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April 29, 2015

 by Maegan Beishline, WTWC Marketing Coordinator & Adult Ballet Instructor

 

As marketing consultant for WTWC, I spend a lot of my time trying to encourage people to try a yoga or ballet class. One of the most common responses I get is “But I’m not flexible at all!” or “I have terrible balance.” I find these excuses so perplexing because it has been through the practice of yoga and/or dance that I (and so many others) have developed and improved flexibility and balance. Also, as a regular practitioner of both, I know that within the practice of each, I’m constantly working to improve further and maintain what I’ve already worked to develop. Through this lens of understanding that the skills come through the learning process and not before, it seems silly that someone would think they need to be good at something before they ever try it. But then I quickly remember how terrifying and difficult it is to start something I’ve never done before: to be a beginner.

 

My first experience with yoga occurred so very many years ago that I don’t recall what my initial apprehensions may have been. And my first dance class occurred prior to anything I can remember with any vivid detail. But I do know how much I resist trying some new things based on the assumption that I wouldn’t be able to do it “well” right away. I’ve come up against this very wall with skills such as drawing, gardening, cooking…heck, even mothering! This fear of initial inadequacy gets really damaging when it stop us from doing something that we know we should be doing or something we feel called to be doing. And worst of all, it doesn’t allow us to progress into the people that were meant to be.

 

Learning is difficult work. It can be immensely uncomfortable to struggle through the initial steps of something that we are not naturally inclined towards. But if we can allow a little extra space within ourselves for the vulnerability it takes to be inexperienced, we could see how capable we are of developing new skills and talents. And once we learn how to embrace the process of learning, the world opens up and all those things we wish we could do become more attainable. All the while, we’ll be learning how to live with even more grace and more acceptance of ourselves and others. 

 

 

No one likes to be the one who is falling all over the place in yoga class when it seems like everyone else is nailing their Tree Pose. But what you may not realize is that, at one point, we were all stumbling. And some days we still do. I love knowing that when I’m in a class, I’m surrounded by others who have stumbled also, who will look my way and give me that sympathetic slow head nod that says “yeah, I hear that.” And I like to think of life that way too; like one big yoga class with others who are learning and others who have learned and all of us just in it together, doing the best we can. And I think I speak for many of us when I say that when I see someone stumbling; whether in yoga class, dance class, or through something new they are trying to manifest in life; I don’t see lack or failure. I see courage and beauty and strength.

 

There is plenty of grace out there for us. The only question is can we offer that to ourselves? Can we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to be new, to learn…to be beginners? 

 

 

 

Maegan Beishline, Marketing Consultant and Creative Development Specialist, is a Bloomsburg University graduate with a BS in Business Marketing & Administration. Her post graduate experience includes performing marketing tasks for various businesses as well as starting and growing a natural soap making enterprise and a portrait photography business. While entrepreneurship lives in her heart, she has found that her true calling lives not in running her own business but rather in helping others to build theirs. Her writing and photography have been featured in Artful Blogging magazine, Somerset Life magazine, multiple issues of Kindred magazine, and on various websites including I Heart Faces, Tracey Clark’s I Am Enough collaborative, and regularly on The Creative Mama. She is passionate about living creatively and is dedicated to helping others find their authentic paths of self-expression in both business and life.

 

You can catch one of Maegan's Adult Ballet classes Wednesdays at 6:45pm or Saturdays at 11:15am. Both are open level classes, great for beginners and more experienced dancers alike!

April 20, 2015

 

by Shawn Clavelle, WTWC Health Coach

 

We finally have green grass!  It felt as though this winter may never come to an end, but we made it, and now it’s time to celebrate Spring!  New life, new beginnings, new possibilities.  Time to plant the garden, break out the summer clothes, and yes, do some spring cleaning!  I never thought I’d say I enjoy cleaning, but when I discovered that cleaning doesn’t need to make your eyes burn and smell like bleach, I became very interested in making and finding natural alternatives to traditional cleaning products.  

 

We read about the dangers of ingesting chemicals through our food, but there are other ways we are consuming toxic chemicals that pose a danger to our body and the environment.  If you walk down the cleaning product isle in the grocery store the smell is overwhelming, and as far from natural as you get.  These intense manufactured fragrances and chemical cleaning agents added to these products easily enter our body through our skin and lungs.  When we eat food, it is filtered by our liver and kidneys, but when we breath them in or touch them they get directly absorbed into our blood stream.  They also produce toxic waste water which pollutes our water systems and soil that ultimately produce our food.  

