Living the R’s of Restorative Justice Respect, Relationship, Responsibility.

Recently presented at the Red Road Gathering in Vermillion South Dakota.  I did my first presentation using Prezi, you can view it here.

I highlighted the 3 R’s of Restorative Justice in the presentation.  Respect, Responsibility and Relationship.  Like anything when you prepare to teach it, you understand the material differently.  Additionally when you speak at Red Road, you are speaking to people’s hearts.  It is a different type of presentation.  Usually I am speaking to teach Restorative Justice itself or offering education on how to do RJ.  The Red Road Gathering is deeper than that.  You consider your audience in every presentation.  For the Red Road Gathering I considered people attend for the theme, the meaning and to learn more about the human experience of living on the Red Road (Native American Spiritual path of living in connection, sobriety, harmony, well-being).

Respect, Relationship, Responsibility.

Respect is deeper than just not rolling your eyes, or reacting negatively to someone else.  It is holding, really holding that honor and recognition of equal dignity and worth in another human being.  In Restorative Justice we ask people to hold that deep respect, even for those that have caused us pain and harm.  I try to check myself in these concepts.  “Be the message” and “live the prayer”.  Holding respect that means “honoring the dignity and worth” of each and every person (click to tweet). In my presentation I shared we all have the capacity.  I shared stories of teachers, those teachers to me have been the people who have utilized Restorative Justice to repair harm.  This presentation focused on severe crime and violence, so the experience of meeting someone who murdered your loved one, or drove the car that caused the crash that they died in.  I put out the call to honor others even if they have caused that kind of harm in your pathway.  Honor others even if they caused a lesser harm.

Relationship.  This is recognizing the inter-relatedness, the interconnectedness of each and every person.  It is also deeper and more than that.  Relationships mean doing something for others.  Something for someone else.  Doing for someone who in turn it becomes reciprocal, bilateral.  Some relationships are involuntary, often the case with crime.  Maybe the relationship is by choice, however, having violence or harm in the relationship is not.  In Restorative Justice, we ask for people to try to understand each others relationship to the incident.  To explore their own relationship to it.  We ask “how were you impacted”, “what were you thinking”.  This relationship to the incident can and does change over time.  That is growth and healing, when it doesn’t change people are often stuck, bitter, resentful.

When practicing Restorative Justice, you start people on the journey to a different relationship to the harm.  The Victim-Offender Dialogue is not the end point, but a place along the path.  Severe crime is a life-long journey of living with the incident.  When we do less harmful events, we intend for Restorative Justice to change the person for the better.  Deeper connections and relationships to values to promote safer living for self and others.

Responsibility.  This is the commitment to these relationships.  When victims show ‘restorative grace’, by forgiving, honoring, repairing harm, an obligation emerges in the one that caused the harm (click to tweet).  When you get to this point, Restorative Justice faces the challenge of victims not always wanting to engage in the process.  Responsibility means living your life connected to the voice inside of you that does not use words.  Living from a Center that knows right from wrong, kindness from harm, and can overcome any pain or challenge.  If you live from the wounds and jagged edges of your life, you are not honoring your responsibilities.  Even around others who are living from the jagged edges, your job is to be the example, live in a kind way, knowing no act of kindness is ever wasted.

At the same time, I am thinking long about someone I am working with.  I view things differently than this person.  I want to move them along to a place of deeper accountability and responsibility for causing harm.  The very first step in Restorative Justice accountability.  How do I use Respect, Responsibility, Relationship?  I put a little statement on Facebook, I was wondering if I could harm the other person and create “over-accountability”.  Not sure what that means, I made it up.  I drew some wisdom from someone with lived experience.  Sometimes, the system takes away the responsibility for accountability because the system punishes in a way the person being punished doesn’t feel is just or fair.  I know perceived injustice will create a reaction.  I will be revisiting respect, and really try to understand the other person’s perpective and the benefits of that attitude, and then hopefully we can explore and discover how those beliefs impact the relationship to the offense.  Then perhaps we can move to a place of taking more responsibility for the harm, and isn’t that accountability?


Resources for Circle keepers, helping promote the process.

At St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Progam ( we hold our sessions in Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circle process.  We depend on volunteers to help us as community members and as Circle Keepers.  We recently developed a few resources for our organization and will share these here.  Let me know what you think!

