An exercises we encountered at the Family Peace Initiative in Topeka and one that both Rebecca and Katie shared at the Moving the Needle conference in Wichita, is “pandora’s box and the cover story.” Pandora’s box contains the following evils: sickness, death, turmoil, strife, jealousy, hatred, famine……but also within the box is the light of HOPE. Katie Perez, an education consultant at Essdack, made over 400 of the boxes pictured above for those in attendance at their Moving the Needle conference. https://www.essdack.org/katieperez
A little over a month after the gathering in Topeka, Rebecca Lewis Pankratz invited me to Wichita to attend a two day conference titled Moving the Needle. After attending the conference I shared with Rebecca that I would be writing a post and asked her how much of her story I could share, she said “all of it”. That answer in itself says a great deal about this amazing woman, here is Rebecca’s story in her own words https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9ajlFPqvk4
An Enlightened Witness for many people in her community and beyond Rebecca’s mission is to help solve poverty by engaging educators, community members, and families into deeper conversations that result in truly lifting students out of poverty.
Her commitment to this quest is fueled by an incredible and deep love for the “other.”Her journey and personal suffering have served to inform her, as has mine, of our interconnectedness/oneness. The Zulu people of Africa call it “Ubuntu”, which literally means that a person is a person through other people.
For Ubuntu/Oneness to exist, we must engage in what I would call soul tending. Soul tending is the act of coming together with others to liberate our soul’s truth and wisdom. It is an act that takes courage, faith, commitment and the willingness to unveil and illuminate each other into a deeper understanding of our interconnected inner aliveness.
Rebecca expresses it this way, “To truly heal so many of our struggles as humans we must shed light on the biggest lie humans have ever created. That there is an ‘Us’ and there is a ‘Them’. Often this takes a great deal of work around creating space where people who see themselves as part of one group enter into authentic relationships with people who are part of another group.”
According to Steve and Dorothy Halley each one of us carries our own pandora’s box, in fact we are tethered to the box. The box confines us because it contains all the things that we don’t want anyone to know about us, the fear being that if someone opened it and saw these things they would not want anything to do with us. So we hide these truths and create a “cover story.” In essence we are fragmented, there are two sides of us, the side we present to the world and the side we hide from the world.
An exercise called the “two chair exercise” that we all did enabled us to share both sides of ourselves with each other. In doing so we come to understand what Bryan Stevens meant when he said, “each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”
After Rebecca did the two chair exercise and shared her cover story at the Moving the Needle conference I had the privilege of asking those in attendance how they felt about Rebecca upon hearing about the things she would rather keep hidden, for fear of being judged, labelled, or ostracized. A hand went up and said, “Rebecca is someone I admire and after what she just shared I admire her even more!”
The ACE Study’s researchers – Dr. Vincent Felitti and Dr.Robert Anda -- found that most people experience ACEs, and that these experiences are lost in time and protected by shame, by secrecy, and by social taboos. I would say that these experiences are not lost in time, they are hidden in our pandora’s boxes.
As long as we keep the box closed we will never be free and will remain devoid of hope.
This piece would not be complete if I didn’t share these three photos from an exhibit showcased at the Moving the Needle conference titled “walk a mile in my shoes. https://harveycountynow.com/al...-emberhope-residents.