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 email@example.com.
Upcoming EventsMark your calendars for upcoming community gatherings!
Visit to the Spring Bulb Show
of the Botanic Garden of Smith College
Thursday, March 14th, 1-3pm leaving from the Windhorse office. Check out Bulb Show on the Horizon for more info, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
For more information, contact us at email@example.com.
Things To Do: Be Your Own Valentine
For some, Valentine is a four-lettered word. If you’re single when Valentine’s Day rolls around it can feel like the whole universe is going out of its way to point out that you’re not part of a pair. But what if we step back from the more consumerist and Hallmark-driven features of the modern day Valentine’s and get back to its more redeeming qualities? Valentine’s Day, at its core, is about telling/showing/demonstrating that you care for or about someone. The gestures need not be grand, nor do they need to be directed at a sweetheart or significant other. They can be directed at a friend, a mentor, a family member, a neighbor, or a pet. They can even be directed at oneself. What if Valentine’s Day shifted from a day all about couples to a day that we used to show love and compassion to ourselves? Can we each be our own Valentine? A quick internet search will show you that evidence abounds on the benefits of self-compassion. It can reduce stress, help you face difficult truths, and help you make transformative changes all because you know that deep down someone has your back… you. After all, you know yourself better than anyone; you know the trials you’ve been through and the battles you’ve waged; you know your strengths and your weaknesses; you know what you need and what feels like comfort after a difficult day. So how about this week we each take a moment or an hour or a day to show ourselves that we care? And perhaps we could even make it a regular practice. Even if the act is very small, such as stopping to take a few deep breaths during a stressful afternoon, it still counts as showing yourself compassion, as caring for yourself like a loved one would. Set the intention to show yourself more love and compassion and you’ve already done half the work.
Here we’ve compiled a brief list of things that you could do to show yourself some kindness:
- Buy yourself flowers, or just a single stem. Having a colorful flower or two in your house can enhance your environment and uplift your space.
- Take a nap. The health benefits (both mental and physical) of napping are well documented. Check out this link from RealFarmacy.com for some quick info on napping, what it’s good for, and how long you should do it.
- Take a bath, and if it sounds good then add some luxury with essential oils or bubbles. Submerging your body in warm, comforting water can be hugely beneficial (check out this info from Lifehack.org to learn more).
- Read a favorite book or a children’s book. If you don’t have a children’s book on hand, check out our post below entitled A Reading for the Season.
- Go for a walk, a hike, or an adventure. If you’re looking for something guided, or you’d like to go with a group, check out these offerings from the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Find a new favorite musician through Pandora, BandCamp, or Spotify.
- Try loving kindness meditation (also called metta). This type of meditation asks you to first practice loving kindness towards yourself and then practice it with others in mind. Instructions on how to practice loving kindness meditation are all over the Web, but here are some simple ones from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley to get you started. The writings and videos of Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron can also be valuable resources when learning this type of meditation. Click here to see some of the books written by Pema Chodron that are available through our local library loan system.
- Eat a piece of chocolate, or a bright and cheerful clementine, or anything else that feels indulgent or satisfying or comforting in some way.
Lastly, we’d like to share this article we found from Mindful magazine entitled The Transformative Effects of Mindful Self-Compassion. We hope you find it as useful as we have.
Bulb Show is Blooming on the Horizon
The March community event is coming up in the near future. For this event we will be making a trip to the Botanic Garden of Smith College for their annual spring bulb show. We all know that New England winters can drag on (and on and on) but Smith College comes to our rescue with this “spectacular array of blossoming crocuses, hyacinths, narcissi, irises, lilies and tulips” (from the Botanic Garden’s website).
Here are all the details:
Date: Thursday, March 14th, 2019
Location: The Botanic Garden of Smith College
Address: 16 College Lane, Northampton, MA 01063
RSVP and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need a ride from the office to the bulb show please be in touch with the front office so that we can make sure there is room enough for everyone. Admission to the bulb show is free, but there is a suggested donation of $5 if you’d like to contribute to the amazing work they do at the Botanic Garden. Stay tuned to your email for additional information and updates about this event.
Check out the event flier here.
If you’re not currently on our community email list and you would like to be, please contact us at email@example.com.
How a Group is Started
Perhaps you haven’t heard but on Friday, January 25th, Windhorse began offering a weekly Art Group open to the entire Windhorse community, and it’s been a roaring success and quite a happening place. During the group our office is filled with laughter and creativity, and it’s a joy both for those participating in the group and for everyone else nearby.
The Art Group started because there were a couple of people in our community who enjoyed creating art and crafting in their spare time, and they wanted to share their passions with others. Many of our groups start this way. We are a talented and varied community full of fun, unique interests and hobbies, and every so often one or two among us are motivated to open up and share their knowledge with the rest of us and teach us about the things they love to make/do. It’s a win-win for everyone; the novices get to learn about a new hobby or activity, and perhaps it’s something they will enjoy for years to come, while the experts get to meet new people, make new connections, practice their craft, and spread some joy.
Is there a group you’d be interested in seeing offered at Windhorse? Or a group you’d be interested in helping facilitate? Is there something that you enjoy doing in your spare time that you’d like to share with others? Or is there something you’re interested in learning more about, and wonder whether someone in our community might have some familiarity or expertise with it? If so, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We’re always interested in hearing people’s ideas for new groups.
Council and its Role at Windhorse
Council has been a part of Windhorse for over 25 years. It is a way of being with each other that strengthens our sense of community and builds our connections to one another. In council we practice the skills of being authentic, being mindful, feeling compassion, listening fully, and being spontaneous. It provides us with a space to just be present with the members of our community, and appreciate them and their journeys, as well as our own.
Council is a practice often unfamiliar to people when they arrive at Windhorse. It is based in indigenous and wisdom traditions. During council we gather in a large circle. We often start with a quiet moment and after that the facilitators of the council tell us how we will proceed through the practice, what the guidelines of council are, and whether or not there is a theme. In the center of the circle sits the beautyway. The beautyway is a central arrangement that offers a place to ground oneself, to look on and admire, and to give the practice of council a ceremonial quality. The beautyway often incorporates the four elements of nature (earth, air, fire, water) in some way, either directly or through some sort of representation. It often contains things like flowers, colorful cloths or scarves, polished stones or mineral specimens, but the possibilities are endless as each beautyway design is unique.
Victoria, the Executive Director of Windhorse Northampton, would like to hold a council in April that will be open to all members of our community. If you are interested in helping her hold the council, or in helping create the beautyway, then please contact us at email@example.com.
For more information on the practice of council, check out The Way of Council by Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle (you can find it in the local inter-library loan system here). Additional resources and descriptions of council can be found through The Ojai Foundation (who gave the practice of council to Windhorse all those many years ago), NatureWisdom.life, WaysofCouncil.net, or by simply searching “way of council” on the internet. Additionally, another description of council was featured in the January 2018 issue of Currents. If you are curious about council and have questions or would like to talk to us more about how the practice is held at Windhorse, then we invite you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Reading for the Season
In place of a poem, we thought we’d share something else with you this month. Click here to watch a reading of the beloved children’s book Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. The book is written by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Paul Yalowitz, and read by actor Hector Elizondo.
Recipes: Chocolate, Chocolate, and a little more Chocolate
Sure, there is such a thing as a person who doesn’t like chocolate, but they are few and far between in this world. For the most part, chocolate is a real crowd pleaser. Whether it’s a plate of basic brownies or a decadent chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and cloaked in rich ganache, chocolate can take many shapes and forms, and all of them are worth celebrating. Here, we’ve compiled a list of recipes for you that feature chocolate in some way. Hopefully there’s something for everyone with options the are nut-free, vegan, and one that doesn’t even require baking. We hope you give one or two (or more) a try and let us know what you think. And if it just so happens that you have a lot of leftovers, feel free to stop by the office and let us have a taste. Chocolate always has a home at the Windhorse office. 🙂
If you’re feeling a little adventurous or ambitious, check out the New York Times Cooking post below. It contains everything from multiple renditions of brownies (including one created by Katharine Hepburn), to instructions from Mark Bittman on how to temper chocolate, to Tahini Chocolate Cakes (for those of you wanting to step outside of the box a little).
And if you’re trying to keep things a bit healthier check out ChocolateCoveredKatie.com for a variety of recipes that will curb those chocolate cravings without going overboard. The black bean brownies, for instance, are surprisingly good in addition to being gluten-free and packed with protein. (Just don’t tell anyone what’s in them and chances are they won’t even notice. Believe me. I made them for the office once and people had a hard time figuring out the secret ingredient.)
- There were no new transitions this month.