Portland, Oregon's Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine by Compassion Arts PDX, LLC
Sunday morning. August in Portlandia. Light filters through the window, soft and golden.
Hydrate. Stretch. Move. Dance. Run. Down to the river with the dogs to stand atop the old lighthouse platform, singing to the Willamette.
Breakfast. Shower. Tune the sitar.
It’s a lovely day for a Taking Care.
Photography on this page by Day Tooley
I met Steve Frost on the east side of TaborSpace in southeast Portland, Oregon, his car full of gongs and flutes and guitars and such. We’re down a Marcia, I tell him. Our violin player is unwell that morning, so she gets to take care of herself that day. She thought I might be let down, but that’s not our model. Health first! Steve assures me we’ve done this before, with that curious glint in his eye. I get to make music with my friend. How hard could it be?
There was another musician in our volunteer pool. I gave Camille Jackson a crash course on Tibetan singing bowls. She joined Steve and I for the sound therapy session.
Aaron Gustafson, LMT, CAMT II was close behind with audio and video gear. We’re developing media to share with the planet. We planned to snag audio from the sound therapy room, video of the lecture with Dr. Ken Weizer of Providence Medical Center and interviews with our volunteers. Aaron also lead the group in a rooted movement meditation practice.
I was checking our roster of acupuncturists and licensed massage therapists before the day. This was the third event for both our acupuncturists. And, this was the second or third event for ten of our twelve massage therapists, every one of whom I have come to know as friends. All shining examples of the finest tier of integrative oncology practitioners in Portland. We even have a few cancer survivors on our team, who continue to share their joy with our community.
The day was beautiful. Portland in summer brings out the best in our community. Upstairs, Taking Care Portland co-founders, Daniel Miller and MaryJane Hoadley were holding down the fort. MaryJane keeping a watchful eye over the day’s organization. And, Daniel Miller, organizing the food.
Oh, and what food we ate! Much of it was donated by Maryhill Farms. Daniel spent hours the day prior prepping and cooking to feed fifty people. This was my favorite meal served at a Taking Care event. Beautiful food as medicine!
Downstairs, in the sound therapy room, in a sea of massage tables, we played music. Wandering through the space with a Tibetan singing bowl, intertwining through a labyrinth of healing artists practicing their craft, holding space, holding presence. Sometimes I’d find Steve down the hall with a longing shakuhachi or near with a melodic guitar; instruments circling the field, ever-shifting the auditory perspective of every listener. Our acupuncturists reported guests could feel the vibration of sound through the needles.
Dr. Ken Weizer, the first naturopathic doctor at Providence Medical Center’s oncology department. Check out Dr. Weizer’s talk on Surviving Cancer here!
I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to all that allow Taking Care Portland to flourish. The idea started with a handful of massage therapists, a guitar and a couple singing bowls a short while back. Now, cancer survivorship is forging a new way to care for one another in the long-term… In community. Many thanks to our licensed massage therapists, acupuncturists, musicians, general volunteers and leadership team. And, grateful acknowledgement to our friends of WebLively, Missionary Chocolates and TaborSpace. You folks rock!
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