We are thrilled to welcome a new practitioner to the Hudson Healing Arts family! Brendan Thorson recently moved to Hoboken from Seattle, and brings 20+ years experience in energy work, healing, and qigong to HHA.
With a passion for empowering people to boost their inner strength and wisdom to reach their potential and enjoy optimal health, we couldn’t be happier to have him join us.
Read on to learn more about the healing benefits of an Energy Medicine session with Brendan!
Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) is a powerful way to increase your vitality and youthfulness on multiple levels. When you add chi to the body with intention through qigong exercises, it nourishes you from the inside out.
That’s why qigong is known as energy cultivation or energy development. Brendan first discovered the benefits of this ancient Chinese modality when he was looking for a natural way to reverse his joint and muscle pain. However, he found that the impact extended far beyond the physical, improving his mental, emotional, and even spiritual health.
“This practice really transformed my life and my health, allowing me to overcome years of fatigue, exhaustion, excess fears, and anxieties,” he says. “After these powerful energetic experiences, I knew I wanted to share qigong with others.”
Benefits of qigong
Brendan says, with Genesis Qigong we can harmonize the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. We can also specifically work on each one of the different body systems.
For personal growth, one of the best things about Brendan’s qigong is that it helps us tap into our body’s guidance and wisdom. He describes it as a gradual process of internal realization that sets us on our true path.
“Throughout your qigong practice, the body begins to give you more information,” he says. “It reveals the areas where you have unhealthy or repetitive programs limiting you. Better yet, it helps you overcome one stage after another as you release those patterns.”
That’s why he calls his practice Genesis Qigong — it’s a reflection of the growth and awareness that this modality enables. Other benefits include:
● Improve sleep quality and energy
● Harmonize the thyroid
● Increase Reproductive system vitality for men and woman, helps with infertility or menopause challenges like hot flashes
● Woman can increase estrogen and men can increase testosterone from lower hormone levels or hormone changes from midlife transition
● Strengthen the immune system
● Boost self-esteem
● Transform depression and anxiety
● Connect the mind and body more deeply for greater self-awareness
“Think about when your phone is on low battery, and other functions begin going downhill,” he says. “Humans are the same way! When there’s less energy to support one function in the body, it gradually weakens the supporting systems. Qigong allows you to reset and restore this energy where it’s been depleted.”
What is a session with Brendan like?
According to Brendan, the ideal frequency of sessions depends on the individual. Weekly sessions are wonderful for most people, but those who need a lot of healing and support may benefit from a little bit more.
He describes the payoff as similar to putting money in a bank over time — as you invest in yourself with the qigong, your energy levels continue to increase. Brendan works with all kinds of clients who come in for a variety of reasons, offering both private sessions and semi-private sessions (up to four people).
“As the energy increases over time, you’ll feel your youthfulness increase. Those who are new to qigong often feel the energy very solidly and tactically. It’s common to feel more grounded and calm, yet lighter and happier,” he says.
During a session for a newer client or student, he’s focused on getting you grounded to the earth and sending energy to different parts of the body based on each person’s individual situation. Typically, this starts with strengthening the adrenal gland and kidneys, and then calming the nervous system. Brendan is also passionate about sharing exercises that people can do in their daily life to strengthen and balance their energy.
“It’s all a domino effect,” he says. “So many of us suffer from adrenal fatigue and are easily stressed. When we create extra energy in the kidney center, it allows the adrenals to be more relaxed. This shifts you out of fight-or-flight mode and begins to reduce issues related to fear, self-esteem, and willpower.”
To learn more or schedule a session, Brendan can be reached via text or phone at (206) 354-8216. You can also learn more on his website: qigongedu.com. When he’s not practicing qigong and tai-chi, Brendan loves to enjoy the outdoors, the mountains, swimming, good movies, and good company.
Make sure to follow us on Facebook for more wellness inspiration and resources from Brendan and our other practitioners!
It’s amazing to reflect on all the teachers and influences that shape not only our lives, but also our philosophies to life. When you find the right voice that resonates with you, it seems like one leads right to another.
In our upcoming blogs, we’re excited to celebrate those who have been instrumental in each of our practitioners’ paths. This month, HHA founder Beth O’Boyle shares her personal inspirations! If you’re interested in learning more about energy work and healing, you’ll enjoy all of the free resources Beth recommends.
Caroline Myss: Teacher, author, and speaker in the fields of human consciousness, spirituality, and mysticisn, health, energy medicine, and medical intuition
As the first teacher I found in this field, Caroline has been the voice in my ear for over 30 years. When I first read Anatomy of the Spirit, I couldn’t believe how much it clicked with me. If you want a foundational course in energy 101, this is definitely the book to read. It opened my eyes to the possibilities and extent to which we can control our own healing.
