SACRED CYCLE: a GIFT for SURVIVORS
Sacred Cycle is a non-profit organization started by Heather Russell. This summer and fall of 2017, I had the privilege of participating in Sacred Cycle’s pilot program. What a precious gift! I am smiling as I write. My heart is filled with gratitude.
Heather Russell recognizes that abuse and assault survivors often do not stay present in their bodies. She explains this concept in an interview located on this KDNK link: http://kdnk.org/post/nonprofit-palooza-sacred-cycle
Participants are given the option to mountain bike, hike, as well as other options to connect with one’s body in the present moment. Therapy during this time helps survivors continue to heal.
In the fall, a retreat was held in a beautiful location for the five of us participating in the Sacred Cycle program. Heather and others joined us providing workshops and/or support. We even enjoyed the delightful and delicious food of a chef each day!
It was a weekend of gracious giving and receiving. The nurturing aspect was amazing. I had no expectations of the Sacred Cycle retreat. My intention was to keep my heart open. Most likely each one of us – pilot participants and support persons – has a favorite moment, memory or insight from this special getaway.
Let me share one of my favorite experiences of the weekend with you. Each of the two mornings, yoga was scheduled. I am not much of a yoga person. The first yoga session was difficult for me due to hand issues. I chose to stay in the room and meditate or contemplate. It was a warm atmosphere.
The second day, the yoga session focus was breathwork. I do meditate, contemplate, and pray. Breathwork was not foreign to me. As Emily Hightower (http://www.ondalu.com/) led the breathing exercises, I relaxed fully. Intense joy! I experienced deep, intense joy! As my readers have noticed, deep joy can be elusive to me.
Spiritual experiences are hard to describe and truly need no words. A supportive environment sometimes provides a sanctuary for me. This holy space may consist of one person in the room with me, a retreat with many women, or alone. Gratitude overflows my heart still for that sacred spiritual experience and all others I have received in my lifetime.
The number of people who have abused, used, and/or tortured me from (probably) my birth to almost 47 years old are numerous, to say the least. My mother and grandmother were my first abusers. They set the foundation for decades of my life until I finally reached the road to freedom and peace.
Women perpetrators are not unusual. Some victims and survivors might still carry secrecy and shame regarding a woman being their abuser. This shame and secrecy might be more prevalent when it is their own mother who abused them, especially sexually. Mothers, some believe, don’t act that way. Unfortunately abusers come in all shapes and forms.
As I attended the Sacred Cycle retreat, I realized the entire group was female. All the women – survivors or not – formed a safe, welcoming, and non-judgmental environment. Each one of us could voice any concern and it was actually okay. The positive, loving energy in the room that day helped me reach a state of intense joy. How healing for me! I thank each of the women present at the Sacred Cycle retreat. All of them, individually and together, contributed to a healing weekend that I will not soon forget!
Please go to the Sacred Cycle website (https://thesacredcycle.org/about-us/) or the Sacred Cycle Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/thesacredcycle/) to read more about this unique and special program and the originator, Heather Russell.