By AMBLE SMOKER
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Cherokee Choices held their first annual Stress and Healing Arts Retreat at the Birdtown Recreation Complex on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21. Forty-seven participants from the Cherokee community were presented with information on what stress is, how to identify it, and healthy ways to manage it. Each participant took part in one of four tracks which included Transcendental Meditation, acupuncture, healing touch, yoga, and the Talking Circle.
“I’m hoping they (participants) will come away with something that inspires them to take that path towards wellness,” said coordinator Robin Callahan. “Anything that can help keeps perspective on life and what’s important to them; to know there’s hope and love out there and to know there’s support within the community.”
“The event is about giving people the opportunity to enhance their skills and managing stress. Increase their understanding of what stress is and how it affects their body. We will also be looking at historical grief and trauma.”
Renowned diabetes specialist Dr. Ann Bullock, with Public Health and Human Health Services division, was the keynote speaker on Friday afternoon. She spoke on stress and how it affects the body. Afterwards, participants were divided into groups where they divided into four groups and began their track.
“We realize and value the holistic approach that stress can actually cause you to get diabetes later in life if you’re dealing with all those stressors on a daily basis,” said Cherokee Choices program manager Sheena Kanott. “The staff put a lot of heart into planning and putting the event into fruition.“
“The goal is to educate all the participants on what stress is; how to recognize and manage it. We want all the participants to leave rejuvenated. Maybe realize something in their lives they didn’t notice before was a stressor and come up with a way to overcome them.”
Kanott continued, “We have done stress management in the past, but this takes it to a deeper level and gives people the opportunity to explore their own stress, grief or trauma on a personal level. There were also therapists that each individual will have the chance to process everything they went through and make a plan to manage their stress. We hope this event doesn’t end today but will continue to be a part of their life.”