The holidays are a time of increased love, joy, sadness, and stress — sometimes all at once!
For the past five years, the Hudson Healing Arts blog has explored this “full feeling” time from different angles. We’ve covered tips on getting grounding in gratitude, giving back, finding grace in grief, and taking really, really good care of yourself (which is the best gift for you and your loved ones).
This year, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and share some of our favorite ideas from holidays past! No matter what this season looks like for you, we hope you find healing and inspiration in our archives.
Sunday morning 20-minute retreat
The holidays bring a time of wonder and special moments with loved ones, but the pressure to fit everything in can mask the beauty of the season. That’s why our resident counselor Andrea Inauen is such a big fan of this simple self-care tool for your toolbox. Before the start of your week, this short exercise can help you set small, achievable goals for a memorable, enjoyable, and peaceful holiday season.
1. Take 3-5 minutes in a tranquil space. Do slow, methodical breathing, inhaling for 10 counts, with the 8, 9, and 10 count being as deep an inhale of fresh air as possible, then exhaling for 10 counts until your belly and lungs have expelled the air from your core. Visualize an inhalation of clean, pure air, and the exhale of toxins, stress, and worry. This breathing can help re-center and give you a sense of calm and gratitude to let the joy and wonder of the season take shape.
2. After 3-5 minutes of breathing, ask yourself what you want your week to look like (not what you NEED to do). Do you want it to be productive, peaceful, joyful, predictable, social? There is no right or wrong here, but identifying the tone you want for yourself can be a guiding force to build your week and remind yourself that you are in the driver’s seat.
3. Then, start to make a list of the few essentials that you need to fit in — work, childcare, commitments. Remember that you are only one person!
4. After the few big essentials are down, fill in the remainder of your list with what you might want to do - buy gifts, see a movie, call a friend. Recognize that you will get to some of these, but in order to keep the tone that is most important to you, some of these may have to be moved to another week....and that is okay.
5. What is one act of kindness that you can add to this list? It doesn’t have to be a big commitment - but rather phoning a relative, buying a coffee for someone who you think could use one, or giving a compliment to someone. These small acts can remind yourself to be grateful for what you have and that you have the capacity to give.
6. That is it! Look at your list, and remind yourself that you are in the driver’s seat and that to find joy, peace, or whatever tone you want, at least to some degree, starts with you. Of course, there are external factors that can change things in a split second. However, to start with what is important to you can give you greater navigation and a direction to return to when busyness and pressure try to take hold.
Gratitude for simple seasonal pleasures
It’s so easy to get swept up in the stress of doing more — but as we say at HHA, “more often just means more.” The wonder of the holidays really is found in the simple things. What did you delight in as a child at this time of year? Chances are it will still enchant you!
When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, make a cup of spiced tea or hot cocoa. Take a few moments to breathe in the aroma and savor a sip. Take the scenic route to admire the holiday lights. Curl up with your pet and watch your favorite holiday classic. Whatever brings your heart peace, move towards that! Check out our 2017 blog for more stress-relieving tips.
Get in the giving spirit
The meaning of the holidays can get lost in all the excess, but there’s nothing like helping those who are in need to help you regain a sense of perspective. Remember, you don’t have to have lots of money to brighten someone’s holiday. 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 a neighbor over for dinner, giving warm gloves to your mail delivery person, or telling your coworkers how much they mean to you. Take time to smile and say ‘thank you’ to sales clerks, servers, and your local barista. Their good service makes your life easier and they deserve acknowledgement and a kind word – especially during the holiday season!
You might also volunteer or donate to a charitable organization. You’ll feel better for it and it will enrich another life in ways you may not even imagine. Check out our 2021 blog for ways to get involved with local organizations doing amazing work in Hoboken and New York City.
Celebrate the winter solstice
The winter solstice might not get as much attention as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza, but we highly recommend celebrating the shortest day of the year (and of course, the return of the sun!). Amid the holiday frenzy, the winter solstice is a sacred time to pause, reflect, release, and set your intentions for the coming year.