Thanks to Caroline, I was able to recognize the connection between energy and emotions, and how the physical body resonates with it. She set the groundwork for my understanding of energy work. Caroline is a brilliant teacher. Learn more about her on myss.com; her recordings are also available on Sounds True, a multi-media publishing company with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom.
Donna Eden: Originator of Eden Energy Medicine and the Eden Method
Back in 2000, Donna’s book Energy Medicine literally jumped out at me from the shelf. Her story is incredible. From a young age, she was able to see the energy field in a way and at a depth of perception that is quite unique.. She faced multiple food and chemical sensitivities, as well as a diagnosis of MS at a young age.
Since her doctors had offered no hope of recovery, Donna decided to take the responsibility for healing into her own hands – literally! She could see a disconnection in her energy field between her hips and legs and intuitively began to reconnect the energy flow with her hands. One discovery led to another until she no longer had such a heightened response to food and chemicals, nor did she have any trace of MS. She’s now in her 70s, and her energy radiates just like the sun beaming at you. It’s a joy just to be in her presence! You can learn more about her story in this interview.
As someone who has always been sensitive to energy, Donna made me feel more normal and comfortable. She also showed me a new way to help clients empower themselves, which I love. While I’m honored and humbled when someone seeks out my help, it feels really important for me to give people the tools to help themselves. If you’re having a tough day or can’t sleep, I want to give you ways to shift your energy and feel better when you need them. There are plenty of free resources and courses available on her website and her YouTube channel
Dr. Edward Bach: Creator of the Bach Flower Remedies
I admire Dr. Bach for truly being a man ahead of his time who followed his heart and intuition. Although he was a traditional physician of the early 1900s, he had the strength to forge a new path because he knew that nature gave us everything we need to keep ourselves healthy.
Thanks to Dr. Bach’s courage and steadfast pursuit of the remedies, we now have a simple and effective system that anyone (even babies, pets, and plants) can use to bring themselves back into balance. The fact that Bach Flower Remedies are safe, gentle, and free of side effects is so extraordinary to me. You can learn more about this healing system and Dr. Bach’s philosophy on this website and our blog.
Belleruth Naperstek: Teacher, author, and creator of numerous guided imagery audio programs for health and wellness
What I love about Belleruth’s work is that she is so intentional about the language she uses. She offers guided imagery for people with various medical conditions and emotional states. Her wording is very specific so those in need of help aren’t inadvertently triggered.
Belleruth strikes a great balance between being specific enough to help you focus, yet open enough that you can still fill in the details. Early on, I patterned my flow after her. Her recordings are now available on the Hay House websire. I still use her work all the time, both for myself and as a resource for clients. It’s deeply restful and resorative to listen to her programs – she has the most lovely calming voice!
Rudy Hunter: Master healer, teacher, and creator of AshWork Energy Work
Rudy has been a dear friend I have deeply admired for years. He suffered with tremendous anxiety for many years, and vowed he would make his work available to others in need of help if he found a way to do so. When he introduced his pioneering AshWork course - one of the many techniques he employs - I felt privileged to attend.
Through years of studying with and observing some of the most extraordinary (and at times ‘out there’) group of people in the healing arts, Rudy found the most incredible way to tap into energy in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. He expanded my awareness of what’s possible with remote energy work. The pandemic allowed me to experiment more with these distance sessions. Although distance work can be mystifying to many people, to me it feels cleaner because I’m not being directly influenced by the energy field of my client. I can hold the space for the energy to connect more fluidly from my end…a wonderful gift from Rudy! His website is full of helpful resources. Be sure to also visit RudyHunter.com, HuntersHealingCalls.com and his YouTube channel, which is full of free resources.
There's an immense healing and restorative quality to nature. Not only is it beautiful and often awe-inspiring, but nature knows how to balance herself.
If you think of many of the stories circulating during the lockdown period of the pandemic, that's a great example. Animals, birds, insects, and plants began to return to their habitats. Deer and an eagle were spotted in Hoboken! As one species returned, it literally affected an entire chain of flora and fauna.
For an idea of how wide reaching the impact is when we allow nature to be in balance and flourish, there’s an inspiring story you can easily find on the internet about the wolves returning to Yellowstone after the government banned the hunting of the population. 25 years later, one of the effects has literally been a change in the way the rivers flow! It's called a trophic cascade and is so encouraging in a time of such changes in the world.
In short, nature knows how to restore her balance. We're part of nature, so it makes sense that we do too. Being in nature reminds us that we're all connected.
