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Currents: August 2019

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Currents is published monthly by Windhorse Integrative Mental Health of Northampton, 211 North St., Suite 1, Northampton, MA 01060. The Executive Director is Victoria Yoshen. For questions, concerns, and suggestions about Currents, contact us at info@windhorseimh.org.

 

Upcoming Events

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Mark your calendars for upcoming community gatherings!

Community Events: Swimming at Musante Beach
Thursday, August 22nd, 3:30-6:30pm at Musante Beach in Leeds, MA. Join us as we kick off our shoes and enjoy an afternoon swimming and relaxing on the beach with the sand beneath our feet. Transportation is available for those who need a ride. Please RSVP in advance for this event, and let us know if you’ll be needing a ride. We recommend that folks bring a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, water, and snacks. The beach has bathrooms as well as shady spots for those who wish to keep out of the sun. For more information on Musante Beach please click here or here. For more information on this event or to RSVP please contact us at info@windhorseimh.org.

September’s Community Event will be an Ice Cream Social at Flayvors of Cook Farm in Hadley, MA. Please keep an eye on your email for announcements about this event as the details are decided. If you are not on our community email list and you’d like to be added, please email us and let us know at info@windhorseimh.org

Events Committee: Wednesday, September 4th, 9:30-10am in the Windhorse community room. The Events Committee plans Windhorse community events. 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 10th, 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 11th, 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.
 
Upcoming/Ongoing Events and Groups in the Area:
National Alliance on Mental Illness meetings (Northampton), 2nd & 4th Tuesday of every month (see link for more info).
Free Fitness Classes at Pulaski Park (Northampton), four times per week through August 27th.
Northampton Scrabble Club (Florence), Monday evenings at The Lilly Library. More info here.
Cummington Fair (Cummington), August 22-25th.
Three County Fair (Northampton), August 30th-September 2nd.
Ballet: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Northampton), August 31st at the Academy of Music.
Community RePair Workshop (Northampton), September 21st, time and location TBD.
Will Bike 4 Food Event benefitting The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, September 29th. People registered to participate in this fundraiser can also make use of the event-sponsored training rides and workshops, like this one.

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Development Corner

Toni Morrison died this month.  I was looking for quotes from her to post in the Poetry Corner section of the Enrichment bulletin board in our office.  I found this from her book Beloved.
 
“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.”  
 
This struck me inside where my being is wordless – the feeling of knowing someone who can do that for you.  It is what the Windhorse clinical teams aspire to, not just for the person receiving services, but for each other.  When all the pieces fit together in an order that makes sense, even if it is fleeting, there is a “rightness” felt amongst everyone.  That profound moment stays in our bodies, our experience, our knowing of what is possible, potent, and important.  We build on that.  Ms. Morrison said many other inspirational words about fear and freedom and practicing your art.  I encourage you to find her and add her wisdom to your life.  I am glad we keep offering this work in this world – collaborative healing models blending autonomy and belonging.  Let’s keep finding out where it leads us.
 
Victoria Yoshen
Executive Director of Windhorse IMH Northampton
Windhorse IMH 211 North Street, Suite 1 Northampton, MA 01060 VYoshen@windhorseimh.org
 

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Hope is a Verb

Written by Eric Friedland-Kays, MA, Senior Clinician and Administrator of Windhorse IMH Northampton.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” 
– Sir Winston Churchill

This quote was in the conference program of this year’s A4CIP Annual Conference, which I attended in June.  Windhorse is a founding and integral member of the Association for Community Integration Programs (A4CIP), which counts a total of sixteen mental health organizations from around the country as its members.  Each year, Windhorse participates in the membership meetings as well as the one-day conference that is open to anyone, all of which take place at The Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Hope and the Courage to Continue.”  The conference speakers explored hope as central to personal transformation.  We also explored fear of hope, barriers to hopefulness, and what brings hope from hopelessness.  One speaker, Dr. Chyrell Bellamy, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor of Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Director of Peer Services/Research, said that addressing our fears of hope allows us to start getting to our goals.  We might fear being hopeful because, for example, our past disappointments lead us to be fearful of letting ourselves down again.  In Dr. Bellamy’s words, “We all need to be reaffirmed in loving ourselves” in order to begin to be hopeful.  And she emphasizes the “collective responsibility” we all have in supporting one another, supporting one another’s trust and safety, and building community together. 

