Peer Respite: Why It Should be Everyone’s Concern

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Peer Respite should be everyone’s concern because it is a model for how each of us can be like a drop of medicine, that is, we can become a remedy together for transforming our relationships and therefore transforming society.

My intent with this blog is to compare some lessons learned from my recent medical crisis response to a similar peer-run respite response. I hope, dear reader, that you can see for yourself how far we need to go to begin arriving at a trauma-informed, empowering, compassionate response to people in crisis.

Close up photo of hands being held

Peer Respite

My use of the term peer respite comes from the first project of its kind in the world, the Stepping Stone respite. Stepping Stone was founded by Shery Mead in New Hampshire and, since 1997, has been completely run by people with the lived experience of having survived beyond the “mental health” system.

The mission of Stepping Stone—and peer respites like it—is to transform crisis into an opportunity for personal discovery. In peer respite, we can learn to transcend the limitations imposed on us, become more empowered in our own lives, and create new, healthier ways of relating with others.

Since those early days, peers have developed other peer-run respites throughout the U.S., and the terms and the approaches have evolved. They are also referred to as hospital diversion houses or stabilization houses. But all peer respites divert people from being admitted to a psychiatric institution and instead offer a voluntary, home-like, trauma-sensitive setting in the community where they are assisted through the crisis. Research data shows the significant benefit of this approach to care on many levels, including cost saving, reduced recidivism rates, and an increased sense of empowerment.

Peer respites are rapidly spreading across the United States and internationally. It is important, however, to recognize that each peer respite has its own set of corporate values, principles, policies, procedures, operations, and outcomes. My blog, Soteria House and Peer Respite Summit, provides some research data on peer respites.

Similar to peer respites, the Soteria model primarily uses peers for its staff and is founded on principles of voluntary stay and the recovery model, including minimal use of neuroleptic drugs (which are the first-line intervention in conventional psychiatric care). However, Soteria is a little different from peer respite; the original Soteria house was founded by a psychiatrist, not a peer, and as a research study it had specific guidelines that prevented participation by some groups of people.

The Soteria model is also spreading across the world. In Israel, for example, there are 12 “stabilizing houses” modeled on the Soteria House model. Current Soteria Houses are doing some things differently, sometimes by choice and sometimes because of their funding source and/or policy environment.

My Recent Medical Crisis

I recently experienced a medical crisis that led to a hospitalization. My experience of being hospitalized reminded me of the peer respite approach—a trauma-informed, empowering, compassionate response. I hope that as the conventional system tries to replicate what makes peer respite outcomes so significant, we don’t lose the heart of why this approach really matters and changes lives.

I write this blog from the comfort of my own home and grateful to have returned to being very healthy. My intention is to point out some comparisons between how I was treated during my medical crisis and how people are perceived and treated in a peer respite approach.

My story begins here: I had felt ill for several days and thought it was due to having eaten some bad food. Since I was far from home and out of state, I had spotty communication with a new telemedicine doctor and was not able to get into community-based urgent care. I thought I needed an antibiotic, which I thought would be easy to obtain, but it wasn’t.

At the same time, I was getting to know Joel better. We had begun a business relationship (online) one month earlier, but when we met in person he could see that I needed assistance and he generously offered support. From the moment we met there was a spaciousness, an openness, a presence of relational awareness. This was not reduced to the three-dimensional transactions that were taking place, but more importantly what was happening in the space between us. When he spoke, the intent of his words and his context landed deeply in me, and when I spoke, I could tell my words and context were received by him. I sensed he was taking in the entire context of my situation as I was doing the same for him.

As time went on and I grew weaker and had increasing difficulty eating, the telemedicine doctor emailed that he didn’t think I had a bacterial stomach infection and maybe I had COVID-19. Thus, urgent care was able to quickly set up a COVID test and the next morning I got the positive test result. Joel and I had briefly spoken about the possibility of his driving me to the hospital, but that day we got more work taken care of (including some preparation for me to go to the hospital).

