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All About We Coming Together for Creative Change

The Merry Vegan

Healthy Holiday Sweets

Transforming End-of-Life Experience Inhaling to Heal

The Benefits of Conscious Breathwork December 2019 | Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition | December 2019


The Breiner Whole-Body Health Center z

The Natural Choice

Optimize Your Smile and Your Health! Whole-Body Dentistry® provides comprehensive oral health care using traditional and holistic approaches. We understand the "mouth-body connection." Mark A. Breiner, DDS

Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry Fellow of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology Speaker and best-selling author of WHOLE-BODY DENTISTRY®

Mercury-free for over 30 years. Dr. Breiner is a pioneer and recognized authority in the field of biological and holistic dentistry.

Doesn't It Make Sense To See The Authority?

Join our FREE online health newsletter! 501 Kings Highway East, Suite 108 | Fairfield, CT | 203-371-0300 |

Caring Integrative Physicians Offering the Best in Holistic Healing The Breiner Whole-Body Health Center

Our integrative approach treats a wide range of conditions including:

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To learn more, watch our website videos.

Whole-Body Medicine, LLC ~ The Natural Approach for Optimal Health 2

501 Kings Highway East, Suite 108 | Fairfield, CT | 203-371-8258 | Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

December 2019


Is your soul calling to be in alignment with the= Divinity of you?

A YEAR OF HEALING 2020 with Eilis Philpott of Soul Healing Journey, LLC

We will meet one weekend a month for 12 months and spend Friday evening together and all day Saturday and Sunday.

September 11-13 October 9-11 November 13-15 December 11-13

Location 415 Howe Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484 Pay in full $6,000 or pay quarterly $1,500 or pay monthly $500

Mention this ad to qualify for special rate.

Registration is required To register go to: Be prepared to commit to one full year of healing.

203-767-5954 4

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

22 KIDS WITH GRATITUDE Making Thankfulness Second Nature


On Lessons From Heaven

"Taking the YOH was one of the best decisions of my life. The classes offered a myriad of ways to heal and grow. My progress has been amazing due to Eilis’ teachings, practices and my wonderful classmates. I’m grateful to Eilis for providing this forum and a place to make life-long connections with kindred spirits." Joan M.


Conscious Breathwork


"I signed up for the 2019 Year of Healing because I had a desire to be the best healer I could be. What an amazing journey. Eilis’ guidance, desire to help people heal themselves, understanding of human nature, support, intuition, honesty, love and knowledge is invaluable." Kathie D.

May 1-3 June 12-14 July 10-12 August 7-9



Awakening to the Evolution of Community


January 10-12 February 7-9 March 13-15 April 3-5



I will share with you what I have learned from trainings, from life and from guidance in a way that integrates the various modalities. By the end of the 12 months of training you will have catapulted your personal, professional and spiritual journey into the stratosphere.

Dates for 2020




Regional Hospice Offers Families a

Meaningful End-of-Life Experience


Break Free from Addiction and Trauma


How to Reduce Holiday Food Waste



People-Pleasing Holiday Sweets



Reduce Overwhelm, Increase Delight

DEPARTMENTS 8 news briefs 15 eco tip 16 health briefs 18 global briefs 20 mastering yoga 22 healthy kids 28 community

spotlight 36 green living

38 conscious

eating 40 naturally healthy pet 44 calendar 47 classified 48 resource guide 54 inspiration 54 display ad index

Natural Awakenings is a family of more than 70 healthy living magazines celebrating 25 years of providing the communities we serve with the tools and resources we all need to lead healthier lives on a healthy planet.


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letter from publisher


hen the world was smaller and most individuals didn’t venture too far from where they started out, the word “community” was easily defined as the people and businesses located nearby. In today’s hyperconnected modern world, the word is characterized more by similarity of purpose and mission than physical proximity. Community—while it may still incorporate a physical place—more typically these days encompasses a feeling, a synergy of hearts and minds, an ethos. Community brings people together, connected by an idea, a common goal, a sense of purpose, a Nicole Miale need for joy, solace or escape. This month we feature Linda Sechrist’s uplifting article, “The Emerging Power of ‘We’: Awakening to the Evolution of Community,” to further explore this concept of community. Her piece makes a compelling argument that collective wisdom, collaborative change and the need to evolve from a culture of “me” to a culture of “we” may well be the key to addressing the major challenges that confront humankind. What I wish and intend for our collective future is that more people are able to embody that humanity is a community unto itself. The stuff we collect and the subsets we choose to form—the “tribes” we seek and hold dear—may be precious indeed, but at this time they serve to divide us more than help. The time has come for us to search for common ground and connection with all others. While as individuals we may be mighty, as a human collective we could be unstoppable. The Wise Words department this month takes us on an inspiring spiritual journey, with the story of Mary Neal, an orthopedic surgeon and author of 7 Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life. Neal shares her account of a near-death experience during which she believes she penetrated the veil dividing the physical and spiritual worlds. Her life-altering experience prompted her to pay more attention to those things that are truly important to her: faith, family and relationships with others. Having recently experienced a major medical trauma of my own (not nearly as major as Neal’s, I’m relieved to say!), I can corroborate that nothing helps put things in perspective like the clear understanding that your time is not as infinite as you might have fooled yourself into thinking. I hope this month’s articles provide pearls of wisdom or bits of inspiration to light your path as you expand your communities both near and far. From the whole Natural Awakenings team to you, your family and communities, we wish you the happiest of holidays and peace on earth for the coming year. With love and light,

Natural Awakenings Magazine is ranked 5th Nationally in CISION’S® 2016 Top 10 Health & Fitness Magazines

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Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

See our display advertiser index on page 54, making it easier to find the resources you need.

2020 Natural Living Directory Coming in the February 2020 issue of Natural Awakenings


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December 2019


Stress Less with Salt Therapy in Darien

news briefs

Threshold New Year’s Workshop in Greenwich


s the year 2019 draws to a close and we approach a metaphorical “threshold,” do you feel an inner calling into the mystery of what you may discover and create in 2020? Join Nancy Barbe and Robin Spiegel from December 29 to January 1st in welcoming internationally renowned Amara Pagano, creator of “Azul Conscious Movement” and One Dance Tribe, to The Loft in Greenwich for an amazing four-day workshop or for a three-hour introduction on December 29. Through Pagano’s exquisite facilitation, powerful guidance and a deep listening through each attendee’s body, a sacred space is created through organic movement. Participants will dance and move through four days as they reflect on what has been, what is in the present moment and lean into the possibilities for 2020. This Threshold workshop offers many gifts of embodied movement, transformation, access to subtle levels of truth, a strengthening of your unique gifts, fun, ritual and celebration as the group moves toward greater joy, love, abundance, clarity and peace while in conscious community. No prior dance or movement experience is necessary. All 14 years and older are welcome. For more information, contact Robin Spiegel of Lotus Wellness Center at 203-531-4784, email or visit


s the Salt Cave of Darien celebrates its second anniversary, the wellness destination is offering a rich lineup of therapies to help customers de-stress, detox and improve overall health. In addition to the popular group sessions in the main cave—a warm, relaxing space carved out of pure Himalayan salt—the Salt Cave has added a private salt-lined room for individual treatments. Now visitors can enjoy massage, reflexology, acupuncture or energy work while breathing in the healing, medical-grade salt air (couples’ massages also available). During a standard 45-minute cave session, customers rest while breathing in salt air. This halotherapy offers a variety of benefits, with anti-inflammatory properties that may help allergies, respiratory conditions and joint issues, while beautiful colors can provide another source of healing (chromotherapy). Recently, the Salt Cave has also introduced sound therapy to complement each session; customers can opt to listen to music with special frequencies to enhance physical and mental well-being. During special events, some top local healers offer additional services to clients, including sound-bowl meditations, yoga and tarot readings. There are even weekly meditations and exercise classes to help people incorporate stress relief into their busy days. Just in time for the holiday season, The Salt Cave is stocked with luxe salt-based spa, CBD and salt décor products. You can create your own gift basket with gift certificates for salt sessions paired with products. Time spent in this healthy oasis is truly a thoughtful gift. For more information, call 203-658-7667, email: or visit Location: 555 Post Rd, Darien. See ad, page 34.

Natural Health and Wellness Center Comprehensive, holistic healthcare in a relaxed, nurturing environment. Blending advanced diagnostic testing with safe, effective, time-honored healing arts for you and your family.

Lisa Singley, ND, MS Lorie Gumbs-Tyler, ND




Acupuncture Biofeedback Craniosacral Therapy Freqency Specific Microcurrent Therapy Homeopathy Naturopathic Medicine Pain Management Annual Exams Gynecology Exams

Acute & Chronic Endocrine: adrenal, thyroid, diabetes, and hormonal imbalances Cardiovascular Gastrointestinal Fatigue and Sleep Issues Weight Loss Programs Auto-immune disorders

2103 Main Street, Stratford, CT 06615 8

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

Schedule a consultation and receive 20% off all recommended supplements. Most health insurance plans accepted.

Celebrate Winter Solstice in Westport


oin Jungian astrologer and Labyrinth facilitator Marjorie Partch for a winter solstice celebration and labyrinth walk on December 21 at 4pm at the Unitarian Church in Westport. The event takes place on the shortest day of the year, before the days start getting longer. Like proverbial clockwork, the days will continue to grow longer, warmer and lighter—until the summer solstice, on June 20, 2020. We are reminded that so much in life is cyclical, with seasons of darkness and light, whether literal or symbolic. The evergreen tree featured in our traditional Northern European celebrations of this season represents the Eternal Life that underlies these changeable cycles. The changing light, which is created by the tilt of the Earth on its axis, is represented by the small flickering lights or candles used to decorate our solstice holiday trees. During this celebration, attendees will contemplate the darkness and the end of the year, while welcoming the Return of the Light and walking the Blue Lotus Peace Labyrinth. This ancient archetype has been used to mark these cycles for millennia.

Acupuncture | Dental Hygiene Chiropractic | Naturopathic Medicine  Open to the public  Cost-effective comprehensive healthcare  Emphasizes prevention and wellness


to schedule an appointment: (203) 576-4349

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60 Lafayette Street, Bridgeport, CT

Partch is available for consultations and events in southern Connecticut, with a new office located in Norwalk. For information, call 203-912-3528. Location of the Winter Solstice Celebration: Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Rd, Westport. See Community Resource Guide listing, page 48.

Try the MELT Method in Brookfield


ave you experienced the MELT Method of pain reduction yet? If not, check out this modality at a workshop sponsored by the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Department on December 5 from 6 to 7pm. Are you in pain? Are you feeling stiff in the morning when you wake up? Do you think this is a part of the aging process? Rest assured—it’s not a part of aging gracefully. However, you may have connective tissue “dehydration.” Your connective tissue is a three-dimensional, fluid-based system that creates a flexible framework that provides your entire body support, protection and connection. MELT is performed by position-point pressing of the hands and feet with specially designed soft balls (provided at class) to hydrate connective tissue. MELT is a cutting-edge technique to help you get out of and stay out of pain. This modality promises results from the first class. To learn more about the class, visit 2019ProgramGuide. Location: Huckleberry Hill Elementary School, 100 Candlewood Lake Rd, Brookfield. December 2019


news briefs

Shamanic Healing Clinic in Westport


xperience the physical and spiritual benefits of shamanic healing at a Shamanic Healing Clinic from 6:30 to 8:30pm on December 10 at the Transformation Center Connecticut in Westport. Shamanism begins healing from the soul level and works its way down to the physical world. Each month shamanic practitioners trained and certified by medicine woman Ahalya Baguio offer the community these sacred healing sessions. Benefits of shamanic work include connecting more deeply with your body; reducing stress; helping heal trauma and releasing emotional blockages; reducing tension and anxiety; boosting the immune system; and inducing synchronous brain activity. This relaxing and peaceful method helps clear emotional and psychological hindrances and has been used for thousands of years in all indigenous cultures. Each personal session ends with a medicine drumming. Limited sessions available, so reserve your spot today. Organizers ask for a suggested donation of $20, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. To reserve your spot, visit Location: Transformation Center Connecticut, 7 Reimer Rd, Westport. See Community Resource Guide listing, page 53.

Kirtan and Sacred Music on New Year’s Eve


ita’s Light welcomes in the new year with a kirtan and sacred music celebration in Danbury starting at 8pm on December 31. The New Year is a powerful threshold, which offers an opportunity to listen deeply, reflect, restore and create anew. Join in sweet community to free your soul and empower your heart’s intentions for 2020 as Sita’s Light offers its 10th New Year’s Eve event. The celebration is for all who love kirtan and sacred music but also for anyone who wants to enter the new year in a unique, meaningful, spiritual way in conscious community. Attendees will chant, move, breathe, enter into the new year with a special meditation or two and share chai, prasad and other light refreshments, hugs, loving kindness and more! Tickets are $65 in advance or $75 (cash) at the door. Space is limited and tickets could sell out. Bring your cushions, backjacks or bolsters to sit comfortably on a carpeted floor. There will also be chairs available. No alcohol is permitted. To RSVP, email Location: 24 Clapboard Ridge Rd, Danbury.

This Medicine of the Future is Here Now! PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Treatments & Adult Stem Cell Therapy Advances in Regenerative Medicine allow Dr. Henry Sobo to offer these cutting edge technologies. PRP - Platelet Rich Plasma


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w Call for your FREE CONSULTATION with Henry C. Sobo, M.D. to see if PRP Treatments or Stem Cell Therapies are for you.


Optimal Health Medical, LLC | 111 High Ridge Rd. Stamford, CT 06905 | 10

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

Power of Now Study Group in Westport


ckhart Tolle begins his book, The Power of Now, with this premise statement: “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are.” A study group at the Westport Unitarian Church every Wednesday from 7-8:15pm aims to support those who want to explore this understanding in their own lives. Eckhart published The Power of Now in 1997, with only 3,000 copies printed. Subsequently, over three million copies have been sold. He has been influenced by Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Ramana Maharshi, Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Rumi, Byron Katie, Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Miracles, as well as many of the wisdom teachers of the past. Tolle speaks a great deal about “being.” He uses many words to lead us to this realization: stillness, the now, the sacred, oneness, emptiness, no self, buddha nature, presence, consciousness and enlightenment. What is realization? Consciousness. We are here to enter a different state of consciousness, one where we are not waiting for the future to be better than the present. You are not going to get there; you are there already. Listen with every cell of your body, dwell in your own energy field, not in the fantasy land of tomorrow. A Course in Miracles states beautifully that it takes time to misguide you completely, but it takes no time to be who you are. All the above is from Tolle’s teachings. Consider reading the book, watch Tolle on YouTube, and consider attending the study group if you are intrigued by the concepts and would like to go deeper. For more information, email JustBe13@ Location: Unitarian Church Meeting House, 10 Lyons Plains Rd, Westport.

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Go to to find out more information, see a complete list of qualifying medical conditions and to book your appointments.

51 Ethan Allen Hwy (Rt 7), Ridgefield, CT PURVEYORS OF POSITIVITY

A Unique Lifestyle Boutique Featuring the first Shungite Room in the USA. HOME • BODY • SOUL

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• Wide selection of crystals & jewelry • Candles, essential oils, incense & soap • Feng Shui & home decor • Spiritual gifts, statuary, decks, books & cards • Private & group readings, reiki, guided 49 Ethan Allen Hwy (Rt 7), Ridgefield, CT meditation, sound therapy & energy work (Located next door to The Angel Cooperative) 203 -4 31-2959 • WWW.THEANGELCOOP.COM

December 2019


Forest Days Preschool Program in Greenwich

news briefs

Local Filmmaker Documents Rhythms of Life


onnecticut-based drummer and filmmaker Craig Norton has released a feature-length documentary about the healing power of drumming and how rhythm affects our well-being. “Rhythms of Life” features inspiration from internationally recognized drum-circle leaders, music therapists, professional musicians and lots of people Craig Norton who love to drum. With an emphasis on the wellness aspects of music, drummers talk about their healing journeys while continuing to play with diagnoses of cancer, Parkinson’s, depression and other challenges. The aesthetic is unique—a musically fueled documentary with lots of high-energy drumming and inspiration from those who practice in a variety of ways. It will appeal to those who love to drum and those who are curious about the community music-making movement that is sweeping the planet. The film was shot over the course of three years throughout the U.S. and Senegal, West Africa. Norton is offering film-screening experiences which feature the film, a director’s talk and drum circle, so viewers can experience first-hand what they see in the film. A screening is scheduled for December 5 at 6pm at Community Health Center in Middletown. Craig Norton has been leading drum circles throughout New England and making documentaries for more than 20 years. This film combines his passions for filmmaking and music. Visit to learn more about local screenings and connect with Norton. Location of the screening: Community Health Center, 675 Main St, Middletown.


arly-bird savings for the Greenwich Botanical Center’s Spring 2020 Forest Days ends on December 17. “Forest Days” is an all-weather, outdoor preschool enrichment program designed to encourage children ages 3 through 5 to grow socially, emotionally and physically through interest-led play and natural exploration. The program will be offered Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 12:15 to 2:45 pm between February 4 and May 21, 2020. You may register your child for one or both days. The afternoon schedule flows organically from what nature presents each day, meeting outdoors, rain or shine, in all safe weather. Space is limited to twelve children with two teachers. The organizers’ belief is that spending unstructured time in the forest stimulates each child’s innate curiosity. Outdoor nature play develops observation skills, problem solving, logic and reasoning skills and encourages taking risks. Activities include creating secret habitats, making forest stew, observing critters in their natural environments, going on nature walks, singing, art and free play. Children must be three years old by August 1, 2019 and be fully toilet trained. Cost for one day per week is $700 for members and $800 for non-members. Two days per week costs $1,400 for members and $1,600 for non-members. Those who take advantage of early bird discount (ends December 17) will save $50 off their tuition for the semester (those who register for two days per week will save $100). Registration and payment is available online. To register, visit Location: Greenwich Botanical Center, Montgomery Pinetum Park, Cos Cob.

You Have a Choice!

We offer non-medication alternatives for healing, including: Neurofeedback and Biofeedback , Counseling, Hypnosis, EFT/Tapping and our 360° Reboot® Program

203.438.4848  12

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

We treat the following conditions: ADHD / ADD / Executive Functioning Anxiety & Anxiety-Related Disorders Autism Behavioral & Social Issues Chronic Pain / Fibromyalgia Concussion / TBI Depression / Mood Issues Learning Disability / Dyslexia Lyme, PANDAS/PANS Chronic Health Conditions PTSD / Trauma Seizures Sleep Problems

Teaching Empathy to Young Children in Norwalk


tepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk will host an “Ask a Professional” presentation on developing empathy in young children on December 19 from 6:30 to 7:30pm. The speaker will be Dr. Alan J. Wenderhoff of Everyday Parenting Psychology, PLLC. Wenderhoff has spent most of the past 30 years working in a wide range of clinical and educational settings serving infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families. He specializes in the diagnosis of young children with autism spectrum disorder and is the author of Positive Parenting Your Preschooler: A Handbook for Parents. During his talk, parents can explore ways to promote kindness and caring in young children. The event is free and for adults only. Free childcare will be provided for children 18 months or older; if interested, mention at the time of registration, which is required by December 17. To register, call 203-899-0606, ext. 209. Location: Stepping Stones Museum for Children, Mathews Park, 303 West Ave, Norwalk.

Tapping Circle at A Touch of Sedona


Touch of Sedona in Bethel will host a tapping circle and workshop on December 5, 12, and 19 from 12 to 1pm. Participants will learn to use a combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine and western psychology to transcend the fears of the ego and tap into Spirit to find peace and raise their vibration. This is a powerful Law of Attraction tool that allows you to move through energy blocks, de-stress and clear the path to your most desired dreams. While tapping on acupressure points and focusing on powerful emotions, you will be able to clear negative thinking patterns and change limiting beliefs. Ever feel stuck in the same cycle of life and wonder when you will move forward? This method of release may be right for you. Bring your stress, limiting beliefs and negative thinking patterns and leave lighter. Plus, there’s no need to disclose openly—all you need is a feeling word like “stressed, sorrow or scared” and you’re good to go! Cost is $20 per person. Videoconferencing into the event is also available. For more information, visit Location: 125 Greenwood Ave, Bethel. See ad, page 35.

Professional Massage Therapy Swedish Deep Tissue Prenatal Reflexology Customized Sessions

Jaclyn Lynch, LMT 860-946-7450 Marissa Muccio, LMT 860-707-2738

30 Bridge Street • Suite 3 • New Milford, CT • 06776

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Deana Paqua, MA, LMT

Teacher and Practitioner of Cross-Cultural Energy Medicine and Contemporary Shamanism

Classes, Shamanic Training, Healing Sessions, Reiki, Andean Energy Medicine, Readings, Space Clearings and more...


Healing Mind Body and Spirit Danna Anderson, M Ed, LPC Psychotherapy and Counseling

713-562-7852 940 Danbury Road Wilton, CT 06897

December 2019


CONNECTICUT'S LOCALSUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE DESTINATION IS SUSTAINNE.COM Our actions and decisions today will shape our future. Visit us to get inspired and shop responsibly.

news briefs

Holiday Trunk Show in Ridgefield


oin Elemental Mercury, Embody the Sacred, Thrivologie, Tony’s Bees and Turning Point Reiki for a Holiday Trunk Show on December 7 from 11am to 4pm. Local artisans will offer spiritually minded gifts to enhance and heal body, mind and soul. The wares on display will include essential oils, local honey, beeswax candles, healing cards, jewelry, crystals, handknit ornaments; goddesses, gemstones and gifts charged by the Ancient Crystal Skull Synergy; energy clearing/blessing sprays, gift certificates and more. Crafters and practitioners on display include Laura Sanger Watkins of Elemental Mercury; Deana Paqua of Embody the Sacred; Anton Steger of Tony’s Bees; Jen Ripa of Thrivologie; and JoAnn Inserra Duncan of Turning Point Reiki. There will be raffles, including the opportunity to win the grand prize basket full of gifts valued at over $100. A percentage of profits will be donated to local charities. Location: Turning Point Healing Arts & Education Center, 100 B Danbury Rd, Suite 101, Ridgefield.

West African Hand-Drumming in Stamford



Natural Living Directory Fairfield County/ Housatonic Valley Edition


atthew Broad of Matthew’s Community Drumming will present a workshop on West African hand-drumming at Stamford’s Dew Yoga on December 7 from 6:30 to 8pm. Broad will guide a fun and meditative experience in which participants will learn how to play a Djembe drum including technique for bass, tone and tempo to create rhythm phrases. While the group creates a communal rhythm and feeling, Matthew will also weave in lessons on awareness, listening, compassion, breathing, gratitude, stillness, meditation, mental/emotional health and well-being. No experience necessary. Drums are provided. Registration is required and limited to first 22 participants. Cost is $25. To register, visit Location: Dew Yoga, 123 High Ridge Rd, Stamford.

Hike Deer Pond Farm in Sherman

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he Connecticut Audubon Society will lead a hike at Deer Pond Farm on December 19 from 1 to 3pm. Participants will enjoy fresh air, exercise, good company and naturalist lessons along the way. Staff and volunteers will lead this hike through the varied habitats of Deer Pond Farm. The focus will be on covering many trails (approximately three miles) at a good pace. The route will be moderately strenuous with several hundred feet of elevation change. Please arrive on time and dress for the weather. The event will be canceled in case of inclement weather. Bring binoculars, camera, water, sunscreen, bug spray, walking stick and a sense of adventure. Binoculars are available to borrow. Cost is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. To register, visit Location: 57 Wakeman Rd, Sherman.


Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

Sunny studio/

eco tip

Burn Notice

Safe and Sustainable Fireplace Practices

One of the charms of winter is enjoying the warmth and glow of indoor fireplaces and wood stoves. It also emphasizes the need for sustainable, safe and healthy practices—especially when it comes to maintaining air quality. Try to buy wood from providers that use good forest management practices such as harvesting during sustainable months, reports Environmentally sound woodlot operations include thinning out dying, less desirable and damaged trees, and including a blend of species. “Have a high-efficiency, properly installed stove that meets local building codes that’s sized for the area to be heated,” says Brad Harr, senior environmental scientist and president of Summit Environmental Inc., in Boise, Idaho. “Use dry, 10 to 12 percent wood moisture. Water sucks up heat to get to combustion temperature. Run at

high heat, generally over 1,000° F in the firebox, to effect complete combustion of the wood and gases.” Denser woods such as ironwood, rock elm, hickory, oak and sugar maple burn longer and conserve resources. Use a higher British thermal unit (BTU) per cord of wood to maximize heat production. ( has tips per region.) Harr adds, “Don’t starve the fire to extend burning time, as smoldering can cause incomplete combustion.” This leads to more carbon monoxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) being released that can cause flu-like symptoms, and at high levels, unconsciousness and even death. To help maintain proper airflow and prevent soot buildup, shovel excess ash into a covered metal container, store it outside and dispose of it in a few days. Smelling smoke can indicate the fireplace may be backdrafting and needs to be inspected. Harr also suggests checking periodically for potential cracks or rusting in the joints of a stovepipe. Make sure children and the elderly don’t accidentally touch the stove while in use and keep furniture a suitable distance away. Periodic inspections by a professional can address potentially dangerous creosote (tar deposit) accumulations, assure the catalytic converter is operating correctly and detect trapped debris in escape shafts that can force toxic gases back into the home and clog spark-arresting screens on tops of stovepipes or chimneys. If buying a new unit, make sure it’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified, which requires two-thirds less wood to generate heat and emits fewer harmful particles—two to seven grams per hour—compared with 15 to 30 grams for models manufactured before 1992, according to

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Extreme Weather Events Affect Mental Well-Being People that experience storm and flood damage to their homes are about 50 percent more likely to experience depression and anxiety, British researchers report. Surveying more than 7,500 people after the 2013-2014 season of severe weather, they found that those with homes damaged by wind, rain, snow or floods had mental health risks similar to living in a disadvantaged area. This occurred even when the effects of the extreme weather were relatively minor and did not force people to leave their homes.


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A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition used adherence to dietary guidelines and total diet scores to assess the effects of diet on cataract risk. The researchers followed 2,173 older Australians for five and 10 years in two phases. They found that maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) of less than 25, combined with a healthy diet, reduced the risk of developing cataracts.

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global briefs

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Making Meat Without Animals

Five major food technology companies have converged to form the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood (AMPS) Innovation, which seeks to create real meat from animal cells without the need to slaughter animals. The founding members of the coalition are both cell-based seafood companies BlueNalu and Finless Foods and meat makers Fork & Goode, San Francisco-based JUST Inc., and Memphis Meats. AMPS Innovation ( intends to tackle obstacles presented in the cellular agriculture industry and bring products to the consumer faster with transparency and proper regulatory frameworks for cell-based products. Each member company has made significant strides in the development of these products with the hope they will soon be options in the everyday diets of individuals, as well as a nutrition source for a human population projected to grow to 10 billion by 2050.

As a result of its partnership with Just Goods, Inc., the Norwegian Cruise Line will replace single-use plastic bottles across its fleet by January 1, 2020, beginning with the Norwegian Encore. The company’s ships will feature JUST, which is 100 percent spring water in a plant-based carton made of 82 percent renewable materials from trees grown in responsibly managed forests. The cap and shoulder are made from a sugarcane-based plastic. It’s refillable and recyclable. Just Goods, located in Glen Falls, New York, has a global presence with bottling facilities in New York, Northern Ireland and Australia, allowing the company to meet demand around the world without shipping water from a single production source. It plans to replace more than 6 million single-use plastic bottles every year. CEO Ira Laufer says, “The company is pushing the boundaries of what’s always been done because it knows we all need to do better.”


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Walter, owner of Breathe-Here-Now, in Keene, New Hampshire. Like many forms of breathwork, SBT bridges the chasm between mind and body. “Conscious breathing can also help people access and understand their emotions,” notes Walter. Pranayama, an ancient technique of yoga that focuses on breath control and employs alternate nostril breathing, can be performed while lying down, seated or on the yoga mat. Kundalini yoga teacher Melissa Crowder, owner of 4 States Yoga, in Joplin, Missouri, advises students to start out slowly, three to six minutes a day, and then work up to a longer practice. “Alternate nostril breathing is a great practice for everyone. As little as six minutes of yogic breathing, as needed, can make a profound difference in decreasing pain and stress,” she says.


Conscious Breathwork


by Marlaina Donato

ur first breath is instinctual and belly-deep, but as we grow into life, everyday stress and trauma can bring us into the shallows. Mindful breathing can help guide our breath back to its original, healthy rhythm. Both the brain and organs benefit from increased oxygen, and the vagus nerve that connects the two— prompted by changes in the body’s pH levels—releases acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for lowering heart rate. Breathwork can improve vagal tone, a major component in a wide range of conditions like depression, pain syndromes, sleep disturbances, anxiety disorders and chronic inflammation. A 2016 study by the Medical University of South Carolina published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine shows a lower number of proteins associated with inflammation in the saliva of participants that employed breathing exercises. A study that appeared in the journal Psychophysiology in 2015 found that 20 minutes of mindful breathing at bedtime fostered a good night’s rest for people with insomnia.

Breathing Breaks

From traditional rebirthing techniques using circular breathing to Middendorf Breath Work for somatic awareness, there are many styles of conscious breathing. The gentler approaches best suit everyday needs and taking a breathing break can actually provide more refreshment than one featuring coffee. “Many people have found that a regular breathing practice has helped them increase energy and decrease anxiety. It is a powerful tool to reset the nervous system when we’re overwhelmed and stressed,” says Somatic Breath Therapy (SBT) practitioner Rachael 20

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Belly Benefits The American Lung Association recommends a variety of exercises, including diaphragmatic (belly) breathing, for conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Engaging the diaphragm is key in breathing to fullest capacity. Walter explains, “An open, healthy breath is one in which we use the diaphragm to initiate the breath, followed by the belly expanding and the breath moving into the chest.” Most of us unconsciously fall into shallow and sometimes self-conscious breathing patterns at an early age. “During my training, I read that by age 6, we pick up on cues telling us to tuck in our tummies. This simple, bad habit begins a cascade of physiological responses. Upper chest breathing can create anxiety symptoms and poor digestion,” explains Colleen Breeckner, owner of Colleen Lila Yoga, in New York City. “Diaphragmatic breathing causes the diaphragm to become flat and wide, and in turn, presses upon the stomach and helps to churn the gastric juices. For this reason, it can aid earlier stages of digestion.” When used in conjunction with other modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, diaphragmatic breathing might be beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome.

Breathing Into Feelings The depth and quality of the breath can help us to become aware of emotional states that include “holding patterns”. “Conscious breathing is a doorway into deep meditation, which can help alleviate anger and insecurities. It can also be helpful in dropping addictions,” says Crowder. “Linking pranayama with physical movement [asanas] helps to release tension and emotions that can be held in the body’s soft tissues.” Breeckner agrees, “Developing this awareness can help us to move unpleasant and stuck emotions through the body.” Well-being can be just a breath away, says Walter. “When we open up our breath, we open ourselves to a fuller experience of being human. It has the capacity to bring us into the present moment to access our joy and our life’s purpose.” Marlaina Donato is an author and a composer. Connect at

Go-to Breathing Exercises

From Rachael Walter:

The Three-Breath Sigh - Place one hand on your lower belly and the other on your chest. Breathing in through your nose, let your breath start in the belly and move up to the chest. Then exhale through your mouth while making an audible sighing sound. Repeat two more times. The Four-Eight Relaxing Breath - Place one hand on your lower belly and the other on your chest. Using a belly breath, inhale to the count of four and exhale to the count of eight, making your exhale twice as long as your inhale to facilitate relaxation. Feel free to play with how fast or slow you count to find a comfortable breathing pace. Repeat for six to 10 times as needed. Breath Walk - This is an excellent exercise to do while at work, school or a public place to give your nervous system a break, even when the world is crazy-busy around you. Walk at a slightly slower pace than normal and breathe in for one step; breathe out for the next step, counting three or four for each breath/step. Continue as you walk, being mindful of your breath, counting and surroundings.

For further inquiry, Melissa Crowder recommends these Kundalini yoga breaths: • Shabad Kriya for promoting deep restful sleep

• Sitali Pranayama for lowering a fever or cooling off a hot temper • Breath of Fire for improved brain circulation, stimulating digestion and weight control • Right nostril breathing for afternoon slumps • Left nostril breathing to quiet mind chatter at bedtime

Noteworthy Breathwork Styles Clarity Breathwork: Developed from the groundwork of Leonard Orr, with a focus on accessing the subconscious mind for self-awareness Holotropic Breathwork: Developed by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, M.D., and his wife Christina and employs deep, rapid breathing to initiate an altered state of consciousness; training in the Grof method is required Integral Breath Therapy: Gentle technique for an altered state of consciousness that works with the body’s natural healing capacity Middendorf Breath Work: Named after German-born Ilse Middendorf, a gentle technique that does not include forcing the breath to promote healing Rebirthing Breathwork: Pioneering and well-known form of breathwork that was also developed by Orr with a focus on releasing unconscious energy blocks imprinted during the birth process Shamanic Breathwork: Uses specific breathing methods, chakras or energy centers, music and movement to overcome emotional blocks for deep-level healing Transformational Breath: Developed by Dr. Judith Kravitz using uninterrupted breathing, Kundalini yoga and other elements of physical and energetic healing; recommended by Dr. Christine Northrup and Dr. Deepak Chopra

December 2019



Fresh Start & Refresh the Immune System

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healthy kids

The good news about gratitude is that it is one of the more growable character strengths—and it’s never too late. ~Giacomo Bono


Shifting into Positive & Regenerative Medicine





Kids With Gratitude Making Thankfulness Second Nature by Ronica O’Hara


his month, there’s something to be especially thankful for—gratitude itself. Emerging research shows gratitude to be one of the easiest, most effective ways to kickstart happiness and well-being. “The good news about gratitude is that it is one of the more growable character strengths—and it’s never too late,” says Giacomo Bono, Ph.D., an assistant professor at California State University, in Dominguez Hills, and co-author of Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character. It’s also never too early to “plant” it: Even toddlers love to parrot, “Thank you.” Research by Bono and others shows kids that are grateful are happier, more engaged and studious, and less envious, depressed, materialistic and prone to violence. It can be taught: After one week of daily 30-minute lessons on gratitude, 8- to 11-year-olds wrote thank-you notes for a PTA presentation that were 80 percent longer than notes by kids that didn’t have the lessons. To instill gratefulness in a child:


Be grateful and show it.

“Kids are more likely to do something if they see adults around them doing


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it,” says Bono. “Being specific with your words helps, too, because it shows what behavior mattered to you and why.” Adds psychologist Mary Jo Podgurski, founder and president of the Academy for Adolescent Health, in Washington, Pennsylvania: “If we express our gratitude by making eye contact, with sincerity and by providing an example of how much we are appreciative, the words are empowered. Telling the grocery clerk, ‘I really like the way you packed my berries on top. Thanks for taking the time to be careful with my purchases,’ will light up the clerk’s face.” That can translate into a child not simply saying, “Thank you” to a grandparent for birthday money, but also explaining how excited they are about the game they plan to buy with it.


