Since the summer of 2010, I and 9 other
healers have been participating in a year-long community healing training lead by Esperanza Martell, who has been doing this work for the past 24 years. This time has been incredible as we have used emotional release work to heal, as we have learned to work energy, practiced meditation, balanced nutrition, learned & used the power of herbs, opened our intelligence, hearts, creativity and connections to work to end violence against women and every one else in our communities.
Community healing circles are a powerful tool in working to end oppression, particularly internalized oppression and violence against ourselves and against each other in our communities, as we practice not what we preach, but what we live. The work we have been doing together has been incredibly powerful and healing as we make real our commitment to end violence in our lifetimes. We go to the root, by using radical liberatory praxis in our work to live whole sustainable lives to transform ourselves and our lives.
Believe me, this is hard work, but it has been so rich and healing that I can’t imagine having not chosen this path of healing among the many available to us. We are all involved in different types of liberatory politics in our communities and we are working hard to make them sustainable and strengthen them by connecting them in constructing liberatory and sustainable politics in our daily lives, in caring, healing and nurturing ourselves and each other in this incredible circle of support which we are daily widening in our communities.
This work has been a fusion for me, in the sense that I have trying for years with various degrees of success to do work with other men about ending violence against women, and that means ending all kinds of gender violence. For various reasons, this has been work that many men have not taken seriously, but that too is beginning to change, and not only in our training. It is great to make connections with other people, and to see increasingly that more and more men are doing our part in supporting our sisters in building powerful consciousness and reality in healing our communities by healing ourselves through transformation.
Nutrition and diet in this training have been so freeing for me after years of abusing my lactose intolerant digestive system with dairy products. I chose powerfully to give that up as part of this program. I feel lighter, freer to chose how I treat my body and my culinary skills have broadened really well as a result. The fasts have also been transformative for me as I really look at how food is commodified in our capitalist society and how it feeds food addictions for empty calories, our needs to just have one more of those luscious little red velvet cupcakes to not deal with our raging internalized feelings of nothingness/powerlessness, and ways of providing instant gratification, which are often empty of nutritional value. Live it!
My entrance into this work began in 2003, after we were attacked by the police in Brooklyn, and Casa Atabex Ache offered us a space of healing from that attack. Over the years, we have kept our connection going and in Februrary of last year, I joined them and FuntoSalud on our delegation to the border areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic to provide solidarity together with communities and to build sustainable health practices. That work and that trip were life changing for me and helped me pick up again the power of the emotional release work I had learned and practiced earlier with another organization in healing from oppression.
This work with Casa, and now with Espe, one of it’s founders, and 9 other precious, beautiful powerful community healers, is centered in earth-based spirituality and radical politics as a way to transform ourselves and the world to end violence in our communities, and particularly against women of color who very often hold the center of them. In working to end gender violence and to therefore transform the politics of domination that we have learned in communities of color, we seek no less than to live whole and sustainable lives full of respect and radical love for each other. We are who we have been looking for, as the saying goes.
We meet throughout the month, together as a group, and separately working in personal healing circles, reading, meditating, integrating our healing into the other parts of our radical transformative work. Throughout this process, we are tejiendo/weaving our communities back together, building loving and supportive new gender/race/class relationships that respect the diversity of experiences of our sexualities and experiences.
We cook great vegan meals together, we share recipes, we fast together, we create together, we support each other, we struggle together, we breathe, we organize together, we reach out to broaden our circles, to transform what it means to live our lives in reality in the midst of celebration and in transforming oppression, we open ourselves up to other ways of knowing that our society sometimes does not value, to other ways of being that are in contradiction to society’s not yet transforming reality.
We want nothing else than to have it all, for all of our peoples, and to have it in our lifetimes, to live freer and freer lives, to increase and make real and concrete the effects of liberatory politics and praxis in all areas of our lives and in those of our communities.
Several highlights in our work together so far include – a joyous 23 Years of Healing Circle Celebration last year, participation in the 41st Day of Mourning with Indigenous communities in Plymouth, Mass for Thanks-for-Nothing Day, a joyous somber blue Winter Solstice, a lively Spring Soltice Celebration & Sweat lead by the United Confederation of Taino People, learning & using deep meditation and healing tools, monthly expanding community healing circles for women of color, men of color and women of European descent, supporting each other in learning together about healing in our community work, building a powerful community together, initiating, sustaining and strengthening community connections to end violence against ourselves and our communities.
Si se puede, indeed, we are doing it!