Inner Fire, Inc. is a proactive healing community, offering striving individuals the choice to recover from debilitating and traumatic life experiences, (which often lead to addiction and mental health challenges), without the use of psychotropic medications. We opened our doors in Brookline, near Brattleboro in southern Vermont, on September 8th, 2015, welcoming six seekers to its yearlong intentional, therapeutic and farm based, day program. Once the Inner Fire Home has been built, our intention is to become a therapeutic residential community. Seven months later, all but one of the seekers who arrived on psychotropic medications have tapered safely off, having balanced the sometimes incredibly difficult withdrawal process with the empowering, proactive therapies and the practical work. A seeker, proven innocent after twenty-six years in prison, has withdrawn from a crack cocaine habit he developed while homeless during the first years after incarceration. Another seeker will soon be off a very powerful benzodiazepine. “Hell warmed up” is the expression used describing the withdrawal process from this benzodiazepine; however, it has been everyone’s experience that by staying engaged in the program, surrounded by encouraging and loving people who believe in them as a creator and not a victim, that the withdrawal symptoms have not been as debilitating as expected.
I do not want to give the impression that life is a breeze here at Inner Fire, for indeed while coming off these incredibly addictive and for many, trauma inducing medications, one meets many emotions which have laid dormant: anger is a major one. Indeed, who would not be angry having ‘lost’ half a life time in a chemically induced fog, devoid of feeling with the inability to take up the challenges which come with simply being a human being. For some reason, we are meant to believe life should always be balanced and harmonious, that there should be no need to cry, and now a-days, if you cry do for longer than a prescribed amount of time, well, there is a medication for you! At Inner Fire, we believe that crying and laughing, and we mean belly laughing, are simply ways the soul can breathe out, which is part of the emotional digesting and healing process.
At Inner Fire, we are very fortunate to have a highly respected psychiatrist who guides the tapering process of medications and meets monthly with the seekers. Each seeker has the opportunity to meet with a homeopath, naturopath or anthroposophical doctor shortly after arriving and thus receive support on a deeper constitutional level. Our experienced and committed therapists and guides, some of whom have left jobs with benefits to pioneer because they believe in choice and recognize how essential the visibility of this alternative to the medical model is. Too many lives have been lost to suicide, as living within a fog of medication for some striving souls, simply becomes unbearable as the fire within each person struggles to not be extinguished. Research reflects that years are taken off a life lived on medication, and as we all know, young children, our future leaders, are now being targeted by the pharmaceutical industry and are for example, being medicated for depression! At Inner Fire, time and again, our belief in the resilience of the human spirit is affirmed as with wisdom and love, we accompany and guide the individual as they kindle their will while rebalancing their traumatized soul in their deep healing process.
The beauty of the proactive therapies, stemming from the view of the human being as having a body, soul and spirit, is that they cannot be-done-to-you. We neither ‘fix’ nor ‘maintain’ people and Inner Fire is not a treatment center. In blocks, three times a week, the engaged individual is offered a specific sequence of therapies which, through the seeker’s proactivity, will assist in balancing their own soul which mediates between their physical body and their divine creative self (the human spirit). Each of our therapies: eurythmy and spacial dynamics (both forms of movement), Hauschka artistic therapy (clay, water color, pastel or charcoal), speech arts, music therapy and massage serve this balancing process. These one-on-one therapies, where focus is on oneself, are balanced during the day by the ‘work’ program where one works physically in groups either in the kitchen, learning to create and cook wholesome meals for the community, in the biodynamic vegetable and flower gardens growing our vegetables, in the forest, making paths, benches and structures, and in the household, learning to care for the home which shelters us. Two days of the week, biographical work and psychosynthesis draw the seekers together when they continue to practice listening and sharing, receiving and giving, while discovering the mysteries of patterns and gestures in their lives. Such work further empowers the seeker in their creative journey.
Our detox program includes the regular use of the infra-red sauna, a liver compress three times a week after meals, and of course, an organic diet, high in fats and protein and free of sugar and wheat. The rhythm of the day, in itself, is an essential part of the healing process for there is little chance for creating inner harmony if one’s outer life is chaotic.
We make every effort to keep costs as low as possible for indeed health should be a right and not a privilege. Nevertheless, the basic costs add up: $370 a day, ($135,000 a year), which cover all costs including room and board. We have a Support a Seeker Fund and welcome the social gesture of the broader community making such an opportunity for deep healing available for struggling souls who could not even imagine coming to Inner Fire. It is heartening to see some flexibility in the insurance companies and health care coverage, and perhaps one day in the USA, individuals who seek deep healing, rather than simply treating symptoms, will be supported to engage in initiatives like Inner Fire. The savings in cost on all levels – human, social and from state and national funding – are significant when individuals are freed of the psychotropic medications and engaged in creative and constructive therapies; all while learning how to support themselves on a deeper soul level to continue to meet the challenges of simply being human. Indeed, we will see more engaging and proactive citizens back in society living fulfilling lives. Finally, in addition to the Support a Seeker Fund, we have the Inner Fire Home Building Fund. We have raised $400,000 and need an additional $500,000 to complete our Phase 1 which will house twelve seekers, a kitchen and dining/meeting room, and therapeutic spaces. Gifts are still being matched by half. We are working with architects at this time and our intention is to lay the foundation this autumn 2016 and have the shell before mud season in the spring of 2017. Daily Inner Fire receives emails and phone calls from parents, relatives, striving individuals and professionals from all over the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan – all looking for something more than what the medical model can offer. Through searching for options, they come across our website (www.innerfire.us) or the links included at the end of this update, typically word spreads and contact is thereby made by referrals.
In conclusion: Inner Fire is all about choice. We would never tell someone to come off their medications, however, we know too many people who took their lives because they were not aware that indeed, there is a choice. What we offer at Inner Fire is not rocket science. It has all to do with recognizing the challenges of being human and nurturing and guiding while the striving individual takes the time to reconnect with their creative and resilient Self. Thank you for taking the time to connect with Inner Fire. Your supportive thoughts and feelings are realities and your financial contributions will be a tremendous support in manifesting the dreams of future seekers and the Inner Fire home.