Monthly Archives: February 2011

Super Granny

6 British thugs arrived on scooters in Northampton, England. They were dressed in black and camouflage winter jackets. All of them wore full face mask motorcycle helmets. A few carried gym bags and one wielded a sledgehammer. 
Courtesy of CBS News

From over a block away, Super Granny, a mild mannered shopper dressed in red, saw the men descending on a jewelry shop. From the distance, she thought that the men were beating someone up. Her adrenaline pumped, striding her legs towards the group of marauders. She closed the gap quickly to meet one of the unsuspecting men with a swinging pocketbook. The stunned man backed away in surprise. His accomplice laced into a glass window with a sledgehammer, popping a hole, then quickly shoveling gold chains into a knapsack.
At this point, Granny realized that this was actually a robbery, not a beating. 3 scooters waited on the street for the getaway. Super Granny, still enraged by the robbery in broad daylight, just kept swinging. She hurled her bag at another surprised thief and landed another blow. On second thought, Granny was right. This was a beating. But she was the one giving it. 
Courtesy of CBS News.

Their helmets made it tough for them to see grandma coming, so she had the element of surprise. One of the men raised the hammer in a threat to hit her, but she continued her solo onslaught, making the attacker back away. Granny’s efforts were enough, as the thieves rushed to their scooters for a getaway. 
Store owners and shoppers watched in amazement as this woman interrupted the crime and scared away 6 grown men. Most observed the scene as if it wasn’t their problem. A handful of men snapped out of their trance, found their bollocks (balls) and grabbed the escapees. Two of the scooters toppled over during the getaway as a crowd pinned the 4 thugs to the ground. Two men got away. The captured criminals are awaiting trial.

Ann Timson, AKA Super Granny
This scene happened a week ago. Many are calling Super Granny a hero, because of the courage that she exhibited during the crime. She has argued that she was not a hero and was just doing her job. I, too, honor her courage, though I feel that calling her a hero is not the most powerful way to view this woman. It is far more powerful to call her an Elder. 
She represents a grandmother who is doing her share to make her community a better place. Elders ensure that communities maintain respect. During the robbery, many people just stared at the situation. Though there were men witnessing the assault, they watched the crime like pissing cupid statues which were still drunk from Valentine’s day. Super Granny had to fill this vacuum by also becoming a warrior, an enforcer of respect. Some may laugh at the notion of a friendly cookie baker going commando. But, in reality, grandmas have been filling in the gap of responsibility for generations. This often includes filling in for the responsibility of men as protectors.

I think back to my own great grandmother, Dot Kennedy. Raised from tough Irish stock, she lost her father early on, so she learned to fill in the gaps for herself. Grandma Kennedy gave my mom’s side of the family direction and created a safe haven for all of us. At her house, we were always welcomed and protected. Her home was the safest place I have ever known. Both big hearted and hard headed, my grandmother could put together a big family party just as quickly as she could clear the room with a piercing stare. She was the most powerful member of our family, a level of influence that far exceeded bodybuilders, cops and ex-cons.

My great Grandma Kennedy with her husband W. Lester Kennedy (Pop).
Grandma Kennedy remains my hero, but more importantly, she was a true Elder of the family. Without her, some of us might have been homeless, destitute, lost or ungrateful for the lives we were given. My Grandma passed on years ago, but her robust presence is still with our family. She inspires me to be a Healer and a responsible man each day of my life.
Though many would look at Super Granny in England as a surprising champion of the community, it really makes sense. After all, think of how many of our families would be shattered without the powerful care and dignity that grandmothers bring. Think of how many convicts could learn respect from a solid grandmother, a lesson that would inspire better choices.  Perhaps the thieves in England needed a grandma to put them in their place.  What does it mean for our societies if our Elders must also be our warriors?
These criminals in Northampton, England were only apprehended because a few people followed the grandma’s lead and detained the lawbreakers. Before her courageous charge, people stood on the peripheral of the camera lens, just watching. Somehow, the brave presence of an Elder gave the witnesses permission to act. A group of citizens then mobilized for the protection of the community. Thankfully, no one was hurt, except the pride of the 6 bruised criminals. 
Super Granny is, indeed, a rare Elder. I hope she inspires all of us to honor and emulate the faithful Elders in our own lives.

