It’s a elegant mountain encased in glass.
If I had 100 billion dollars, I’d borrow me some of the design ideas from the Museum and build me a Healing Forgiveness Centre close to the Winnipeg airport on the way to Stony Mountain.
Here, I'm going to dream a bit. What would an ideal Forgiveness/Healing Centre look like? We have already designed the first and the second floor....
The third floor is about healing the traumatized brain - to address the needs of the six functions of the mind - attention, human intelligence, problem solving, language, memory and executive function.
The elevator door of the third floor opens to a dancing Elf - a person dressed in costume -- smiling innocently as he gestures a gracious welcome.
Humor is extremally important to healing the entire person and it starts with the largest part of the brain. According to researchers, the frontal lobe is the first region of the brain to jump into action when processing humorous content.
So the frontal lobe serves as the gatekeeper -the of humorist - determining whether we will get the joke or not. Then, it passes that information along to other related social areas of the brain. On this floor we want to engage the frontal lobe. It is a must! Unexpectedly this floor would be characterized by the laughter, the giggle, the smiles of a mind being released into the "ah ha" moments of life.
The dancing Elf leads everyone to a games room complete with every puzzle there is.... This helps to focus the scattered brain. There are other game tables hosted by the gentlest of souls to help the astute gamer as well as to detect the insecure gamer - guiding them into less challenging games. There is always a sports team worth watching - anything to help focus the mind.
Once the mind is calm - the Elf disappears and a tiny costumed professor with a wry sense of humor and squeaky voice takes over as a tour guide.
He opens the doors to a lecture hall featuring a series on every subject a traumatized unforgiving brain would want to access. Everyone would have a choice to sit alone in a booth and have a personal presentation or join the general audience in a mini lecture theatre or classroom type setting. Everyone would also have choices as to Ted TX talks, podcasts and documentaries on every aspect of forgiveness. All of these talks would be hosted by therapists skilled in cognitive therapy to guide the discussions and to help rewire the brain.
Knowing that we have a 80 to 20 negativity bias that is amplified when we encounter an injustice in our own lives - all input from this point on is geared to enhance the positive.
If the lecture style gets too tedious or too heavy there is always a choice of comedy shows, live performances gently poking fun at the brain. These performances would capture the role of the six functions of the brain, clarify them and teach how to manage them.
Steeped in fresh learnings, the guests would then enter into the justice arena the difficult problem solving arena that would resemble a court room.
There would be two parts to this justice-making process. First the case would need to be defined in legalities. There would be a crash course on Journalism and the 5W's (who?where? when? what? why?)
This would include some basic skills in coping with the media and public relations. What is justice personally and publicly? This would inevitably lead to a serious discussion of whether there is true justice and how do we forgive the systems that will fail us?
Then a Judge garbed in a clownish black robe with gavel in hand would act as a consult to creating healthy boundaries - teaching how to navigate with the mind serious justice issues about safety and prevention. Rather than giving the floor to the reptilian brain, which has been laid to rest on the second floor, this Judge would speak to soft boundaries, generous discipline, affirmative action and the ability to say no with no trace of rejection only grace and care. Everyone would have a chance to bring their personalized problem to be discussed, debated and creatively solved.
Because there is no such thing as a "satisfying justice" outcome, this would be followed by a rather dramatic crash course on an "alternative social justice" by getting on a secret elevator to an underground tram to be whisked downtown to a "hands on" soup kitchen. There would be a disguise costume for all volunteers so they would look like they too belong in a homeless center - as they serve soup.
Studies show that a simple act of charity to an unknown stranger can release healing endorphins. (This homeless shelter would be designed similarly to the one I stayed at in Washington D.C. I've toured a few and this one was by far the best - it was safe, huge, spacious, clean and welcoming.)
After returning, everyone would be seated at an oval desk to begin to journal their lives under the guidance of a life-writer encouraging them to manage their traumatized dysfunctional minds by answering simple questions about their life story - putting into context the incidents that need forgiving.
Then there would be another set of rooms for those who need help with organization, complete with coaches to help create new management styles.
For those who are inclined to hoard - imprisoned with their stuff and who are dealing with complicated memories - there would be an opportunity to memorialize ones life, either through pictures, quilts, or memorabilia either using scrapbooks or computerized ways and means. This would be guided by those who can skillfully undo those deep knots of emotional attachments.
There would be a library staffed with costumed librarians with huge painted smiles on their faces and '"Shh" imprinted on everything for those who need to have a "hands on" feeling when they research. This would also be a place to store all the books written by previous guests who learn to forgive by writing their stories.
The walls of the entire third floor would decorated with electronic screens featuring "one liners" pun jokes to keep everyone smiling. There would be scripted inspirational mind teasers as well. Just a walk through all the rooms decorated with words would be healing.
The absolute climax of it all would be mezzanine floor with a revolving theatre featuring the best "Broadway Show" ever! This show would feature Cliff's story that touches on every trauma possible.
Hidden in the storyline would be the telling of the 15 sculptures and the 15 crippling issues that one faces in the unforgiveable murder of a child - all acted out in a way that would be both entertaining and enlightening.
It would be the best dramatic production ever - with great music - story tension - character development - leaving the audience on their feet - transfigured by awe and inspired to move through forgiveness to the pure beauty of a mind set free.
There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt. - Erma Bombeck