If you've followed my journey at all you may know these things to be true:
I am passionate about healing and wholeness.
I believe in safe space for all.
I have immense compassion for human trafficking victims.
I understand we each hold trauma in our bodies.
I am certain the gift of the breath grounds us amidst crisis.
With those things in mind, I invite you to join me in gifting the survivors I work with a tool that (I believe) will truly enhance their healing journey. The two organizations I currently partner with to offer trauma-sensitive yoga in this season are Rest Stop Ministries and End Slavery Tennessee. Graciously, yoga mats and blocks are in abundance for these survivors to use on site when we practice together. Some locations offer blankets to be shared. However, one of my favorite props/tools is largely missing. The yoga blanket.
Why are yoga blankets important and how do they help with a yoga & meditation practice? I am so glad you asked! Yoga blankets are the most versatile of props! A yoga blanket offers alignment to the pelvis and spine when in seated postures. It can be folded into a meditation cushion. It can serve as a pillow for stiff necks. It can be used to cover the body when cool. It can be folded into a bolster offering support in certain restorative postures. Heavy duty yoga blankets are not flimsy blankets, they offer firm support for the body.
From a safe space perspective, practicing yoga & meditation with an item that is "yours" is something which offers familiarity and comfort. Sharing yoga blankets that are stored and reused by others feels less personal. Yet gifting a survivor with a blanket of her own to be used beyond that weekly hour of practice is transformative! These women often have little of their own and this blanket may be the start of a new season of healing.
With your help, I would love to offer blankets for each survivor I connect with on this journey. Who knows...with your help...maybe even more survivors than these will receive this gift.
Will you journey with me?
There are two ways to help support this project right away:
1. Donate a gently used or brand new (heavy duty) yoga blanket to me in person or drop off at Bloom Yoga Studio (I will deliver on your behalf).
2. Purchase a new yoga blanket from my online shop (I will place a bulk order and deliver on your behalf). Click below to support these women on their journeys by gifting a blanket.
For the past year, I've been amazed by the number of emails and phone calls I've received from those who have retreated with me at a Yoga & Silence event, attended one of my classes/workshops, or read Holy Listening with Breath, Body, and the Spirit. They reach out to say they are "longing for more soul care on a daily basis, but not sure where to begin." I meet people in my community who ask about my work and upon my reply say "whoa - I need that but I don't even know where to start."
Maybe, you're one of those people?
Here is what I have learned from these encounters: individuals longing for soul care come in all shapes, sizes, ages, demographics, and faith backgrounds. We live all over the world and while retreating together in time set apart is wonderful, there is a desire to connect near and far, and not just on special occasions. We need soul care in our daily life.
To be honest, I've been a little overwhelmed with where to begin on offering resources of my own that support those who email me beyond offering individual private spiritual direction sessions. I've pointed you all over the internet, sent you to tons of links, and tried to offer tips in my writing on my blog.
You've asked for accountability with daily scripture readings, guided audio meditations, more Yoga & Meditation, a safe space to interact with others after a Yoga & Silence retreat. You say you long for all of this to be accessible, not distracting (like a Facebook group), meet your schedule, and be affordable. You long for safe space for your soul with others in community.
That, my friends, is a lot to ponder and quite a tall order!
That's why it has taken me a full year to launch this community. I understand that my call is to create soul care resources for exploring the gift of God's peace with breath, body, and spirit. And with the creation of a fantastic on-line resources for creators, I have discovered a way for us to do this in a safe and private space together as a community. It's called Patreon.
In 2018, I am using my creative talents to launch a soul care community for you on Patreon. This space is for those who long for soul care resources on an ongoing basis and for those who want to give back at the same time.
How does this online community work and what's the benefit for you?
Oh, I'm excited for you to click through and find out (it's a private space, less distractions, and there's an app for that too)! Starting at only $1, you gain access and receive audio downloads of weekly scripture passages (following the Revised Common Lectionary). There are plenty more community perks including guided meditations, live yoga and other teaching sessions, and more. PLUS, thanks to my amazing friends at Sacred Ordinary Days, there is a giveaway this week!
How does this community give back?
God placed a little dream inside of me to create a simple space someday where others can retreat (specifically, a rural place by the water). Our family loves retreating there now with only a pavilion and a fantastic little outhouse built by my amazing partner (who also sees this dream becoming a reality).
Rustic is the new Chic! Right?
We're working hard together as a family to make this an amazing outdoor space for personal (and hopefully small group) retreat (think Yurts or Treehouses, not the Ritz Carlton). We have invested with our time and resources (and even with broken bones for my poor husband this summer) in a pavilion to start. As a family, we have built tables, cut fields, and don't worry....we've played in the water plenty too!
Joining the Journey on Patreon begins at $1 and advances up to $20 per month. With your help, we can create spaces both on-line and in person for exploring the gift of God's peace. Every single dollar given on this platform as a member of this community will support creating an outdoor retreat space for personal retreat.
Will you join me?
Click here to find out more and Join the Journey.
What's Dressember and why am I involved?
In 2005, the founder Blythe Hill began hearing about the issue of sex trafficking. Despite her deep sense of urgency to help, she felt helpless. She didn't think she had much to offer to the fight. In 2009, she challenged herself to wear a dress every day of December (hence: Dressember). The next year, a few friends joined in. By the third year, her friends' friends began to participate, and it occurred to Blythe that there was more to this challenge than she originally thought. This movement has blossomed into something completely unexpected - an international campaign to aid the fight against sex trafficking.
December is a special month for me, one that celebrates my own survival - a different kind (I had a stroke 12 years ago this month, on my birthday, in 2005). My healing journey has been inspired this year by new friends - women rescued from sex trafficking. I have known this issue is real in other parts of our world, I now understand it's real everywhere. For me, Dressember is an opportunity to raise awareness that slavery is a real and much larger problem than many people realize - around the world AND in our own communities.
This December, I turn 43. My goal is to bring greater awareness to modern day slavery and celebrate survivors, reclaiming the dress as a symbol of FREEDOM & POWER.
Will you help me celebrate my birthday this December?
1. Give to a cause close to your heart that impacts or educates those affected by slavery/trafficking - locally or globally. 2. Make a donation toward my $100 goal for the Dressember fundraising campaign
3. Make an effort to purchase gifts this month that are ethically made (more suggestions to come on this topic).
4. Wear a dress this month - educating others in your community and reclaiming the dress as a symbol of FREEDOM & POWER.
5. Let me borrow a dress (this yogini currently owns about three dresses).
6. Donate a gift card as a stocking stuffer for local women who have been rescued from trafficking (I will be delivering these to Rest Stop Ministry this month, click here to find out more about this organization).
This challenge is way out of my comfort zone. And, I'm honored to participate. I'll be writing about my journey here at my blog, so stay tuned...
How will you join me this Dressember (1, 2 ,3 ,4 , 5, or 6)?
Edited to add:
THANK YOU! My financial goal was met and I delivered a bagful of gift cards to my friends at Rest Stop Ministries. This month truly shaped my journey. I learned that I could not have survived this challenge without leggings, that you really can do anything in a dress, that we have much work to do in regards to advocacy and equality both locally and globally, and that you and I TRULY have a voice!
Whitney R. Simpson
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Whitney R. Simpson,
Exploring Peace Ministries, unless otherwise indicated.
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