Blog Posts

Currents: December 2017


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:
Holiday Party & Potluck at Still Point
Tuesday, December 12th, 5:30-8:00pm at Still Point.
See The Annual Holiday Party & Potluck for more information.

Hike on Christmas Day
Monday, December 25th, meeting at 1pm at the Windhorse office.
Questions and RSVPs to:

Hike on New Year’s Day
Monday, January 1, 2018. Time and location to be determined.
Please keep a lookout for community emails with details of the event. If you do not currently receive community emails and would like to, please contact us at

Community Lunches:
Stephanie’s Goodbye Lunch
Tuesday, December 19th, 12:30-1:30pm in the Windhorse office kitchen.
Please note that this is the third Tuesday of the month, which is a week later than is typical for Community Lunch.

January Community Lunch
Tuesday, January 9th, 12:30-1:30pm in the Windhorse office kitchen.

For more information, contact us at

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The Annual Holiday Party & Potluck

We cordially invite you to this year’s  Windhorse Holiday Party & Potluck, which will take place on the evening of Tuesday, December 12th. In years past, this celebration has been well attended and a great deal of fun. We hope you will join us for the festivities!

When: Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Time: 5:30-8pm, with set up beginning at 4:45pm and clean up from 8 to 8:30pm.

Where: Still Point

Questions? Need more info? Email Virginia at or the front office at

Here’s a flyer for the event with a few more details: Windhorse Holiday Party & Potluck

Please bring a main dish, side dish, appetizer, or dessert to contribute to the potluck. If you can, please also bring your own plate, bowl, and cup. We can provide these items to those who forget, but it will reduce overall clean up for Still Point folks and helpers if most people bring their own dishes. THANK YOU!

In addition to the potluck, Virginia will be preparing a fun cookie-decorating station for those who are interested. The cookies will be baked in advance, and frosting, colored sugar, and other decorating supplies will be provided.

Also, there will be a traditional Yankee swap gift exchange. For those who aren’t familiar with this fun custom, here is a simple explanation: Everyone draws a number. The person who drew #1 chooses a gift from the pile and unwraps it.  Then person who  drew #2 may choose from the gift just unwrapped or a new wrapped gift, then the #3 person may choose from either of the first two gifts or a new gift, and so on… Those who would like to can bring a wrapped item (or multiple items, if you so choose) to contribute to the swap. The gift may be something you have at your home, or you could purchase something to bring (valued at $10 or less). However, everyone is welcome to participate in the swap, even if you do not bring a gift. Gifts are given for everyone to enjoy. Out of respect for those with scent and chemical sensitivities, we ask that all gifts be fragrance-free.

We would very much appreciate the help of anyone willing to take part in the set up and clean up for the party. If you would like to help set up you may arrive at Still Point as early as 4:45pm. Clean up will take place from 8 to 8:30pm. Many thanks in advance to those who help out!

Finally, thank you so much to Virginia for hosting!

We look forward to seeing you there!


Things To Do: Solstice Celebrations

Many traditions take place during the month of December, including celebrations of the winter solstice. The winter solstice usually falls on or around December 21st, but celebrations take place in the days or weeks preceding or following. For those interested, here are three such celebrations taking place in the area. The first is being hosted by Victoria, the Executive Director of the Windhorse Northampton site.

Song & Warmth on the Winter Solstice
Hosted by: Victoria and Kira Yoshen
Date: Thursday, December 21st
Location: Leeds, MA
For more details, click here.

Yule Celebration Western MA
Hosted by: EarthSpirit
Date: Sunday, December 17th
Location: Florence, MA
For more details, click here.

Winter Solstice Celebration
Hosted at: Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary
Date: Sunday, December 21st
Location: Easthampton, MA
For more details, click here.


Basic Attendance Training with Jeremy

On Wednesday, November 15th, Windhorse partnered with Lisa Sarno from Sierra Tucson for an event entitled Basic Attendance: Relational Mindfulness for Clinicians and Caregivers. A group of about 20 local and regional providers convened in the Northampton room of the Hotel Northampton for some socializing and a delicious dinner followed by a poignant presentation by Jeremy Andersen, a Senior Clinician and the Education Director here at Windhorse IMH Northampton. Jeremy offered an hour-long presentation about the power of meditation and mindfulness for clinicians, and how contemplative practice is the foundation of Basic Attendance. He led the group through a meditation practice, incorporating the sometimes rowdy background sounds of downtown Northampton into the practice itself. He emphasized how tending to oneself, particularly through a contemplative practice, serves not only ourselves, but also the individuals in our lives that we are caring for, both personally and professionally. The participants asked excellent questions and gave great feedback, and everyone agreed that we should hold a similar sort of meeting again in the future.