To see the video of Super Granny who fought off the thieves, go to


Categories: england, kennedy, robbery, super granny, theft, timson | 2 Comments

The Streets of Cairo

Peaceful protests have erupted into violence, as Egypt seeks a new future. Much of the world has watched in shock, as Egypt was believed to be one of the most stable countries in the Middle East. How did this happen? As a Healer, I look beneath the politics of a community in order to address this important question.
An international correspondent, Arwa Damon, relayed the words of an Egyptian mother who spoke about the riots in Cairo. The Egyptian mother said, “This is my responsibility. This is my generations’ fault. It was my generation who chose to remain silent and tolerate corruption for the sake of stability. Now, it has become the problem of my son’s generation. It is our children bleeding in the streets.”
Her powerful insight carried both humility and lament. By humility, I mean the unnamed matron was able to clear away the obstructions from her sight. She was able to let go of denial and pride in order to recognize that history played a part in the riots. The feelings of outrage seen in the protests were not new. There has been a history which smoldered for decades. Egypt’s rage and fears did not originate with the thousands of young, bloody faces seen on TV. Young adults in their teens, twenties and thirties were born into a controlled, simmering climate. After ingesting that climate, they have become conduits for their parents, aunts, uncles, and elders by screaming the emotions that were never expressed.
The insightful mother’s generation has been fighting an inner conflict between anger and fear. Expressing the anger meant change.  The path of fear led to hesitation, and the hesitation hid the building pressure, like a basement of kerosene that everybody thought was locked away safely. She felt a sense of responsibility, as if there were many conversations at the dinner table about how the people needed to reclaim their society. For her children, the current government is all they have ever known. It is the older generations that bore the burden of knowledge. They knew a different Egypt was possible because the Egypt of their childhood was different than today.
Yet the words of this mother also communicated a certain dread. Did she fear that one day, the basement of kerosene would eventually ignite? “This is my responsibility. This was my generations’ fault,” she lamented, as if her generation had missed an opportunity to face a power structure as it first took root. 
I admire the humility and courage of this mother, for she has revealed a hidden transfer of burden from her generation to the next generation. She has begun to name the invisible burden which her children now carry. This invisible burden is a mixed bundle containing the unmet responsibilities of the older generation and the emotional, unfinished story of modern Egypt. Along with this burden comes those feelings of rage, fear, guilt, and passion seen in the protests. Now, the children of Egypt must embrace the work that their parents and grandparents could not do. How will the older generations support them?

As Egyptians begin to pick up the rubble from Tahrir Square, they will undoubtedly need the help of all their generations. Those of President Mubarak’s generation know that a different kind of society is possible. They can become the greatest believers in their children’s ability to lead. The generations of grandparents, who have watched the violence from their windows, can become the guides. It has been their lives which have held the greatest knowledge of past mistakes. By learning from history, we need not repeat it. 
This is more than a political upheaval. It is the first step in a mass healing of a society. The poignant words of the brave Egyptian mother expressed ownership and guilt. But ultimately, one generation cannot be blamed for the creation of our societies. Growth requires that each generation participate and hold their share of the onus for communication, dreaming, and for implementing the best possible future for the babies in the cradle.

History shows us that riots eventually fade. When the dust settles, it will be time to mend the festering wounds which are still emptying in the riots. As the older generations tell the stories of their struggle, the younger generations can see that these riots were not random. Rather, it has taken generations of stifled malcontent to create the current streets of Cairo. The photo of a mother kissing her son dressed in riot gear brings me hope.  It shows the deep family support that is possible, regardless of what side you believe in.  My prayer for Egypt is that there may be a respectful space where all the generations can recreate their society as a unified family.

Categories: arwa damon, cairo, CNN, egypt, egyptian, generations, healing, mubarak, rage, riot, riots, streets | 5 Comments

Return of the Healer

Welcome.  This blog is the journal of a traveling Healer, in which I share how a Healer sees the world.  Whether I am working with a client one on one, working on a community healing event, or sharing a Healer’s point of view on world events, the stories aim to help you find growth from struggle.

A few years ago, I went into a dentists office to get a cavity filled.  On the intake forms, it asked for my occupation.  Since I have worked as a Healer full-time for several years, I put “Healer” on the form.  The dentist went through the form and stopped at occupation.  “You’re a…huh?”  She said.  I explained to her that I had been trained by an uncle in the oral traditions of Iroquois (Native American) medicine as a child.  Later, I studied with other Healers, both in the US and also in the Amazon Rainforest. After years of study, I gave a healing session to an open minded physician.  She was so impressed with the experience that she referred me my first clients.  Eventually I was able to build a private practice and leave my Research Associate position at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  I have worked as a Healer ever since.

The Dentist was curious, so she asked, “But what exactly do you do?”
I answered that through ceremony, intuitive guidance, storytelling, and hands on healing, I help people release the trapped stories of their lives.  Regrets, resentment, fear, and insecurity can be carried in our bodies in the form of stress.  Stress is not random.  Stress has a history.  When the story of our stress is held in our bodies long enough, it can affect our relationships and also affect the physical health of our bodies.  I specialize in finding ways to help people release their stress and learn from the unfinished story which they were holding. 

In modern times, Healers do exist, although our society has lost recognition of this ancient role.  Medicine men and women still function in indigenous societies and professional Healers are nestled into offices throughout major cities.  I have met many health practitioners who serve as Healers in the form of Physicians, Nurses, Clergy, Educators, and Therapists.  Each role represents a color of paint on the palate of health care.  Think of professional Healers as a very old and still relivant shade of help.

Check back for my weekly posts on Sundays.  My next post will address the Riots in Egypt.

Categories: alternative, Bloodline, cairo, cancer, egypt, egyptian, family tree, healer, healing, holistic, Hunter, Kamana, medicine, Mohawk, native american, stress, travel | 2 Comments

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