by Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News
Tulalip member Gayle Jones has worked for the tribe for 36 years. The first 32 years of her career she worked with Family Services in various positions, namely Clinical Supervisor and Chemical Dependency Counselor. In recent years, Gayle has taken on a new opportunity where she is able to help the people of her community on an entirely new level.
“It’s all from the spirit, it’s a gift,” states Gayle. Her new position as Spiritual Counselor with the Domestic Violence Program provides her the opportunity of doing what she is most passionate about, helping people who lost their way to find their path again.
“I always grew up around the Shaker religion because my grandpa and auntie were Shakers,” said Gayle, who at 15 years old had a friend invite her to join the Shaker Church. She decided to give it a chance and while in attendance she was so frightened, she left. “I was spooked, my auntie was shaking on me. I was scared I ran away.”
In her twenties, Gayle was still finding her footing in life. During those years of self-discovery, like many young adults, she experimented with alcohol. This turned into addiction. She struggled with that alcohol addiction until age 29, when she decided she needed spiritual healing and made a life change by getting sober and finding her faith again.
The Spiritual Counselor position sees Gayle assisting the entire community of Tulalip. She conducts cleansings and prayers at events as well as individual counseling and home visits. While working on people, she remains respectful of the individual’s personal beliefs. “On home visits, I tell people to pray to who they believe in. I am not here to force anything onto anybody. I am not a priest; I am a human”
When requested Gayle will often travel to hospitals to assist those who need spiritual support. “I pray for them and their families and ask for their strength and health.”
Part of the service that Gayle provides is candle-work. “It’s a blessing. The light of the candle is the light of the spirit, of who you believe in. For me personally, it’s God. The light of the spirit cleanses everything; I am only an instrument,” she explained. The cleansing practice uses a lit candle as a tool, much like cedar branches, to remove negative energy from a person’s aura while simultaneously providing relief and balance to their lives.
“A lot of it is getting rid of stress. People are like magnets, they carry stress from work and a lot of grief too. I can get all that off of them,” she explained. Gayle ultimately wants people who are struggling to know that it gets better. She is working to heal the community, one request at a time, by providing spiritual counseling and guidance.
She says, “Knowing there’s hope out there that’s a huge part of [recovery]. Somebody helped me when I was going through all of it. Somebody grabbed my hand, was there for me and said ‘Come on girl get it together.’ So, that’s what I’m doing in return. All of my chemical dependency work and all of my spiritual work is to make people feel better.”
For more information, contact Gayle Jones at 360-716-4981.