web of life, web of relationships and the connection to ‘restoring justice’

I bet it was 10 years ago.  I was workshop and the presenters name was Bravada.   She was a strong beautiful black woman and she started her session with a culturally relevant water pour and we stood up as she talked about honoring those whose shoulders we stood.  She spoke with authority.  It was powerful for me for a few reasons.

The first – I respect cultural identity.  I love seeing a representation from another culture.  I try to learn it and respect it.  For example, placing food on the floor is a cultural taboo for a former co-worker.  I remembered that, and made efforts not to do it.

The second reason this demonstration was powerful for me – was it started to help me with understanding my web of life/web of relationships.  When Bravada started to talk, the voice inside me said something it said quite often:  “YOU-have no one”.  I carried a chip on each shoulder, why only have one.  I was resentful towards the world.  My birth mom gave me away, my Mom died, I was a single Mom.  I identified with all my losses and none of my gifts.   As Bravada spoke how we ALL are here because of someone else and how we Honor those that helped us, my heart softened and I remembered my Great Grandma Taschner and her love for me, My Grandma Holicki and a teacher or an Aunt, or my Dad.  What I was doing was recognizing beginning to recognize my web.

Look how clearly I remember this – it was 10 years ago.  It was a defining moment because of my shift in thinking.  I remember this story vividly.

I have continued to see that when we honor our web of relationships – – and we work to be in good relationship with everyone around us.  Life is better.  It’s just better.

A young man of 18 maybe – he didn’t have anyone to bring into the Circle.  I recognized myself in him.  I hope he turns the corner and starts to see his web.

Our webs – they keep us from harming others.  Our webs are the support when we need it.  The spring board to becoming more and more as people.  These relationships help create us.  These relationships help form us.

An offender recently came to realize – – the judge didn’t order him to do speaking because he was punishing him.  He ordered the speaking so that the situation doesn’t happen to someone else.  Once this realization – this person was able to speak more of his story.  He found his context for telling it and he now speaks about hoping it makes a difference to someone else.

In Restorative Justice – – we restore relationships.  We teach people to view themselves within the web of a community and to understand how behavior impacts that web.