Tag Archives: women’s shelters

The Sewing Machine Worked Just Fine… Until It Didn’t

The other day I was preparing some small quilts to take with me to India for a program I planned to visit. The quilt squares had been decorated by children of the mothers who had been burned by fire or acid. I had met these kids years before and never got a chance to finish up the quilts. I was going to India in a few days so I was inspired to finish them. This work reflected all my hearts passions: meeting the survivors, speaking to the kids, remembering to bring them fabric swatches, saving the swatches for the right time to finish it and of course sitting at my beautiful machine and finishing the project.

All of a sudden, the machine would not work. The needle would not stay threaded.The bottom thread would not catch. I rethreaded it about 6 times and then I yelled, to no one really, “what the F is wrong with this machine?”

I began to hyper focus on the threading mechanism and tried to use a pen to poke the thread into one of the moving parts and of course it could not work. I had never threaded the machine with a damn pen before. Why was I trying to do that now? I have been sewing for 50 years. I used to make my own Catholic School uniform skirts. I KNOW how to thread a sewing machine.

Then a heard a voice in my head say “Indrani zoom out, close your eyes, and use muscle memory to do this. Nothing is wrong with you or the machine.”


I closed my eyes. I allowed my hands to float up to the machine and I held the thread a loft. I mimicked threading motions and saw that my left hand floated behind the presser foot to check if it was in the down position.

I opened my eyes.

I smiled.

The presser foot was NOT in the proper position.
I put the foot down and threaded the machine and finished the quilts.

Then, it dawned on me that this episode mimics what women do to themselves. We KNOW how to be in the world. We know how to be brave and courageous and yet, when we forget a simple thing (like lowering the presser foot) we begin to judge ourselves and we accept the judgment of others. I love that it was the “putting down of the foot” that brought me out of my trance of feeling inadequate and stupid for not successfully completing a task I have done 1000’s of times for 50 years. How can you use this in your life?

The next time you KNOW deep in your heart how to do something, or WHO you are at your core, put your foot down on the knowledge and do not allow any one (even your judgmental self) to convince you otherwise. If others in your life say unkind things, let if go in one ear and out the next. Put your foot down and don’t let others define you with their words. Maybe use a simple phrase like “I am not sure whom you are describing, but that’s not me.”

Believe the words. You know you!

Now, go be the full YOU. The world needs all of you.

Love and Light from Indrani

Caring for the Caregivers: A Self-Empathy Meditation – Episode #26

Often, in life, you will find yourself stuck between two versions of yourself: the “you” that wants peace and to be satisfied doing the best you can, and the “you” that is crazily trying to do everything for everyone. In this episode Indrani will lead you through a short meditation to help you become a compassionate witness to your own self and your own energy.

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00:00 Introduction
00:53 Self-Empathy Meditation
04:21 Outro

Caring for the Caregivers: Talk to the Positive Part of Yourself – Episode #25

When you are feeling sad, do you forget about your whole self, focusing only on the sadness? In this episode Indrani will guide you through a meditation to connect with, and embrace, the positive you. It isn’t about changing the sadness, it is about honoring all parts of yourself, and living a whole, and healthy, life.

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Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
00:57 Guided Meditation
08:04 Outro

Caring for the Caregivers: When Family and Work Values Collide – Episode #24

Making a decision between your family and your work is never an easy task, especially when, which is more important changes with the circumstances. How can you determine when being with your family is most important? When going to work and supporting your clients is most important? In this episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie discuss tools you can use to make important decisions between your family and your work.

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Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
01:20 Scenario
02:12 Jeremie – Accommodate, Avoid, Attack – How we say NO without saying NO
09:25 Discussion
17:00 Indrani – Your unreasonable “perfect should list”
23:10 Discussion
25:50 Amy – Contradictions between your different roles leading to shame
30:38 Discussion
39:00 Conclusion
40:36 Outro

Caring for the Caregivers: A Story – How to Say “NO” With the Feeling of Joy – Episode #21

This episode Indrani shares a personal story about problems with a “non-huggable” coat, being surprised by the perfect dress, and how saying “NO” to the little things and setting small boundaries is the key to making big changes to your relationships. Indrani also shares an awareness exercise you can use to observe your own boundaries and where you need to be saying “NO” in your daily life.