This network at A4CIP emphasizes “community integration” in mental health recovery.  All of the member organizations are part of the association because we emphasize the aspect of recovery that includes an individual not being in treatment.  Windhorse, from its beginnings as a mental health organization, has been devoted to offering a significant degree of support so that an individual can immediately have the space to enter into and begin their life outside of mental health services at the same time they are receiving support.  This is very different from a “residential” setting, which can also be valuable in some situations. 

In addition to this year’s conference, we had our annual A4CIP membership meeting. Representatives from most of the sixteen member organizations attended.  We talked about supporting one another with initiatives around marketing at events (e.g. mentioning the greater A4CIP network when we go to conferences in support of our individual programs), developing the association’s website and analytics, remaining in touch with each other in the many months between annual conferences, and other topics relevant to all of us. 

In collaboration with another founding member, Ross Ellenhorn, I presented a provocative topic around “language” that was thankfully received in the meeting with great support.  My main points around language have to do with the reality that we need words to articulate and market the mission and approach of our programs (and of A4CIP as a whole) but how can we stay true to these needs and at the same time stay true to the values that make up our integrity?  These values include a belief that full recovery is possible even from very extreme mental states.  Another value that I believe all of our member organizations hold is the importance of “community integration,” which includes a collective responsibility to use language that connects rather than disconnects people. 

Said another way, as organizations we need to spread the word of our work to individuals and families that can benefit from our services, but we need to know that our choice of words can have positive or negative effects on the individuals we hope to serve.  To be more specific, I find that there are certain, commonly-used terms that create more disconnect and even end up inadvertently shaming; terms such as “treatment resistant,” which one of The Menninger Clinic’s clinician speakers, Matt Estey, mentioned could easily be changed to “failed by treatment,” to shift some responsibility from the client to the way they are treated.  Or another option could be to say that the individual “has not yet found a treatment that resonates.”  “Failure to launch” is another example of a commonly used term that I believe is often used mindlessly, without attention to its potentially detrimental effects.  Instead, I would suggest that a similar meaning could be achieved by noticing that an individual has had “successes” (even being able to survive despite internal difficulties is a success) and that the individual has not yet been able to begin a satisfying-enough life in the social world.

I feel grateful to be directly engaged in cultivating the effectiveness of the A4CIP network. 

For more information on and impressions of the most recent A4CIP conference from conference presenters and attendees, we invite you to click here to read an article posted on the association’s website.

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Changes Around the Office

If you’ve visited our Northampton office recently, you may have noticed some changes. We are in the middle of an “uplift” project. A committee of staff members is working to change the office environment to create a more cohesive, inviting, and uplifted space, so that all who enter, be they staff, clients, family members, or visitors, feel that they are in a relaxed and supportive place. These changes are primarily focused on the lobby, the parlor (the room to the left as one enters the kitchen/dining space), and the hallways, but other rooms may also be changed in time.

We have also made changes to the community bulletin boards located in the office kitchen. The bulletin boards are coalescing into three topics: Activities, Enrichment, and Wellness. Each topic will now have a curator(s) who will oversee the bulletin boards and pay attention to the content of what is posted and the length of time it is featured. Victoria is the curator of the Activities board, and Jonathan and Maya are the curators of the Wellness board. The curators of the Enrichment board have not yet been decided, but two possibilities are Cat and/or Mary. Staff and community members are still welcome to post items of interest on the bulletin boards (e.g. poems, comics, photos, articles, event announcements, information on groups related to recovery, wellness strategies, etc.). If you have something that you’d like to post but you wonder if it is appropriate and/or where it should be featured, please feel free to contact the Front Office or the curator(s) of the bulletin board where you’d like to post. If you’ve posted something and notice that it has been taken down, you should also feel free to contact the curator(s) of that board for an explanation or to have a discussion about your posting.

We would love to hear your feedback about these changes in the office. Please email us at info@windhorseimh.org and let us know if you’ve found these changes to be a positive experience, if you disagree with them, and/or if you have any suggestions about other things that could be done to improve the office environment.

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Things To Do: Good Reads for Slow Days

Summer days, as lovely as they often are, can sometimes drag on. When your friends or your family or your support network peeps are on vacation, it can be difficult to find enough to fill the day, especially if the day in question is an oppressively hot one. And so we’d like to offer up one option for filling the time and doing so in a rather entertaining way… Reading! For a restless mind, reading can be a soothing balm. And the material need not be stodgy, dull, or anything of the like. We’ve found a number of online resources that, together, hold a wealth of information as well as plenty of entertainment value. Some of these sites offer ways to find good books, while other sites are the reading material themselves. Check them out and let us know what you think!