Elements & Stages

SCVRJP Circle Keeper Guidebook

The next two-day Circle Keeper training at SCVRJP is on October 3rd and 4th from 9-3 both days.  Those volunteering with SCVRJP willl be not be required to pay the $200 registration fee.  Limited scholorships are available.  SCVRJP also provides consultation and workshops, you can contact us and bring a training to your conference or agency.

I’ll be presenting 4 workshops at the Idaho Juvenile Justice Conference August 27,

How key elements of a Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circle create more than conversation.

Circles are so simple, yet so complex.  I’ve been told I make it look easy, that ease comes from a deep committment to honor the process and the key elements of Restorative Justice Circles.  Here are a few of the elements and how utilizing them impacts the process, creating a deeper container a richer experience, and has people quickly moving to a place of emotional safety.

The opening/closing.  I have a 3 inch 3 ring binder bursting with poems, readings and even an obituary.  When you introduce this element you are sharing how Circle is different from our every day conversation, that sets a tone.  The reading also provides one voice.  The one reading, is the one speaking, at that time.  People know that when someone is reading to a group, the thing to do is to listen.  The reading creates an opportunity for the group (without knowing it) to do one of the things that makes Circle so successful (speak one at a time).  When you get to a place of “one voice”, it is actually creating a collective energy of ‘one-ness’.  Sound corny, but in that space you are having more than a conversation.  This is a monitoring of the emotional climate (key Keeper skill) and when you have that spot reached, you have a deeper well.

Commitment to the Values.  Crucial.  Absolutely crucial.  This sets the agenda and the tone for how we are going to relate to each other.  Doing the values round as the first round, sets a tone, and the commitment to those values, sets and ground that the Center of the Circle, has a capital C.  It is an easy place to find consensus, to talk about consensus.  The other thing it does is give chance for a one-word or short sentence response.  Quickly moving the Talking Piece around the Circle.  Once every voice is heard, people have a sense of belonging, of value.  They have given a vote on how they are willing to proceed.  If I have a delicate topic or important conversation, I always ask “can I talk to you” or “do you have time right now”.  This is a small but very influential relationship building technique.

Passing the Talking Piece Around the Circle.  I think the Keeper was trying to point out use of the talking piece, when someone was blurting she asked if they needed it, the person said yes.  It started a “popcorn” style, going across the Circle, bouncing around.  Many of us were not in that particular stream of conversation.  From my seat, it felt as if the individuals doing the talking had taken a bit of control of the process.  When the Keeper started to engage the piece going all the way around, it felt more equal.  Equality, sitting equal distance from the Center, equal opportunity with the talking piece.  These physical actions influence our emotions, Spirit and thoughts.

Keeper as model to responses.  I often go first, to show or demonstrate and to set the tone.  Just offering “who wants to start” creates the extroverts going first.  You have lost the chance to influence the emotional content, level or sharing and duration of explanation you are seeking.  Sometimes going last to summarize is important.  By going first you can also restate the question at the end of your sharing.  Helpful for the person to your left or right.  (I go both ways, another blog post).

Relationship Building.  You can’t NOT be in relationship, and relationships are bi-lateral.  Kindness builds a relationship.  I often mention to the person on my left, “you have a big job, you’ll be going first” or I engage in talk that connects.  Asking people safe questions to start and small talk shows you care.  We specifically place volunteers in the Circle as people are starting with the task to do relationship-building.  It means treating people with the utmost non-judgement.  If someone hands you a pen, they are trying to be helpful, take it.  Hand it back later when it is needed.  People can be anxious or nervous, do what you can to be kind, helpful, non-judgemental, supportive.  Be as safe as a Circle, engage values in every way you can. (click to Tweet).

Support for responding, reacting or restorative-ing.

St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program utilizes the principles and process of Restorative Justice to address public health issues of impaired driving, underage consumption, controlled substance use, disorderly conduct, and other conflicts/crimes that are referred and appropriate for Restorative Justice.  We’ve developed a strong program utilizing community members, storytelling and Restorative Justice Circles.

RJ – Restorative Justice – is vicitm-centered, in a world of process for offenders.  The discipline, sanction, punishment models are very different, however a source of referrals, and an introduction of a harmful incident to a Restorative process.

Case flow from incident to SCVRJP.  SCVRJP has grown to be a trusted and effective option for many.  For others, the program is not utilized, dismissed or misunderstood.  As the Executive Director, I carry a great deal of passion about the work we do.  I am a true believer in Restorative Justice.  I get to make important decisions on a daily basis about responding or reacting.  I train our volunteers and I seek to live the values of RJ and utilize Respect, Responsibility and Relationship as best I can.

