Can it be??!!
Unbelievably, yes, Networks is now 25 years old!
While it’s certainly time to celebrate, it is also important to remember all those who have traveled with us, helped us, challenged us, cheered us on, & joined with us over these amazing 25 years. You helped us realize our vision & assisted us to become more of who we are today.
Together we have
- fought injustices & discrimination
- encouraged others to find & raise their voices
- re-imagined schools, workplaces, communities, & lives
- assisted groups to coalescence around important issues
- found solutions (or at least some parts of solutions) to change the world to embrace ALL people.
We are still going strong & look to the next 25+ years of hard but exhilarating work.
But first, we will be taking time each month this year to look back, honor, & celebrate.
At Networks, we’ve done a lot of innovative, creative, and what some might consider “off the wall” things over the years. I think we kind of pride ourselves on that. 😉
One of the more recent “off the wall” areas of exploration has been getting into offering our newest service area, “Wholistic Practices”.
I am sure there was talk consisting of, “What in the world are those hippy tree huggers doing now?” when we first started openly advertising these new activities. We’re not all hippy tree huggers at Networks, but some of us are… some of use like to wear tie dye, Birkenstocks, run wild and free among the country side… sit around campfires and sing songs while playing a guitar… play in the ocean, connect to the community, embrace and believe this world is for everyone, make change, push boundaries, hug, laugh, eat good food, touch and connect with others, hmmmm… well then maybe we are hippy tree huggers (without the tie dye and Birks on everyone)!
We are a fun group of marauders, no doubt. And we also believe deeply that everyone is connected and relationships are vital to our existence. Touch is as important if not more so… those who we’ve had the honor to walk with over these 25 years live in a desert of touch – and, in turn, a desert of loneliness… and potentially a desert of (un)wellness. We want to change that. We want to show communities and systems that “alternative” modalities (such as massage, meditation, energy work, breathing techniques, aromatherapy, sound healing, and more) can be real and viable options for everyone – to increase our place in this world. And our wellness in life.
In a time when the world is swirling and feeling (at times) tumultuous and uncertain, we want to show there is a small light. There IS a way to explore different. There ARE additional ways and considerations to support ourselves and those we are honored to support. The beauty of it all? It’s not hard. Wellness, however that exists for a person, should be a true and viable option. People shouldn’t have to go to a “special” center for massage or seek treatment from a practitioner “specially certified to work with [insert the condescending terminology of your choice]”… We want to create a lasting change. Bodywork practitioners can (and do!) adapt their practice. Can’t get in an anti-gravity chair to get reflexology? No problem. We’ll lay on the floor to get a good angle to hone in on those pressure points on your feet. Supporters don’t think she/he would like to get a massage? Come on… let the person decide for themselves!
Let’s gently (or maybe not so gently) push the norm and status quo of what we think “wellness” should be. The person you support lost 5 pounds in the last month, hasn’t had any “aggressive behaviors” in the last 2 weeks but concurrently, takes 15 medications a day, doesn’t have a job but attends a social group 3 times a week, is ostracized by their family, lives with a history of trauma, has no “FRIENDS” (other than the folks who are paid to be with him…) – but they’re happy, you say? Their doctor gave them a good bill of health. But, is this person living well?? It’s all in terms of what we view as living well and being “well.” Did we every ask this person what they think living well looks like? Or how they would like to live???
Let’s dance more… laugh more… sing together and eat good food – together. Let’s work together to explore what it means to be well and how we can assist others to live their lives well and in how THEY WANT.
Let’s stop making decisions for others, let’s stop putting the brakes on trying something new (“Massage? But she/he HATES to be touched!” …do they, really?).
Let’s stop dictating what someone else’s life looks like and is formed into being.
Let’s ask more questions.
Let’s try more things.
Let there be more responses of “HELL YES!” instead of… “Nope, that won’t work for ‘my’ person.”
Let’s do this…. now!!
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?”