No money for charity this holiday season? No problem.

November 30, 2009 by

People are busier than ever today. But it doesn’t take a lot of time to post a thoughtful message and let your friends know about something that’s important to you.

The Chase Community Giving event is an online event to help Chase Bank identify recipients for $5 million in charitable donations. Facebook members “become a fan” of Chase Community Giving and then vote for their favorite non-profits to receive a donation. The bank is donating $25,000 to 100 organizations in the first round of giving, and then $100,000 to five organizations plus $1 million to two organizations in the second round. Voting in the first round ends on December 11, 2009.

The economy has really hurt the non-profit world. To close the funding gap, we need to expand our donor base, and to expand our base we need word of mouth. Obviously, the goal is to raise money, but we also need people, whether they donate or not, to talk about SOAR and to introduce our organization to their family and friends. Social networking is a very efficient way to do that.

Winning $25k would allow us to expand our programs to hundreds of survivors across the country. To us it would be like winning the lottery.

It only takes a moment to make a difference.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3


2. VOTE for Speaking Out About Rape

3. TELL your friends on Facebook about us

Blue Skies,



Make A Million Dollar Vote

November 23, 2009 by

Vote for SOAR in Chase’s Community Giving contest. Go to

Type in “Speaking Out About Rape” in the “enter your charity” section.
Ask your friends to support us and vote.

The 1st round of the contest ends dec 11th.

Thank you, Jon Stewart.

October 16, 2009 by

Senator Al Franken proposed an amendment that would deny defense contracts to companies that ask employees to sign away the right to sue if they are raped. It passed by a 68-30 vote in the Senate, all 30 “nay” votes coming from members of the same party.

Although Jon Stewart is an entertainer and comedian, he tackles news and events with refreshing candor (and, of course, sarcasm brilliantly intermixed with video clips). He didn’t let the 30 “nay” voters off the hook on this one.  As Stewart so aptly puts it, ‘if ever there was a time for the unanimous passing of an amendment, the Franken anti-government contractor rape liability bill would seem to be that. ‘

This isn’t a blog about politics, but don’t you think we’ve gone a little over the edge when we can’t agree to protect women from rape? I have a feeling if those 30 senators had family or friends who were rape survivors, they would have voted differently.

I don’t think I can express my outrage more lucidly or calmly than Jon Stewart does in this clip, so please watch and enjoy.

Love to you and yours.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Thank you, Jon Stewart.“, posted with vodpod

15th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

September 16, 2009 by

September 13th of this year, marked the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) penned by then – U.S. Senator, Joseph Biden and signed into federal law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. In 1995, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) was created as part of the US Department of Justice, in order to address the national issues of violence against women and to administer grants under the VAWA in addition to working towards the creation and implication of new policies to combat gender violence. The VAWA was the result of much hard work by activists and advocates over the course of thirty years – a small group of individuals who were and are committed to shedding light on the reality and severity of sexual, domestic and dating violence and the need for this specialized legislation.

Why do we need VAWA?

Thanks to VAWA, financial support has made its way to shelters and coalitions nationwide who provide services to victims of gender violence and there have been positive changes in the way law enforcement officials and members of the legal system handle these crimes and work with crime victims.  Attitudes about sexual and domestic violence have changed over the years, with more and more attention being brought to these important issues. However, there is still much damage to be undone, and many mindsets to be reversed. Years ago, and even today, many do not recognize crimes such as marital/ spousal rape, with domestic violence and assault once being considered something to be dealt within the family and/ or home. The prevalence of child abuse and sexual assault of, and between minors is now being looked at more seriously, with more focus on recognizing the signs and educating the entire community. Dating violence and crimes such as “date” or “acquaintance” rape are still often ignored and not taken seriously. Cultural differences, such as those in tribal communities have shown a need for change in the way these crimes are handled. The long and short term effects of all of these violations are devastating and real. As far as we have come, there is still much work to be done.

The VAWA aids financially and otherwise to strengthen areas of the judicial, legislative and support services community, in areas such as (but far from limited to):

  • Sex offender registries
  • Stalker databases
  • Sex offender management
  • Repeat offender provisions
  • Specialized research and reporting
  • Combating violence on campuses
  • Safe havens and housing for victims
  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Healthcare’s response to sexual and domestic violence
  • Juvenile justice
  • Child protection

    What does this mean for me?

