The seeds of the healing woman empowerment project were planted in me through the precious gifts I received from the village women of Mizoram, India–sharing with me their stories of surviving war and forced migration. Those seeds took root, and then sprouted from personal work I have done around childhood trauma, anxiety, depression and the continuing process of healing.
For many of us, there is a time in our lives when we reach a turning point – a moment of crisis which Norman Denzin calls a life “epiphany.” It may be a moment which touches every part of the fabric of our life; or a moment when we erupt like a volcano to events that have been going on for a long time, and realize I can’t keep going on like this; or a moment which symbolically represents a major problem we are facing within a relationship or our life circumstances. How we live into such significant moments can alter the very essence of how we see ourselves and how we determine to live our lives. They are critical times for us, and we do have many choices about how we will respond, what we will do.
An underlying basis for this project lies in helping people, especially women and other marginalized peoples, understand how public issues (social/cultural expectations, narrow role definition, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination) can lead to or influence their private troubles, which may include abuse, neglect or depression. In other words, although it may become rooted there, the problem is not just inside ourselves. It is influenced and/or created by larger forces at work.
The message of hope is that, even as we are living in the midst of such forces, we are powerful beings. Authentic power comes when we fully understand ourselves and our situation, and have the tools to figure out what to do next. Acting from this place leads us to the type of freedom that no one can take away from us. And it can generate a deep sense of happiness and calm in the midst of a great storm.
That is what the Healing Woman Project, and our individual healing woman projects, are all about.
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