 

The great news is that there are easy, inexpensive alternatives to the harsh chemicals in traditional cleaning products.  The following are some of the most common ingredients for greening up your home:

 

*Baking soda:  cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.

 

*Natural soap:  unscented or naturally scented liquid, flakes, powders, or bars (avoid soaps that contain petroleum).  

 

*Lemon:  a strong food acid, lemon is a very effective antiseptic (bacteria killing).

 

*White vinegar:  cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, stains and wax.  Be careful with vinegar and lemon juice on surfaces that can break down easily like grout.  The citric acid can damage these surfaces over time.

 

*Borax:  sodium borate or “borax” cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans walls and floors.  It is a mild skin irritant so use with caution if you have sensitive skin, especially if used to clean laundry.  

 

*Essential oils:  add to any mixure to create a wonderful smelling product!  Commonly used oils are sweet orange, lemon, grapefruit, rosemary, and lavender.  

 

Here are three easy recipes to start your own collection of natural cleaning products!

 

1. All-purpose cleaner: mix 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/2 gallon water, and a few drops of orange, lemon, or grapefruit essential oil.

 

2. Window cleaner: mix 2 teaspoons white vinegar in 1 quart of warm water, put in a spray bottle and spray on windows.  

 

3. Bathroom mold cleaner:  mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 2 parts water in a spray bottle.  Spray on mold, wait one hour, rinse.  

 

If you don’t have the time or interest in making your own products there are some great natural cleaning products on the market today.  I love CitriSolv concentrated all-purpose cleaner.  It has an amazing orange scent and works well on all surfaces including wood.  I also love Seventh Generation 4X Concentrated Laundry Detergent in Geranium and Vanilla.  It is made with natural essential oils, is hypoallergenic, and comes in a cardboard package that is easy to recycle.  Dr. Bronner’s makes great smelling bar soap that is gentle on your skin and comes in a variety of fragrances using only essential oils.  

 

I strongly believe that our physical, emotional, and spiritual health has as much to do with how we treat the environment as it does how we treat our body.  Using alternative cleaning methods is effective and much kinder to the environment and ourselves.  You can find the ingredients and products listed above at most large grocery store chains or at your local health food store.   Happy cleaning!

 

 

Shawn Clavelle earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Vermont. She is currently a student at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition working toward certification as a holistic health coach. Shawn’s vast clinical experience and knowledge of the healthcare system makes her proficient at helping others design their own treatment plan through structured goal setting and continuous evaluation of progress. Using a holistic approach with a focus on nutrition, she helps uncover the obstacles to good health and provides simple options for making better lifestyle choices.  

 

Shawn has a Spring Health Boot Camp coming up next month! Each Tuesday in May from 5:30-6:30, she'll be sharing information and guidance on how to lose weight healthfully and cultivate a health centered lifestyle. Learn more about it here.

 

You can learn more about Shawn's Health Coaching & Weight Loss services here.

April 15, 2015

 

by Nicole Iacovoni, LCSW

 

 

Before I had my daughter, I fantasized about what it would be like to have a baby and be a

mother. I envisioned snuggling in the rocking chair together for hours on end, napping together

in the middle of the day, giggling and smiling with each other, and long stroller walks in the park

on sunny days. I couldn't wait for the day to come. For me, the reality of motherhood was very

different from my fantasy. My daughter cried late into the night and nothing would console her

expect constant pacing, bouncing, and singing. She would only sleep if I was holding her, which

meant I didn't sleep at all. I didn't do ANYTHING at all. I didn't leave the house because she

was always nursing or crying or pooping and needing my constant, undivided attention. I felt like

my life had ended. I used to be an independent, go-getter type of person, but after I became a

mother, I became a boring recluse who was a slave and servant to an infant. I hated motherhood

and I felt so guilty for it. I felt alone and weird and like I was the worst mother in the world,

because I didn't want to be a mother anymore. Looking back, I wish I had been more honest

with other mothers about what I was going through, because I would have learned I wasn't the

only one. If only I had spoken up and made myself vulnerable, I would have found the support

and camaraderie I craved.

