For those of you who didn’t know - I co-hosted a transformational retreat this summer in Jamaica with my co-host Vero Estrada, Life Coach and Self-Love Expert, for 8 incredible women ready to prioritize healing their perfectionism and people pleasing ways while devoting a week to self love practices.
IT WAS AMAZING! AND…something unexpected happened!!
The retreat was just as transformational for me and my business as it was for our guests!
I kinda figured I would “earn my stripes” for co-creating, planning, coordinating and hosting my 1st international retreat - and let me tell you - I DID!……more on that later…
The retreat allowed me to see my life’s path more clearly and I needed to commit to it in a big way. So naturally, how I show up in my business and how I serve my community will shift too. Here's how...
Co-hosting The Alchemy of Self Love Retreat created 4 major shifts for Ouroboros Healing
1. My passion for empowering women was fueled and now burns brighter!
I deeply care about the issues, struggles, and feelings we navigate as a collective and will continue to be the voice for the voiceless. Fun FACT! My name Nicole means “voice” or “victory of the people”.
The retreat really solidified my belief in community support, the power of like-minded women coming together for a collective goal, and once again confirmed how STRONG, RESILIENT, and BADASS women truly are.
If you feel some type of way about the term “resilience”… I get it! Just remember**… the difference between SURVIVAL and RESILIENCY is SUPPORT!!
So if you’re feeling like you’re just surviving, let's talk! I can support you. You don't have to do life alone, figuring it all out yourself!**
As a retreat facilitator, healer, and mentor - I feel incredibly honored to be that support anchor for my clients. Creating containers where they have the safety and permission to be vulnerable - sometimes for the first time or in a new way, is not something I take for granted.
I get to witness the evolution and impact of them KNOWING they have at least one person in their corner - I’m cheering them on, believing in them, and holding them accountable to their word, goals, and future self.
So a massive heartfelt THANK YOU to all my past clients, future clients, and to the incredible women who came on the retreat to transform their lives with us! iIm incredibly grateful for your bravery and trust in me and my process! I LOVE seeing you win!!
2. The need for safe spaces for women of color to heal and speak openly was magnified for me.
Since working with women from diverse backgrounds and recently joining the certification program in Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy, it has made me even more aware of the containers I create for my community, specifically while doing trauma work.
While on the surface we heal perfectionism, anxiety, overwhelm, people pleasing, low self worth etc… all of this is rooted in trauma. For this reason, how I serve my clients will always require a higher level of sensitivity, accountability, and vulnerability.
We dive into the shadow, the ick, the pain - and that’s the point. This is shadow work, and we do it together. As my client, it’s my job is to guide you, the seeker and self-healer, towards envisioning expansive possibilites and a life with more peace, joy, love, ease, confidence.. all the things that make us savor this lifetime.
What I’ve learned while diving into the depths my client's shadows over the last 3 years - a HIGHLY TRAUMATIC three years in humanity, no less - is that culture and race will always be a principle point of reference for us.
It influences how we approach our healing, who we heal with, and why we heal. Unfortunately, race and culture is so often weaponized - we are penalized for it, in some way, shape, or form. We don’t have to scroll more than 30 seconds to see proof of that in today’s world.
I have always been for inclusion.
I’ve worked hard to be intentional about my messaging so my words are felt and seen by all women.
That being said, the fact is:
BIPOC and white-bodied folx will inherently need a different kind of “safe space” to heal and process. Why? Because trauma is so often tied to race, culture, citizenship status, socio-economic class, and accessibility.
“But Nicole, you’re just being divisive and perpetuating an ‘us vs. them’ mentality”.
No, I’m not. Read on…
Healing happens when we are able to reclaim our power and autonomy. A lot of times, that involves reclaiming our VOICE - our ability to speak our truth and advocate for ourselves. During that process, survivors of trauma need support and reinforcement.
The entire road map or goal for regulating or “healing” our nervous system is coming out of “fight or flight” state (sympathetic nervous system) and creating a pathway to safety or “rest and digest” state (parasympathetic nervous system).
