Chella Drew Talks Wholeness, Managing Feelings and Not Taking Things Too Personally

This month at Graymake, we’ve been thinking, reading and talking about wholeness.  

When I think about wholeness, there are a few people in my life that really stick out in my mind: Chella Drew is one of them.    

Chella has taught me so much about what it means to sit with all parts of oneself–whether by introducing me to the healing art of reiki for the first time, spending time in nature together or simply offering me a hug and a word of encouragement. Chella works hard, reaches her goals and know when to turn off and enjoy life.    

It is an honor to know her, to learn with and from her and to be in her presence. This is how it feels to be with most people who are living in balance: Their energy is contagious and bold.    

With that, meet Chella—  

Anne Hilb (AH): Chella, tell us about your organization and your work.

Chella Drew (CD): My primary work for the past several years has been in Restorative Practices, as a Trainer, Consultant and Coach.

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In addition to my own company, Restorative Resolutions, I also work with a number of organizations, including the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), Akoben, Positive Schools Center, and Open Society Institute (OSI). This work reminds educators of the importance of developing relationships with students, colleagues and community members, and teaches them specific tools and processes for strengthening developing and relationships, and for managing conflict when it arises by repairing the harm that was caused and restoring the relationships. These skill sets can support them in their work settings, at home, in fact, in any environment in which they interact with other human beings.

To me, the most important part of this work is with ourselves, our own self-awareness, our ability to reflect on our thoughts and actions, and to take responsibility for our role in the outcomes that we see and experience. When we look truthfully at ourselves, we release the need to personalize the behaviors and choices of others, and instead find compassion for who they are and what they are going through. This transforms relationships and communities, and has honestly shaped and grown me as a person, which affects every relationship I have. For this I am truly grateful.

I have most recently been called into the role of a Transformational Coach, with the Dreambuilder program. I have the honor and privilege of working with individuals and small groups of people in getting clear in their vision of living a life that they absolutely love. Clients are invited to examine their current beliefs and recognize how they have shaped their life experiences, and taught how to break free from those limiting beliefs, and to tap into the amazing power and potential that is within them. They learn strategies to overcome fear, doubt and worry, and to achieve accelerated results in bringng their dreams to fruition. I have completed this program myself, and experienced tremendous growth and transformation. I am thrilled to be able to support others in doing the same!

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AH: How do you define wholeness?

CD: To me, wholeness encompasses one’s mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. All of these components of self are connected, and if any of them are neglected or ignored, it will affect all other areas to some degree. So it is necessary to maintain a balance in all areas in order to experience wholeness.


AH: How do you keep wholeness top of mind or return to wholeness when you stray from/step out of it?

CD: My emotions are my first indicator of whether I am feeling whole, and if I ignore them long enough, there usually is a physical manifestation to catch my attention. I pay close attention to when I am not feeling the more positive emotions–if there is anger, frustration, sadness, discontent–then I know something is out of alignment, and take steps to understand what is at the root, and direct myself back to feeling good, happy, etc.

These steps may be meditating, taking a walk in nature and listening for guidance, journaling, playing a song that lifts me up, or even taking a nap. Sometimes it’s eating good food, or being in good company with people I love and enjoy, or simply talking with a compassionate listener.

Whatever way I can connect to some inner guidance or a more positive feeling, I will do until I feel like myself (whole) again.


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AH: When do you feel your best self?


CD: I feel my best self when I am well-rested, well-nourished, and meaningfully connected to myself and others. Listening to good music also helps me feel my best self.


AH: How do you suggest we best invite whole, best selves to work?


CD: In order to invite one’s whole, best self to work, it is important to practice great self care, to do work that you love (even if you don’t love all of it., find something that you love, and focus your energy there as often as possible), in an environment that is supportive and nurturing (and if this doesn’t currently exist, ask yourself what you can do to create it).

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