The next morning, I realized with every ounce of wisdom in my body, mind, spirit, and environment that I needed immediate medical attention. I simply told Joel to call 911 for an ambulance, which he did without question, without hesitation. He completely trusted my mind, my judgment, my intelligence, my decision.

When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics were completely focused on context and on me, my situation, and how could they get the stretcher into the bedroom where I was. They couldn’t—at least not very easily—so they tenderly asked if I could walk 8 feet to the stretcher. I said I could, but they were so focused on my safety they vigilantly touched or had their bodies and arms (one person on each side of me) ready to help me if I faltered. I deeply felt their care and thoughtfulness; it brings tears to my eyes now.

Why, you might ask? Sadly, I think about how different it would have been if I had been in emotional crisis rather than medical crisis. I think about what often happens when 911 is called because someone is having an emotional crisis, when their emotions get so big that the simmering tea kettle boils over and they ask for help in ways that may seem—and may be—unusual. Many dear readers know what happens when untrained or improperly trained professionals (e.g., law enforcement) or people get involved—sometimes it makes news headlines. And always, even when it does not result in the person in crisis being killed, there is additional trauma to the person in crisis as well as the responders and the witnesses.

I don’t want to overly reduce the complexity of a community situation when 911 is called for a mental health crisis, but the emergency response needs to involve (among other things, e.g., community safety) a compassionate approach to help the person in crisis feel seen, heard, validated, and respected so that the person is able to more effectively communicate their needs.

I told the emergency medical team what hospital to take me to and they did, and they did so without question even though two other hospitals were closer. Again, I thought—would they have done that if I were in emotional crisis, rather than medical crisis?

At the hospital the tenderness, respectfulness, thoughtfulness for my comfort and what I wanted continued. I knew that I was in the right place and therefore I could relax and let them do whatever they needed to do. I noticed the details as I was taken immediately into a COVID isolation room in the emergency department. My life was in their hands and I could give my body to them to be cared for. I didn’t need to struggle any more. I didn’t need to force myself to drink more water to try and stay hydrated because the IV fluids did it for me—they were taking exquisite care of me—body, mind, emotions—the whole package, the whole context was respected in a deep and caring way. It’s exactly what would happen in a peer respite.

In the hospital, the staff listened with presence, being in the moment with me, which created more intimacy. They had great skill at being able to focus and put aside whatever else was going on outside “us.” The doctor spoke to me as an equal partner: very personable, he wasn’t hurried, he explained my health status and asked if I had any questions. The compassion was obvious. The nurse was observant—without needing to inquire beforehand, she simply brought a pair of purple (my favorite color) hospital pants/scrubs and caringly asked me if I wanted them. I think (between us as women) she knew I would want them.

After several hours of being hydrated, I was ready to be released back into the world, away from the 24/7 buzz of a large emergency department with cinderblock walls, beeping machines, and sterile everything.

And after that, I wondered whether they would have behaved so caringly if I had been in emotional crisis. That’s why peer respite is needed: It’s the peer respite model that ensures that type of response to an emotional crisis.

The Peer Respite Model

In the peer respite model, the individual is always acknowledged to be in a contextual and relational field. This is not just about what words we say and the tone of voice we use, but it is also what happens in the space between us. Peer respites model mutual relational awareness by being a safe holding space and thus a healing space (assuming the staff and all levels of the organization are aligned with collective trauma-healing policies, procedures, and practices). I use the term “collective” trauma-healing because deep, meaningful, and sustainable healing happens in relationship, in community. We are not islands, as much as we would like to be sometimes!

