The Norming of the Collective

Last year, EMEAC (East Michigan Environmental Action Council) was given the opportunity of creating a Commons at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in the heart of Detroit’s Cultural District. One of the innovative ideas that came from the announcement of this collaboration is the Whole Note Healing Collective.

Along with the opportunity to build a healing community that serves activists and the under served with holistic health services, comes the challenge of learning to work together, locating a space with in the Cass Corridor Commons and establishing our core values and mission statement.

The group is going through the natural formation process; storming, norming and forming. Now it seems we are at the norming stage as we learn to share responsibility of conducting meetings and build on each others ideas. We formed sub-committees to work on; crafting a vision and mission statement, researching other justice-based healing centers, and securing a space to hold classes and offer services.

All of these endeavors require some digging to get to the jewels buried just under our feet. We may not have gotten to the biggest jewels; yet, I think we have found some nuggets with which to build. The Vision statement has gone through several iterations and now reads:

The Whole Note Healing Collective is a cooperative community space. We recognize that we need each other and are working towards a just world where medical institutions do not violate our dignity and choice where oppression is acknowledged and trauma is emphasized as central to our personal and communal healing processes, and where we find the space for healing in ourselves, our communities and in the natural environment.

This is a effective working statement. The Collective is still processing this wording and will continue to massage it to clearly reflect the scope of the needs of our community and the Collective’s responses to them.

Already, the healing center research sub-committee has shared valuable information on other healing centers around the US. Once we have reviewed the research, We will use the models of other healing centers. This is a daunting task and will take at least 3 additional months to compile and analyze the data. The Collective agreed to take a road trip to Chicago to visit a healing center. This will give us all a chance to see the work ideal in practice and will inspire the creation of Whole Note.

There are 3 large buildings in the church complex; still, finding a space that is appropriate for EMEAC and all the Commons partners is a challenge! The Whole Note Collective needs a space large enough for movement classes and treatment rooms that is accessible to those with limited mobility. A space has been designated for us; however, it requires renovation. Because the space in is a turn of the century mansion,we will need to reconstruct the entrance to allow easy access from the street. Many of the suitable spaces have been spoken for or have access issues. We also face the challenge of bringing our visions for the space to fruition with limited revenue.

I hope to lead an initiative of tending to the energetic and physic affirmation of abundance of the Commons. Personally, abundance is a key issue and it is often an issue of non-profits and activists. It would be radical to serve the community and ourselves in a state of constant abundance.

We, the founding members of the Collective have made great progress and we are poised to serve ourselves, our community, our city, and our world in a soaring way!

Detroit, Michigan
January 2012