Sunday, October 27, 2013

Love Wins

On December 14, 2012 the nation and world were shaken to their core by news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
On that Friday evening, the tragedy became even more personal to us at the Traumatic Stress Institute and Klingberg Family Centers. We learned a Klingberg staff member, Nelba Marquez-Green, lost her beautiful six-year old daughter, Ana Grace, to the Sandy Hook violence that morning.
Even in the first days, Nelba stressed the message she felt was most emblematic of Ana Grace's life - LOVE WINS - that love, connection, and belonging are the answer to violence, not vengeance. Nelba then approached Klingberg about creating an entity that would honor Ana Grace's memory. These discussions led to creation of the Ana Grace Project of Klingberg Family Centers whose mission is Promotion of love, connection, and community for every child and family.
We are excited to announce that the first initiative of the Ana Grace Project is a day-long conference, December 2, 2013, on connection and community featuring Dr. Bruce Perry as the keynote speaker. Dr. Perry is an internationally-recognized expert on child trauma, world-renowned speaker, and author of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Born for Love: Why Empathy is Endangered and Essential.
Click hereto register. We sincerely hope that you will join us for a day of learning, remembrance, hope and healing. Registration materials will be available soon.

Finally, we also wanted to announce that the website Ana Grace Project has been launched. On the website, you will find hot links to Paypal for donations and a link to the conference site. There will be soon, an option for anyone who would like to become a subscriber for updates and announcements.
Again, we are hoping that you will join us in this special opportunity.

Staff of the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Risking Connection Trainers Retreat

This past Friday I was priviledged to participate in a Risking Connection Trainers Retreat Day, facilitated by Michelle Keneflick, LCSW> Michelle created and arranged the whole event. The day was a chance for RC trainers to utilize mindfulness practices to restore themselves and to learn about using the practice in their work.

The retreat was held at the Mercy Center in Madison, CT, a beautiful location right on the ocean. Despite predictions of rain earlier in the week, the day was sunny and the water was glittering. We met in a room of windows looking out at the sea.
Michelle was an excellent leader who made it possible for all of us, with our different physical capabilities and our different leve of exposure to mindfulness, to feel accepted, welcomed and included.  She combined practical tips with spiritual reflection in a way thatmade mindfulness practice accessible toall.

The day started  with a meditation on our motivation for coming, what it took to get there, and what we needed from the day. In the discussion that followed trainers shared the pressures, business, crisises, personal and physical distress, and constant caring for others that made being there so important. It was clear how hard it is for us to accept this day as a gift that we deserve, without guilt.

On our break we wandered the lovely grounds. Michelle instructed us to each collect four pebbles. After break she led us in the Pebble Meditation, which helped us to connect with the beauty and strength in ourselves. One pebble represented a flower, the second a clear water, the third a mountain, and the fourth space. We took the qualities og each into ourselves.

We ate lunch and speant the following hour in silence. Tis included not making eye contact with each other or communicating in any way. We savoured the delicious food served by Mercy Center mindfully, and walked the labyrinth and the rest of the grounds with only our own selves. Afterwards we talked about how it felt, and there were many reactions. It was hard not to say thank you to the servers! Some had sad or difficult emotions arise, others felt comfort, others did not like it. Michelle then led is in a body scan. Many of us fell asleep for at least part of it, but that was fine, it was what we needed.
At the end of the day the trainers all expressed how impotant and valuable this was, and wished we could have them regularily. Many thought of the staff on their teams and wanted to giv an experience like this to them. The ideas of using art, music and yoga were also suggested.

I felt so lucky to be in a community of such a caring and thoughtful people. We were also lucky to have a skillful and kind leader in Michelle. With all we do, give, care and take care of others, a retreat like this is essential.

Have you had a similar experience? Please describe by clicking “comment”.