The genesis of this trip came from two requests, one to teach a workshop in New York and the other for a staff training in Washington DC. Seeing the calendar align, we decided to make a multi-city tour that started with a jaunt to Boston.
Our first stop was a workshop at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Mary Shriver and Nkem Ndefo had taught an alternative healing workshop for burn survivors at Phoenix World Burn Congress back in 2014 with Diana Tenney and Joey Machado, which was an incredible experience for both us and the attendees. Diana is one of our heros! She suffered second and third degree burns over 90% of her body, leading to months in the hospital and untold number of surgeries. She is a fierce survivor and natural community leader. When Boston came on the agenda, Nkem reached out to Diana who quickly recruited from her network among the Burn Survivors of New England. Through the generous support of Lynne Friedlander, the coordinator for Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System, Spaulding was able to host us in their beautiful facility in Charlestown. Family members and staff joined us as well for the introductory workshop, which allowed the community to meet Johanna Keefe, a holistic nurse and TRE provider from just north of Boston. Connections were made and plans are underway for Johanna to bring ongoing TRE to the hospital nursing staff.
This was one of the busiest days of our trip – seeing Mary head just outside of Boston to the Arlington Center where she taught an intimate workshop to their wellness community; and Ranji Ariaratnam and Nkem headed to Cambridge where we launched the first workshop of a collaborative project with the Yoga Diversity Initiative (YDI). YDI is the brainchild of Chanelle John and Kendra Graves to increase representation of people of color as yoga instructors and bring yoga out of traditionally white spaces. Our workshop started with a gentle yoga practice, which flowed into TRE seamlessly. Like all of our workshops that day, there was lots of excitement about the process and many questions about how to incorporate TRE into a regular self care practice.
The next day Johanna took us on a lovely tour of her seaside hometown. We even braved a short walk on a very cold and windy beach. Picturesque but not enough to keep us California girls out for long. We headed to Endicott College School of Nursing, where Nkem presented to 75 nursing students and faculty on the implications of compassion stress in clinical nursing and the need for routine self-care to avoid burnout. After a guided TRE practice, one of the students who suffers from panic attacks, so beautifully stated that the experience to be in control of tremoring without any sense of overwhelm or emotion was liberating.
The next morning Ranji and Nkem headed to Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health Disaster Response Program, which sends inter-disciplinary medical teams to humanitarian disasters and emergencies worldwide. We met with key staff to discuss how to better support resiliency for staff in the field and upon return from deployment. Taking staff through the TRE movement sequence helped to provide the experiential piece that is often missing from these conversations. Plans are underway for a further staff training with a research component to measure the resiliency and validate program efficacy.
Nkem rounded out the day with a small community workshop co-taught with Johanna Keefe at Energy Inspired Fitness in Danvers. Johanna is collaborating with the studio owner to capture this momentum and grow a vibrant local TRE community with ongoing classes and workshops.
Then it was off to New York City where we launched a brand new wellness workshop incorporating TRE, compassionate communication, and much more. Part two of the adventure coming soon . . .