It is a gift to have work that stretches my capacity for connection in this world. I love what I do. Sharing space with folks in moments of vulnerability and strength, and bearing witness to clients' boldness of character, is a special privilege that I hold with gratitude and joy.
If you're interested, here is some of my background, including how I entered and became passionate about the deathcare and bodywork fields:
A sensitive child, I easily felt lonely and isolated growing up, especially in my daily struggles with mental illness. Though my community was not overtly spiritual or religious, I leaned into my own spiritual life as a way of accessing my inner strength and intuition. Experiencing flickering moments of the divine in the world around me, I realized that I needed to foster a lifestyle in which my soul was nourished and I could exercise my intuition and connect deeply with others. I yearned to find a lifestyle in which I could be open about this, and I dreamt of doing work in which I could use my full self for good, rather than being expected to siphon off my intellect or my spirit or my body.
I searched for paths that included bringing my whole self to my work. I gratefully first found this as a teenager, when I had my first caregiving job, at a L'Arche community. I picked up and moved to Mobile, Alabama, where I lived in community with folks with and without intellectual disabilities, and we all provided care for each other. It was my introduction to providing personal care, and to living intentionally in community. There I had space to embody my human vulnerability and feel held and exercise my potential in holding others.
Since then, I've lived and worked in various justice-oriented and care-oriented communities. My caregiving jobs varied, as personal assistants for adults and children with intellectual and physical disabilities in different settings. I worked with homeless folks and lived in a Catholic Worker community. I went to college at Smith College and Gallaudet University, and I chose to major in Philosophy and Afro-American Studies, with a special foci on Disability Studies and Deaf Studies. It remains important to me to educate myself about the specific context in which justice and injustice can be pursued and perpetuated in these care positions. All of these lenses of understanding the world and its human beings have deeply informed my work as a doula to the dying, home funeral guide, and a bodyworker. I am grateful to my teachers, academic, spiritual, and otherwise, who nourished my understanding of how justice and care-providing work are inherently intersected. Now, I value the work I do as a unique form of activist work.
Since 2012, I've been involved as a nurse's aide with Joseph's House, providing direct care at this small healing community of homeless and unstably housed folks, some of whom are hospice patients and dying, and some of whom are very sick, but surviving and getting better and getting back on their feet. At Joseph's House, we proudly pay special attention to racial and class justice, HIV justice, and mindful and compassionate care. I lived in the house in my last year and a half as a full-time staff member there, and I cherish this time in my heart.
Joseph's House supported me in attending and graduating from the Metta Institute, a Buddhist-based training program for end-of-life practitioners. This was an amazing opportunity--I was the only nurse's aide in my cohort, surrounded by nurses and doctors and social workers. In this life-changing year and a half program, I deepened my capacities of self-awareness, mindfulness, and compassionate care. I gained confidence in my inner and outer skills. My devotion to justice and care work has been solidified in my connection with Metta and JHouse. I continue to be intimately involved in both communities; and I consider Joseph's House to be my family here in DC.
In 2016, I decided to attend massage therapy school at Potomac Massage Training Institute and graduated in summer 2017. My passion about body-mind-spirit work continues to grow as my awareness and skills become more sophisticated. One of my dreams is to continue my education to become a somatic psychotherapist.
Also in 2016, I decided to start my own business focusing on deathcare and justice and bodywork. And here we are!
Along with running Holding Space Together, I also currently work at another small massage practice with clients with developmental disabilities, as a caregiver at Joseph's House, and teach.
In my free time, you can find me laying in the grass in conversation with friends; attempting various DIY projects; writing; enjoying queer community; cuddling with my beloved senior pup, Malakai; and slowly scouring thrift and antique stores.
I cherish the opportunity to hold space together.