Archive - November 2014

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Fall wellness recap!
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Waldorf schools host magical fall events
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Freedom for Family Wellness Summit returns to Reston this weekend

Fall wellness recap!

This fall I’ve had the opportunity to attend several events at which I’ve learned great information on health and wellness that I’m using at home and at my children’s school. My reaction to these learning opportunities tends to be first elation, then the heavy weight of responsibility, thinking about all the things I need to research and do for my health and my family’s health, and then the desire to write about what I’ve learned, both to process it for myself and to get up here on the site.

And yet, what most of those events have had as their fundamental lesson is the importance of reducing stress! And the importance of cultivating an atmosphere of gratitude. So rather than bemoan the fact that I haven’t yet done in-depth reporting on all of these events, I’m going to shift my perspective to consider it a gift that I got to go to them and that I can share them with you in this fall recap.

Okay, I’ve rolled up my sleeves so here we go!

The fall health and wellness season launched for me at the end of the summer, when I gathered five other panelists to address the topic of “Supporting Children’s Emotional Health” with me at Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria’s August meeting.

Holistic Moms Arlington Alexandria Children's Emotional Health panelWe talked about positive parenting, calming ourselves and modeling healthy coping strategies for our children, food as trigger or healer, energy healing modalities (Reiki, Accunect and hypnotherapy) and bodywork (craniosacral therapy, chiropractic and massage), spiritual coaching, and more. We then did a daytime meeting repeat in October, at which got another demo of Accunect, read the children’s book Anh’s Anger and talked more about our challenges and shared strategies.

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Waldorf schools host magical fall events

There may be a lot of fall festivals and holiday bazaars, but there’s nothing quite like an event at a Waldorf school. Even the classrooms — with their soothing pastel colors, soft light and natural materials — make you feel like you just curled up with a candle and a cozy blanket.

But then there are the activities that fill those homey rooms. Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Arlington recently held its Fall Festival, the last at its home near Crystal City before the school begins a 10-year lease at Fairlington Presbyterian in Alexandria in 2015. Despite the chilly weather, there were plenty of children enjoying the marble run and other outdoor fun, including a visit with a blacksmith. Inside children enjoyed crafts with wool, leaves and silk.

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School Fall Festival 2014 marble run

And oh, the puppet shows. Waldorf schools may be the one place where art is so sacred that no one is going to snap a photo during a marionette show or a puppet play. It’s like against a silent code that you’re only allowed to pay attention to what is in front of you and to hold it in your head — not on a screen — for eternity. So I have n o image, but trust me, these performances are truly magical – slow, patient, pentatonic, and dreamy. If you’ve ever doubted the ability of children to sit still if something is not blinking and buzzing at them, see one of these shows for yourself and become a believer.

This Saturday you’ll have the chance at the Washington Waldorf School annual Fall Bazaar, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Celebrating 45 years of educating children in pre-K through high school, the Bethesda-based school puts on an amazing event with a wide variety of crafts and activities for children as well as vendors and artisans. Click here for a full listing of the offerings, which include a children’s shop where little ones can purchase treasures for others using tickets.
Washington Waldorf School Childrens ShopTickets for activities ($1 each, activities vary in number of tickets) are available at three locations throughout the school in addition to at the main entrance. However, tickets for the puppet plays are only available outside on a first-come, first-served basis.  “The Magic Gourd” is geared toward children ages 4-8 and will be performed in the library at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m. “Mouth Finds His Winter Home” is for children aged 2-3 and will be performed at 12:00 and 12:45 p.m. Tickets sell out, so be sure to arrive early to get yours.

Click here for a map of the day’s activities. The school even has a newsletter with reflections by bazaar contributors and organizersNew this year this year is a woodworking room and the making of thumb pianos with the help of NeighborWood‘s Bill Merkel.

Also debuting is a vendor preview night on Friday, 7:00-9:00 p.m. so you can shop without children in tow! The array of artisans is always impressive and includes Washington Waldorf School beeswax candlesvendors selling beeswax candles, ornaments, textiles, jewelry, wooden toys and art, and much more. You could really spend all day there and never take your child to a single activity. So instead, go Friday night! Tickets are limited and cost $10.

On Saturday, refreshments will be available in the Snack Shop 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Bistro Café and Patisserie 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be coffee in the auditorium for the whole 10-3 event.