    Firstly, this means that the issue of violence against women is being viewed as the serious epidemic it truly is. As a survivor and advocate, I strongly believe that education and proactivity are integral pieces of the puzzle. It is up to all of us, men and women, young and old, from all walks of life, to come together to address and talk about the issue of gender violence. It is easy to ignore these crimes until they touch our lives or that of someone close to us. Why wait until it is our mother, wife, sister or daughter, falling victim to such a crime? The reality of sexual assault and domestic violence is that it can happen to anyone, but too often, and in so much of my personal advocacy work I have found that the people who are driven to do something about these issues, are those whose lives have been personally touched by these crimes.

    In addition, our friends, families, neighbors and all parts of our community should be aware of the services available in an effort to aid in the healing of this violence. When a crime is committed or reported, it is important for the victims to understand what services are available to them and how to obtain them.

    In commemoration of the 15th anniversary of VAWA, join President Barack Obama (, the Office on Violence Against Women, SOAR and myself, in working together in your community as well as others, to further efforts for true gender equality and in ending crimes of gender violence against women and girls.

    For more information on the Violence Against Women Act from the Office for Violence Against Women, go to:

    To read a message from OVW director, Catherine Pierce go to:

    What about the boys?

    August 16, 2009 by

    Our fearless SOAR leader, Kellie, sent me this great op-ed piece from the New York Times.

    Women At Risk, by Bob Herbert

    In the article, Bob Herbert focuses on several current events that shocked the country: the 2006 Amish schoolhouse shooting of 10 little girls, the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, and just a few weeks ago, the Pittsburgh-area shooting in an aerobics class. What do these three attacks have in common? Shooters with a hatred for women.
    Somewhere in their lives,  these cowardly men were each shot down (no pun intended) by a woman or multiple women. They felt rejected, and wanted to get revenge for the pain a woman caused them by causing pain to females at large.

    What have we done wrong? How did our society get to a point where getting turned down for a few dates causes a man to go shoot an entire aerobics class with a pregnant instructor?!? Whelp, here’s my opinion:

    I constantly hear experts, police officers, and even groups like SOAR educating women on how to be safe, protect themselves from attackers in a dark alley, and defend themselves if they are being attacked by a crazed man.  I even remember being in elementary school (I was 10!) and taking a self-defense class. While those are all well and good, I have to ask:

    Why aren’t we teaching our boys and young men to respect women? Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but perhaps if parents didn’t tolerate disrespect toward girls/women, our women wouldn’t have to worry (as much) about being attacked while on a jog.

    In the grocery store the other day, I actually saw an older brother (about 13 years old ) hit his younger sister on the bottom repeatedly (she was probably 5ish). Despite her screams, the mom just told him to “be nice”. She didn’t tell him that was inappropriate  for him to touch her daughter like that or that hitting a girl isn’t okay.  Now, you might argue, as the mom did, that this is just “boys being boys”. Since when has behavior like this become acceptable? Personally, I’m tired of the “boys being boys” argument. Boys can still roll in the mud, play sports, and even eat boogers without disrespecting women. There has to be a line, and parents need to step up and teach their boys respect.

    Now, I’m not saying that parents failing to teach their boys respect for women is the cause of all violence against women. Obviously, that’d be a “fallacy of a single cause” — there are far too many reasons to list for why women are victimized.  All I’m trying to do is point out that while it’s great to focus on educating girls and women, we also need to be teaching our boys respect.

    Isn’t it at least worth a try?

    Rape as a Weapon of War

    June 16, 2009 by

    Sexual violence activism is a part of my life. I clip newspaper stories from my local paper and the New York Times; I actively follow legislation and call my legislators; I spend a lot of time volunteering.

    But this week, I noticed something. I realized that my awareness of the issue is limited. Recently, my nonprofit received a request to share information about Condition-Critical, a Doctors without Borders initiative aiming to give a voice to victims of the war in Congo and victims of sexual violence.  A few days ago we heard from a woman in Sudan, looking for resources to support her after sexual violence. I spent two hours looking for resources for her. I made phone calls and searched online, but I found nothing.  I could only find story after story about how resources are needed, desperately needed.  This opened my eyes.

