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Healing Our Grief, Healing Our World
Vol. 3, Number 3July 2003

Welcome to the GriefandRenewal.Com Newsletter. Please feel free to share this newsletter.

What's New at GriefandRenewal.Com:

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the GriefandRenewal.Com newsletter. As I write this newsletter, I reflect on the amount of trauma, grief and loss that we witness personally and via the news, collectively on a daily basis. With a world convulsing in grief, what can we do to help? I believe that helping individuals who are coping with grief, as well as contributing to larger projects which bring peace and care to others can help significantly. It is important to remember the human costs of political decisions, and we who have suffered grief and trauma, are in an excellent position to remind others of these costs in terms of emotional pain, psychological disruption, and societal discord.

In a recent talk Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., internationally known psychiatrist who has studied the effects of trauma around the world, reminded us that we are still recovering from 9-11, and that we should take care not to drift into excessive victimhood out of our anger and grief. Instead we must be aware of the costs of war, and awake to helping others of all nationalities, including the United States, who are now suffering.

With these thoughts I invite you to review the information in the International Section, and the Connections that Empower section for inspiration and possibilities of helping to heal the world.

And please remember to visit our GriefandRenewal Store. We have gathered items from widows in India, a video about dreams and death, a comprehensive book on widows in India and healing tapes. We are adding some wonderful relaxing kaleidoscopes to our collection as well. Look for updated photos and our new item in the coming months. These items make lovely gifts as well as offering healing resources. The GriefandRenewal Store proceeds will go toward maintaining GriefandRenewal.Com with 10 percent of all income going to the Guild of Service, a group dedicated to helping widows in India. Please visit our store.

Finally, if you have any articles, poems, essays or information on grief and renewal that you would like to see published, please contact us at info@griefandrenewal.com. You will retain the copyright to anything published by GriefandRenewal.Com.

I hope the summer finds you able to take some time for healing, relaxation, and personal growth.

Wishing you peace and hope,

Laura Slap-Shelton, Psy.D.

Quote of the Month
"Reflect on the world that you carry within yourself. And name this thinking what you wish... Your innermost happening is worth all your love"
Rainer Maria Rilke

Featured International Article:

"Journey of Peace: Kolkata to Dhaka from 14-20th May, 2003"

On May 14, 2003, 34 women boarded a Bus of Peace from Kolkota to Dhaka under the auspices of the Women's Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA).

With a deep sense that we need to come closer to our neighbours with whom we share so much history and culture, we undertook this small step just as in 2000 we embarked on the Bus of Peace from Delhi to Lahore. We feel that we are writing a new destiny for the ordinary people like ourselves. It gives us what Tagore calls a sense of mukti and a sense of identification with every particle and blade of our two lands.

These 34 women came from different parts of India -- from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu. Among them were journalists, artists, filmmakers, writers, academics, peace and human rights activists, women's rights activists, and students. One was a former Member of Parliament.

The mission was to articulate women's common understanding and aspirations in Bangladesh and India for peace and security in the region. It was to establish that women have had the highest stakes in peace and the time has come for women of south Asia to lead their respective governments and societies towards not only a conflict free region, but a haven of peace. This mission was preceded in March 2000 by a Women's Peace Bus from Delhi to Lahore right after the Kargil war. Two Women's Peace Buses returned with Pakistani women from Lahore to Delhi in April 2000.

In accordance with WIPSA's philosophy 1he mission was self-funded -- Indian women traveled at their own expense and were hosted by Bangladeshi women who pooled their hospitality and opened their homes to the visitors.

When the Peace Bus entered Bangladesh, the WIPSA members were received at the Benapole border by members of Banchte Shekha, Bangladesh National Women's Lawyers Association and Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights. In Dhaka they were received at Kamlapur Station by a large number of host organizations and members of the press.

While in Bangladesh, the Indian women interacted with grass roots women members of Doorbar, a network of 450 organizations from 64 districts. In smaller groups they visited NGOs working with grass roots women and men, such as Gono Shasthya Kendra, Nijera Kori, BRAC, Proshika, Hunger Project and Research Initiatives Bangladesh (RIB). They met several government ministers and officials, leaders of political parties including the Bangladesh Awami League.

Several occasions were arranged for meetings with artists and writers. A special art exhibition PEACE SONG showcased the paintings of 28 women artists of Bangladesh on the theme of peace. A photographic exhibition displaying women in struggle since the beginning of the language movement in 1952 was arranged by Sammi1ito Nari Samaj. The WIPSA members visited the Shriti Shoudho at Savar and paid their respects to the martyrs of the War of Liberation. They met trade unionists and women workers courtesy of Kormojibi Nari. An evening of music and dance was arranged at the Mahila Samiti.

For rest of article please click here.

Featured Article:
"The Grieving Body: Learning to Let Go and Live Life"
by Marvin H. Berman, Ph.D.

