Healing Springs

Healing Springs

Consider the healing springs to be a series of pools of different temperatures and mineral content. Some pools contribute to healing a hurt that an individual brings with them to the group. Other pools are big enough for the whole community to submerge in when damage has been done within or to the group. Others have beneficial waters that spill into streams or down waterfalls that spread healing beyond the community when there is hurt in our world.

The healing springs are also the place we go to fortify, grow our resilience, boost our immunity to the ills of the world, and do preventative self and community spiritual care. This is what the activities in this section address: the everyday/every week practices that help us feel resourced enough for the challenges we face.

What is the source of the springs? Connection. Connection to oneself, to the earth, to others, to one’s values and purpose, to the divine. What are the conditions for getting connected? Rest. The sacred pause in its many forms frees up the time and space for reflection, non-production, relief, reckoning, release, integration, softening, and/or strengthening.

At their best, these healing activities can be introduced as reliable tools in someone’s spiritual wellness toolkit. They may open doors and windows to show people what is possible when we prioritize our own spiritual wellness. As a facilitator, it’s important for you to be trauma informed when guiding people into the healing springs, that is: to center the individual’s choice and empowerment in engaging with the activities. To “force healing” on someone would be an oxymoron. Remember, too, your limited role as a facilitator. There are many things that are beyond your scope, and time spent in the healing springs should not be a substitute for therapy, medication or other healing modalities if that is needed.

My Teacup and Saucer

Parameters: can be done individually or as a group, in person or virtually. If sharing out after the reflective activity, create smaller groups depending on the comfort level of participants.

Materials: Nice paper or journals and writing utensils. Outline of a teacup with saucer for people anxious about their drawing skills. This should be something people can keep and refer to often.

This is a self care metaphor. The teacup is our body or capacity. The tea is our energy or input. What's on the saucer is our output, what we have to give others. This metaphor suggests we need a full cup of energy and can give from the overflow!

Invite people to draw a teacup and saucer on a piece of paper and/or provide an outline. Instruct people to draw arrows pointing to the saucer, the fill line, the 3/4 full line, the 1/2 full line and the 1/4 full line.

  • At the full line, write about the activities that “fill my cup.” These could be self maintenance things like hygiene, sleep, nutrition, etc. They can also be solo or group self care things like going to church, journaling, etc.
  • At the 3/4 line, write about the bodily sensations and thoughts that alert me I’m dipping under “full.” Maybe it's wanting to cut corners, getting more easily irritated or distracted, etc. Note that these sensations are much more subtle than they are when you feel depleted.
  • At the1/2 line write about the stop gap measures I can take to not dip below 1/2. These are things you can start or stop doing so you refill your cup.
  • At the 1/4 line, write about the interventions and beings I can rely on to help me if I find myself here. When we're depleted it can be hard to remember how to refill!

Blessing/Prayer to/from Me

Parameters: can be done individually or as a group, in person or virtually. If sharing out, create smaller groups depending on the comfort level of participants.

Materials: Nice paper or journals and writing utensils, or personal devices. Words tagged Youth on WorshipWeb as examples.

Spend a minute or two paying attention to your breath and quieting your body. Then find within you your "wise self." This is the part of you filled with compassion, knowledge and wisdom. From the position of this wise self, think of a time in the past - on a scale of one to ten in intensity, think of something that is less than a 5 - when you felt lost. Maybe you were mad, sad or scared and didn't know what to do. Maybe this was yesterday, last week, last year, or when you were 5. Now, from your wise self, write a blessing or prayer for your younger self. You can free write or use this template:

Spirit of...
For when I feel... 
Grant me...

Variation: Change the language of your prayer/blessing from the singular I/me to the plural us/we as a reminder that we are not alone and to connect with anyone else who has felt this way.

Variation: Project yourself into the future when you are a wise elder or even an ancestor, write your prayer/blessing to your current self.

Snowball Not-Fight

Parameters: in person groups of more than 3.

Materials: scratch paper and writing utensils.

Give everyone a few pieces of scratch paper and something to write with. Have everyone write down something they need to hear right now. Give examples like "I'm so proud you did your best" or "you have what it takes to make it through this hard time." Tell them not to write things about physical appearance. Have everyone crumple up their pieces of paper and throw them around the room at each other to open them up and read them aloud.

Pleasure Feast / Feast of the Senses

Parameters: Can be done individually or in a group in person.

Materials: a way to collect and distribute a list of everyone's dietary preferences and allergies.

Invite everyone to bring in a handful of things that delight their senses - their favorite foods and drinks, lotions or oils, scents, a favorite blanket, great songs or films, bubbles, etc. Give those who want to the chance for a show and tell. Then, share and INDULGE! Remind folks, "don't yuck someone's yum. If you're not into it that's ok, just let others enjoy." This activity reminds people that pleasure is their birthright and that they don't have to earn it.

Community Care List

Parameters: good for 2 plus people.

Materials: a place to keep the list you generate where you'll remember it!

Invite everyone to say/write up to 5 things that would make them feel cared for if they received from their friends. Examples could include chocolate, a handwritten card, a personalized playlist, etc. Keep this list handy. When a member of the group has something to celebrate, is sick or is going through a hard time, the group can use this list to send them a care package they can be sure the person will appreciate.

Medicinal Laughter

Parameters: can be done individually or in a group in person or online.

Materials: the internet

Search for laughter yoga tutorials, watch fail videos, tell silly dad jokes, ask for stories of the last time you couldn't stop laughing. Laughter, even fake laughter, increases the oxygen you get, gets your heart, lungs and muscles going, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Laughter can ease physical and emotional pain and make it easier to cope with difficult situations.

Healing Tears of Lamentation

Parameters: can be done individually or in a group in person or online.

Materials: a large bowl, water, salt, dissolving paper, writing utensils, tissues, music is optional, chaplain or other religious professional.

A lamentation is an expression of sorrow, mourning, or regret. Fill the bowl with warm water and add salt. Invite people to write something for which they have sorrow or are mourning the loss of or something they regret on a piece of dissolving paper. Invite them to place their sorrow/regret in the healing water that represents our tears and the ocean. They can say aloud what they are adding to the waters if they wish. Invite people to place a hand over their hearts, give themselves a hug or ask for a hand on their shoulder/back or a hug. Welcome any tears and pass out tissues. Remind people the grief or sadness won't last forever, it ebbs and flows. Have a chaplain or other religious professionals nearby for those who need more care.