Mending the Heart

A Guide to Building Emotional Resilience in Community

We know that the last three years have been difficult for many of us in the world. In our society many were already struggling with feeling lonely, anxious or stressed, and the pandemic has made things worse. 

For those of us in social change, the stress is heightened because we already deal with people’s pain in our work – whether it’s through fighting an eviction or a deportation, helping work through a political campaign or people’s traumas, or being a first responder to a crisis. This was true even before the pandemic. 

When we feel stressed, we use whatever tools are available to deal and cope. But sometimes, many of us realize that we need more personal tools if we’re going to deal with so much pain, and that we also need tools in our groups or organizations.

Sometimes in that journey we need a refresher, and other times we need a whole new set of tools and practices so we can be more resilient in the face of isolation, stress, anxiety, trauma, etc.

At Ayni, for some years now and alongside many others, we have been thinking about creating more tools for people to do just that. This is what our Mending the Heart Cohort is for. It is tailored for people who are doing social change work, whether you’re just starting or have many years of experience, so you can get a framework (an understanding or perspective) on emotional resiliency that is based on psychotherapy, neuroscience, Indigenous wisdom, and community work. That can honor all of these perspectives and addresses both individual and group resiliency. Where we can also learn simple, key practices that you can do regularly to build resiliency for yourself and for a group.

Our Mending the Heart cohort is a free, two month group experience where we will:

  1. Learn frameworks that will help us understand our anxiety, stress, loneliness, and group tensions better. 
  2. Be together – sharing stories, doing rituals, and trying on practices to mend our hearts. We want this experience to give you some love and healing, where you will be tenderly supported and challenged to grow.
  3. Reflect and do some self-inventory to face some of what you are struggling with, get support from others, and find ways to intentionally build emotional resiliency for yourself.
  4. Come up with small things we can do to create better results for the group work we already do.
Sign up here!

Who is the Mending the Heart Cohort for?

  • If you want to feel more connected, you need support in letting go, you want to strengthen your heart muscles, or you want to address some things that came up during the pandemic through a group process, please come! We hope this can be a balm of love to your heart where you’ll be able to connect with others doing social change work.
  • If you want to learn some new tools or rethink how you think about individual and group resiliency, join us to hear our frameworks and try some things out.
  • If you want to think about resiliency and how it affects your group or organization and some of the small things you can do to increase group resiliency, this is also for you!

This program operates according to the Gift Economy, which means the Ayni Institute will subsidize the cost of trainers, preparation, coordination, logistics, training location and food for all days of the training. We are seeking to make this experience as financially accessible as possible. Because of this, there will be no entry cost or charge for any accepted applicants. At the end of training, if you have benefited from the experience, you are welcome to donate and gift the experience to the next Mending the Heart Cohort, according to your volition and your means.

In-person in Revere, MA (our Ayni School is located just 10 minutes away from Boston’s Logan Airport) and then weekly online virtually.

Number of participants: We’re going to have a maximum of 27 participants. We’ll be accepting people through our application on an ongoing basis until August 31st. We encourage you to apply early. If you previously attended, you can find the alumni application here.

Orientation Dates: We will begin our in-person Orientation in Revere on October 12th at 5pm and end on October 15th at 12pm. After the orientation, we will have 4 weekly sessions virtually.

We ask participants to arrange and cover their own lodging and travel cost. For lodging, there are a few options:

  1. There is a hotel located just a few minutes away from the training school, The Comfort Inn, which you can book if you want to be as close to the training site as possible.
  2. You can arrange shared accommodations (Airbnb, etc.) with other participants. Please let us know if you are interested in this option in your application.
  3. We may be able to arrange humble accommodations with one of our Ayni community members.

If you need lodging support for the in-person Orientation October 12-15, we may be able to host you with one of our community members. Please let us know you need it in our application here.

COVID Precaution (In person participants):
For our in person training, our Ayni Team will be testing consistently. We ask that before attending the first session you test negative, this ensures we don’t accidentally put others at risk of COVID-19 (especially those that are immunocompromised in our training team and within our participant cohort).

We encourage you to wear a mask, especially if we are indoors, but they are not required in order to participate. Please do what you feel most comfortable doing.

If COVID symptoms arise, please contact us immediately and refrain from coming in person. Even if symptoms do not arise and you feel you have been exposed, please get a PCR test (it can be done at your local CVS) to ensure you are negative before coming back to being in-person.