Others might be faced with similiar challenges of feeling undervalued, dismissed or misunderstood.  These may root from the intentional or UNintentional actions of others.  They may root from your own perceptions, expereinces or lenses.  Recent tragic events may trigger your need to do more, say more, right the wrong.  For that, I’d like to share a resource I discovered – LINK.  You’ll find some strategic advice, and a poem that I wanted to share:

You can’t be all things to all people.

You can’t do all things at once.

You can’t do all things equally well.

You can’t do all things better than everyone else.

Your humanity is showing just like everyone else’s.


So: You have to find out who you are, and be that.

You have to decide what comes first, and do that.

You have to discover your strengths, and use them.

You have to learn not to compete with others,

Because no one else is in the contest of *being you*.


You will have learned to accept your own uniqueness.

You will have learned to set priorities and make decisions.

You will have learned to live with your limitations.

You will have learned to give yourself the respect that is due.

And you’ll be a most vital mortal.


Dare To Believe:

That you are a wonderful, unique person.

That you are a once-in-all-history event.

That it’s more than a right, it’s your duty, to be who you are.

That life is not a problem to solve, but a gift to cherish.

And you’ll be able to stay one up on what used to get you down.

You can’t be all things to all

Training for Restorative Justice Facilitation – Fall 2012 St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program

One of the revenue generating activities for SCVRJP is consultation income.  This includes payments made to trainings held on site at SCVRJP and for contracted trainings, where I travel off site and train for another agency.  This blog post will feature some trainings that are available on-site, and would be available as contract opportunities.  The session offerings have evolved over the last few years as I have trained and learned what is helpful to others for implementation.  Each session can be focused to school or community settings.

I recently did two victim-offender-dialogue cases in two days.  Both involved a death, one happened 25 years ago and the other just under 2 years.  One case took months of preparation, the other just a week!  With every case, you meet the individual needs, each case is unique.  There was much to learn and gain, as these two sessions came together to be held back to back.  Combined with the expereinces of preparing people for conferences and circles, I decided to offer the Art & Science training opportunities.  These will cover in-depth preparation meetings, and the key elements for facilitating a session.

Restorative Justice the Art & Science

August 2 & 3 – River Falls, WI or October 3 & 4* – West St. Paul, MN

  • Day 1: Preparing Victims & Offenders for Restorative Process
    • Restorative Justice/Restorative Practices –theory into practice.
  • Day 2: Restorative Conferences & Restorative Circles
    • Skills and facilitation of Restorative Process.

*co-sponsored by Dakota County Community Corrections & Hastings Restorative Justice Council – no charge, MRSC members can register at a reduced rate.

Circle Keeper Training    October 5 & 6  River Falls, WI

Participants will learn:

  • Restorative Justice Philosophy and Practices
  • Core Circle Elements
  • Circle Stages
  • Role of a Circle Keeper
  • Circle Applications for PBIS stages
  • Dealing with Un-circle-like behavior

Restorative Justice Victim Impact Panels

October 12  River Falls, WI

Participants will learn:

  • Operating a successful VIP program
  • Working with storytellers & speakers – survivors & offenders

SCVRJP has been providing VIP’s since 2003, and reaches over 500 individuals a year.  This service meets the Driver Safety Plan requirements and supports survivors of impaired driving crashes.

Click here for: Training Flyer, you can pre-register by contacting me at 715-425-1100 or

I’ve neglected the blog, back and sharing about work with victims.

Blogging in the manner I do takes strength.  I tell the truth, my truth and tie it to teaching about Restorative Justice.  Well, I make every attempt to do that.  I show my experiences and what I have learned.  I try to get an ah-ha moment in the post.  That’s not easy when I have a 500 word style to maintain.

The strength needed to consistently blog, is in the form of discipline.  I am not very disciplined.  I don’t know how I ever quit smoking.  I can’t quit doughnuts or carbs.  Beyond the discipline of taking time to write, it takes strength of vulnerability.  To put my lessons and learnings out there here means showing where I had to grow.  Growing gets us places, it really does.  It just isn’t always easy to put a name to it.

When I have gaps in blogging, it is like gaps in talking.  It means I have retreated back a little bit.  This gap was no different.  I believe that the conversation is the relationship.  Walk away from someone with the last conversation conflicted, the relationship feels conflicted.  Walk away from the last conversation connected, relationship feels connected.