Use social media mindfully
Social media can be embraced as a tool for connection rather than comparison this holiday. It’s all about getting clear about your intentions and paying attention to how it’s making you feel.
For instance, you can FaceTime faraway loved ones to include them in cherished rituals, share a GoFundMe campaign to lift up someone in need, or make a collaborative playlist of holiday tunes with your family. Check out more ideas on our 2019 blog.
Create hygge in your home
Hygge is a delightful Danish concept that has been described as a coziness of the soul. The essence of hygge is comfort and contentment.
At HHA, we’re big believers in the energy of physical spaces. We love the idea of creating cozy spaces, and there are infinite ways to impart this quality into your daily life and boost your wellbeing. Best of all, it doesn’t require you to spend a dime! Take a look at our 2020 blog for inspiration.
Come visit us!
As we often say at HHA, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Nourishing your mind, body, and soul ensures that you can better pour into your loved ones and enjoy the holidays from a grounded, peaceful state.
Check out our full list of healing modalities here. We truly hope this trip down memory lane resonates with you, and helps infuse your holiday with compassion and peace. Sending all our best wishes!
Grief During the Holidays: Give Yourself Grace
The holidays aren’t always the most wonderful time of the year. For those dealing with grief, know that you’re not alone — your Hudson Healing Arts family sees you.
Whether you’re struggling with grief or you want to support someone in your life who is, we are sending you loving energy. This blog is dedicated to ways you can take care of yourself and honor the memory of your loved one during this challenging time.
Honor this transitional stage
Most cultures have built-in traditions to honor those who have passed. Take Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico, a joyful holiday dedicated to celebrating the memory of the deceased. Or consider the tremendous outpouring of grief we witnessed for Queen Elizabeth in the United Kingdom.
As universal as grief is, unfortunately it’s something that our culture doesn’t teach us to sit with. We’re often encouraged to skip the sadness and return to normalcy, which does little to help us heal. Loss and pain are a natural part of life, and it’s perfectly okay if your holiday traditions fall to the wayside in the wake of grief.
Your grief is real because your love is real, and it’s so important to give yourself the time, space, and permission to honor it. There is no timeline and there is nothing you “have” to do, besides feel your feelings and listen to what’s there.
Recognize that everyone grieves differently
Grief can manifest as irritability, impatience, silence, anger, or weepiness…sometimes all at once! While we all grieve differently, we are all hurting. If you are the one grieving, give yourself grace. If you’re dealing with someone grieving, lead with compassion and cut them slack.
Recognize that grief is far from linear: It comes in waves, and the holidays tend to be a tsunami. It’s all a process, and calling on the attribute of grace is more important than ever during this time.
Find ways to keep their memory alive
“When someone dies, our relationship with them doesn’t end — it changes.”
So many of us try to survive the holiday grief through avoidance. However, this often makes us feel even more isolated, and finding ways to honor your loved one’s memory during the festivities can be an incredible source of comfort. Here are just a few ways to keep their memory alive.
Take care of yourself
When you’re in the trenches of grief, it’s easy for self-care to fly out the window. The irony, of course, is that this is the time that you need it the most.
At HHA, we offer holistic healing in many forms, and encourage you to find what brings a sense of comfort, whether that’s Reiki, counseling, acupuncture, or something else. Bach Flower remedies provide a gentle form of consolation in times of grief, and can be taken daily. Star of Bethlehem (the remedy for loss, grief, or shock) can be particularly helpful, but there are also other remedies for the complicated mix of emotions you may be feeling, from guilt to regret to apathy.
Another way to take care of yourself during the holidays is to stay off social media, which can lead us to spiral into loneliness and make comparisons. Some days, simply washing your face might be an accomplishment — and that’s okay. Celebrate each small win of self-care as you take this time to grieve and heal.
Do good in their memory
As cliche as it sounds, lifting someone else up is often the best way to soothe your own pain. Maybe that means donating or volunteering to a cause your loved one was passionate about, or planting a tree or flower in their memory. Perhaps you invite over a neighbor who might be lonely during the holidays, or pay for the person behind you in line.
