Healing circle offers soldiers, families tools to copeA casual chat between newly introduced residents Nellie Moore, a retreat and healing facilitator with WyseWomen, LLC, and the owner of Earth Angel’s Coffee Shop Rachelle Fitzgerald, led to a new gathering for soldiers and their families.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
A casual chat between newly introduced residents Nellie Moore, a retreat and healing facilitator with WyseWomen, LLC, and the owner of Earth Angel’s Coffee Shop Rachelle Fitzgerald, led to a new gathering for soldiers and their families.
Moore facilitates the first A Soldier’s Heart 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Earth Angel’s, 321 N. Second St., in the lower level.
The group will continue meeting the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, same time and place.
Moore makes clear that the group welcomes all kinds of veterans and/or their family members -- men and women of any age, military branch, rank or status of service. The idea is to bring community together to share share -- the principal of the gathering -- and to learn things that help people cope and heal.
“We’re learning from each other,” she explained.
Moore’s motivation comes from personal experience with her dad, a Korean War veteran, and from working for many years in a Veterans Administration hospital. She remembers the many, many military and other organizations that helped her family as she was growing up.
Not only does she have a passion for helping military families and the credentials for healing, but also it seems to be the “right” time.
Her youngest daughter just graduated from River Falls High School, and Moore just completed her Shamana apprenticeship. She said she feels privileged to facilitate the gatherings.
She acknowledges post-traumatic stress disorder as having a huge impact on soldiers’ well-being, as well as on their families. She recalls that in her dad’s day, they called the disorder “shell shock.”
She said the often-unseen wound of PTSD goes deep and has a huge stigma. Some vets fear that seeking help for it may make them appear weak or even jeopardize their military career path.
Moore said of the problem, “It needs to be addressed fully.”
Moore said she’ll use the widely known circle process during the 90-minute gatherings. She also plans to introduce attendees to the healing concepts of HeartMath® and the Wellness Inventory®.
The facilitator is a non-denominational minister; licensed HeartMath® provider; licensed, certified Wellness Inventory® coach; and a certified nursing assistant; as well as being trained and having worked in therapeutic massage, therapeutic touch, Reiki, DISR, hypnosis and meditation. Moore also apprenticed to a Curendero, Shamans, and Shamana (medicine people in native traditions).
“I’ve been involved in circles for many years now,” said Moore, adding this is the first veteran’s circle she’s done in River Falls.
She explains that the process involves physically arranging participant chairs into a circle shape then establishing a centerpiece, which indicates that all present are equal. She said it’s important to establish a safe, comfortable and private space.
Moore describes her own role as “holding the rim” of the circle and said for example, she’d pose a question or conversation topic to the group then pass a talking piece to anyone who wanted to speak about it. Everyone else listens.
“If they want to speak they can,” she said. “If they don’t want to, they don’t have to.”
She says the circle is absolutely confidential and that it isn’t unusual to have laughter one minute and tears the next. Moore encourages attendees to bring photos or other special memorabilia from that era of their life.
Moore also uses the Wellness Inventory® to work with and help people. She is beginning to see signs of the military using it, too, remembering it featured in a “Military Medicine” article and knowing that the co-creator of its online program, Jim Strohecker, is working with the military.
Strohecker confirms that he’s been approached by the military about two different studies involving the inventory and that he’s had direct discussions with the Pentagon, too.
He says the military recognizes a general need for better resiliency and management tools. He said he was amazed by a military-oriented conference he attended this year, where he heard many acknowledge the need for a more “whole-person” approach. Strohecker said people can take the Wellness Inventory® online at www.wellpeople.com.
HeartMath® is another technique Moore will share with those who come to A Soldier’s Heart. Moore said promising research and data are emerging to indicate that it has the potential to help people cope with stress and fear.
HeartMath®, around since the early 1990s, basically teaches people how to detach, freeze frame and step back, then focus on their heart and call on a time in their life when they had support, love, joy, nurturing -- then they respond to the situation.
Moore said testing applications include schools, police departments and large corporations.
She began learning about HeartMath® in 1998.
“It was so helpful to me I said, ‘Someday I’m going to train in this,’” so she became licensed in 2001.
She uses all these tools, but Moore emphasizes that she thinks first about how best to help the person in front of her.
Permission to speak
She wants people to know it’s OK to ask questions and seek help.
She said, “If someone is in a space of judgment, that’s about them, not you.”
Moore also predicts that people attending A Soldier’s Heart will find resources, comfort and healing in each other.
She just knows there is demand among military families for help to come in some form and for suicide to not be an answer.
“It’s not any one person who will do this,” Moore predicts. “We’ll do it as a community.”
To learn more about A Soldier’s Heart, go to: