Blog Posts

Currents: August 2018


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

Upcoming Events

mark your calendarMark your calendars for upcoming community gatherings!

Community Events:
Ice Cream Social at Flayvors of Cook Farm
Wednesday, September 19th, 3:15-5pm
We’ll meet at the office at 3:15pm and drive together to Flayvors in Hadley to enjoy some ice cream (or other treat). Please RSVP to, especially if you’ll be needing a ride so that we can coordinate carpools.

Events Committee:
Wednesday, September 5th, 9:30-10am in the Windhorse community room.
The Events Committee plans Windhorse community events and groups. Clients, staff, and community members are welcome to attend and share their ideas. The committee meets on the first Wednesday of every month from 9:30 to 10am.

Community Lunch:
Tuesday, September 11th, 12:30-1:30pm at the Windhorse office.
This is an opportunity to enjoy a potluck lunch while meeting and socializing with others in the Windhorse community. All are welcome to come for the whole hour or just stop by for a visit. Please feel free to bring your own lunch or contribute something yummy for the group.

Community Education:
Wednesday, September 12th, 9-11am with an optional guided meditation 9-9:30am.
Join the Windhorse staff during their monthly discussions and trainings on topics relating to the work of Windhorse. Open to the entire Windhorse community. 2nd Wednesday of the month, 9:30-11am. You are also welcome to attend the 30-minute guided meditation from 9-9:30am.

Board Updates:
The Board will be participating in a retreat in Portland, OR on September 14-16th.

For more information, contact us at

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Development Corner

Once again this month, I am appreciating Windhorse’s 25 years in existence here in Northampton (I’ve been a community member myself for nearly 18 of those years!).  Arriving at this milestone, it’s significant to note that we’ve been such a strong and vibrant agency and community for all this time, supporting folks from all walks of life.  We have also been leading a necessary societal paradigm shift towards connection, relationship, team collaboration, and effective support in the realm of mental health recovery.

We appreciate any donations you offer to our scholarship fund (see the easy donate button at the bottom of this page). We also welcome any contributions to our quest for memories (see my note below).

I want to share some meaningful words from a community member (reasonably choosing to remain anonymous at this time) who received services from a Windhorse Team several years ago.  Recently sharing something from their experience at Windhorse, they said…

“I’m grateful for the deep, authentic, meaningful connections I made with the people on my team, as well as with the larger Windhorse community. There is a feeling of warmth, nurturing, and respect that was much different than any other mental health setting I’ve experienced.  Windhorse offered me so many opportunities to heal, explore, grow, and thrive. Mindfulness, art, yoga, gardening, music, NVC {Non-violent Communication}, Interpersonal relationship building, life skills, and loving kindness are what comes to mind when I reflect on what I learned and loved most about Windhorse.  I believe the spirit of Windhorse continues to play a part in my personal and professional life to this day, many years after my time there.”

I feel deeply inspired from these comments.  Once again, we encourage you to similarly take a moment to share a memory of your Windhorse experience.  I invite you to email, mail, or call me directly, and offer your words.  If you would like, I would be happy to get back to you for dialogue.  We are compiling reflections and experiences in order to create a collection of memories and thoughts marking our 25thyear.  Of course these contributions will be held anonymous or confidential if you choose.  Any comments are highly valuable to us, whether anonymous or identified.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your participation in the Windhorse community!

Eric Friedland-Kays
Senior Clinician and Coordinator of Development
413-586-0207 x106
Windhorse IMH
211 North Street, Suite 1
Northampton, MA 01060


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Board Meeting Summary from August 14, 2018

All Board members and Directors were present.  Thomas, a housemate from Portland, gave a heartfelt sharing of his path through Windhorse the past year, especially the importance of community as a healing tool for staff and clients.  He spoke of being struck by the warmth and openness of everyone he met at Windhorse.  He is leaving to pursue studies in Cambridge, so the Northampton contingent of the Board invited him to visit.

The Board reviewed the June financials and Executive Directors’ reports from each Site.  They looked at trending over time, and Northampton is trending up.  June and July were positive bottom lines.  San Luis Obispo (SLO) has 9 full teams and a waiting list.  Both SLO and Portland are happy with their size given the importance of community. 

There is a Board retreat in September for the Board members and Executive Directors to meet face to face.  It will be held in Portland.  The end of the Board meeting was used to figure out the focus and components of the retreat.  The Board agreed to hire a facilitator so that everyone can participate.  The framing conversation will be around whether we’d like to be a collaborative learning organization between all the sites or whether we would like to evolve separately as three distinct entities.  Either direction is fine, we just need to pick one.  Or perhaps, once in conversation, we will find an option C or D.

Written by Victoria Yoshen, Executive Director of Windhorse IMH Northampton.

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Things To Do: Biking

The Pioneer Valley loves cyclists and cyclists love the Pioneer Valley, and it’s all for good reason. The hills and farms and river valleys provide beautiful landscapes through which to bike (some of them more challenging while others allow you to just cruise along), and the more commuter cyclists we have the less impact we have on our environment. Whether it’s a Sunday bike ride along the bike path, or a weekday commute to work, cycling can be a worthwhile and enjoyable activity. It’s a way to get great exercise, see areas of the Valley you might not visit otherwise, take in the lovely scenery, calm your mind through this form of “meditation in motion,” and use fewer fossil fuels. And to keep you cycling away, we have a ton of resources for you to take a look at. 

