from Rosemary Clark, LPC, LMFT
When we moved into our new office last May we knew we were creating a very special place. We had so many exciting things on the horizon - new groups, workshops, services, and ideas spilling out of our minds. The eagerness and desire to approach mental health under a new light was palpable for all of us who call Whole Health home.
As the time came to dedicate our space with a ceremony we began to think about how to best commemorate what we believe is so special about our approach. I personally spent a great deal of time in reflection about why this growth felt so necessary, so critically important. The question that kept ringing in my mind was “how could we honor our core beliefs with something permanent that would stick around to tell the story again and again”.
Grand openings typically have a ribbon cutting of some sort. Everyone gathers around and the owner of the business cuts a ribbon to say “we did it, we are here”. That approach rang shallow for me as this business has become so much more than just what I envisioned for myself. I may be the name on the lease, but Whole Health has truly become a place where many of us share a belief in the promise of a better way of talking about mental health and an improved way of embodying wellness.
Moving into our new space gave me opportunity to intersect with lots of folks who don’t typically walk through the doors of a business like this. My primary role at Whole Health is to serve as a counselor. As I tried to explain what a counselor does, I realized I am not sure that is an accurate term. “Counselor” seems more appropriate for an attorney who gives counsel and advice. That isn’t what I do. What I do is quite different. I am really more of a historian of someone’s life.
You see, I daily bear witness to someone’s pain, their most shameful moments and beliefs, their trauma, their sadness, fear, and loss. I also bear witness to their beautiful imperfections. I watch them heal and grow. I am privileged to stand alongside someone’s triumphs, love, acceptance, forgiveness and empowerment. I hold their stories in my heart and am impacted by each one of them. I find it to be my greatest honor to know the truth of another person’s soul - their beautiful humanity.
As I sat with the truth of what I do and believe about the normalcy of "mental health”, we all have to manage this, I realized it wasn’t just one ribbon that needed to be cut, but many ribbons.
And so we did. The instructions given were to visit a table filled with cloth and ribbons and to select the one you desired. Then, with intention, give that piece of fabric meaning. Infuse it with the meaning of something you want to leave behind. If there was a pain you did not want to carry, leave it in the ribbon. If there was a shame too heavy to bear, leave it in the ribbon. If there was a gift for another on this journey of life, leave it in the ribbon. Then we wove those ribbons together to signify we need each other and we are all in this together. We heal in relationship with others and Whole Health offers a place of community to do just that.
The art we created, the testament of our humanity, resides in our hallway. It isn’t finished, just as each of our stories is not finished. We will hold this wall of pain and hope and love as a testament to what we offer in each session we conduct, whether it is a counseling session, massage, somatic therapy, meditation lesson, group, or whatever else may be on the horizon. Each provider offers a different approach for this, however, we are all headed in the same direction.
We also still have ribbon. You are invited to stop by and weave a piece of your pain and triumph with ours. We would be honored to hold a piece of your story in our hall.