Anxiety has come to our communities in a big way recently, with the onset of community spread of COVID-19. We are no longer just responding to our personal anxious thoughts, emotions, or somatic experiences; we are also reckoning with themes of uncertainty and overwhelm in parallel processes — our own experience and those of the collective. As individuals, I want to honor that this work for ourselves is often hard enough. We live in human bodies with access to finite amounts of energy, motivation, and labor of all kinds — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual limits.
How do we carry this weight? How on earth can one person hold the suffering of the collective?
The short answer is: We can’t. There is no way any one person can be the catalyst for the global and systemic healing that has been brought to light by this pandemic. I’m thrilled to tell you that this doesn’t mean collective healing can’t happen. Community organizer, writer, and academic Nakita Valerio provides us an alternative when self-care is not enough: community care. Valerio defines community care as “People committed to leveraging their privilege to be there for one another in various ways. … It can include two, three, or possibly hundreds of people. You can practice community care in your personal offline life or even in digital spaces.” In community, we have the capacity to carry more than the sum of our parts. We can have a dynamic relationship with our practice of care — gathering as a collective to witness each other’s experience, giving when we have extra, sharing our own exquisite wisdom, and receiving care when we don’t have enough space to carry our suffering.
At OIC, we are answering the call for collective support in our community by providing sustainable support circles online to hold space together for all the thoughts, feelings, or experiences that may be growing too heavy to carry. OIC’s Anxiety Support Circles will be in HIPAA-compliant Zoom rooms with up to 15 other individuals seeking care and community in processing the anxiety that comes along with our uncertain world. These support circles are “pay what you can” via Go Fund Me. Suggested donation is $5-$15 per session — this is influenced by our commitment to accessible care.
Our weekly Support Circles will be held Wednesdays (starting April 1) from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Thursdays (starting April 9) from 5:30-7 p.m. If you are interested in connecting with OIC’s Anxiety Support Circles and exploring a practice in community care, please contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org.