disentanglement of patient fingers by Julia Freeman
Yet when, as by the gentle disentanglement of patient fingers, the ligaments of the corporeal life are unwound from about the soul, the latter, undestroyed, may still remain through its allotted day of endurance. From The Hasheesh Eater by Fitz Hugh Ludlow
As “women’s work” has historically been to serve others, the career choice of serving others often goes unrecognized because it is assumed to be innate within women. This video series is of women’s hands that have specifically chosen to intellectually, spiritually and emotionally help and serve others as their career choice. These eight different women have chosen careers that often times sacrifice their emotional well-being, relationships and life patterns. The videos were made during 20 minutes long individual sessions. The women were asked to create rituals and repetitive motions with materials to induce relaxation and trance. We are privileged to watch these women reveal self-care through their hands. Thank you to the women that participated in this project and thank you for your art form of service.
Woman #1 works with women during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period. She guides them through the transformative year of bringing life into the world with as much wellness as possible. She has worked as a midwife for 2 years at a community health clinic and also attends births at a small community hospital. She is a midwife because she believes that women hold the key to positive change in their families and communities.
Woman #2 prepares and serves breakfast and lunch for members of the senior center at Pike Place Market. They provide delicious and nutritious meals from supplemented and donated ingredients. She works there because she enjoys being a part of this necessary service and also interacting with the interesting people who are the heart of downtown Seattle.
Woman #3 investigates systems that seek to serve yet leave some out. While working in social service and education institutes for 10 years, she is constantly finding holes and cracks, exposing them and filling them in with values of equity and access. She educates and questions others beliefs and stories and believes that her freedom is wrapped up in the freedom of others.
Woman #4 is an accountant for a company that owns cell phones in countries that are still establishing good wireless networks. She has worked at this company for three years. She works with people in other countries to establish cell phone communication. She takes care of her plants, plays the piano and explores Washington.
Woman #5 has been a birth doula for 7 years. She believes that often times in our culture, the human-woman is forgotten in the process of birth. As a doula her position is both political and spiritual, but she also considers her work a service to humankind. She holds the hand of the family through their experience, as a witness, as an advocate and as emotional support. She loves women and loves to care for those in need.
Woman #6 is an attorney. She represents the state when children are abused or neglected and it's egregious enough to warrant intervention. She does this work because she wants to help people. She believes in standing up for those who are less able to do so for themselves. To take care of herself she exercises, practices yoga, or sings really loudly when alone.
Woman #7 is a mental health therapist. She listens to people tell her their thoughts and feelings and tries to facilitate their emotional expression. In doing so, she tries to help people raise their self-awareness. She does this work because she believes in emotional expression and psychological well-being. She values emotions and believes that therapy can encourage others to value their emotions as well. She serves others by listening to them as best she can.
Woman #8 is the only social worker at a small senior center. She provides counseling & consultation, info & resources to older adults & the family members who care for them. She tries to be a friendly ambassador to the courageous process of aging, caregiving and grief. She wants to be a part of changing our culture from one that fears age & death to one that values life's journey and the virtue of experience - not only for the love & respect it offers seniors but also for the sense of wholeness it offers us all.
Woman #9 has been working as a program director at a small foundation that engages women in collective philanthropy and makes grants to local non-profits. She loves working with women and seeing the power of intelligent, caring, curious, women working together to make an impact on community. She goes on long walks and save one day on the weekend for herself.