The ACM Story
My is Springlove and I am a psychic, wounded healer, medium, movement artist, mindful-movement teacher, and priestess in training living on Chinook Territory in the Pacific Northwest. I am a survivor of developmental, acute, and systemic trauma as well as a multiply-marginalized person with disabilities who has faced systemic isolation for most of my life. I have used the wisdom of my lived experience as a way to support others, this is the crux of Access-Centered Movement.
I have always loved movement, yet felt I could not access it in group settings. Even when trying to access programming that was deemed “accessible,” I was almost always told that I was too “sick and disabled” or poor to participate. Often, things that were advertised for “all bodies” or “accessible” offered chair modifications as their only access support, meaning my bodymind was not supported.
This hit a pinnacle in 2015 when I received my yoga teacher certification. Teaching yoga is complicated as a white person, as a result I have only ever taught donation-based yoga classes as a result. At my training I was told that the ways that I wanted to teach and be inclusive were not realistic because we had to appease the majority. I was determined to prove them wrong. And I did! (Insert ecstatic cry of joy) To a degree, as ACM works best when we have access to resources to create accessible content. I bring this up frequently, and discuss the humility necessary to ethically manage not having the resources to meet certain needs, thus excluding folks. This happens, although with this framework, never without intention and striving to always do better. With such a thorough breakdown, that mirrors natural law, the Access-Centered Framework has received wide praise.
I have always loved movement, yet felt I could not access it in group settings. Even when trying to access programming that was deemed “accessible,” I was almost always told that I was too “sick and disabled” or poor to participate. Often, things that were advertised for “all bodies” or “accessible” offered chair modifications as their only access support, meaning my bodymind was not supported. The offerings from disability justice movement artists were amazing and influenced me, but were ultimately mostly improv based. I was craving a framework that could be applied to anything, and my neurodivergent brain, excellent at finding patterns, was odd enough to do just that.
From my yoga teacher training, I learned trauma-informed language, which I connected to immediately as a childhood abuse survivor, yet felt it did not create the kind of inclusive language I felt my community deserved. So I built on it, practicing every day in the mirror for months, and eventually I came up with a three-part framework that could make any offering as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. I believed that we could value and apply intersectional accessibility—meaning not just access for people with disabilities, but also focusing on other identities, marginalization, and barriers—in real time and with physical (including taught virtually) movement classes.
I first taught ACM at the East Bay Meditation Center in Ohlone Territory, the one person in the audience who needed accessible variations was blown away, they had never felt so included in a yoga class. The organization asked me to train all of its teachers, they still use and get applauded for the framework to this day. I offered trainings to other meditation and movement organizations, such as Spirit Rock and Namaste Yoga, while developing my classes and curriculum, slowly of course. Access-Centered Movement began shifting language around the Bay Area and eventually the globe. I made it clear that being “access-centered” is a verb not a noun, as universal accessibility is almost never a reality, especially in capitalism.
While others have been influenced by my work, it is important to me that folks recognize that this framework could have only come from a person who had been that excluded and systemically isolated, an experience that is impossible to understand unless you have lived it. This being said, I most likely would not have created ACM without my exposure to disability justice in 2012, which is why I shared my framework and asked to collaborate with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) disability justice leaders in 2017. I also recognized my limitations as a white teacher, and wanted a multiracial team so that we could have BIPOC perspectives, which I will never truly understand because of my whiteness. While I created something unique and at least one year before inviting disability justice artists to collaborate, I felt the need to be in reciprocity (even if I had yet to learn what this word meant) since I was influenced by two friends of mine who were Black, disabled dancers and there is a violent history of white people stealing Black work. I shared my framework and training materials, and eventually Intro to ACM for People of Color launched a few years later, most likely creating inclusivity for BIPOC students that I cannot create as a white teacher, no white person can. As of March 2021, I no longer collaborate with these same individuals for complex reasons involving my own spiritual development, but they regularly offer workshops for BIPOC disabled folks and teach folks how to offer Access-Centered Movement in the BIPOC. I fully support and love them.
It is important to me to note that, because so much of my wisdom has come from Indigenous and AfroIndigenous elders and practices, I offer my classes freely to Black and Indigenous folks and have many scholarships for my workshops, if wanted. I do this as reciprocity and reparations, if that feels appropriate. Lastly, and I invite anyone who identifies as or is a settler to do so if accessible, I pay a monthly land tax to the Chinook Nation. It isn’t as much as I would like, but I see it as my rent for living on their land. I truly believe that if we want to survive the future we need to give stewardship of the land back to those who are indigenous to it, if they are still here to do so. I learned this from Indigenous elders and disability justice leaders, who I am forever grateful to. Stacey Milbern Park, may she rest in power.
Since starting ACM almost 7 years ago, I have changed dramatically as a person, healer, spiritual teacher, movement artist, and activist. In February 2021, I experienced my first Soul Initiation. This experience showed me that I was not living my purpose nor allowing myself to access the healing and care that I deserved. I saw that my disabilities and illnesses were inextricably tied to my divinity, and that I needed to take time off to practice what I preach: reinforcing my energetic boundaries, healing my ancestral line, and integrating younger selves. Deep in shadow-work, I could see that my purpose was not to change the world with ACM, not to be a disability justice leader, but to offer healing support to those in my community who often don’t have access elsewhere.
Spiritually elevated and deep in Earth-Based wisdom, I no longer wanted to teach classes that were based in Polyvagal Theory, Somatics, dance, or physical rehabilitation without also connecting it to the Divine. I no longer, like most of our well ancestors, saw a disconnect between the physical and metaphysical. As I mentioned, my own hypersensitivities as a psychic and medium, along with the broken systems we live in, can make me very sick.
I experienced a second Soul Initiation at the exact same time as last year but in 2022, time truly is a spiral. It showed me that the Access-Centered Framework came from Divinity, as a way to create loving and nurturing containers for those of us who need it most. I am currently writing a book on just this, where I will break down the framework and the unique approaches to my healing methods, which have been given to me in order to support the sick and disabled queer community especially, and all who need.
For the last seven years I have studied Polyvagal Theory, Earth-Based Magic, plant medicine, mycology, energy healing, channeling, Indigenous Frameworks, and I am currently initiating into Priesthood for the tradition that I practice. While I have read hundreds of books that influence my practice, the best wisdom that I have received is from Divinity itself. It is from the birds, the flowers, the sky, the earth, animals, minerals, and elders. Access-Centered Movement allowed me to create the nurturing container that I needed for myself, that no one else was going to create for me. In it I have developed unique theories and healing support for people with Hypermobility, chronic illness and fatigue, mental illness, CPTSD, and other chronic conditions. By delving into the deepest, darkest (the darkness is beautiful, necessary, and healing. It is not negative but rather receiving and cool energy) parts of my pain, I found a tiny seed of light. Please let me share this with you, if wanted, because we all deserve, what I call, “Ritual Containers” for healing.