- Upcoming Events
- Development Corner
- In Gratitude
- Things To Do: Solo Activities
- Our Annual Thanksgiving Gathering
- A Poem for the Season
- Recipes: Simple Dishes
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, November 22nd, 1-5pm
Join us for some delicious food, merriment, and pleasant company. See Our Annual Thanksgiving Gathering for more info. Email us at email@example.com to RSVP or with any questions.
Wednesday, December 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.
Tuesday, December 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.
Wednesday, December 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.
We had our first snowfall of the season last week. I watched myself amazed at the beauty, frustrated at the difficulty in driving through it, not quite set up to shovel. I am entering the next six weeks of November/December similarly. I am grateful for friends and shared events. I like much of the music that we share. I am no longer inspired by potlucks and weigh my desire to curl up and read a book against going out in to the world to celebrate.
“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” – Brené Brown
Asking for help is an even more intense form of receiving. Even if I am totally ready to receive a ‘no’ as a response, just the act of knowing I need something and figuring out how and who to request help of… major workout.
“We don’t work in the non-profit sector. We work in the for-change sector!” – unknown
This month I am asking. Our revenues are from private pay and our approach of spending so much time with our clients is expensive. We receive people that really believe in us and are stretching their fiscal reality to allow their loved one to be here. For them, to be able to extend the work is a huge gift. We do our best as an organization to offer ways to reduce the teams and extend the work. When we have a fund to draw on, it happens more often. If you have the means to give a donation to the scholarship fund, I am asking. Please. Thank you.
Executive Director of Windhorse IMH Northampton
211 North Street, Suite 1
Northampton, MA 01060
It’s the time of year when people often shift their focus to gratitude, to the things in their lives for which they are thankful. But this can be a tall order for some. How does one express thanks when one’s life is far off its intended course? Or when one is battling depression on a daily basis? What if one doesn’t feel supported by one’s family? Is it possible to still be thankful for them?
And it’s hard not to look around and compare one’s life to the lives of others and feel that so much is missing. Hearing what other people are thankful for can often make the holes in one’s own life seem even bigger, and it can produce a level of jealousy or resentment of the other person, for why should they have so much when you have so little?
But even in the darkest corner gratitude can be found if you look hard enough, and we encourage you to search for it (if you want to). New science suggests that focusing on gratitude can have a positive effect on your life; it may even be able to quietly rewire the way in which you thinks.
If you are able to put aside those feelings of disappointment, resentment, jealousy, and frustration, even just for a few minutes, you may find that being grateful is not as hard as it seems. Perhaps your life is nowhere near where you want it to be, and perhaps that causes deep feelings of remorse and sadness, but is your life far from where you came? Has there been progress, even just a little? Can you feel thankful for that forward movement, however small it may seem? Perhaps you don’t feel supported by your family, but do you have a friend who is kind and who cares, or a pet who clearly loves you? Can you feel thankful for him/her/them? Perhaps you find it hard to even get out of bed in the morning. Can you feel thankful for the days, however few, that you are able to get up? Perhaps just being awake feels painful? Can you feel grateful for movies, television, books, or anything else that gives you a brief respite and distraction from the pain?
This may be too big a request for some of you or perhaps it just feels like a pointless exercise – and we fully respect your decision not to try it if either of those are the case – but we hope at least a few of you out there will consider giving it a shot and letting us know how it goes.
In case you’re interested, here are a few articles we found on the topic of gratitude and its effects on the brain and body:
7 Surprising Health Benefits of Gratitude by Jamie Ducharme
The Grateful Brain by Alex Korb, Ph.D.
Gratitude Physically Changes the Brain, New Study Says by Jessica Stillman
How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain by Joel Wong and Joshua Brown
And finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being a part of the Windhorse community. It’s our community, and the diversity of experiences found within it, that gives us strength and helps us learn and grow. And we would not be the same without each and every one of you.
Things To Do: Solo Activities
In past issues of Currents we’ve told you about activities you can do with others, or places to meet other people. This month we’d like to focus on things you can do by yourself. The weather is turning colder and the days are getting darker and there may be times when staying in is more appealing than braving the outdoors. And there are plenty of things to do inside by yourself that can be rewarding and that can help you to still feel connected, be it to yourself, to loved ones, or to the world at large. Below is a list of ideas we’ve come up with, but we encourage you to share the solo activities you enjoy by writing to us in the comments section. Who knows? Your idea may inspire others in our community, which is yet another point of connection.