In a mutually respectful space (e.g., peer respite) tracking how information lands in the listener is key. When I am in emotional distress or crisis, I need to know deep in my central nervous system that I am being fully seen and heard. I track this in many ways, not only by the other person’s verbal and non-verbal communication but by whether they are aligned with me. Can I feel a resonant space? Can I feel them feeling me? If not, perhaps because they are busy, my communication is not received—it doesn’t land—then we don’t meet in a higher level of relational awareness and the situation takes on a whole different trajectory. Healing does not happen and more layers of trauma get layered on and our sense of separation, isolation, and fragmentation are reinforced. I sense that for some people there may be a relationship between how fast that person moves through life to get some result or outcome and how deeply their intent (awarely or unawarely) is to numb their own emotional pain.

If, however, the conditions are met, then we can deepen the relational awareness in this time and space where it becomes safe to feel and be honest and where there is more capacity to relate to our wounds. I don’t have to put the social mask on to protect myself against the constant barrage of micro-and macro-aggressions so ubiquitous in our society. Rather, I have an opportunity to thaw the parts of me frozen in a trauma response, the numb parts I could not feel or look at before. In a safe space, I trust myself and the other and can continue to integrate the fragments of myself on a path of becoming whole, increasingly unattached, or liberated from the past.

In peer respites, they hold a lot of space for listening so we may digest, reflect, and integrate formerly unintegrated trauma information and thus become more able to meet the world as it is instead of how we would like it to be. We can unravel our own intelligence. Trauma brings fragmentation—my real self gets disconnected from the social mask I must wear to survive in the traumatized waters that the world swims in. My trauma response is the intelligence that saved me. I need time and space to honor it and bring love to the places that have been exiled so I may bring about unification, releasing past attachments that no longer serve me. We don’t need so much protection any longer because we’ve found more safety in our own bones and in building the relationships that sooth and nurture us.

I was lucky enough to experience this during my hospitalization for COVID. The flow of my entire medical situation was much easier because I knew I was not alone. I had someone who really cared nearby for whatever assistance I needed. In addition to that, my support system, which I have built over many years, was electronically engaged with texts, phone calls, and emails, keeping me blanketed with love and information that helped my healing.

But that’s not always true for many people who are hospitalized after an emotional crisis. Often, their phones and email privileges are revoked. They are treated as a burden and not listened to—certainly not with the empathic relational awareness I’m describing.

But imagine a different community response to how people in extreme emotional states are treated in the community. Peer respite is a research-proven compassionate response. It is critical that this resource expand to every community across the country.

Peer respites elevate our status so we are full partners, making all the decisions about how we want our day or our life to be, and we get support in thinking and feeling our way through the process. Many areas of our society have chosen to not fully recognize people with a mental health label or people in emotional crisis as a full partner. Psychiatric care is one of those areas. Involuntary treatment and involuntary hospitalization remove any sense of agency. People are coerced into drug treatments after a quick meeting with a psychiatrist or a doctor who may not even really listen to their concerns.

My story shows how great-quality medical attention can be like peer respite, where I am treated as an equal. The contrast here is to the conventional psychiatric establishment or “mental health” system where typically force, coercion, and trauma are all too commonplace. We only have to look at the increasing suicide rates in the US (and overseas as well) to understand this. Resources are few and far between for providing the response, the approach, the compassion, and the intelligent relational awareness that is needed.

And finally, peer respites promote the idea that we have sovereignty over our own bodies.

The emergency room doctor recommended that I get a COVID vaccination in a couple of months but, he added, that would be a decision between me and my doctor. How different that is from the way people who have gone through an emotional crisis are treated! So often we are coerced or forced into taking medications and our concerns are minimized or ignored. Just the act of giving me a choice about my medical situation and my body felt so empowering.

I am pleased to know that an international group of like-minded souls have been moving together and are taking an evolutionary step forward by creating the first ever virtual International Summit on Peer Respite/Soteria Houses to share our wisdom, inspire, and give “nuts and bolts” steps to spread peer respites and Soteria houses.

The Summit is free and takes place every Sunday in October 2021. Over 600 people are registered from 42 US states and 32 countries for this interactive series. This is an all-voluntary effort, and over $11,000 towards a $20,000 goal has been raised for future sustainability and information dissemination purposes.

