In the afternoon of October 10th on World Mental Health Day, NCMC provided a meditation workshop for Audible in Newark. Facilitating this program for about 20 employees were Javier Cruz and Andrea Lee of NCMC. Javier provided guided meditation in mindfulness of body, breath, and mental states, while Andrea made the program introduction and led the mindful movement session.
The coordinator at Audible mentioned that the workshop was well received and that the employees attending were excited about an opportunity to de-stress, clear their minds, and practice mindfulness. We appreciate the second opportunity that this Newark-based corporation gave us to help bring mindfulness and develop happiness in the workplace.
This weekend’s Women’s Retreat was a multi-generational gathering of nearly 50 women of diverse backgrounds and from all different walks of life. The retreat was mindfully and lovingly guided by five women who are leaders in their own fields. We kicked off the retreat with a moving spoken word opening by TaNisha Fordham who brought nine teen-aged students to the retreat. Jillian Faulks-Majuta lead a Kemetic Yoga session that physically grounded guests in the power of self-care. The day continued with passionate workshops about caring for mind, body and spirit.
Kamilah Crawley, who organized and emceed the event, offered sessions about the intersection of mindfulness and women’s self-care and lead discussion groups on the complex and nuanced notions of the modern Superwoman. Michelle Beadle Holder explored mindful eating and the frequent everyday choices we make about how we nourish our bodies and helped us become more mindful of the environments where we break our bread and buy our food. Her presentation was followed by a nutritious and soulful lunch provided by Arelis Hernandez and Rabbit Hole Farm.
Aleah Gathings presented on the power of words and affirmations and guided retreatants in a symbolic ceremony to release unconstructive thought patterns. Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi facilitated a process to help participants “Stop the Story”, release narratives that hold us back and re-narrate our current truth. We ended the retreat by writing self-care letters to our future selves — to be mailed and opened just when we most need the reminder.
Throughout the day retreatants were encouraged to hold a non-judgmental space for everyone’s opinions and experiences and to self-reflect through conversation and journaling. Participants readily shared their own resources and several lists were compiled with books, websites, and places of interest for people to visit to continue the deep work that was initiated at this retreat.
It’s a wonderful line-up for the day. You can register for full-day or part-day. Here’s a quick listing of bio-notes of your presenters:
Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi is a trauma informed, evidence-based pastoral and spiritual counselor, wellness coach, and equity, diversity, and inclusion trainer. She is certified in mindfulness, yoga, and multiple somatic traditions. She received her training from Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Walden University, The New Seminary, and many teachers.
Michelle Beadle Holder, PhD, President and CEO, Food at the Center, Inc. is a medical sociologist dedicated to doing her part to improve the social and physical health of black families. Her research has appeared in the Journal of African American Studies, Substance Use and Misuse, and American Journal of Health Behavior. In 2018, Dr. Holder founded Food at the Center, Inc., an educational and research social enterprise that uses food to build meaningful connections, improve health, and celebrate the culinary genius of people of African descent.
Kamilah Crawley, MPH,CHES is a public health professional who has provided health education workshops and trainings for various populations. She currently focuses on the intersection of public health, mindfulness and meditation as a tool for healing and healthy living. Kamilah was born and raised in Newark and is an alumni of University High School. Her degrees are from Temple University and the Rutgers School of Public Health.
Aleah A. Gathings, JD, MPH is an advocate for children and a proponent of the medical-legal partnership model. Aleah believes in the power of hope, love, and the ongoing fight for social and health justice.
Jillian Faulks-Majuta, Founder and CEO of Majuta Wellness, is committed to bringing wellness to individuals, groups and communities who are interested in living their most fulfilling lives possible. Through journaling, Kemetic Yoga™ and Holistic Health Coaching (July 2019). Jillian creates spaces for people to feel safe enough to challenge their bodies, thoughts and habits.
To all things there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
— Ecclesiastes 3
Hippocrates, in teaching the doctors of his day, said, “Consider the seasons of the year and what each of them produces.” When you respect the seasons you will respect your body, mind, and spirit and their needs.
Based on chinese medicine the fall is the season of the element of metal and lung and the lungs are associated with sadness and grief. We move from the external, expansive nature of summer to the internal, contracting nature of fall.
What does this have to do with meditation?
Through specific meditation and mindfulness skills — stationary, movement, eating, sound, and all our sense organs — we can learn season-specific techniques and tools for self-care: stress resilience, immunity boosting, health promotion, and methods to boost your creativity and mental sharpness.
We can also develop insight into the constantly changing, impermanent nature of our bodies and minds and learn to let go. In fact the energy of the lungs is related to “letting go” — first remembering our breath, using our breath, relaxing our breath — then becoming aware and allowing the elements and nourishment to inform us.
The northeast Autumn with it’s cool temperatures and warmly-colored leaves is a good time to:
• eat hot foods
• eat gourd foods
• supplement with mullein
• get to bed early
• sweat in a sauna
• socialize locally.