Camilla Carr and Jon James whose story is on this website were taken hostage in Chechnya in 1997 and survived 14 months in captivity. They have been moved by the plight of the Chilean miners and have been trying to get a message to the 33 men trapped 700 meters beneath the earth. They want to send their love and support plus some special tips to stay sane when trapped in a confined space without daylight for a long period of time. This is their, slightly abbreviated, message:
Letter to The San Jose Miners in Chile October 2010
We have been thinking of you and your plight and sending strength and love to you all. I’m Camilla Carr and 12 years ago I and my partner Jon James spent over a year in captivity in Chechnya. Five of those months were spent in a small concrete underground room in 45 degrees heat day and night only reached through an underground tunnel. Some of the conditions were similar to what you are experiencing and we would like to share with you some of the techniques we used to survive healthily in body and mind.
We had no fresh air or natural light, the walls were dripping with water. Our captors brought in a fan to keep us alive but sometimes the electricity went off and the humidity was almost unbearable. We had no contact with our families or any medical help but our captors did give us food and water.
So how to survive with sanity intact!
- Visualisation. We used to take each other on visualised journeys to the sea and the mountains and places that we love.
- The Smile. We used to do a smiling meditation, smiling into every part of our body to keep ourselves healthy, even the eye lashes! Scientifically smiling increasing the endorphins in your body and helps the immune system
- Exercise. We had a very small space but as we had learnt Yoga and Tai Chi we could take turns to practice. Doing regular exercise, whatever it is, is very important.
- Emotions. Being in such a confined space (and we shared our 2 x 3 metre concrete room with another captive) under the stress of captivity it is not always easy to deal with emotions. How to express them and not affect the others around you. I think you have more room than us so it may be easier for you to find a quiet space to shout your anger and frustration into the earth. We couldn’t shout but it still worked by breathing out forcefully in a whisper. It is also good to cry when you need, holding on to emotions and not expressing them can make you ill.
- Breathing. Using the breath is also a very good way of calming emotions and mental anguish. Simple alternate nostral breathing, blocking one nostral with a finger or thumb is good. We used a daily practice that lasts about 8 minutes:
The most important thing is to remember that Love travels through time and space and solid rock!
Remember there are many like us thinking of you all.
Sending you Love, Big Hugs and a Glorious Smile
Camilla and Jon