Enact a small daily ritual.

“It’s also good for families to come up with gratitude rituals,” says Bono. “Everyday conversations about the good things and people we have or encounter in life, and being specific with words, helps young children understand the connection between kindness and feeling grateful better.” For writer Judy Gruen’s family in Los

Angeles, this means a morning prayer: “When we wake up in the morning, the first words we say are those of gratitude that we have awakened and have the opportunity for a new day.” At dinner time, some families play “a rose, a thorn, a bud”— with each person saying what happened that day that they’re grateful for, what problems came up and what they’re looking forward to. As a bedtime ritual, Heidi McBain, a counselor and author in Flower Mound, Texas, follows a routine with her two children that includes “reading, checking in about their day—the good/bad/ugly—and at least one thing they are grateful for from their day. And I often share mine, as well!”


Make gratitude fun.

By getting creative, we can make kids’ expressions of gratitude even more enjoyable. Business coach Kristi Andrus, in Denver, says that her family toasts a lot at mealtime, raising their glasses and clinking them. “Our toasts are simple, ‘Today I’m grateful, thankful, or happy to share ________.’ [fill in the blank]. The kids love it and the parents always smile at what the kids bring up.” Charlene Hess, in Eagle Mountain, Utah, a blogger and homeschooling mom to seven kids, has set up a gratitude door with a sticky note added each day from each child. “This really helps the kids become more aware of all the good things in their lives, particularly as time goes on and they have to get more creative with their responses.” “A rampage of appreciation” is what Jeannette Paxia, a motivational speaker and children’s book author in Modesto, California, does with her five children: “We spend 10 minutes walking around and appreciating all we see. My children love it!” In the home of northern New Jersey therapist Shuli Sandler, when one family member shows gratitude to another, a coin is put in a jar. “When it is full, the whole family can go out and do something together, like grab ice cream or something fun— remembering of course to say thank you,” she says. Ronica A. O’Hara is a Denver-based natural-health writer. Connect at

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Awakening to the Evolution of Community by Linda Sechrist


en master Thich Nhat Hanh’s suggestion that the next Buddha would likely not take form as an individual but rather as a sangha, a community practicing mindful living, led many people to ask, “Why a community?” The author of more than 100 books that explore the Buddha’s core teachings on mindfulness, kindness and compassion, Hanh clarified the meaning of sangha as a good community necessary for helping individuals learn how to encounter life in the present moment, resist the unwhole-

some ways of our time, go in the direction of peace and nourish seeds of enlightenment. Even the best intentions, he noted, can falter without such a group of trusted family, friends and co-practitioners experiencing mindfulness together.

A Migration to Forming Community

Today’s trend toward collaborative processes and opportunities for transformation through online communities is made easier by the availability of affordable vid-

eo conferencing providers such as Zoom, Skype and Mighty Networks, as well as online platforms like Facebook and MeetUp. Although many groups form for marketing, political, civic or social purposes—allowing participants to share values and common interests—thousands more gather as online intentional communities associated with personal growth and spiritual awakening. Myriad individuals have been able to experience some aspect of community through international organizations such

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as MindValley, Hay House, the Shift Network and Dr. Deepak Chopra’s Jiyo, a wellness-focused mobile app intended to extend the reach of his ideas on health and social transformation from millions of people to more than 1 billion. In MeetUp, spiritual awakening groups recently comprised 1,113,972 members in 3,631 groups worldwide. Additionally, co-housing communities, spiritual residential communities and eco-villages continue to form around the intention of designing and implementing pathways to a regenerative future.

The Old Story Versus the New Story

The increased interest in intentional communities may hint at a possibility that the human desire for community might be nature’s evolutionary nudge toward a collective leap that helps us to survive a changing climate and Earth’s potential sixth mass extinction. If so, this possibility needs a new supportive story that includes humans as part of nature, with its evolutionary impulse as a guide for body, mind and soul. With our modern scientific worldview, when people talk about nature, they typically mean animals, plants, geological features and natural processes, all happening independently of humans. A more suitable new story is cultural historian Thomas

An uncertain future is emerging, making it necessary for new and more intuitive methods and spiritual practices for developing collective wisdom, human potential and the skills for practicing community.

hungering for community, which is number one on my agenda. If we aren’t talking about community, we’re squandering the moment. Whether it’s an evolutionary nudge or not, it appears that our tragic world situation is pushing us towards an alternative vision for living a meaningful life that meets the needs of people, society and the environment. We are awakening to the fact we’re interconnected, interdependent and need community, which is the spirit and guiding light whereby people come together to fulfill a purpose, to help others fulfill their purpose and to take care of one another.”

Conscious Evolution

Craig Hamilton, the guiding force behind the movement known as Integral Enlightenment, is the founder of the telecourse training program Academy for Evolutionaries. His spiritual guidance and teachings reach a growing international online community spanning 50 countries. “Transforming ourselves in the deepest possible way is, in fact, an evolutionary imperative, and we need to be able to identify the indicators of emergent shifts and participate creatively with change as an evolutionary force. Evolution up to this point has been playing out unconsciously. We’re now waking up and realizing that we can collaborate and participate in an emerging future.” Hamilton’s experience is that where humans awake to the one that is expressed through the many, they also begin to

Berry’s moving and meaningful narrative in The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future, in which humans aren’t above nature by virtue of superior intellect, but instead are equal partners with all that exists in a materially and spiritually evolving universe. From Berry’s perspective, humans are the eyes, minds and hearts through which the cosmos is evolving so that it can come to know itself ever more perfectly through us. Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell shared Berry’s perspective. Traveling back to Earth after walking upon the lunar surface, Mitchell gazed out of the spacecraft window, whereupon he was flooded with an ecstatic awareness. “I was a part of the universe I was observing, and I became aware that everything that exists is part of one intricately interconnected whole,” recounts Mitchell, who founded the groundbreaking Institute of Noetic Sciences to explore the nature of human consciousness.

A Guiding Light

Seijaku Roshi, the abbot and founder of the Pine Wind Zen Community, aptly named for its location in a pine forest in Shamong, New Jersey, advises, “People are searching and December 2019


engage together. “Practicing community isn’t as simple as it seems. In online communities, a lot less can go wrong. The stakes aren’t as high. People come and go, share and engage as they like.”

A Community of Sisterhood

Laurie McCammon, author of Enough! How to Liberate Yourself and Remake the World with Just One Word, feels certain that humans are evolving. “We were last to the party with our big brains, and now we’re trying to intellectualize our way to

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and planetary transformation through cooperation and collaboration, McCammon says, “No one of us can bring about large-scale transformation alone. It’s time to tell the new story wherein our lives and actions demonstrate that together we are enough. Non-hierarchical circles that encourage authentic communication are part of this new story.” Citing other important circle communities such as Tree Sisters and The Millionth Circle, McCammon suggests that women tap into The Divine Feminine

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Co-Creating With the Intelligence of Nature

Teacher and futurist Peter Russell writes books that are focused on consciousness and contemporary spirituality. His lectures help humans free themselves of limited beliefs and attitudes that belie many of humanity’s personal, social and global problems. The author of The Global Brain: The Awakening Earth in a New Century, Russell posits that the evolutionary process naturally draws humans together. “Humans are social creatures that need community, which I find very energizing,” says Russell, who cites the Findhorn Foundation eco-village, in Scotland, as a dynamic experiment in community. “Although residents went through hard times, they recognized the need for honest communication so they could attune to one another in loving ways that would allow everyone to work through their difficulties. Today, life at Findhorn is guided by the inner voice of spirit, and residents work in co-creation with the intelligence of nature,” he says.

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The Collective Wisdom of Community

An uncertain future is emerging, making it necessary for new and more intuitive methods and spiritual practices for developing collective wisdom, human potential and the skills for practicing community. “I’m in the process of finalizing 118 chapters from 90 different authors for a Collaborative Change Library: Transforming Organizations, Revitalizing Communities, Developing Human Potential,” says associate editor Carole Gorelick, who clarifies that spiritual practices are now playing a part in bringing about collaborative change. She notes that several chapters are updated versions of The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems (2007 second edition), which included modalities such as World Café, Open Space Technology, Art of Hosting, Appreciative Inquiry and many others. A living handbook for developing human potential and the skills to practice community, Fred Eppsteiner has been teaching Buddhism for 23 years. A student of Hanh’s since the 1960s, he is the founder of the Florida Community of Mindfulness, in Tampa. Eppsteiner sums up why the next Buddha could be a community: “A better future will be created by people who are living the values they want for the world, not just abstractly using only the intellect. In community, we ask ourselves, ‘Can I be what I want to see in the world? Can I practice these things mindfully in community with love, acceptance, deep listening, compassion and kindness?’ These are values that every Buddha has lived for centuries, and certainly ones we need to evolve from a culture of, ‘It’s all about me’ to a culture of, ‘It’s all about we’.”


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Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. Connect at December 2019


community spotlight

Aligning with the Soul Path

A Conversation with Spiritual Advisor Peter Marks by Patricia Staino


enowned psychic and spiritual advisor Peter Marks, who makes his home in Connecticut, recently took time out of his busy schedule to give Natural Awakenings readers insight into psychic readings, alignment, growth and one thing he wouldn’t do for a client.

How would you describe your vocation? As a spiritual advisor, I don’t label myself as just an astrologer or just a psychic or just a medium because I work with spirit guides that come to me through signs, visions and direct conversation. They provide me with information about a client, but I also take the time to set up a natal chart. My spirit guides assist me in knowing what makes each person totally unique.

How did you discover your ability and your passion? Prior to doing this, I was a TV producer at WTXX in Prospect, and when guests came to be interviewed on one of our talk shows, I would prep them for the show by asking questions about things they’d done. They couldn’t figure out how I knew so much about them, and I would be very hesitant to tell them how I knew. I have an aunt who also has this ability, and she told me I too would be using my special gifts one day. So I began to segue out of television into giving readings. I believe that God and the universe directed me to my calling.

What role do growth and alignment play in your readings? I tune into a client’s life path, their potential for fulfilling their spiritual goals, and align that with areas of growth—where they are lacking, where they are excelling, where they are most sensitive. I 28

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

work with them on the growth process because the guides show me how I can help them to become their total spiritual being.

What excites you most about the work you do? I believe I’m most excited when I receive phone calls from my clients who say that at the time of their reading, they weren’t quite sure if the information I gave them was part of their divine ensoulment, but since then their lives have unfolded as I predicted. I get excited when my clients are excited.

What do you do if you see something negative during a reading? I don’t always believe that a situation is going to be negative. I believe that if we have a positive mindset, we can turn negativity around into a positive situation. I try to change what one perceives as a negative situation into a positive outcome. Other psychics might say, “I see you getting divorced,” but I’ll say, “I see another relationship that is much better for you, is more harmonious, but it’s going to be up to you to make this decision.”

What elements of your work frustrate you? I get very frustrated when a person comes for a reading, and I’m working very diligently to help this individual turn their life around with positive suggestions and they say, “No, I can’t do that.” That frustrates me because we all can turn our lives around. A lot of people don’t want to change; they don’t want to exert the energy to make their lives more positive.

What is the strangest request a client has ever made of you in a reading? One of my clients asked me to set up their natal chart with the compatibility of musician Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes. They gave me Robinson’s address and asked me to send him the compatibility chart to persuade him to divorce his wife at the time—actress Kate Hudson—and marry my client. I did set up the compatibility chart for both of them, but I wasn’t going to send it to him.

What would you most want our readers to understand about what you do? I would love for people to have more of an open mind about accepting us, all of us—holistic health practitioners, mediums, astrologers, psychics—because we are all here to be messengers of God. A lot of people in the church see psychics, mediums and astrologers negatively. Most of the people I know who do this work are filled with love and light, and they just want the world to realize what their positive contribution to society can be. You can hear Peter Marks on the Joyce Barrie & Friends International Show at He can be reached at 203-206-9353 or at

wise words

Surgeon Mary Neal on Lessons From Heaven


by Kajsa Nickels

n 1999, while kayaking on the Fuy River in Chile, orthopedic surgeon Mary Neal became trapped beneath a waterfall and drowned. She was underwater for 30 minutes before the current pulled her out. During that time, Neal experienced what she believes to be a miraculous event in which she penetrated the veil dividing the physical and spiritual worlds. There, she was told that it was not yet her time, and of the future death of her eldest son, a prediction that was fulfilled 10 years later. The experience gave her a new perspective on the purpose of our Earthly existence and life after death. She has since written two books on the subject: To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels and Life Again; and 7 Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life. Her life-altering experience prompted her to pay more attention to those things that are truly important: faith, family and relationships with other human beings. She lives with her family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she continues to mend broken bones.

How do you think your medical background makes you uniquely qualified to speak on neardeath experiences (NDE)?

I am a very concrete thinker and analyze everything. Being a doctor also gave me access to many resources that the common person would not. I spent many months

researching scientific and medical literature to try to come up with a logical explanation of what had happened to me. I was forced to conclude that my experience fell outside of the parameters of both science and medicine. I could not find any examples to disprove what happened, especially when the predicted death of my oldest son came to pass.

What was the most profound moment of your experience?

It’s hard to pinpoint the most profound moment of the entire experience, but what impacted me most was the realization that God is real, and He is present to each and every one of us every moment of our daily lives. I realized to the depths of my soul that all God’s promises are true, not just wishful thinking or a vague hope.

How has your NDE made you a better wife, mother and medical professional?

You can’t have an NDE without having your entire life changed. When you realize that there is more to life than what you can see with your physical eyes, it changes your entire perspective on every moment of every day. The things we say and the things we do create a ripple effect that spreads beyond the boundaries of our human sight. Love is ultimately the only thing that matters, to reflect love to the world and other people. I was a “good person” before my NDE, but I now see differently. I see

that each human being is incredibly loved, and that we are all one: We are them, and they are us. Everything else in the world is secondary to God’s love and presence in our lives.

How is your approach to everyday life different than it was prior to your NDE?

I am able to be entirely present in every moment of my life. I can experience deep and abiding joy regardless of my circumstances. I am able to trust that grace covers my past, that there is life after death and a plan for my life. No matter what is happening, even if it is terrible, beauty will come out of it. Most people are trapped in regrets of the past and worry about the future. With complete trust in God, I am able to fully have joy in each and every moment.

Is there a difference between joy and happiness? Absolutely. Happiness is an emotion based on circumstances. Happiness can accompany joy, but not always. Joy is a state of being, of trusting in God, of believing that his promises are true. Joy comes from freedom—freedom from disruptive emotions like guilt, remorse, unforgiveness. Even in the devastation of my oldest son’s death, I can honestly say that I experienced a deep joy from trusting in God’s love and promises.

Why do you believe heaven is written in our hearts?

As a scientist, I firmly believe that we are created beings with physical bodies and spiritual souls. I believe that our spiritual self remembers heaven and remembers joy. Part of our journey here on Earth is to rediscover our connection with God. As adults, we often feel that we have to choose between science and spiritualism. The truth is that they coexist, answering questions in different ways. Kajsa Nickels is a freelance author who lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Connect at December 2019


A Beautiful Experience

community spotlight


Regional Hospice Offers Families a Meaningful End-of-Life Experience by Patricia Staino


ynthia Emiry Roy wants to talk to you about death: “I believe it’s a topic we need to talk more about, because while we’ve come a long way in terms of being a death-defying culture, we have a long way to go,” says Roy, the President and CEO of Regional Hospice, located in Danbury. She has very definite ideas about death, and she’s committed to making end-of-life care joyful, uplifting and fulfilling for patients, staff and family, no matter what their age.

Do It Differently As a licensed social worker, Roy has worked in hospice for 23 years. She turned her attention to building a standalone inpatient center in 2015 after determining that at-home hospice care may not offer the full range of services some families need. At the time, the only options in the area were at-home hospice care or hospice beds in hospitals. “When I came to this work, I had a number of patients who were young, and there really was no place to send them,” Roy remembers. “I had a patient with terminal breast cancer who was in her 40s; she had three teenaged girls, and her husband had predeceased her on a basketball court the year before. Dying at home was a wonderful concept, if there were other caregivers there to help the girls through the process. But in 30

this case, they were all alone. I remember coming back to the office after visiting her and saying to my colleagues, ‘it has to be done differently. This is ridiculous. We have no options for families.’”

A Holistic Model Most U.S. hospices in the northeast are operated by nurses and follow a medical model. Roy, a family therapist by training, wanted to create a more holistic model. “When you look at hospices around the country,” she says, “the nurse is the central figure, but with our team, every member is important in bringing their relevant expertise to patient care.” When a patient is admitted to Regional Hospice, for example, it’s a joint admission, meaning that a social worker and a nurse do the visit together. Due to the added staffing expense, most hospices don’t do this, but Roy believes double-admission sets the tone for holistic hospice care. “Often a family would say they didn’t need a social worker because they had no social service needs,” she says. “Sometimes people don’t understand that social workers are therapists, and that the dying process is an emotional one. While medical needs are extremely important, the emotional needs of the patient and family can be much greater.”

