The past month we have been working with Grade 9’s with SWOVA’s Respectful Relationships (R+R) Program and also in classroom sessions of our Peace Kids project with Grade 4 and 5 kids at Salt Spring Elementary, (Salt Spring Island, B.C.)
Kevin Vowles (co-facilitator) and I wrote 12 new workshops over the summer and we are very excited by the depth and possibility of the sessions and working with younger kids!
These days I am deepening my own personal practice of daily gratitude as well as a somatic practice of Integrated Breath Work. With my personal partner Ishmael, I have come to realize the significance of breath, of slowing down and really feeling. After 20 years of education and service work, I believe the fertile roots of social justice work weave themselves strong and deep and powerfully through breath.
So my personal, professional and community recipe for nourishment these days includes big measures of gratitude and breath!
A Grade 4 boy sharing “I think it’s good for people to be around each other because we are social creatures and our electro magnetic fields help each other."
For a group of Grade 9 young men- I ask them to understand that bleeding (mensing) young women are powerful and to be a powerful young man means respecting and honouring this- and that it would be appreciated if they would refrain from using PMS as a put down towards women. They listen and get it.
After watching Miss Representation (a film by Jennifer Siebel Newsom), one Grade 9 young man says, "There's nothing we can do to change media representation of women." Another young man speaks up and says, "Maybe there is – and maybe that's what we need to be talking about as guys."
When we asked Grade 4 kids to explain what we would practice in our check-in round and a girl says, "Whole body listening" and the majority of kids knew what that meant!
In all these moments I found myself breathing deeper and felt my heart blossom wider. Moments such as these nourish me in trusting that life is about growing, evolving and generational change.