I live on the South Side of Chicago, an area that most outsiders think of as ugly and violent. Although I know there are many challenges here I also see the beauty and resilience. I believe that it’s important to remember the good as we work to heal the wounds in our community.
Teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and rigid gender expectations are big challenges in my community and there are few mental or emotional health resources available to help women and children deal with these issues. This lack of mental health support is what motivated me to leave my career as a classroom teacher two years ago to open a private practice that integrates counseling with reiki energy healing.
My private healing sessions with women involve a lot of grief work. Because I have done so much of own grieving and healing, and continue to do so, I can provide a healing “container” for women to go within to those places that hold the most shame, despair and anger. I then guide them to begin to release some of these emotional burdens. They can then feel more peace and clarity and become more empowered in their lives.
I also work at a homeless shelter for women and their children. I guide the women through yoga and meditation to help them connect with their inner resources when so much of their lives are in crisis. The fact that I am not seen as an outsider, that I have experienced so many of their wounds, that, for example, at one time in my life I lived at a shelter with my own children, gives me credibility among the women with whom I work.
Experiencing Pulse Wire has helped me to see how an online community can be a healing community. And it has helped me envision creating an online space where women from the inner city of Chicago can submit their stories just like we do on Pulse Wire. Going through this VOF process has helped me understand the healing that happens from writing your story, and reading other women’s stories, In seeing the strength of others you start to see your own.
This online space I would like to create can also act as a bridge between these communities and more affluent ones in Chicago. There is a thriving yoga and alternative healing presence here but because this city is so segregated there is very little interaction between them and areas where such services are sorely needed.
As I said earlier, there is a lot of strength and resilience in my community, particularly in the women. But mostly the media shows stories of crime and violence. It is easy to forget that along with the pain there is so much goodness here. So I envision this online site will be a space that highlights not only the challenges but the everyday miracles of our community it will help remind us, and outsiders of the beauty that is here.