Off-Center @ Salt Tears

Off-Center Dance Project

Last weekend I was lucky enough to watch the Off-Center dance Project perform at my new favorite hangout, Salt Tears. This group of dancers are powerful and passionate. Above all when you watch them perform you can see they are having so much fun.  Kelli Brown, a fellow Shanti yoga graduate, is the artistic directer for OCDP.  I hope that you will keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to see these wonderful ladies in action. Kelli has assured me that they will be returning to Green Chutes Art Co-op and Salt Tears again soon.  If you have not yet heard about this great new eatery and artists collective, I assure you it is time.  The food is great, there is tons of art to browse and it is right in my neighborhood.

Off-Center Dance Project Home Page:

Salt Tears Facebook page:

Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 1:50 am  Comments (1)  
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Civic Involvement Opportunity

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Leads Town Hall Meeting at Morrison Center on April 4

Admiral Mike Mullen, President Obama’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be on the BSU campus to conduct a town hall-style meeting with the Treasure Valley on Monday, April 4  at 2 pm in the Morrison Center. His visit is part of a nationwide effort to create a dialogue with citizens across the country about national security issues and to create a “Sea of Good Will” on behalf of veterans as they return to their communities. The event is free and open to the public.

The town-hall meeting will feature an open microphone format, with audience members encouraged to ask Mullen questions.

For security reasons, bags and backpacks will be not be allowed in the Morrison Center.

Published in: on March 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mountain View Elementary

This Spring I had the opportunity to teach yoga to some amazing teachers at Mountain View Elementary.  We set up each Wednesday in the library. Tables and chairs were stacked against the walls, a few kids still roamed the halls and at times we were alternately blown with hot or cold air.  All this didn’t matter, we were doing yoga.  As I would look out at the teachers on their mats I was amazed by their ability to spend all day with high energy kids and still have the self initiative to find their way onto a yoga mat. But as always, yoga delivered so many benefits. Each individual seemed to leave with more serenity and peace. To all the teachers out there, thank you for giving so much of yourselves.


Mt. View Elementary Yogis

Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Life With Purpose

Lately, when I feel a bit down or overwhelmed I have felt a lift by visiting the Dalai Lama’s website:

He has so many inspiring words of wisdom and comfort.


Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wanna Play?

For as long as I can remember playing games has made me nervous.  I always worried that I would forget the rules of the game or take too long with my turn and annoy the other players. Those that know me find my attitude towards games to be out of sync with my character. In ‘real life’ I tend to be outgoing and rather courageous in my public relationships. I am a person that rarely appears outwardly nervous. I also have found this discrepancy between my attitudes towards games and my overt personality to be interesting.

I decided to challenge my attitudes by attending a meeting of the Boise/Meridian Board Gamers Group. I contacted Jason Walker, the meeting organizer, to ask permission to attend their next get together. He responded with an email expressing a heartfelt welcome. Jason said, “We’d love to have you come.  All I ask is that you participate and play some games.  I’m not sure I’d be very comfortable with a stranger standing in the corner of my den with a clipboard.”

Once I had fully committed to attending the game night, I began to experience anxiety. I took multiple steps to prepare myself. I began by doing some reading on board games and psychology. In the book, Moves in mind: The psychology of board games, I was surprised to find regular references to ‘board game psychologists’ (Gobet, 2004). Unfortunately, as I read more about the complex nature of games my anxiety grew.

I tried looking through the group organizer’s online board game collection list.  That really didn’t help since I didn’t recognize any of the games and the strategy descriptions sounded ridiculously complicated. Finally, I laid down the research and decided to wing it. I was worried about feeling out of place and getting stressed out by the games. I even intentionally dressed in layers in case my anxiety level raised enough to make me sweat! I cheated a bit by bringing a friend along for support.

The event started at six on Saturday evening. I was the first to arrive, but within fifteen minutes there were nine ‘gamers’ total. The environment was casual and inviting. The hosts had prepared snack foods and had two open tables set up. I was surprised by how nice everyone was. The group went out of their way to make my friend and I feel welcome, including picking games that would not be too intimidating to ‘virgin gamers’.  We played two games, both of which I enjoyed!  Everyone was competitive enough to have fun, but remained friendly and playful. The experience was quickly proving to be different than my past experiences of playing games.  There was a real sense of community. Players were boisterous, shared more openly and laughed a lot.  My friend and I had never met any of the other players before, but felt completely relaxed and at home.

