As a Community Worker, I often see women who are dealing with intense stress and trauma. They are often depressed and vulnerable. I try to remain present and to give each woman my complete attention.
Lately, I have become curious about what brings joy and satisfaction to women during times of adversity. I began to ask.
The responses have been interesting; it’s as if a flame had been ignited. The women may have been disconnected from joy for a while but as soon as they start to recall what brings them peace, joy and happiness, they are more energised, enthusiastic and vibrant.
I was sitting with a woman recently who was very depressed and unmotivated. The woman was in a very difficult situation. We discussed the options that were available to her but her energy was very low and she wasn’t motivated to engage in any activities or able to be proactive in her life.
I became curious and asked if there was anything that made her feel good or even a little bit less stressed. The woman replied that she loved listening to music from her culture. She stated that she listened to music each day as it made her feel calm and peaceful.
I noticed that the woman’s expression changed from despair to serene. It was as if the music had begun playing. I could now understand how powerful music was to this woman. It kind of punctured her despair. The woman appeared less burdened, calmer even, when she spoke with conviction and passion about the healing power of music.
Another time, I was with another woman who told me about her lifelong mental health challenges. The woman also suffered from health problems. She had been seeing a psychiatrist and a counsellor but she stated that her anxiety had increased as she was now on the brim of homelessness. She also had a young child in her care.
I asked the woman if she finds enjoyment in any activity or hobby in her life. The woman lit up and told me how she loves creating beautiful signs e.g. PEACE – LOVE – FAMILY. She makes the signs for family and friends. The woman showed me the beautiful intricate works of art on her phone – they had all been documented. “It’s my therapy” she said. The woman hadn’t been art making for a while as she couldn’t afford the materials.
Finally, I asked another woman if she had a hobby or a passion. This woman also showed me images on her phone. She arranged flowers and made bouquets. The woman became very lively as she talked about her hobby. She was glowing with pride.
I was so amazed to witness the shift of energy in all of these women. Each one became more positive when they talked about what they loved doing. I am reminded of how unique we are in what brings us joy, peace and happiness… and how vital it is for our wellbeing.
I’m glad that I became curious and asked the questions. I encouraged the women to keep doing what feels good to them.
When life is a struggle a shift towards peace and happiness is a shift in the right direction.
It’s like that quote by the late Leonard Cohen.
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in”
Each woman has her own idea of creativity, joy and peace… it is for her to choose!
Written by Alison D