    Of course, I know about rape as a weapon of war and I’ve read that millions of women and children are brutally victimized in Sudan and the Congo, and that rape was a common tool of war in Rwanda in the 90s.  But I’ve usually glossed over these stories; I’ve never let them too deeply into my consciousness. Maybe it’s partly because they are too terrible to comprehend – the victims (from young children to elderly women) are assaulted inside and out, often leaving them unable to have children or destroying their digestive system.  But I also think this level of violence is difficult to take in because I feel powerless to do anything to help.

    I remember how important it was for me to know that someone was hearing my story, so I spent some time reading the stories of women brutalized in the Congo.  According to the UN, “The sexual violence in Congo is the worst in the world.” Here are some excerpts (warning: these may be difficult to read):

    “My mother told me I should thank God I was still alive. She told me to be brave and not say anything to other families so as not to lose my reputation. She said if I talked about it, I might not get a husband. They could say I have illnesses because I was with soldiers. I was sick for three days. I felt cold. It felt as if they had put chili in me—it burned.”   (source)

    “[A]n 18-year-old woman with high cheekbones and downcast eyes said she was kidnapped from a village that the Rastas [armed warfare groups]  raided in April and kept as a sex slave until August. Most of that time she was tied to a tree, and she still has rope marks ringing her delicate neck. The men would untie her for a few hours each day to gang-rape her, she said.

    ‘I’m weak, I’m angry, and I don’t know how to restart my life,’ she said.” (source)

    Violence in any form is terrible to endure.  Sexual violence in particular carries with it a sense of shame and isolation for many victims.  In places like the Congo, where this violence is used as a weapon of war and post-war fighting, the ramifications can be even more severe.  HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections are rampant among perpetrators of this sexual violence, putting the victims at a serious health risk – especially when so few are able to seek medical care.  Women and children often suffer secondary victimization and shame from their families and communities.  Some don’t disclose or report the violence out of fear of losing their husbands or prospects for future marriage.  They may also have been threatened with more violence out of retribution if they report.

    Even in the face of such incomprehensible violence, there are things we can do:

    1. Read their stories. Be aware of what is going on in the world.  Here are some good places to start: 60 Minutes – War Against Women; Congo Women: Photographs & Essays; Stories of Congo Rape Survivors from Women for Women.  To educate yourself further, check out V-Day’s background on violence in Congo.
    2. Contact your elected officials.  You can use this site to locate the contact information for your local, state, and federal officials.
    3. Write a letter to the editor, or ask your local media to cover the story.  Imagine the impact that could result from the media and blogosphere devoting as much attention to this atrocity as to the Letterman/Palin debacle.
    4. Offer Financial Support. There are organizations doing good work in the Congo, Sudan and other regions affected by violence against women and children. Here are some options for your donation:  Sponsor a woman through Women for Women International, Run for Congo Women, or the International Rescue Committee; or donate to Doctors without Borders, an organization providing medical care to victims of sexual violence, and all Congolese in need.
    5. Looking for more ways to help? Join the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict at, or download brochures and postcards from V-Day.

    So many rape survivors feel alone in what they are going through. But we’re not. We are united in a common struggle, a fight that takes different forms and affects people of different languages, races, and cultures. We’re in this together.   I want to stand up for and with survivors worldwide, and I hope you will join me.

    Euphrasie Mirindi

    Euphrasie Mirindi, a Congolese rape survivor, via The New York Times

    “Sexual violence can be as damaging as bullets.
    It destroys not only the bodies of the victims,
    but the basic social fabric of local communities.”
    – François Grignon, International Crisis Group

    Oh… was it…DATE RAPE?

    June 16, 2009 by

    “Oh… was it…date rape?

    The awkward response I had heard so many times before, I could anticipate it before the first syllable was out of their mouths. I was trying to open up, to share my experience with others because not only could I not keep it inside any longer, but I needed desperately to know I was not alone. But with those few words, I was silenced again. I felt judgment, unworthiness and the overwhelming self-doubt that because I knew my assailant, my story was not significant and my experience not traumatic. I hated the term, loathed it, feeling that with those words, what I had been forced to endure at the hands of another was reduced to a casualty of dating.

    This response came from family, friends, women and men. I was once asked to describe “what exactly happened,” most likely in an attempt to explain away the nasty truth that I had in fact been a victim of a violent crime. I suppose it was easier for them to believe and picture something along the lines of the palatable and often glamorized rape scenes depicted in television and movies. Rape isn’t something easy or comfortable to talk about, as I surely had found, and after a long period of my own denial, I learned that denial exists in more than just the victim.