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

Regional Hospice has been designed to meet the physical, medical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families, and no detail is too small for Roy’s attention. “You never forget the moment your loved one dies. It’s imprinted in your brain forever, so it has to be done right; it has to be done in a beautiful way. It’s very important that we shape that experience with the family.” Roy came to Regional Hospice in 2007 precisely because the board of directors was supportive of her innovative ideas. Regional Hospice’s in-patient facility, the Center for Comfort Care & Healing, opened in 2015 after Roy employed a feng shui expert to ensure the energy flow worked for the space. Its serene “hoteland-spa” vibe is meticulously cultivated, with features that set it apart from other hospices around the country. Patient beds can be moved anywhere inside the building and throughout the facility’s grounds and garden, ensuring fresh air and sunshine can reach even the sickest patients. Rather than hiring “health care chefs,” Roy set up a gourmet kitchen open 14 hours a day (and serving hundreds of meals a week) to prepare and serve anything patients and their families desire. Teatime takes place every afternoon at 3, serving homemade, “world-famous” peanut butter cookies and other treats, as well as coffee and tea. And in addition to world-class health care and emotional support, Regional Hospice has a full-time licensed massage therapist on staff who practices aromatherapy with hydrosols; the facility also offers Reiki, hands-on healing and energy work to patients. As much as they’ve accomplished, Roy and her team feel there’s still more to do, so now they’re building a welcoming final home for the youngest patients they serve.

Caring for Kids

About 10 years ago, Regional Hospice started its perinatal hospice program, an in-home program for mothers who know their babies may be born with a limited life expectancy. They begin working with

parents when the diagnosis is first received, walking them through the journey until the baby is born, staying with them through the birth, the subsequent death and the painful grieving process. Because of the program, Regional Hospice started caring for children. On average, 150 to 300 children in Connecticut die each year due to terminal illness. “If it were even just 10 kids, we should have support available to them,” says Roy. “It doesn’t have to be a particular number to make it worthwhile.” Regional Hospice has a dedicated pediatric nurse who manages all of the care for the children referred by pediatric hospitals. After a few children stayed in the Center, Roy and her team saw the value in giving them their own patient suite area, “just so kids can be loud and run around— we allow that throughout the whole building, but we thought it would be nice to have an area they could call their own.” Regional Hospice’s children’s wing— named the North Star pavilion—began as an idea a few years ago. Although Roy knew insurance companies didn’t reim-

burse nearly as much as they should for pediatric hospice patients—despite the critical need for respite care for families with terminally ill children—she and her team were determined to make their vision a reality. On average, Regional Hospice cares for sick children for about two years, much longer than the usual 30 to 60 days for adults. This is possible because unlike the regulations for adult hospice care, the state of Connecticut allows children to receive hospice care while concurrently receiving ongoing treatment for their illnesses. “If a child has a terminal illness and the family knows that the child is going to die, they may still want to do another treatment in hopes of a miracle,” says Roy. “It’s an amazing program and I think it’s one we need nationally because it allows families to have hope, while providing the necessary services and support patients need at the end of life.” There are few pediatric hospice facilities because the need is significantly less than in the adult population. Additionally, Roy notes, many families keep their chil-

dren at home until the very end because there aren’t resources available to them. “I think the real issue is financial,” she says. “The insurance companies will only cover the acute therapy, not the respite care. And that’s something our pediatric unit will do differently: We will have a respite fund for families when the insurance doesn’t cover the cost. This way, we can make sure that patients and families get what they need.” The North Star pavilion will be an 18,000-square-foot, four-suite facility on the second floor. It will have patient suites, living rooms, play areas and a library. Designed by renowned architect Roger Ferris, it has many unique and charming touches, including “starry” ceilings that provide a planetarium-like view of the night sky that can be turned on and off at any time of day. Some of the children who will stay in the wing are too sick to know if it’s day or night outside. Roy hopes the starry ceilings show them “the sky is infinite, and life is infinite, and you can go anywhere. Life continues long after we leave this planet.”

December 2019


Changing the Conversation For Roy and her team, hospice is about living, not dying. She strives to help patients make the most of the time they have left, and she wants to support their families as they move through the transition of end of life. “Hospice is not giving up,” she says. “You always hope for a miracle, you always hope for the best. But I would love for people to see the culture of death change. Death is like birth: You’re creating an experience that the family will never forget; they’ll be impacted by this for the rest of their lives. We want to ensure it’s a beautiful experience where they can look back and say, ‘My loved one received the best care possible.’” For more information about Regional Hospice and the North Star pavilion, call 203-702-7400 or visit Patricia Staino is a freelance writer and the managing editor of Natural Awakenings’ Hartford and Fairfield County editions. She can be reached at

Emily’s Last Wish


egional Hospice’s capital campaign to raise funds for the North Star pavilion will launch on December 4, with a very special story to share its message of hope. Regional Hospice is publishing its first children’s book, entitled Emily’s Last Wish, which tells the true tale of one of the Center’s most special patients, a young girl named Coryn. The book addresses the girl’s stay at the Center for Comfort Care & Healing, which lasted around two months over the holiday season a few years ago. Regional Hospice president and CEO Cynthia Emiry Roy says the storybook was a much more honest and telling way to relay the importance of hospice for terminally ill children; she believes it will help parents talk to children about death and the end-of-life experience, and she hopes this will be the first in a series of books published by Regional Hospice. “I think this is a special way to honor Coryn and all the kids we’ve cared for,” she says. “I’ve cared for a lot of people in my career, and dying children are full of resilience and hope. They have an amazing ability to see through stuff that adults can’t.” To purchase your copy of Emily’s Last Wish in support of Regional Hospice’s North Star pavilion, call 203-702-7432. 32

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

Life, Death and the Moments in Between by Barbara Slaine and Sue Broudy


ho wants to talk about death, right? We are living, so why broach such a morbid, uncomfortable subject? By discussing it, many things are accomplished. First and foremost is the immediate reflection and appreciation for life, living, the moment, death as the great equalizer, what we all have in common, a slap to the ego and a dose of medicinal humility. Not unlike a birth doula, it is possible for us to learn to be a death doula and make this transition much more comfortable. We are alive until our last breath, and every moment is an opportunity; there is no dying, we live and leave. Born out of a deep desire to honor and respect the needs of individuals and their families during this time, a new program, “Illuminate the Path,” draws upon a number of modalities that train, educate and open the conversation. These conversations, or “conscious collaborations,” lead us to an awareness of options and choices for a more enriched and graceful passage. Research has shown 95 percent of people would choose to die at home, surrounded by their loved ones, but, sadly, 75 percent die in hospitals or nursing homes. There is a need to present options for this time, so that the human experience of dying is met with reverence, grace and integrity for all. Patients and their families need to get their affairs in order, learn about their options, participate and take responsibility, choose the right health care proxies and much more. It is recommended to learn what is helpful at this time for yourself and loved ones. Start exploring how to be in the moment, now and then. Be aware of just being and not doing, and respecting the wishes and differences of others. By discussing transitioning, you can plan ahead, so at the end chaos is replaced by being present with loved ones at the sacred time. The ripple effect of a loved one’s transitioning can be a beacon for you, offering a level of peace instead of fear. Barbara Slaine and Sue Broudy are hospice workers, endof-life doulas and energy workers. To learn more about their Illuminate the Path program, or for an exploratory conversation, consults, home visits, groups and educational opportunities, call 203-912-2791.

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Heal the Disease of the Soul

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reedom from addiction and trauma —this concept is so complicated, yet so simple. Addiction is more than dependence on alcohol and drugs. We can be enslaved by money, appearance, work, relationships and more. People can focus on or use many things to distract them and allow them to deny what’s going on inside themselves. That’s right—the journey is within. It’s been stated that addiction is a “disease of the soul.” It’s the symptom of the real problem, which can be underlying mental illness or trauma; both usually exist together. A person struggling with

addiction usually has experienced some type of trauma, which results in a desperate need to break from reality, to not feel. Unfortunately, we are sentient beings and cannot run from our feelings. No matter what we do to escape, when a relationship ends or the drug wears off, we are left with ourselves. Buddha defined hell as being in a place where you don’t want to be. So, to have that feeling in your head is complete hell because you can never escape from yourself. The challenge is experiencing the trauma and feeling the pain and, at the end, finding freedom. It is a sacred experience to see people walk through this proDARIEN’S LUXURIOUS SALT CAVE C


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cess and set themselves free. You too can have hope, and you can free yourself from addictions and heal from your trauma. The first step in finding this freedom is to stop the behavior. This may require inpatient treatment. Don’t worry—many of today’s rehabs are like spas, as they should be. The point of quitting your addiction should be to bring back freedom and joy, and your recovery process should reflect that. Rehabs are no longer punitive, miserable places. They are evolving as we learn more about addiction as a physiological problem as well as psychological. Your brain is altered when you use substances, and those chemistry changes make it even harder to quit. Substance abuse creates neural pathways in the brain that tell you that you only feel good when you are using. So, you are fighting two battles, psychological as well as physical. Medication might help stem the craving and urges or decrease the depression and anxiety that has drawn the user to the behavior. For some reason, people seem more reluctant to try prescribed medications to deal with their symptoms than they were of taking the drugs they got off the street. Prescription drugs could help ease rehabilitation patients through the early stages of recovery, which are difficult physically and psychologically. Once in treatment, patients and their doctors can flesh out whether there is an underlying mental health issue and trauma that needs to be addressed. The next part of treatment is working through the emotions and mental health issues that drive a person to use. Treatment often involves multiple modalities. One is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which examines thought patterns and reframes them into more accurate, positive ways of thinking. Humans tend to think negative thoughts, even though they are unexamined and not reality-tested. People may tell themselves they are unlovable, defective, can’t trust others, and more. But if you examine these beliefs, you can see they’re illogical. If you wouldn’t say them to your child, don’t say them to yourself.

Another treatment modality is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). This is often used with substance abuse patients to cope with the negatively thinking mind. It targets four areas: distress tolerance, emotional regulation, mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness. In treatment, patients learn ways to self-soothe, self-validate, meditate and communicate effectively. As the patient grows and moves away from addiction and trauma, they learn how to deal with their intense emotions, to be heard, to calm themselves and become more present in their life. Basically, it’s the opposite of addiction behavior. It can be very powerful learning how to be in your reality and accept it. Another modality is EMDR (eye movement desensitizing reprocessing). This treatment is evidence-based to work with trauma. EMDR desensitizes past trauma through a series of eye movements that lower the brain’s defenses, storing memories of the trauma in a part of the brain that is informational, not emotional. This treatment has shown an 80 percent effectiveness when used on veterans with symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Currently, practitioners are using this more commonly for traumas that are comparatively smaller, however still significantly impact the client. In addition, there are alternate therapies that are excellent in conjunction with more traditional treatment. Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Refuge Recovery, Smart Recovery and others can support continuing mental wellness. Individuals may be resistant to connect with others; however, it is critical to do so because addiction is thought to be due to a lack of connection. Connecting with people is a key to remaining free from addiction and recovering from trauma. Also, don’t forget yoga, Reiki, meditation, nature therapy and pet therapy. Studies have shown these alternative treatments can help anyone increase their mood and overall health. Once an addict has given up their main coping skill (using alcohol and drugs), they must find something else to put in its place. That’s very important in changing any habit—you need to find something else to replace it. Anyone who wants to sustain a healthy mind and spirit must find new tools. Just as we exercise our bodies, we need to occupy our minds. Exercise, reading positive thoughts, praying and helping others should also be part of our lives; these activities improve mood. Finally, family members need to understand the nature of addiction and trauma, that their loved one is sick physically and mentally and needs compassion. They need to help their loved one believe that it is never too late and that they are never stuck. Never give up hope; there is always a way to recovery. Riesa Minakan is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in Ridgefield. She also publishes a weekly blog and is producing a YouTube channel. Minakan has 15 years of experience with addiction and trauma, and she can be seen locally on channel 23 or live on Facebook’s community forum. She can be contacted through her website at

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Waste-Free Feasting How to Reduce Holiday Food Waste


by Yvette C. Hammett

he heaping platters that cheerfully mark the holidays have an unfortunate downside: Americans increase their waste by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The discarded food and packaging burden landfills with an additional 1 million tons of waste each week.

That’s in addition to the 40 percent of food Americans typically waste each year— nearly half of all the food prepared at home or in restaurants. Monica McBride, senior manager of food loss and waste for the World Wildlife Fund, notes that squandered bounty is grown in areas that were converted from natural habitat into farm fields, so it’s also a waste of natural resources.

“Once you start cooking, you realize the impact on the planet,” says chef and caterer Steven Laurence, owner of Vegan Commissary, in Philadelphia. “My grandmother was the kind of person who, if there was one pea left over, she put it in a container and someone ate it the next day. That kind of informs my cooking. The way I was trained, you didn’t waste anything. You used everything.” In individual households, small changes can have a big impact, especially during the holidays; all it takes is awareness and a plan. Frugal cooks can make room for a holiday waste reduction strategy by taking inventory of the pantry and boxing up a load for the local soup kitchen or food bank. Then, design a menu with the environment in mind, using portion control to avoid food waste and whipping up dishes that can easily be upcycled into new creations that can be used as appetizers in the coming days or tucked in the freezer for future enjoyment. Start with the Guest-imator at, a great way to determine portions for a holiday party, says Cheryl Coleman, director of the EPA Resource Conservation and Sustainability Division in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. The Guest-imator and Save the Food, a program of the Natural Resources Defense Council in conjunction with the Ad

Jessica Hunter

Hunter Healing Hands

Integrative & Intuitive Shamanic Wellness Integrative & Intuitive Healing Sessions Shamanic Healing, Shamanic Spirit Communication, Soul Retrieval, Extraction, Depossession, Curse Unraveling, Crystal Healing, Acupressure, Reiki


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Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

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green living

Council, tells cooks how much to make to keep guests happy and includes recipes for leftovers, such as Crispy Sheet Pan Hash, made with leftover roasted vegetables, and Ugly Vegetable Pasta, made with zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. Spoilage is another way food finds its way into the garbage can, and that too, can be avoided, Laurence says, pointing out that most food goes bad because it’s not cooked properly or is mishandled in storage. “Mix animal protein with starches and grains in a container and it goes bad because of two different sorts of enzymes. It is a fuel for bacteria.” He also recommends using as many organic ingredients as possible for longer-lasting leftovers. “We guarantee all of our dishes for two weeks,” he says. Encouraging visitors to take home leftovers is another effective food-saving strategy, says McBride. “Have Tupperware or to-go boxes you could provide to your guests.” Reilly Brock, content manager at Imperfect Produce, in New York City, agrees. “Just like repurposing excess product requires creative thinking, food waste around the holidays requires out-of-the-box ideas to keep impact low,” says Brock, whose company delivers imperfect produce to customers’ doors for a cost savings. “Why end the fun when the meal ends? The best part about leftovers—and the holidays—is keeping the celebration going.” “Also, make sure you keep food safe,” McBride says. “The CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has a really great overview of how to do that for parties. Standard guidance is not to leave food out for more than two hours. So, as a party planner, make sure you mentally note when you put food out.” Coleman recommends taking it a step beyond the holidays by joining a movement to cut food waste year-round. She suggests visiting to learn more. “Through that and additional outreach, we might be able to start to change,” says McBride. Yvette C. Hammett is an environmental writer based in Valrico, Florida. Connect at

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December 2019


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Stick with your favorite recipes that you know are going to be a success and are going to leave everyone’s taste buds happy. ~Pamela Reed

THE MERRY VEGAN People-Pleasing Holiday Sweets


by Julie Peterson

he holidays may send too many sugar plums and frosted gingerbread figures dancing in the heads of people with dietary restrictions. Anyone that chooses to avoid highly processed flours or sugars, artificial ingredients and loads of butter will typically be presented with all of this and more at social gatherings this time of year. They arrive on visually appealing cookie platters that tempt with their cute shapes, vibrant colors and sparkle. Some, like the gingerbread and reindeer cutouts, will beckon with glazed eyes: “Just one,” they whisper. But one can turn into nine and make someone that may normally avoid sugar or gluten feel bodily regrets. Someone that is vegan or allergic may feel they can’t have treats. Making healthier choices about food is difficult for reasons many don’t understand. “People have relationships with food—involving family, comfort and traditions—and they don’t want to give that up,” says James Brandon, of Tampa, founder of Facebook’s Vegan and PlantBased Beginner’s Community. Brandon says that holiday treats are tough to resist, but staying true to health goals is most important in the long run. The best defense to avoid frustration at social food events is to bring a dish 38

to share that meets your dietary needs, says Megan Gilmore, the author of No Excuses Detox: 100 Recipes to Help You Eat Healthy Every Day and a blogger at “That way, you can introduce something delicious to your friends, family or co-workers and be sure you’ll have something to eat!” A batch of simple, delectable, visually appealing and healthful cookies can be that plate to share, a gift to give or something to keep on hand for guests. Keep the focus on simple, advises Pamela Reed, who blogs at There are plenty of recipes that will satisfy the sweet tooth and decorate the holiday buffet (until they’re all eaten, that is). Don’t increase holiday stress by trying a new recipe at the last minute. “Stick with your favorite recipes that you know are going to be a success and are going to leave everyone’s taste buds happy,” she says. Transitioning to a more conscious way of eating isn’t about deprivation or leaving tradition behind. Bring on the new and healthful cookie recipes and name one after your grandma. Julie Peterson writes from her home in rural Wisconsin. Contact her at

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

Oh-So-Healthy Holiday Treats Peanut Butter Cookies (Vegan, Gluten Free) Yields: About 18 cookies 1 cup creamy peanut butter ½ cup coconut sugar ½ cup brown sugar 2 tsp vanilla ⅔ cup oat flour 1 tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt ¼ cup almond milk Additional sugar to roll cookies in Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter and sugars with a hand mixer. Once combined, add vanilla and continue mixing. Add flour, baking soda, salt and almond milk into the bowl and mix for a few seconds, until combined. The cookie dough will be a little crumbly. Prepare 2 cookie sheets with silicone baking sheets or spray with nonstick spray. Roll the dough into large balls, and then gently roll in sugar to cover them. Use a fork to gently press down

photo by Pamela Reed

conscious eating

on each cookie a little bit—not too much, or they will crumble. Bake cookies for 12 minutes. Once out of the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes. This is important, as the cookies will be very soft when they come out of the oven, but they will harden up as they cool. Store in an airtight container or freeze.

photo by Megan Gilmore

photo by Megan Gilmore

Recipe courtesy of

No-Bake Pecan Snowballs (Grain-Free, Vegan) Yields: 12 balls 1 cup pecan halves ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut 1 cup soft Medjool dates, pitted (about 10 dates) 1 Tbsp coconut oil ½ tsp sea salt ½ tsp vanilla extract ½ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch Extra arrowroot for dusting, or coconut sugar Place the pecans and shredded coconut in a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, and process until the pecans are broken down and crumbly. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process again, until a sticky dough is formed. (It should stick to-

gether when pressed between two fingers.) Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons and roll the dough between your hands, forming balls. Arrange the balls on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place them in the freezer to set, about 1 to 2 hours. For a “snowball” look, roll the balls in additional arrowroot or tapioca starch—just a light coating will do—since the starch will not enhance the flavor. It’s just for looks! Note: If you’d prefer to roll the balls in coconut sugar or shredded coconut, roll them in one of those options before freezing, so the coating will stick better. Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to two weeks for best texture. Source:

Natural Awakenings recommends using organic, non-GMO (genetically modified) and non-bromated ingredients whenever possible.

December 2019


naturally healthy pet

Dog-Food Menu Debuts at Marty’s Café


The Monthly Naturally Healthy Pet Section Starts Here!

News, articles, resources, events— all dedicated exclusively to happy, naturally healthy living for our furred, feathered and scaled animal companions For information on how you can be a part of a future issue, call

203-885-4674 or email


arty’s Café in Washington Depot has always been dog-friendly but until now, the pups who sat outside with their humans were offered only table scraps. That changed this summer when Marty’s partnered with Paul’s Custom Pet Food (PCPF) of New Milford to create an actual dog-food menu. “My husband Steve and I are huge dog lovers and proponents of fresh, healthy, delicious food,” says G. Blane Withers, proprietor of Marty’s Café. “We have always welcomed fourlegged friends to sit outside with their dining pet parents, so when Paul’s Custom Pet Food approached us about creating a separate dog-food menu, we jumped at the chance.” Paul Gallant and Lynn Felici-Gallant, owners of Paul’s Custom Pet Food, create fresh, small-batch, veterinarian-approved real food for pets using local ingredients. Although some restaurants in the state offer burgers or scraps to dogs who dine with their humans outside, none—to their knowledge—offer an actual pet food menu akin to a kid’s menu. “Everyone who has a pet knows they are part of the family,” says Felici-Gallant. “We wanted the pups who visit Marty’s to have more than scraps—some of which might have been cooked with spices or ingredients such as onions that can be toxic. We want dogs to have fresh, nutritional food as a snack or a meal; we think they deserve that.” After having their own pup, Forest, test a few of the six varieties of fresh food and all of the treats that PCPF makes, Withers settled on three for the Marty’s dog-food menu: Casey’s Chicken with Brown Rice; Spud’s Beef with Veggies; and Jessie’s Beef with Turkey Jambalaya. Marty’s offers outside seating to patrons and pups year-round, but for those who eschew sitting in the cold, the café also sells PCPF food and treats for take-out as part of its Marty’s Fresh program. The treats are a good option for hikers and cross-country skiers with dogs; beef liver bites and peanut butter pumpkin cookies are available in pocket-sized packages. The dog food—sold alongside take-out items such as salads and sandwiches for humans—works for those seeking a quick meal for the whole family. For additional information about Paul’s Custom Pet Food, visit For more information on Marty’s Café, visit Location: 4 Green Hill Rd, Washington Depot.

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

Horse Wisdom for the Holidays Reduce Overwhelm, Increase Delight


by Carrie Brady

he holiday season is upon us—a time of celebration and joy, as well as stress and overwhelm. Horse wisdom can help you navigate the holidays with ease and start the new year at peace with yourself and others.

The Gift of Presence

A frequently circulated quote among horse lovers is “Let a horse whisper in your ear and breathe on your heart. You will never regret it.” The author is unknown, but the sentiment is familiar to anyone who has ever spent time breathing with a horse. Standing together, simply being with one another, is how horses show affection. Although they may groom each other sometimes, and play and eat together, most of the time they are just standing still breathing together. When a horse chooses to stand with a human in this way, it is pure magic. Humans often forget what horses know so well: the gift of presence is always the best present. You don’t need to sit and meditate with your loved ones, but you do need to slow down and be mindful. Really pay attention to your loved ones, listen with your whole body, and quiet your racing mind. This season, be fully present and authentic; enjoy every moment.

Know What Matters to You and Your Loved Ones

Horses always know what matters to them—survival, responsibilities to their herd and delight are their guiding stars in decision-making, in that order. Humans tend to be less good about setting priorities and may assume unnecessary responsibilities in their herds. The sense of holiday overwhelm may come from a well-intentioned desire to make everything perfect for the herd of people you love. You may want to get wonderful presents, bake

several kinds of holiday desserts and put up elaborate decorations because you think all those things are important to others, therefore you must do them all. This year, take the time to find out what your human herd really values. Ask your loved ones what they love the most about the holidays. Don’t prompt them with examples of the things you do; accept their first responses. Also resist asking them, “Doesn’t _____ matter to you”? They will probably say yes if you ask this way because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. The point of this activity is not to make you feel that what you have done in the past isn’t important but rather to prioritize the essential things that mean the most. Make an actual written list. Instead of rushing around trying to make everything perfect in every way, adding more and more to the “to do” list, you’ll be able to focus on the priorities and truly enjoy them.

Avoid Holiday Kryptonite

Horses do have one weakness; although they normally choose what they eat wisely, they will overeat grain to the point of getting very sick. Grain is a manmade food, not naturally occurring, and must be locked away to prevent horses from getting into it. Humans and pets also have holiday kryptonite. Tinsel or poinsettias may be absolutely irresistible to cats and, if ingested, can be fatal. If holiday sweets or drinks are your kryptonite, carefully consider which items you allow in your house. If unexpected sweets arrive, be thankful, have a bit, and then give them away to friends and neighbors. At a party, consider asking someone to support you in setting limits. If overspending on gifts is your kryptonite, then set a budget for each person, and bring someone shopping with you to help you stick to it. That person may even ask you to do the same. Using horse wisdom will help you thoroughly enjoy the holiday season, being fully present with those you love and creating experiences and memories that will last a lifetime—truly the best gifts of all. Carrie Brady is the creator of Possibilities Farm in Wilton, where she partners with horses in innovative non-riding programs for personal growth, professional development and wellness. She will be hosting a holiday gift sale and open house at the Farm in December; visit for more information. See ad, page 25.

Final Journey,


( Pet Euthanasia Service )

Kristen Klie, D.V. M. and Associates

( 203 ) 645-5570

December 2019


pet resource guide




238 Danbury Rd, Wilton 203-762-2006 •

223 State Rt 37, New Fairfield 203-746-2925 •



236 Evergreen St, Bridgeport 203-576-7727


504 Main Ave, Norwalk 203-750-9572 •

PO Box 4380, Stamford




SOCIETY (DAWS) 147 Grassy Plain St, Bethel 203-744-3297

2490 Black Rock Tpke, #453, Fairfield 203-330-0255 •

NUTMEG SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC 25 Charles St, Stratford 203-690-1550 •

The Nutmeg Spay/Neuter Clinic is a low-cost, high-volume facility for cats and dogs, the first such professional clinic in Fairfield County. The clinic offers other low-cost services during the spay/ neuter appointment. Nutmeg honors state spay/ neuter vouchers at face value from adopted shelter pets and qualified low-income families, and offers further low-cost incentives to nonprofit rescue groups. Pit bulls and mixes are welcome at an even more reduced rate, and the clinic offers spay/neuter and vaccine discounts for feral cats. See ad, page 42.


45 South St, Ridgefield 203-438-0158 •

PO Box 2015, New Preston 860-355-PETS •



PO Box 8147, Stamford 203-363-0220 •

PO Box 473, New Canaan 203-966-6556



Pet Assistance helps keep pets in their homes in times of financial and medical crises, providing emergency veterinary subsidies to pet owners in financial need. We only give grants for pets that have a good prognosis, unless the knowledge we gain from the treatment or surgery may help future animals in need.

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1 Tower Ridge, Westport 203-557-0361 •

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

ADVERTORIAL JP: Breathing is the most powerful skill humans can learn to attune with the spirit of life. Genesis 2:7 reveals, “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” After teaching Qigong breathing to groups large and small I would say there is a connection. People report Euphoric vibrational experiences when they do our Breath Empowerment, even if they don’t believe Qi exists. Breathwork is the best Gong Fu, repeated deep breathes will break the veil of darkness and bad thoughts, eventually flooding the body with light energy.


The Force Behind Blood Flow and Higher Intelligence

DD: Can one become more peaceful and increase awareness from the breath? JP: A renown surgeon named Perrin Clark, MD from Daytona Beach, Florida recently attended our national event. He told us he was super-stressed from telling 5 patients (on average days) they had some type of cancer. Dr. Clark’s job was to give bad news to patients and this caused him to hold his breath a lot! He now reports his stress has gone down dramatically since after attending Qi Revolution and learning Qigong. As a result, he attended our trainings and was certified in both our Qigong and Food Healing programs. DD: There are a number of healing routines within the Qi Revolution experience. Do you need to be fit to participate? Can one receive healing attributes if they are out of shape, ill or have other physical impairments? JP: People with injuries often experience pain relief doing Qigong in the first morning practices.We are okay with people practicing where their body is at and provide modified postures for those who need special assistance. People of all ages can benefit from Qigong’s challenge. DD: I’ve seen a shift over the past few years where your focus has really zeroed

Interview with Qigong Practitioner Jeff Primack (Part 1 of 2) in on food healing, especially in regards to food science. Why do you feel this is so important in today’s world and how does it relate to one’s personal Qi? Conducted by Publisher Damon Damato DD: Can you bring a Universal meaning to describe what is Qi? JP: Qi is the electric LIFE PRESENCE that beats the human heart and charges the air we breathe. Gong, like Gong Fu, is a REPEATED ACTION to activate higher energy. Qigong generates a powerful magnetic field in the hands and this energy “dilates arteries” healing what it touches.The effects of Qi are profound for increasing circulation and improving endocrine imbalances. Science will discover Qi is related to static electricity and can be harnessed with hand postures. DD: Qi Revolution is coming to Hartford, Connecticut at the Downtown Marriott on February 1st-3rd, 2020. What is your higher vision for sharing this kind of healing with hundreds of people? JP: I believe when more human beings develop “Qi Awareness” human evolution will go higher. Our intention is to experience the authentic healing and stress-dissolving practices of Qigong in a strong group energy field. Sound, light and Qi graphics are used to improve learning so everyone can feel what is going on without any previous experience. It’s rare that 300+ people all simultaneously inhale at the same second, while holding the same healing prayer. Many people that attend heal old injuries and nearly everyone is strengthened by the energy. Our vision for this event is to uplift the group energy to the highest level to benefit all who attend. DD: Is there significance to practicing Qigong in large groups? JP: During 1980-1999 the Chinese people gathered for Qigong events inside arenas and stadiums with tens of thousands of people. Dr. Yan Xin led this first wave of Qi awareness with integrity, but other fake masters misused Qigong to protest the government and Qigong was banned in large group settings. Chinese people had discovered the secret of “Group Energy” and it went beyond the roar of a rock concert or the cheers in a football game. Qigong was a weekly outing in China for two decades and people viewed Qigong as an opportunity to be strengthened and healed while enjoying fellowship with friends. Qi sensations and internal benefits reach into the scientific minds of truth seeking men and women. Where two or more practice Qigong sincerely there exists a larger living field of energy and I believe it’s stronger when more people practice. DD: The breath work at the Qi Revolution is transformative. Since every person is connected to it, do you believe the answers to healing & overcoming negative emotions are found here?

JP: Food is key to excellent health, especially natural foods made before the inventions of man. Kiwi for example, helps to “Reverse Asthma” in hundreds of students I’ve counseled. Moreover, prestigious medical journal THORAX indicates children who eat Kiwi 3-5 times a week vs. those who didn’t eat any, have a much lower incidence of asthma. My theories have science to back it. Proof is really in whether or not God’s kiwi really helps people breathe. Evidence shows kiwi should be suggested by allergists and breathing therapists to help children with this disease. *Kiwi’s Effect on Breathing. Thorax J. Respiratory Medicine 2004 Food effects our Qi by becoming our blood and the cells which carry oxygen to our brain. I teach that eating RED FOODS (high in carotenoids) are the best way to stop the oxidative processes responsible for heart disease and brain degeneration. We make smoothies and serve sweet red pepper paste to all attendees at Qi Revolution so they can taste for themselves how delicious natural foods can be prepared. DD: You perform a Global Healing Circle that is legendary. How does it connect participants using the 9-Breath Method with an expanded process? JP: The living electricity felt in the hands of the healing circle is unlike anything else we teach. After everyone is proficient in using the 9-breath method, our signature breathing technique, we hold hands while doing it many times. The feeling is like an electric current going through everyone’s legs, arms and hands. It feels so very good! Delicious I might say. We focus our mind to God and ask for healing of people we love and send light to noble groups and nations worldwide. DD: You have vowed from the beginning to keep the cost of Qi Revolution in reach for all people and have even gone as far as to offer this healing for Veterans free of charge. You offer CE HOURS for message therapists and nurses for an incredible value. Share with me the importance of putting people over profit. JP: Qigong is not only for rich or materially successful people. Qi Revolution is $199 for 3-Days is made affordable to open the “Qi Door” for more people. Massage Therapists love our training and earn 24 CE hours when they attend. We allow U.S. veterans to attend free and each year hundreds of veterans do attend and many of them have become our best Qigong instructors. See ad, page 3.

February 1st-3rd • HARTFORD, CT Downtown Marriott Hotel For more information: (800) 298-8970 December 2019


calendar of events All Calendar events must be received by the 12th of the month prior to publication and adhere to our guidelines. Calendar submissions must be entered online at click on “submit calendar” at the very top of the page.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1 Reiki I Class – 10am-4pm. Receive the first set of Reiki attunements. Class provides an introduction to Reiki, including the history, techniques and current applications. The class combines lecture, discussion and hands-on practice. $125/by 11/16; $150/thereafter. The Jiiva Center, 2900 Main St, Ste 1A, Stratford. 203-345-7747. Essential Oils 101 – 2-3:30pm. Come explore the uses of essential oils for health and wellness. Through this interactive workshop participants will learn about the healing properties of oils and how to reduce toxins in daily life. Workshop includes sampling oils, handouts, recipes and more. $35. Yoga Culture, 105 Danbury Rd, Danbury. 203-730-0250. Info@ WeAreYogaCulture.Com.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3 Angel Card Readings – 7-9pm. Angel Card Readings are in the pure, white light, infused with loving and empowering messages to gently guide us in our

markyourcalendar ALBERTSON MEMORIAL CHURCH UPCOMING EVENTS Saturday, December 7 and January 4 Spiritual, Psychic & Healing Fair • 11am-4pm • $35+ Sunday, December 8 Forgiveness: A Spiritual Practice with Joan Carra 1-3pm • $30/members; $35/non-members Sunday, December 22 Holiday Candle Light Service 4:30-6:30pm • no Sunday Service at 11am Sunday, December 29 Message Circle with Rev. Christine Villani and Kathleen James • 1-3pm • $20


Sundays Service • 11am-12:30pm Prayer Circle Second and Fourth Sundays • 10-10:45am Bereavement Group for Parents • 1-2pm Wednesdays Spirit Speaks – Developing Psychic & Mediumship Abilities with Rev. Ana Reluzco 7-9pm • $20 Cancelled events will be posted on our website Email: Website: Facebook: AlbertsonMemorialChurchofSpiritualism Meetup: AlbertsonMemorialChurchofSpiritualism 44

everyday life. Learn how to do Angel Card Readings during this hands-on workshop. Please bring your own Angel Oracle cards which can be purchased at Barnes & Noble or $40. Trumbull High School, 72 Strobel Rd, Trumbull. 203-452-4554. Clean-Crafted Wine Tasting – 7-9:30pm. With Erika Deutschlander, Physical Therapist for over 25 years, bee-keeper and owner of AtlasproPT. Come learn about the Clean-Crafted wine and experience pure, honest, and delicious wine, just as Nature intended. RSVP to join. Free. OsteoStrong Darien, 25 Old Kings Hwy, Darien. 203-9001661.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4 Witch Crafting Wednesday: Holiday Wreath Making – 6:30-8:30pm. Herbalist Haley Neddermann will lead a circle in wreath crafting using local wild crafted plants and herbs. Explore the ways we can use evergreens throughout the seasons for healing, support and medicinal remedies. $25/pre-registered; $30/drop-in. Twin Star, 57 Bank St, New Milford. 860-350-0077. BekahTwinstar@

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5 13 Moons - A Healing Women’s Circle: The Goddess – 6:30-8:30pm. Join Linda as she leads this month’s moon circle exploring the stories of the goddesses across the world pantheon. $25/pre-registered; $30/drop-in. Twin Star , 57 Bank St, New Milford. 860-350-0077.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 Reiki 1st Degree Workshop – 10am-5pm. With Gigi Benanti. Learn Western style from an experienced Reiki Master (22 years). Includes latest info. Learn how to use Reiki for self-healing and healing for others. Two manuals and certificate. $125. Angelic Healing Center for Reiki, 7 Morgan Ave, Norwalk. 203-852-1150. AngelHealReikiGigiB@

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 11th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Village – 12-6pm. 11/29-12/24. Town tradition continues for the eleventh consecutive year at the expansive nursery where visitors can have their photo taken with Santa, meet the reindeer and also enjoy the new Santa’s Village, train and carousel rides at the North Pole on North Street. Free. Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses, 437 North St, Greenwich. 203-5313047. Mindful Holiday Sound Meditation – 10-11:15am. Experience a special holiday mindfulness sound meditation to help you stay present and grounded through the season. $25/pre-registered; $30/dropin. Sono Healing Collective, 71 Water St, 2nd Flr, Norwalk. 203-434-4209. Reiki Level 1 Workshop – 10am-5pm. With Gigi Benanti. Learn Western style from an experienced Reiki Master (22 years). Includes latest info. Learn

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

how to use Reiki for self-healing and healing for others. Two manuals and certificate. $125. Angelic Healing Center for Reiki, 7 Morgan Ave, Norwalk. 203-852-1150. Winter Plant Walk: Tree and Shrub ID – 1-3:30pm. Join Haley for this Saturday afternoon plant walk. Learn how to identify common trees and shrubs from their bark, branching pattern, and buds. $35. Sega Meadows, New Milford. 860-350-0077.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8 Christmas in the Colonies: 1770 Farmhouse Tour and Seasonal Activities – 2-4pm. Join Velya and Ehris, the mother/daughter Grounded Goodwife duo, for: walnut boat races, apple peel throwing, apple howling, a group wassail carol, and a DIY Apple Cinnamon Sugar Scrub. $28. 1770 Grounded Goodwife Farmhouse, 785 Main St North, Woodbury. 203-942-0774.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10 Holistic Statewide Event – 4-8pn. Calling all wellness practitioners and wellness centers to meet and mingle, connect and reconnect. Rejuvenate and reIgnite your passion and business. $10 p/p includes ongoing buffet. RSVP by 12/5. The Guest House Retreat and Conference Center, 318 Main St, Chester. Holistic Chamber of Commerce Meeting – 6:30-8pm. The HCC offers the opportunity to network with other like-minded business professionals and is committed to offering the tools and support you need to expand your business. Snacks and beverage provided. First 2 meetings are free. Muktinath Holistic Center, 731 Main St, Unit 121, Monroe. 203-518-5808. JSNorth222@gmail. com. Thriving During the Holidays: Essential Oil Support – 7-8:30pm. With Kristen Rzasa. Using essential oils can help alleviate overwhelm brought on by the holidays well as keep your mood up during these darker colder days. Participants will get to make their own essential oil blend for support. Free. Osteostrong Greenwich, 10 Milbank Ave, Greenwich. 203-9001661.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11 Plant Wisdom Wednesday: Herbal Gift Making – 6:30-8:30pm. Learn how to and make several handmade herbal gifts featuring herbal bath bombs, peppermint lip balm, evergreen smudge bundles and herbal ornaments. Go home with a gift bag filled with these goodies and recipes to make them again and again. $25/pre-registered; $30/drop-in. Twin Star, 65 Bank St, New Milford. 860-350-0077.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 Yoga for Healthy Knees Semi-Private – 6-7pm. Learn key actions of the feet and lower legs to help stabilize and align your knees in a variety of common poses. This lesson will troubleshoot some common postures that exacerbate hyper-extension in the knees. $35. Yoga Culture, 105 Mill Plain Rd, Danbury. 203-730-0250. Info@WeAreYogaCulture. com.

markyourcalendar CONNECTING WITH CRYSTALS: Discover the Messages & Healing in Crystals Learn to connect, communicate, and work with Stone Spirits and their Energies. This workshop will discuss and work with various ways to connect with Crystals. Students will also learn and practice working with their intuitive senses to connecting with Crystals from different aspects. Workshop is taught one on one by Private Appointment. Contact Jessica to schedule. $150 Visit for more info, or call Jessica Hunter at 203-916-8381.

markyourcalendar A YEAR OF HEALING IN 2020 With Dr. Eilis Philpott Soul Healing Journey, LLC

We will meet one weekend a month for 12 months. We will spend Friday evening together and all day Saturday and Sunday. The 2020 dates are: January 10-12 • February 7-9 • March 13-15 April 3-5 • May 1-3 • June 12-14 • July 10-12 August 7-9 • September 11-13 • October 9-11 November 13-15 • December 11-13 I will share with you what I have learned from trainings, from life and from guidance in a way that integrates the various modalities. By the end of this 12 months of training you will have catapulted your personal, professional and spiritual journey into the stratosphere. Location: 415 Howe Ave, Shelton Investment: Early bird rate until November 15 - Pay in full $4,800 or pay quarterly $1,200 or pay monthly $400 Regular rate - Pay in full $6,000 or pay quarterly $1,500 or pay monthly $500 ​To Register: Choose an option to pay (full, quarterly or monthly) and make that first payment. Be prepared to commit to one full year of healing. NOTE: If you take advantage of the early bird rate and make the initial payment you will be locked into that rate for the year. Registration required. 203-767-5954

13 Suns: A Monthly Men’s Circle – 6:30-8:30pm. We will create rituals for honoring and exploring roles as men, brothers and community healers. The circle will be a private and sacred group, open and inclusive to all who identify as men or non-binary. $25/pre-registered; $30/drop-in. Twin Star, 65 Bank St, New Milford. 860-350-0077.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation and Relaxation – 7:30-8:30pm. With Allison. In a relaxed but aware state you’ll delve into the layers of consciousness, tap into what’s important and release what’s not, creating a state of peace and bliss. $20/by 12/12; $30/therafter. Yoga Culture, 105 Mill Plain Rd, Danbury. Info@ WeAreYogaCulture.Com.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14 Holiday Drum and Dance – 3-4:30pm. With Supriya Swerdlick and Melissa Duda. Come and play, commune, move and groove. Stretch and allow your body to take you on a journey of joy. Dancers and drummers are welcome $20/in advance; $25/day of event. Yogaspace, 78 Stony Hill Rd, Bethel. 203-730-9642. Info@Yogaspace-CT. com.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18 Earth Living Skills: The Art of Intuition – 6:308:30pm. Workshop that explores the depths of our human intuition. Using meditation, games, and discussion, we will see if we can get our hearts and minds to work together as one. $25. Twin Star, 65 Bank St, New Milford. 860-350-0077.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 27 Reiki Second Degree – 10am-5:30pm. With Gigi Benanti, Reiki Master/Teacher (22 years). Learn to send distance Reiki healing, deepen use of Reiki for others and yourself. Two powerful energy connections from Gigi’s short Japanese/Usa Lineage. Two manuals. Angelic Healing Center for Reiki, 7 Morgan Ave, Norwalk. 203-852-1150.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28 Reiki Second Degree Workshop – 10am-5:30pm. With Gigi Benanti, Reiki Master/Teacher (22 years). Learn to send distance Reiki healing, deepen use of Reiki for others and yourself. Two powerful energy connections from Gigi’s short Japanese/Usa Lineage. Two manuals and certificate. $215. Angelic Healing Center, 7 Morgan Ave, Norwalk. 203-852-1150. AngelHealReiki. com.203-852-1150.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1 New Year’s Day Yoga Practice – 10am-12pm. Kick off 2020 with an invigorating 2-hour asana practice designed to wake up the spine and the soul. Perfect way to set an intention of yoga and self-care in the New Year. $35/by 12/31; $45/therafter. Yoga Culture, 105 Mill Plain Rd, Danbury. 203-730-0250. Info@WeAreYogaCulture.Com.

ongoing events

sunday Gentle Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation – 9:30-10:45am. Relax, release and flow into wellness in beginner/ level 1 yoga classes with work on mindfulness practices, breathing techniques, alignment, flexibility and strength. Modifications suggested and props used when needed. $5/donation per class. Hindu Cultural Center of CT (HCC), 96 Chapel St, Stratford. 203-5210359. Satsang Meditation – 9:30-11am. Satsangs are wonderful spiritual and community gatherings of like-minded people. Satsangs with Shanti Mission Healers are filled with music, mantra, meditation, spiritual instruction/discourse and spiritual blessings to help you reset, recharge and get ready for the week ahead. By donation. Muktinath Holistic Center, 731 Main St, Monroe. 203-518-5808. MuktinathHC@ New Beginnings in Community Sunday Service – 10am. Join this group of spiritually minded people embracing and honoring all world religions, belief systems, cultures and traditions. Free. Mystics By The Sea, 394 New Haven Ave, Milford. 203-980-6272. Family Meditation Program – 10-11:30am. Second and fourth Sunday. Ages 4-13. While the adults are meditating in the main building, young people can connect with others in their age-group, learn about mindfulness, compassion toward self and others. 203-244-3130. Mahasati or Insight Meditation – 10-11:30am. Learn how to live your life more skillfully through the development of self-awareness and mindfulness. A simple practice that can be easily incorporated into daily life. Discover the benefits of becoming more present. 203-244-3130. Celebration Service – 10:30am-12pm. With Rev. Shawn Moninger. Inspiring message supports your spiritual unfolding with thought provoking, soul -healing topics and uplifting music. By donation. Unity Center of Norwalk, 3 Main St, 2nd Fl, Norwalk. 203-855-7922. Sunday Morning Meditation – 11-11:45am. Experience stillness and peace, establish a regular practice, reduce stress and tension and enhance health and well-being. Meditation class for beginners and experienced meditators. $5/donation per class. Hindu Cultural Center of CT (HCC), 96 Chapel St, Stratford. 203-521-0359. HCC.Yoga. Sunday Albertson Memorial Church Service – 11am-12:30pm. Join us for inspirational sermons, meditation, energy healing and messages from Spirit. By donation. Albertson Memorial Church of Spiritualism, 293 Sound Beach Ave, Old Greenwich. 203-637-4615.

December 2019


ongoing events Monthly Mystical Market – 11am-4pm. Third Sunday. Psychics, mediums, intuitives, CT artisans, vendors and holistic practitioners. Free admission, vendors prices vary. The Ruby Tree, 670 Main St S, Woodbury. 203-586-1655. Christina@ Karma Community Yoga – 5:30-6:30pm. Fourth Sunday. Our monthly donation-based class. Bring a non-perishable food donation and enjoy an hour for your mind, body and spirit. The Ruby Tree, Sherman Village, 670 Main St S, Woodbury. 203-586-1655. Christina@

monday Vinyasa Yoga – 9:30-10:30am. Vinyasa Yoga is a flowing, dynamic sequence of poses that is one of the most popular styles of yoga in the U.S. This type of practice involves synchronizing the breath with a continuous flow of postures. $20. Soul Synergy Holistic Wellness Center and Spa, 1492 High Ridge Rd, Ste 6, 2nd Fl, Stamford. 203-814-1355. SoulSynergyWellness111@ Heart Speak – 11am. Start your week off relaxed and invigorated. Listen to this 2-minute audio which inspires and uplifts, a part of you that speaks inspiration, wisdom, and happiness. Rotate to another GEM each Monday you will feel refueled and refreshed. Mahasati or Insight Meditation – 7-8:30pm. Learn how to live your life more skillfully through the development of self-awareness and mindfulness. A simple practice that can be easily incorporated into daily life. Discover the benefits of becoming more present. 203-244-3130. Reiki Share – 7:30-9:30pm. Fourth Monday. With JoAnn Inserra Duncan, MS, RMT. Practice Reiki in a small group setting. Share experiences and help each other develop in a safe, fun environment while providing a wonderful, relaxing, rejuvenating experience. $20. Registration required. Turning Point Healing Arts and Education Center, 100B Danbury Rd, Ste 101, Ridgefield. 203-438-3050.

tuesday Slow Yoga – 10-11am. With Lella Ilyinsky. Class is set to a slower pace and may include elements of restorative yoga, yin yoga and foundational flow sequences. Beginners welcome. $18/class; $16/senior. Valley Spirit Cooperative and Wellness Center, 6 Green Hill Rd, Washington Depot. 860-619-2788. Mahasati or Insight Meditation – 12:30-2pm. Learn how to live your life more skillfully through the development of self-awareness and mindfulness.A simple practice that can be easily incorporated into daily life. Discover the benefits of becoming more present. 203-244-3130.


Monthly Information Sessions at The Graduate Institute – 6:30-7:30pm. Join us for an info session every 2nd Tuesday of the month at The Graduate Institute. Please contact us to let us know that you’ll be attending. The Graduate Institute, 171 Amity Rd, Bethany. 203-874-4252. NAMI Support Group – 6:30-7:45pm. Third Tuesday. A place where families and friends of individuals living with mental health challenges can come together in a safe and compassionate forum. Meetings are confidential. Free. Rowayton United Methodist Church, 5 Pennoyer St, Norwalk. 203-428-6864. Reiki Share – 7-8:30pm. First Tuesday of the month. With June and Tracy. Come join our circle of practitioners for sharing and caring and healing. All levels of practitioners are welcome. Please RSVP. $20/drop-in. Kindred Spirits, 197 Ethan Allen Hwy, Ridgefield. 203-938-3690. Intermediate Evidential Mediumship – 7-9pm. This class is designed for those who know how to connect to spirit and wish to deepen the connection and get more specific evidence. Once a month we work with the public to gain experience. $20. 135 Clover Hill Dr. 203-344-9311. Reiki Share – 7-9pm. Second Tuesday. Practice and enhance your Reiki healing and grow your intuition. All will receive healing time and practice time. You must have completed at minimum Reiki Level I in order to fully participate. $15/suggested contribution. Muktinath Holistic Center, 731 Main St, Monroe. 203-518-5808. MuktinathHC@gmail. com. Reiki Healing Shares – 7:30-9:30pm. First and third Tuesdays. With Gigi Benanti, Usui Reiki Master/ Teacher. For Reiki practitioners only. Includes short instruction and discussion. Must RSVP. $20. Angelic Healing Center, 7 Morgan Ave, Norwalk. 203-852-1150.

wednesday Power Yoga/Vinyasa – 11am-12pm & 5:30-6:30pm. Power yoga is a general term used to describe a vigorous, fitness-based approach to vinyasa-style yoga. Power yoga incorporates the athleticism of Ashtanga, including lots of vinyasas. $20. Soul Synergy Wellness, 1492 High Ridge Rd, Ste 6, 2nd Fl, Stamford. 203-814-1355. SoulSynergyWellness111@gmail. com. Tai Chi Classes – 6:30-7:30pm. With June Fagan, Tai Chi Instructor. A slow movement meditation for all levels of fitness. Known to reduce stress, increase focus and balance and improve self and well-being. $25/drop-in; $85/1 class per week; $150/unlimited classes month. Kindred Spirits, 1197 Ethan Allen Hwy, Ridgefield. 203-938-3690. Gentle Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation – 6:45-8pm. Relax, release and flow into wellness in beginner/ level 1 yoga classes with work on mindfulness practices, breathing techniques, alignment, flexibility and strength. Modifications suggested and props used when needed. $5/donation per class. Hindu Cultural Center of CT (HCC), 96 Chapel St, Stratford. 203-5210359.

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

The Power of Now–7-8:15pm. A study group of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. Our interactive group will discuss his wisdom and portals to enlightenment thru an understanding of the Mind. No cost - donation suggested. Unitarian Church-The Meeting House, 10 Lyons Plains Rd, Westport. Bob 203-227-7494, Frank 203-571-7470. Mahasati or Insight Meditation – 7-8:30pm. Learn how to live your life more skillfully through the development of self-awareness and mindfulness. A simple practice that can be easily incorporated into daily life. Discover the benefits of becoming more present. 203-244-3130. Meditation – 7-8:30pm. Meditation that often includes chanting, music and requires your active participation. All faiths and cultures are welcomed. By donation. Muktinath Holistic Center, 731 Main St, Monroe. 203-518-5808. Beginners Psychic Mediumship Development – 7-9pm. Learn to meditate and connect to your own soul as well as the souls around you - both incarnate and discarnate. Topics include healing,carting, psychic readings and evidential mediumship.$20. Union Lodge No. 5, AF & AM, 47 Kirkham Pl, Stamford. 203-344-9311. Holistic Moms Network Fairfield County, CT Chapter – 7:30pm. Second Wednesday. Associates in Family Chiropractic and Natural Health Care, 156 East Ave, HMNFairfieldCtyCT. Turning Point S.H.A.R.E. Divorce Group – 7:30-9:30pm. Third Wednesdays. Offering support, healing, advocacy, resources and education for women in the process of, or recently divorced. $20, $150/10-session card. Registration required. Turning Point Healing Arts and Education Center, 100B Danbury Rd, Ste 101, Ridgefield. 203-438-3050.

thursday Kundalini Yoga and Music Meditation – 9:30-10:30am. With Leesa Sklover, PhD, C-IAYT, Certified Yoga Therapist, Kundalini Yoga Teacher. Experience the yoga of awareness weekly to heal your mind and your life. All welcome. Register for first class. $15 per class/monthly discount. Short Beach Union Church, 14 Pentacost St, Branford. 917-860-0488. Vinyasa Yoga – 9:30-10:30am. Vinyasa Yoga is a flowing, dynamic sequence of poses that is one of the most popular styles of yoga in the U.S. This type of practice involves synchronizing the breath with a continuous flow of postures. $20. Soul Synergy Holistic Wellness Center and Spa, 1492 High Ridge Rd, Ste 6, 2nd Fl, Stamford. 203-814-1355. Mahasati or Insight Meditation – 9:30-11am. Learn how to live your life more skillfully through the development of self-awareness and mindfulness. A simple practice that can be easily incorporated into daily life. Discover the benefits of becoming more present. By donation. Redding Center for Meditation, 9 Picketts Ridge Rd, West Redding. 203-244-3130.

Gentle Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation – 6:45-8pm. Relax, release and flow into wellness in beginner/ level 1 yoga classes with work on mindfulness practices, breathing techniques, alignment, flexibility and strength. Modifications suggested and props used when needed. $5/donation per class. Hindu Cultural Center of CT (HCC), 96 Chapel St, Stratford. 203-5210359. Reiki Healing Circle – 7-9pm. First Thursday. All welcome. Share and experience Reiki. Please join us while we enjoy a peaceful, powerful night of healing. Hosted by Gigi Benanti, Reiki Master/Teacher. $20. Unity Center of Norwalk, 3 Main St, Norwalk. 203-852-1150.,

friday Vinyasa Yoga – 9:30-10:30am. Vinyasa Yoga is a flowing, dynamic sequence of poses that is one of the most popular styles of yoga in the U.S.. This type of practice involves synchronizing the breath with a continuous flow of postures. $20. Soul Synergy Holistic Wellness Center and Spa, 1492 High Ridge Rd, Ste 6, 2nd Fl, Stamford. 203-814-1355. Reiki Share – 9:30-11:30am. First Friday. With JoAnn Inserra Duncan, MS, RMT. Practice Reiki in a small group setting. Share experiences and help each other develop in a safe, fun environment while providing a wonderful, relaxing, rejuvenating experience. $20. Registration required. Turning Point Healing Arts and Education Center 100B Danbury Rd, Ste 101, Ridgefield. 203-438-3050. Discussion with The Higher Realms – 7-9:30pm. Last Friday. Bring your heartfelt questions and receive the wisdom of The Ascended Masters and The Divine Feminine specifically for you as channeled by Ginny Brown. $45. Address provided upon registration. Ghostly Woodbury – 7:30-9pm. Fridays and Saturdays in October. A walking tour and glimpse into some of Woodbury's legends, burial customs, superstitions and graveyard clues. Join Ehris Urban & Velya Jancz-Urban as you explore with EMF detectors. $20 per person. Meet at the green picnic tables on the Woodbury Public Library lawn, Woodbury. 203-942-0774.

saturday Find Your Edge Yoga – 9-10am. With Pauline Koinis. For yoga practitioners. A chance for yoginis and yogis alike to get a Saturday morning groove on; where laughter, challenge and heart all meet on the mat. $18/class; $16/senior. Valley Spirit Cooperative and Wellness Center, 6 Green Hill Rd, Washington Depot. 860-619-2788. Info@ Gentle Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation – 9:30-10:45am. Relax, release and flow into wellness in beginner/level 1 yoga classes with work on mindfulness practices, breathing techniques, alignment, flexibility and

strength. Modifications suggested and props used when needed. $5/donation per class. Hindu Cultural Center of CT (HCC), 96 Chapel St, Stratford. 203-5210359. Mahasati or Insight Meditation – 10-11:30am. Learn how to live your life more skillfully through the development of self-awareness and mindfulness. A simple practice that can be easily incorporated into daily life. Discover the benefits of becoming more present. 203-244-3130. New Men’s Group – 10:30-11:30am. This therapeutic support group is designed for men who are dealing with issues related to a relationship from their past, present or future. Limited seating available. $30 per session insurance accepted. Wolf Spirit Wellness and Counseling Center, LLC, 125 Main St N, Woodbury. 203-263-3175. WolfSpiritWellness@ Spondylitis Support Group – 11am-12:30pm. Last Saturday. Led by Dr. Andrew Cummins, naturopathic physician. Having lived with the chronic inflammatory disease Ankylosing Spondylitis for the last 18 years, Cummins understands what living with chronic pain and limited mobility is all about. Group provides education, empowerment, understanding and support. Free. Shalva Clinic, 8 Lincoln St, 1st Fl, Westport. 203-916-4600.

markyourcalendar MARCONICS LEVEL 1 Practitioner Certification Training Class

Saturday, February 22 • 9:30am-5pm Sunday, February 23 • 9:30am-4:30pm Begin your journey back to Source. Everything that came before has been in preparation for this moment; a step along the path. THIS IS ASCENSION! Scale the Mountain and claim SOUL SOVEREIGNTY. $450 Registration Fee Quantum Recalibration, performed over two 1-hour sessions, also available for $333. Registration: Divinely Rooted Yoga Studio located in Hidden Gem on Main 33 N Main St, Suite D, Wallingford Contact: Julie Oakes 203-533-9633

Spiritual, Psychic and Healing Fair – 11am-4pm. First Saturday. Would you like a second opinion on your life issues, or a personal message from a departed loved one? Are you curious about your purpose in this life, or seeking a bit more direction and focus? Come join us. $35+. Albertson Memorial Church, 293 Sound Beach Ave, Old Greenwich. 203-637-4615. New Women’s Group – 1pm. For women ages 29 through 35 who have difficulty navigating social situations that are interested in making new friends. This group will be working on understanding the nuances of social behavior and how to set attainable goals and boundaries. Space is limited. $20/ session. Wolf Spirit Wellness and Counseling Center, LLC, 125 Main St North, Ste 2B, Woodbury. 203-509-8602. Open Mic Night – 7-9pm, 3rd Saturday. Bring music printed out in your key and Kenneth Gartman will accompany you at the piano for your moment at the microphone. Comedians, poets, writers and musicians welcomed as well. Unity Center of Norwalk, 3 Main St, 2nd Fl, Norwalk. 203-855-7922. Office@ Ghostly Woodbury – 7:30-9pm. Fridays and Saturdays in October. A walking tour and glimpse into some of Woodbury's legends, burial customs, superstitions and graveyard clues. Join Ehris Urban & Velya Jancz-Urban as you explore with EMF detectors. $20 per person. Meet at the green picnic tables on the Woodbury Public Library lawn, Woodbury. 203-942-0774.

classifieds To place a Classified Listing: $1 per word. $25 minimum. Magazine deadline: 12th of month prior to publication. Email copy to

HELP WANTED DISTRIBUTORS WANTED for monthly deliveries of Natural Awakenings and other local publications. Perfect for a retired person or stay-at-home mom looking to earn some extra income and connect with their local community. Honesty and dependability are the most important characteristics of our distributors - if you don’t have it in spades, please do not apply! DO YOU LOVE NATURAL AWAKENINGS? Help us spread the word! We’re looking for Community Street Team Members to work with us at upcoming events all over CT. Please send an email (subject line: COMMUNITY) and resume to

December 2019


community resource guide


Connecting you to the leaders in natural healthcare and green living in our community. To find out how you can be included in the Community Resource Guide email to request our media kit.

13TH OCTAVE/LAHOCHI SOUL HEALING JOURNEY, LLC Eilis Philpott Fairfield 203-767-5954

Eilis is a master healer and teacher and certified in numerous modalities as both a practitioner and teacher. She is one of only two people approved to teach 13th Octave/LaHoChi in the U.S. She offers soul level healing, which clears any blocks, obstacles and challenges that are preventing you from living your life to its fullest potential. See ad, page 23.



898 Ethan Allen Hwy, Ridgefield Offices in Ridgefield and Newtown 203-438-4848 • Advanced Bio-Regulation (BRT) is a unique approach to health and wellness that uses Biofeedback and PEMF-based Electromagnetic Technology to help the body better self-regulate, adapt and heal naturally. It is used for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, hormonal issues, Lyme, etc. See ad, page 12.



Jungian Astrology • Tarot • Reiki 40 Richards Ave, Norwalk 203-912-3520 or Skype Rather than predictions following the default mode, the Jungian approach provides insight into patterns and cycles of time, empowering you to transform challenges into opportunities.

AYURVEDA NEERU KAUSHIK, ND, MS ACU, MS, MA Institute for Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Therapies 805 Kings Highway East, Fairfield 203-331-9111

A combination of Ayurveda and Naturopathy is used to create a unique treatment plan to regain and maintain health. Based on one’s particular body constitution (dosha), a plan may include supplements, diet/nutrition suggestions, lifestyle management, detoxification, hydrotherapy, 0zone therapy, Panchakarma. See ad, page 9.



Safe, painless early detection 71 East Ave, Ste D, Norwalk 203-856-1421

Thermography can detect breast disease at its earliest stages and monitor and assess pain in any part of the body. Safe, painless, noninvasive, FDA registered.


True Health Family Chiropractic 7365 Main St, Stratford 203-923-8633 As a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Dr. Braglia has received advanced training in Pediatric Adjusting and Prenatal Care, including the Webster Technique. We are proud to serve patients from all over Fairfield and New Haven Counties with our unique and gentle approach to health care. See ad, page 24.

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition


914-921-LIFE (5433) Experience and personalized service you can trust. The finest in colonic irrigation and personal care. Serving the tri-state area since 1993.

CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY/ ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE VINCENT FRASER, CST, CAT, SEP Craniosacral Therapy, Alexander Technique, Somatic Experiencing Greenwich and Norwalk 203-570-2059

Vincent offers paths to wholeness which lead to resolving pain and trauma, ease of movement in one’s body and life, and a fuller conscious embodiment.

EDUCATION THE GRADUATE INSTITUTE 171 Amity Rd, Bethany 203-874-4252 •

The Graduate Institute is a state-accredited graduate school dedicated to promoting an integrative and holistic worldview through the study of health, wellness, education, and personal and professional transformation. Enrolling now for 2020 programs. See ad, page 23.


Western Connecticut State University Christel Autuori, RDH, RYT, MA, Director 181 White St, Danbury 203-837-8559 • The mission of the IHHS is to provide the University and Greater Danbury area with an opportunity to engage in and explore different aspects of holistic and integrative health through programming and instruction. Programs include Wellness Wednesday lunchtime workshops, monthly meditation program, lecture series, health wellness and fitness fair.




Eilis Philpott Fairfield • 203-767-5954

113 Simsbury Rd, West Granby 860-764-9070 •


Eilis is a master healer and teacher and certified in numerous modalities as both a practitioner and teacher. She offers soul level healing, which clears any blocks, obstacles and challenges that are preventing you from living your life to its fullest potential. See ad, page 23.

We offer a unique certification program blending the science of nutrition with the hands-on components of sustainable gardening practices. We use food and herbs to make kitchen medicine, teach basic culinary skills, and practice foraging for and using nutrient-rich wild food. Now enrolling.

Rocky Corner’s sharing and caring neighborhood: Meet friendly, creative people. Feel welcomed and included. Eat from our organic farm and gardens. Own a green home. Co-own amazing common buildings and 33 acres. Bethany, 5 miles north of New Haven. Nurture kids, retire, have fun, work together. Last remaining homes for sale. Contact us now!




P.O. Box 711, Monroe

Certified Essential Oil Educator 203-856-1790

Two Coyotes Wilderness School is a non-profit nature organization dedicated to creating a healthier, more connected future by connecting people to nature, community, and their personal empowerment. We offer year-round wilderness-based mentorship programs, including summer camps, for all ages.


I sell doTERRA essential oils and teach practitioners how to implement high quality oils into their practice to enhance client experience. I also work with individuals who seek to reduce toxicity load and support their overall health and wellness naturally.

HEALING ACID REFLUX NATURALLY Susan Berman, Med, CHHC 860-670-4152

I work with health conscious individuals to help heal their acid reflux or GERD to avoid further damage and prevent esophageal cancer. Find your unique food and lifestyle triggers. Offers 1:1 coaching via Zoom, Skype, or a DIY program.




Functional Medicine and Integrative Care LLC 15 Bennitt St, New Milford 860-354-3304 •


Transformative Healing • Tarot 203-856-9566 •


Metaphysical Shop and Healing Space Sherman Village, 670 Main St S, Woodbury 203-586-1655 •





Sarah offers private Reiki sessions reflecting the lineage of Dr Usui. Each session helps increase your vitality and balance the different areas of your body to restore the quality of your health (emotional and physical), promoting transformation and growth. Sarah also offers monthly training workshops in Reiki 1 and 2 as well as Reiki distance packages. Please consult website for more info. Or text/call Sarah directly to book your first experience.









Using Functional Medicine, Dr. C prevents and treats chronic Sachs If not now, when? Inspire change RHillnesses by addressing their I on all levels—greater physical TS underlying root causes, remaining ease, emotional freedom, peace of M respectful of the uniqueness, A mind and spiritual connection. 20 S LOC complexity and intuitions that make S L years of intuitive healing experiE N human. Trained at Mt. Sinai C O OIT School andusYale ence with adults and children of Medical University Hospital in Internal W N all ages. Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, F Medicine, in 2003 she opened Functional Medicine and L Tarot. See ad, page 26. A Integrative Care LLC. She has great success with IBS, EK fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autoimmune problems, toxicity and more, by creating individualized, realistic JOY REIKI INSTITUTE and comprehensive Personalized Wellness Plans. She Sarah Chapman, Reiki Master consults in her New Milford, CT office, and also by 3 Sterling Dr, Westport phone or video using telemedicine. 415-912-6863 •

Rocks and crystals, magical objects, singing bowls, herbal candles and more. Local artisans, an array of holistic practitioners, a monthly Mystical Market fair, regularly scheduled psychics/ mediums/intuitives, yoga, meditation, and workshops galore—all to enhance the health of your mind, body and spirit. See ad, page 19.

December 2019



Licensed and Insured In-home Cooking Services 203-559-8946 • As a Board-Certified Health Coach by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and member of the U.S. Personal Chef Association, Eliana’s passion is her clients’ success. She has been serving CT for more than 15 years and now offers short-term detoxes, meals to freeze, dinner parties, homegrown microgreens and fermented, locally grown vegetables as well as personalized coaching programs. See ad, page 27.



Thea Litsios, CHy Locations in Norwalk and Stratford 203-693-1493 • Use the power of your whole mind to transform your life: Hypnosis for weight loss, smoking cessation, stress relief, and past life review. Certified teacher of Active Dream work. Individual dream consultations available, as well as workshops and monthly Dream Groups. See ad, page 26.

MIND-BODY TRANSFORMATION Diane Bahr-Groth, CHy, TFTdx 1177 High Ridge Rd, Stamford 203-595-0110

Fast, effective methods for weight, stress, fear, pain, smoking, etc. Certified Hypnotherapist, Thought Field Therapy, Time Line Therapy, NLP and Complementary Medical Hypnosis, since 1989. See ads, pages 17 and 37.


Yorktown Heights, NY 914-214-9678

We offer a unique approach to the health care of the mouth based on a holistic understanding of the whole body. I invite you to explore our website to learn how we can serve your needs. See ad, page 31.


Mark A Breiner, DDS 501 Kings Hwy East, Ste 108, Fairfield 203-371-0300 Mark Breiner, DDS, is a pioneer and recognized authority in the field of holistic dentistry. His patients have found solutions to baffling, unresolved and seemingly unrelated dental-related health problems. He is the author of the award-winning book, Whole-Body Dentistry. See ad, page 2.


544 Riverside Ave, Westport 203-557-6574 David London, MD, honors emotional, spiritual and biochemical individuality to assist healing psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Sophisticated genetic and lab testing help identify underlying causes. Treatment may include acupuncture, psychotherapy, EMDR, herbs, vitamins, nutrients, lifestyle changes, medication.



Optimal Health Medical LLC 111 High Ridge Rd, Stamford 203-348-8805 • Advances in Regenerative Medicine allow Dr. Sobo to offer cutting-edge technologies such as PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatments and adult stem cell therapy. Dr. Sobo’s integrative approach addresses a variety of conditions such as: food allergies, Alzheimer’s/ dementia, chronic fatigue syndrome, weight loss, hormonal health, fibromyalgia, anti-aging medicine, and MTHFR-Genetic Mutation. See ad, page 10.

INTEGRATIVE NATURAL MEDICINE SOPHIA NATURAL HEALTH CENTER Ken Hoffman, DACM, LAc, Medical Director 31 Old Rte 7, Brookfield 203-740-9300 • INM.Center

Using naturopathic and Chinese medical principles, we get to the source of your health concerns. Diagnostic methods include functional testing such as advanced bloodwork analysis, cardiovascular testing, hormone evaluation and thermography. Our customized treatment program includes acupuncture, herbal and nutritional medicine, diet and lifestyle counseling and more. Most insurance accepted.

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition


Adam Breiner, ND, Director David Brady, ND, CCN, DACBN David Johnston, DO Elena Sokolova, MD, ND 203-371-8258 • Using state-of-the-art science combined with holistic medicine, our caring integrative physicians correct underlying imbalances and address issues which may interfere with the body’s ability to heal itself. We treat many conditions including Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, immune disorders, allergies, thyroid conditions, pain, neurological conditions, stroke, concussion, ADD/ ADHD, depression, insomnia and more. We offer hyperbaric oxygen, neurofeedback and neurotherapies, osteopathic medicine, functional medicine, IV nutrient and chelation therapy, energetic medicine, homeopathy, Japanese Reiki, nutrition, colonics and detoxification, enhanced brain, athletic, scholastic performance, and more. See ad, page 2.


Purveyors of Positivity 51 Ethan Allen Hwy (Route 7), Ridgefield 203-431-2959 A unique lifestyle boutique featuring the first Shungite room in the U.S., The Angel Cooperative has products and experiences designed to care for your body and soul while also offering beautiful and healing goods for the home. We offer a regular schedule of workshops, meditations, classes, and other holistic and spiritual events. See ad, page 11.


