Rachel Douglas--Chrysalis Institute

Getting to meet people like Rachel is the best part of being High Five RVA.

Getting to meet people like Rachel is the best part of being High Five RVA.

H5RVA:  Between me, you, and this orange High Five, can you explain what Chrysalis is all about?

Rachel: Chrysalis’ mission is to encourage personal and spiritual growth beyond the conventional boundaries of any one faith or tradition. We are a unique and important part of a thriving community that seeks to build consciousness, compassion, gratitude, and peace, through individual work that is done in community.

We are a place that you can depend on to see through the day to day actions to the world that you want to live in. Where you can have conversations about Truth vs truth. Where you can participate in a practice that grounds you so you can go out and do the work. YOUR work. Where you can sense a connection to all beings everywhere. Without distinction. Without exclusion. Without separation.

H5RVA: Do you have a favorite story about how Chrysalis is adding to the wellbeing of our city?

Rachel: I love to see people be their best selves and that is what I think happens in our programs. And it happens in really profound ways. I think those people tell it best so here are a few ways in which our participants’ quality of life has changed:

       Connecting with the concept of self-compassion.

       Exercising my personal authority/responsibility for my spiritual life. This was liberating for me.

       Former worries, conflicts, and concerns now seem less important.

       A loosening of rigid boundaries, an opening to vulnerability and legitimate suffering and legitimate joy.

       A fuller way of experiencing spiritually. My heart and body are now integrated with my mind.

       I am more energized and more present to myself.

       I discern more consistently what is important as I choose daily tasks.

       I’ve been able to see behind some struggles I’ve been facing.

       My confidence has quadrupled. I feel like I have found my voice and am facing fear in a new way, with curiosity.

H5RVA:  It’s easy to think of development of self as, well, self-centered. How does self-growth dovetail with community growth?

Rachel: In times of crises, inner work is what enables you to move from reactivity to considered response. And to understanding. And to relatedness. A wise person told me that “progress is an inside job”. When we cultivate love and compassion as a practice and begin to try and feel the oneness of all beings, we create something transformative. In ourselves. In this city. In this country. In the world.

H5RVA: How can people get involved with Chrysalis?

Rachel: Take a class, then become a member, then spread the word, then volunteer, then give, then keep it going.

H5RVA: What are you going to do with this High Five?

Rachel: Use it to direct traffic so people can actually find our little subterranean space at the top of Carytown. (we’re working on signage)

Amy McCracken