August: Canadian History

This year I have watched my mother build a gorgeous business with her brilliant friend, Shannon Moroney. Full Circle Facilitation and Consulting (http://www.fullcirclefc.com/) offers forgiveness programs for hurt people and communities. My mum and Shannon create safe, experiential opportunities for people of all ages to explore what forgiveness means—and doesn’t mean—in their lives.  They consult with non-profits, employers, community groups and schools interested in restorative solutions to repairing harm and peace building.

Their work has taken them all over Canada. I’m so proud of their work with Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in the Northwest Territories. They have created an extensive, two-year program of on-the-land and community-based F-Word (forgiveness) retreats for residential school survivors in Canada’s arctic.

I hope to work with them one day as a yoga teacher and art therapist.

There is a lot of training, experience and sensitivity I need if I ever plan to do this kind of work. How do I contribute to healing without perpetuating the harm of colonization? Where can my power and privilege be used for good? I think I begin by identifying the sources of my power and privilege. Above all I have the intention to do no harm. I have so much to learn. 

The reality of my life is substantial privilege. 

I am an affluent, white, Canadian woman.

Who went to college and whose parents both went to college.

Who is debt-free.

Who has health of both mind and body.

Who is not straight, but will likely always “pass” and benefit from straight privilege anyways.

Who has the mobility and freedom to move and travel.

Who has the luxury of time to spend on things like this Big Possible project.

 

I have been afforded power and influence because of these privileges.

 

My power also comes from my resilience.

 

Power as a family survivor of homicide, a survivor of random violent attack, a survivor of abusive relationship.

My power comes from a commitment to mindfulness and non-judgment.

My power comes from my years practicing and studying art as catalyst for change for myself and others.  

My power comes from my brave mother.

My power comes from access to restorative justice and support in reconciliation.

 

This isn't to say my privileges are earned because my life has been touched by suffering. To ignore or deny the sources of my privilege would be an abuse. To deny to the sources of my resilience would be a waste. If I hope to play a role of healer/facilitator/teacher in my future then my tool belt needs pockets for listening, history and ally-ship.

I need to listen more than I speak.

Know what’s hurting.

Know why.

 

Because I am Canadian I will start with home.

I don’t fully understand the hurt and legacy of colonialism on Canada. I want to open my learning by reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 2015 report on Residential Schools. You can find more information about the TRC reading challenge here: http://trcreadingchallenge.com/ I will also complete the San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training course.  http://www.sanyas.ca/training/british-columbia/core-ics-health

In August I intend to study the history of Canada, with close attention to colonialism and the legacy of the residential school system. I intend study ally-ship and collaboration.