Ahimsa

From the Middle East: Getting Back to Self

In Dr. Dick Schwartz, Internal Family Systems, International IFS, Israeli Palestine Womens Peace, Palestinian Women, Psychotherapy on June 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Founder and Director, Beyond Words

Getting Back to Self

By Nitsan Gordan

These last couple of weeks with the Flotilla event have been agonizing. I am aware of so much — the truth, the hypocrisy, the different set of values that people use when judging Israel, the immense suffering of the Palestinian people, the suffering of the families of the dead, the pain of the wounded and our own suffering. What hurts the most, though, is looking at ourselves in the mirror that the world is now holding up for us. It does not look good. In fact it looks pretty bad. Owning this part of us, this part of me is so painful.    What I am hoping for is that the criticism we are under now will put more pressure on our leaders to truly pursue peace. I am also seeing the immense need for our work and keep hearing Ann’s words about staying in our healing leadership in the presence of strong emotions. We are now surrounded with powerful emotions… from some of the Knesset members who almost hit each other at the Knesset this week to the streets where flags and tires are burning and people are screaming.   On Tuesdays I have a Beyond Words kindergarten teachers’ group in Mgrar, a Druze, Christian and Muslim village. We spent some time sharing our feelings around this incident. Some women were very upset: ” Why couldn’t we just let those supplies reach Gaza?” they asked. Or ” Was there no other way to stop this boat? What happend to our intelligence? ” One woman’s husband works at the prisons. He is an Arab Druze. The Muslim prisoners were very upset by what had happend. They started a hunger strike and attacked some of the guards. He was attacked with a knife. She was so upset. Another woman’s brother is also an Arab Druze who works as a nurse in a hospital. He took care of some of the wounded from the flotilla who were rushed there. On his way home he passed through an Arab town where his car was attacked by very angry men. “But I am an Arab” he shouted at them, but that did not stop them from breaking his windows and scratching his car.    My Arab Palestinian friend and colleague speaks for many others when she keeps asking “How can people who are the oppressors, the occupiers call themselves victims .. how is this possible?”   Yet it seems that it is possible.  We, the occupiers, still see ourselves as victims because we grew up surrounded by people suffering from post traumatic stress who were never treated for this condition.  Also we grew up surrounded by events that kept reinforcing our fears. It is hard to stop reacting from a fearful place when there are so many reasons in our part of the world that give our fears legitimacy. Yet to own our part in fueling this situation and to seek healing for our fears and traumas so we no longer play an active role in continuing this self destructive drama …this is where our work, Ann’s work and Dick’s work can be so important and perhaps even life saving.   Yesterday I had a session with Dick to try and sort out what to do when I hear so many voices speaking in anger, pain and sadness inside and around me.

Dick said (not an exact quote, since I was crying when I heard it) — when there’s a crisis, personal or communal, all the parts get up in arms and shout out, pushing and pulling in different directions, competing for attention. It is difficult to know what to do and who to listen to. All I can do during those times is get back to Self and wait for guidance….

Nitsan Gordon – Giles M.A., Dance/Movement Therapy (Thesis on Nonverbal Cues to Prejudice) – is an Israeli Jew and the founder and director of “Beyond Words”. She is trained and experienced in dance/movement therapy, healing touch and multi-level listening techniques – all of which are used as part of the Beyond Words Educational Model. For several years, she has led courses on understanding and healing prejudice in three Colleges; as well as workshops and trainings using the BW model in Israel and the United States and more recently in NZ. Nitsan is the mother of two children.

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