Dr. Randy Schulman, MS, OD, FCOVD Locations: 6515 Main St, Trumbull • 203-374-2020 444 Westport Ave, Norwalk • 203-840-1991 2600 Post Rd, Southport • 203-255-4005 1425 Bedford St, 1M, Stamford • 203-357-0204 We offer behavioral optometry, comprehensive vision exams, contact lenses and vision therapy. See ad, page 17.



Psychic Medium 203-531-6387 • Joan’s reputation as a psychic and medium for over 20 years is supported by seven books that recommend her work. Her insights can help you release blocks in business and romance. As a gifted medium, Joan can contact loved ones in spirit and help heal your grief.


501 Kings Highway E, Ste 108, Fairfield 203-371-8258 • IV nutrient therapy bypasses the digestive process and delivers 100% of pure quality nutrients to your cells. Custom drips support your immune system, help you recover from long work hours, hangovers, jet lag, and increase stamina, support muscle recovery and growth, aid in detoxification, provide anti-aging benefits for youthful skin and glow, promote weight loss, help brain function, provide an energy boost and more. See ad, page 2.


400 Main St, Ridgefield

CENTER FOR MINDFULNESS & INSIGHT MEDITATION 9 Picketts Ridge Rd, West Redding 203-244-3130

We teach and practice Mahasati meditation. Mahasati meditation cultivates self-awareness through attention to the movement of the body and, at more advanced levels, to the movement of the mind. No prior meditating experience is necessary. Ongoing weekly meditation classes, retreats and events. Please check monthly event calendar or visit for updated information.


Whole-Body Medicine LLC 501 Kings Hwy E, Ste 108, Fairfield 203-371-8258 • Dr. Adam Breiner has helped patients with a wide variety of neurological conditions—including stroke, concussions, TBIs, ADD/ADHD, depression and anxiety—as well as seeing patients for enhanced sports, scholastic and workplace performance. His center was the first facility in the country to offer the powerful combination of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and neurofeedback. Dr. Breiner also has natural and cutting-edge approaches for the treatment of Lyme disease. See ad, page 2.

NEERU KAUSHIK, ND, MS ACU, MS, MA Institute for Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Therapies 805 Kings Highway East, Fairfield 203-331-9111




Lyme Connection is an all-volunteer, community-based task force providing support and resources to patients and their families coping with tickborne disease.






2900 Main St, Ste 1A, Stratford 203-345-7747 •

We offer Traditional, Thai Massage and Prenatal massage. At Jiiva Massage, our goal is to provide our clients with a variety of experienced therapists and modalities to choose from. Our hope is to provide you with an assortment of different techniques so you can find what works best for your individual needs. See ad, page 21.

A combination of Ayurveda and Naturopathy is used to create a unique treatment plan to regain and maintain health. Based on one’s particular body constitution (dosha), a plan may include supplements, diet/nutrition suggestions, lifestyle management, detoxification, hydrotherapy, 0zone therapy, Panchakarma. See ad, page 9.


Ellen M Lewis, ND, Director 8 Lincoln St, Westport 203-916-4600 • Dr. Lewis offers comprehensive holistic care for women including well-women exams, fertility, thyroid and menopause support. She also has a special interest in pediatrics and utilizes a variety of natural modalities when working with patients with ADD/ADHD, autism, allergies, eczema and asthma. Treatments include herbal medicine, functional medicine, biotherapeutic drainage, homeopathy and more. See ad, back cover.


Lisa Singley, ND, MS 2103 Main St, Ste 2, Stratford 203-874-4333 • We use advanced diagnostic testing with safe, effective, all-natural healing modalities and treatment options to treat acute and chronic conditions; restore balance; and treat the mind, body and spirit. Specialists in endocrine disorders, digestive issues, pain management and chronic fatigue. We offer comprehensive solutions to prevent illness and maintain optimal health for body, mind and spirit. See ad, page 8.


Wellness Institute 1 Westport Ave, Norwalk 203-847-2788 • CMYK

1, 0 Family1, 99,Health Care using all natural therapies for 25 years. Acupuncture, bioidentical CMYK hormones, homeopathy, 58, 79, 0, 0 Chinese/Western herbs, allergy/ toxin testing, oxygen therapy, Meridian stress assessment, Aleo – Bold nutrition/enzyme therapies. CMYK: 72, 66, 65, 79 See ad, page 18.

P R O X I M A N O VA – S E M I B O L D CMYK: 72, 66, 65, 79


The NeuroEdge Brain Performance Center Full Color Division of Whole-Body MedicineOne Color 501 Kings Highway E, Ste 108, Fairfield 203-371-8258 • The NeuroEdge is dedicated to keeping your brain sharp and high-functioning. We treat head injuries and brain traumas such as concussion and stroke as well as help athletes, students and businesspeople improve their performance. Learn and view our cutting-edge neurotherapies at See ad, page 2.

December 2019


898 Ethan Allen Hwy, Ridgefield Offices in Ridgefield and Newtown 203-438-4848 •

Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) GIGI BENANTI, USUI REIKI THERMOGRAPHY offers safe,MASTER FDA approved full body Angelic Healing Center 7 Morgan Ave, Norwalk 203-852-1150 Non

or breast screening. WHOLE HEALTH Invasive • No Radiati on THERMOGRAPHY LLC  • Possible 8 years earlier breast Rachel Mazzarelli, MS, CCT Gigi is an experienced Reiki Locations throughout Fairfield County, C cancer detecti on vs mammogram H Haven, Milford and New York Master/Teacher. She offers all Southbury, New R I • Reiki Clinical imaging for detecti ng and levels of training monthly. 203-257-3785 TS All classes and Reiki sessions monitoring a number of diseases M include the latestand techniques physical injuries. SALOC

Our highly trained and experienced therapists utilize a variety of brain-based tools and techniques that allow the CNS to calm down so one can address their issues without heightened anxiety. We specialize in pediatrics, parenting and supporting individuals with chronic issues. See ad, page 12.

including Karuna, Angelic and Jikiden Reiki. Rachel Mazzarelli

Reach over 75,000 Natural Awakenings readers by placing your ad here. Call for more info. 203-885-4674 Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition


Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) is an FDA-apL proved, noninvasive, no-radiaJIIVA YOGA, REIKI 203-257-3785 KA tion screening for the whole E AND MASSAGE CENTER body. It offers possible earlier Offices throughout 2900 Main St, Ste 1A, Stratford detection of breast disease and Fairfi eld County, Southbury, 203-345-7747 • can aid in diagnosis and New Haven, Milford, improved prognosis of many health conditions York Berta Prevostiand is a New Usui and and injuries. Karuna Reiki Master and has been practicing Reiki for over 20 years. We also have several experienced Reiki Masters and practitioners. We offer private Reiki sessions for physical and emotional pain. We also have ongoing Reiki classes that are taught in the traditional Usui method by Berta. See ad, page 21.


Your ad could be featured here




898 Ethan Allen Hwy, Ridgefield Offices in Ridgefield and Newtown 203-438-4848 •

Incorporating environmentally sound options into a traditional interior design business, I can show you great options for low to no VOC exposure in your homes. Offering interior design, feng shui and environmental consultations. See ad, page 16.




714 Main St South, Woodbury 203-263-7836




Manage stress with relaxation techniques. Rediscover your creativity through writing and the expressive arts. Resolve trauma with EMDR, IFS or SE. Or book an experiential workshop! Nancy has over 20 years of experience with children, families, groups, adults and corporate wellness programs. See ad, page 27.


Lori is a Transformational Speaker, Coach and Wholistic practitioner helping people become the best version of themselves. She uses mindfulness techniques including the HeartMath protocol for creating heart coherence and improved resilience. She offers one-on-one and group coaching sessions, lectures and workshops, and Laughter Yoga sessions. She works with children to adults.



Inspire and Empower, LLC 203-395-9832

Coaching/Psychotherapy/Consulting Offices in Danbury and Ridgefield 914-572-3167



JoAnn uses intuition, experience and a deep spiritual connection in her Reiki, IET and Reconnective Healing sessions. Specializing in care for individuals with cancer, Lyme disease and back pain. All Reiki levels taught.




JoAnn Inserra Duncan, MS, RMT 100B Danbury Rd, Ste 101, Ridgefield 203-438-3050

Robin has more than 18 years of experience working with families and children. Specializing in divorce, parent/child conflict, grief, attachment/bonding, child development and parenting. See ad, page 16.


We work with children, adolescents, teens, adults and families around a variety of issues with non-medication therapies. We provide brainbased treatments like neurofeedback, biofeedback, EFT, hypnosis, meditation, etc. Our staff provides non-judgmental support to help alleviate stress and promote wellness. See ad, page 12.


Family, Child, Individual and Couples Therapy Old Greenwich/Stamford 203-561-8535 •







Transformation Coach - Shamanic Healer 203-820-3800 Katie will assist you in reaching your true potential and heal what has been holding you back. You will experience real self-acceptance and start to live in alignment with who you truly are so you can create a life you love, a life of meaning and purpose. See ad, page 26.


Transformative Healing • Tarot 203-856-9566 • If not now, when? Inspire change on all levels—greater physical ease, emotional freedom, peace of mind and spiritual connection. 20 years of intuitive healing experience with adults and children of all ages. Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Tarot. See ad, page 26.

SOUL HEALING JOURNEY, LLC Eilis Philpott Fairfield • 203-767-5954

Eilis is a master healer and teacher and certified in numerous modalities as both a practitioner and teacher. She offers soul-level healing, which clears any blocks, obstacles and challenges that are preventing you from living your life to its fullest potential. See ad, page 23.


Berta Prevosti, Usui and Karuna Reiki Master 2900 Main St, Ste 1A, Stratford 203-345-7747 • Jiiva is in the business of building a community for yoga and healing. We offer yoga classes, a school of Reiki, private Reiki treatments, traditional massage therapy, Thai massage, meditation classes, workshops and community events. See ad, page 21.

SALTANA CAVE HIMALAYAN SALT SPA 590 Danbury Rd, Ridgefield 203-969-4327

Fairfield County’s first and only therapeutic Himalayan salt cave provides relief from respiratory issues such as allergies, asthma, and side effects of smoking and pollution. Salt is naturally anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. See ad, page 11.


787 Main St S, Woodbury 203-586-1172 Combining an array of natural therapies that have been used since ancient times with today’s technology, Salt of the Earth Spa provides a sanctuary for deep transformation, healing and grounding for mind, body and spirit.

December 2019


Choen photo/


display ad index 203TLC 26

Nature’s Rite


Academy for Soul Healing


Nature’s Temptations


Danna Anderson, Med, LPC


New Morning Market


The Angel Cooperative/ Angel Wing


Nutmeg Spay/Neuter Clinic


How Giving Transforms Us

The Breiner Whole-Body Health Center: Medical


Optimal Health Medical/ Henry Sobo, MD


Robin Ordan, LCSW


by Cindy Ricardo

The Breiner Whole-Body Health Center: Dental


Possibilities Farm


The Generous Heart


ne of the ways we come into balance and connection with each other and with life is by giving from the heart. When we give to others, whether it’s an act of kindness, generosity or compassion, it helps us live from the heart instead of the ego. Living from the ego is painful and exhausting. It’s like feeding a hungry monster that’s never satisfied. Ego craves, pursues and clings to status, approval, material wealth and control. It views the world through the eyes of fear—constantly evaluating, judging and acting in ways that are self-centered, defensive and protective. Like with Scrooge, ego closes our heart and makes us small, fearful and contracted. By contrast, generosity requires that we open our hearts to the world and each other. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable. In doing this, we open ourselves fully to life, love and relationships. We let go of striving and pursuing things. When we stop striving, we begin to see, value and respond to what’s happening in the present moment in ways that are healthy and healing. Our priority shifts from acquiring things to appreciating what we have and being open to sharing with others. Generosity is a quality of kindness, of living from a place of abundance. We see the world through a clear lens that isn’t clouded by fear, wanting or clinging. When we interact with others, our connection is genuine. We see people instead of judgments or labels. Being generous arises from the heart, not the wallet. We don’t need to have material wealth in order to be generous. The only requirement is a willingness to open our hearts, to see life as it is and to interact with others from a place of compassion and love. Some examples of generous acts are: n Doing a household chore without being asked. n Setting aside what we’re doing and listening to someone in need of emotional support. n Telling loved ones what we appreciate about them. n Listening to children and trying to see the world through their eyes before offering advice. n Smiling at a stranger. n When asking, “How are you?” looking into the person’s eyes and taking time to truly listen with an attitude of curiosity and compassion. Generosity awakens goodness in the heart, and this helps us open to life, love and relationships. Cindy Ricardo is a Coral Springs, Florida-based psychotherapist who blogs at 54

Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley Edition

CannaHealth 11

Professional Massage Therapy 13

Chamomille 33

Put It Together

Clean Food 4 Ur Type/ Eliana Grubel

Qi Revolution 27

CopperZap 55

16 3 & 43

Ann Reeves


Embody the Sacred


Roseann Capanna-Hodge & Associates


Eyecare Associates


The Ruby Tree


Final Journey LLC


The Sacred Spirit


Theresa Galuszka


Salon Aponte


The Graduate Institute


Saltana Cave


Harbor Harvest


Salt Cave of Darien


HempWorx 13

Thomas Scally


Hilda Demirjian Laser & Skin Care Center


Nancy Scherlong, LCSW


Hunter Healing Hands


Institute for Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Therapies


Shalva Clinic

Back Cover

Victoria Shaw, PhD


Soul Healing Journey


Jiiva Yoga and Wellness Center 21

Sustainne 14

David L. Lerner, DDS/ Center for Holistic Dentistry

Touch of Sedona 31

LifeWorks Wellness Center


The Market


Mind-Body Transformation Hypnosis Center


Wellness Institute/ Marvin Schweitzer, ND


Mind-Body Transformation Hypnosis Center


Whole Foods


Wolf Spirit Wellness


Natural Health & Wellness Center 8


True Health Family Chiropractic 24 Unity Center of Norwalk


University of Bridgeport Clinics 9

Seven years without a cold?

had colds going round and round, but not me.” Some users say it also helps with sinuses. Attorney Donna Blight had a 2-day sinus headache. When her CopperZap arrived, she tried it. “I am shocked!” she said. “My head cleared, no more headache, no more congestion.” Some users say copper stops By Doug Cornell nighttime stuffiness if used just before cientists recently discovered time. He hasn’t had a single cold for 7 bed. One man said, “Best sleep I’ve had a way to kill viruses and years since. in years.” bacteria. He asked relatives and friends to try Copper can also stop flu if used early Now thousands of people are using it it. They said it worked for them, too, so and for several days. Lab technicians to stop colds and flu. he patented CopperZap™ and put it on placed 25 million live flu viruses on a Colds start the market. CopperZap. No viruses were found alive when cold viruses Soon hundreds soon after. get in your nose. of people had Dr. Bill Keevil led one of the teams Viruses multiply tried it and given confirming the discovery. He placed fast. If you don’t feedback. Nearly millions of disease germs on copper. stop them early, 100% said the “They started to die literally as soon as they spread and copper stops colds they touched the surface,” he said. cause misery. if used within 3 People have even used copper on In hundreds hours after the first cold sores and say it can completely of studies, EPA sign. Even up to prevent outbreaks. New research: Copper stops colds if used early. and university 2 days, if they The handle is researchers have confirmed that viruses still get the cold it is milder than usual curved and finely and bacteria die almost instantly when and they feel better. textured to improve touched by copper. Users wrote things like, “It stopped contact. It kills germs That’s why ancient Greeks and my cold right away,” and “Is it picked up on fingers Egyptians used copper to purify water supposed to work that fast?” and hands to protect and heal wounds. They didn’t know “What a wonderful thing,” wrote you and your family. about microbes, but now we do. Physician’s Assistant Julie. “No more Copper even kills Dr. Bill Keevil: Copper quickly kills deadly germs that Scientists say the high conductance colds for me!” cold viruses. of copper disrupts the electrical balance Pat McAllister, 70, received one have become resistant in a microbe cell and destroys the cell in for Christmas and called it “one of the to antibiotics. If you are near sick seconds. best presents ever. This little jewel really people, a moment of handling it may Tests by the EPA (Environmental works.” keep serious infection away. It may even Protection Agency) show germs die Now thousands of users have simply save a life. fast on copper. So some hospitals tried stopped getting colds. The EPA says copper still works copper for touch surfaces like faucets People often use CopperZap even when tarnished. It kills hundreds of and doorknobs. This cut the spread of preventively. Frequent flier Karen Gauci different disease germs so it can prevent MRSA and other illnesses by over half, used to get colds after crowded flights. serious or even fatal illness. and saved lives. Though skeptical, she tried it several CopperZap is made in America of The strong scientific evidence gave times a day on travel days for 2 months. pure copper. It has a 90-day full money inventor Doug Cornell an idea. When “Sixteen flights and not a sniffle!” she back guarantee. It is $69.95. he felt a cold about to start he fashioned exclaimed. Get $10 off each CopperZap with a smooth copper probe and rubbed it Businesswoman Rosaleen says when code NATA15. Go to or call gently in his nose for 60 seconds. people are sick around her she uses “It worked!” he exclaimed. “The cold CopperZap morning and night. “It saved toll-free 1-888-411-6114. Buy once, use forever. never got going.” It worked again every me last holidays,” she said. “The kids 55 December 2019 ADVERTORIAL

Copper in new device stops cold and flu










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Fairfield County/HousatonicEValley M PEdition OW R E D U C AT E H E A L