Cheryl Jane Land Lipponen Memorial Fund
Story behind the fund - by Jessica Land, WOVEN co-founder
The love we receive shapes us as humans. I was fortunate to be loved wholeheartedly and continuously by my mom, from before my birth until her final breaths. Because of her love, I developed an embodied confidence that has carried me through my years. I’ve felt that I belong to and in this world.
My mom, however, did not feel wanted or loved by her mother and she suffered inside that wound for her whole life. She lived in a culture and in an era of limited pathways for healing such a wound. She had negative experiences with talk therapy as a young person, felt targeted and blamed for family dynamics beyond her control. Traumas compounded over the course of her life. She rarely experienced a baseline of “wellness.”
As I grew, she endured a succession of health issues that I came to believe were physical manifestations of trauma after trauma. She moved in and out of debilitating physical pain, sickness, anxiety, and emotional distress. One diagnosis she had was PTSD. Now I see that it’s likely she had what is now known as Complex PTSD, a more recently defined diagnosis that acknowledges long-term effects from multiple traumas.
I don’t know what my mom would say if I asked her about wholeness. But I’d guess that she accessed moments of wholeness while dancing and while traveling. My mom valued lived experience more than anything. She understood that growth came more through experiences than from words on a page. Travel offered her deep immersion in multi-sensory experience and new perspectives on how to be. Dance was a way she connected with people, played, and got to shine.
Many of us who volunteer our time to Woven have direct experience--both our own and through our loved ones--of wounds and traumas that become consuming, that are too heavy to carry and certainly too heavy to carry alone. This is why we created Woven, so we humans can find support for and BE support for living fully, so we can share joys and help each other release burdens. My mom would have benefitted from the kind of community spaces Woven provides, places to reclaim parts of ourselves, dance beyond our limitations, stimulate our senses, expand our perceptions, reflect on what makes us feel whole, and invite more of that into our lives.
During my mom’s final years, she was intrigued by what Woven was doing. It is clear to me that making Woven’s programs more financially accessible is the most fitting way to honor her legacy.