 

Why didn’t I speak up and admit how I felt? Why aren’t other mothers being honest about

the challenges and obstacles we face on this journey of raising children? The answer lies in a

double-headed monster that lives deep within us and shows it’s ugly traits when we least want it

to; FEAR and GUILT. Fear and guilt are part of the same beast, but it seems that when one is

awoken, the other comes more alive too. Fear comes in many forms, but often stems from a

strong desire for approval . Mothers fear what other mothers will think of them if they openly

admit to insecurity, self doubt, frustration, anger, or extreme overwhelm. When we hear the

stories that other mothers tell about how awesome their kids are, how much they adore them,

how “being a mom is the best job in the world”, we shrink down and button our lips if our thoughts aren’t completely congruent with theirs. We worry to ourselves, “What would she think of me if I told her my kids are being complete jerks, I wish I could run away for a few weeks?”. Fear of the judgement keeps us from admitting that the image of motherhood is often far

different than the reality of motherhood. We lie by omission. We casually nod our heads and

agree because it’s safer than spilling our guts.

 

However, it isn’t always black and white. With motherhood come times of anger despair,

exhaustion, frustration, and boredom, but there are also wonderful times of joy, happiness, love,

laughter, excitement, and beauty. One of the most difficult aspects of motherhood is that the

mood of the moment can change instantly, without warning, for no reason whatsoever. Perhaps

what we fear most is the appearance of being ungrateful for the amazing times if we complain

about the shitty times. Perhaps we inflate our stories of the good times so we can feel like we’re

living in gratitude despite the daily challenges we face, or maybe we use these stories to

overcompensate for the times when we just want to quit.

 

When we feel like quitting, guilt wakes up, slithers up to us, and settles into our hearts. It

whispers in our ear, “How dare you want to quit? You chose this life. You brought these children

into the world and you need to do right by them. These are beautiful children. How could you

ever be angry with them? What kind of person are you? What kind of MOTHER are you to

want a break from these precious souls? Some people would give anything to have children.

You’re so ungrateful”. Mother’s guilt is an epidemic that plagues our society and keeps women

from taking good care of themselves. Guilt is an excellent motivator for pushing ourselves past

our limits, sacrificing our own needs for too long, and being unsatisfied with our “performance”

as mothers.

 

Yet, we judge ourselves by unrealistic standards. We hold ourselves up and compare

ourselves to this image of motherhood, this idea of what it means to be a mother, that we have

created in our own minds. My idea of what it means to be a “good” mother is far different from

what your idea looks like, but guilt is the result of us failing to live up to our own ideals. How are

we ever supposed to feel confident, worthy, and exceptional at this mothering business if all we do

is set ridiculously high expectations and undefined goals for ourselves?

 

My challenge to all mothers everywhere is to change the image of motherhood you carry

around in your mind. Shift it to include everything you are; your spirit, personality, character, and

soul. Motherhood isn’t about being perfect, the best, or even outstanding. It’s not a competition,

and we all would benefit from not comparing ourselves to anyone else. Rather than comparing

ourselves to each other, we need to support each other, rally around each other, and encourage

each other to get up everyday and do the hard work of parenting. You are unique. Your children

are unique. Let your one-of-a-kind, exceptional, extraordinary, true self shine. Let all your flaws,

imperfections, insecurities, and doubts be revealed. Allow authenticity, genuineness, honesty,

candor, and integrity to pour forth. All of these things shape you, your life, and your children.

Shake off the image of motherhood and just give yourself permission to be a mom; whatever

that looks like for you.

 

 

 Nicole Iacovoni, Founder & Executive Clinician, received her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from The University of Denver. Utilizing scientific based techniques, she is masterful at helping clients navigate and address family transitions, mood management, relationship issues, life trajectory, and general self care concerns. She also has expertise in cultivating emotional resilience and healthy identity development in young adults. Nicole has dedicated her career to building a wellness center where clients generate positive change, enhance esteem, overcome obstacles, and create a peaceful, well-balanced life course. Her vision has resulted in a multifaceted therapeutic setting that provides complete mental health services, yoga and meditation classes, massage therapy, nutritional counseling and health coaching, educational workshops, and community building groups and events.

 

Nicole has a new Afterglow Post-Natal Support Group forming now! Meetings will begin April 22nd. Click here for details!

 

You can get more information about our counseling services with Nicole here.

 

April 13, 2015

 

 

by Scott Young MS CCC LNC, WTWC Child Counselor 

 

Aspergers Syndrome, as defined by the DSM 4, consists of  impairment in social interaction and  restricted , repetitive ,and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. These disturbances cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of daily functioning. Examples of disturbances include impairment of facial expressions, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction, impaired verbal communication, inflexible adherence to nonfunctional routines , and preoccupation objects or activities. Abnormalities in the use of language and interpretation of language are common with Asperger's Syndrome, although language development (grammar, syntax, etc.) is normal. The degree of severity of symptoms can vary among affected individuals. Anxiety and frustration may contribute to disruptive behaviors because of the inability to express his needs, feeling or thoughts.                  

