Currents is published monthly by Windhorse Integrative Mental Health of Northampton, 211 North St., Suite 1, Northampton, MA 01060. Executive Director is Victoria Yoshen. For questions, concerns, and suggestions about Currents, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming EventsMark your calendars for upcoming community gatherings!
Open Mic, Potluck, & Still Point Housewarming
Wednesday, May 15th, 5:30-8pm. Please join us as we gather together to celebrate the many talents in our community, share some delicious food, and introduce our new Still Point space. Please keep an eye out for emails with additional details. If you are not yet on our community email list, please email us at email@example.com and let us know you’d like to sign up.
Friday, May 17th, 2:30-5pm. The Community Council that had originally been scheduled for April has been rescheduled for May. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info, or check out this article in February’s issue of Currents for a description of council.
For more information, contact us at email@example.com.
When I approach the idea of asking for help from a sense of playful energy, in a deserving frame of mind and with an understanding how contributing helps to build community, then I have a much clearer mind. My self-doubts and sense of dread disappear. Windhorse does valuable work and other people are quite astonished and supportive of what we know and create on a daily basis. Why wouldn’t they want to be involved? Their resources might be time, money, connections, an/or wisdom and it is my job to figure out the best way to have the channel between our needs and their support be easy and full of reciprocity. To that end, I have asked Eric and Jeremy to come up with a list of discrete projects that we have put on hold recently in our efforts to become a leaner organization. In the next few months we will articulate our goals for these projects as well as the kind of support we need right now in Northampton in order for us to achieve these goals. If you have ideas about what you would like to offer, please contact me or Eric or Jeremy, and we will have the list from both sides – the asking and the offering.
“The practice of giving is valuable outside of financial goals. If we quadruple our bank accounts but aren’t transformed into a community of people who are kinder, gentler, more ready to welcome the stranger, more forgiving and more committed to justice, then we may have practiced fundraising, but we didn’t find ourselves playing in the deepest wells of real stewardship where real change lives. The thermometer for measuring meaningful stewardship is less the meeting of an annual financial goal and instead the degree to which a body of people looks more and more like beloved community.” ~ from a Presbyterian manual for tithing
Prep Your Knees for Activity
Yay! It’s getting warm! [Cue jumping for joy and running around like a dog with the zoomies.] Now we can start walking, running, hiking, and cycling again, and we can soak in those glorious rays of sun, gentle breezes, scents of blooming flowers, and chipper tweets of happy avians. But before you head with full force into cardio-based activity, remember that you may need to do some prep work first. Many of us are more sedentary during the colder months because we spend so much time inside, and as a result our knees may lose strength and flexibility. Here are a couple of articles that demonstrate some simple knee exercises so that you can get those vital joints in shape for spring and summertime activity, and keep injury from darkening your doorstep.
Black Bears and Bird Feeders
At Windhorse we believe community is important, as being a part of a community promotes health, happiness, and a sense of well-being; an individual gains a lot from feeling that they are not alone, and that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. But our definition of community goes beyond the people we know through the Windhorse organization, and it even goes beyond people in general. We value our community of western Massachusetts, which includes all of the birds, beasts, insects, and plants, as well as the humans. Our environment is just as much a part of our community as the people whose company we keep. We try to keep an eye out for things we can do to promote and aid the health of our environment, and we thought we’d share this tip we recently learned.
In early spring (late March and April) black bears are venturing out, having awoken from their winter hibernation. As one might expect, they are hungry and eagerly searching out easy sources of food. While they have many options from which to choose, they often seek the quickest and easiest in an effort to use as little energy as possible (and who can blame them for that!). Unfortunately, this means they are drawn towards our bird feeders, trash cans, and compost bins. One simple solution for keeping bears away from your home is to take down your bird feeders. There is plenty of food available to wild birds at this time of year, and as wonderful as it is to watch the antics of feeding birds, a bird feeder can prove too tempting for a ravenous black bear to resist. And once a black bear finds your feeder it is likely to remember it, creating a real nuisance for you and a potentially harmful situation for the bear. If you’re interested in helping out your bird friends, perhaps you could install a shallow bird bath or a bird house for nesting, or you could plant some native flowers or shrubs known to attract birds. For more information on this and the other points mentioned in this article, check out the links below.
