It was a time for healing, surrounded by nature and the calming sound of a flowing river, for seven people that attended Sandee Scott's Inner Peace Workshop last Saturday at her home in Coarsegold. The workshop was for those suffering any kind of loss -- from a death to divorce to sexual abuse.
"They were a phenomenal group of people and I feel honored that they chose to share their healing journey with me and each other," Scott said.
Scott decided to hold the workshop a few months ago when she said she began noticing more and more tragedies throughout Madera County. A retired marriage and family therapist, Scott worked in the mental health field for more than 40 years.
"During that time I worked with a lot of hurting people with various tragedies and losses and it's been my observation that everybody has their own way of grieving and there's no right or wrong way, its individual," Scott said. "When you're in pain, sometimes you need some comfort and support and nourishing and you might not be getting all that you need."
However Scott noticed that some people seem to get through their grieving easier than others and some get stuck in their grieving and lose their enjoyment in life. Scott offers the one day retreat to help assure those who have suffered loss that they're on the right track and not alone.
At every workshop, Scott gives everyone the opportunity to share, if they choose to, and also gives them time in nature so they can go outside on their own and reflect. She limits the number of people attending the workshops in order for people to feel comfortable and safe on their healing journey. There were also workbooks for attendees, writing exercises if attendees chose to write and other optional activities.
"I give them alternative activities so they can choose what to do for their own healing process," Scott said. "My observation is a lot of times, if people can't resolve those issues and get beyond it, they end up with other kinds of problems like substance abuse and behavioral problems. We all experience loss and minor tragedies and having some tools for helping through the grieving process is just so important."
Scott offers seven tools, or keys, at her workshops for emotional healing. Those keys area:
- Embrace the intention to heal and develop the confidence and courage to do so.
- Be aware of the beauty and miracle of life.
- Forgive self and forgive others.
- Integrate all experiences and parts of self.
- Feel and express gratitude.
- Experience laughter and a sense of joy.
- Love self, love others and be aware of the inter-connectedness of all beings.
Scott says she hopes people will feel inspired, supported and receive confirmation they they're on the right track at the end of the workshop.
"Hopefully they'll have some guidance if they were feeling stuck and didn't know what to do next," Scott said. "I think they'll feel from the workshop, and from other participants, that they'll be able to take the next step ... with some concrete ideas of things they can do to move beyond the grief."
Susan Larsen, who has attended on of Scott's workshops, said she would definitely recommend it to other people.
"When you lose someone close to you, you're not only grieving the loss of the person but there are other issues that are unresolved," Larsen said. "Sometimes you're not forgiving yourself for things you could have done, should have done, would have done -- so there's a lot of self forgiveness besides the grieving. Meeting people going through similar things was very helpful for me."
Dr. Angelo Pizelo, director of the Positive Living Center in Oakhurst, said he is in contact with people who area dealing with loss quite often -- even loss of a job or a pet -- and attended the workshop as a learning experience.
"The workshop ... was absolutely empowering," Pizelo said. "Her (Scott's) approach, having students directly engage in all aspects of the class, kept everyone involved. I enjoyed the active participation of the students and hearing their experiences and attitudes. The six hours just flew by and it was over before you knew it. Sandee is an awesome teacher whose love of life and caring demeanor for all was a tremendous blessing."