    Before I was raped I thought it could never happen to me, and perhaps part of that is the invincibility we feel when we are young, but most likely it was also because of the attitudes regarding rape in our society and popular culture. Those feelings and attitudes kept me silent, afraid and removed from the rest of the world. I was so conflicted, feeling completely destroyed and broken by what had happened to me, attempting to live each day in this shell of the person I had once been, like a child having to re-learn how to do everything I once took for granted with this new and painful reality, but at the same time feeling like my experience was not important and that I didn’t deserve support or sympathy. After my failed attempts to talk to others, I gave up, deciding this was something I had to live with and live with alone, surrendering to the dreaded, “just get over it.”

    Date rape is also referred to as “acquaintance rape” for an assault in which the victim knows the assailant. Language and usage of the term has been updated and revised in recent years, with most agencies now using the latter.  Statistics from The National Center for Victims of Violent Crimes ( state that 77% of completed rapes are committed by non-strangers, with less than 2% of women raped by acquaintances reporting the assault to authorities, as opposed to 21% when the assault is committed by a stranger.

    My assault occurred when I was 18 years old, by a man 18 years my senior, who I was not dating, nor had very much social contact with. I struggled with the reality of what had happened to me, what to call it, how to feel about it and overall, how to heal from it. I never reported my assault, though I thought and talked about it so many times, only to be discouraged by many people close to me, including a therapy professional. After not reporting, I felt even less like what I had been through mattered. Now, over ten years later, I have come to a place where I have made significant strides in healing myself and have been able to accept the reality of my experience. I have found ways to use the tools and lessons I have learned along the way to help others who may feel as I once did and work to promote awareness about the reality of sexual assault.

    Changing attitudes and misconceptions about rape in our society is integral to preventing this life-shattering crime. We must no longer be ignorant or in denial; survivors, supporters, authorities and women and men everywhere.

    – Nicole

    Anger Management anyone?

    June 12, 2009 by

    I realize this post might take this blog in a different direction. (Whether this is good or awful is yet to be seen. . .) The last few posts on here have been awe-inspiring, joyful, and really powerful testimonies of the incredible women of SOAR. I’m in awe of the caliber of the women in this group. Honestly, I don’t feel worthy to be among Team SOAR, especially during spells like the one I’m in now.

    Over the past sixish years since I was attacked, I’ve been through the typical gamut of emotions — sadness, loneliness, fear, self-pity, self-loathing, pure survivor’s bliss— you name it. Through hundreds of hours of counseling and personal development, I thought I had gotten past the “bad spells”. A few weeks ago, I started to realize I was in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. Much like a mid-life crisis, I was having feelings of worthlessness,  feeling generally lost in life, and feeling as though I didn’t measure up to my own (and society’s) ridiculously high standards. I finally have come to the conclusion that it’s more than a quarter-life crisis: I’m in an “angry” stage of my life-long recovery.

    I shake with anger when I think of my rapist (who has never been brought to trial) still being free to attack again. I cried angrily when I read the horror that Debbie (see previous post) had to go through to find some semblance of justice. I even vomited a few weeks ago when I heard about children as young as a day-old being raped because of the myth in Africa that raping a virgin will rid a man of HIV (read the CNN article here).

    I’m a straight-laced businesswoman all day, but lately I have found myself lacking eloquence and composure even in a professional environment, where I normally excel. I used to handle telling my survival story with ease, but lately, I’ve struggled to get the words out without shaking. I started to tell a co-worker who runs a self-defense studio (as a side-business) about SOAR and how valuable his practice is, and I couldn’t finish. I literally couldn’t tell my story because I was so angry!

    When does this anger subside? I abhor being an angry person (Yup! I’m angry about being angry) I’ve tried to refocus the anger toward doing positive, results-oriented actions, but am I just covering up the real issue?

    Before I was raped, I used to run when I was emotional (hmmm, maybe that’s why I ran so much 🙂 ), but I was attacked while I was out running. To this day, I still can’t run longer than 5 minutes without freaking out. The sensation that someone is following me is just too much for my body to handle. My attacker even took one of my biggest passions away from me. . .you guessed it! That makes me even more angry!

    It’s not just running that’s been taken away from me. Virtually every area of my life has been affected – my worldview, my health, my brain functioning (I sustained brain damage from the attack), my ability to get insurance from aforementioned drain bamage, my education and speech – again, drain bamage, doctor’s visits, my ability to run, my sex life (overshare?), my goals, my faith, my family and friends. . .I know I’m not the only one here. I know you’ve all been through this anger stage! ARGH!

