Restorative Justice work as art and being. Three experiences one blog post.

An artist in the show, invited me to the reception.  Twice, so I knew it was important, and relationships are built by going out of our way.  Since I like art, it wasn’t THAT out of the way, so I attended.  Since I know the artist in a totally different context, I didn’t really connect “drawing from life” or the postcard, to what I was going to see.

Voila_Capture1018The gallery was set up with the center space showing the chair the model might sit in.  It became clear from the drawings, the models were nude.  Wow.  I took in the art, appreciated reading the artist statements.  I had just been to a deep meeting and discussion with someone preparing to meet with a surviving family member, in a multiple death traffic fatality incident.  The nakedness of the art, the beauty, reminded me of how we have to get emotionally bare when it comes to Restorative Justice dialogue.  As a facilitator when emotions are high, and grief over the death of a loved is present, you also become bare.  Your own heart is present and you (facilitator) are in it alongside those requesting and agreeing to dialogue.

Later I posted on Facebook, the echoes of this earlier conversation.  It really stayed with me, mostly the bravery of the young person, dealing with very adult issues.  The pre-session preparation was more intense, as we are getting closer to the actual face to face meeting.  The compliment shared was really great to hear as well.  The voiced confidence in SCVRJP and me, confirmed and supported the energy I was feeling about readiness for the dialogue to happen.

photo    This morning a comment on the Facebook post, struck a strong note with me.  Cameron Communicationz, “everything worth doing is an art”.  YES!  I always taught my daughter to know that art was never finished, if you “messed up” just keep coloring or drawing to work that in.  She might not remember that.  I was trying to counter my perfectionism rubbing off on her, but that’s another blog post.  In facilitating a severe crime case, such tender care is needed in exploring the needs of the victims.  Preparing parties to sit face to face after damage and harm, especially when a loved one has died, requires zero attention to your own perfectionism.  All ego of the facilitator needs to be removed, and working towards emotional safety and preparation is the art.

Restorative Justice as art.  That means co-creating with those around you.  That fits well, I teach that a Circle keepers job is to engage everyone as keepers in the Circle.  As I viewed the art in the gallery, there was no way the drawings could have emerged without the live figure (nude model).  Imagine the vulnerability to disrobe and be drawn . . . to me that feels incredibly powerful, a risk taken and completed.  As I looked at the art gallery drawings, I could see myself in some of the drawings.  We connect to art, and I believe we connect to each other in Restorative Justice.  Reflections of ourselves in others.

The link between art and Restorative Justice got me thinking about the similarities.  Using different methods, improving over time, finding yourself in the art you create.  Learning what others interpret or see in your creations.

I got emotionally overwhelmed at the art gallery.  I felt like crying.  I was moved by the courage I felt in the drawings and the honesty expressed.  I enjoyed visiting with the person that invited me.  It was a real lesson, on people being more that you might know.  The restorative justice meeting, the gallery reception, the Facebook comment. Three randomly disconnected things, all now connected in this blog post.  And isn’t that what life and Restorative Justice is all about . . . connections.

Restorative Justice and the powerful web of interconnectedness.

I just opened a gift from a Restorative Justice volunteer.  SCVRJP has a new wall hanging.  peace-flag-string-mini

It was less than a week ago SCVRJP gifted (gave away) a wall hanging.

Interconnectedness of giving and receiving.

Restorative Justice includes and survives by this web of interconnectedness, where we offer and accept with grace.  The community creates spaces for SCVRJP to share, like last nights invitation to share with a large group of youth and their mentors.  SCVRJP couldn’t exist without the support of our volunteer speakers.  Sharing stories and experiences are crucial to helping others understand.  The wisdom of the lived experience is lost if it is not heard.  Speakers sharing their stories, is empowering and healing.

Seeking a new speaker supported by a seasoned speaker warmed my heart.  It reminded me of our web and interconnections.  Our new speaker was nervous, the audience was going to be larger than she expected.  I noticed our other volunteer had a slight smile.  He’s been speaking for 5 or 6 years.  I think his smile was from connecting to how she felt.  He told her not to worry, the audience didn’t know what she was supposed to say, so they wouldn’t know if she made a mistake.

