Friday, December 12, 2008

This Weekend in Chicago: Veterans Art Project Event Explores the Warrior-Society Experience

Latest Vet Art Project event details for Feb '09 in my post Renaissance by Fire: Returning Veterans, Society & the Forging of a New Enlightenment. -- Ilona Meagher, 2/10/09

For years, I've been an unapologetic and unabashed fan of what I believe is the best guide to reintegration and transformation of both veteran and society: the book, "War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder." Written by Dr. Edward Tick, it was recommended to me by a Vietnam vet and friend as I began my research on my own slim volume.

Since then, I've had the chance to attend two of Tick's highly-recommended workshops over the years. And what I've observed is this: Tick is a soldier of service, providing warriors and civilians alike a chance to consider their impact on one another. His organization, Soldier's Heart, brings into being the ideas set down on paper in War and the Soul; the organization does a top job of bringing these two groups together to share each others' concerns and work toward solving each others' problems.

It's not a mistake to say that Dr. Tick and all of the people who work at Soldier's Heart have inspired me. And I'm not alone. Their work has also admittedly inspired Lisa Rosenthal, an author, playwright, writing coach and workshop leader who has transformed that inspiration into the ongoing Vet Art Project.

In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.

[See the VAP's full winter calendar of events].

On Saturday, she offers another community outreach program -- sponsored by the DuPage Writer's Group -- at the Carol Stream Public Library, beginning at 10 a.m. (please note the start time is 10 a.m.; I've spoken with Lisa today to confirm this, as the time is incorrect on the library's website). I'm excited to be able to attend the event now that my finals are behind me, and also because one or two of NIU's ace Veterans Club members may join me, too.


Vet Art Project Community Workshop and Meeting
Sat., Dec. 13th, 2008 - 10 a.m
Carol Stream Public Library
616 Hiawatha Dr
Carol Stream, IL 60188

This event is an orientation for interested artists to explain how to get involved in the Vet Art Project that culminates in collaboratively created art about war for public performance or viewing. This workshop includes experiential exercises about war as well as information about the structure of the project, which will be in residence in February 2009 at the Chicago Cultural Center in the Studio Theater as part of their Incubator Series.

NOTE: Artists working in all media are welcome.


The Vet Art Project will be a part of the Incubator Series at the Chicago Cultural Center in February 2009. That means we'll have the whole month to build a supportive community, help veterans and their loved ones share their stories both orally and in writing in a small-group setting, and then area artists will work with the veterans to transform these stories into stagecraft, film, dance, music, and more.

The project will culminate with a performance at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, 2009 when community members are invited to bare witness to these stories and this art. Visit Vet Art Project for important updates, including how to reserve tickets to this free performance, which requires advance reservations.

Official announcement.

An interview with Lisa Rosenthal, the program creator, goes into greater detail about this thoughtful community project. And in extended, you'll find news of last weekend's Global Spirit segment, "Forgiveness and Healing," featuring Dr. Tick.

[UPDATE Dec. 14, 2008]: I'll post a full report in the coming week on this event, but wanted to share a few photos [full set]:

VAP_0203 VAP_0200 VAP_0198 VAP_0193 VAP_02 VAP_04 VAP_0197

From the Soldier's Heart newsletter:

Dear friends,

The documentary, Forgiveness and Healing, which was filmed in part during the 2007 Soldier's Heart Journey to Viet Nam, led by Dr. Ed Tick, [aired] on LINK TV [last] week.

An 8-minute video excerpt of this episode is essential viewing:

Most world religions and wisdom traditions include teachings on the nature of forgiveness. From the notion of divine forgiveness to that of humans practicing forgiveness between one another, there are countless spiritual myths, lessons and teachings that explore the complex nature and process of forgiveness and reconciliation in their various forms.

Outside of the spiritual realm, psychologists, sociologists and doctors are among the scientific disciplines researching this perennial human need. The desire to forgive is widely recognized by the public, but they are often at a loss for ways to accomplish it. A 1988 Gallup poll found that 94% of people asked said it was important to forgive, but 85% said they needed some outside help to be able to do it.

The path to reconciliation can be just as challenging. According to The International Reconciliation Coalition reconciliation begins with individual acts of confession, but that “the greatest wounds in human history, the greatest injustices, have not happened through the acts of some individual perpetrator; rather through the institutions, systems, philosophies, cultures, religions and governments of humankind. Because of this, we, as individuals, are tempted to absolve ourselves of all individual responsibility.”

This episode of Global Spiritexplores forgiveness and healing on a personal and societal level, illuminating how spiritual practice and compassion can aid us on this most critical of journeys. Host Phil Cousineau brings together three guests who each approach the topic from a different angle. We see Ed Tick and his wife Kate Dahlstad take a group of traumatized Vietnam War vets back to Vietnam to help them learn the art of forgiveness – specifically, how to forgive themselves for what they did at war almost 40 years ago. Program guest Azim Khamisa is practicing the more typical “forgiveness of the other” as he traces how he learned to forgive the boy who murdered his own son. Now Khamisa works with the boy’s grandfather to foster forgiveness and healing with young audiences all over the world.

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass. -George Herbert



Soldier's Heart veterans return and healing project
Tariq Khamisa Foundation
Azim Khamisa's website
International Reconciliation Coalition

I'm checking to see if the full program will be re-run or is available for online viewing, and will post it as soon as that's available.

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