The HHA Practitioners
This conversation wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the amazing HHA family. It's an absolute joy and privilege to work with each of them. I am inspired by their kindness, integrity, and skills on a daily basis. Every day, I thank my lucky stars to be part of this amazing group of people!
Each and every one of these inspirations has shaped my approach and growth as a practitioner. I’m quite clear that I’m the conduit of the energy work, not the source. I consider myself to be like an extension cord providing the connection between the potential of what can be and the client. My job is to hold the space. I consider it a privilege to offer this work and to facilitate a restoration of balance for my clients.
In this line of work, it’s so important for the practitioner to get their ego out of the way. The success of this work truly depends on the client’s willingness and receptivity to heal or balance. When someone is open and ready for something to shift, that's when the magic happens.
Just as I’ve been inspired by all of these wonderful voices, I am just as inspired by this community! However you came to find our peaceful little oasis on Hudson Street, I feel honored to be a part of your healing journey.
There’s a lot to love about summer — but the abundance of fresh, vibrant fruits and veggies might just win out. June’s arrival is the perfect time to add delicious variety (and nutrition) to your plate.
Luckily, HHA’s resident nutritionist, Joe DelGiodice, is passionate about keeping us healthy, inspired and eating well through every season! This month’s blog is all about superfoods that help us unlock greater levels of energy and vitality, so we can enjoy summer to the fullest. With a background in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Joe also shares his perspective on why certain foods are especially beneficial for nurturing the fire element of summer.
Welcome to fire season!
It probably comes as no surprise that summer is all about the element of fire, in both nature and the body. TCM teaches us that the heart and small intestines are connected to the fire element, and that the heart regulates our heartbeat, blood flow, and pulse. When the fire element is in harmony, there’s a healthy flow of chi — you’re able to access joy and passion in a balanced way.
Food is an incredible way to nourish the fire element on an everyday basis. You can energetically “feed the fire” with hot and spicy herbs and foods, which are great blood flow agents. In equal measure, Joe recommends activating the opposing element (water) with cooling foods to stay properly hydrated.
Here are just some of his favorites!
● Coriander seed
● Chile peppers
● Spicy horseradish
● Sweet tomatoes
“Look at the bright, vibrant color spectrum available to you during this time! This is the aliveness of summer,” Joe says. “All of these pigments are more than just pretty to look at: They provide you with antioxidants, DNA corrective agents and longevity agents. Because free radical activity ramps up in the heat, antioxidants are especially vital to our wellbeing in the summer. Antioxidants work their magic to maintain the health of our cells.”
Joe’s famous tabbouleh summer salad is great for this purpose, and super easy to make. Start wih a mix of ⅔ parsley and ⅓ mint leaf; add cucumber, tomato, lime, lemon, a couple tablespoons of hemp seeds, and organic olive oil.
One of his favorite summer snacks is even simpler: Watermelon seeds! “Watermelon seeds are one of the most nourishing seeds on the planet,” he says. “They’re filled with amino acids, proteins, and nutrients, offering some amazing health benefits.”
Note: If you have diverticulosis or diverticulitis, watermelon seeds should be avoided.
Stay healthy and hydrated
While eating water-rich foods is a great idea in the summer heat, it’s not a substitute for drinking enough water and consuming electrolytes. Lemons, limes, oranges and watermelon are all quick electrolyte sources; Joe also recommends drinking organic coconut water or organic cactus water.
“Electrolytes are crucial for hydration. These minerals allow everything in the body to expand and contract properly, so that oxygen and nutrients get delivered to your cells,” he says. “When we sweat, we lose a lot of important minerals, so replenishing electrolytes is a must in the summertime.”
Joe is also a big fan of herbal teas to keep cool. His favorite summer recipe is filled with nourishing compounds:
● Purified water
● Mint leaves (an organic mint tea bag works too)
● Chrysanthemum flower
● Goji berries
● Lime juice (you can squeeze it in or grate it and add in the zest)
Want more recipes? Visit Joe’s YouTube channel, supernaturalhealth forever, for plenty of delicious and entertaining tutorials. He also recommends the Blue Zones website, which features recipes from the world’s longest-living cultures.
To learn more about nutritional counseling or schedule a session, feel free to contact Joe at (201) 653-7700 ext. 3. He’s helped clients ranging in age from 3 months to 102 improve their health and wellbeing, and is happy to answer any questions you may have.
Thanks so much for reading this month’s blog. Wishing everyone a summer of health, happiness, and wonderful food!
We have some exciting news to share here at Hudson Healing Arts! Warmest of welcomes to Melissa Rosa, the newest member of the team.