It has always been there inside of me.  I just think people can get up in front of an audience and speak from the heart.  It created a problem for me in high school.  Our youth group was snowed in on a ski trip.  I took the lead on setting up some activities and assigned my best friend a speaking part.  She got really upset and yelled at me, “not everyone is like you”!  We came to laugh about that as we mended our friendship later.  Thank goodness that didn’t stop me from being convinced that people can share their stories.

Our experienced speaker shared with the audience, that he doesn’t like speaking.  He feels anxious before it happens, but the feeling after is helpful.  Our new speaker was excited and was going out for a celebration pizza after the event.  It isn’t for everyone to take on public speaking and sharing.  I have yet to meet the person totally confident about doing this.

The connectedness comes that speakers take the pain of the experience and the fear of speaking and then they plow right through it.  They reach the other side, by a drive to help just one other person.  They speak of trauma after tragic loss, caused by them or caused by others.  They swallow back tears to keep sharing.  They tell their stories from a place of heart.  The courage, strength and resilience they demonstrate touches the audience.  You can feel it in the room, (even when not in Circle).  Last night a group of 100 teens in quiet listening, respectful space gave our speakers the gift of listening.  Our speakers offered their gifts of sharing.

When if feels right, we close out SCVRJP events with the offer of a handshake, high-five or hug.  The audience came up and passed down our line, offering handshakes, hugs and comments.  Many said thanks, a few offered reflections on hearing the stories.  It felt great to see our speakers supported.  I’m a little overwhelmed typing this blog post!

As we left, our new speaker said the handshakes was something she had never experienced before.  Her smile was 1,000 watts bright.  She shared it reminded her of a sporting event where teams shake hands after the game.  At first I didn’t get that, then I thought of how two sides, previously in competition take on that gesture to make peace after the game.  This morning I opened the gift, prayer flags that say PEACE.

peace-flag-string-mini

 

The healing potential in Circle, life after death and the wisdom of lived experience.

As a Circle-keeper, some Circles are so powerful and moving, life lessons around humanity resonate to the very core.  I’ve often said & blogged, that if you are doing ‘Restorative Justice’ well, it changes you.  When something changes you, you remember it.  The kind of change I am talking about is a deeper understanding of others.  The change that comes with an ‘ah-ha’ we are all having a similar experience.  We all have more courage, more strength, more wisdom than we thought.

The Circles that are hanging in my heart and mind, have been ones where we have put the trauma of death in the center.  We have taken the 4 stages of Circle, and put next to them, the 4 phases of Restorative Justice Story telling.

As part of Restorative Response, a program of SCVRJP, the community can request a Circle.  Restorative Response is a program to address healing after un-natural death.  For example homicide, suicide, traffic fatality, drug-overdose, accidents that might cause a sudden, unexpected loss.

Reseach & training has taught us that un-natural death includes additional elements to process.  This includes 3 “V’s”, the violence, violation and volition.  By speaking and listening to one another in Circle, you can begin to let the process of talking about these 3 “V’s”.

I’ve been amazed at these ‘life after death’ Circles. Hearing each others stories, reduces isolation, increases understanding and promotes peace of heart.  I firmly believe: Circles Heal.

It seems these Circles include 3 “C’s”.  Carry-on, Cope, Continue – life after death.  The first is how we ‘Carry-On’ after a loss.  This is the basic and immediate reactions upon hearing or seeing a traumatic event.  By sharing where we were when we got the news, or the parts of the incident that have left images, the burden is lifted.  There is wisdom in survival.  Talking about these pieces helps everyone in Circle feel more connected and have a bit more understanding.  Some traumatic deaths, homicide and suicide, really leave gaps in understanding.  Getting understanding from others helps.  Especially when, collectively we don’t understand “how could someone . . .” or “why” something happened, getting more understanding helps with areas where there is none.  Circles reinforce the first C- to Carry-On.

The second C is Cope.  When you speak about the impact of an incident, you get to relate your own individual impact and experience.  This allows each person a chance to be heard by everyone.  To be listened to is to be validated.  To listen builds empathy.  The action of ‘coping’ is heard within each story of how you are impacted.  We share what we are left to cope with, releasing the burden that we are doing that alone, because others listening to this, helps us.  We are wired for connection, empathy is a powerful tool in humanity.  Circles bring this forward.

