Transformed by Compassionate Community

By Cissy Brady-Rogers

In September we gathered 25 women at the Arboretum in Arcadia for our Fall Equinox Retreat. As at previous events, the thing that stands out for many participants is the sense of community experienced. One participant noted this in her reflections on gathering in a circle at the retreat: “It was a blessing to see so many women listen, receive and offer their experiences in a safe space.  It was a beautiful.  I liked being able to observe God’s grace and mercy and love in action.”

In October we gathered 20 women for “Create: Listening to Your Life through Art Making.” We were especially delighted that 12 of those participating were new to our programs. Several came with friends, another found us through a flyer in a local coffee shop and one woman saw a social media post and signed up not knowing anything about our organization. When asked what drew her to the event, she said that she loves art and the idea of using it to listen for inner wisdom grabbed her attention.

Eliza Nielsen is an MFT Trainee and student at Azusa Pacific University who discovered us through our spring retreat: “Blossom.” She’s been eager to volunteer since then and finally got the chance to be part of our leadership team for “Create.” At our closing circle we invited the group to offer words of inspiration, testimony or encouragement. Here’s Eliza’s insight:

“The experience I had at tonight’s event was similar to the spring retreat. I usually feel like I am obligated to say ‘Hi’ to everyone and check in. If I don’t, I can feel like I am a bad person. But at these events, we do not need to bring anything except ourselves. When we walk out the door we know our worth. We know that our worth is not dependent on how many people we say hello to and or make an effort to be intentional with. This is a place where self-acceptance happens because we are given to place to come and be as we are.”

We’re excited that our unique approach to embodiment and empowerment is resonating with a diverse community of women–both at our events and those hosted by others. Recently, co-founder Betsy Faber and I presented a “Mindful Eating” workshop at her former company. Afterward, a bright and engaging young woman named Kherishma approached us with great enthusiasm, ready to jump in and get involved. I met with her last week to hear more of her story and share our vision. It’s excited to see what’s developing as we nurture relationships with Kherishma and others that God is bringing into our community.

Compassionate Community Scholarship Fund

Over 25% of those attending our events receive scholarship support. 4 of the 12 new participants at “Create” received full scholarships! We’re able to welcome new women into our community because of donations to our scholarship fund. If you’d like to support our commitment to create communities of women who love and accept ourselves, just as we are, please consider a one-time contribution to our compassionate community scholarship fund. Thank you in advance for partnering with us in our work!

Women Napping at Transform

transformed by napping in community

Eliza quietly creating and listening

Eliza listening to her life

Janelle and Suzanne Create

creating and listening together

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