While grief can make us feel isolated, the truth is that it’s the one thing that connects us all. Just one positive action can help you remember that a broken heart is still an open heart, and that our grief is a true indicator of our ability to love deeply
We sincerely hope this blog helps you to be gentle with yourself during the holidays and every season of grief. Remember, you are never alone in your pain. Your HHA family is sending you warmth, healing, and strength!
To know our practitioner, Noreen Haren, is to know the power of having a safe, positive, and entirely non-judgmental space to grow your awareness. And that’s what the Feldenkrais Method is all about!
Here at Hudson Healing Arts, Noreen’s commitment to creating a playful, curious atmosphere for clients to rediscover the joy in movement is something we deeply admire. So we decided to do a little “story time” with Noreen to learn more about the lessons and experiences that have shaped her approach as a practitioner.
I was born with mild cerebral palsy, and discovered Feldenkrais in the 1980s when I was looking for a way to feel more balanced. In my first session with a wonderful practitioner named Alan, he asked me to walk across the room.
I knew that I walked slightly on my toes. But to my complete surprise, Alan said: “That’s terrific, let’s see what else you can learn!”
It was the first time I hadn’t felt defective...and that’s the transformative effect of Feldenkrais. Alan approached our sessions with curiosity, acceptance, and total support. He also had a great sense of humor and made each session fun. He positively reinforced how well I compensated for my cerebral palsy, and introduced me to the philosophy that no one uses 100% of their brain — we can all improve our movement and our ease in life with awareness.It was Alan who eventually encouraged me to become a practitioner.
When I made the decision to pursue training, I had the good fortune of studying with an experienced group of teachers who were in Moshe Feldenkrais’ original programs (including Alan). Whenever I felt self-conscious or silly, Alan would tell me: “It’s better to be a C student, than an A student because you learn more.”
It took a while for his words to sink in. Once they did, it was so freeing. No one in my life had ever really talked about my diagnosis before. But during my Feldenkrais training, I realized that so many of us are drawn to this work because of our own healing journeys. Young, old, athletic, or not, we’ve all forgotten some things about movement, and we all worry about being good students. Everyone needs compassion during the process.
A lot of Feldenkrais movements involve re-evoking movements you learned as an infant or child. If you watch a baby, they’re not frustrated, they are curious. They get their information
internally. That’s the premise of Feldenkrais: Be gentle and learn to sense yourself to find the pleasure in movement.
It’s a powerful lesson for us grown-ups, because we all try so hard! During a lesson on headstands, one of my teachers once told me: “Don’t push too hard, Noreen. There’s millions of people who went through life without standing on their heads. It’s not that important.”
This simple advice was so powerful. Feldenkrais is about rediscovering ease (and fun!). The goal isn’t to make a person feel like a 20-year-old, but to help them learn how to function maximally within the limits of their ability. It’s so positive, and people leave with a smile on their face. The benefits go beyond enhanced movement. As Moshe Feldenkrais said, “What I am after isn’t flexible bodies but flexible brains. What I’m after is to restore each person to their human dignity.
Healing in movement
Being blindfolded during my Feldenkrais training was one of my most life-changing experiences. The goal was for us to deepen our senses, but I had terrible childhood memories from multiple eye surgeries and was dreading this exercise.
Once I did it, however, I realized that I was 35 at that moment — not that scared five-year-old. It was so transformative, and more helpful than any other therapy. That’s another beautiful thing about Feldenkrais: You can bypass the emotions by working with the body. Emotions will come up, and it’s okay to cry. Movement can be incredibly cathartic. The blindfold experience showed me there’s so many ways to heal, and Feldenkrais taps into the deep knowledge in our bodies.
At the end of the day, I’m such an advocate for Feldenkrais because it’s helped me so much. I’ve seen the transformation for so many others as well. Overall, I’m humbled by people’s openness and the opportunity to teach people to be kinder to themselves.
Through Feldenkrais, you learn the tools to relax and center yourself. Most of our bodies have been wired to hold tension and be in crisis mode. The beauty of Feldenkrais and other methods like acupuncture, hypnosis, and Reiki is that you learn techniques to take yourself out of stress mode. That is the ultimate gift!
