Our most recent film, Healing Justice, is grounded in transformative learning theory (like all of World Trust’s films and curricula).
This learning model was developed by Jack Mezirow, who described transformative learning as “learning that transforms problematic frames of reference to make them more inclusive, discriminating, reflective, open, and emotionally able to change.”
What does transformational learning look like in practice?
One short video breaks it down nicely.
One method to address the effects of structural oppression – whether we are those who experience oppression or those from oppressive groups – is to incorporate body-based healing practices.
An example is generative somatics, a healing modality that seeks to “grow a transformative social and environmental justice movement – one that integrates personal and social transformation, creates compelling alternatives to the status quo, and embodies the creativity and life affirming actions we need to forward systemic change.”
Somatics is an embodied practice and those who practice believe that internal work begins in the body.
In a previous post, we discussed intergenerational trauma and how it can lead to harm in marginalized communities today. In that post, we highlighted the work of a 2012 report on addressing intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal youth living in Canada, which made mention of centering community healing practices, strengthening cultural identity, and building professional support networks as some ways to begin the process.
“Intergenerational trauma is the transmission of historical oppression and its negative consequences across generations.”
– ‘Intervention to Address Intergenerational Trauma’
“Colonization can be termed as historical trauma, intergenerational trauma. It’s trauma after trauma happening over and over again over the course of your life and then it’s been happening generation after generation before you. And so what happens is you end up with a lot of lateral violence and expression of pain going out to the people around you.”
– Harley Eagle, Dakota and Ojibiwe Cultural Safety Facilitator
"This notion of good guys and bad guys is really false. Every single one of my clients has had an incredibly traumatic past, and if I had caught them a few years earlier, if I had been engaged in their life a few years earlier, they would have been on the victim side instead of the offender side."
– Sujatha Baliga, Director of the Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice and Healing Justice documentary participant
Healing Justice, our most recent documentary, supports the engagement necessary for the work of addressing and healing the racism embedded in our current justice system. The development of new narratives provides understanding of structural oppression while also sparking the public will necessary to change it.
Take a look at the image on the cover of Healing Justice. Recessed in the back of the cell, past the bent bars, is a blue glowing nautilus shell.
We chose the nautilus shell because it is a powerful image of growth and expansion as seen in nature. Its growth is predictable, yet as it expands into more and more space, it symbolizes the freedom to change, build and grow.
The nautilus is meant to inspire and remind us that our movements can begin from a place of small concentrated energy and grow into a more just reality. Take inspiration from the nautilus that, little by little, we can build together and unfold into a new shape.
Also, please consider reading the “Meditation on the Spirals of the Nautilus” for further inspiration.