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The Journey Continues

This vision began a long time ago, but I will start in 2007 when I began a job at a nonprofit called the Academy for the Love of Learning. It called to me for its name and the values it represented. I began my work and started to sink my teeth into the world of transformational learning. It took me some time to grasp the work but eventually I came to understand that it is through experience that we begin to change. It is not other people telling us what to do or what to think or how to act--it is through different experiences in our lives that we learn.

About two months into the job, I began to work on a friend’s project I became passionate about. The project was called El Otro Lado (the Other Side) and the subject matter we focused on was the journey we had taken in our lives. One of the ways we began to work with folks was through a group that worked with homeless families, mostly immigrants. We began a group made up of mothers and children. Each week we met and shared our experience through journaling, painting and telling our story. We would meet, set up activities for the kids and begin to share our “journey story”. The stories I heard were sad and poignant, beautiful and treacherous: stories of walking though the desert alone, being without food or water, being required to leave your child at the border, perhaps never to see her again. My heart was filled with compassion, empathy and love.

Through the support of my organization we were able to get these stories out into large venues and turn each of the women's journals into visual arts installations. These stories have been told and retold; recorded, listened to and connected to.

This is not the experience of most women around the globe. This leads me to my connection to the medium of social media and World Pulse. For the first time in many years I am writing (outside of my journal) and I am connecting to other voices and to other people. My journey becomes part of a larger whole connecting me to the web of women all over the globe.

I recently completed a leadership training called Leading by Being. In this course I have learned what I believe my calling in the world is. As one of my colleagues recently helped me see: I am the spiderwoman; the one who makes webs of connections. I applied for this group to expand my learning of how to become a voice for myself and other people: whether it is in my hometown or in another country where I hope to move, I am looking to World Pulse to deepen this journey and take my knowledge of social media and empowerment to another level; not only for myself and my family but the women in the world I meet on the path.


noreens's picture

It's a nice story - a good

It's a nice story - a good thing that you are doing. There are so many ways in which we can make an impact. So far I my way is writing (I hope I am making an impact, at least!). I am trying to find a way to do something productive in my community. There are so many inspirational stories here that encourage me. Keep up the good work!


Linda M. Ando's picture

Journey of Spiderwoman...

Thank you for sharing your journey and vision to create a web of authentic stories leading to personal empowerment and compassionate understanding for our fellow human beings. I appreciate how you value the "experience" as an integral part of learning and transformation. I love the fact you created a living art installation from the journal. Is it possible to post them online for the world to see?

Please continue the wonderful work "spiderwoman", you will build a strong, loving and empowering web for all people to tell their stories and be the link of change. Begin spinning the next web links to make this a reality!

With gratitude and appreciation,

Linda Ando

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

msbriceno's picture

Inspiration from Afar

This string of connections I have began weaving is an inspiration for the future. As the next stories go up I will send them to this group. In the meantime please visit the website for EOL Santa Fe from last year.

Thank you for your post!


Melissa Stevens-Briceño- Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

Wow, each story was so powerful and loved seeing their hands, written words, visual images and listening to the narrative in their own voice and spirit. Honoring immigrant's journey as part of a public art installation is outstanding, as they are no longer invisible but invincible! What a joy to have been part of their journey as well as your own.

Keep up the great work and I look forward to hearing more from you!

With gratitude,

Linda Ando

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

missjenn's picture


Hi Melissa,

I love your grassroots approach and using art to communicate and build relationships. Thanks for sharing your story. I admire your desire for continuous learning and dedication.

You're an inspiration to the readers and the people you work with.


Vega Tom's picture

Well said

Hello Melissa -
I really enjoyed your entry - so clear and solid and your experience with non-profits in immigration and women's issues is really inspiring. You show a lot of strength and I am always moved by people who find a calling and work in something meaningful.

I look forward to hearing more from you and wish you the best in your journey!


msbriceno's picture

thanks for your response

Dear Vega-

Thank you. It is important to give folks a voice who may not be the voices we hear normally. I hope to take this work with me into all of the work I do in the world. Be well and take care.


Melissa Stevens-Briceño- Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

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