your favorite post thus far

After reading through the blog and looking at the numbers of you who read them, we found that the post on The Calming Breath has the most "reads."   What we take from this is that you want more practical "what can we do to feel better:" sorts of blogs.  Toward that end, we are beginning a series of "how to" use our arts processes for your own healing beginning with a review of The Calming Breath. Scroll through the blogs until you find it. 

And then what?

After going through Ashlar's educational trauma remediation and Self Care program, we ask our graduates to spend the last two sessions asking these questions: the first series are about personal exploration:  what does it mean to have your life back? How and what have you gained from your experience now you are no longer locked into survival?  How do you want to spend your time now your your mind is no longer a personal and private mine field?  Did your family have a difficult time adjusting to your newly claimed emotional and physical clarity? 

Read more...

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

Vet to Vet -- an arts driven approach to healing the trauma story

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Vet 2 Vet program with and for vets suffering symptoms of traumatic stress.  We are teaching vets to be Narrative Arts Specialists.  Our goal  is that they take what they have learned and experienced themselves to help other vets suffering symptoms of PTS. Our lead person is Jim Famalero, an artist and Afghan combat vet.

Trainings involve our students going through the processes they will use. Though few in number, our rules are chiseled in stone.  The first: one: Always experience in-depth the processes you are going to use with others. 

When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness and our seemingly separate lives become meaningful

Yesterday was a day of contact with vets  and a reminder of the meaning of what we do at Ashlar:  giving hope and experience in resolving the all too often debilitating symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress.  It is such an honor to be a "player" in supporting people to re-inhabit their lives. Hurricane Sandy was  such a metaphor illuminating the devastation and destruction of  home and community and a very literal vision of the work that lies ahead-- both with the metaphor and the reality.  Making art, making peace.  Rebuilding devastated lives.   

look what is happening to JuvenileJustice: the work of Bruce Perry...trauma informed care

New America Media, Commentary, David Muhammad, Posted: Aug 28, 2012

Juvenile justice is transforming throughout America. Though there is a long road ahead to reform these systems into effective, rehabilitative programs that no longer make children worse, there is great promise in jurisdictions across the country, that are changing how they work with youth.

Read more...

Do not be daunted...

I  saw this at the check out desk at the hospital and was deeply touched: 

Do not be daunted
by the enormity of the world's grief
Do justly, now. love mercy, now.
Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
neither are you free
to abandon it!

The Talmud

Who We Are

                  

We make art in order not to die from the truth.

Ashlar Center for Narrative Arts is a U.S. 501c3 non-profit arts organization designed to serve the personal story and address the trauma it may contain. Our work is educational and skills driven -- grounded in thirty years of community based experience.

We use photos, interviews, and teach guided writing (Writing Through the Body).  For those people for whom revealing identity is unsafe, we use multi-media memorial building to contain and share the story in an abstract or symbolic form. Our goal is Witnessing and facilitating the creation of a coherent narrative for our students toward well-being and resilience. 

Following from our initial work with Story, we collaborate with students to create a culturally relevant Self-Care program facilitated by them and supervised when necessary by skilled professionals.

We invite you to invite us to your community.