Photo by Tony Cece

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Yesterday I witnessed a colleague share a grounding technique with a severely traumatized victim of domestic violence at Smiles Foundation's safe house. The technique reduces symptoms of trauma by connecting the person to the here and now through all five senses. As our client practiced this technique of self-care, her intrusive thoughts and anxiety symptoms clearly lessened. We encouraged her to continue taking time to calm her soul to facilitate her healing. 
To take time out for our own self-care is a critical part of our counseling work here as well. Today we took time to rest, play, and process so that we will be better equipped for our work over the next several days. God blessed us with a variety of activities to enjoy. Some of us spent time experiencing the city of Oradea, about 5km from where we stay in Cihei. Others chose to travel a distance to visit the Medieval Castle Corvin in Transylvania. Another group spent a relaxing day at the nearby Baile Felix resort, featuring hot thermal water fed pools and spa. While still others took the opportunity to drive through the countryside to the foothills of the Apuseni Mountains for a tour of the magnificent Pestera Ursilor (Bear Caves).
I asked my colleagues for images, sounds, feelings, scents, and tastes that grounded them to the here and now of the day. Here is some of what they experienced:

  •          the textured landscape of the countryside, marked by patches of fruit tress, vegetable gardens,           sunflower fields, hand-reaped fields of hay, and rows of corn

  •      the varied styles of Oradean architecture from the flowery Art Nouveau to cement Brutalist;                 reminiscent of the array of political and cultural forces in Romania over the centuries.

  •        church bells chiming the Romanian national anthem at 1:00, beckoning Romanians to pause from         their work with hand over heart.

  •       the backdrop of Romanian chatter everywhere we go.

  •       the rough texture of the crumbling stone brick courtyard of a Medieval castle, briefly connecting life      across seven centuries.

  •       the soothing thermal water massaging and melting stress 

  •      the samples of honey from different flowers, offered via toothpick by a Romanian grandmother at the   open market.

As the sun sets and the evening air stills, the smoke of the wood burning water heater at the Foundation lingers in the air. This smoky smell has become symbolic of the onset of nighttime rest...another blessing of God to replenish us for the work ahead.

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