I found EmbodyGR at its inception over five years ago. It was lovely and heartfelt; the energy among new yet awkward beginnings for many of the original EmbodyGR participants was so perfectly raw and lovely. Over time more and more people began to show up. Kindness and gentleness were palpable as we lifted and held each other up, sharing our practice on the mat and our lives off the mat in fellowship and service.
EmbodyGR offered my family a place to be when my adult kids chose to join me during a particularly crucial time of healing for us. Together we were able to practice quietly next to each other and just know we were being held up by an organization that cared for us “as is” without question or judgement of the challenging experiences we were facing. Those shared moments at EmbodyGR are remembered by us as a family frequently.
It helped to know we could attend EmbodyGR together for free, as well! Obviously, paying for physical and mental wellness practices for an entire family isn’t going to happen for most people! The free offering is so important for building a community of openness and diversity. My life has been deeply enriched by the connections made with beautiful people I might have never met, because this opportunity was free for everyone.
EmbodyGR’s mantra “feel better do good” led me back to a focus on receiving that I’d lost through personal trauma and anxiety. Most of my life revolved around giving and not so much about accepting. I gave everything to my family, friends, profession, and community. Receiving was for other people and I basically rejected it. Over time, giving became rote; my life was on auto-pilot and I didn’t even know I desired anything for me. EmbodyGR returned me to a space of presence, allowing me to receive the energy from others that we all richly deserve. In turn, my giving became bigger than ever!
Today, I use the inspiration of EmbodyGR to help support the work of Grand Rapids Red Project as a board member. For me, this organization is a natural off-shoot of the work EmbodyGR does every week! The Red Project is a harm reduction agency focused on meeting people where they are, without judgement! We provide a safe place for community members to access healthy choices related to sexual activity and substance use (safer sex supplies, overdose training and naloxone kits, free HIV testing, support groups and HiV case management), and as with the space at EmbodyGR, there is no stigma! Everyone is welcome! We invite our most marginalized neighbors to come in, RECEIVE without judgment and go back into the world the opportunity to be a healthier human. I can’t think of a better way for me to give back to our city, and I receive so much in return! And please notice the synchronicity of the efforts behind both of these lovely nonprofits! That is the universe working Dana’s magic!
I feel honored to have been a part of Dana’s journey with EmbodyGR, and fortunate beyond measure to have received exactly what I must have needed without even knowing it, at the perfect time for me.
“The EmbodyGR community embraces and supports, says ‘yes you can’ when the noisy inner voice says, ‘no you can’t’ – Kari Wilson, Community Member