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Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
00:46 Indrani tells her story
06:29 Indrani shares lessons from the story
08:01 Indrani shares an awareness exercise
09:18 Summary
10:43 Outro

Caring for the Caregivers: A Discussion About “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant – Episode #20 Part Two

Sheryl Sandberg wrote this book after husband died suddenly. The book explores how Sheryl and her children recover and rebound from the horrible event while building their reslience, finding greater meaning, and gaining a greater appreciation for their lives. This is part two of a longer discussion where Indrani, Amy, Stacie, and Jeremie share their takeaways from reading the book and how you can apply Sheryl’s lessons to the daily challenges you are experiencing at work and in your personal life.

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Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
00:57 Jeremie – Building resilience together
07:45 Discussion
09:52 Amy – Adding a bit of humour
15:03 Discussion
19:30 Conclusion
21:13 Outro

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

BOOK: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

LINK: VIA Strengths Survey

Caring for the Caregivers: A Discussion About “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant – Episode #20 Part One

Sheryl Sandberg wrote this book after husband died suddenly. The book explores how Sheryl and her children recover and rebound from the horrible event while building their reslience, finding greater meaning, and gaining a greater appreciation for their lives. In this episode Indrani, Amy, Stacie, and Jeremie share their takeaways from reading the book and how you can apply Sheryl’s lessons to the daily challenges you are experiencing at work and in your personal life.

[powerpress channel=”caregiverpodcast”]

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
00:50 Scenario
03:02 Indrani – Let’s kick the sh*t out of Option B
09:50 Discussion
15:53 Stacie – Kicking the elephant out of the room
17:15 Discussion
22:38 Outro

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

BOOK: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

What is the Caregiver Project?

Some of you are wondering what our Caregiver Project is all about.  Well, let’s start by defining the word, “Caregiver.”  There are a few variations of the definition, but this is the one that best fits our mission:

“Relatives, friends, or professionals who provide a wide range of paid, or unpaid care to dependent relatives, friends and/or people needing physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual support. Caregiving is the action of providing care to these individuals.”

Caregiving can include:

  • Emotional and social support (e.g. visiting, transportation, talking about emotions)
  • Finding and accessing services (e.g. housing, medical supports)
  • Behavioral support (e.g. communicating effectively, managing challenging behaviors)
  • Financial help (e.g. financial support, managing finances)
  • Practical assistance with basic activities of daily living (e.g. housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation)
  • Personal care (e.g. help with monitoring medication, bathing)
  • Physical help (e.g. assistance with movement, supervision, direct medical care)

Overarching all of these activities, caregiving is the assumption of responsibility for providing care, along with the concern, worry and emotional involvement this entails.

Why is ILF involved with the Caregivers at women’s shelters?

Early last year, the founder of ILF, Indrani Goradia, began talking with the staff of shelter facilities who were caring for victims of violence.  They began sharing their concerns for the high turnover rate of staff within their organizations, and the burnout that naturally happens due to the nature of this work.

Indrani quickly went into action.  She knew if we were losing these passionate people who work with victims of violence, we could lose the shelters, or cut the number of women, men, and children who need be housed.   Now, how could ILF help?  We can train and educate the shelter staff (the Caregivers) how to keep from burning out.


What we teach the Caregivers?

  • Our trainers are teaching the caregivers about different tools they can use for self-care, and lead a more balanced life.
  • We educate caregivers on how to recognize their own triggers of shame, guilt, and humiliation that effect their work and personal lives.
  • We help them improve their personal boundaries, and how to say “No” to things that compromise their well-being.
  • And we remind them that they matter, that they are loved, and that they are “seen,” for the work they do.


Where can we teach the Caregiver Project?

  • We can send our trainers to anywhere in the United States, and some areas of Canada.
  • We teach in women’s shelters and organizations that directly have contact with victims of violence.
  • We are currently training ILF trainers all over the world to help us reach the caregivers in other countries.


How much does the training cost?

We offer the Caregiver Training at NO COST to the shelter or organization.  We do, however, rely on donations to fund the 2-day training class. The training requires two certified ILF trainers, and the cost for travel, transportation, food, supplies, and pay for the entire training is approximately $5,000.00.

How can you help us with the Caregiver Project?

  • You can SPREAD THE WORD! Use social media, email, or mention us at a party or event. (facebook.com/indranislight  Twitter: @indranis_light)
  • You can BECOME AN ILF TRAINER! We will be offering the Train-the-Trainer Course every year to certify trainers to teach our ILF curriculum to their own communities and shelters.
  • You can DONATE! Here is where you can donate ANY AMOUNT to help our Caregiver Project, or any other area of our mission to end domestic violence.


We need your feedback. 

  1. What do you think of the project?
  2. Is this something you would love to support?
  3. How would you like to support us?
  4. What more could we do?


If you have already supported our mission in any way, we want to extend our deepest gratitude.  If you would like to do more, or maybe you haven’t taken the step to support us yet, please reach out to our Director of Education and Training, Amy Dier, at amy@indranislight.org.  She will be more than happy to talk with you about your options.


Love & Light,


Team ILF


Shelter in Place …..be prepared.

**Psst.. Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically share it via Twitter or Facebook? Go ahead, give it a try!**

Photo Credit: quintanomedia/Flickr

Photo Credit: quintanomedia/Flickr

I live in Hurricane country. Every year, we are reminded by the weather people on the TV to replenish our batteries in our flashlights, to stock up on supplies, especially water and other staples to last a few days, to keep our gas tanks filled and even to buy generators so that we can save the food in our refrigerators.

We are told to prepare for rain storms, wind storms, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Some parts of the country are prone to tornadoes and they are told to have basements “tornado ready” so that they can keep their family safe.

Sometimes, people are told to leave their homes and seek shelter at schools or other places of safety set up by the local authorities.

Most people listen to these warnings and do their best to shelter their families.

When the danger is deemed too close to the target area, families are instructed to “Shelter in Place.” This is where the extra water and food and battery operated radios come in handy.

A few years ago, we were hit by a very big storm and we were without power for a full week. Luckily the cars were full of gas and we had enough water and supplies of food  to sustain us. The schools were closed and we ” hunkered down” as we say here in Texas.

This concept of “shelter in place” is one that can serve the abused woman very well.

If you are in a dangerous situation AND you choose to stay with the abuser, there are some things you must be willing to do to keep yourself and your family as safe as you can.

I have a friend in India who works with women who have even been burned by fire from their abusers. Most of them stay with their abuser for the sake of the children, or because they feel that there is no other place for them.

They have learned to turn off the stove if the abuser comes into the kitchen and to be prepared to leave the cooking area.

This is a brilliant strategy. Whatever you may feel about them wanting to stay with the people who burned them is your prerogative but you must be able to see the simple brilliance in their strategy.

This is a great example of shelter in place.

I knew another woman whose husband used to hold guns to her head and threaten to kill her. She blew me off when I told her to take the kids and leave.

She even blew me off when I said she should get rid of all the guns.

A few years ago I heard she finally had to leave because he did indeed fire at her and barely missed.

She called to tell me she should have listened.

I was glad she and her children were finally safe.

Turning off the fire and getting rid of guns are two examples of sheltering in place.

When you decide to stay in the midst of the storm, i.e to stay and live actively with the abuser, you have decided to be your own weather person. You have NO one but yourself to determine your danger. You have to begin to capture all the relevant information so that you can decide what ” shelter in place” means to you.

When does abuse usually occur?

Does it occur when the abuser gets some money and consumes alcohol and gets drunk and out of control?

Is there a time of month that this happens?

What can you do to NOT be around when this occurs?