I so admire my teacher friend who greets each student hello and goodbye – it shows skills in connection.  Connections and conversations are relationships and relationships are teachers.

My relationship to this blog is a teacher.  All I have to do is start to think about the blog itself.  I know the pulse, weak or strong.  It has been weak for a while.  I don’t share about it as much when I am not active on here.  I know the connection creates a connection to my work.  Connecting to our work makes it more meaningful.  The more meaningful our work, the happier our lives.  The more we find meaning, the more we feel fulfilled.  Did you know we are most unpredictable when we are unfulfilled.  Anyone who works with juveniles should work on the kids fulfilment levels.

I recently got some fulfillment, I was invited to do a community presentation around Crime Victims Rights Week. I am sharing the powerpoint here.  Reminding those that work with victims, the importance of listening.  I hope what I shared helped others, and I hope it might help you.  Cause for me, that’s why I blog, to help others.

Restorative Dialogue april 2012


Restorative Justice, criminology of self or other, a lesson from the process.

To encourage understanding of our work, and to do what I teach, SCVRJP staff meetings include a reading, a reflection and a check-in.

I teach, that agencies or schools that use Circles or Restorative Justice, should parellel the process within the agency.  That would mean using the restorative concepts as part of agency functioning, elements or, or actual Circles as part of meetings.

At a recent staff meeting, a co-workers shared from a book in the SCVRJP library.  I found it interesting, and appreciated the knowledge and concepts.  It made me appreciate that our agency brings these elements to staff meetings.  You never know when you might just get a new way to consider or understand Restorative Justice.

Book: Restorative justice, self-interest and responsible citizenship. Lode Walgrave

Pages: 192-193

Another spin-off of restorative justice for criminology is that the conceptions of crime, criminals and crime-fighting are stripped of their exceptional character. Mainstream criminology is predominantly what Garland (2001) calls a ‘criminology of the other’. Such criminology considers those who commit offenses as another kind of human, intrinsically different from law-abiding citizens; it focuses on particular risk groups, such as immigrants, drug users or youths in deprived neighborhoods, which it presents as threats to the existing social order. The criminology of the other aims to produce theoretical, empirical and practical knowledge that will allow better control of risk groups or render them less harmful for the average citizen. In doing so, this criminology delivers expertise that further excludes and controls the poor and marginalized; it becomes a technology of social exclusion and thus significantly advances dualisation in society.

‘Criminology of the self’ (Garland 2001), on the contrary, considers those who commit crime as normal people. The person who offends is one of us, someone who, because of circumstances, has ended up in a position that caused him to act illegally and to harm others. It could have happened to any citizen. But criminology of the self can ‘normalise’ the criminal in two different ways. It can bring the level down, by regarding all humans as potential criminals. The consequence of such approach is that we all live in mutual distrust to protect ourselves against one another through, for example, situational prevention strategies based on rational choice theories (Felson 1994). In Putnam’s terms, social capital is then drastically degraded, which, as I have described briefly, is disastrous for the quality of social life and for democracy.

A restorative process offering the offender the opportunity to make up the harm caused may be a major help in the offender’s quest for rehabilitation. Basically restorative justice has this normalising approach to all those involved in the aftermath of crime and looks at both the victim and offender as normal, reasonably responsible persons. It presupposes that, in the right conditions, both victim and offender will be prepared to try and find a solution that is acceptable to all parties, including the interests of the larger community and public safety. As seen in previous chapters, this trust is not naïve, but is sufficiently supported by experience and empirical data to justify it as the starting point in considering what should and can be done once an offense occurs.

Felson, M. (1994) Crime and Everyday Life. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Garland, D. (2001) The Culture of Control. Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press



Restorative Justice non-profit, agency asset #1, the power of the human spirit.

This blog has several posts about the view of people as mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.  Or/also known as – mind, body, heart and soul.  As a Restorative Justice teacher, advocate, practitioner and student, I think it is crucial to recognize, promote and attend to individuals on these levels, Restoratively.

Self and others, victims and offenders, volunteers and paid staff, we are all in a network of creating and sustaining the work of SCVRJP.  A nonprofit exists to help, the mission and vision is to help around a specific need.  At SCVRJP, our mission statement is . . . to Build and Sustain a Culture of Peace & Belonging utilizing Restorative Justice Principles and Practices in our Community.  The SCVRJP board of directors developed that mission in Circle, with Kay Pranis.  I was a board member at that time.  I am starting year 7 as Executive Director delivering outcomes on that mission.

