02 June 2014 17:03

At a time when political negotiations on the Cyprus problem seem to be back on track, Cypriots from all over the island are expecting a solution to an issue which has haunted them for almost half a century to come from politicians.
However, as psychiatrist and healer Brenda Davies points out, peace will not come from politicians, but from healing people's hearts, one at a time.
"In many ways Cyprus is quite peaceful now with the divide and yet the people I see are very hurt still and therefore the people are not at peace but the country seems to be fairly at peace.
"With great respect, Cyprus itself being at peace is secondary I believe to the people being at peace and so my aim in working with people is to help them find themselves wholly well, really enjoying life, living to their full," Brenda told the Cyprus Daily.
During her second visit to the island last week, Brenda organised workshops in the government-controlled areas and the occupied north, as well as in the buffer zone, to help both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots open up about how they feel and begin to heal wounds which have been left untreated for over 40 years.
However, she points out, the longer wounds are left, the harder they are to heal. "If you had a nasty cut on your hand today you would bathe it, make sure there is nothing sticking there that would stop it healing, put a dressing on it and as long as you left it alone you own body will heal it, you will have a scar but you will be ok and the pain will go away."
But with emotional wounds we don't do that, as people often have wounds for years and years.
"It becomes kind of walled off like an abscess in our soul and it never gets looked at, but if it ever gets touched then the touching of it brings anger and pain and frustration and all sorts of things that really ruin our relationships, our lives, our occupation, everything."
Brenda's workshops therefore are an attempt, as she points out, to carefully open the wound, allow whatever is still there to come out and then the wounds can begin to heal for the first time.
"When I was here in September the aim was to allow people to come and tell their stories and listen and heal, and so people in a group situation would tell their story, what had happened to them and why they were so hurt, and bit by bit in this atmosphere of healing and peace they would tell their story."
During her time in Germany over the years, Brenda met people whose fathers had tried to kill each other in the war and perhaps did, but they gradually came to realise that the war was over and that they all needed to stop and see each other as human beings who are all wounded and bit by bit get to know each other.
"I saw that happening when I had Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the same room, sharing stories and for the first time people start to look at the fact that 'I'm hurt but other people are hurt too, it's not only me' and then they start to see things from each other's point of view."
During workshops last week, people were given the opportunity to meet Brenda through a questions and answers meeting the night before the workshop and then attend the next day to work with her and the other participants in an effort to move forward.
"The premise and vehicle for change that I worked with is looking at the fact that each of us sitting here is the sum total of everything that has happened to us. We haven't left anything behind.
"But in this moment I can decide that I want to leave some of that, I want to clear out some of that because I don't want to carry hatred, fury or resentment forward into the future."
As Brenda explains, human lives are like a cupboard in our house where we store all the rubbish that we don't want anyone to see, and we keep putting things in there until one day the door bursts open and we are forced to sort through everything and decide what to keep and what to throw away.
"If I want to keep it all it will all go back in because it was in there in the first place and it can go back tidily but the likelihood is that I will throw a lot of it away and then I can open and close the cupboard and it will be fine.
"We're in a constant movement of bringing the past, updating the truth in the moment and then projecting it forward and in the constant moment of now we are constantly updating the truth.
However, as she notes, moving forward is not always easy for people and it is hurtful, but through her workshops she is hoping to help things come bursting out, because as she puts it 'the cupboard just won't close any more'.
"Unfortunately people often get stuck with a version of the truth that was years ago, but so many wonderful things have happened since then and if we can incorporate those and jettison some of the other stuff we can create a tomorrow which is completely different."
The effect of keeping everything bottled up can have detrimental effects on all aspects of people's lives and particularly their health.
"Can you imagine what happens to somebody's blood pressure by that and how many heart attacks, strokes and cancer are caused by that? So actually doing the work is so therapeutic on so many levels including physically."
After visits to other parts of the world including the UK, Northern Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Japan and the US, Brenda will be back in Cyprus for more workshops in November, while she also hopes to open a peace school here.
"My plan is to teach people to do what I am doing but in their own style, using their own natural abilities and individual set of skills".
For more information visit www.brendadavies.com


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