After attending the board gaming group I have a whole new outlook on the pursuit of game playing. I used to think playing board games was trivial, but now recognize it has many positive aspects. With the right group of people it can be fun and provide for a safe social environment to get to know new people quickly. It also helps you get to know yourself more deeply. As stated by Jay Teitel, in Psychology Today, “The more we became immersed in the world of games, the more we realized that games weren’t simply revealing and therapeutic by nature; they were terrific tools for informing people about themselves, for getting them back in touch with the world of pure play and even for civilizing them.” (Teitel, 1998)

I enjoyed the social interaction and the playful challenges of the board games so much that I came home and quickly ordered several board games. None of the stress I remembered from my childhood was there and I left energized and excited for the next get together. Anyone want to play? The next meet-up of the Boise/Meridian Board Gamers Group is April 15.  If you would like to know more about this group check out the link below:

Jessie my social support.



Gobet, F., Retschitzki, J. (2004). Moves in mind: The psychology of board games. New York, New York: Psychology Press.

Tietel, J. (July 1, 1998). Wanna play?. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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Wish I could say the same…

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer.
Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Nurse PeeWee

Pets are such amazing healers.  The birth of modern-day animal assisted therapy happened in 1969 when Boris Levinson, a child psychologist, found that a previously nonverbal child was willing to communicate when his dog was present.  Since then there has been a surge of research around animal assisted therapy and the health benefits of pet ownership.

The health benefits from animals include; companionship, unconditional love, tactile pleasure, lowering stress, distraction from pain and motivating patients to get better. Physiological benefits are also evident. According to multiple studies “pet owners had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and plasma triglycerides than non-pet owners” (Brodie, 1999, p. 331).

One of the biggest factors determining a healing bond between animal and human is motivation.   The interaction with the animal not only lowers stress and is enjoyable, but decreases the clinical nature of hospitalization and reminds the patient that there is a world to return to. “Motivation throughout a patient’s recovery is the driving force that heals” (Connor, 2000, p.22).

The evidence shows that the animal-human bond is beneficial in not only treating people who are ill, but can play a role in preventing illness. Pet ownership is correlated with a “reduction in minor health problems and significant improvements in psychological well-being” (Halm, 2008, p. 375).  These benefits might account for the fact that 60% of US households have at least one pet.

I know from personal experience that when I feel unwell the best nurse around is my Chihuahua PeeWee. Her mere presence makes me feel better.

1.       Brodie S.J., Biley, F.C.  (1999). An exploration of the potential benefits of pet-facilitated therapy. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 8, 329-337.

2.       Connor K., Miller J. (2000). Animal-assisted therapy: An in-depth look. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 19, 20-26.

3.       Halm M. A. (2008). The healing power of the human-animal connection. American Journal of  Critical Care, 17, 373-376.

Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm  Comments (2)  
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Peer Support Center for Hope

In response to recent budget cuts to mental health services, a new center has opened. The Peer Support Center for Hope is free and open to anyone with a diagnosed mental illness. There are educational classes, social gatherings and a warm welcoming space to come meet people whenever the center is open. With time we hope to extend the hours. Come stop by and see what it is all about and let us know what you think would make the center even better.

Peer-run programs believe that recovery from mental illness is possible. At peer-run programs, people break out of the roles of being “patients” and into roles as peers, advocates, support people, program organizers, and community leaders.

Many of us have found that joining a peer program was a turning point in our own personal progress of mental health recovery. At a peer program, you will find staff and board who are peers, people who have gone through similar experiences. Programs are held in a safe environment where people can feel accepted and equal, and find opportunities for leadership, empowerment, and self-advocacy.

Peer Run Center for Hope is a social environment that will continually evolve as its consumers develop opportunities to learn from each other and engage in social relationships.

Monday – Wednesday – Thursday

10:00 am – 3:30 pm

7161 Potomac Drive

Boise, ID 83704

Human Supports of Idaho, Inc.

Pamela Rose – (208) 321-0160

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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Casey O’Leary

Casey O’Leary is a fellow Shanti Yogi and a farmer to boot. She is a self proclaimed dirt worshiper. I am excited to tell you all that she made the paper. There is an article about Casey in the March 9-15, 2011 issue of the Boise Weekly. If you want to find it in hard copy she is on page 23 or check out the link below:

Image of Casey courtesy of Guy Hand and the Boise Weekly

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Crazy Human Tricks

After all the serious stuff, politics and feelings…oh my, I thought we could all use some entertainment. Prepared to be awestruck.  I would advise watching this on full screen!

Published in: on March 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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