In a recent interview, I was asked about our agency asset.  My answer was immediate, “the power of the human spirit”. That is our agency asset.  The question came from a new, local initiative to analyze and potentially improve existing criminal justice systems.  I reflected on the role of SCVRJP within our local justice system.  I wonder what other answers were provided this interviewer.  I can elaborate here, on how I came to my response.

Called to work.  Volunteering and working in Restorative Justice results in deep and meaningful interactions with others.  Often times, reflecting on your own life experiences happens while engaged in the mission of healing and repairing harm.  What calls us?  Is it our mind telling us it is the right thing to do?  Is it our hearts, the feelings and emotions of watching and supporting others on a healing path?  What gets people to get up, get dressed and SHOW UP at 215 N 2nd Street, Suite 108 River Falls, WI?  Volunteers, staff, board members, clients, and visitors pass through our door physically.  We talk about people leaving a Circle different from when they arrived, you know what changed?  Perspectives changed, attitudes change, we all leave differently and that kind of change is the power of the human spirit.

The human spirit can be broken in a million pieces yesterday and be whole today.  The human spirit can forgive.  The human spirit forges on in the darkest of dark.  Volunteer storytellers relate experiences that bring tears to the listener.  Be it offender, victim or survivor, the power of the human spirit is to move on and take away life lessons.  The power of the human spirit is generous, generous in retelling that story for the good of others.  To witness someone access their inner strength and wisdom, brings easier access to our own.

Restorative Justice uses the power of the human spirit to acknowledge harm, to understand the obligations it creates and to take action to make things right.  Restorative Justice uses the power of the human spirit to make amends.  Restorative Justice uses the power of the human spirit to accept those amends, or to wrestle without accepting them.

As a nonprofit Executive Director, I need to be concerned about bank balance, financial strategies, fundraising process.  What fascinates me more, is that none of that would exist without our program.  Our program exists because of our volunteers, our storytellers our partners who courageously referred to us in the beginning.  I’m fascinated by the challenges ahead with regard to building our fiscal assets while we continue to promote the number one asset, the power of the human spirit.


Similiar leadership tools, nonprofit management and Restorative Justice.

I’m working on a PhD in Nonprofit Administration, Capella University.  Taking a course on Nonprofit Leadership. I am starting year 7 as a nonprofit Executive Director, and learning a great deal from my coursework.

As you know, I see things through the lens of my passion for Restorative Justice.  So I’m sharing with you some of the leadership tools and areas I see organizational leadership, especially in the nonprofit sector, mimic Restorative Justice.

Defining vs Thinking about.  Leadership, like Restorative Justice can have many definitions.  Authors in the course text encourage mega-theory or approaching leadership as how you THINK about it.  This reminded me that you can have many different definitions of Restorative Justice.  Three Pillars, 5 “R’s”, there are various definitions, but the overarching “thinking” about Restorative Justice is key.  It is a philosophical approach  – – and the link to leadership is that both require skills at taking a framework and applying it to a concrete situation.*

Recently asked about my agency resource, my response “the power of the human spirit”.  A look of confusion on the interviewers face and I explained, with concrete situations, how and why that is.  Restorative Justice uses storytelling, SCVRJP volunteer storytellers are coached and supported in Restorative-Storytelling.  I explained how people are impacted by hearing stories directly.  It takes the human spirit to heal.  It takes human spirit to move ahead to be a better and different person.  The lessons of the heart are the ones that shape who we are.

I have always promoted that as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is healing.  No one definition, no one process for grief.  I was watching PBS on Tuesday, Elusive Justice.  The narration began to explain that there are as many definitions of justice, as there are crime victims.  That spoke to me about the individual experience of being a victim.  “No one definition”, is a way of thinking about victims, survivors, individuals.

I’ve experienced Restorative Justice to work best, when I give a person complete room and freedom, a blank slate to express and have experiences of loss, grief and healing.  Being non-judgmental in the presence of another allows them expression and someone bearing witness to validate their experience.

Leadership as non-judgmental as Restorative Justice.  From the article “The Termite Theory of Leadership”, quoting Margaret Wheatley:

All life resists being bossed around.

