Dear Catherine, Jesse, and Jiva,
Here is a letter I’ve been meaning to write for a long time. Some of these thoughts and phrases have been with me since Afghanistan. Others are offspring of hindsight; slowly forming in the womb of my soul as I took my time to fathom the true extends to which my experience with you has impacted on me. In essence, this letter is an attempt at acknowledging what each of you, in your uniqueness as a person, have meant to my experience.
I would not want to paint Afghanistan to be any different than another place where the domination culture has suppressed women. So hear my words and understand this is speaking to one of the toughest conflicts we face…gender.
Standing at the outside gate being told our plane had left 2 hours before what we had been told was the scheduled time stimulated more than just an annoyance of miscommunication. As I stood surrounded by at least 50 men (including the two I am traveling with), completely aware I am the only woman in sight I felt my legs take root. I could not move when Jesse and Jiva and Said began to return to the car. And I was the only one to notice. With attention to each cell of my being I focused my energy so I could remove myself from that spot to follow them back to the car. I notice my field of energy quite large as the groupings of men parted like the red sea to let me through. Traveling as much as I do I am completely aware and quite use to changes, cancellations, delays of flights and even sleeping in airports. And somehow this news of not getting our expected flight was quite different in my body’s response.
“If everyone here implements their projects, we will have peace in Afghanistan“
– participant in our 5-Day training (after our session on creating ‘needs-based’ projects)
Today we completed our training and the fullness I feel in my heart is hard to explain. I am already dreaming of returning to Afghanistan and what it possibly would be like to help implement a certification process in this region for NVC Trainers.
It is not unusual for me to weep for the deaths that occur in Afghanistan. But today I got to weep on Afghan soil with Afghan people.
We opened today’s training with one of the participants offering in song a verse from the Koran in honor of the 64 people who died in yesterday’s bombing. I was deeply moved by the heart and the connection. Tears streamed my face and as a group we shared the sorrow and fueled our passion to ignite creating a world we would rather live in. The day unfolded into a beautiful practice of Being Nonviolence. I am deeply excited by the visions that are being developed by the participants of this training who are creating projects based on serving human needs.
Our team is fully immersed in the training we are offering to a group of about 20 Afghans, men and women, from all walks of life: journalists, professors, social workers, and government officials, to name a few. We haven’t been keeping up with the blog as much during this time partially because of the demands on our time and energy, and partially because we’ve been wanting to preserve the sanctity of the retreat space. So, we’ll wait to post photos from the training and specific stories until after the training ends on Thursday.
In the meantime, I’d like to use this space to celebrate the phenomenal team I’m working with!