Let’s start first with the “where.” Below are four books we found in the library system that provide a variety of different bike rides to try:

Short Bike Rides in Western Massachusetts, by Howard Stone

Short Bike Rides in Central and Western Massachusetts, by Howard Stone

Bicycling the Pioneer Valley… and Beyond: 28 Scenic Road Bike Tours in the Connecticut River Valley Region of Western Massachusetts, by Marion Gorham

Backroad Bicycling in Western Massachusetts: 30 Rides in Berkshires, Hampshire County, the Mohawk Trail, and the Pioneer Valley, by Andi Marie Cantele

In addition, here are links with information on the local bath path systems and other resources:

Friends of Northampton Trails + Greenways

Norwottuck Rail Trail

Norwottuck Rail Trail (Francis P. Ryan section)

Mass Central Rail Trail (Norwottuck Branch)

Friends of the Manhan Rail Trail

Bike Trails in Western Massachusetts

If you’re in need of a bike or need some work done on one you currently own, there are a number of bike shops in Northampton and the surrounding towns:

Northampton Bicycle (Northampton). By the way, they’re having a bicycle cleaning clinic on August 25th.

The Bike Lab from Pedal People (Northampton). This is a free, informal workshop where bike enthusiasts/experts lend some of their knowledge to newbies, those needing help with basic maintenance or repairs, and those wanting to learn more. It’s typically held every Saturday.

Full Circle Bike Shop (Florence)

Valley Bike and Ski Werks (Hadley)

Hampshire Bicycle Exchange (Amherst)

Laughing Dog Bicycles (Amherst)

Quadrini Electric Bikes (Florence)

Joe’s Bike Garage (Haydenville)

Manhan Bicycles (Easthampton)

If you’d like to find other cycling enthusiasts, check out one of the following groups:

Northampton Cycling Club (Northampton)

Happy Valley Cyclists MeetUp (Amherst)

Bike Friday Adventure Club of New England MeetUp (Amherst)

Amherst Bicycle Touring MeetUp (Amherst)

Pioneer Valley Bicycle Explorers MeetUp (Florence)

(The Bike Lab we mentioned in the previous section is also a great place to find fellow lovers of cycling.)

And finally, here’s more information on the area’s newest cycling innovation, a system that allows you to rent bikes from stands located downtown (think Zipcar but for bikes):

ValleyBike Share

P.S. Do you know about Pedal People, the Northampton-based delivery and hauling service that is done entirely on bicycle? If not, check them out. As we mentioned earlier, the Pioneer Valley really loves cyclists and Pedal People are a good example of that.

Happy riding!


Hot day? Cool Drinks.

This latest spell of oppressively humid weather got us thinking about ways to cool off, and refreshing beverages sprung to mind. Below are some ideas and links to drinks that might help take the edge off when you need relief from the heat. Do you have a favorite refreshing beverage that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section. (P.S. If you’re looking for other ways to cool off, check out our post from last month that mentions local swimming spots.) 

Perfect Lemonade, from (Here’s a similar recipe for limeade from, just in case that’s more up your alley.)

12 Ways to Make Water the Most Delicious Thing Ever, from Also check out our post from last month that discusses creative ways to increase your water intake.

Smoothie recipes from, or check out Smoothie-licious: Power-Packed Smoothies and Juices the Whole Family Will Love by Jenna Helwig, available at Forbes Library in Northampton.

Classic Shirley Temple from

Sun Tea from Simply Recipes

Root beer float: Add one scoop of vanilla ice cream to a tall glass and pour in root beer. The root beer will bubble and foam a lot so start with a little and wait for the foam to recede somewhat before adding more.

Have fun and stay cool!

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A Poem for the Season

On the Grasshopper and the Cricket
by John Keats

The poetry of earth is never dead:
  When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
  And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
  In summer luxury,—he has never done
  With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
  On a lone winter evening, when the frost
    Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
  And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
    The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

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Recipes: S’more, please!

A common summertime childhood memory (especially for those of us who attended multiple years of camp or took part in family camping trips) is roasting marshmallows over an open fire. And what always followed the roasting of a marshmallow? A s’more, of course! Life is pretty good when your hands and face are covered with gooey marshmallow and melted chocolate as you attempt to consume what may be the simplest and yet most satisfying treat in the world. These fond memories led us to think about s’mores once more, this time as adults, and wonder if there were other ways to enjoy their flavors and textures beyond the straightforward s’more. A quick internet search gave us our answer: Yes! There are a lot of s’more enthusiasts out there and they’ve come up with some fantastic ideas and recipes. We encourage you to rekindle your love of s’mores with the links listed below. We’re confident that there are at least a few recipes among these lists that will tempt you back to the land of childhood.

9 Grown-Up Gourmet S’mores from Better Homes & Gardens.

15 Creative S’mores Recipes from Shared Appetite.

39 S’mores Hacks That Will Change Your Life from BuzzFeed. (The grilled s’mores banana packet from NeighborFood is an intriguing idea. And s’mores-stuffed cookies from A Cookie Named Desire look absolutely divine!)

You could also start with the traditional s’mores recipe (like this one from and add a little something new, such as a dollop of peanut butter or Nutella, a peanut butter cup or a peppermint patty or other chocolate candy in place of the piece of chocolate, or a chocolate marshmallow or chocolate graham cracker in place of the traditional ones. And don’t let the lack of an open fire dissuade you from eating a s’more. You can also roast marshmallows over an outdoor grill, a gas stove top, or under the broiler in your oven. Just be sure to watch those marshmallows closely so that they don’t over-roast or melt onto your equipment.

On a final note, we don’t want to leave out the vegetarians and vegans out there who aren’t able to eat traditional marshmallows. After a quick internet search we found that there are two brands of vegan marshmallows that are fairly easy to find. Trader Joe’s carries some (under their brand name), and the brand Dandies have another (available at Whole Foods and other retailers).  

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  • Sara joined the staff as a Respite Housemate, and will become a Housemate next month.

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