Melissa is dedicated to empowering her clients to heal through Reiki so that they can show up in all areas of life feeling refreshed and balanced, and we couldn’t be happier to have her with us.
Melissa’s passion for helping others heal came from experiencing the transformative power of Reiki firsthand. After years in an unhealthy marriage, she reached a point where she lost her sense of self. “There was zero self-care or self-love in my life,” she says.
During this time, she found a yoga training program on how to bring yoga into the classroom. As an educator and elementary school teacher, she wanted to help her students — but the teachings also struck a chord deep within her soul. Melissa continued to learn everything she could about energy work. She knew that Reiki would be the next part of her healing journey, and was honored to train with Asha Surti in Hoboken.
“Reiki empowered me during a huge life transition,” she says. “Through Reiki, I could alchemize everything messy, everything that wasn’t serving me, into a good thing. I hope to help my clients find that gold within them. It’s something we all have, and can all come back to.”
Her business name, Golden Rose Reiki, reflects that wish to help others find the gold within. This name is extra meaningful because of her beloved grandmother Luz, who passed away in 2018. Luz, which means “light” in Spanish, is synonymous with golden. Her grandmother also adored red roses, and Melissa loves the fact that they represent beauty and strength. Not to mention the added symbolism that her last name, Rosa, translates to “Rose” in English!
What is a session with Melissa like?
Melissa offers in-person sessions for adults and distance sessions for children. She starts with a 10-15 minute “soul chat” to learn about what’s on your heart and mind (though you don’t have to share anything if you don’t want to). Melissa often will incorporate aromatherapy, mantras, and meditation into your time together.
Regardless of the reasons that draw someone to Reiki, Melissa says there’s almost always a stress release that occurs. There's often a sense of feeling more at ease within yourself — more at home in your own skin.
“It’s truly an energetic reset. When you take this time to restore your energy levels, it’s going to reflect in your relationships with your family, your coworkers, and everyone in your life,” she says. “You are able to show up balanced, refreshed, and less stressed.”
When Melissa’s not teaching or working with Reiki clients, she loves diving into anything to do with spirituality. Her two young daughters were a huge motivating factor in her healing journey, and her favorite thing to do is spend quality time with her girls. You can find them at the beach, watching movies, having dance parties, or reading together. She is originally from Jersey City, and now lives in Bayonne.
To book a Reiki session, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Melissa on Instagram (www.instagram.com/goldenrosereiki).
Happy spring, everyone! Whether you feel a spring in your step or spring fever, there’s a natural craving to cast away the winter doldrums and soak up life during this time. Just like the plants and hibernating animals, we’re attuned to the seasons in body, mind and spirit, so it makes sense that this energy can feel a little restless and scattered.
To ease this transition period into a new season and feel more balanced, Traditional Chinese Medicine encourages us to nurture the health of the organ associated with the season. Spring is all about the liver, which most of us know for its role in detoxification. What’s not as well known is that the liver also rules anger and stress. When this organ is in a state of imbalance, you may find it difficult to manage emotional outbursts and truly ‘spring forward’ with the sense of lightness and joy you desire.
In our society, most of us never learn how to accept our anger in the first place - let alone process and release it. This month, our practitioners came together to share their personal insights on honoring anger and letting it go. We sincerely hope that you enjoy their tips, and find lightness and harmony for your best spring yet!
Beth O’Boyle (Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner, Certified Hypnosis Counselor, Reiki Practitioner, Advanced AshWork Practitioner)
~Look at it as a signal. There’s a tendency to label emotions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Anger is an energetic signal that arises when something is out of balance in our lives, and realizing this fact can change your perspective on anger. Instead of looking at it as a negative emotion, we can view anger as an opportunity to turn inwards, reflect on the underlying cause of what’s out of balance, and notice if there’s a proactive step to take.
For example: a person who tends to be a people=pleaser might feel anger arising when they find themselves immersed in yet another task or activity they either don’t want to do or don’t have time for. Rather than feeling angry because you always end up doing what a particular friend wants to do instead of what you’d prefer to do, you might notice what prevents you from either saying ‘no’ to her or offering an alternative option.
~Use it as momentum. Anger is great for spurring people into action. You can’t control the world - but take a moment to consider what you can do. I encourage doing something physical to get in motion and release some of the pent-up stress. Go for a run. Clean the house. (Cleaning is actually very effective. Not only will you feel better - you’ll end up with a clean house. Win win!) Sometimes anger arises in the form of another emotion such as grief, anxiety, or sadness. If you feel comfortable doing so, try sitting with the feeling without judging it. Breathe. Ask yourself what’s prompting the emotion. You might be surprised at what it has to say.
