Saturday, March 11, 2017

Of Traum and Trauma, Integration and Integrative

Traum (Dream)
Vienna, Austria.  On a personal level, the recent visit to refugee camps in Vienna reconfirmed that I am on the right track regardless whether it is easy or not to actually provide service considering that I do not reside there; it feels right:  The service I have been offering during three trips since October 2015.  It is because of the many little encounters with displaced children, men and women in these camps.  Every human being deserves to live freely, to be themselves as a Honduran asylum seeker was quoted in my previous post (as seen on the Forced from Home website) as much as we all deserve clean water, fresh food, shelter, clothes, health care, education.  It all sounds very utopian given the current climate.

Traum vs. Trauma.  The German word Traum (as seen in the above photo taken in the hallway of a shelter leading to the cafe) means dream in English.  As far as the root of the word is concerned Traum does not seem to be
related to the German word Trauma (the same in German as it is in English) which derives from the word Trauma in Greek.  - By the way, I find this odd, but that is besides the point.

Refugees may have been dreaming of a different life, or perhaps simply a life, when they decided to embark on the odyssey leaving everything behind, including family members.  Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may include night mares, flashbacks, depression, to only name a few symptoms interfering with day to day living which is hard enough when staying in a shelter depending on the humanity of others.
Not knowing whether asylum will be granted, and family members are permitted to join.  In the meantime, the world left behind can be visited 24/7 via social media.

Relief.  I admire those who work with refugees (voluntarily or employed) and I would like to thank those who invited me to participate for doing so to support those impacted by this humanitarian crisis not seen since World War II despite the fact that I may seem like a tourist with a good heart.

Integration. Solution.   Is it easy?  No, it is a massive crisis and from conversations and reading I know a little bit about the challenges related to integration.  It often starts with language and cultural differences, lack of funds.  Nobody was prepared for what climaxed in 2015 and has been going on for a long time (ask Greeks or Italians) add the current political climate to that. - Integrative services enhance integration; these words are related for a reason.    
Visiting Camps.   It was Roland (the founder of Kids Corner Westbahnhof) who made some visits possible.  One camp (Notunterkunft) had a rather new cafe designed via a project for architecture students.  Walls were put in.  There was a stage with a piano, a guitar.  There were cute round tables and two funky hanging chairs. The staff was really excited to have us there teaching Chair Yoga/DIY Hand Reflexology.    Andreas showed us a second room on the other end of the hallway.  We could use either room, whatever worked better.  We picked the cafe.   It was five of us consisting of Tamara, Royal, Obaida, Roland, myself.  Many thanks for veryone for joining, including Rami and Susanne for follow-up classes.   

Set Up.  We discussed the set up briefly.  We arranged the chairs after examining the room and all tried to figure out to get the lighting just right (it was either too dark or too bright).  Kids and grown ups were filing in.  We chatted, connected in German, English, Arabic, some spoke Farsi.  The sign-
in sheet was passed around, the seating was rearranged as the class got bigger.

Service.  The class.  At a meditation/integrative care event I did with other NYC-based practitioners initiated by Bhante Giorgio (an acupuncturist turned  Buddhist monk from Australia) a few years ago, parents were worried about their kids being noisy, and distraction during the meditation segment.  He simply said that it is important for them to see us meditate.  They watch and imitate, learn from us.  It filled me with immense joy to again have children in class.  Sometimes they participate throughout the class, sometimes they take breaks, just like adults; sometimes they inspire play.  
Generally, they did not need a separate invitation and classes are taught with them in mind - Bhante Giorgio's comment had left an impression.  The asanas taught were not  pretzel yoga.  It was about grounding and getting in touch with the body and the breath gently and slowly.  Everyone needs relaxation, most certainly at a refugee camp.  As a matter of fact there were two girls, around age six to eight years old who joined me for all three classes at two different camps, one of whose teachers seems to teach them some yoga in school.  Aya proudly showed off jnana mudra.  

Stop harming, says Bhante Giorgio.  (While I do not call myself religious, I find spirituality natural and practical).  The world is more divided than I personally have ever seen it, and it is very upsetting, considering the potential.  I believe we would all have enough, if the gap between the richest and poorest were not as big.  What is my stance, I have been asking?  How am I affected by current events?  Am I?  Who do I want/need to be going forward?  Who can I be considering who I am? 
Inthe past I felt it was good enough to follow live and let live; mind my own business.  However, that has changed a bit.  My work as an integrative health professional, wellness professional  (aka, holistic, complementary, alternative, new age, and sometimes still refered to as quackery, ah whatever....) has been paving the path.  I have learned that the service I provide can be customized to suit almost any setting and population: studio, hospital, homes, relief tents, corporate offices, parks, and camps, etc.  My voice has been getting a bit louder as I get older and more experienced.  I continue to peel the onion as I have been getting even more focused on the essentials (Socrates said an unexamined life is not worthwhile living.) 

Grounding  onself daily is most beneficial and knowing that crises do require communal efforts; you can not do it by yourself: A lot of people will help; some with kind words, open ears, others with connections, advise, dinner invitations, even a bed at their house or their apartment.  That was my experience despite the fact that networking, being social is not my forte.  

Many thanks  in random order to all participating children, men, and women, as well as those who have supported the third visit with interest, kind words, and support in many ways: Mohammad, Obaida, Susanne, Bhante Giorgio, Stephanie, Tamara, Thom, Dimitris, Daniela, Suanne, Musa, Andreas, Nico, Anna, Marvin, Roland, Helena, Rhona, Rami, Parisan, Aya, Sandra, (Wendy, Shawn; STWS, Jose: trip 2), Dana, Denyce, Beatrix, Rüdiger, Jürgen, Ferdinand, Anita, Stefan, Heidi, Herwig, Richild, Claudia, Ute+, Astrid, Sabine, Phil, Jessie, Eva, and last but not least Royal (and all these tail wagging dogs out and about, spearheaded by Mowgli, who can not help  but spread positive energy and bring your mind to the present and let you forget about those who cause so much suffering.... 

If you need DIY easy to learn self care tips, please holler and I'll pass on the pdf of the above mentioned protocol (hand reflexology), or get help from an integrative care practitioners of your choice.  You may want to ask for barters to save money if needed, that includes me. 

Still trusting, 

Birgit Nagele, ARCB, LVCY, TSY

This may help you to shift from fight/flight to more ease:
- Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth on a ha sound, and two more times, then return to natural breathing and observe...

- Reflexology(feet/hands/face/DIY/Dogs)
- Yoga (Gentle Mat, LV Chair Yoga, TSY)
- Private Clients, Corporate, Community  
- EuNYCe (Educating about Reflexology locally, internationally)
- NYC-based 

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