Women, War and What they fed the children


Eighty percent of the world’s refugees and internally displaced people are women and children. Eighty percent!

In order to humanize these statistics, we are gathering stories of women and their children from around the world who have experienced or live in war impacted areas – and we include many who are not normally cited – in the United States we will collect stories from Native American women whose reservations fit the profile of a post conflict societies – we also include some inner city women’s stories in places like New Orleans which at one point had more killings that Iraq. They are many places in the developed world that meet the criteria as war zones. We asked ourselves how do/did these women cope and care for their families and themselves. How do their children fare? What are the lingering symptoms of encountering the severe stress of war?  What unknown aspects of self were called up by these circumstances?  What do they want to tell the world about their experiences?  



Medical Toxic Stress in Patients

Each year 300,000 stroke survivors develop symptoms of severe stress, levels that are toxic.   This is just one sample of one illness. These studies are just beginning and will grow to include many chronic or life threatening illnesses and accidents now that the problem is being recognized. 

Elizabeth: After finishing a grueling year and a half bout of treatment for colon cancer, Elizabeth (not her name) began having some very bizarre symptoms (to her). She was emotionally erratic, explosive, anxious, and afraid to leave home.  She was easily startled, had nightmares and was paranoid – afraid everything would hurt her. She didn't sleep well and she, who was/is a very social being, was not interested in seeing her many friends. Yes, she was depressed but it was more than that. Her husband, a Vietnam vet recognized that she was showing symptoms of extreme stress but this was a medical event and she was completely unprepared that something like this could happen to her.  For more Click Here.

The Disposable Military: "The Tumor of The Unknown Soldier" - Huffington Post

From Huffington Post:

Recently, the Chaplains at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in DC, housing 800 ill and recovering soldiers at a time, have begun weekly tributes during mass formations for soldiers who have died at WRAMC. Honoring the fallen soldiers, they read their bio and cause of death. In the last three weeks they have saluted three soldiers who have died at WRAMC from Cancer. No one questions this. Not Congress, not our elected officials, not the brigade of medical staff who care for these soldiers returning from the war torn country of Iraq.   Read more


Mission Statement

Where the personal story can be safely explored and expressed.

Ashlar Center for Narrative Arts is an arts driven non-profit organization designed to serve the Personal Story. In our workshops people create their narratives in various media. Additionally, we have a selection of easily adapted self-care practices that are necessary to foster resilience. 

We have learned over the years that  the most powerful and underused resource in our communities are its "ordinary"  people. So, our goal is  empowering  people to create the means to tell and share their stories in a culturally relevant way -- a collaborative model one in which we are all students and learners. Learning about and respecting cultural practices is very important and is our  growing edge.  We are very interested in how different communities and  cultures meet the challenges of being human. We, community members and Ashlar associates  come together to create supportive and sustainable life affirming models based in telling and honoring the personal story. 

 Our goal is to nurture relationship, encourage learning and teaching through community involvement. We are committed to creating a climate of  well-being and providing  lay people the means to become Narrative Arts Facilitators where it would best serve them and their communities.  

 Stay tuned and continue to look through the site.