 

People with Asperger Syndrome can be anxious from a very early age due to not understanding the social and communication rules of society. They can find social situations confusing, which can raise their anxiety levels as they often do not understand how to converse appropriately, they may not know what to say, how to behave or how to approach others appropriately. Often, people with AS have difficulty reading non-verbal communications like body language and facial expressions – raised eyebrows, arms crossed, hands on hips, smiles from someone who is annoyed, frowns etc. They may also misinterpret what is said to them, taking things literally or completely misunderstanding what has been said or is expected of them. Still, there are many reasons why those with AS may develop anxiety.                                                                                          

A parent that is stressed can cause a child with AS to have anxiety. Children pick up many of their mental health symptoms from their parents, and parents of autistic children are believed to be more prone to anxious conditions. It is tough raising any child, and worries over the health and well being of your AS child can create anxiety in the child as well. While you should never blame yourself since this anxiety is natural, your child will always benefit if you learn to cope with your own anxiety.

 

Many children with Asperger's also get mistreated, and sometimes bullied. Often it is intentional, but sometimes the bullying is by accident, where children or adults share some unkind words out of difficulty understanding the AS. Bullying can lead to intense anxiety symptoms.

 

Many AS  children have few friends While autism may make it difficult for children and adults to understand social cues, those with Asperger's Syndrome often want to have friends but simply cannot, because they are unsure or unable to interact "correctly." Friendships are an incredibly important tool for avoiding anxiety, and problems making friends can create social phobia and depression.

 

AS children may be routine oriented instead of goal oriented Some children with Asperger's display  needs for order or routines. When these needs are unmet (and often they cannot be realistically met), it can cause stress on the child. Since long term stress can develop into anxiety, this is another potential cause of anxiety symptoms.

 

While it's not clear if this affects all AS children equally, some children may respond strongly to stress in a way that is incongruous to the amount of stress they should experience in the situation. For example, if they forget a pencil at home they may experience profound stress in a way that a child without AS would not experience.

 

Unhealthy living can be another cause of  stress  Exercise, good eating, and other issues are all still important, and especially important for Asperger's children and adults that may not have developed effective coping skills for mild stresses and anxiety. Unhealthy living does cause mild anxiety naturally, and that mild anxiety may be more pronounced in those with AS.    

 

In conclusion children  with AS  experience various problems and origins that cause mental stress. Those with AS experience  frustrations and anxety we all do but it is magnified by the disturbances in  social interactions and daily routines related to living with Asperger's.

 

 

Scott Young, MS, CCC, LNC earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 1992 and has been a nationally certified Christian Counselor since 2003. Having worked professionally in inpatient psychiatry for 16 years and with children and adults as a mobile therapist, Scott specializes in family counseling, children’s counseling, parenting concerns, individuals with special needs, developmental and learning disabilities, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, anger, social skills, self esteem, depression, and character building. Scott has seen the importance of looking at each person holistically and considers all areas of health when working with clients. Scott earned a doctorate in Naturopathy in 2014 and offers a comprehensive approach to overall health and well-being by integrating counseling, botanical and herbal medicine, naturopathic and holistic medicine, and lifestyle therapy. Scott is passionate about working with children and serving as an advocate for children with special needs.

 

 

Click here to find out more about our Children's Counseling program.

                                                                             

 

 

                         

 

                   

April 8, 2015

 

Our Moon Days Yoga Workshop is coming up on Friday, April 17th. We couldn't resist the oppotunity to ask instructor Jennifer Triassi some juicy questions about feminity, tuning into our cycles, and honoring our bodies. Her answers are insightful and inspiring... enjoy!

 

 

1.       Why do you think that our culture has come to detest our monthly “curse” rather than embrace it as part of our femininity?

 

Today’s women live in a fast-paced world, one that flies by even faster than our foremothers experienced. Many women juggle careers, family demands, multiple extra-curricular activities, and more!

Too often, we rush from here to there, checking things off our list, at the expense of our sanity. Anything that gets in the way of the “Almighty To-Do List” can be bothersome. And the few days before and during menstruation are no exception. On top of our very-full plates, we are now dealing with some not-no-nice symptoms like headaches, cramps, and mood swings…..and still trying to get everything done! We continue to push when our bodies are telling us to pause. This can leave us feeling out of balance, physically and emotionally.

