As a survivor of torture I know how wounds of violation can live in the body and the mind. My recovery included bodywork, and so I know both its assets and liabilities in resolving shock of this magnitude. I am now both a practitioner and a teacher of somatic therapies for survivors, which has added substantially to my perspective on what it takes to rebuild one’s life from the pyres of hatred.
In February, we at the McKinnon Institute of Massage were honored to provide massage for Alaska Airlines employees at the San Francisco and Oakland airports following the crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261. With short notice, the McKinnon On-Site Team pulled together to organize the needed personnel. Alaska Airlines is a regional carrier, and many of the people on board were from the Bay area. For us this went beyond a sad story on the evening news: our friends and neighbors had died, more were in mourning, and we were directly affected.
When the strands of the many cultures of Mexico are woven with the threads of a new spirit of healing and transformation, the resulting garment is like a huge brilliantly colored shawl (rebozo). This shawl extends between Mexico and the United States as an embrace, bringing warmth and comfort to those it touches. In the little town of Fortin de las Flores, near the Gulf of Mexico, Americans and Mexicans gather to weave this rebozo for themselves and for all the people they know. One particular gathering a year ago stands out as a shining example of the tapestry of healing.
Grandfather, Look at our brokenness. We know that in all creation Only the human family Has strayed from the Sacred Way. We know that we are the ones Who are divided And we are the ones Who must come back together To walk in the Sacred Way. Grandfather, Sacred One, Teach us love, compassion, and honor That we may heal the earth And heal each other. – Ojibwa Prayer