Chrysalis Evolves Into The Innerwork Center

“Chrysalis time is a time of change. It is a vulnerable time. It is a sacred time. It occurs when we reflect on the meaning of our life stories and the Greater Story of which we are all a part. It is a time when we may discover what it means to form and live a meaningful, creative, compassionate life in the everyday world—to give birth to action, grounded in our own true self.”

~ Nancy Millner, Founder of Chrysalis (now The Innerwork Center)


Chrysalis Institute, a Richmond nonprofit celebrating its 25th year, has rebranded as The Innerwork Center. “While Chrysalis was a beautiful and poetic name, we discovered that not many people know what a chrysalis is, or how to say it or spell it, or that it serves as a metaphor for personal transformation,” says Rachel Douglas, Executive Director. “We believe The Innerwork Center name conveys what we do with greater clarity, welcoming all Richmonders to do their inner work in a supportive environment. We’re evolving as an organization, just as we are evolving as individuals, as a community, and as humankind.”  

        The Innerwork Center’s mission is to be a catalyst for well-being through programs that inspire curiosity, cultivate mindfulness and awaken the spirit. They envision an individual and collective human experience rich with compassion, authenticity and meaning. The center offers programs in Mindfulness, Creative Expression & Movement, Psychology & Consciousness and Wisdom Traditions & Spirituality. In addition to hosting classes, donation-based drop-ins, keynotes and retreats, the center also offers a walking labyrinth on Richmond’s Northside, free and open to the public.

        The organization has received accolades for its keynotes, bringing national and international speakers to Richmond including Parker Palmer, John Philip Newell, James Hollis, Krista Tippett and Ruth King. Their fall theme, “The Transformative Power of Inner Work”, will feature a keynote on Thursday, October 24 with Dr. James Doty, neurosurgeon, founding director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University and New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart.


Douglas defines inner work as “the deep introspection that gives you clarity about what matters most in your life.” Inner work requires being brave enough to ask the hard questions of “Who am I? Why am I here? What happens when I die? Why do I believe what I believe? What matters most? How can I connect more meaningfully with others? How can I be more present? What exists beyond me?” Douglas says, “Inner work invites us to open ourselves to new physical, emotional and spiritual experiences, expanding our understanding of ourselves and how we fit into the bigger picture. It is not selfish ‘navel-gazing’, as tending to our inner selves establishes the foundation for doing the outer work of sharing our energy and gifts with the world.”

The impacts of doing our inner work include:

  • Cultivating compassion for others, which has a positive effect on us.
  • Journaling to foster self-awareness, gain personal insights and track behaviors we seek to change.
  • Meditation to change the brain’s structure in powerfully positive ways.
  • Self-compassion practices that help us work with difficult emotions, motivate us with kindness versus criticism and combat caregiver fatigue.
  • Connecting with our subconscious to help us let go of unwanted or even unknown barriers that we place on ourselves.
  • Mindful movement practices that benefit us physically and psychologically, making us more relaxed and giving us greater equanimity, better concentration and improved mood.
  • Making and/or listening to music to reduce depression, anxiety and chronic pain.

The Innerwork Center’s fall schedule will include programs such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), The Heroine’s Journey Weekend Retreat, Radical Self-Care, Giving Sorrow Words: Exploring Grief and Loss Through Writing, Compassion Cultivation Training and I’d Rather Be Whole Than Good: Intro to Jung. 

The Innerwork Center is located at 213 Roseneath Rd. For more information or to register for programs, call 804-359-0384 or visit



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