As s a practitioner of the healing arts, Carrie Lafferty fervently believes in the practices of Qi Gong and focuses on helping people “become more self-aware so [they] can take charge of [their] own transformation.” She brings that goal to her work at EGH, where she leads weekly sessions for women at the transitional house and Day Center, and appreciates the opportunity to help each person heal and find peace. She believes that everyone deserves dignity, compassion and a safe place to live.
Carrie began volunteering with EGH in the fall of 2016 after hearing about the good work of Elizabeth Gregory Home from a friend. She decided to explore how to match her professional skills with the needs of women who might benefit from learning how to take care of themselves in new and more productive ways.
Carrie’s first meeting was with a small group of women who were interested in learning about Qi Gong. Carrie noticed they were hesitant to get started, and recognized she needed to take time to build trust. To facilitate their comfort, Carrie decided to arrive early at each session to talk to participants about the calming, healing aspects of accessing a more peaceful self. Word of mouth has drawn in new participants as the women discuss the benefits of the practices.
For example, one woman who attended sessions had high blood pressure, ultimately finding herself in the hospital for medical treatment. When she returned from the hospital stay, she said, “Wow! These practices have helped me through my health issues. I continued to do them in the hospital, and the doctor said my blood pressure is down.” Another woman noted that she was feeling less reactive in confrontational situations, thanks to Carrie’s guidance.
Carrie recognizes that change is slow, particularly for a population where many members are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She often talks with women about what it means to be mindful, helping them to acknowledge that the trauma and constant challenges they face as a result of being homeless can magnify their issues.
Carrie’s drive to help others has been embedded in her personality since she was young. She attributes this not to any particular teachings, but instead to having suffered the loss of her mother when she was twelve. Wanting to help other people and put healing energy into the world is what motivates her. Gandhi’s message, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is one she takes to heart and incorporates into all aspects of her life on a daily basis.