~Consider healing modalities that can help. All of our services at HHA can help you release anger in different ways. AshWork energy clearing is a great way to gently shift the energy without having to dwell in the story. The key is to approach it from the desire to solve the problem or to make a change. Reiki is helpful for facilitating the flow of stagnant or stuck energy. Anger can be a sign of feeling tapped out, as though you have nothing to draw from; Reiki can replenish energy that is depleted. Bach Flower Remedies are great for supporting balance and a new perspective. They address the underlying reasons for the anger: irritation, intolerance, worry, envy, etc. and support a shift of energy.
Noreen Haren (Registered Nurse, Certified Practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education)
~Embrace movement. Movement can be a non-threatening way to address emotions. From a Feldenkrais perspective, we all unconsciously hold emotions such as anger and fear in our bodies. This can lead to unnecessary and uncomfortable restriction of movement. The Feldenkrais Method uses a series of gentle movements to help us identify areas where we may be holding tension with non-judgmental curiosity. At the end of a Feldenkrais lesson, most people notice they are breathing more fully, feel more grounded, and are moving with more ease. Personally, if I am feeling stressed or angry, the first thing I do is check in and see - am I clenching my jaw, is my breathing restricted, are my shoulders up near my ears? I notice, take a breath, and let go. It helps me feel better immediately.
Andrea Inauen (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
~Feel it all first. We are human, and human emotions (even anger) are part of the process. It is important to acknowledge that anger happens, and can even be healthy when channeled well. It is the holding of anger for too long that is often toxic, harmful, and compromising. So, in therapy, you will often hear me talk about the importance of allowing the feeling, acknowledging it, looking at it, processing it, validating it...and then releasing it. Stifled anger tends to brew, fester, and harm self and others too. Talking about the feeling - the antecedents, emotions, and impact- allows for the anger to lose its power, to be digested, and ultimately released. You may also hear me explore what having a physical or verbal release of the anger in a healthy and safe way can look like (if we could, as adults, have that temper tantrum that kids have in a toy store, we might be better off because it is at least released!)
~Embrace vocal release. This might take the shape of vocalizing your feelings to a trusted member of your support system, or talking to yourself to give voice to what you’re feeling without inadvertently projecting it onto others. When I am struggling to let go, I acknowledge anger's weight, find ways to be gentle with myself, and sometimes also temporarily put it on a shelf or in a jar and shift focus to gratitude. I do not want to minimize the feelings, but temporarily re-focusing when I am having trouble letting go can allow the hurt to 'not take up all the space in the room' which can help achieve better release in the long run.
~Know that it’s all temporary. I am, like most humans, always learning, and that means that anger sometimes takes up more space in my life than I want. However, as intense as the feelings may be at a given time, no matter how horrid the situation or feeling, I have learned that the intensity will change over time. Acknowledging the anger, pain, and related emotions (and the patterns that accompany them) is so important because then we have the opportunity to re-center, breathe, and allow the rest of self to exist and take up space as well. And that makes room for healing, release, and growth.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read our blog. We truly hope that you find it hopeful in letting go of the tension, irritability, and anger that tends to arise during this time. As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section and to connect with you on Facebook.
Wishing you a wonderful, happy, and healthy spring!
Since Hudson Healing Arts opened its doors back in 1998, it’s amazing to think of how much has happened in the world. Through all the ups and downs, we’re here to provide a healing sanctuary where you can relax and rebalance your energy on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.
With our 25th anniversary on the horizon next year, we thought it would be fun to take a little trip down memory lane to revisit HHA’s roots and reflect on how we’ve evolved…
Back to the Beginning
Founded by two acupuncturists, HHA was focused on Traditional Chinese Medicine practices like acupuncture, herbal medicine, and Qi Gong in the early days.
HHA’s current owner, Beth O’Boyle, actually started out as an acupuncture client back in 1999. At the time, she was dealing with a huge amount of stress in a very different field (sales and retail in the cosmetics and fragrance industry). “I was really on a healing journey to resolve the stress I was dealing with,” she says. “Something in me wanted to explore deeper.”
She was also enjoying transformative sessions with a hypnosis counselor in Montvale, and was incredibly drawn to the space he had created — it felt quiet, soft, and welcoming, totally different from a traditional doctor’s office.
“When you stepped in, it just felt like you could actually breathe,” Beth says. “I had a real love for that environment, and it sparked a desire to have a place like that in Hoboken.”
As luck would have it, Beth’s acupuncturist asked if she would be interested in renting space at HHA for Reiki and hypnosis counseling. Within six months, both founders had left to pursue other passions, and Beth was offered the opportunity to take over as the owner of HHA.