Who can you call to be a buffer to the abuse?

How can you save the children from further trauma?

Please don’t believe that kids are dumb and don’t know what’s going on.

Kids know and are more aware of danger than you are allowing yourself to believe.

Does the abuser get triggered when family visits?

I had a client who was always more abused when the mother in law visited. The elderly woman would complain constantly to her son that his wife was no good, was a bad cook, was a lousy housekeeper, was a bad daughter in law, etc.

She had to get very brave and use her voice to tell her husband about the behaviors she was no longer going to accept.

Was he angry that she dared call him out on his behavior?

YEP, he was.

When his mother visited and he behaved abhorrently, she left the house for a few days and took her son.

The husband kept calling her cell phone to find out where she was.

He HAD to change his behavior for her to return. Now she was met with a cold silent treatment from him and his mother, but at least they were not shouting at her.

Every person must decide what Sheltering in Place means to their unique situation.

I know of women who finally took full time paying jobs just to get away from all the negativity at home.

They worked while the kids were at school and refused to give up their jobs. The abuser had to find new people to dump his anxieties on.

Did they face abuse after work, of course they did, BUT they had a new circle of friendships at work and were better able to withstand the barrage of insults that came at night.

Are you living in the midst of daily or weekly storms?

What creates the storms?

What can you do to shelter your kids and yourself from the worst of the storms?

If you choose to stay, then it is incumbent upon you to create safety for you and your kids.

Please take a look at this danger assessment and decide what dangers you are in and how you can help yourself.

If you won’t leave, you can still get outreach help from your local shelter or police department.

The most important thing is to be HONEST with yourself and your situation and then make plans for sheltering at home.

I was going to write “good luck” but this is NOT about luck … it is about awareness and respecting the anger and the threats from the abuser.

Respect the anger enough to make shelter plans. Protect your kids.

They need YOU to be the sane adult.


Love and light and weather forecasting …


Feeling like a puppet? CUT the strings, one at a time…

SONY DSCWhen I was in Russia a few years ago on a clown trip, I went to an hour long puppet show.
I really enjoyed that show. The puppets were exquisitely made and the puppeteer had finely honed his craft over 20 years.
This week, as I listen to some of my clients tell me about things they MUST do to make their husbands happy, I felt that I was right back at the puppet show. I could see their husbands pull the strings making them do a dance that made them feel ill, uncomfortable and compromised.

One particular story stands out:
A wife is “made” to be a voyeur while her husband engages in various sexual behaviors with other women.
She is told that at least he is respecting her by not asking her to “do it” with other men.
She feels relieved that she does not have to take other lovers, and she feels violently ill when she has to be the observer. She also feels love for her husband.

This is NOT an easy situation. She is in a sad and painful place.
It seems to me that she is the chief and most important puppet in his puppet show.
If the wife really wants to change the extra circular activities that happen in her life, she can ONLY change her OWN behaviors.
But she loves him.

I can hear you say, “What will he do?”

The short answer is he will do whatever he wants to do.
He has life exactly as he wants it.
She, on the other hand, has a life that has become disgusting to her.
She can only change her actions.
One of the first things she can do is decide which parts of her married life she can still stomach.
She then HAS to get some professional counseling for breaking the news to her husband.
She can find FREE help at various women’s shelters in her local area. In the Houston area, there is an organization called Houston Galveston Institute and they even offer FREE counseling help on Saturdays. No appointment necessary.

She can create a new life. She can even create a new marriage. But it must begin with creating a new sense of self respect.
She can kick start the whole process by making a short list of all the good things she sees in herself.
She can keep adding some positives to her list every day.
She is going to have to remind herself on a daily basis that she is worthy of respect from others and respect from herself.

If you know someone who can use some of the small steps in this blog, please pass it on to her.
You can also tell her to sign up for 5 minutes to happiness, and she will get an e-course that will help her to discover the inner strengths that she has.
Love and light,

P.S. As she gets stronger, she will be able to CUT the strings in her mind and she will find freedom.