Highlights from the Arab-Heritage Workshop

Dear Azi,[1]

Here are some of my highlights from the Arab-Heritage Workshop.[2]

  • Your talk about treating each other with respect and kindness—which is different from being “nice”—and how you wanted us not to use sarcasm, because it’s hurtful to people. It reminded me of when my friend’s daughter was five or six and her father had said something sarcastic to her. She was angry and asked, “What is that thing you just did?” He told her it was sarcasm, and she said, “Don’t do that; it’s bad for children!”
  • Your flexibility—giving us enough time to play, connect, and rest—and all the mini-sessions.
  • When you switched plans on Saturday afternoon and said we were going to have a short nap. We scattered like mice, afraid you might change your mind. I came back so refreshed and happy.
  • Being at a workshop at which I wanted to have a session with every single person. And I did have at least one—sometimes several—with all but one person (we’ve planned a mini-session for next week).
  • Being restimulated by people’s sessions, because of the similarity of their distresses to my own, and then having really heavy sessions on my early hurts and being very present afterward—until the next time.
  • Discharging shame. On Saturday night I went to bed intensely restimulated, feeling feelings of shame that kept me awake a good part of the night. On Sunday morning I came down to the meeting room a few minutes early, still feeling terrible. A Co-Counselor said good morning and asked if I wanted to do a mini before the meeting started. We saw people assembling, so we only took ninety seconds each. She gave me such loving attention, and I cried hard about feeling “too stupid to live.” The shame vanished and, remarkably, still hasn’t returned. I had never discharged shame so easily and cleanly. How hopeful!
  • Our Saturday supper—the thirteen of us sitting around the table on the patio, talking about our families’ favorite dishes as we shared a feast of Mediterranean food delivered by an ally from the Albuquerque RC Community. As we sat there talking and laughing with everyone—with the mountains in the distance and quiet flashes of lightning behind the puffy clouds in that huge, blue, New Mexico sky as the afternoon sun faded and the air cooled—it felt like a big, loving family meal, and I didn’t want it to end.
  • Yours and Amin’s[3] talk on the initiative on ending classism,[4] followed by the working-class panel. I was thankful that you gently interrupted the discussion about who is working class and had us do another mini-session before the panel started. Harvey[5] once told me, “You are a true daughter of the working class.” Yes, I am.
  • How kind you were to people, but not to the patterns.
  • Your talk about the need for unity among all RCers if we want to share RC with at least three million people to “tip the balance” and change the world.
  • How you trusted us on Sunday morning for “counsel the leader.” I hope you felt how much we love you.
  • The support and love from our allies in the Albuquerque Community.
  • Falling in love with you and each person there as we showed our strengths and struggles.
  • How much we all laughed and were relaxed with each other.

I knew that I belonged. (Oh, that just made me cry.) Thank you, Azi.

With love and respect from your newest habibti,[6]

Carol Joseph Essa
Austin, Texas, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders
of South, Central, and West Asian-Heritage People 

[1] Azadeh Khalili, the International Liberation Reference Person for South, Central, and West Asian-Heritage People
[2] A workshop led by Azadeh Khalili in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, from July 31 to August 2, 2015
[3] Amin Khoury (or Victor Nicassio), the Area Reference Person for the Eastside Los Angeles, California, USA, RC Community
[4] See “A New Initiative on Ending Classism,” by Dan Nickerson, on page 8 of the July 2014 Present Time.
[5] Harvey Jackins
[6]Habibti means “loved one” in Arabic.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00