Immigrant Women Pause
I don’t have time to pause. I get it. Women often feel, and I imagine men too, who will do the dishes, make dinner, go to work, help the homeless, volunteer, pray, hope, love? Who? Women can feel pushed to do more, go faster, don’t slow down, be superhuman, you go girl, don’t stop, be a man? Sound familiar? As daughters, mothers, caregivers, sisters, teachers, mentors, helpers … how can I be truly helpful to anyone if I’ve run myself down to the bone? Pause in the midst of everyday life.
I am eternally grateful for these women at Kingdom House, a local nonprofit founded in 1902 as a settlement house by a shoe manufacturing executive who wanted to help the poor, many of whom were immigrants. The settlement house movement was popular at this time, spreading across the United States. Being with these amazing women who were willing to get out of their comfort zone – and who no doubt know what it is like to get out of one’s comfort zone – was healing, real and meant something to me that I will try to voice.
Lisa and I enter the gym and I am there to teach Inspiration In Motion. I don’t speak Spanish, so I am grateful for Eileen Wolfington, Coordinator of Health & Wellness at Kingdom House, for interpreting. The women are trickling in coming from work, we circle up some folding chairs and I pass around our Spanish Pause Practice Card, PAUSA PARA INSPIRACION. We begin with a Pause.
In the gym there was a palpable openness and willingness to practice INSPIRATION IN MOTION that set my heart in gear to be present with these women – this wasn’t a performance, interview, lecture or presentation – no, it was women being real together. Being real because we were willing to truly be present, let down our guard, let go of our plans, and let the letting be.
An undercurrent of peaceful music in the background, I began leading them through the Pause for Inspiration 4-Step practice, line-by-line, but without any instruction on how to move. Rather, each woman receiving the Pause within herself and being moved by Inspiration Within. Not dancing, trying to look spiritual or coordinated or whatever. Not at all. Literally listening to Inner Present Love, receiving and letting the self unwind.
One by one as we circled again the women shared the most down-to-earth, insightful, and practical words about their experiences such as: Shedding tears of grief because this was the first time I’ve really been able to cry about the loss to how I see my yelling at my children is not making a better life for them and how I could use Pause in my daily life. I am stunned, grateful and still speechless.
Thank you Kingdom House. Here is their mission: To help people achieve a better life. Through holistic programs and services, we help the economically disadvantaged achieve economic independence, self-sufficiency and a path out of poverty.