If you would like to know more or to register for the free Summit, click here: https://www.alternatives-conference.org/peerrespitesoteriasummit

In closing, I share some questions that I often ponder:

  • How can we develop presence and stay connected so we can invite healing?
  • How can we support each other to be together in our process of change and growth?
  • How can we enhance our capacity to respond rather than react?
  • How can we learn to better sense our self and sense others in the space deeper than words?
  • How do we recognize where we feel depleted and tired as an alarm bell indication of when we need to press the reset button for our own balance, well-being, and health?
  • We can’t do this alone. We need each other. How do we walk this path together?
  • How do we become like a drop of medicine?
  • What steps will we take to create more compassion around us?
  • How do we learn to listen to what our higher self is whispering about next steps?

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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Lauren Spiro
Lauren’s vision of social justice and mental health liberation focuses on developing our capacity for feeling deeply connected, appreciating the vast creative intelligence of the human heart and mind, and inspiring compassionate action. Her life’s mission is to embody inner peace to co-create global peace, thus she curates transformative learning experiences. She co-founded two non-profit corporations and Emotional CPR (www.emotional-cpr.org) a public health education program that teaches people how to support others through an emotional crisis. She is a multi-media artist, a 20+ year practitioner of yoga and meditation, the first Director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, has been featured on national media, and consulted on numerous federal projects. Her memoir paints a poetic picture of her journey into madness and her pathway home. She has an M.A. in clinical/community psychology. For more information see www.Laurenspiro.com

16 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, Lauren! I’m grateful for your experience and your sharing. I hope that you continue recovering from your Covid infection. Your story resonates. It reminds me of how Judi Chamberlin described her experience in hospice care. Yes, it looks different if a person is experiencing something that’s harder for responders to understand, and the further they are from the experience and worldview, such as white bodied cis male hetero first responders or “mental health workers” approaching BIPOC or LGBTQIA+, disabled people, new immigrants or returning citizens after incarceration. Many people in physical distress like yours don’t access the respect and holding presence that you were offered. I celebrate that you were given that respectful care and that you use your story to lessen the gaps and rifts among us. It’s time for breathing together, being-with in the most fundamental ways. Peer Respite and Soteria are examples of bringing us together as humans being together and in and with environments and contexts that expand possibilities for all, including our planet.

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    • Berta,
      Thank you for adding some important points. When I was replaying the tape in my mind while writing the blog I wondered if I would have received the same good attention if I was a person of the global majority, or trans, or… fill in the blank. It is hard for me to speculate on that. Three EMTs arrived with the ambulance. The woman in charge was a large-bodied white nurse whose warmth was palatable. I later thanked her for her compassion and her beautiful smile. The two men who assisted me and stayed with me in the back of the ambulance were of the global majority one of whom was an apprentice. Montgomery County, Md. where this took place is politically and culturally liberal/progressive and about 5 miles outside the Washington D.C. border. Not only was I a weak and vulnerable white woman but I am gray-haired also!
      I resonate so deeply with your words, “It’s time for breathing together, being-with in the most fundamental ways. Peer Respite and Soteria are examples of bringing us together as humans being together and in and with environments and contexts that expand possibilities for all, including our planet”. In many ways the Peer Respites and Soteria’s around the world give us a clear model for how we can be the medicine for one another and co-create the world we want.
      I often ask myself, What else can I contribute towards creating the world that I think (deep down) we all want? One step I am taking is creating on a simple table that summarizes Emotional Crisis Response: Peer-Run Respite/Soteria House Compared to Conventional
      A draft line from the table is below.
      Comparing the ‘Emergency response team (911)’
      Under Peer-Run Respite it states: Completely focused on embodying trauma-sensitive approaches to engage the person including consideration for physical, environmental and emotional safety
      Under Conventional it states: Typically focused on controlling the person, using intrusive and violent interventions up to and including lethal force.
      Focused on crisis containment, everyone’s physical safety, often not focused on how this impacts the person in crisis and those witnessing the entire emergency response.
      (the table has several lines of comparison, this ends the line on the table.)