The final C is Continue.  How do we Continue on after trauma, how do we find life after death.  For some these C’s could take years, or they could be spiral experiences that you move through again and again.  In Circle, people exchange their experiences in finding hope and resiliency.  This happens in the reflection part of the story or the taking action phase of the Circle.  Finding hope and resiliency are important stages to remind us the story we tell ourselves is as important as the experience.  You plant seeds of hope when you ask each person to share about their resiliency or their ‘post traumatic growth’.  Wisdom is really apparent at this stage.  The sense of hope is compounded by the fact people just shared some really, heavy stuff (the incident, the impact).  The ability to ‘Continue’ is reinforced by the sense that we are all in this together.  We all experienced this traumatic event, we all have different parts, yet together we can move ahead in COMMUNITY.

The work to move life forward when others have passed, the power of healing.

A recent Facebook status:

The journey from survivor to thrivor takes courage.  I followed her into the coffee shop and saw the tattoo with names of the deceased across her back.  Three relatives died in that traffic crash 4 years ago, after 9 months of meetings and prep work, she will soon be meeting the driver of the other vehicle involved.  It is powerful work, what some do to heal.

Restorative Justice is grounded in 3’s – Victim/Offender/Community.  Howard Zehr’s 3 pillars: Harms & Needs, Obligations, Engagement.  (Four Words!).  The SCVRJP logo has 3 swirls, with the 4th the white background, the 4 colors of the Lakota Medicine Wheel.

I believe we have a 4th in those we address and engage in Restorative Justice.  Victim-Offender-Community and Collective.  Four sections of the Circle.  Four stages of Circle process, 4 words in the 3 pillars of Restorative Justice.

“Collective”  is bigger and broader than community.  When I think of engaging “community” in Restorative Justice I am asking my law enforcement officers, school staff, citizens, bystanders and others connected to the specific incident.  When we do preventative work, our audience becomes the community.  For example a Teen Driving Circle in a Drivers education classroom, creates a community listening to an offender or victim.  Collective is those impacted further and beyond the immediate community.  Teens go home and tell parents about the powerful story heard. I remember when my daughter was in high school, she was a football cheerleader so I attended football games. After the Restorative Justice work at the school, several parents came to me with questions because their children talked about the Restorative Justice experience.

The ripple of Restorative Justice work goes far and wide, I believe it has impact on the universal human collective.  By addressing Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual aspects Restorative Justice must reach beyond, and that ‘Spiritual’ aspect would be the collective.  When you do loss of life work, you speak about the survivors views on the after life.  You talk about what the deceased would want the living to be doing.  Deceased are usually viewed as spirits or angels, you accept what that survivor defines – and usually the view from heaven, that higher perspective is a spiritual one.  In a spiritual view of things, values always emerge.  Love, forgiveness, compassion, etc, etc. by creating the energy of these things, Restorative Justice impacts the collective.

The collective impact, when people heal from tragedy can be felt.  The two women that will be doing a Victim-Offender dialogue, are exploring what speaking together might look like.  The offender has been speaking about her experience of distracted driving.  The consequences and the lesson is being shared with others to prevent a similar harm.  If/when these two begin to speak together, they will not only have the story of the crash, they will have the story of their journey of Restorative Justice.

I often say, “when we share accessing our own inner strength and wisdom, we help others do the same”.  To access your inner strength and wisdom.  Restorative Justice is the process and the venue for people to access and put this strength and wisdom to use.  Some people need the connection to the other person most connected to the incident.  That is why some victims request Restorative Justice in loss of life incidents.

Can you imagine the courage it would take to meet with the person driving the car that caused a crash that killed 3 of your relatives?  Most people initially hearing the thought of loved ones killed, think about revenge or retaliation.  Those two “R”‘s are phases people go through and some stay there.  Others move to the “r” of restoration, and that is where healing and moving life forward happens.

I’ve had the unique opportunity to accompany a number of people, seeking Restorative Justice after loss of life.  Each person leaves me changed.  Each case influences the next, because I have a broader, deeper understanding of the pain and suffering from losing a loved one suddenly.  Each person is unique and they are treated as such and with the utmost respect.  It keeps me humble and grounded to recognize and realize this work is not just for the victim, the offender and the community.  This work is for the collective.  Mankind can do better and be better when we seek to heal with each other.

 

Restorative Response – supporting survivors of sudden, tragic loss.

Restorative Response    for those impacted by sudden & suicide death.

Providing support to survivors and their families.

Restorative Response Resources 

Guide for Grieving Families – The guide is a booklet for new survivors, created for use immediately following a tragic event.  Provided to local law enforcement and first responders .

Survivor Outreach – trained local volunteers are available to meet with families on request offering listening, compassion and understanding.  Volunteers provide a connection to someone who has survived a similar experience.  Volunteers provide resources, reassurance and hope.

Monthly Support Group – Offering a safe space for sharing, support and understanding.  For past, future & potential members of the Restorative Response Circle series.

Talking Circles – Provided quarterly in sessions of 6 weeks of Circles.  Survivor outreach volunteers provide space for uninterrupted listening, storytelling and a pathway to healing.

Presentations/workshops/circles – SCVRJP will facilitate Circles or provide training & information on trauma, survivors, healing responses and providing support.

Healing after loss can be assisted by connecting with others.  Restorative Response services are tools to making coping easier.  To make a referral, request services or to join our volunteer outreach program, contact Kris Miner.

 

Upcoming Events

  • Monthly Support Group – July 19, August 16, September 20
  • Restorative Response Circle Series – 6-8 pm
    • October 4 – November 8          April 18 – May 23 2013
    • Restorative Response Volunteer Trainings:  July 31 6-8 pm, August 16 4-6 pm
    • Walk-for-Awareness – July 28 – remembering loved ones
    • Pre-registration requested.  Contact 714-425-1100 or scvrjp@gmail.com for more information.

 

Restorative Response is a program of the St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program (SCVRJP).  SCVRJP has been serving victims of traffic fatalities since 2003, when Victim Impact Panels were established for Pierce & St. Croix Counties.  As a volunteer for Dakota County, Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Corrections, SCVRJP Director Kris Miner facilitates Restorative Justice for homicide and traffic fatalities.  These experiences combined with a community need to support those impacted by suicide led to the Restorative Response program.

In 2010, SCVRJP began hosting Talking Circles for survivors of suicide.  The program evolved to help others from sudden and tragic loss.  The program includes monthly support groups, survivor outreach, training and a guide for grieving families.

SCVRJP is seeking volunteers specifically to the Restorative Response program.  Training will be provided on working with survivors, responding restoratively and with compassion.  Volunteers will be asked to be available for Circles, support group and the individual outreach aspects.  If you have survived the loss of a child or a loved one, due to suicide, homicide or traffic crash, please consider becoming part of the team to help others.  If your loss was more recent, SCVRJP encourages participation in a session or setting up a meeting to see if the services could benefit you or your family.

For additional question, please contact Kris Miner.  Volunteer applications are available on the SCVRJP website www.scvrjp.org.

One picture . . . a thousand words. One tear . . . . a million emotions.

The loss of a loved one is an incredible burden to bear.  When we people die, are killed or take their own lives, the burden is compounded with trauma.  SCVRJP seeks to help those impacted and those that have caused the harm.

Our Walk For Awareness annual event is to provide support and raise funds.

We live our mission of peace & belonging in our fundraising.

For a video of the 2011 Walk event, encouraging your participation in 2012, click here.

Restorative Justice accountibility means understanding the context.

Context, it is understanding things in perspective to other things.  I think we underestimate the importance of context.  For example, it is 2:20am and I have to be leading a Circle in 7 hours.  I should be sleeping.  This blog is burning in my brain and I need to be typing it out.  Right now.  Context for you.  You now have a little more perspective on something around this blog post.

Social emotional context.  Social emotional skills involve walking into a room and picking up if the individuals were just at a funeral or a birthday party.  I’ve had great waitresses, they pick up what is going on at the table and respond with the level of engagement and tone, reflective of our tone at the table.

It bugs me when apology letters are dished out early and expected immediately.  Obviously my first choice is to explore a restorative option.  Plan A, direct victim, plan B surrogate victim or community members.  How can you write a letter of apology without really knowing and understanding the harm you caused.  How, immediately after you have been sanctioned, judged, found guilty, can you focus on the other, when you feel the direct target?

In my work with loss of life cases, traffic fatality mostly, I see different levels of “acknowledging you caused the harm”.  This “acknowledging you caused the harm” is the first step to restorative justice.  Two environments – anything you say will be held against you, the other, confession is good for the soul.  Traffic fatality situations, contain little intentional behavior.  We could debate about the decision to drink, which is intentional, and the decision to drive, or does the decision to drink, take away the decision you make to drink and drive, cause the decisions we make impaired are seldom the decisions we would make stone cold sober.

Real accountability, starts with acknowledging you caused the harm, and people leave behind the debate: “I didn’t mean to do it”.  Full accountability is void of “ya, buts” or “if only”.  Full accountability is difficult.  Taking full responsibility, “I’m wrong”, “I made a mistake”, “I own this 1,000%”, is not common everyday behavior.  However, it can be come the expected standard in criminal justice interventions and occasionally in restorative justice expectations.

When you really mean something you don’t have to say it.  You just live it.  You live it in your values.  You don’t need to go around telling people because you know actions speak louder than words.  Your character is so much inside of you, you don’t need the language of explaining it.  Real, deep down, restorative justice accountability is like that.  I believe it comes from understanding context.  You can’t understand the harm you caused until you understand the context.

Context from crime, means hearing about the impact.  Context means understanding, deeply and directly understanding the others perspective.  The most accountable to fatalities, have been those who have attended the funeral service of their victims.  That probably seems odd to understand.  Not all crime is between strangers, random individuals.  Most people drink with their friends or coworkers, it stands to reason, they can be impacted in traffic fatalities caused by impaired driving.

The context is the story around the story.  Understanding context allows you to mental map where you are.  The map of the heart, the social and emotional aspects of context can be gained in Restorative Justice.  Once you know where you are, what you have caused, then and only then, can you start the path to making it right for others and for yourself.

“Justice, as many definitions as victims”. – PBS Elusive Justice

Ran across this photo on Facebook, and the story below.  Before posting in my blog, a quick google search and I discovered Ms. Cathey, the widow pictured, was also pregnant.  I’m sharing the story, will explain below.
The night before the burial of her husband 2nd Lt. James Cathey of the United States Marine Corps, killed in Iraq, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of him, and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. “I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it” she said. “I think that’s what he would have wanted”.
Having buried my Mother at 20, grandparents and other relatives, I know the pain of being near the casket.  The photo and story moved me to tears.  I started to read the comments on Facebook, and I was so shocked to see one mentioning this was a waste of taxpayers money.  I assumed we was meaning the Marine guarding the casket, I hope he meant the war.  We all see the world through our own lens of experience.  We all have the context that nature and nuture (biology and experience) provide us.
When working with victims, it is important to know that each person is a unique individual with a life experience and context that you’ll need to understand.  Restorative Justice is based on specific values and specific process.  Crafting the art and science in a way that promotes healing is so important.  It is such simple advice to offer that you should not make assumptions when working with victims.  It is also important to remember and work with offenders and their families for how they feel victimized.  Even in the worst of wrongs, some people might find ways that they were harmed.
The PBS program Elusive Justice, hear Candace Bergman say the statement on the video clip.  This program focuses on harms well beyond the average Restorative Justice practitioner.  But each individual person has the capacity to grow and heal in the process and values of Restorative Justice.
My comment on the Facebook photo, was that everyone grieves differently.  Ms Cathey felt the need to sleep near her husbands casket.  Its not for me to judge, and anytime we can offer, support or extend support that helps people feel a little bit more “just,” then we should. 

Restorative Justice, 3 C’s for increasing belonging.

Belonging.  Right there in the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs, Restorative Justice helps people recognize where it is, rebuild it where it was torn or repair it where it was damaged.  Restorative Justice, experienced from the perspective of victim, offender, community member holds potential to increase belonging.  From bystander, family member, professional Restorative Justice gives us reasons to belong, because we all belong to humanity.

The smallest and the largest harms can be addressed in Restorative Justice, you simply expand the Circle as needed.  More training, mentoring, preparation time for the more serious the offense.  I feel so blessed to work in a range of environments from prevention (after school program circle) to a loss of life (mostly traffic fatalities).  This range of work causes me to clearly identify the core values, principles and tactics of facilitating, implementing and providing Restorative Justice.  I’m going to link you the principles for some elements of those tactics.  Beyond knowing the tactics (principles, philosophies), Restorative Justice requires you to know the art.  The artful skill of working with people hearts.

