Friday April 15th, 2011: a very sad day for many following the murder of the Italian volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza.
On that very same day I had scheduled a mindfulness session for humanitarian aid workers in Ramallah (West Bank). I wondered whether it was appropriate to go ahead. No cancellations came though and I decided to stick to the original plan, bringing into the session the tragic events of the day.
I feel that it is precisely in those times of difficulties that mindfulness helps. Rather than being a self-indulging practice, it opens the space to be with the pain that comes with life and with working in a tense place such as the Middle East.
With another ten aid workers from various humanitarian organisations, we brought awareness to the raw feelings that many of us were experiencing in that sad moment. There was a lot of anger, sadness and a sense of loss.
Practicing mindfulness with humanitarian professionals in Ramallah on April 15th, 2011 has been a way to cultivate resilience in the face of the many adversities ad tragedies that aid workers and volunteers have to face when working in unstable and fragile conflict-zones.