For the past year, I have had the privilege to work on a pilot Heal My Voice project that brings writing, journaling and creativity to women who are in long-term residential addictions treatment. This project grew out of my work with the two non-profits that I volunteer with – Heal My Voice and Chrysalis House. This program developed organically when I shared some magazines with the Chrysalis House that had an article I had written on 7 Ways To Cultivate Love & Compassion For Yourself, based on a post from this blog. It also featured an article about Heal My Voice founder Andrea Hylen. One of the clients at Chrysalis House was so interested in the Heal My Voice program that she reached out through her caseworker to Andrea directly. This empowered step led to Heal My Voice offering a 3-hour writing and creativity workshop at Chrysalis House in Crownsville, MD in May of 2013.
Little did we know at the time that this one event would open the door to a whole new Heal My Voice program. The mission of Heal My Voice is as follows:
Heal My Voice empowers and supports women and girls globally to heal, reclaim their voice and step into greater leadership in their lives and in the world.
I have participated in several Heal My Voice writing programs and over the last year joined as a facilitator and board member as well. After our initial workshop, there was such an amazing response from the clients at Chrysalis House, that we were asked to come back on a regular basis. This has led to me leading a weekly writing circle in addition to a 3-hour monthly creativity workshop, which is supported by other local Heal My Voice authors. Adapting the original Heal My Voice program model to a residential treatment program has been an expansive experience. During this time, I have been working closely with Heal My Voice Founder Andrea Hylen who attends the program when she is on the East Coast. What has emerged is the foundation for a program model that can brought to other addictions treatment programs and recovery centers around the country.
I have truly been awed by the words that have emerged from the women of Chrysalis House. Journaling was something that was always recommended but without facilitation the staff found it wasn’t really happening. By creating a space for writing and creativity, and offering tools and techniques to support self-expression, journaling has become an important part of the each women’s journey in recovery. This is something that is initiated in the treatment process but offers a powerful tool to support ongoing healing and recovery.
Here are some of the words from one of the women in the program:
My Own Prison
I’ve built my own prison inside of me,
It doesn’t consist of a warden or a key.
The walls are layered with bricks of emotions,
The bars are made of rage,
You couldn’t imagine the hell and commotion.
First a foundation built from addiction,
Then the floors are laid of abuse and confliction.
Every brick in the wall has it’s own tale;
I was warned to change but to no avail.
So I ask myself now,
“Was it all worth all this pain?”
The deteriorating life I tried so hard to sustain.
The very reality of being confined;
Holds no comparison to the shackles on my mind.
I know my day will come when I’ll be released,
But the question still lies, “will I really be free”?
Not free from confinement but free from the chains,
That are linked from my heart to my mind that remains.
The power of these words speaks to the impact of this project and how writing can be a vehicle for freedom through self-expression. The Chrysalis House program is just completing it’s first year and we are in the process of creating a book of writing from the women who have participated so far. The message we share with our community at large is :
“YOUR VOICE MATTERS”
This the message we try to bring home to the women of Chrysalis House and so giving them a platform to see their words in print is a way to reflect this message to them.
We invite you to more about the Heal My Voice Chrysalis House Program and if you feel to support this grassroots project, monetary or in-kind donations are always appreciated . In addition to funding for the administration of the program itself, we continually provide materials for clients to make their own journals as well as other creative projects. We are always in need of the following items:
Art & Craft Materials
Here are some of the journals created by the amazing women of Chrysalis House:
Beth Terrence is a Shaman, Holistic Health & Wellness Expert, Speaker and Writer. She has been working in the field of Holistic Healing and Transformation for over 18 years. This path evolved from her own healing journey through fibromyalgia and the impact of trauma on her life. Beth found that by taking a holistic approach to life and well-being, she was able to achieve of a state of happiness and wholeness that she never imagined was possible. Her mission is to support others in cultivating a heart-centered, balanced and joyful life through discovering the healer within.
Writing has always been one of Beth’s greatest passions. Since childhood, she has written poetry and kept a journal. Participating in a Heal My Voice project opened the door to Beth stepping forward in the world as a writer. Her stories are featured in Inspired Voices: True Stories of Visionary Women and Harmonic Voices: True Stories Of Women On The Path To Peace. Beth joined the Heal My Voice board of directors in May 2013. Additionally, she is the lead facilitator and program developer for a Heal My Voice program that brings writing and creativity to women in addiction recovery at Chrysalis House in Crownsville, MD.
Learn more at www.bethterrence.com or check out her new teleclass program starting July 22nd:
Summer Breakthrough Program
With Beth Terrence
- Learn to connect with your heart on a deeper level and live more from the heart space.
- Cultivate love and compassion for yourself using a variety of transformational tools including meditation, shamanic journey work, affirmations, self-reflection and creative exercises.
- Uncover limiting beliefs and obstacles that prevent you from embodying greater love and compassion for your self and others and also, keep you from moving forward in your life.
- Learn to access your essential self and embody your soul purpose from the space of the heart
- Begin to facilitate your own process of transformation and healing and create a foundation to continue that process in your life.
How much longer do you want to continue struggling?
Do you want the heart to be a guiding force in your life?