“I first learned about NUSHU because of my daughter. She’s in Vanessa’s standing NUSHU Group and when I’d visit her, she would take time to go to NUSHU Group. Since I was curious about her interests, I signed up for the NUSHU mailing list. During the height of the pandemic, I got an email from NUSHU about the NUSHU Group Facilitator Training that read, ‘Even if you’re not a healer, this might be for you.’
I’m in rural Maine where nothing is geographically convenient, so the fact that the training was remote sounded really appealing. I corresponded with Vanessa and she was just so welcoming and encouraging that I signed up without ever participating or having done a NUSHU Group.
Between my retirement and joining NUSHU, I served on several non-profit boards. I was the Executive Director of a land trust, I led a capital campaign to raise money for a new building for our local library, and as my grandchildren came along, I tended to them and my children. I’d also done a bit of restorative justice work, but once I got to NUSHU and sat in NUSHU Group, I had an aha moment where I realized, ‘I’m finally here.’
In thinking about my first encounters with NUSHU and NUSHU Group Facilitator Training, I would describe the experience as fruitful. Given my varied experiences, I’d never done anything this in-depth, this heart-based, or this psychological. It was a huge and welcome departure that gave me the permission to spend time reflecting, which was extremely valuable and important to me. It was such a profound experience to connect with women from all sorts of backgrounds and interests, and to be part of a community where non-judgment, compassion, and love were the planks.
I always go back to my first day of training where the exercise was being one-on-one with someone and having to speak for three minutes. We were given an exercise to introduce ourselves and receive that introduction with a neutral face and without the usual encouragement we, as society, have grown used to. In that training, I realized just how much I depended on people’s reactions to what I say. I’d already begun to do work on my own of discovering, using, relying on, and honoring my own voice, but that training helped support my work even further.
Coming out of the training, I have since founded three NUSHU Groups that include a circle of nonprofit leaders, college to current friends, and women who are in the ‘third third of life,’ a term coined by Anne Lamott. The training and these experiences have changed the relationships with the people in my life for the better. I’m able to speak up and express myself. I’m able to pause and give myself time to process what I’m receiving, as well as to ask questions and to not jump to assumptions. I am so fulfilled and am more content with life.
The advice I would give to anyone who’s thinking of joining and participating in NUSHU Group or completing NUSHU Group Facilitator Training is to trust your gut. This experience is hard to describe, but it is worth it. It’s worth your time and effort. I trust that all of the time I’ve spent reflecting and responding to prompts in training and in my NUSHU Groups have ripple effects far beyond me.”