My name is Cynda, I am the oldest of four children born and raised in Boston. I’ve had a rough past, but I didn’t let it define me — I used my experiences and all of what was so broken to make a changes for myself, my family, and my community.
I founded S.H.E. (Sisterhood Healing Empowerment) in January of 2017. After two years of participating in FII-Boston, I really wanted to do something for the women in the community. The S.H.E. monthly healing circles are designed and developed to help women find and live in their authentic selves. Each day-long retreat is focused on a theme, such as authenticity, self-love, and letting go, with related exercises. I use guided meditation to help the women tap into their own personal struggles and challenges, and I help realize their own power borne from these experiences.
I also work to incorporate holistic healing practices. In addition to my guided meditations, community volunteers teach practices such as yoga and sound healing. We practice mindfulness and use art in many of our healing exercises. I think this is important because many — almost all who attend — experience these practices for the first time, and they are tools they can take back to their day-to-day lives.
My own experience as a survivor of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault inspired me to establish S.H.E. I had a rough time in my journey of healing. I had a hard time finding a place to grieve, to be acknowledged, and to be heard. I would try anything and go anywhere to find a way to try to stop the pain inside me. I was trying to have an “Ah ha” moment, to feel whole again, and regain the many things that were taken from me. Most importantly, I wanted to find my voice.
I did a healing retreat, and for the first time in my life, I experienced what it was like to truly love myself. In that space, I fell in love with all that I was and all that I am. It was then I realized that I wasn’t broken. At the retreat, I understood that although I may have been hurt physically, and my abuser had tried to break my spirit, he nor anyone else could never break me. I am not this flesh — I am my spirit. All the hurtful things said to me year-after-year in that toxic relationship and throughout my life, they were not my truth.
I felt a transformation within myself — not into what I had always been told I had to be, or what others wanted me to be — but into who I already was deep inside me. I finally felt authentic.
Although I was so grateful to have been given the opportunity in an environment that allowed me to have this profound revelation, I looked around me to the other women in the room and almost instantly my heart drop dropped. I saw all these amazing women, acknowledging their power, finding love within themselves, and owning their truth — and I couldn’t help but realize that not one of those women looked like me. Why weren’t any of my black and brown sisters here? I spent that evening thinking a lot about it: asking myself why weren’t they helping more people that looked like me? Why weren’t they making powerful events like this available to women in my community? Why weren’t they helping them heal when there is so much healing to be done? With all the money they make off of these events, why weren’t they putting a portion of it towards scholarships to help those that can’t afford it? Why? Why? WHY? I couldn’t wrap my head around it and I got so upset I didn’t even want to be there anymore.
I decided to spend the rest of the evening in meditation, and after some time, I came to the realization that “they” was me. I was there to heal and bring healing back into my community. I decided that night that I was going to start something in Boston. Helping all women heal, from whatever they have been through. As women, we have experienced oppression in one form or another, and I want to help ALL women in my community. No matter what life experiences they have had. I want to provide them with a safe place to be vulnerable, be acknowledged, be valued, and supported in a circle of sisterhood.
We all have different stories, and at S.H.E. a main focus is that each person is the author of their own stories — each person decides how our stories go. We don’t have control of everything that happens in life, but we do have control over how we react to it, the story we tell, and what our truth is. I want women to understand their truth — no what they were told to be, what they are expected to be, what people want them to be, or what they’ve been programmed to be. I want every woman to know that only she can truly write her story and she has the power to live as her authentic self.