- Meditation: Meditating can have profound effects on one’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Scientific studies abound on the many health benefits of it. It can help you manage your stress, sleep better, feel calmer, reduce negative thoughts and feelings, and increase your patience and attention span, just to name a few. For those with smartphones, there are a number of helpful apps for starting and maintaining a meditation practice. Here’s an article from Mindful magazine that describes five of them. If you feel like you need more in-person guidance on meditation, you could try a class at one of the local meditation centers before starting your practice at home, or as a way to complement your home practice. A quick internet search gave us a few names of local centers, but there are more to be found if none of these speak to you: Pioneer Valley Shambhala Center, Valley Mindfulness, Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley.
- Arranging flowers: A vase of flowers can be a simple way to bring color and uplifted energy into your apartment, especially during the winter months when everything green has been blanketed in white. And there are some simple tricks and techniques you can use if you want to give your arrangement a more polished or professional touch. This slideshow from Better Homes & Gardens or this one from Martha Stewart should give you a place to start.
- Reading a book: Or a poem, short story, novella, play, etc. Reading can transport you to other worlds, let you live out someone else’s story, make you laugh or cry, and so much more. In a way, when you read a story you’re not only connecting to the characters within it, but you are also connecting to everyone past, present, and future who has read/is reading/or will read that same story. You all share something, even if you live on different sides of the world or in different time periods, and that is a pretty powerful thought. If you need ideas for books to read, here is a list from PBS of America’s 100 most-loved books.
- Writing: Writing a journal can help you stay connected to your own thoughts and feelings. Writing a letter or email can keep you connected to friends, family, and other loved ones. Writing a blog can connect you with people you’ve never met who can relate to your thoughts/ideas/experiences, or who enjoy your story or style of writing. In short, it’s one activity that promises connection in one way or another.
- Making things: The act of creating something with your own two hands can be a very rewarding (and sometimes humbling) experience, and if offers points of connection such as with the materials or the people who made the materials, or the intended recipient, if there is one. Be it woodworking, knitting, cooking, decoupaging, or any other of the limitless crafts/trades/hobbies out there, we hope there’s at least one that you’re curious about or passionate about. And we hope you’ll share that passion with us by telling us about your craft in the comments section, or sending us a photo, or stopping by the office so that we can admire it in person. If you’re looking for some ideas of crafts to try, check out this article from the September 2018 issue of Currents.
Our Annual Thanksgiving Gathering
Every year Windhorse hosts a Thanksgiving gathering so that community members who are staying in the area for the holiday can come together and enjoy a meal and one another’s company, and this year is no different.
We hope you will join us for an afternoon of delicious food and merriment. This year we will have a potluck celebration, and Windhorse will provide vegetarian lasagna, cider and seltzer, salad, and pie. We welcome you to bring any other delicious items you’d like to share with the group, whether or not they are traditional Thanksgiving fare. All are welcome to attend and all food is welcome at the table. In addition to the meal, we also plan to have games, a puzzle, a movie, and maybe even more! So come join us, eat some tasty food, and have fun hanging out!
For those of you without transportation, rides can be provided to the event but we’ll need to know in advance so please tell us when you RSVP that you will need a ride. Also, please note that this event is being hosted in a house where pets live, so if you have pet allergies please plan accordingly.
Here are details on the event:
Date: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22nd
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Address: This event won’t take place at the office. Please contact us for information on the address in Northampton where the gathering is happening.
Questions to: Cat, CSargent@windhorseimh.org or ext. 109
RSVP to: Cat or your Team Leader (for current clients), or reply to this email.
*Please note that RSVPs are encouraged but not required. Please feel free to join us even if you haven’t RSVP’d.
Click here to check out the flyer for this event.
On behalf of the entire Windhorse community, I would like to give a big thank you to Cat, David, and Kate for making this event happen. THANK YOU!
We hope you will consider joining us for this wonderful event and we look forward to seeing you there!
A Poem for the Season
The Harvest Moon
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer’s close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.
And for those interested in continuing the theme of gratitude, you might enjoy Thanksgiving by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Recipes: Simple Dishes
Many of us are quite busy this time of year and the last thing we want to do is spend hours laboring over the stove, so we’ve collected recipes for some fairly simple, straightforward, but still delicious dishes that are pleasing to the palate and would be equally at home on your dining room table or at a potluck. Enjoy!
Okay, this one isn’t super simple but it’s super quick, it looks awesome, and it would be great for those times when you have a chocolate craving but don’t want to make something large and elaborate (this one is cooked in the microwave!): Chocolate Cake in a Mug from FoodNetwork.com
Do you have any simple recipes in your repertoire? If so, please share them with us in the comments section.
- Lindsay left her position as a Senior Clinician.