A few months ago, the Rev. Gaye Brown, priest at Galloway Memorial Episcopal Church, was on her way to a meeting when she started thinking about how important it is for women to take care of themselves, celebrate who they are and be joyful.
By the time she arrived, Brown said she had come up with an idea to hold a women’s event with self-care, celebration and joy as the themes. It so happened that Jennifer Blackburn Bracey, director of the Soul Compass Center in Elkin, was also at the meeting.
“We think alike,” Brown said. “Both of us are concerned about the well-being of other people, and both of us want to create an environment in which people thrive rather than fail.”
The first chance she got at the meeting, Brown said she shared her thoughts with Bracey. “She said, ‘Yes, let’s do it,’” she said. “It just hit both of us that this was something that was really needed in the community.”
Bracey said Brown’s idea resonated with her own personal mission as a somatic experiencing practitioner for stress anxiety and trauma. “I’m always about trying to help people understand about the importance of taking care of themselves so they can be present to take care of other people,” she said. “That’s who I am.”
Since then, Brown and Bracey have collaborated on plans for “Abundant Joy: A Women’s Day for Sacred Self-Care,” planned for Oct. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held at Bracey’s Soul Compass Center, located at 2300 Austin-Traphill Road in Elkin.
A variety of activities are planned to nurture and invigorate participants and introduce them to ways to care for and nurture their bodies and spirits. Practitioners of various sorts of holistic and therapeutic modalities will volunteer their services during the event, offering chair massage, meditation, reflexology, somatic experiencing, healing prayer with anointing along with various art, movement and musical activities.
The $30 cost will cover a catered lunch, snacks and supplies. Limited scholarship funds also will be available to help anyone unable to pay the full fee.
Bracey said the event is a great opportunity for women at an affordable price. “This kind of thing is offered for hundreds of dollars, but it’s not about that,” she said. “It’s about wrapping our arms around women who are trying to go about their daily lives as best they can.”
Sadly, Bracey, who is also an ordained minister and the chaplain for Tyson Foods, said some women really don’t know what it means to feel joyful. “I think they’ve just never touched into those feelings,” she said. “If we can help them get in touch with them in a somatic way … then we certainly know they can take a piece of it home.
“It’s just going to empower them,” Bracey said. “That’s what my work is about.”
Bracey said the Soul Compass Center offers a sacred healing space to learn about and experience self-care, celebration and joy. “This is what I share with people that I’m working with,” she said. “I believe that we are given the grace to be joyful people and that if we can settle ourselves and come into own knowing and our own truths, that there is a wholeness in our lives, a healthy awareness on how to walk and be present in the universe.”
The event is open to all women, she said, “women from all walks of life and at all different times in their lives. If we have older women, that’s great. If we have younger women, that’s great, too.”
Brown said some of the events planned will help participants to become more in touch with their bodies. “We stay in our heads so often we get disconnected,” she said. “I know I do. This will be about integrating ourselves and bringing the pieces together so we’re more whole.”
For more information on the event, log onto www.soulcompasscenter.com or call 336-366-7416. Registration deadline is Oct. 14.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 336-258-4058.