How does one survive or even thrive in a toxic environment? That’s the question posed by a recent documentary film and by my colleague, Eric Nelson. Living conditions that seem to breed illness, abuse or despair, can be neutralized by states of consciousness that refuse to give in to the apparent evil. While the film-makers find redeeming power in the notion of “homeland” for the babushkas, my friend sites a wonderful physical healing of a woman whose “toxic” thinking was changed and whose body was healed through prayer. The link he provides is well worth viewing. Here’s Eric:
How is it that a group of octogenarian grandmothers living on some of the most radioactive farm land on earth are able to outlive their city-dwelling counterparts by as much as 10 years? No one knows for sure, but according to Holly Morris, it may have something to do with the sense of belonging that these women felt they simply couldn’t find anywhere else.
“The power of motherland, so fundamental to that part of the world, seems palliative,” says the director and producer of the award-winning documentary “The Babushkas of Chernobyl,” which chronicles the lives of three of these women. “Home and community are forces that rival even radiation.”
It was 30 years ago this week when one of the reactors at Chernobyl’s Vladimir Illyich Lenin Nuclear Power Station in the former Soviet Union exploded, sending radioactive material throughout Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Over 160,000 people were relocated from the area. About 180 “self-settlers” remain, most of them women, refusing to leave the only home they’ve ever known.
It’s unlikely that any of us will ever live through such a tragedy or face such steep odds against our survival. Still, there’s a lesson to be learned from these women about how we might navigate our way through situations that, although perhaps not as obviously overwhelming, can feel just as toxic.
Not too long after the incident in Chernobyl, a good friend of mine found herself in just such a position. After living with an abusive husband for 15 years,….