Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Walk In Their Shoes

With the help of some awesome peace activists & volunteers, I designed and did the sleepless dirty work to make this art installation happen back in 2007 on the Washington National Mall. Each pair of shoes represented an Iraqi who died in the war. Each shoe had a name tag with the name of an Iraqi, how he or she died, and his or her age. I only had one month to do this, from start to finish. I also had a zero dollar budget to gather the shoes with. I used Internet social networking to get people from all around the USA to send their old dirty shoes to Washington DC.  It worked, and by the time I got to DC ( I organized this from LA) there were about 10,000 smelly used shoes waiting for me! It was like Christmas! Again, I only had a month to do this! The display got picture of the week in the New York Times. It made it to the Washington Post and even made it into a major newspaper in India. I never posted it on my blog, and lately people have asked me about it. So here it is. This is the picture of the final product.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Southwest, Summer 2011

From my stop at Mesa Verde National Park

Ok, so here I am in New Mexico. Last week I drove from Portland, Oregon where it felt like the beginning of fall. I stormed the length of Oregon, Idaho, Utah north to south, the southeastern edge of Colorado, and finally 100 degree+ New Mexico--five states and two seasons over the course of two days. Phew, I'm tired just from typing such a list. I wonder if I'd make a good trucker. Hmmm...

I'm here in New Mexico producing a documentary about homeless women veterans. It's an intense subject, but this is the work I'm most passionate about. Today I conducted my first interview, and the physical sensation of the buzz and warmth of my open heart helped me to remember something after it was done; I'm most alive when I'm helping people who have experienced trauma to share their stories. It's when I really feel that I'm fulfilling my life's work. 

Voicing stories is the beginning of healing, and I've facilitated this type of healing for nearly a decade. I just haven't realized how it's been the majority of my work until now. I have helped victims of war--especially women--to voice their stories around the world: from Cambodia, Afghanistan, Nepal, East Timor and even here in my own country. 

I don't know where all this work is leading, but I now fully own the identity of Story Healer. Yep, that's what I am.