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