That is my work, and I take that very seriously. My job is to create an environment that helps my clients feel safe… safe enough to heal and be authentic.
3. Ouroboros Healing will be prioritizing healing containers for WOC for the immediate future
I’ve finally come to accept that needing a safe space to heal and process based on affinity groups IS OK.
I’ve grappled with this choice because the last thing I wanted to do was be decisive or “other” my non-BIPOC community and friends.
Trust me, I can understand how you feel.
To illustrate why I’ve decided to create containers that serve and speak to WOC, I wanted to share 3 examples of scenarios that have actually happened in previous RECLAIMING cohorts - but share them from my personal experiences to respect the privacy and identity of my clients.
As someone who is a white-passing woman of color, I have still experienced discrimination - mainly micro-aggressions, sexism, and sexualization based on my culture:
How I look: “you don’t look like a Mexican”
How I talk: “wow, you’re so well spoken”,
How I act: “oooh! You’re a SPICY Latina! (Insert 1 or 2 here)"
1 - I’ve never been with a Latina before.
2 - Relax! It was just a joke…
… just to name a few.
In shared healing spaces I have been unable to articulate how I’ve felt - without first considering the feelings of white-bodied folx in the same space.
A few things that happen in this scenario are :
Over-explaining for fear of hurting or offending others causes the sharer to center the feelings of others vs their own… this is especially counterproductive for “people pleasers” trying to break free of the tendency to please, play down, avoid conflict, etc.
Avoid sharing altogether to “avoid any awkwardness.” This is counterproductive to the whole point of healing work and reinforces the tendency to “avoid uncomfortable feelings” and suppress what is really needed to be looked at.
Share honestly and openly, and risk unintentionally contributing to the shame and guilt that white-bodied community members are already struggling with.
From the white bodied person: Any “explanation” on their behalf could inadvertently victim-blame/shame or seem like a justification/excuse - invalidating or bypassing the original share, potentially re-triggering the sharer or prevent them from sharing in the future.
Since my expertise is NOT in race relations, and creating safety for my community is my number one goal, I’ve decided to prioritize healing containers for women of color.
Does that mean I won’t work with non-BIPOC folx? No it does not! If you (still) resonate with me, my content, and my philosophies, I would absolutely love to work with you in a 1:1 setting and possibly a future Reclaiming cohort for white-bodied folx. If you’re interested in that (because generational trauma affects all races and cultures) then please let me know !
4. My commitment to the WOC in this community is now reflected in my branding, mission, and vision for Ouroboros Healing !
In an effort to prioritize the healing of women of color, my messaging has changed and updates can be seen on my NEW website here! (Gasp! 😍 She’s gorge…)
My future partnerships will elevate the voices and experiences of women of color to build awareness of our need for support, challenges, and successes. My goal is to be a thought leader on generational trauma and dismantling the stigma around healing and and it’s fallout. I hope to inspire more change and bridge the wellness gap for marginalized communities.
As a first generation Mexican-American, these issues are near and dear to my heart. They are personal because this is my lived experience too and I have worked very hard to be here and I’m grateful to do this work, because I’m passionate about it and it’s NEEDED.
But, trust me, no one is busting down my door saying, “NICOLE!! All I want to do is prioritize my healing and work on my unresolved trauma!! Take my moneyyyyy!!” Not a single person. I know right, hard to believe…. all that sass to say, I don’t do this for the money, this really is a labor of love, and I get to labor my way.
If you are in contact with community leaders, friends, colleagues, organizations, or family members connected to spaces that could benefit from my work- which focuses on healing the survival patterns born of generational trauma and raising awareness of the ways they manifest in our life and our work, it would mean so much to me if you could share my work with them. Or you can encourage them to join my socials as I work to expand my network with other women of color and allies.
Thanks in advance for reading and sticking through this lengthy read. This has either been empowering or somewhat triggering for you - I’m here for both. I welcome your feedback and and I’m open to a respectful and collaborative dialogue with you!
Take care of yourself and each other.
Don’t forget the basics: Drink water. Eat something good. Rest when you're tired.