    So what do you think? What helps you get through the angry days? Am I ridiculously emotional? (okay, maybe ‘yes’ to the last question 😉 ) Will this stage pass like all of the others have?

    Bravo if you made it all the way through this post. I know so many of you have experienced or maybe are currently experiencing anger as a result of the trauma you’ve experienced; I sincerely appreciate any ideas, advice, or commiserating stories you can offer!!

    Love to you and yours.


    Making News and Making Laws: Team SOAR Member Makes History

    June 11, 2009 by

    Thanks to Team SOAR’s Debbie for this powerful guest post!

    Before I tell you the rest of the story, I would like to give a little background so you understand what a miraculous journey this has been.

    About 4 years ago, a group was formed for Cold Case victims whose cases had been reopened. The Victim Advocate Coordinator, Pat Keaton of the Dallas Police Department in the Crimes Against Persons Unit could see these women (me included) were facing new and old emotions relating to their case.

    Our support system we had 20 plus years ago couldn’t understand why we wanted our cases solved. It felt, as no one understood what we were going through until we met and found comfort in each other. We would talk about our lives and how people reacted to us but most importantly, we wanted to learn how to be strong.

    As the years passed, we did just that, we became empowered and our involvement with the public grew, we were breaking new ground. In 2005, a reporter told us our interviews with the media showed a face for the first time in Texas. We felt it was important to make the public aware and educate them about sexual assault. In 2005, I interviewed with CNN and my story went national. Then in 2006, 2 more ladies went national with their stories. One of our ladies has been on Nancy Grace more than once and is a resource for the show when sexual assault issues come up. Six of us have appeared on local T.V. and three of us more than once. We made a Documentary with UNT students to raise awareness on college campuses in the spring of 2007. Then I got a surprise when I told my story to the Voices and Faces Project and this organization took my story and many others from across the globe, international. It helped opened a dialogue for women to discuss problems in their Country at the conference in Taipei, Taiwan. The Voices and Faces project was awarded the 2008 Making a Difference for Women award from the United Nations and they thanked me for participating. Wow, educating women across the globe, a dream come true.

    We watch the news closely and as a group we were dishearten about the fact our D.A. was getting convictions overturned for those falsely accused. No one should be imprisoned for something they didn’t do but why couldn’t DNA evidence be put on our offender’s criminal history for Law Enforcement to use. Our next step was to contact the D.A. and he met with us so we could ask him our questions. He promised us he would check into the Law and the Constitution for what we wanted to do and get back with us. We had a second meeting with him and his staff in the conference room of the Chief of Police and now things were beginning to move forward. Our Facilitator Pat was diligent about getting our group heard in Austin. We wrote letters to committee members and learned we had an Author of our Bill. It was incredible since we had just started this around the first of the year and now we were going to Austin to speak to the committee.

    On April 1st, the room was respectfully quiet and somber as four of us told our stories. It was the first time I had heard two of our ladies tell their stories in detail and their first time telling it in public. I was so moved by the courage they showed it brought tears to my eyes including those of the committee. At the conclusion, they voted unanimously to send it on to the House of Representatives. The House voted 145 yeas, 0 nays and 1 absent! Next, it had to pass the Senate so we made another trip to Austin on April 19th and spoke with the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. This time 5 of us told our stories and the recall of what happened to one of the first time speakers was bringing tears and needed consoling, but what a great job these courageous women did! We were assured this Bill would not be debated and would soon be voted on and the committee did not see a problem for passing it in the Senate. The committee voted unanimously to pass it through to the Senate. We went out into the hall of the Capitol crying tears of joy and hugging each other. Senator Corona’s Assistant Preston said, “Ladies, you are making history here today.”

    On May 29, the vote in the Senate was 141 yeas, 1 nay, and 1 not voting. Now we are waiting to hear when the Governor will sign it into law and we hope to be there for that signing.

    You can see the history of our Bill on the internet just go to Texas Legislature Online and click on Bill lookup, put in HB 2932 and put in history for the information type.

    Thank all of you for your thoughts, prayers, well wishes and shouts of joy. I love you all!