BookBub

theSkimm

BuzzFeed

GoodReads

Hyperbole and a Half

Mental Floss

Entertainment Weekly

People Magazine

Brain Pickings

You could also check out this post on LifeWire, which mentions some of the sites on this list, as well as plenty of others.

If you’d like to catch up on the news, be it local, worldwide, or both, you can access The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, National Geographic, and loads of other news and information sites online for free as a local library card holder. Check out the Forbes Library’s website for more info. While you’re there, check out the Forbes Library’s summer 2019 reading list. Maybe you’ll find your next page turner there.

And if you’re in the mood for a great book but don’t know how to find one, try The Great American Read list from PBS. It contains 100 of America’s most beloved books (chosen based on a national survey).

Also check out our Upcoming Events section, for other “things to do” taking place in our Windhorse community and in the larger Northampton and Pioneer Valley communities.

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A Song for the Season

Instead of a poem, we thought that this month we’d share with you a song that has touched and inspired us, and which has both a beautiful sound and a beautiful message. The song is entitled We Shall by Known and it is by the duet MaMuse.

If you enjoyed that version of the song, then we encourage you to also check out this version featuring the duet accompanied by THRIVE choir. To learn more about MaMuse, or to read the lyrics of We Shall Be Known, please check out their website.

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Finding Joy

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

I started reading a book called Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by Adrienne Maree Brown.  It challenges our culture’s idea of pleasure being secondary to our well-being.  I took a tangent to think about JOY.  There are many spiritual songs that basically celebrate our human attunement to nature, ourselves, our friends and family, and the larger world around us.  This article seems to point out the small steps we can take to bring more alignment to ourselves and therefore more connection to the wider world.  Enjoy!

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Recipes: (sort of)

This section of Currents is typically peppered (pun intended) with a whole bunch of links to recipes, all of which were selected because they sound tasty, aren’t too ambitious (who has the time for hours of cooking!), and are organized around a theme, such as the current fruits and vegetables in season. This month we thought we’d try something different. Instead of providing you with recipes for things to cook, we thought we’d provide you with ways not to cook. We all need a break from cooking from time to time after all, and a hot day in August seems as good a time as any to get some distance from the stove. And so we’ve compiled a list of nutritious, protein-rich foods you can eat without heat! Here goes…

  1. Yogurt. This scrumptious protein comes in all sorts of varieties these days from the traditional to Greek (for more protein), lactose-free (for those whose stomachs can’t handle dairy), goat’s milk, and even vegan (made from nuts, coconut, soy, or rice). Plus, they come in all sorts of flavors and textures. If you want to mix things up a bit, try making a parfait of yogurt, berries, and granola for a delicious and texture-rich treat. 
  2. Nuts. These little nuggets of nutrition offer up a nice combo of protein and healthy fats, and they do it with a fairly satisfying crunch (particularly if they’re roasted). If you need a snack for on the go, why not try a little baggie of homemade trail mix? It can be any combo that speaks to you, but we’ve had good success with equal parts almonds, pecans, walnuts, dried cherries, and dark chocolate chips, and a half portion of sunflower seeds.
  3. Deli meats. Sure, this option isn’t for the vegetarians and vegans out there, but there are plenty of meat eaters among us. Deli meat is delicious and easy. You can make it into a sandwich, cube it up and add it to a salad, or roll it up with cheese and avocado (or other sliced foods of your choice) for a fun snack. There are so many different kinds of meats and flavors available that you could try a new one each week and never get bored.
  4. Smoothies and protein shakes. We encourage you to make friends with your blender and create something new, cool, and delicious this month. Many foods taste great when they’re blended together, and you can adapt the ingredients to your personal preferences as well as what you have on hand. We often like to put fruit (bananas and berries work well whether they’re fresh or frozen), a protein (such as Greek yogurt or protein powder), some liquid (such as milk, water, and/or almond milk), and a nut butter together. If that’s not sweet enough then try adding a touch of maple syrup or honey. If you’re looking for something more nutritious, try adding a little bit of green (perhaps a handful of spinach or some green powder). And if you’re a chocolate lover, try adding a smidgen of cocoa powder or (gasp!) Nutella. 

Do you have any go-to protein sources for days when you don’t want to cook? If so, please tell us about them in the comments section. We’d love more ideas for nutritious foods that beat the heat!

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