      Our language, as you know because you write eloquently, needs to reflect reality and not conform and condone oppression. I’m specifically referring to those shocking words “intrusive and violent interventions up to and including lethal force”.

      Our beloved Judi Chamberlin fought hard to get insurance to cover her home based alternative treatments in the last few months of her life. What a bar she set for NEVER, NEVER giving up on advocating for what is right, rational and humane.

      be well

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  2. Your blog sharing was revealing on the subject, and so well written, Lauren. I admire the artful skill at storytelling from so many of our international band of leaders.

    Now I’m thinking back to when you shared Charles Eisenstein’s “The Coronation” on NCMHR Friends, and I wonder what, if any, further understanding might you have gained regarding what he was expounding upon there. I wonder if there is a specific link also to bring about this further deepening of understanding as to why Peer Run Respites are so critically needed in today’s world, and wise leadership in the ways of wellness and resiliency.

    The Covid-19 effects sound awfully gnarly, I feel for you having gone through it. Definitely noticed your absence from the 2nd week of the summit; now it makes more sense. And, I’m so glad to hear that you’ve been moving through regaining equilibrium.

    Your words also brought to mind, for me, that strange piece to consider…the dissonance between the word “hospital” has become in these times, and what we feel and know as “hospitality.” I would like to believe that we can really elevate that as an essential theme in the settings and experience at both Soteria Houses and Peer Respites…

    Hopefully we will see you again on a Sunday coming soon…

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    • Luke,
      thank you for writing. Good question; imagine a world where we would not need Peer-Respites nor Soteria Houses. Here is my soap box of thoughts. In an inclusive, socially and economically just, cooperative, democratic, non traumatized world we probably would not need them. Our world is a result of cumulative collective trauma and if we continue to not recognize our individual, group and societal wounds we will continue to have closed hearts, closed minds and limited or no will to change our conditions.

      The good news is that increasingly people are taking the time to breath into their wounds so the frozen places can thaw and we can digest the traumas, integrate them and heal. I share my thinking about this specifically in the blog “eCPR: A Tool and a Process of Peacemaking”.

      Also, I copied some words from the current blog here which addresses some medicine to move towards a rational world.
      “In peer respites, they hold a lot of space for listening so we may digest, reflect, and integrate formerly unintegrated trauma information and thus become more able to meet the world as it is instead of how we would like it to be. We can unravel our own intelligence. Trauma brings fragmentation—my real self gets disconnected from the social mask I must wear to survive in the traumatized waters that the world swims in. My trauma response is the intelligence that saved me. I need time and space to honor it and bring love to the places that have been exiled so I may bring about unification, releasing past attachments that no longer serve me.

      I hope this makes sense and is helpful. The most significant lesson I learned from my Covid experience is to STOP, BREATHE, look at my life and look at the world. I am becoming more sensitive to the constant barrage of aggressions all around us 24/7 and I am taking steps to do more to co-create the world I want.

      Sorry, but I am not recalling Charles Eisenstein’s “The Coronation” so you will need to help me understand your point or your question.
      peace,
      ls

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      • Sure! with pleasure, Sister. It was right at the onset of the pandemic, here is the time stamp of the email to NCMHR Friends list:

        Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 6:35 AM

        I liked your choice of segments to showcase from the larger article: https://charleseisenstein.org/essays/the-coronation/

        One of the portions you included seems relevant to “hospitality” in particular:

        “Perhaps we’re in the middle of living into that new story. Imagine Italian airforce using Pavoratti, Spanish military doing acts of service, and street police playing guitars — to *inspire*. Corporations giving unexpected wage hikes. Canadians starting ‘Kindness Mongering.’ Six year old in Australia adorably gifting her tooth fairy money, an 8th grader in Japan making 612 masks, and college kids everywhere buying groceries for elders. Cuba sending an army in ‘white robes’ (doctors) to help Italy. A landlord allowing tenants to stay without rent, an Irish priest’s poem going viral, disabled activists producing hand sanitizer. Imagine. Sometimes a crisis mirrors our deepest impulse — that we can always respond with compassion.”

