Oh, this beautiful human makes my heart so happy!! Years ago (8? 9? could it actually be 10??) I casually gathered a group of women in my home to create together 2x a month. I'd had a baby not too long before and was desperate for both a creative outlet and community. I put the word out and a few people said "yes" - including a few folks who were new to me. Alyssa was the friend-of-a-friend who I'd met a few times, but didn't know well. This serendipitous connection became a chance to get to know her. That time was a season of tremendous growth and healing, and I love that Alyssa was a part of that time with me. It was the earliest rumblings of what would eventually become Seeds of Connection, but of course I had no idea of that at the time. If you take a minute to read these answers and get to know her a little, I'm sure you'll agree that she is a very RAD person. I'm so thankful she said "yes" again to this guest interview!
What do Alyssa's answers spark for you? Leave a comment and let us know!
What does it mean to you to move toward healing? What types of things support your healing journey?
I got a head injury in 2010 and another in 2016. I’ve spent the last 12 years working towards healing. In the beginning of both injuries I spent so much time at the hospital working to make my brain and body get back to as normal. I’m fairly certain though that the best healing happened when I stopped pushing to be normal and just worked to find the best parts of life again. When I settled into where I was and stopped trying to be perfect, I learned how to be content and I was able to let my soul heal. I’d say my faith, my tribe, and my team were the best supports along the way. In the beginning, I was so mad at God for everything I’d been through. As time went on I found that my faith changed and deepened and became a framework for how I see the world now. My tribe, are the people that came around me when I couldn’t be there for myself. These people were my family and friends and my supports and ultimately my lifeline. My team are the professionals who taught me how to stand and to walk and to thrive again. The doctors, and nurses, and specialists who used their expertise to move me forward.
What are some of your favorite ways to fill your cup, recharge your batteries, or take care of yourself?
I love paddleboarding, x-country skiing, and playing pickleball. Moving my body just makes me smile and really charges my batteries. Being in community with friends, learning from them and celebrating life with them and sometimes crying with them too fills my cup. Taking time to pray and meditate, doing yoga in the back yard or just sitting on the back porch overlooking the garden seem to be the things that bring me back to my best self.
Do/have you worked with a coach or therapist? What makes this work meaningful to you?
I see a therapist and I am a therapist and I’m so thankful for therapy in my life. It’s a breath of air to sit with someone who I can be 100% authentic with and not have to risk judgement for what I have to say (and I say crazy things sometimes). I always leave his office knowing I’m ok and the world is too. I learn so much about myself and I learn how to be a better human from my therapist.
What are your thoughts about consent? How does consent show up in your work?
Everything I do as a therapist is based in consent. So many of my clients have been unable to give consent or consent was taken away from them. I get the honor of helping them find their voice and have a place to practice giving consent (or not giving consent and having that be respected). I also do animal assisted play therapy and my favorite part of the therapeutic process is in watching the consent process between the animal and the client. Animal, client and therapist can choose when/if/how to consent and that choice is always valued and honored. For instance, if Lucy (the dog) starts licking her lips and yawning (a dog stress signal) or walks away, we instantly stop the activity and move a different direction. If the client says they are done or want the dog out of the room. We instantly stop the activity and leave the dog room. And if I see unsafe behavior or just feel like something is off in the room. We end the activity and change directions. Yes means yes and no means no and both are equally valued in my line of work.
Do you have any spiritual practices that are meaningful to you?
I define spiritual as what makes your soul come alive. While religion is a spiritual practice for me, it has to be a religion that brings life to my soul and to the souls of the people around me. I also think paddle boarding is spiritual, and art is spiritual, and writing is spiritual. Sitting in the garden between the basil plant and the cherry tomato plant with some cheese and balsamic vinegar for garden tapas is spiritual. Having a deep conversation over a cup of coffee is spiritual, and talking with my clients is spiritual too. Watching the sunset, and petting an alpaca, catching snowflakes on my tongue and hiking with my family are all spiritual practices that make my soul come alive again.
Alyssa Bowman is a marriage & family therapist in Greeley, CO. A little about her care philosophy: My goal in counseling is to create a safe, collaborative and supportive environment for individuals, couples and families to explore strengths and challenges and to discover pathways toward positive change. I strive to meet clients where they are and help them move in directions they hope to go. I believe play is the primary language of the child and therapy with children should be done in the context of therapeutic play.
You can learn more about Alyssa here.