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Currents: October 2018

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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 info@windhorseimh.org.

Upcoming Events

mark your calendarMark your calendars for upcoming community gatherings!

Community Events:
Pumpkin Carving 
Thursday, October 25th, 3-5pm in the Windhorse office.
Join us for some Halloween fun! Pumpkins and carving tools provided, or feel free to bring your own. See Our Annual Pumpkin Carving Event for more info. Email us at frontoffice@windhorseimh.org to RSVP or with any questions.

Events Committee:
Wednesday, November 7th, 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, November 13th, 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, November 14th, 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.

For more information, contact us at info@windhorseimh.org.

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Development Corner

I met the director of a program in the Boston area last week.  He was meeting the agencies involved in community integration in New England.  As we conversed, he mentioned that his program had a new feature, DMH (Department of Mental Health) certification.  I realized that meant someone who had been at Windhorse and moved back to the Boston area would qualify for the DMH portal to his program, which was a great next step for her.  I called her to let her know of this opportunity.  It came at the perfect time, as her current case manager was working with her on finding supportive housing.   This woman left our program two years ago, but she is still in touch with many of us and we still hold her in our hearts. 

This is where Windhorse falls down the most – for families that don’t have extraordinary resources – as there comes a time, no matter how well everyone is working together, that the family has to stop the program.  We have improved our skills over the years at transitioning someone into other services.  When we use the financial aid pool, this is where it is best leveraged, to extend someone’s stay with us.  At the reduced team end of a program, six more months can make a huge difference for everyone; client, family, clinicians, staff.

Victoria Yoshen
Executive Director of Windhorse Northampton
VYoshen@windhorseimh.org
Windhorse IMH
211 North Street, Suite 1
Northampton, MA 01060

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The Departure Film Screenings

Below is an article that featured in last month’s issue of Currents. We wanted to include it once more since the film screenings take place in early November. We also wanted to let you know that there is at least one Windhorse staff member planning to attend a screening and she welcomes your company. Victoria will be attending the screening on Thursday, November 8th in Westfield. If you are interested in joining her, please RSVP at frontoffice@windhorseimh.org. Please include your name and a phone number so that we can contact you. We’d greatly appreciate it if people would please RSVP in advance so that we can make sure there is room enough for everyone in the vehicle(s). There may be other staff members or community members who decide to go, either to the screening on November 7th in Turners Falls or on November 8th in Westfield, so if you’re interested in going on either of those dates please contact us and we’ll try to put you in touch with others who plan to go. And if you plan on going and would be willing to give a ride to other people, please let us know.

In November, the Western Mass RLC will be sponsoring two screenings and community discussions of the film The Departure. Here is a description of The Departure from the film’s website:

“Ittetsu Nemoto, a former punk-turned-Buddhist-priest in Japan, has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between his patients and himself. The Departure captures Nemoto at a crossroads, when his growing self-destructive tendencies lead him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living?”

The film screenings will be on Wednesday, November 7th in Turners Falls, and Thursday, November 8th in Westfield. For more specifics on the where and when, check out the Western Mass RLC’s flyer

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Preparing for Darkness

According to NewEngland.com, mid-October is this year’s peak foliage window for Massachusetts. We are grateful for the breathtaking colors that this time of year brings — it is one of the perks of living in the Pioneer Valley — but with that beauty comes darkness. By mid-October the days have become noticeably shorter, with the sun rising later in the morning and setting earlier in the evening. And once we change the clocks for the end of Daylight Saving Time (which occurs on Sunday, November 4th, by the way), the setting of the sun and its accompanying darkness will start even earlier each day. Though this change happens every year, it can still be a shock to the system. So how does one adjust to the shift and reduction of daylight? That’s a question we’ve pondered and we’d like to share our thoughts with you.

Colder weather and darker days can be an opportunity to come together. Spending time in the company of others, indoors in the brightness and warmth, can feel cozy and bring a sense of comfort. The Danish even have a word for that feeling, hygge. It loosely translates to the sense of contentment and feeling of coziness that one feels when curling up in a woolen blanket and reading a good book, or enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with a loved one, or pulling on a pair of fuzzy, fleece slippers. It brings a sense of warmth to mind, body, and spirit. Do you know that feeling? Denmark experiences even less daylight than we do during the winter — their shortest day has around seven hours of daylight, while we experience close to nine hours on ours — and so they use hygge to help them through the darkness. Perhaps we should do the same. Hygge is a concept that is spreading around the globe, and there was even a New Yorker article about it. If you’re interested in learning more about it and maybe making it a part of your life, a simple internet search will produce many resources.

