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'We need a lot of healing': The Zen Den provides alternative healing methods for Milwaukeeans

Camille Mays demonstrating how singing bowls work
Posted at 5:44 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 08:11:13-05

MILWAUKEE — Healing looks different for everyone. Some may practice yoga, others take a walk in the park.

The sound you hear when Camille Mays plays her sound bowls is supposed to bring you peace.

That's one of the main reasons she opened up The Zen Den late last year at 3910 W. Lisbon Ave thanks to a partnership with Mental Health America WI.

From sound healing, to meditation, to expressing yourself through art, Mays and Grey Powell II are walking in their truths and providing alternate healing methods at The Zen Den.

"Our city has experienced a lot of trauma, so we need a lot of healing," Mays said.

Camille Mays turned to sound healing as a way to cope with a devastating loss. Her son Darnell Woodard II was killed back in 2019.

"I didn't submerge myself in the experience until I started looking for any and every way to someway to get through grief," Mays stated. "For me, (when I'm playing the sound bowls) it just takes me to a place of peace and balance. I am nowhere when I'm playing."

It's her relief and release, she said. Mays said when she plays her singing bowls, she feels vibrations through her body. It helps her to focus better and lessens her anxiety.

The Zen Den is her safe space to recenter and refocus. Mays said it helped her navigate through the grief of loosing her son.

"Some of the tools that we have here are ways to help you recenter those thoughts," she said.

Now, if sound healing isn't your niche, The Zen Den has other ways for you to relax, such as yoga and art therapy.

Powell is the man behind the amazing art pieces, but some of these pieces symbolize tough moments he's been through.

"Through my years from a child to an adult. This has been one of these constants for me, Powell said. "I can get into it and drift away for a little while."

Both Powell and Mays say it's not an easy journey, but one that's worth it.

"This is more of us trying to give someone else our coping mechanisms," Powell said.

The duo has bigger plans such as creating a mobile Zen Den that will go around the city and meet people where they're at.

The Zen Den is opened Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can schedule an appointment by calling (414) 795-4645 or by emailing

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