The art can be summarized with 3 C’s.  Compassion, Connection, Caring.  Bring your most balanced self to a restorative process.  It could be a pre-conference meeting, and Circle preparation meeting, the Restorative Justice conference or Circle itself.  The compassion you bring needs to be from a place of a balanced heart.  In order to reach another’s heart, be familiar with your own.

Connect to others.  Consider connection as a feeling.  I recently read that a sign of a highly empathetic person, is a familiar face.  People assume they met you before because the feeling of connection.  Compassion and empathy are different.  I believe compassion comes first, compassionate people care, compassionate people are strong enough to withhold judgements and empathize with others, versus judgements about another’s behavior, that prevents you from feeling what they might be feeling.

The notion of caring, is another heart skill.  These touchy feely, esoteric concepts are sometimes best described by others.  So clearly put, I have to use what someone said about a police officer.  I was asking someone I trusted for an opinion about working with another.  The feedback I got:  “His ‘give a shit’, ain’t broke”.  I understood what this meant.  People know if you care.  If you stay mindful of others, you genuinely have compassion, connection and caring, I believe your restorative work will be of benefit and provide even more belonging.

 

Women, love, storytelling and healing.

Four generations of women in one small hospital room.  I took a mental picture, and appreciated the beauty and gift; the four of us in this moment.  We had even mentioned it to the nurse.   As soon as the nurse left, the humor, so prevalent in our family set it.  My daughter was warned by her grandmother, “don’t make it 5 anytime soon”!  We enjoyed the laughter and I felt the Circle of life.

Daughter and I came as quickly as we could, hearing the news Great-grandma was sick.  When I heard my Mom call, and she was crying, I knew it was time to come and be part of whatever was ahead of us, as a family.

Thankfully, as it stands now, Great-grandma is much better.  She is someone I’ve known my entire life.  She was born and raised in the same rural area, farm friends, as a crow flies, the next ranch over.  My Mother (who died when I was 20) was friends with Great-grandma before she was technically my Grandma by marriage.  My Dad, remarried and after 23 years of being step-Mom, I call her Mom.  I’ve found a way to balance a loyalty to my Mother who adopted and raised me, while also allowing the love and space that stepMom has shown me, to be Mom as well.  As a restorative justice practitioner, I work on aspects of my life that allow more love and healing for those around me.

Great-grandma loves me as grand-daughter and my daughter as a great-grand-daughter.  When my daughter showed up with purple hair (long story) Great-grandma simply said “well, that’s the style now”.  We appreciated her loving response.  When I saw the purple hair I said “where can we go to fix that”.

I believe the Mother-Daughter relationship can be the most meaningful and the most complex.  I want to recommend a book Mother, Heal My Self, by JoEllen Koerner.  The book is subtitled An Intergenerational Healing Journey Between To WorldsThe book is recommended for nursing administrators, and further details link here, for the author, here.  I loved this book, I read it two days.  In the introduction the author quotes Barry Lopez:

. . . “sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.  That’s why we put these stories in each other’s memory.”

The story of Mother Heal Myself, is that type of story-gift.  I loved it, and felt the messages so deeply when I read it.  I thought about the book “the story” a lot,  the last few days.  I was spending time in the community where the book took place.  I was extremely aware that our family may have to cope with the loss of someone.  I was remembering that our loss would be her entry into Spirit world, and death brings a close examination of your beliefs.  I have a blog post, encouraging Restorative Justice practitioners to closely examine these beliefs before practicing cases that involve a death.

I carry the story of this book with me, I carry the stories of our relationships – Mother-Daughter: Eleanor and Alice, Mother-Daughter: Alice and Kris, Mother-Daughter: Kris and Kylie.  Like women everyone, none of these 4 are perfect, and we have loved our best and at times fallen short.  We’ve had to say I’m sorry, we’ve gotten opportunities to say I love you.  We said I love you a lot the last few days.

When family is there for each other it creates grace.  I love the word grace, and it means a way of being more than the situation calls for.  I believe it is “restorative-grace” when victims offer forgiveness, or give, in traumatic situations.  When you do more than needed or expected that is showing up and living the value of grace.  Giving with an unconditional and good heart is healing.  Women have an incredible capacity to heal.  Stories help us.  I hope the story of this blog post reminds you of your relationships, the love you share with family and the actions you take to create stories and healing.