The article goes on to share more Wheatly-ism, in that as managers (and I believe in Restorative Justice), we need to remember “life’s great imperatives”.  These imperative, which I would also call “Universal Truths” include:

  • being free to recreate OR preserve ourselves
  • form relationships
  • invent new ways of doing things
  • be unique
  • find meaning in what we do

Wheatly explains that imposing structure results in resistance.  I share these examples as a demonstration that Restorative Justice requires us to work within an oxymoron: free-form.  The freedom that people have individual experiences – the framework & form of theory.

I learned leadership takes courage & responsibility*.  Restorative Justice takes both courage & responsibility.  It takes courage to do a practice that is counter-intuitive to most.  It takes courage to bear witness to crime, trauma, grief & loss.  It takes courage to lead a nonprofit and not know where your salary will come from!  It takes courage to lead, it takes courage to heal.  (well others heal themselves you provide the form).

The responsibility is to have your mission enacted, not just espoused.  Phillis* points out that without leadership missions are intended but not realized.  I do all I can to consistently reflect the SCVRJP mission of peace & belonging. I frequently fall short of my “ideal self”, but I take on the responsibility as a leader to do this.  Restorative Justice work also requires a responsibility (so many that’s a different post).

The last noted similarity is taking intentions & aspirations to choices & actions*.  To enact your mission (restorative justice or other) it takes the execution of policies, activities and allocating your resources wisely.  I believe in parallel process, comparing things side by side, being congruent in who you are and what your values are.  Consider your Restorative Justice work, are you aligned?  Are your outcomes (intentions & aspirations) reflected in your decisions & behavior (choices & actions)?


*Phills, James A.. Integrating Mission and Strategy for Nonprofit Organizations.

Cary, NC, USA: Oxford University Press, 2005.

The will to live, is the will to heal.

Healing is living.  Our bodies and the planet are in constant cycles of change.  Old cells die off, new one’s take their place.  “Healing is how we maintain our health and wellness” – Angeles Arrien, The Four-Fold Way.  Arrien shares four healing “salves” storytelling is the first.  Storytelling is a key aspect of Restorative Justice process.

I often suggest the Restorative Justice bumper sticker:  Dealing with Healing.  The work of Restorative Justice and it’s aspect to healing can take many forms.  A third grade classroom in a morning community building Circle – to a Circle in prison, with people who have taken a life, and those that have lost a loved one.

Healing encounters with others, include a few things – I was first introduced to Mark Umbriet’s, “elements of a healing experience” captured in the helpful article highlighted.  I also blogged about the key elements here.

A recent Facebook status:

 Radiate an energy of serenity and peace so that you have an uplifting effect on those you come into contact with. Your presence will make others feel calm and assured. – Dr. Wayne Dyer

When people experience pain that is not physical, they are in grief.  Negative emotions result from loss, however I belive they flood a victim of crime.  We try to make “sense” of things, when we are harmed, harmful acts are often “sense-less”.  I remember a man in prison talking about his life on the streets, as a “mad-tality”, a way of life the menatlity, the way you thought was just to be mad.  His environment, his choices placed him in a situation that day – kill or be killed.  He has chosen to continue to work on himself, he was a strong contributor to our Circle.

The will to live.  Aron Ralston, cut off his arm.  The film 127 hours is gripping look at that experience.  The will to heal is when we find other emotions, positive emotions, in the midst of such pain and trauma.  Consider 911, feelings of sadness, anger and fear were also joined by feelings of gratitude for surviving, more love for your own family, commitments to spirituality.  I found this in an article:

What Good are Positive Emotions in Crises? A Prospective Study of Resilience and Emotions Following the Terrorist Attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001.  By Barbara Fredrickson, Michele M. Tugade, Christian E. Waugh, Gregory R. Larkin.  Journal of Personality and Social psychology, 84(2), 365-376.   This article identified the value of positive emotions, along side negative ones.  When I read that positive emotions put people at ease (physically – reduce heart rate, vasoconstriction, blood pressure), I recognized that contributes to Circles becoming an easy place to share and open up.  Circles begin with stories about values.  Circles begin with a keeper doing what Wayne Dyer suggests, radiating peace.

The article by Fredrickson contends that positive emotions help people cope with crisis and find meaning in their experience.  “Positive emotions increase the odds that people will feel good in the future”.

As a Restorative Justice practitioner, remember to keep the elements of healing handy, be ready to radiate and reflect positive emotions.  Affirm all sides of a persons story.  From the negative to the difficult, even positive emotions.  People are designed to heal, and an ever-increasing option is a Restorative process