August 3rd • Flatbush, Brooklyn
Minka means ‘Home of the People.’ When you look up the word, you get pictures of the iconic A-frame farmhouses in japan, with woven grass roofs. Houses made by hands, of the earth, to hold those that live on this earth. It seems so natural and so far from what most of us experience daily in NYC. Likewise, MINKA is a space for healing, wellness and holistic living hosting workshops, meetings, lectures, meditations, and classes in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Izzy Pinheiro applied to the 360 residency program to work on her short film looking at the health care needs of Syrian and Jordanian refugees. At first we tried to match her with clinics and hospitals in NYC, but reconsidered when we realized Izzy was looking for somewhere that focused on wellness not necessarily places that specialize in ailments or disease. The health care system is many things in this country, but when looking at the health needs of individuals who need it most, it’s sometimes more fruitful to find places that are environments of wellness, where there are holistic approaches to dynamic care. Here are Izzy’s thoughts:
Working in the MINKA space was such a gift! Often when I work on video advocacy projects I feel emotional tension because the work is so meaningful, rewarding, and stimulating but also feels so important that it inflames inherited/indoctrinated demands I place on myself for perfection that require ongoing, active work to undo.
There was a reiki workshop happening at the same time so I was in a space that was full of people who were committed to healing themselves and others. This was amazing to witness, to feel reinforced by, and to feel a sense of community even being on the periphery of this kind of pursuit because it mirrored my own intentions of being in that space.
In this space I was able to ground myself in the energy that shapes my life and my work— commitment to healing on an individual and collective level. Having the space reshaped my process, too. I was able to take breaks when I started to feel an emotional toll from some of the interviews and go to the library of MINKA to absorb bits of poetry, read passages on mysticism, and pull oracle cards that landed squarely in my heart. One I pulled from an animal deck had an elk that was a signifier of leadership and certainty. Receiving this very majestic emblem was very affirming and clarifying. I am someone that lives very ceremoniously and practices different sorts of rituals and is committed to learning/intuiting new modes of healing, and now I see how I can integrate this into my workflow in a very meaningful way.
From their programming and the lives they are affecting, MINKA is thriving; They offer weekly and monthly acupuncture, Reiki certification, mystical mentorship, sex-positive workshops, full moon rituals and corporate wellness packages. From a business perspective - one that has to turn a profit to afford to hold space well in this increasingly prohibitive city, MINKA continues to rally to stay open. Check them out, go to a class or think about supporting their drive to keep the lights on. minkabrooklyn.com/
Holes in the Wall Collective’s first encounter with MINKA was at our first WhatNOWwhat pop-up benefit in 2017. HWC co-director Dhira had met MINKA co-founder Aki years before at the Youth Farm in Brooklyn, and after a chance run-in, MINKA jumped onboard to come celebrate and raise up women just weeks after Trump was inaugurated. A team of wellness practitioners arrived in a blizzard and held space throughout the blustery evening. The space was transformed.
MINKA continues to be one of the only places in NYC that lives, operates and thrives by non-patriarchal paradigms. Their first community agreement is This is a BRAVE space, not a SAFE space. A bold and beautiful statement. Yet, in some ways, MINKA is the safest kind of space. Not safe in that nothing will change, not safe in that it will only feel nice, but safe in that you can be wholly fully yourself, where feelings are honored, alternative pathways to healing and wellness, indigenous wisdom and female centered values drive the practice. Whatever you feel about moon rituals, witches, crystals & alternative health models— you can’t deny that most of our western culture has eradicated these modes of interacting with each other and the environment we find ourselves in. Make a hole in the wall of what is to see what could be. Any place looking to do no harm that embodies new models is invaluable to this city.