        Yeah, that’s beautiful and especially with your words weaved in too: “The most significant lesson I learned from my Covid experience is to STOP, BREATHE, look at my life and look at the world. I am becoming more sensitive to the constant barrage of aggressions all around us 24/7 and I am taking steps to do more to co-create the world I want.”

        It was this inspiration that led to creating the image I used for the 3rd webinar in the Reconnecting with the Earth for Personal and Global Healing legacy: “ReKindling the Flame” (2020)

        The image was included at the beginning of this Glimpse I made afterward: https://youtu.be/M8rjJRSLjks

        However, because I have not had a close encounter with the Covid-19 kind yet, I do not know if there is a special perspective or initiation into new sensibilities that happens too, which Charles is suggesting. But I love your reference to eCPR and have been wanting to invite a training in Oregon soon to prepare First Responders to Encounters with Extreme States (Peer Support FREES).

        As you may have seen from the webinars we’ve put out, in my “matakite mind,” Peer Respites, mobile crisis response teams, day use centers, peerly therapeutic farms, vocational activity epicenters, etc., etcetera; it’s all part of the same thing to me.

        We are moving into the stage of becoming the human equivalent to a mycelial network, “biomimicking” how it all interacts, the crisis of the pandemic has resulted in an essential dimension of opportunity perhaps. This is how I’ve been framing it for Folks lately, at least, in a small, concise seed form of an idea.

        Maybe this ties it together for you, my point and question, I hope. ‘Nough said for this space and time.

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        • Luke,
          I didn’t need to read very far into The Coronation to get the most poignant line for me. It came in the 1st paragraph of the article. Thank you for providing the link.
          “For years, normality has been stretched nearly to its breaking point, a rope pulled tighter and tighter, waiting for a nip of the black swan’s beak to snap it in two. Now that the rope has snapped, do we tie its ends back together, or shall we undo its dangling braids still further, to see what we might weave from them?”
          My greatest lesson from my Covid 19 experience were:
          1) Letting go of everything, every attachment I have, and realizing in every cell of my body that I didn’t know what kind of quality of life I would have in the weeks and months and years ahead. So much unknown, could I heal and be well again. I didn’t know.
          2) My connection with my people (Jews) and all people who have experienced starvation, weakness and death from thousands of years of torment in the history of life on this planet at least once male energy has dominated as of about 2.500 years ago. (When cooperative, female energy dominated the planet there was no evidence of war).
          3) I was surprised at the fierceness with which I decided to fight for my life and for a return to my very good health, and
          4) The power of love and connection that I received from and gave to my support network
          As a result of this, I drove 800 miles to get home and took a deeper look at the “dangling braids still further, to see what we might weave from them?” A story is bubbling up, please indulge me.
          A couple days ago, under my leadership, we completed the largest ever EmotionalCPR (www.emotional-cpr.org) training. The training team of 7 people worked with 46 participants from South Asia and Africa. For me it was very stressful training but I knew that each member of the training team was a mirror for me to better see myself. I believe the biggest lesson I needed to learn (thank you universe/spirit/what ever you want to call a high power or higher level of energy) was to let go ever MORE!!!! I saw more clearly than ever how intergenerational trauma left me with undigested and therefore unhealed collective trauma. On top of that terror was a layer of needing to control – so the training would be the best it could be. I stood on my white, middle class colonized soapbox and tried to dictate some things. I was appropriately knocked of my pedestal which I had not realized I was standing on. That is how internalized white racism, classism and sexism work – we don’t see it till we see it. I spent several months preparing for the training, mostly working with our hosts who were also eCPR apprentices; one from India, the other from Kenya, Africa. A week before the training I did a drawing which I titled “Mwe evolve… beyond the colonization of our minds”. I had been pondering how colonization would impact the training, for each person on the training team.
          A related lesson which Onyango told me yesterday as I debriefed with just myself and the 2 apprentices, was ‘You don’t have to know everything’. Learning to be comfortable with discomfort is part of learning of letting go and let in. I will continue to ponder (and breath deeply) how to embody that, particularly as a leader on a project. Onyango had previously said regarding the training team and the participants, “we are all equal”. As the self anointed moderator during the 15-hour training (3-hour training sessions spread over 5 days) he ensured that the voice of the participants was seen and heard more than any other training I have been in. Our mindset was very much learning from and with them. In some ways their world was very different from our mostly American training team and meeting them where they were was the hallmark of success of the training. I very much let go of how I thought the training should be.
          A whole different lesson, again part of letting go is – the words spoken by one of the first US astronauts sent into space in the 1960’s. When asked what it felt like to be in space looking at earth, he paused for a long time and then said, “It was like watching a baby about to be born”. I ponder what kind of world we are co-creating. I chose to a light, one amongst many, bringing love, compassion, open-heartedness, hope, and a vision of an inclusive and just world and universe. Uni-verse, we are all one.