Written by Davis Chandler, Team Leader and Admissions team member at Windhorse IMH Northampton.

If you’re interested in learning more about Basic Attendance, please click here. To watch a video of Jeremy’s talk, please visit Windhorse Talk: Basic Attendance and Relational Mindfulness. Below we’ve also included an overview of the talk and its focus.

The Art of Being With: Relational Mindfulness for Clinicians and Caregivers

According to contemplative psychology, the capacity to be present and available to others is both an expression of our basic human sanity and a strength we can cultivate. We share this capacity with everyone we encounter, regardless of role, diagnosis, and the like. Mindfulness meditation and other contemplative practices offer us a way to bring forward this natural clarity, warmth, and openness. We can then bring these qualities into the various relationships and environments that fill our work and lives. The intentional practice and art of this kind of relational mindfulness is known as Basic Attendance. In Basic Attendance, one attends to one’s own mind and body, to the other person, and to the relational and physical environment as a whole. By mindfully connecting with our immediate experience in this way, we are better able to meet others with presence and genuine openness—human being to human being—and better able to recognize and encourage the innate wakefulness we all share.


Board Meeting Summary from December 5, 2017

The Board met at 12pm EST/9am PST on Tuesday, December 5th.  Marylou Sullivan sent her regrets at the Board level and Annie Collins was unable to attend at the staff level.

Nathan, who works in Portland as a Team Leader and used to work at Windhorse in Boulder led off the meeting with a mission moment talking about the strengths of each.  He misses the cadre of clinicians that have been practicing WIMH for 30–40 years.  He likes that they train the Portland contingent.  The emergence of a new Windhorse is a bit unsettling to him, but he likes the beginner’s mind of it.

The agenda was mostly focused on the financials and the budget.  After discussion from each site about how they were thinking about their budget, the Board ratified the budget for 2018.  They expect to check in after the first quarter financials are available and asked the Directors to be ready to prepare new budgets if these are not in line with actuals.

Dimitri received a promotion from Associate Executive Director to Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo site.  Lisa remains the West Coast Executive Director.  The Board was pleased to have Dimitri step up and Lisa open up her time.

The Hearst Foundation grant came through, for two years of projects on the west coast.  It will help the organization’s 2017 bottom line be positive, as the Northampton site has lost more money this year than San Luis Obispo and Portland sites have made.  There are savings, but we really can’t continue this trend.

The Board voted on bonuses for the west coast, figured out next year’s calendar, and went into Executive Session.  The Board also went over the highlights of 2017 and felt very positive about accomplishments and how the staff approached challenges (like low census).  They also appreciated the harmony between sites.  The next Board meeting is planned for Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

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


’tis the Season for Giving and Receiving

Traditionally speaking, this time of year is when we gather with loved ones and demonstrate our appreciation for them with kind words and thoughtful gifts. Finding appropriate gifts can be a stressful and frustrating enterprise. How best to show your feelings? Do you need to spend a lot of time, or a lot of money? Sometimes, the simplest solution is a quick handmade gift. It demonstrates that you took the time to make something (but it need not take too much time) without needing to spend a great deal of money. Handmade gifts are often cherished just as much or even more than something store bought. Inspired by this, we’ve collected a short list of websites where you can find instructions for a variety of handmade items, from mason jar brownie mixes to bath salts, coasters to iPad holders. We’re confident that there’s at least one project on these lists that you will think looks fun to create and that will make a great gift.

50 of the Best DIY Gift Ideas

15 Handmade Gift Ideas

10 Cool Mason Jar Projects

Giving isn’t the only stressful part of the holiday season; receiving gifts can be just as difficult to manage. Receiving gracefully is practically an art form, and one which often takes years of practice to perfect. In honor of this we’d like to share with you a quote we came across. We hope it will inspire you to embrace the act of receiving, which in its way can be just as generous as giving.


“Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”
― Alexander McCall SmithLove Over Scotland




  • Stephanie is retiring from her position as a Wellness Nurse and member of the Admissions Team this month.
  • Eric G. has joined us as a new Housemate.
  • Scott will be leaving his position as Housemate this month.

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