Tuesday 29 December 2015

Global Integrators--24

Resilience for Global Integrators
Staying the Course

Rwanda, refugee tents circa 1994; photo credit UNHCR

We think that the time is coming for a diversity of colleagues to join together intentionally, visibly, and practically on behalf of global integration (GI). GI put simply is how we skillfully integrate our lives and values on behalf of the issues facing humanity. Likewise we think that the time is coming for colleagues to carefully reflect and act on what it means to be good global learners-practitioners--to seriously consider what it means to be what we are calling global integrators (GI-People).
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 Member Care Updates and Global Integration Updates.

"Human resiliency is the ability to face reality: to engage with and grow through life's challenges and adversities via inner strength, social support, coping skills, and core beliefs/values including life purpose and spiritual meaning."
Kelly and Michele O'Donnell
This entry focuses on the need for resilience in order to remain effective as global integrators. It is a reminder that GI Involvement comes with a cost, and sometimes a great cost to our personal stability, sanity, overall health, and  relationships via critical incidents, cumulative stress, etc.

Resilience is a protective factor of resilience (defined above) which is necessary to stay the course over the long-haul in GI. There are certainly so many more perspectives, principles, and resources that can be shared. We invite you to add some of yours via the comments section. It would also be very helpful to do a survey to assess what global integrators (and different types of global integrators) do to remain resilient.
Member Care Update—November 2015
Resiliency Toolkit–Strengthening Ourselves and Others
: This Update focuses on developing resiliency. It provides practical resources to  promote well-being and effectiveness (WE) for workers in mission, aid, and development as well as for member care workers themselves. The resources include brief assessments and articles–core items in a versatile toolkit to strengthen yourself and others. 
Periodically we do special Updates that feature items to put in such a member care toolkit. Five past examples are archived HERE: 12/2009 Resiliency, 8/2010 Self-Care, 3/2012 Work-Life Balance, 1/2013 Cool Tools, and 10/2014 Creative Healing. We finish the Update with a reflection on resilience from Pearls and Perils of Good Practice ( excerpt below--available now as an ebook) as well as one of our favorite resiliency songs, Ready for the Storm.
“For the mission/aid community, helping can often involve staying sane—and alive—in unstable, insane places....It is not that mission/aid work always deals with life-threatening experiences, of course. Rather it is just that helping to relieve the “maims and moans” of creation takes its toll. Mission/aid workers, like the people they are helping, have some special challenges and needs for resiliency...”(pp. 2,3)
“The Headington Institute partners with humanitarian relief and development organizations and emergency responders, before, during, and after deployment in order to ensure the wellbeing of individuals. Our team of psychologists, many with over 30 years of clinical experience, bridge cutting edge academic research with practical application at the field level, in order to strengthen the impact of humanitarian response and promote the long-term wellbeing of humanitarian personnel.” (from website) Some examples of their resources:
--Moral Injury (blog entries, quote below)
I became interested in moral injury a few years ago when I worked with military veterans who were struggling to make peace with things they had seen or done, sometimes more than 40 years after the fact. Moral injury…is defined as the lasting impact of participating in, witnessing, or failing to prevent something that goes against deeply held beliefs and values. People who are helping others during an emergency or after a disaster don’t have the same experiences as those who go to war, but the nature of this work can bring people face to face with human suffering and tragic outcomes. An emergency responder might be haunted by a life that could not be saved, or an accident that could have been prevented.” Lisa Finlay, Guilt and Shame: The Messy Part of Moral Injury, 20 July 2015
and maintain a good sense of humor...
Final Reflection
I finish this entry by citing a medley of quotes which appeared in my first entry on Global Integration, back in  January 2015. The quotes are basically exhortations to help us stay the GI course with integrity and skill.
"Persevere as you pursue areas that you are passionate about and stretch yourself into new areas of interest as part of life-long learning.  As in most human enterprises, there can be political agendas, power dynamics, territoriality, and dysfunctional behaviors to navigate” (O’Donnell, 2012, p. 201).  Keep in the forefront the opportunities for “selfless moral struggle” in partnering with others (Patel et al. 2011, p. 90) and the “duty and choice to risk your own rights and well-being” on behalf of fellow humans (O’Donnell, 2011, p. 187). “Embrace lifestyles that reflect commitments to equality, justice, and wellbeing for all” (O’Donnell, 2012, p. 201). Develop your personal character and professional competence as a responsible global citizen committed to “seeing reality clearly… [including] physical and mental suffering due to human cruelty… [without giving up] our dream for a more loving and peaceful humanity” (Mollica, 2013, p.15). Connect with a supportive caravan of colleagues for your Global Integration journey in the service of humanity. Remember that in all you do and in whatever comes your way, “your task is to be true, not popular” (Luke 6:26, The Message)." 

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