          Eight years ago I went to my first international Healing From War 8-day workshop in Poland (with 2 days at Auschwitz). At the end of the workshop I had a new life mission, To embody inner peace to co-create global peace. Since then the invitation has been to figure out what that looks like day-to-day, moment to moment. That is the world I am weaving from the dangling braids.

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          • Lauren, thank you for sharing this response to Luke’s linking us with Eisenstein’s coronation. Your story resonates in my body mind soul.

            I’m grateful for your lifting up our relationships with not-knowing, our openness and responses, not pressured by fear & domination shaped control activations, our engagement with life and death, communal and collective learning and healing.

            Space and conditions that allow emergence, seeded and bathed in love, accessible freedom, peace and wholeness woven beyond binaries, violence, supremacy.

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          • I wanted to keep my reply short and sweet, but there was really so much in your response that lit me up beautifully also, Sistar, just so you know.

            “A story is bubbling up, please indulge me.” With pleasure, I shall await more where that came from, patiently…

            Being of Jewish bloodline myself, I identify as “a modern day Nazirite,” and, I have a warm and fuzzy feeling you know some of what that means. Especially when we factor in that Goddess is a very big part of the picture for me!

            Something AWESOME, this way comes…

            —————-====☆

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  3. Thank you for sharing!

    I am curious about how a typical peer respite or Soteria house specifically responds to a person of concern in the middle of big emotions or looking to be about to hurt/harm himself/herself or others, during his/her stay.

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    • Gracezw,
      Great question. Grace Silvia (the visionary of the 1st virtual International Peer-Respite / Soteria House Summit) and I are almost finished completing a table comparing Peer-Respite Emergency Crisis Response to the Conventional Crisis Response which I think will address many of these questions. I will post the table here. Please join the Summit; that is a great question to pose for the panel of experts. After the Summit condensed videos will be created which will be a rich resource of information from peer experts with a lot of years of experience starting and working in respite and Soteria houses. Creating these professionally edited videos and sustaining the work of the Summit are 2 reasons I got involved in FUNdraising for them. Stay tuned. We’ve raised just over $14,000 of a $20,000 goal

      I will add that Peer-Run Respites are voluntary. That means that a certain level of safety is required in order to be there. They define safety very differently than the conventional approach. The term “Respite” is getting cooped by “the system” so I can not address what approaches some use. Respites are generally funded by County or State dollars so that means their policies and procedures may vary depending on the funding expectations.

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