Here are some other ideas we had for coping with the darkness:

  • Warm blankets and comforters (They’re called comforters for a reason, right?).
  • Spiritually-uplifted books or readings.
  • Warm soups, hearty stews, roasted root vegetables, and other comfort foods. Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old science of healing that originated in India, even recommends eating these foods during the colder months to combat some of the effects such weather has on our bodies. See the Recipes section of this post for links to related recipes.
  • Soft pillows, soft slippers, soft clothing, pretty much anything soft.
  • Weighted pillows or blankets. These items can help ground you and/or help you sleep better at night. They are available online from major retailers as well as individuals who craft them by hand.

Do you have ways to combat the darkness? What works for you? We’d be very interested to hear, so please tell us in the comments section.

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Things To Do: Apple Picking

There’s still time! Don’t worry, it’s not too late to take part in the quintessential autumn activity of apple picking; you still have a week or maybe even two left. Mix one pleasantly crisp afternoon with hundreds of ripe and ready apples, as well as hot apple cider and tender, sweet apple cider donuts, and you’ve got the recipe for a pretty-much perfect autumn day in New England. And luckily for us, there are plenty of orchards in the area that permit the public to choose their own apples and pluck them straight off the tree. Below are a few orchards worth checking out, just be sure to look at their websites or give them a call before heading over as they all may keep different hours for apple picking.

Park Hill Orchard (Easthampton)

Kielbasa Orchards (Amherst)

Bashista Orchards & Cider Mill (Southampton)

Dickinson Farm & Greenhouse (Granby)

We hope you have fun out there! Leave us a comment or email us a photo and let us know what you thought of your apple picking experience, especially those of you new to the activity. And check out last month’s issue of Currents for the poem entitled After Apple-Picking by Robert Frost.

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Our Annual Pumpkin Carving Event

For the past few years Windhorse has been offering pumpkin carving as the October community event, and this year is no exception. We provide the pumpkins, tools, and patterns, and you provide your creativity and a willingness to have fun and maybe get a little pumpkin goo on you. To ensure that we have the right number of pumpkins, we’d appreciate it if you’d RSVP ahead of time to frontoffice@windhorseimh.org. That said, please don’t let the lack of an RSVP stop you from coming. We’d love your company!

Here’s a flyer with more details on the event in case you’re interested: Pumpkin Carving 2018.

And here are a couple of links that we pulled from last October’s pumpkin article that we thought you might want to peruse.

Pumpkin carving tips and tricks from PracticallyFunctional.com

DIY Pumpkin Decorating Ideas from TheIdeaRoom.net

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Any Interest in NVC?

Are you interested in taking part in an NVC group next year? For those who aren’t familiar, NVC (otherwise known as nonviolent communication) is a practice based on the work of Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. It offers a way of authentically connecting with others through deep listening. An NVC group itself is skills-based and, through exercises and dialogue, teaches the participants the basics of NVC and how to make use of it in their lives. NVC Groups are not new to Windhorse; the practice of nonviolent communication is admired, respected, and used by many people here, and Windhorse has hosted groups in the past. We are considering holding another NVC group in the coming year if there is sufficient interest. If you are intrigued and you think you might like to participate, please get in touch with us at frontoffice@windhorseimh.org.

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A Poem for the Season


October
by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,	
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;	
To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild,	
Should waste them all.	
The crows above the forest call;	        
To-morrow they may form and go.	
O hushed October morning mild,	
Begin the hours of this day slow,	
Make the day seem to us less brief.	
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,	        
Beguile us in the way you know;	
Release one leaf at break of day;	
At noon release another leaf;	
One from our trees, one far away;	
Retard the sun with gentle mist;	        
Enchant the land with amethyst.	
Slow, slow!	
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,	
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,	
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—	        
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

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Recipes: Hearty Soups & Stews

We don’t know where to start with soups and stews. They can be filling, soothing, comforting, delicious, warming, or all of the above. In addition, some are quite quick to make. You even have the option of making a large pot, portioning it out, freezing the portions, and then you can have a hot and healthy lunch each day, ready in minutes, with only a microwave required.

The internet is well stocked (pun intended) with soup and stew recipes and we encourage you to find some that speak to your particular tastes. But in the meantime, here are some to get you started:

Mushroom and Barley Soup and Red Lentil Soup from TheKitchn.com

Vegan Roasted Root Vegetable Stew from FoodtasticMom.com

Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup from CookieandKate.com

Creamy Root Vegetable Stew from PinchofYum.com

Spinach and White Bean Soup, Pasta e Fagioli, and Cauliflower Chowder from DamnDelicious.net

Enjoy and slurp away!

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