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“Promoting Peace, Hope, and Healing: Moving from Surviving to Thriving” evaluates ways to stay positive in difficult times

By Collin Atwood

Positivity, hope and serenity are what people are searching for during these troubled times. The year 2020 has not held back and it has been a struggle for everyone.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the SEAT at the Table Week continued on with six events. “Promoting Peace, Hope and Healing: Moving from Surviving to Thriving” was the name of a session hosted by Dr. Anthony Hill, an Associate Professor of Social Work.

Hill graduated from Springfield College in 1992. In his past, he served as an administrator at Smith College and an elementary school principal in the city of Springfield.

The workshop that Hill hosted was all about how to heal, cope and fight through the difficult times that have been presented to our country and our campus community.

Hill started off by asking the attendees how they currently felt with all of the problems going on in our world. The responses were mostly made up of: “exhausted,” “tired,” “worried” and “stressed.”

Clearly, a workshop about peace was needed. “I think this is an opportunity for us to walk away feeling a little lighter and focusing on how do we heal,” Hill said.

Hill then showed multiple videos that were very powerful and depicted different ways on how racism is shown in America. Everyone in the workshop felt strongly about these clips.

Hill also talked about the “monsters” that people deal with every day. The list of these “monsters” included bullying, poverty, abuse, neglect and so much more.

He presented this list to show attendees how much people already have to deal with before the two leading problems in the world right now (the fight for racial justice and COVID-19) even appear.

After talking about multiple issues and doing group exercises, Hill presented the question of “What can we do?” How can people be at peace and not feel stressed all the time?

In response to his question, Hill told the audience to “remember your ABC’s.”

The “A” in “ABC’s” stands for awareness. “I believe that if you’re not aware of something, that’s what you trip over,” Hill said. The section was all about how to be aware of the stress that one might have.

A picture of a cat looking into a mirror and seeing a lion in its reflection was then shown to the crowd. Hill asked what the significance of the picture was in relation to awareness.

The point that Hill wanted to make was that anyone and everyone can have greatness in them, they just need to be aware of it. “It’s very important that you have awareness so you don’t respond out of pain,” said Hill.

The “B” stands for balance. “How do you create balance from your job, not making your job your life?” Hill then asked the audience what they do to “rejuvenate” themselves.

Various responses flooded the char. “These all can promote peace and hope and healing in moving from just surviving to thriving,” said Hill.

Hill then showed a list of other self-care activities such as keeping a journal, photography and singing.

Connection is the last part of the acronym. He started by talking about people’s inner circles and how they can let people in and then “revoke their pass.”

Hill asked everyone to share someone who inspires them. Everyone gave their own specific answers varying from co-workers and teammates to family members and teachers.

Everyone then went on to share their stories on why that person inspired them. “I am convinced that these same attributes, these same people that inspired you, will also promote peace and hope and healing for the conditions that we are confronting today,” said Hill.

Hill closed by talking about our inner critic. “We have to interrupt our inner critic.”

He mentioned phrases such as “I could never” and “I am so” and how we should keep them out of our vocabulary. Hill told the attendees that “if you work at it, you can get good at anything.”

Promoting peace and hope at a time like this is so valuable for people who are struggling to stay positive. This workshop opened the eyes of many, with a goal of moving attendees from just surviving, to start thriving.

Graphic Courtesy of Jack Margaros

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