Things To Do: Find Ways to PlayWritten by Victoria Yoshen, Executive Director of Windhorse IMH Northampton.
You don’t need a parachute to go skydiving. You need a parachute to go skydiving twice. Laughter – how do we get more of it in our lives? Watching television sitcoms is one easy answer, but another thought is play. Any kind of play that includes an element (or two) of the unexpected usually leads to laughter. And if you add in other people you get the potential for even more unexpected moments and even more laughter.
We are coming into the season of summer play with easy-to-set-up games like badminton, skipping rope, tossing a ball, card games by the pool, and board games listening to crickets in the evening. Then there are simple excursions such as bicycling on a new bike trail, attending a concert in a local park, or finding a stick and playing in puddles the next time it rains.
The benefits of play are getting to know yourself or someone else in a new way. It is amazing what you learn, in conversation and non-verbally, when you toss a ball back and forth with someone. If play is founded in kindness, rather than competition, it can lead to an experience of safety.
Some of what might arise for me in giving myself over to play are questions like: How can I like being here? What will evoke an alive, spontaneous, out-of-pattern interaction here? How can I see things differently? In finding answers, I am building skills that help me choose play more often and thinking more creatively in other areas as well.
- skipping down the street,
- do something you haven’t done before,
- join a class,
- borrow an animal for time together,
- take a day in nature,
- fly a kite,
- allow yourself to be idle and see what arises,
- see the world through a child’s eyes,
- add music to chores,
- dress up more than you might usually,
- say hi to people you don’t know,
- organize an indulgent day (bodywork, cooking new recipes, a long conversation),
- do things that don’t make sense,
- draw with chalk on the sidewalk.
If you find a playful way to be in the world that you want to share, please let us know in the comments section.
A Poem (or Two) for the Season
In anticipation of May, we hope you enjoy this poem entitled Song on May Morning by John Milton.
Now the bright morning Star, Dayes harbinger, Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her The Flowry May, who from her green lap throws The yellow Cowslip, and the pale Primrose. Hail bounteous May that dost inspire Mirth and youth, and warm desire, Woods and Groves, are of thy dressing, Hill and Dale, doth boast thy blessing. Thus we salute thee with our early Song, And welcom thee, and wish thee long.
We’d also like to share with you Lines Written in Early Spring by William Wordsworth, which you may read by clicking here. Happy Spring to one and all!
Harmony versus Hatred
The Dalai Lama and Arthur C. Brooks wrote a column which was posted recently on The Washington Post website. In it they discuss the at-times deeply polarized world in which we currently live, and the habits we fall into that tend to perpetuate that polarization. But they also discuss a way out — how we might change our approach to conflicts so that each party is treated with respect and we feel harmony even in the face of disagreement. We were inspired by their words. Perhaps you will be too.
Recipes: Simplicity in Spring
Western Massachusetts boasts many farms, farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and local produce in grocery stores. While we’re only at the beginning of the harvest season and we do not yet have full access to the bounty of the county, we do still have options for local, in-season produce like radishes, peas, carrots, and greens. Here are a few recipes that incorporate those ingredients in flavorful, simple ways so that you can highlight their flavors without a lot of effort.
If you’d like to keep an eye on what produce is in season, we highly recommend you check out the Western Mass Harvest Calendar on the CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) site. It’s a very handy reference guide, and you can download it for use when you’re off-line. The CISA site is also a great resource for finding local farmers’ markets or restaurants that use locally-grown ingredients. Plus, they have a weekly column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette that highlights what’s in season and ways to use it. Click here to learn more.
- There were no new transitions this month.