Three Fun Survivor-Led Workshops for RA/MC Survivors
All these free events are held over ZOOM. Register for them at https://grassroots-ra-mc-collective.org/events/
Slow Flow Yoga with Toshia
An hour of gentle movement, breathing techniques, and guided relaxation to create mental clarity and increased body awareness. It can be done in a chair, on the floor, or on a couch or a bed.
“Let’s approach our body, mind, and spirit with curiosity. This is a safe way for us to befriend our bodies, where past trauma is stored.”
Sunday, November 13, 4:00 – 5:00 PM Pacific Time
Come join Chris as she shares how to make “paper dolls” for each of your others. This has been a very helpful tool for her because it encourages her parts to come forward. It is then easier for them to talk, tell their stories, and get to know you. Making the dolls is easy! Chris says she is not an artist and anybody can do this.
Saturday, November 26, 1:00 – 3:00 PM Pacific Time
Heart and Soul Cards of Hope For the New Year – Creative Arts Workshop
Soul Affirmation Cards Jen will show you how to create a personal “Heart and Soul’” affirmation card for the New Year. What are your hopes and dreams? What is that one word or phrase that opens up your heart and gives hope to your soul? How is that word or phrase held in art form? Celebrate the closing of this year with Jen as they teach us how to create a personal heart and soul card of hope for the year to come.
Saturday, December 31, 1:00 – 4:00 PM Pacific Time
GrassRoots is such a joy! In the beginning, there were just three of us, Rivers, Leni, and me. We put on a couple of poetry readings, starting on July 2021. We asked everybody who came to them to tell their friends about GrassRoots. We told our own friends, and I guess their friends told some other people. Those of us who have a blog wrote about it. Word spread. Only sixteen months have passed, and look at all that is going on!
On October 15, 2022, we hosted our first workshop. Until then, everything had been much-needed and much-appreciated ongoing groups. Drop-in support groups, plus art and writing groups. Now we are branching out, growing like a healthy tree.
Shana Dines was the trailblazer. She is a watercolor artist – you can see a couple of her paintings on our webpage. She also, in 3-D life, teaches watercolor techniques. I always assumed that watercolors were unforgiving because once they were on paper, you couldn’t change anything. Shana taught us how to layer color and how to paint one thing and then place another thing over it. She gave us some basic theory, like how to use complementary colors. We all worked on a scene of the sun setting over the ocean, and, toward the end, some of us did our own thing. I painted my fear and added these words from Litany Against Fear from “Dune:”
“I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
Shana was the first. Now three more survivors are giving workshops on very different subjects this year. They don’t conflict with anything else GrassRoots offers, so you can go to all three without missing anything. Who knows how many will happen during 2023!
Looking to the future, we’d like to have a speaker series. Once a month, a survivor would give a talk about some aspect of their life – healing, activism, whatever interested them. We are the experts because we have lived through ritual abuse and mind control. We know what was done to us and how it has affected every corner of our being and every moment of our lives.
It’s easy to record ZOOM sessions, so we could post the talks on the resource page. (Don’t automatically think “I can’t.” Think “I can’t…yet.”) If anybody is interested, contact me or, better yet, post in the comment section so you can inspire others.
GrassRoots makes me so happy! I feel like a little rabbit hopping around in a field of wonderful ideas. There are lots of other rabbits to play with, and I like each of them more than all the others. The sun is warm, the breeze is soft on my fur, and there are lots of yummy things to eat. Bliss.
But it hasn’t always been like this. When I first realized what my childhood had been like, I thought I would die from the pain. I could hardly breathe. It was a huge struggle to get through each day, but I did. I sure wasn’t happily hopping around; I was slogging through molasses at midnight. Slowly, all too slowly, the days turned into weeks, months, and then years. I finally became able to feel more than numbness or pain.
I was very lucky to be able to suffer in the company of other survivors. Some were deeper in pain and fear than I was, some had come to a place where they could feel a little hope, a little love, a tiny bit of pleasure. Being among survivors gave me instant perspective. I was not the only one who had been tortured and used, then tossed aside, as a child. Others had escaped enslavement, then gotten through tsunami waves of pain and despair. There was hope of something different in life, after all. What I was feeling would not necessarily last forever.
I cannot imagine what it would have been like if I had not been able to meet and talk to others like myself. Nobody would have understood me the way other survivors do. I would have been alone, doubted and doubting, confused, with no idea of what to do, where to turn, or how to manage. There were only a couple of books on ritual abuse available in those days, and not a whole lot written about trauma or childhood abuse. I doubt if those books were available in small-town libraries. There was no Internet.
And, sadly, that is what it is like today for innumerable survivors.
When I first remembered, though, it was very different. In the late 80s, we were not afraid to speak to each other. There were feminist bookstores that sold books, journals, and zines about RA and conferences to go to. Many cities had 12-step meetings just for RA survivors, and some had a meeting almost every day of the week!
Then the False Memory Syndrome Foundation came along. The members made up pseudo-scientific theories, claiming that children do not forget traumatic events. The stories they told had been suggested to them, and they had fallen for them. If one child disclosed, that child was mentally ill and disbelieved. If a group of children all told the same story, it was a case of mass hysteria. All their memories were false.
The FMSF also claimed that children were coached to tell false stories about one parent, usually the father, to please the other parent. This they called “the parent alienation syndrome.” One parent, usually the mother, was painted as manipulating and vengeful, willing to use an innocent child as a weapon against the other.
They hired lawyers to go after therapists who “implanted memories” in clients to get their money. (Never mind that survivors are disproportionately unable to work, unemployed, or underemployed.) They provided lawyers to parents accused of sexually or ritually abusing their children. They even sued Ellen Bass, author of “Courage to Heal, claiming she put ideas into countless people’s heads. Ellen is reputed to have said, “Gee, I read a book about plumbing, but I never thought I was a plumber.”
The FMSF hired excellent public relations people and articles were published in respected journals and newspapers. In the 27 years of its existence (1992 – 2019), their disinformation campaign successfully swayed a large number of people. We are understandably reluctant to believe the worst of others, especially of people like ourselves, our neighbors, or our friends. It is more comfortable to believe that atrocities happen in other countries and not in our own backyards.
And so survivors and their helpers became once again isolated and silenced.
I was very lucky to have had support and a sense of community for four or five years before the FMSF turned the tide. I’ve always been sad that those times didn’t last longer. I want to recreate that atmosphere, both for others and for myself. I can’t change world opinion, but I can try to carve out a little green field in my own corner of the world.
That is what GrassRoots means to me – a return to belief, trust, and love in our relationships with our fellow survivors. Watching GrassRoots, and the people who make up GrassRoots, grow and blossom makes me very, very happy.