Thoughts from Trinice Holden, YRP Executive Director
Restorative Practices are about building relationships, maintaining community and repairing harm. This is not a “program” it’s a commitment to a way of thinking, growing and being.
I grew up in the south, in an inequitable environment. Thankfully I was blessed with an amazing mom who was “restorative” before the meaning was defined for me. Growing up “restorative” meant that my mom’s style of parenting included asking questions, always having consequences to my actions, and never be labeled as “bad”.
The soil where I was planted had deep bedrocks of power and privilege that confused me about who I could be and what paths where open to me. While my optimistic “can do” personality enabled me to survive this environment, it prevented me from being honest with myself. When I was in uncomfortable situations, being a people pleaser prevented me from challenging the environment that my roots took hold in.
My mother had a beautiful fig tree in the backyard. When it began to wither, she tried pesticides and cutting back the branches. Nothing helped, and her fig tree was dying. Finally, she brought in a tree specialist. They said that a virus had settled in the tree, and to keep the tree alive would just add to its suffering.
Unlike the fig tree, I had the ability dig out what was killing my spirit and causing me to wither. What saved me was Restorative Practices.
I knew I was showing up to work and relationships with an external focus on helping others to stay calm. But behind my smile and reassuring ways, I was hurting inside.
I realized that I needed to be in a better relationship with myself. Restorative Practices helped me do that in many ways one being Self-circling. I use self-circling is a restorative tool of asking myself questions, when faced with difficult situations, to get inner perspective on what’s needed for my well-being.
Self-circling question might include; how does my body feel during this difficult conversation? What do I need during this uncomfortable moment with this is individual or group? How will I know when I get it right? What are the voices from my past saying right now? Whose voice is it?
I’ve continued to grow as a Restorative Practitioner. Now I use an assortment of RP tools to have deeper connections that embrace change and challenges as a part of my internal growth. I have brave spaces that allow for true connection, healthy conflict and change.
Restorative Practice skills have given me the ability to be brave, speak my truth and deal with the conflict and challenges as they come.
• I have learned how to be honest with myself and face the parts of me that are no longer of service to me.
• I ask open ended questions, to seek understanding instead of having to be the winner in the discussion.
• I model the behaviors I want to see and put forth the effort to be my full whole self within the community.
• I don’t tolerate abusive relationships and I push against power dynamics that harm myself or others.
Digging up my fears and issues enabled me to grow. I’m not a dying fig tree, I’m a whole healthy ecosystem with plenty of room to grow.
For a different exercise on your tree of life check out Nathan B. Weller: