Blog Posts

Currents: May 2019


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


Upcoming Events

mark your calendar
Mark your calendars for upcoming community gatherings!

Community Events:
Strawberry Picking in June
Date and time still to be determined so keep an eye on your email for the details as they are announced. If you’re not currently on our community email list and you’d like to be added, please contact us at and let us know. 

Events Committee: Wednesday, June 5th, 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, June 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, June 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.
Upcoming Events in the Area:
Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair in Cummington, May 25th-26th. (See A Poem for the Season for another great stop to make while you’re in Cummington for the fair.)
Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, May 25th-27th.
WGBY Asparagus Festival in Hadley on June 1st.

For more information, contact us at

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Development Corner

I sat in a community council today.  We started outside, sharing names and the creature we were energetically identifying with in the moment.  After sharing where we would like to visit (I chose a fictional land from a story I love by Ursula LeGuin), we walked into the community room.  There, we beheld an exquisite beauty way (see photo) created collaboratively by the Arts Group.  This council was a mix of staff, clients, and family members, past as well as current.  We shared the ritual of sitting together and listening and speaking from the heart.  It was both simple and powerful.

We have many practices at Windhorse that support us in our efforts to stay conscious and compassionate as we build relationships and get our work done.  We are constantly learning: from each other, from books, from trainings, from sharing about trainings, from sitting in a circle together and listening to each other.  We offer support as we request so much from each person involved in this community of healing.  All of us are healing.

Years ago, when I first arrived, I thought this approach would catch on in the greater world.  I would see glimpses of it in other forms and clinical systems.  There are many wise and helpful structures in the world.  This Windhorse mixture of showing up and being present as who you are is not just an idea.  It is a community, a series of evolving decisions that tie back to our core values, a culture we all create.   I want to figure out how to have it accessible to more people.  And I want to invite you to be involved, to take an opportunity to support this way of being together, wholly.

Victoria Yoshen
Executive Director of Windhorse IMH Northampton
Windhorse IMH 211 North Street, Suite 1 Northampton, MA 01060

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Mental Health-Related Podcasts & Videos

We love staying in touch with all of you through the Currents monthly blog posts, and we hope that the information we gather and present to you has been and continues to be useful to your lives. It is our goal, above all else, to keep our community connected and informed as best we can. On that note, we’d like to share with you some podcasts, videos, and playlists we’ve discovered that all delve into the topic of mental health. While we haven’t had the time to listen/watch to all of these presentations, we’re confident that there is a wealth of information and experience shared among them, and we hope that a few (or more) strike a chord with you. If you have podcast, blog, video, or other resource that you’re fond of or that you feel accurately discusses/depicts an aspect of mental health or mental illness, we hope you will share it with us in the comments section.

11 Mental Health Podcasts Worth Checking Out from Pacifica

Mad in America Radio Podcasts from Mad in America

Madness Radio Podcasts from Madness Radio

Mental Health Book Club Podcasts

All Kinds of Minds playlist (9 talks) from TED

The Struggle of Mental Health playlist (12 talks) from TED

And, finally, while not a podcast or video, we feel we should mention The Wildflower Alliance (a.k.a. The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community) website, as it is a great resource for mental health and mental illness-related news (local, state, and national). And they, too, have a monthly e-newsletter that you can sign up for.

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Council II Training

Written by Andrea Porter, Operations Manager at Windhorse IMH Northampton.

Last month, Victoria Yoshen and I attended a training weekend outside of Putney, Vermont for the Way of Council II.  The New England Council Collective has been hosting Way of Council trainings at Sun Hill Farm for many years.  It was a gorgeous and inspiring location to deepen our practice.  This training was geared toward participants who have taken Council I, have some direct experience, and have been facilitating for some time.  It was a wonderful opportunity to explore the form of Council with other facilitators. 

Council has a strong history at Windhorse, which allows us to share stories as a community and strengthen the threads between us as individuals and as a group.  We participate in Council regularly as a staff and also as a community.  Often the experience is very grounding and I leave the circle with a huge amount of appreciation for the sacred nature of the practice and everyone’s involvement in the process. 

Sometimes, although more rarely, it can be challenging to feel what arises in these situations; shadows of resistance or conflict can show up.  As facilitators it is our task to hold the form and honor the elements of Council, to “read the field” and notice when the group may need something different than we planned.  In these situations, when we may have veered off the path, it is important as a facilitator to let go of our own agenda and provide a way for the group to look at the challenge within the safety of the framework of Council. The response may be to alter the form, to address a specific question, or recognize the conflict and move on. Another part of the growth as a facilitator is having the strength and courage to look at our own obstacles or “blind spots”.  This training was very grounding and enlightened some personal areas of growth around desire and authenticity. 

As participants in Council, we do our best to hold all the guiding principles: listening fully, being spontaneous, staying true to what is real in the moment, having compassion and being lean of expression.  As facilitators we also need to honor the ceremonial quality, be aware of inclusivity, and notice what is arising in the group.  I look forward to deepening my work with more facilitation practice and looking at how Windhorse can develop our use of Council.

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Things To Do: Outdoor Eateries

We’re a bit waterlogged in the Pioneer Valley these days. Though not unusual for springtime in New England, the sheer abundance of recent precipitation has made it feel as if Mother Nature is concerned that we’re all terribly dehydrated. But this too shall pass, and we’re looking forward to days of clear skies and refreshing breezes, whenever they come our way. With this thought in mind, we’d like to share with you some restaurants that provide their patrons with the option of al fresco dining. Some of these establishments are open year-round, while others are only available seasonally (so enjoy it while you can!).

Captain Jack’s Roadside Shack in Easthampton

Tandem Bagel Company in Easthampton

Esselon Cafe & Coffee Roasting in Hadley

Flayvors of Cook Farm in Hadley

Cushman Market & Cafe in Amherst

Bub’s BBQ in Sunderland

Scotti’s Drive-In in Leeds

Village Green Ice Cream in Haydenville

And if you are looking for a restaurant that’s a bit more upscale, perhaps to celebrate a birthday or just to treat yourself to a phenomenal meal, here are a few spots that fit that description. And like the ones listed above, all of these restaurants provide outdoor seating.

Tavern on the Hill in Easthampton

The Alvah Stone in Montague

The Blue Heron in Sunderland

Now, keep in mind that we’ve intentionally mentioned restaurants that are a little further afield, only because while we suspect you’ve already visited some of the outdoor eateries that Northampton has to offer, you may not have heard of all of these other ones. However, for those of you still getting to know Noho, here’s a quick (and certainly not exhaustive) list of some of the restaurants that have tables outside: Woodstar Cafe, Mosaic CafeEastside Grill, Moshi Moshi, Spoleto, Amanouz Cafe, Patisserie Lenox (located at 48 Main Street, though this is not reflected on their website), Filos Greek TavernaPizzeria Paradiso, and Iconica Social Club, among others.

If there’s a place you like to go to enjoy a good meal in the sun, please share it with us in the comments section.

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A Poem for the Season

We’d like to share with you this poem entitled The Gladness of Nature by William Cullen Bryant.

Is this a time to be cloudy and sad,
When our mother Nature laughs around;
When even the deep blue heavens look glad,
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground?

There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren,
And the gossip of swallows through all the sky;
The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den,
And the wilding bee hums merrily by.

The clouds are at play in the azure space
And their shadows at play on the bright-green vale,
And here they stretch to the frolic chase,
And there they roll on the easy gale.

There’s a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,
There’s a titter of winds in that beechen tree,
There’s a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.

And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles
On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray,
On the leaping waters and gay young isles;
Ay, look, and he’ll smile thy gloom away.

If you happen to be in Cummington on Memorial Day weekend for the Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair, we’d like to suggest that you also stop by and check out the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, which is located just up the road from the fairgrounds. Bryant grew up in the house and then returned to live there later in life. The homestead includes the house, a barn, and extensive grounds with pastures, a stream, old growth woods, and a trail system. The grounds are free and open for the public to explore. The house is open for scheduled, guided tours on weekends during the summer and fall seasons. Attendees of the MA Sheep & Woolcraft Fair may partake in a guided house tour for free on May 25th or 26th.

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Quick and Easy Gardening

With all the rain we’ve had of late, the Valley is lush with vegetation. All of the spring blossoms, from daffodils and tulips to all the varieties of flowering trees, have brought tremendous color to our landscape. It’s quite a shift from the monochromatic snowy winter landscape.

All of the greenery and vibrant flowers surrounding us have inspired us to talk to you about gardening. Do you garden? Would you like to start? The thought of trying to grow something may be intimidating or overwhelming, but there are plenty of quick and simple ways to get started, and there are plenty of hardy plants out there that don’t need helicopter-parent-level of care. What if you started with just one, two, or three plants? If you don’t have a yard space, why not keep a pot or two on your deck, balcony, or front stoop? If you enjoy cooking, how about growing a few herbs that you can make use of when you create your meals? Or if you want to try your hand at growing produce, why not start with one potted tomato plant? Below are links to sites that provide info on everything from “can’t-kill” flowers to the easiest vegetables to grow to tips for starting a garden. We hope they inspire you to get your hands a little dirty. (It’s good for you. We promise. And if you don’t believe us, just click here to find out more.)

Easy Annual Plants that Bloom All Summer Long from DIY Network

13 Can’t Kill Flowers for Beginners from HGTV

9 Gardening Tips for Beginners from Real Simple

The Seven Easiest Vegetables to Grow for Beginner Gardeners from LifeHacker

Easy Plants for Kids to Grow (because chances are they’re easy plants for adults to grow too!) from HGTV

10 Container Garden Tips for Beginners from The Spruce

We’ve also compiled a list of nurseries, garden centers, and community gardens in the area. These could be great resources for learning about what native plants would work best for you and what type of care they will need. And if you’d like to do some gardening on a slightly larger scale but you don’t have the space where you live, then a community garden might be just the ticket.

The Northampton Community Garden website

Grow Food Northampton’s “Gardener News and Resources” page

Hadley Garden Center

Wanczyk Nursery (Hadley)

Andrew’s Greenhouse (Amherst)

Village Green Ice Cream — it seems they have a small nursery too! (Haydenville)

Finally, click here to check out an article from the April 2018 issue of Currents that talks about gardening books for beginners that are available through the local library system.

Happy planting, friends!

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Recipes: Showcase Herbs

In the article above we mentioned that you can plant herbs in a pot and then make use of them when you cook. This motivated us to find some recipes that would showcase your harvest. We hope you’ll try a few out and let us know what you think. Better yet, send us a photo of your finished dish so that we can admire your handiwork (and salivate over how delicious it looks). If the timing works out, perhaps you could even bring your dish to the next community lunch (on June 11th) so that we might all partake. 

Herby Potatoes with Sour Cream from Taste of Home

Penne with Asparagus, Pistachios, and Mint from My Recipes

Cheese and Fresh Herb Quiche from Taste of Home

Herb Pesto from Epicurious

Citrus-Tarragon Asparagus Salad from Taste of Home

Cilantro Grilled Chicken Breast from Food Network

Herbed Salmon Fillet from Taste of Home

Strawberry-Rosemary Yogurt Pops from Taste of Home

You may have noticed that asparagus features in two of our recipe choices. That’s because it’s asparagus season in the Valley, and you’ll likely find no better or tastier asparagus than the ones grown here, so eat up! And don’t forget to check out the annual Asparagus Festival held on the Hadley town common (next to Esselon Cafe) on Saturday, June 1st. They have all sorts of vendors, food trucks, crafts, demos, and live entertainment.

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  • Angela will join the staff this month as a new Team Leader.
  • Rich has rejoined the staff as a Respite Housemate.
  • Judy has rejoined the staff as a Respite Housemate.
  • Ariel has left her position as a Housemate.
  • Sam will be leaving their position as a Housemate at the end of the month.
  • Scott will be leaving his position as a Housemate at the end of the month.
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