The school even produced a video to showcase the event and let you know what to expect. Enjoy!

Washington Waldorf school photos courtesy of the school.

Freedom for Family Wellness Summit returns to Reston this weekend

When the Freedom for Family Wellness Summit came to town in 2010, it was an impressive gathering, to say the least! For anyone interested in health and wellness, and especially the connection between healthy birth and future health or between a sound physical structure and optimal energetic wellness, this conference is not to be missed. The event is the third of its kind organized by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), which runs 150 seminars a year for 4000 members and publishes the Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, reaching an audience of some 35,000.

I attended the 2010 summit with my two-month-old daughter, who had been born at home (a home VBAC, or HBAC) four years after her brother had been born via c-section. I had my mind blown by the summit speakers, and while I was staffing the Holistic Moms Network table, I got to talk with midwife extraordinaire Ina May Gaskin, who was at the table next to us with Safe Motherhood Quilt project and who also got her first chiropractic adjustment at the event!

gaskin adjusted

The HMN table was also right behind the table of Dr. Jennifer Mercier whose knowledge about women’s pelvic pain helped me to understand that it was my c-section scar that was causing me discomfort since my daughter’s vaginal birth.

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I’m excited to go back this year to the large gathering for lots of reasons (including to watch Dr. Jennifer’s new movie about fertility, which I hear she will be screening at her exhibit hall booth), and I hope to to cover at least a slice of what I learn this weekend to share here.

But with more than 30 speakers and 50 exhibitors, the possibilities are endless. If you’re into family wellness, this is a stellar conference to attend! There’s no telling when or if an event of this magnitude will return. Ina May is coming back this year and is joined by numerous other speakers including Business of Baby author Jennifer Margulis, Karen Brody, author of Birth the play and founder of the BOLD method, and Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology and Genetic Roulette.

I had a chance to speak with ICPA Executive Director Dr. Jeanne Ohm who referenced the event’s subtitle: “Celebrating the Shift to Conscious Choice.” She said she senses a powerful shift of people wanting to reclaim their right to informed choice, and she hopes the event will empower parents and practitioners to believe that we have the right to make informed choices for our children.

Jeanne Cal Jam 2012

A chiropractor, Dr. Ohm says the event promotes respect: “Whatever you want is what’s best for you and your family,” she says. When parents approach her unsure what to do about a medical decision, she tells them that a state of fear is not the place from which a parent should make any choice. She recommends you ask yourself what resonates with your highest core value.”IMG_0058

And she also recommends having a respect and trust for the intelligence of life. She’s written about the paradigm called “vitalism,” which she wants to describe now simply as “life is intelligent.” She referenced a saying of Einstein’s that the most important decision we’re going to make is whether we live in a hostile universe or a friendly one. “It’s a friendly universe when you trust that the universe knows what it’s doing,” Dr. Ohm says. “If you think your body doesn’t know what it’s doing, you live in fear. When you believe it’s friendly, you can let go and enjoy life a little more.”

The purpose of the event is to bring together groups of people who are all saying the same thing but from different perspectives, that of holistic practitioners, psychologists, parents, educators, and more. “In chiropractic,” Dr. Ohm says, “we call it the above down inside out lifestyle. There is intelligence inherent in all of us. So respect the child and let her educate herself, respect the body in birth instead of trying to regulate and control it, respect the body that it will do the right thing rather than subject it to unnecessary intervention.”

What this weekend is about, she says, is that there is a sense of order and intelligence in life, and how can we respond accordingly in our personal choices. See registration information here.

See this full roster of speakers and the complete schedule of the event that opens Thursday, November 13 and runs through Sunday, November 16 at the Hyatt Regency Reston. In addition to these presentations will be a packed exhibit hall with practitioners, businesses, organizations and authors. See this list of sponsors and exhibitors.

Exhibitors include the following:

Also exhibiting are One More Page Books and authors: Maria Gavriel, Tara Gesling, Kathleen DiChiara and Nydia Kastra.

Photo credits (except Dr. Mercier demonstrating pelvic self-assessment): Christine Zichittella-Heeren. 

Disclosure: I’ve been offered a complimentary press pass to attend this event.

Copyright © 2015 Mindful Healthy Life. Created by MtoM Consulting.

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