from the first moment. What will this tragedy give you an opportunity to do (or to be)? What (or who) supports you to do this?

Love Heals

crisis opportunity

For sure love heals. I am convinced. I have witnessed this phenomenon over and over again. None of us do anything alone, (even though we are down on ourselves if we think we can’t accomplish things alone because “we are supposed to”.)

This past weekend, as you all know and so readily supported, was my retreat Reclaiming Your Soul, for people healing from sexually abuse and assault. The attendees were some brave souls. Many more people wrote me that they wanted to come. Some couldn’t because of previous engagements, others because of distance, and many others couldn’t come because it was simply too scary.  Despite all their fear and talking themselves out of it, they made it there.

Light On The Hill was beyond our expectations. It’s beauty, cleanliness and healthy food became the perfect backdrop for us to relax and focus on letting go of fear and judgment, as well as cultivate new relationships with each other and with ourselves.

Saying goodbye, one women said to me:

“When I came here I was all about self sabotage. And now I am opening my heart to love. That is a huge difference in two days!”

This happened because she took the opportunity.

being loved deeply

Retreat Reflections

This small group connected soul to soul with each other. They communicated with each other often without even talking. On the last day, we did a Tratak meditation where we looked into each other eyes. At first everyone thought that this was the hardest thing we did, make sustained eye contact, but by the end they were all smiling and making sure they didn’t miss their turn with anyone. When we are this connected, we forget to beat ourselves us up and they found a bit a relief here. Read what one participant wrote to me:

“The exercise when we all looked in each other’s eyes was so easy for me because I forgot what I was doing. In fact, when I was resting in my room a little, I thought that I would love to give a small message to each of the participants, and I couldn’t find a nice paper to write on. When you explained the exercise, all what I did is talk to the other person with my eyes. I completely and totally forgot that the other person was also looking in my eyes. I didn’t think of me and of what they are thinking, and I only gave my message and it was very beautiful.”

You are not alone

They shared and learned, and got so much from each other. These folks went from fear of touching shoulder to shoulder to bear hugs where they didn’t want to let go. The energy was so positive and the theme of everyone’s attitude was gratitude. “You are not alone” was one of the most important take home messages as they learned they can let someone in without being vulnerable. We’d crawl under the bathroom stall door for each other in a heartbeat.

We cried and laughed and learned and grew together. We created new identities, that were built-not from our abused stories-but from our goodness. And we took those new identities into our hearts and minds.

“I realized how many of the stories that are in my head can be looked at differently and can be given a different meaning.”

I am so humble that they all gave our little retreat a chance. They blessed me with their courage and willingness.

A Little Help From My Friends

I couldn’t have done it without all the support I had. Ted as usual acted as my biggest fan. My family and friends spread the word about the retreat, sent prayers and messages of support. (My kind and thoughtful blog-friend, Robert from the UK (Arkwrights of Orton Blog) wrote me support several times!)  Safe Harbours of the Finger Lakes gave us two scholarships. My two steadfast co-leaders, Stan and Janalee, were invaluable in the planning, advertising and facilitating. They were the easiest, positive, most helpful partners anyone could have. And, it was all volunteer!

It was a wonderful experience and taught me that there is nothing people can’t accomplish when they are in connection.

PS:

Today and tomorrow a few of the retreatants are going to Albany to lobby to open the statute of limitations on sexual abuse, so that people who have been abused as children could seek justice now that they are strong enough to come forward. I wish I was with them. If I didn’t have a full schedule this week, I would be! Just wanted to tell them thank you for this work they are doing! 


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17 Comments

Robert

I have read the news about Boston with great sadness Jodi.

It is a sad fact that where people live in a land that is free, people are also free to commit such terrible acts of violence.

They seem not to realise that they are acting against the very freedoms that give them the ability and chance to commit such terrible things in the first place.

My thoughts are not only with the people of Boston but also all those in a free world that are affected either physically, mentally or emotionally by this cowardly act.

On a lighter note I am pleased that your weekend retreat was a success, it’s always amazing how simple things such as your retreat can help and heal years of problems, self doubt and anger.

I think it could be perhaps summed up by the following… It’s the little bits that repair the damage caused by the big bits.

