In Bloom: planting the seeds of empowerment
New year, new growth, and new opportunities to speak up about domestic abuse.
Like what you read? Share it with your friends 🙌
Welcome to Bloom’s second newsletter and our first one of the year! This is Beatriz wishing you peaceful thoughts, new ideas, and colorful masks for gray days. You’re getting this email because you subscribed to our newsletter.
In this newsletter, we’ll cover a grounding exercise; some fun suggestions for relaxation, entertainment, and growth through the senses; a deep dive into the news; and updates from Bloom and Chayn.
G R O U N D I N G
Printable coloring pages to ease your mind
Those who have participated in Bloom’s courses will be familiar with our grounding exercises - our tools for calming ourselves and grounding in the present when our emotions or anxieties run high. This time, we’re going to try something different. If you want something relaxing to do in a moment of stress, check out Oana Befort’s free, printable coloring pages as a grounding exercise. Coloring can be a very calming and relaxing experience for both adults and children, and leaves you with a beautiful image to keep afterwards.
S E N S E S
🤣 There are many ways to speak up about mental health and how it can influence our relationships with others; comics and illustrations are one way of doing it. We invite you to check out Violet Clair’s funny, sarcastic Instagram account, where she writes, draws, and talks about “feelings, self-worth, and our periods”. (Also have a look at Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half for some reflective and funny illustrations about mental health).
👂 I have been listening to Colombian-Canadian singer and songwriter Lido Pimienta, and her homage to Colombian folk music and dance in Eso que tu haces no es amor. It is a feast for your senses. If you like it, check out the rest of her album “Miss America”.
🐱 At every Bloom production meeting, we always take a moment to watch Hera’s adorable cats. They actually inspired our Bloom cat-trophy stickers! This is why we encourage you to cuddle your fluffy pets. For those like me who don’t have pets (I’m allergic to them), we can take comfort in talking to our plants and watching them grow. Basically, having contact with nature and living things through touch can be very comforting.
🎤 Today’s poem to say out loud is recommended by our poet in residence, Alyson.
Kim Addonizio - To the Woman Crying Uncontrollably in the Next Stall
If you ever woke in your dress at 4am ever
closed your legs to a man you loved opened
them for one you didn’t moved against
a pillow in the dark stood miserably on a beach
seaweed clinging to your ankles paid
good money for a bad haircut backed away
from a mirror that wanted to kill you bled
into the back seat for lack of a tampon
if you swam across a river under rain sang
using a dildo for a microphone stayed up
to watch the moon eat the sun entire
ripped out the stitches in your heart
because why not if you think nothing &
no one can / listen I love you joy is coming
😋 Struggling with the winter cold? On those gray winter afternoons, sometimes just plain tea won’t cut it. Try this Minty Spicy Lemongrass Milk recipe to comfort your body and spirit. Lemongrass is an immunity booster and an anti-inflammatory - on top of it all, it tastes like heaven.
D E E P D I V E
Speaking up about domestic abuse: changing the conversation and stigma
We have been busy this week on social media talking about FKA Twigs and Evan Rachel Wood, who are both bravely speaking up about their experiences of domestic abuse.
First we heard about FKA Twigs’s lawsuit against Shia LaBeouf. When interviewed, her words inspired some reflections:
That our society is aware that domestic abuse happens regularly but it is not talked about often enough, and when it is, people often ask the survivor why they didn’t leave instead of asking the abuser why they held them hostage. We need to change the narrative of who’s put under the microscope.
That privilege influences the survivor’s experience. She was able to access therapy twice a week, and was thus empowered by information from her therapist on lovebombing, the abuse cycle, and dealing with PTSD. Learning about trauma and abusive tactics in a therapeutic context should be available to every survivor during their recovery.
That people are anesthetized towards violence. She saw how people did nothing when he attacked her in public. Public withdrawal and inaction are staggering and hurtful, so we must remember the power of bystander intervention. But also the power of community - through community, there will always be others willing to fight for us and with us.
Then we saw Evan Rachel Wood’s case against Marilyn Manson. While this was the first time Wood named Manson as her abuser, she has spoken about her experiences for years and has been actively working towards changing domestic abuse legislation. She testified to get the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights passed across the entire U.S.A. as well as the Phoenix Act in California.
Her experience suffering coercive control for years brought to light some thoughts about domestic abuse in show business:
Manson’s attorneys came to his defense, as happens for many men, completely denying her account and accusing her of looking for publicity.
Wood has been joined by four other survivors of Manson’s abuse who all want to hold him accountable for his actions. Now the FBI and the Department of Justice are being called to launch an investigation into these allegations.
You can listen to FKA Twig’s interview on the Grounded podcast on BBC Sounds. She starts talking about the topic around 45 minutes in. And you can read about Evan Rachel Wood’s case here. Congrats to all these amazing survivors and women fighting injustice. ✊
N E W S
Updates from Bloom
Lockdown has been difficult for all of us in many different ways, so we at Bloom are looking for new ways to connect with our lovely community outside of our courses. That is why every Thursday we’ll be hosting Flowerbed, an informal check-in where we chat about different topics like boundaries, relationships, and media and how these relate to our lives. Join this relaxed session to meet people from our team, each other, and to share experiences. And don’t worry: you don’t have to have your camera on, and these meetings will not be recorded.
Our first check-in is all about keeping healthy boundaries! Join our hosts Hera and Lakshmi this Thursday, February 4th at 1PM GMT/8AM EST for our session: ‘Be the gardener of your own boundaries’ 🌱
Flowerbed sessions will take place every Thursday at alternating times. Register for these recurring meetings at the following Zoom links:
1PM GMT 4 & 18 February, and every 2 weeks after that.
7PM GMT 11 & 25 February, and every 2 weeks after that.
Bloom courses on Soul Medicine
Whether you missed our courses last time, or want a little top-up before Bloom 2021 launches, or just prefer to read our material: we’ve got you covered. We are converting our Trauma Resilience, Creating Boundaries, and Managing Anxiety Bloom videos into transcripts and adding them to Soul Medicine as written courses, for those who would prefer to take our courses at a relaxed pace, and for our new friends who want to know more about Bloom. They’ll be uploaded soon, so keep an eye on Soul Medicine for the next couple of weeks to read them once they go online!
Updates from Chayn
We need your help! Are you a survivor of sexual abuse or assault? We would love to hear about your experiences accessing support through our anonymous, 10-minute survey. This will help us improve the support we provide to our community, including through YSM.
From me (Beatriz) and the whole team - thank you to everyone for reading our newsletter and being part of our community. We’re in this together.
In love and light,
Best wishes from Hera, Beatriz, Alyson, and Zoë