“I had a mental image of a big present being handed to me,” Beth says. “It was time for a change, and I wanted something that would help me feel free to work in the way my soul craved.”
HHA in the Present
According to Beth, the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine are still a vital part of HHA’s foundation. Today, however, there are a number of diverse modalities to help clients find balance: acupuncture, herbal medicine, sound healing, Reiki, Bach Flower Remedies, hypnosis counseling, energy clearing, the Feldenkrais Method, counseling, and guided imagery.
Regardless of the service a client comes in for, HHA’s calm, peaceful environment is something that’s incredibly intentional and designed for optimal healing. It’s also something the practitioners are very protective of, making use of energy work and techniques to clear, harmonize, and rebalance the energy after each client.
“In one training course I took, we were asked to create the hospital of the future from the ground up. It really made me think: What would be my vision for a place where you could get back to a harmonious, healthy state while feeling safe, happy, and at ease?” Beth says.
That visioning process is evident in HHA’s welcoming, peaceful atmosphere today, with lots of different practices to support all facets of being (emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual).
“The energy here is really beautiful, and we’re very protective of it,” Beth says. “It’s a place where you can feel safe and relaxed, where you think, ‘I can be well here.’ I’m thankful everyday that I get to do something I love with people I love and respect.”
Safety in the era of COVID
Of course, we can’t reflect on HHA’s journey without mentioning the pandemic. When COVID hit, the need for proactive self-care and immune system support came into clear view more than ever.
Many of our practitioners now offer remote services, and we’ve taken a number of measures to create the safest possible environment for those who prefer in-person sessions. When you come to HHA, often the only other person in our space will be the practitioner. We're located in a quiet building where you generally don't see many people, which cuts down on exposure. Masks are also required for both practitioners and clients.
“The best defense against the virus is a strong, healthy immune system,” Beth says. “Our practitioners are brilliant at supporting the immune system and keeping the whole system in harmony. If you’re in good health, the practices we offer can help you stay healthy. If you’re challenged by stress, we can help you get out of your own way and free up your energy to support wellness.”
Thanks so much for venturing down memory lane with us! It’s been a beautiful journey, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the wonderful community we’ve built over the past nearly 25 years.
If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. You can also stay connected by following us on Facebook. Wishing you a happy and healthy February!
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” ~Mother Theresa
After our favorite traditions and festivities were put on hold in 2020, this holiday season feels a touch more magical than years’ past. The ability to gather with our loved ones (with safety in mind, of course) feels far more meaningful — there’s nothing like a global pandemic to remind us what’s truly important.
The same can be said for the importance of giving back and community. During the past year or so, we’ve seen firsthand that our actions are about more than just us — we’re all in this together. We’ve gotten to know our neighbors on a whole new level, and that includes a growing sense of responsibility to lift up our neighbors in need.
So many people in our community have experienced devastating setbacks and challenges from COVID-19, but the great news is, you don’t have to be rich to make a difference. What’s more, giving back is the best way to tap into the magic of the holidays yourself!
In the spirit of the season, here are some of our favorite ways to give back...
The Hoboken Homeless Shelter
When you’re blessed with a roof over your head, winter is a cozy time meant for cuddling up in blankets with movies and some hot cocoa. But for individuals experiencing homelessness, the reality is far different and heartbreakingly vulnerable.
The Hoboken Shelter provides food, shelter, case management, counseling, skills-training workshops, and permanent supportive housing solutions, serving more than 1,000 meals per week. There are plenty of ways to support their cause — you can make a monetary donation, drop off supplies, purchase items on their Amazon wishlist, help in the kitchen, or even lead a skills workshop. Learn more on their website.
God’s Love We Deliver
This organization is HHA founder Beth O’Boyle’s favorite! What began as a mission to help one AIDS patient who was too sick to cook for himself has grown to an operation that prepares and delivers over a million meals per year to anyone with a life-altering illness. They make only nutritious, high-quality meals, and have never turned anyone away in their entire history. It’s a pretty incredible mission!
God’s Love We Deliver is based in New York, but serves Hudson County as well. Their most urgent need is for volunteers to deliver meals, and monetary donations are also welcome. If you know someone with a chronic illness who could benefit from a nourishing meal, it’s also a great time to sign them up for a delicious surprise. Learn more on their website.
Dress For Success Hudson County
For so many women in poverty, being able to afford professional clothing is a huge hurdle to securing or keeping a job. Dress for Success is a nonprofit that strives to empower women to take charge of their lives, and they gladly accept donations of time, money or gently used professional attire. If you’re now working from home or going into the office on a much less frequent basis, donating one of your outfits can make all the difference for someone who is trying to get on their feet. Learn more on their website.