Have a good week Jodi.
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Bridget

Thank you for your kind words and link to my post. And congratulations on your retreat, you really are one of the helpers. That’s a very special thing, thank you for doing it!

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thank you! I like helping, it makes me feel good. But sometimes I am selfish. And greedy. I have some work to do, too!

brenda

I welled up reading. You are right, love is a great healer. It saddens me we have to live through another man-made crisis. Why can’t people just coexist?

And so glad your weekend retreat was a great success. Enjoy this moment and savor the good in what was done and know it is paying forward even now.
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Harleena Singh

Jodi, what happened in Boston was a tragic event. It’s sad that some people are so filled with hate that they lose control of their SELF, and indulge in such heinous activities. Do you think such people can be treated with love? Hate if treated with hate, will breed more hate and as a by-product produce more violence. Love is the biggest healer of all, and time only makes sure that the healing is proper and permanent.

Congratulations on the success of your retreat and I hope it helps people heal themselves and nurse their old wounds. It’s good to hear about the positive outcomes of the weekend camp. I like the quote by Lao tzu about strength and courage. Thank you.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I think such people can be treated with love, but it has to start with ourselves. We have to see any hatred in ourselves and heal that before we can ask anyone else to do it. We have to look at our own fears and misgivings and help ourselves bcome balanced. This, I think, is why it has not worked up until now. We always think that it the other person who hates, but I start with myself. And think, Am I any better and what ways can I improve?

Thanks for coming and commenting Harleena!

Tina Barbour

Jodi, I’m so glad the retreat was a success. Creating a place where people could connect and begin healing was a very special thing that you did. Thank you for your words of comfort today. You share your love so beautifully.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thank you so much Tina!

Monica

Love this post, Jodi. So true. But, what happened in Boston is something that goes on in other parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, just about every day, and when we learn of it, it seems par for the course. I’m glad we’re not numb to seeing it happen here and I hope we’ll never become jaded to it. Terrorists must be stopped. They need to know that we may be down for a moment, but we’ll never be out or defeated. Not with our resilience, and our spirit of caring, of helping and of looking after each other. We love and it’s our love that makes us stronger.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I always think about that. These things are the norm in other places, hardships that people have to live with each and every day. We can stop terrorism through love, I really think we can. It may take a while but it is worth it!

I. C. Daniel

Hello Jodi,

My support is a pray for those people. I’ve news here on my contry about that bomb from Boston and FBI took the lead of the criminal investigation. (I cannot understand how people brain is to put a bomb)

Best regards from I. C. Daniel – Romania

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thank you for your prayers, Daniel. Blessings to you!

Margaret Duarte

Hi Jodi. The statement, “I realized how many of the stories that are in my head can be looked at differently and can be given a different meaning,” reminds me of an observation my protagonist makes near the end of my novel BETWEEN NOW AND FOREVER. “Maybe sharing my story was part of growing into myself, of claiming my freedom. Maybe experiencing it through the eyes and ears of the students would force me to see and hear beyond the story to the story behind the story.” It sounds like your retreat helped participants give their stories different meanings. As well as different endings.
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Galen Pearl

My daughter and I had an interesting discussion last night about capital punishment. We were talking about the bombers in Boston, but also started looking at past situations, like Bin Laden and others. It’s so hard when faced with something so damaging, whether it’s a terrorist act or sexual abuse, to move towards healing. I’m so pleased that your retreat was such a success.
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Lisa W. Rosenberg

Beautiful post, Jodi. It sounds like your retreat was amazing.

It is so true that love and connection are what heal us in time of crisis. Beautiful post. There have been so many tragedies in our country this year between Newtown and Boston and the explosion in Texas among others. Through it all are reminders of how we can he there for one another. Love wins as Bridget says above.

My family too has lived through its own crisis this year, surviving thanks to the beautiful community of loving souls around us.

Nikky44

The retreat is a wonderful experience. People are still benefiting from it now. Just mentioning the retreat and how good it was, encouraged two people I know, to talk to me about their own experiences with sexual abuse, something they have been hiding for very long.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

You are a special person. I wish you can start a peer support group around you. 🙂


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