Healing Trauma and Changing Lives in Jordan

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Refugee TraumaLeonie Blackwell is one of those amazing, inspiring women, who, out of the depths of their own healing crisis, reach out and help others. Leonie has been drawn to Jordan – to help refugees cope and deal with the trauma of being displaced from their homeland. I interviewed Leonie about her quest and am just blown away by her passion and heart for this incredible cause. I hope you are moved as much as I am.

Leonie, what was your reason / purpose for going – like, why Jordan of all places?
I was part of a team of three women who self-funded this pilot program in trauma elimination. The lady who initiated this trip had worked and lived in Jordan for seven years and was acutely aware of the plight of refugees there.

The Royal family are very compassionate toward refugees and with three million Syrian refugees coming into Jordan in the last few years the need for support and techniques to deal with the trauma is paramount.

There are over six million refugees living in Jordan, including people from Palestine, Kuwait, Iraq and Somalia. When offering a technique that eliminates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress Jordan was the perfect place to go.

On a personal level this was an opportunity to visit a country I had longed to see for many years but more importantly, to accomplish a desire to help displaced people that had burnt within me since I was fifteen years of age.

Leonie Blackwell

Leonie working with Hiba & Narina

What were your fears?
When I began sharing my intention to go to Jordan with family, friends, and clients the first reply was, “You can’t go there, it’s dangerous!” When I looked on the map and saw that Jordan was right in the middle of all the countries in crisis my heart did sink. I felt the panic and the doubt!

I took a deep breath said to myself, “You have a choice; believe all the drama presented in the media or trust yourself.” I decided to trust in myself and my faith in humanity. People are people, no matter where they live, what they believe, or what they wear. I have never submerged myself into those kinds of limitations and wasn’t about to start now.

I chose to believe that I would meet and experience people not stereotypes and fear-based lies.

What was it like?
It was a truly amazing experience. I fell in love with the people; their gentleness, compassion and openness. We started by training the workers who were psychologists, counsellors, teachers and social workers. Many of them are refugees themselves and the training provided those with an opportunity to heal their own trauma, grief and loss. The excitement on their faces as they felt the shift and realised the power in the process is etched in my memory forever.

Mentoring the staff while working with refugees using the trauma releasing technique was inspiring and humbling at the same time. To watch a person go from shaking, trembling, and struggling to breathe or talk; tears rolling down their cheeks as they talk about the specific experience, through to the final release and flash of a beaming smile was rewarding. Everyone that experienced this looked immediately to their hands, held them out and exclaimed, “I’m not shaking!”

Many asked if they could come back and work on other traumatic memories. The wonderful thing about how we went about this program was that when we left we weren’t taking the skills with us. We had trained workers in trauma centres, refugee camps, and in counselling and medical centres who could continue to offer this healing to refugees.

Practising EFT

Tamara & Aseel practising the trauma technique

How has it changed you?
I didn’t go to Jordan with any expectations. I wanted to be open to the experience and allow it to unfold and simply be whatever it was. I learnt a lot about the country, its politics, history, people, the Muslim religion and the Middle East in general.

I’m not even sure words can justly describe the experience or the changes within me. It was profound, beautiful, invigorating, and rejuvenating. It was empowering to be part of the transformation in refugee’s lives and I was left with the imprint of the joy and gratefulness, not the tragedy and harm of war. I am looking forward to returning to Jordan to conduct further training in 2016.

What did you learn?
I was really moved by the compassion of Jordanian’s. The Royal Family are loving, empathic role models and the people love them. What starts out as tent cities are converted into buildings and entire cities are actually refugee camps. There’s no barbed wire, no armed guards, just cities that refugees work, study, and live in with dignity and decency.

The current Syrian crisis has 800,000 people living in tents but there is also 300,000 living in the cities already integrating into work, schools, and daily life. I think this model of dealing with refugees is a humane approach.

Many of the Syrian’s were well-educated, wealthy, and free thinkers and when I put myself into their shoes I could relate to the depth of loss and trauma they were experiencing.

I would never want to be forced from my home, let alone my town, at gun point fearing I’d be shot and never be able to return.

I would like to think that I would refuse to join the violent rebels just like the refugees I worked with did. They may have had symptoms of post-traumatic stress but they were brave beyond anything I could imagine living through.

This trip to Jordan solidified my belief in humanity. People create the horror and the love. Fear breeds fear and love serves the best in each of us.

I’m not naïve and this trip also confirmed that there are unseen forces at play in any conflict. What we see on our television screens is not the full story, and attempts to discredit the impact of the horror of war by making it less relevant for certain people is just plain wrong.

When I met people and they asked me what I was doing in Jordan and I told them they replied, “Thank you, thank you for helping our refugees.” I learnt that compassion is a virtue worth its weight in gold.

Leonie Blackwell

Heartfelt love and joy – Leonie and Tamara

And, it doesn’t stop there. Leonie has other exciting things in the pipeline…such as a new book underway (a self-help tool called The Book of Inner Secrets). She is taking a group of people to Ladakh next year to explore the Buddhist way of life (places still available if you are interested). AND she’s also contributing a chapter in the next Joe Vitale book – The Prosperity Factor.

Leonie BlackwellLeonie Blackwell has been running her naturopathic business since 1994, providing a service to more than two thousand clients, and teaching hundreds through her accredited practitioner courses and innovative personal development workshops.

She has created a world-first app: Tap Bullies Away, helping people recover from the negative effects of being bullied.

Leonie’s first book, Making Sense of the Insensible: The Ten Injustices of Our Life Lessons, explores how injustices occur in our childhood, our adulthood or throughout our lives as recurring themes and what the intentions, motivation and needs are underlying these experiences.

She also writes a blog at www.leonieblackwell.com.

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