Dear Potential Students,
This is a little bit like writing to an unborn baby. You don’t know what her characteristics will be and what she needs to hear, but nonetheless you want to welcome her to the world. So that is what I’m doing: welcoming you to the journey of “Making it Home,” where we will explore that phrase in its many dimensions. What does it mean to you? I will tell you what it means to me and why I think the quest for home is a universal one, thus archetypal. We are in archetypal times right now, possibly unmediated by the ego. Jung warns us against that, because unmediated archetypal forces are very hard to resist.
We are up against confusing and contradictory news accounts from the pandemic to climate change, arguments between right and left about almost everything (which makes progress hard, and which is also confusing.) The more I think about our world now, the more I realize certain parallels between the Bosnians’ world pre-war and our own. Their media was mainly propaganda and most of them didn’t know what to think. Evil was let loose in their country, and it has perhaps been let out in ours as well, in a different way than in the Bosnian context, but scary nonetheless.
What can we do about this? How can we remain centered in a world and a country gone awry? What can the experience of these Bosnians teach us about ourselves? This is where we will start this course, with an overview of my book, “Making it Through: Bosnian Survivors Share Stories of Trauma, Transcendence and Truth.” Then we will draw on each chapter, starting with the first interviewee, Vahidin Omanovic, whose centerpost was forgiveness.
If someone were to ask me, "Demaris, tell me about the main theme of your book in one sentence," I would say, "it's about the healing power of connection." Because no matter how terrible the war/genocide was in Bosnia -- and it was unthinkably brutal -- one thing the Bosnians were good at was connection, even in the midst of brutality. The centerpost, which is another main theme of how they made it through, is literally a connecting principle, connecting from heart to heart, soul to soul, truth to truth. It is not superficial chitchat that is in service of avoiding hard things. It is a principle to which each interviewee clung, perhaps unconsciously, that enabled them to make it through a terrible war.
Can you think of character traits that would rise to the fore and sustain you in terribly challenging times? Have you had such an experience? What are your strengths? Dig deep and you may find ones that you may never have even considered strengths.
This is where we will begin our course as we embark on this journey of Finding Our Way Home.
Looking forward to seeing you in the class!