I hope that you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather. If you have been affected by the political wrangling within our city, I hope that it has not affected your capacity to see each day as a precious gift. As I travel through the greater D.C., area, I hear stories of concern and uncertainty. Even though our region has not been affected as greatly as other parts of the country with fewer job losses and a recovering housing market, there is still pain within our midst. Our neighbors, friends and family are still looking for meaningful employment, our recently graduated college students are trying to fulfill their vocation in a tightened job market—even before the recent rounds of political madness we have witnessed from our elected representatives.
Within the context of this collective angst, many people are looking within themselves for new sources of hope and resiliency. Our feature this month, written by Bess Hochstein, gives a fabulous overview of the rapidly growing movement in the U.S., (and beyond) for resources, retreats, classes and gatherings that expand our individual understanding of the world and our place within it. Fast Track to Changing Life for the Better provides an excellent history of this movement for personal growth and provides resources for those who want to become more engaged. The timing of this article is valuable as many in our region have a bit more time to ponder their life and purpose. I hope that this article will set you on a new journey of discovery.
As a complementary piece, I offer to you this month’s Best Practices column, which focuses on one such resource in our region. For the past 30 years, the Maryland University for Integrative Health (formerly known as the Tai Sophia Institute) has been transforming lives with ground-breaking and innovative programs, for many seeking a mid-career shift into integrative healing, as well as those just starting on that path. With university status conferred, as of March 2013, this innovating institution of higher education is providing a new model for institutions of all stripes, by creating the position of Chief Values Officer in the person of Cheryl Walker. I encourage you to read the article to learn how the university is seeking to infuse “the healing presence” into every aspect of their work—with the students, in the curriculum and in their fundraising. Not only can individuals change, MUIH shows us all that institutions can witness growth in new and exciting ways.
In honor of Veteran’s Day on November 11, there are several articles to support the veterans who have served their country in this month’s issue. Grace Ogden reports on the important work being conducted by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) around mindfulness and veterans. A student of mindfulness himself, Ryan has made it his personal mission to help veterans find relief through a meditation practice. Therapist Rebecca Norris talks of her work with veterans using Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to “dissolve” trauma, for even those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
There is a lot in Natural Awakenings this month that could change your life. I hope you will be open to the wisdom offered in our pages and try out something new.
With warm wishes, Robin