Activist Q&A with Grief and Healing Guide, Sica Schmitz
January 7th, 2021
1. CONGRATULATIONS ON LAUNCHING THE REWOVEN! TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT.
We live in a culture that is deeply disembodied, numb, and disconnected through individual and collective grief and trauma, and I eventually realized that the external problems of the fashion industry (and world) were simply a reflection of what was happening inside
so each of us. Basically: we couldn't fix the pollution, exploitation, and harm of the fashion industry until we fixed the pollution, exploitation, and harm within
"Basically: we couldn't fix the pollution, exploitation, and harm of the fashion industry until we fixed the pollution, exploitation, and harm within us."
So my journey over the years started to include not just sustainable fashion options and education but also sustainable inner options and education. I took yoga teacher trainings and studied different types of meditation and started trying to find answers about how we heal ourselves (myself included) so we can see this healing reflected in
the world around us.
This search has continued until it became my biggest focus, which has led me here: the rewoven, a healing collective, pivoting my sustainable fashion resource to a sustainable inner-life resource.
The Rewoven is a safe space for classes, workshops, courses, community, and offerings for those needing support in the healing journey (which, really, is all of us!).
"The Rewoven is a safe space for classes, workshops, courses, community, and offerings for those needing support in the healing journey (which, really, is all of us!)."
2. MOST PEOPLE KNOW YOU THROUGH YOUR WORK WITH THE IMPACT FASHION SHOW AND THE BEAD & REEL NETWORK. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE IT WAS TIME TO START A NEW CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE FOCUSED ON HEALING?
I'm not sure it was so much my decision but instead that life decided this for me. As much as I love fashion and the sustainable fashion community (and I do), my past few years have been filled with tremendous loss and heartache and I really had no choice but to find a way to heal myself - or, often, simply to survive.
I really thought I was doing these things for myself: studying with gurus in India and learning different energy healing modalities and trying every technique and promise of ease that I could find to bring any ease into my life. And for a while it was for myself, until one day it wasn't anymore.
I realized my own peace was tied to the peace of others, and so I wanted to help others heal too. That expanded from working with a few clients here and there until it became my entire focus. And so a new chapter begins.
3. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISUNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT TRAUMA AND GRIEF?
Oh goodness, this could be quite a long paragraph! But in summary, I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that there is a timeline on them ("time heals all wounds" or that after a few months - or at the very most a year - someone should be "better").
"In my experience it's only time + attention + intention that brings healing and integration for grief and trauma."
In my experience it's only time + attention + intention that brings healing and integration for grief and trauma. It's not at all uncommon for me to hear from friends
or clients about an unprocessed grief or trauma that resurfaces years or even decades later. There is so much pressure in our culture to "move on" or "get better" and so often we simply get numb instead of getting healed, trying to rush our way to being "better."
The reality is healing is a slow, non-linear, and not always a pretty process. But the truth is, we won't ever move on or get better - with time or otherwise - but we can change. And with support, it can even be a beautiful change.
4. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE A MEDITATION PRACTICE, CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY YOU BELIEVE IT IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT TOOL FOR HEALING AND SELF AWARENESS?
Mediation does so many things for us! Some of my favorite things about meditation is that it can help bring our attention back into our bodies (especially since grief and trauma tend to be very dis-embodying experiences, where we often stop feeling or noticing our bodies because of shock).
Equally, it can help bring our awareness back into the present moment as opposed to getting stuck ruminating in the past or avoiding difficult emotions in the present. And while perhaps being in your body and in the present moment doesn't always sound ideal (especially when there is pain involved) this present moment, this present moment in our bodies, is where healing happens.
The more we practice, the easier it gets to be here, to stay here, and to find respite here in this moment.
"Personally, the biggest lesson meditation has taught me is that everything changes."
Personally, the biggest lesson meditation has taught me is that everything changes. Everything. With practice I started to notice that every meditation is different, every moment is different, that even the most challenging and most beautiful meditations shift with time.
This helped me tremendously especially through early grief, because through meditation I had come to understand on a very deep level that no matter how painful any moment may be, I absolutely knew it would not last forever. And none of them did, even the most excruciating ones. Ultimately: meditation helps ease our suffering.
5. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU LEARNED FROM ALL OF YOUR YEARS PROMOTING ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION?
Perhaps the biggest lesson is patience, which does not come easily to me! I'm ready for the fashion industry - for the world! - to be fixed now, but these changes are not on my schedule (or so it seems). Sustainable fashion has taught me to be patient with others when they don't quite get it yet, and to be even more patient with myself because there are all sorts of things I don't quite get yet either. But, coming back to meditation: everything changes. And so are these.
6. YOU WEAR OUR EVIL EYE CHARM NECKLACE, WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THAT DESIGN?
I absolutely love this necklace!
I was drawn to it during a time in my life when I was feeling very energetically vulnerable - my boundaries were frequently being crossed and I was frequently feeling drained by certain people.
I wanted to feel protected, and had read a very basic history of the Evil Eye so when I saw your necklace I knew that's what I needed: something to keep intentional or unintentional "evil" (meanness, jealous, exploitation, drains) away from me while I re-built my boundaries. Coming from a fashion background I especially love the idea of our fashion being part of our healing, and your evil eye necklace combined all of my favorite things: style, energy, myth, and fair trade!
"Coming from a fashion background I especially love the idea of our fashion being part of our healing, and your evil eye necklace combined all of my favorite things: style, energy, myth, and fair trade!"
I used to charge it with Reiki every night to enforce its protective properties, and eventually there came a point where I felt so good in my boundaries that I didn't need it anymore! So now I wear it simply for style or perhaps the occasional unexpected sideways glance - you do never know.
7. A COMMON THEME RUNNING THROUGH ALL OF YOUR PROJECTS IS THE DESIRE TO MAKE THE WORLD A MORE JUST AND WHOLE PLACE. WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT STARTED FOR YOU?
Justice and giving back were always big themes in my family, even when I was a child, so part of it was nurture. And perhaps part of it is nature too. As an empath who deeply connects with and feels the plights of other people, it's a big part of who I am. Plus my astrology, Myers Briggs, and Human Design all point to justice and fairness and righting wrongs as being major themes for me.
This desire for everyone to be safe and well is so ingrained in me that I used to think everyone felt this way too, and it took me quite a long time to figure out and then try to understand that not everyone else is wired the same. Meditation helps me be patient with others who don't share my mirror neurons or astrological chart!
8. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU ARE INCREDIBLY PROUD OF?
The thing I am most proud of is that I have maintained my softness, humor, and optimism despite everything I've been through in my life. I feel like it would be fairly justified for me to become a bitter, angry person (and don't get me wrong: I definitely have had my moments) after narcissist abuse, sexual violence, and the deaths of so many people I love - including my son.
But I made an absolute vow to myself that no matter who I shifted to and became through these experiences, I would not lose myself, my heart, or my soul. I would not lose the ability to see beauty in life, offer grace to others, or lose my belief in the goodness of the world.
Through immense dedication I have held onto all of these things - and I'm immensely proud of myself. I could have easily gone a different path towards a very dark inner life, but I didn't.
9. IF OUR READERS WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE REWOVEN, WHERE CAN THEY GO TO FIND OUT MORE?