There are no words to express our experience when we lose a loved one. When I look into the eyes of someone who has just suffered such a loss, I hear the hollow ring of all the words that rise in me. I say what I can fully accept, "I'm so very sorry for your loss, there's just nothing to say." As a man socialized in this culture I usually also add, "If there's anything I can do..., as this helps ease my sense of helplessness. This sense of there being little to nothing which can be said to capture and express the depth of feeling that comes with profound loss started me thinking about how then could such feelings be explored and expressed. What happens next is almost always the same; some moments up to about a minute of looking silently into each other's eyes, breathing quietly, sometimes tears forming in our eyes and finally, a small smile emerging usually at the same moment. Being a body-oriented psychotherapist affords me an option sometimes unavailable to the more traditionally trained therapist for understanding what is taking place and how one might begin to intervene effectively. Words like attunement and resonance help guide my thinking and yet, the processes which are taking place are operating below the level of intellectual awareness and are primarily energetic, i.e., felt responses, grounded in the body's natural rhythmic patterns of experience and expression.

For the rest of this article click here.

Featured Books
Terrorism: The Only Way is Through A Child's Story
By Rosina G. Schnurr, Ph.D.
Reviewed by Laura Slap-Shelton, Psy.D.
[Order from Amazon.com]

Dedicated to the children who lived through 9-11-2001, Terrorism: The Only Way is Through, A Child's Story, is written by an experienced clinical psychologist who draws from her work with grieving and traumatized children. The concept of the phrase "The only way is through" is illustrated in vignettes of a family struggling with the death of the mother in the events of 9-11-01. Rather than turn away from or hide their strong emotions the family learns that they must face them, experience them and go on, and also that it is OK to have these strong feelings. The story begins with the day of 9-11-2001 and through the voice of a latency-aged child, follows the process of a family as they worry about the mother, realize that she is dead, and attempt to rebuild their lives. The story is well told and covers concepts of grief, posttraumatic stress syndrome, death, and changes in family routines and life in an easy to understand and easy to relate to fashion. The family events and the information they share with each other ring true and clearly describe the process of recovering from grief and trauma. The action demonstrates the concepts and the child narrator serves as a role model for children reading this book.

For the rest of this book review click here.

My Father's Ghost: the Return of My Old Man and Other Second Chances
By Suzy McKee Charnas. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam 2002
Reviewed by Laura Slap-Shelton, Psy.D.
[Order from Amazon.com]

My Fathers Ghost: the Return of My Old Man and Other Second Chances by Suzy McKee Charnas is a wonderfully written memoir of Charnas reunion with the father who abandoned her and her family when she was 8 years old. As she takes care of him in his old age they are afforded an opportunity to establish a new relationship. Charnas writes of the relationship with her father and the difficulty of caring for an aging parent with love, respect and humor. In making use of her fathers journals she creates a living memorial which is just what her father, who wrote that he did not want people to be aware of him while he was alive but did want them to know about him after he died, had wished.

For the rest of this book review click here.

Featured Connections That Empower
The AMAR International Charitable Foundation
2 Vincent Street
London SW1P 4LD UK
Tel: +44(0)20 7828 4991
Fax: +44(0)20 7828 4992

Founded by British MEP, Baroness Emma Nicholson The AMAR International Charitable Foundation is dedicated to restoring the Marsh Arabs of Iraq to their homeland and to restoring their environment which was brutally destroyed by Saddam Hussein. The plight of the Iraqui refugees has touched all our lives. Cold, hungry, separated from their families and driven from their homeland in the Marshes of Mesapotamia, 95,000 have fled persecution and now take what shelter they can in South-West Iran. Since 1991 AMAR has been working to improve their lives by raising money for food, clothing, education, clean water and sanitation as well as the establishment of health clinics and medical services in partnership with the Iranian authorities and the refugees themselves. Please support AMAR's continuing work with these victims of Saddam Hussein's brutality.

Help AfghanWomen.Com
Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Just as we cannot forget the horrific events of September 11, 2001, we must not forget Afghan women and girls who have been suffering under the brutal Taliban regime. Afghan women and girls were the first victims of the Taliban.

Join us in urging the President and Congress to take steps to ensure the Afghan women and girls' rights are restored, that women will be at the center of the rebuilding of the country, and humanitarian assistance will be provided to alleviate the starvation, disease, and dire conditions these women and their children face as refugees.

The Taliban's atrocities, the worst drought in 30 years and displacement resulting from fighting have created pre-famine conditions within Afghanistan. Conditions among refugees who have fled to Pakistan -- 75% of whom are women and children -- are dire. With little food, many have no more than plastic sheets for shelter, and virtually no sanitation. These conditions have resulted in widespread disease, death, and regional instability.

To Contact Us, Submit an Article, or Submit a Link, send e-mail to info@griefandrenewal.com.

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