HHA Inspiration Spotlight: Andrea Inauen
Here at Hudson Healing Arts, we feel incredibly lucky to have Andrea Inauen on our team as a counselor. Since 2002, she’s helped empower clients to be in the driver’s seat of their own lives.
There are so many things we admire about her approach to counseling -- one being her dedication to holding her clients in unconditional positive regard. Driven by the belief that each and every one of us is capable of whatever we put our minds to, Andrea has a wonderful gift for helping people discover their strengths and define what’s most important to them in life.
In this month’s blog, Andrea is sharing the influences and inspirations that have shaped her philosophy, as both a counselor and a human being. We hope you enjoy learning more about her background!
The power of choice
Like many young people, I faced a lot of angst and uncertainty about my career path. I was torn between staying in Connecticut or moving home to be close to my family, and on top of that, I felt guilty for not knowing what to do.
A college career counselor shared some simple words that made a profound impact on my life: “You have the right to do what’s right for you. It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to try and then change your mind.”
More than 20 years later, this advice continues to empower me. I realized that I did have the right to choose what I wanted. On top of that, I didn’t have to “get it right” the first time. As a young person, I just didn’t feel like I had the license to do what I really wanted at the time. Her words of wisdom inspired me to be my own advocate and give voice to what I wanted.
It turned out that my first choice (business) wasn’t for me -- and like she said, that was okay! I got my master’s in social work, in part because of that powerful concept she gave me: What would it be like to give other people a choice, to empower themselves, and to advocate for what's important to them?
Unconditional positive regard
In one of my very first social work classes, I learned the term ‘unconditional positive regard.’ This idea of offering clients full acceptance and support has stuck with me ever since. Creating a safe, compassionate, and non-judgmental space for people to explore their feelings and experiences is so important to me. It takes great courage and strength to come to counseling and truly look in the mirror, and I admire each and every person that does so.
Mary Richmond, one of the pioneers in social work at the turn of the 20th century, is also a strong influence in my initiation into social work for her concept of ‘person in the environment’ or PEI for short. Richmond acknowledges that there are environmental forces that influence your perception and interaction in the world and yourself (rather than something being “wrong” with you or fundamentally flawed).
Embracing & celebrating strengths
The strengths-based perspective, which comes from Dennis Saleebey, has had a profound impact on the way I approach each and every counseling session. The idea of encouraging people to embrace their strengths to manage life challenges resonates with me deeply.
While I'm honored to hold space for people to process their trauma, the ultimate goal is to empower them to tap into the strength within to navigate those traumas. It goes along with the idea of unconditional positive regard: People have what they need within them to survive what they've gone through. I work with clients to develop these tools and rediscover the beauty that’s within them.
It might sound corny, but Mister Rogers is someone who’s always inspired me. He radiated genuine kindness and created a safe space through his programs for children to gather and talk about difficult things. Permission for feelings and kindness to others and also to self is a tenet that influences me and my practice.
It’s okay to be human
Oprah is another human who embodies kindness. Despite her success, she owns being a human being and doesn’t try to act “perfect.” I admire that she is always trying to learn about herself and others, try new things, and do good. She used to say “When you know better, you do better,” which comes back to that lesson I learned back in college: You don’t have to have it all figured out!
People often ask where the name Gigi Counseling came from. Gigi refers to a kind of bamboo plant I was introduced to a long time ago. Bamboo is flexible, resilient, and strong, and it tends to resist breaking when placed under stress. It has qualities within that are not necessarily visible at first glance, but with nurturing and growth, its strengths become apparent. Sound familiar? It is what I know to be true about the clients with whom I work.
These are just a few of the influences that helped shape me as a person and a counselor. My job is not to tell people what to do, but rather to create a safe, kind, and non-threatening space to support them. The ultimate goal is for my clients to discover what they truly want, and to believe they’re capable of it.
It’s so rewarding for me to see people begin to trust their own instincts and values. I love seeing them recognize that they have agency to work through struggles and to care for themselves in a compassionate way.
If you are interested in learning more or setting up an appointment, feel free to reach out at (973) 886-0941.
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!
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.