    – Debbie

    For more information about this bill, go to:

    Operation Freefall and SOAR SPA 2009: Empowering Women and Changing Lives

    June 10, 2009 by

    The third SOAR SPA (Something Positive Afterward) was held in Orlando April 22-26, 2009 and this year was combined with another exciting SOAR event, Operation Freefall, Two-Mile High Stand Against Sexual Assault®!

    SOAR SPA brought together friends old and new, a small group of women from a handful of US states and territories, 4 members of Team SOAR – myself included – and three facilitators. Kellie Greene’s idea for SOAR SPA came from her mother, Odette, who was integral in her personal healing process. Kellie knew that her experience and journey would have been very different had it not been for the core values her mother had instilled in her since her childhood, and her constant, unwavering support. SOAR SPA retreats are designed to provide support, self-discovery, empowerment and build strong relationships in the aftermath of sexual assault. Healing from sexual abuse and assault is not something that anyone should have to go through alone.

    SPA participants including myself, Team SOAR members Shannon, Beth and Christina and Kellie. .

    SPA participants including myself, Team SOAR members Shannon and Beth, and Kellie.

    This SPA was also the first one in which outside supporters were not invited to attend. Instead, in this intimate group, we found the companionship and unconditional love in one another. Over the 5 days of the retreat, we laughed and cried, broke down walls that we had built around ourselves, healed, explored and discovered ourselves, and built and deepened amazing friendships. It may seem incredible and almost unbelievable that this could all happen over the course of only 5 days, but it is something I have seen and experienced personally in all of the SOAR events I have attended. As I re-read the introduction letter we all received on the first night of SPA, stating Kellie’s mission, it brought tears to my eyes, for her, for myself and for all the amazing women she has touched along the way. Kellie has succeeded in creating what she set out to, and has changed lives and inspired so many over the years.

    "Blue Skies!" Lisa, Kellie, Stefanie and Beth prepare to jump!

    "Blue Skies!" Lisa, Kellie, Stefanie and Beth prepare to jump!

    After two intense days of self-exploration, Saturday morning we all packed up for the day and headed out to SkyDive City in Zephryhills, where most would take the Two-Mile High Stand Against Sexual Assault. SkyDive City is a fantastic host, and drop-zone owner TK and his staff are always incredibly welcoming and supportive. At SkyDive City, the group met up with the rest of the freefallers, some of whom were new to Operation Freefall and to skydiving, and got to see many of our yearly participants and supporters. There was nervous excitement as we prepared to jump, some, like myself, were freefall veterans and others were preparing for their very first fall! As each group headed out to the “Freefall Express”, the plane that would take us 13,500 feet in the air, but not bring us back to earth, cheers and applause resounded.

    Lindsey and Marilyn embrace after Lindsey's first jump!

    Lindsey and Marilyn embrace after Lindsey's first jump!

    The acclaim turned celebratory as the chutes became visible and our friends floated back to earth. The day ended with a meal at the drop-zone at sunset and later, a drum circle by campfire, under the starry night sky. Drummer, Steve Turner of Giving Tree Music led the circle and taught everyone about community and joy with his dynamic presence, presentation and motto, “drumming is easy!” We danced, drummed and chanted, delighting in the power and energy that we had created together, and continued to build. What a magical end to a wonderful day!

    Drummer, Steve Turner, of

    Drummer, Steve Turner, of

    This SOAR SPA included many interactive activities, group projects, individual exercises and quiet reflection time. In addition to talk therapies, we participated in art therapies, a Reiki workshop, Improvisation, meditation and the opportunity to address issues and struggles as they presented themselves. Allowing for concerns to be brought to the light as needed afforded us all extra opportunities for growth and healing as we and the facilitators went with the flow, as we need to do in most aspects of our lives. There was also close attention paid to the fact that after creating and flourishing in the safe environment we had created together, we needed to prepare ourselves to go back out into the world, and take the tools and lessons we had acquired with us, while recognizing that such trust and openness would not exist in all other areas of our lives.

    Sunday brought the closing of the SPA retreat and many tearful but hopeful goodbyes. We all had become such a close-knit group over the experiences that made up the SPA, some planned and many more unplanned. Exchanging contact information and promising to keep in touch, the charismatic and brave group headed our separate ways, each of us holding our heads much higher than when we walked in, only 5 days before, and radiating a new and infinitely positive energy and wisdom.

    It was indeed, an honor, a joy and a privelage to be a part of this, my second, SOAR SPA.

    Blue Skies, and Love and Light…