The Hoboken Family Alliance
As one of the oldest nonprofits in Hoboken, the Hoboken Family Alliance is devoted to supporting children and families and 100% volunteer-driven. Right now, their 14th Annual Toy, Book & Pajama Drive is underway to help make sure the holidays are magical for local underprivileged children and teens. You can donate via PayPal or drop off new toys, pajamas, or books at various supporting locations in Hoboken. Learn more on their website.
We’re All in this Together
Remember, you don’t have to have lots of money to brighten someone’s holiday. Helping others is the true meaning of the season, and asking yourself one simple question -- “What do the people around me need?” — can help you tap into the wellspring of generosity that lies within you. Maybe that means inviting your widowed neighbor over for dinner, sending a handwritten note of gratitude to someone, or telling your coworkers how much they mean to you (it’s all too easy to assume they know, isn’t it?).
While giving back has a way of inspiring greater wellbeing, we also don’t encourage anyone to pour from an empty cup! Come nourish your mind, body and soul at Hudson Healing Arts so that you can approach the holidays from your natural state of balance, calm, and peace. Check out our full list of healing modalities here.
As always, we are sending our wishes for a safe, healthy, and joyful holiday to all of you! We’d love to hear your favorite ways to spread holiday cheer in the comments below :)
We’re delighted to welcome Shirley Wang as the newest member of our Hudson Healing Arts family. With a gift for helping people feel grounded and safe, Shirley combines Reiki and sound healing to provide healing on a physical and energetic level.
She honors the deep connection between mind, body, and spirit in each of her clients, and we’re so honored to have her join us. Read on to learn more about Shirley and what a session with her is like!
Replenishing your body & spirit
Shirley’s journey as a healer began eight years ago, after a profound spiritual experience in the Amazon jungle. She became a Reiki practitioner in the Usui system, underwent life coach training, and became an Energy Leadership Master practitioner.
She also started holding sound baths for friends, and recognized the powerful alchemy between sound healing and Reiki. Together, these modalities harmonize with each other to offer a deeply relaxing experience that Shirley describes as “a massage for your spirit and soul.”
Shirley left her job in product design to start Yishi Healing (yishihealing.com), and has been dedicated to promoting emotional and spiritual wellness in her clients ever since by improving the flow of energy through the body. While the concept of sound healing may seem “woo woo” or New Age, she explains that it’s actually been embraced by various cultural groups since ancient times.
“Each of the bowls plays a very specific tone that resonates with your body and cells, making them vibrate at a higher resonance to help clear away stress and release tension,” she says. “It's an opportunity to rebalance your energy and fully relax in a way that’s incredibly restorative.”
In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to fall asleep in a session! The best part is, there’s nothing you need to do in a session but lie back and receive. Typically, Shirley begins with learning about your intentions, a guided meditation, and then introduces sound healing with bowls, chimes, and other instruments before the Reiki begins.
She offers 30 to 90 minute sessions for people of all ages and backgrounds, all tailored to your individual needs. Whether you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, or even physical pains caused by emotional turmoil (again, it’s all connected), Reiki and sound healing can help clear negative energy and replace it with gentle, calm, and loving energy.
The frequency of sessions is entirely up to you, with some people preferring to come weekly or monthly while others come on a seasonal or yearly basis. According to Shirley, it’s best to listen to your body — you’ll know when it’s time for your next session. She also recommends wearing loose, comfy clothes that aren’t too restricting. Shirley always has blankets available and encourages people to dress in layers.
Because energy work can make people feel either out of their body or stuck in their body, Shirley places an emphasis on a grounded approach. “As a practitioner, my priority is making sure you feel rooted and nourished, and have that connection to the earth,” she says.
More about Shirley
Shirley is a first-generation Chinese-American and now lives in Jersey City. Her passions include shamanic healing, medicinal ceremonies, knitting, and learning everything she can about plants, herbs, and sound. And while she loves relaxing sound baths, many people are surprised to learn she’s a fan of metal and rock music as well!
Interested in learning more or booking a session? Feel free to email her at email@example.com. You can also check out her website Yishihealing.com and follow her Instagram (Yishihealing).
A little over a year ago, HHA’s resident counselor Andrea Inauen shared her best tips for coping with the pandemic that turned our entire world upside down. At the time, when shut-downs made a single day feel eternal, the focus was on survival more than anything.
