My Own Experience in Service Work

I have been engaged in service work throughout my adult life. This work has included facilitating art/dance therapy in the psychiatric units of a hospital, caring for autistic children in a residential center, tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth, teaching sexual abuse prevention curriculum to elementary school students, answering calls on a rape crisis hotline, counseling women and children in a domestic violence shelter, teaching creative arts to teens from impoverished urban areas, presenting outreach education about sexual assault in community centers, counseling Spanish and English-speaking adults/couples/youth/families at a low-cost nonprofit counseling center, providing school counseling services to teens at an alternative school, leading community service and mindfulness education for youth, and offering spiritual care as a hospice chaplain to dying patients and their loved ones. I am also the mother of three children, a role that requires serving beyond any boundaries that work provides.

I know both the fulfillment and the emotional drain that service can involve. It is work of the heart, and it requires continual re-sourcing. Over and over again, we have to find ways to release other people’s energies and replenish our spirits. I have always been most effective when I am centered, clear, open-hearted, and strong, but it hasn’t always been easy to be that way. There are real pressures in the systems of healthcare, education, and social service, not to mention the never-ending learning curve of motherhood. The “care of the caregiver” work I do now is created in honor of all the dedicated, heartfelt individuals I have known over the years. I use the tools of meditation, writing, coaching, and movement to bring us all back to center, to unblock the flow of giving and receiving, and to bring passion, authenticity, and compassion to our lives and all the lives we touch. I hope you’ll join me in caring for yourself in this way.

Wishing you a peaceful heart and a joyful spirit,

Julia