Healing Circles with Rise Above Violence
By Stefanie Little
The holidays are traditionally a time to get together with family and friends, share food, exchange gifts, practice gratitude, and celebrate the cold, snowy season. For trauma survivors, it can be a difficult time of year too, it could mean having to see family that may be toxic, or it could feel like a very lonely time of year. The holidays can be stressful enough, even without added family trauma to handle. If you or someone you know is searching for some extra self-care, some extra healing, and some healthy community this holiday season, PMAB is the place for you.
Rise Above Violence has been teaming up with PMAB + Movement once a month to host Healing Circles at the PMAB studio, which are mini-workshops designed to introduce survivors to different healing modalities - such as movement, energy work, or art. For this month, the Healing workshop will be on Thursday, November 17th (a week before Thanksgiving), from noon-1pm, and we will be hosting a Drum Circle! Feel the beat of your heart and the rhythm of your soul. Bring a hand drum if you have one - we will have extras plus other rhythm toys. No experience necessary. Led by Michelle Chapman - pipe band drummer, violinist, and yoga instructor.
This Drum Circle workshop is a perfect way to learn how to use your body, your hands, and your soul to express yourself in a healthy upbeat way! Maybe we’ll even get up and dance to our heart’s desires too. We are so excited to host this particular workshop right before the chaos of the holidays commences. These workshops are FREE to attend for survivors in our community. With the exception of this month’s workshop being on the 3rd Thursday of November, the Healing Circles take place every 4th Thursday of the month from noon-1pm.
If you or someone you know is a survivor in Pagosa, searching for community and alternative healing, we hope you will join us at PMAB for these amazing, transformative, and healing mini-workshops. If you have any questions, feel free to call PMAB at 970-903-9278.
These healing workshops are just one way that Rise works with the community to support victims and survivors. Advocates at Rise also offer safety planning, emotional support, help victims navigate the legal system, and much more. Research shows that supportive services that are trauma informed are the best way to get to those who have experienced domestic violence on the path to healing.
Rise Above Violence is a 501c3 non-profit that provides 24-hour support and advocacy
services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault or other forms of violence, serving around 400 victims each year. Rise also works to eliminate violence through education for youth and our community. All programs and services are free and confidential, including emergency prevention education and empowerment programs. Visit www.riseaboveviolence.org for more information or call 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today.
We look forward to sharing some healing energy with you!
By Stefanie Little
I’ve had the honor of being a part of many different communities in the course of my life.
For over a decade I was a semi-professional belly dancer, performing and teaching in and around our Denver home base, and in various festivals on the west coast with an amazing and well-known tribal belly dance troupe. The belly dance community is tight-knit and supportive, and I gained life-long friends during my time as a dancer within it. But over the course of time, I started to see and experience some behavior within the community that wasn't what I had expected, and caused me to doubt my participation within it. I suppose I had already started to energetically step away from dancing when I suffered a hip injury that knocked me out the game, basically for good. I mourned for a time, but looking back now, am grateful for my time and experiences as a dancer during what was mostly a very rough and traumatic period of my life.
Belly dancing provided me some light and community and some connection with my body during a time when my personal life was causing my body quite a bit of abuse and trauma and destruction. Without dance during this period of my life, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to stay afloat. For that, I am deeply grateful. (And I still dance to this day in my tiny living room! Just not on stage anymore :) )
The majority of my professional jobs from my teens into my adult life have been working with animals. You name it, I’ve probably done it! Veterinary hospitals, doggy daycares, grooming, training, zookeeper, wildlife rehabber, wildlife surveyor. The community of humans who choose to care for animals for their job, now that’s a pretty rad group of people. Do what you love and get paid next to nothing for it! And again, I made life-long friends in this line of work (including meeting my husband!). And again, the flip-side: a lot of heartbreak and death (especially in wildlife rehab), and a lot of humans with a lot of issues of their own. After nearly 15 years of working with animals, my emotions were shot, and I took a break.
By this time, my now-husband and I had moved to Pagosa Springs from southern Utah, and had started our life as tiny-home off-grid homesteaders! To say we both found a new sense of belonging, and pride, and wholeness, is an understatement. After a series of dysfunctional “normal” jobs in Pagosa, I landed at PMAB. And wouldn’t you know it... I found my community.
Lauren and Jenn’s vision for PMAB has always been whole body health, but I’ve seen it turn into more than that. I’ve watched it turn into a safe space for people to be truly who they are, for them to open up and allow healing to happen, and to feel like they have a space to walk into where they won’t be judged for *anything*. We’ve watched our clients take healing into their own hands, and feel empowered and educated enough to do so, confidently. Personally, I’ve found friends I can trust with my own trauma and healing.
If I can walk into work, and tell my boss (my dear friend, really), “I’m sitting heavy in my trauma today,” and she gives me a hug and some coconut water (because I need to stay hydrated and get my electrolytes!) and tells me to let her know whatever I need today, AND asks what will bring me joy today?? (And a couple hours later makes sure I’ve had a chance to sit and eat). Now THAT’S community. That’s a level of openness and respect that can’t be faked.
This is what PMAB is really all about. We provide not only the best therapeutic treatments in town (massage, reiki, and chiropractic, to name a few), but we give anyone who walks through our doors that space to be themselves, whatever that may be, to feel safe, to feel heard, and to heal.
What does community mean to you? What drives you to be a part of a community that speaks to you? And what can we do to help provide that space?