 

2.       Why is it important for women to get back in touch with their monthly cycles? How can our cycles lead us to be more caring and nurturing towards ourselves?

 

Tuning in and truly caring for ourselves is critically important for overall health and well-being. Menstruation is nature’s way of signaling us to slow down, take some time off (or cut back from your regular demands), and check-in with your deepest emotions and desires. Taking this time to honor your individual needs...in body, mind and spirit...can have a profound effect. Think of it as a monthly opportunity for a little R&R, already built-in to your schedule.

 

Bri Maya Tiwari, an Ayurvedic healer, advises women to pamper themselves on the first full day of their period……for instance, no work, no worries, no cooking….to improve their reproductive health.

 

3.       Why should women be more quiet, introspective, and gentle with ourselves during menstruation?

 

Just as the moon waxes and wanes, and as the tides ebb and flow, your body moves through stages of its cycle, from ovulation to menstruation, from a feeling of lightness to a dark, moody time, from creativity to reflection. 

According to Joan Borysenko, author of A Woman’s Book of Life: The Biology, Physiology, and Spirituality of the Feminine Life Cycle, menstruation is a time of “emotional housecleaning.” 

 

It is our natural opportunity to slow down and turn inward, becoming more in tune with our deepest emotions. As we reflect on our feelings, we become aware of our deepest desires and can confront what’s bothering us and release it, leading to overall health for mind, body and spirit.  

 

4.       How can yoga play a role in how we nurture ourselves during all phases of our cycles?

 

Yoga can help regulate your monthly cycle keeping you feeling more physically and emotionally balanced. Physically, the postures and breathing techniques relax your nervous system and balance your endocrine system. Psychologically, yoga works to ease stress and promote relaxation, so the hypothalamus can regulate your hormones more efficiently. 

 

Yoga offers the time, and the permission, to go inside, to really listen to your body and respond to what you hear.

 

5.       How will this workshop help us to better serve our bodies through our cycle

 

Perhaps you are someone who typically prefers a more dynamic yoga practice, but may not feel quite up to it during this time. In this workshop, we will begin with a flow practice which is more cooling in nature, and designed to support the specials needs of the body and spirit. Then we will move into some longer holds focused on opening the side body and hips, followed by restorative postures using blankets and bolsters, allowing for deep relaxation! Throughout the workshop, Jennifer will discuss and share various essential oils that can be used throughout your monthly cycles.

 

If you'd like to join Jennifer for her Moon Days Yoga Workshop on Friday, April 17th, you can register here.

April 2, 2015

 

Get Swimsuit Ready with the Help of WTWC Health Coach Shawn Clavelle!

 

Shape up for spring and learn strategies for long term overall health. Each Tuesday in May from 5:30-6:30pm at WTWC, Shawn will give information and helpful guidance on how to lose weight healthfully and cultivate a health centered lifestyle.

 

May 5:  Why We Eat: We eat for many reasons. Many more than simply providing our

bodies with energy. The good news is that your success does not need to rely on

willpower or deprivation. Our bodies are designed to store fat, especially when

responding to stress. Thousands of years ago our survival depended on it. Find out

what happens on a cellular level when we eat and explore the many reasons we use

food to avoid pain.

 

May 12:  Craving Deconstruction: Cravings are not the problem. They are the solution to

identifying the reasons behind unhealthy behaviors and unlocking them. Discover the

difference between what a stress craving feels like versus an actual hunger craving.

Our bodies are the best tool we have and if listened to, can act as a GPS for making

healthier choices, if treated with respect and kindness.

 

May 19:  Sugar Blues: Refined foods, added sugars, and processed “food products” do not

support our physical or mental health. They make us gain weight, feel lethargic, and

leave us constantly hungry. Unfortunately, we become addicted to such foods

because of the sugar and chemicals they contain and only crave them more. Learn

how to incorporate a whole foods diet and lose weight, increase energy, and improve

overall life satisfaction.

 

May 26:  Superfoods to Boost: Gain insight on how the chronic lack of micro-nutrients is

fueling the obesity and diabetes epidemic. Losing weight is a process of healing your

body. Learn about several common superfoods that can give this process a boost.

Taste a delicious green smoothie, get recipes, and feel the difference!

 

$15/class or $55 for the 4-week series. You can pre-register online!

 

 

 

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