While COVID-19 still looms large over our lives, it’s no secret that we’re fatigued from living in crisis mode. The current struggle is more about trying to process the enormity of what we experienced while also being expected to return to work, school, and many pre-pandemic activities (which can come with a lot of anxiety). After such a significant slowdown, returning to our old levels of business and productivity may feel like a shock to the system.
To help you navigate yet another period of transition, Andrea generously shared some simple and effective strength-based tools you can call on to feel more grounded, resilient, and mindful.
Q: Is there a common theme or sentiment you’ve been hearing people struggle with lately?
Andrea: The biggest thing is a locus of control, because there's so much going on right now that we don't have control over. The question I ask my clients is, “What is within your control?” This pandemic is still a threat with many moving parts, but we all want a quality of life that’s more than just existing in survival mode.
So while we’re aware of what’s happening in the world, we have to remind ourselves that the locus of control is within us. It’s up to us to create a sense of joy and purpose and grounding. This means asking questions like, “What’s important to me? What feels good?” There are different areas to explore in this question, from work life to family life. Those muscles went dormant for a while, but we can stretch them a little more — but not to the point where we’re tearing them by trying to do too much too fast.
Q: Are there any other common struggles you’re seeing during this time?
Andrea: A lot of people are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Life is generally filled with peaks and valleys, moments that are both somber and joyful. But when we actually soak in those high points, we gain tools and resilience to help us manage the lows; it replenishes our sense of self. Give yourself permission to enjoy the good, knowing it will help the valleys to be less dark.
I also hear from people who feel guilty about being happy and healthy when bad things are happening all over the world. In essence, we certainly can have feelings, awareness, and compassion, and even get involved in some cases. But to entirely absorb guilt and responsibility is unfair to self and not an accurate reflection of these larger issues.
The key is to change the conjunction from “but” to “and.” So if your normal mindset is, “I want to have a birthday party for my child, but how can I do that when so many kids are suffering?” then consider this slight tweak: “I am aware of this tragedy and my heart breaks for the people involved and I know that celebrating my child doesn’t take away from that.”
By continuing to live your life, it’s fuel so that you can be more of a support system for someone in pain. It truly doesn’t help for you to be guilty. The answer to guilt is to not deny yourself, but instead to live with gratitude.
Q: Do you have any advice for those experiencing anxiety about returning to pre-pandemic activities?
Andrea: If you haven't exercised a muscle in a year, you can't run a marathon. It’s the same with your social life — recognize that it’s a muscle that needs a little stretching and nurturing. If you haven’t been out in a year, jumping into a trip to Disney World is going to feel overwhelming.
Ease in and listen to yourself instead of overdoing it. You don’t want to pull yourself back and let fear run the show, so just check in with yourself and see what your energy levels are feeling like. Maybe instead of committing to an all-day affair, you meet a friend for an hour. If you find that you’re feeling energized instead of drained, you might choose to extend your outing. Either way, listen to yourself!
Q: How can you differentiate between the real need for rest and self-sabotage?
Andrea: It can help to do a checklist to see how you’re really feeling. You can even put this on an index card as sort of a rule-out diagnosis. You might ask: Is my body fatigued? Is there a physical sense of exhaustion? Is there something else I'd really rather be doing?
If you answer yes to all of the above, maybe you really will benefit most from rest. But if not, it’s possible you’re sabotaging yourself out of fear. Again, if you’re feeling anxious, you don’t want to overcommit yourself. Give yourself an out if you need it. It’s like an arcade game — do you want to add more coins, add another hour? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Sometimes it’s important for you to see that person you have plans with, and even if you’re not feeling super enthused, you’ll stretch yourself more for your friend. Sometimes, it’s not super important and it’s going above your threshold. Find a middle ground and try not to stretch yourself too thin.
Q: Are there any personal lessons you learned during 2020 that you’d like to carry forward?
Andrea: I learned to do what’s important to me with more intention and less speed. Things that would have been put on the back burner — like painting for no purpose, or watching a movie — got moved higher up on the list. Pre-pandemic, I was always trying to be fast and productive. Especially being from the northeast, sometimes I struggle with is not going 90 mph at all times. But if you run a marathon every day, you’ll burn out. These days I’m more realistic and unapologetic about slowing down. I can still say yes to things, but I can space it out to be more connected to myself during the day. There are beautiful things that can come out of speed and passion, but sometimes doing it slower is actually doing it better.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the HHA community?
Andrea: We're all human and it's so, so important to be kind to yourself. Whether you're in a crisis or in a joyful mood, be kind and gentle to yourself!
Q: If people are interested in seeing you for counseling, what are the next steps?
Andrea: I welcome the opportunity to talk with you! I can be reached at 973-886-0941 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide more information, share about what a session might look like, or to schedule an appointment.
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.