Calmer Choice, non-profit organization in Barnstable, Massachusetts Calmer Choice, non-profit organization in Barnstable, Massachusetts

March Programming Update and Reflection

Today is March 1st. As I take some time to reflect on the start of a new month, I am aware of a variety of thoughts and feelings. I am aware that I love this time of year, bearing witness to the unofficial start of the spring season. Witnessing the spring song of the birds, feeling the warmth of the sunlight, and seeing daylight expand well into the late afternoon. As I experience March’s presence through my senses, I also acknowledge and remember what was present a year ago.

Yes, it was about one year ago that the world, our worlds, my world shifted dramatically. We started to experience friends, family members, or mere acquaintances slowly and methodically change and cancel plans as we began to question... what is safe... who is safe… and where is it safe.

March 13th has become a significant day, as the decision was made in Massachusetts (and other states) to shut down… shut down businesses, schools, churches, restaurants, bars and so much more. I remember feeling excited like during a storm or having a snow day.

Now, one year later, I reflect on all the turns that excitement has taken… grief, sadness, hope, gratitude, fear, joy, anxiousness, wonder, curiosity, anger, impatience, acceptance... and so much more. On any given day some or all these emotions may come to visit me. Throughout it all, my mindful awareness practice supports and sustains me to be present with whatever arises in my day, no matter how challenging, no matter how easeful. Persistence with my practice has helped me to be open to the opportunities and possibilities before me.

So, not only in my personal life but in our workplace, opportunity continues to present itself amongst the symphony of emotions and situations. Here at Calmer Choice, we are continuing to expand in a direction of virtual offerings while not letting go of the hope, possibility, and excitement to be back in person with children and adults when it is safe to do so.

In this 2nd half of the year, we celebrate the launch of our pilot program of pre-recorded lessons. We are excited that over 30 classrooms are piloting this program with us. This is a project that began in late summer with an innocence to the scope of the project. We are incredibly grateful to and for the Cape Cod Media Center and their collaboration with us in helping us to create a quality product. Thank you, Cape Cod Media Center!

In addition to this new online offering of our program, we are happy that we have also been invited into numerous classrooms to teach virtually. We are grateful for the schools and teachers that have asked for us to be present in their classrooms, as we know how challenging this year is to add anything additional to the daily schedule. Thank you, teachers and school districts!

Although our school programming looks nothing like years past, we are grateful for the opportunities that have been presented and grateful for having a team of individuals that persevere and create to allow opportunities and possibilities to come to life.

In the midst of winters hibernation, Calmer Choice’s creation, connection, and program offerings continue. Within our community work we continue to teach workshops as well as our 8-week course, Mindfulness: Cultivating Resilience & Well-Being. Since the start of the calendar year, we have launched 5 courses (with the possibility of 2 additional launches) to a variety of schools and organizations. As part of this launching, one of the courses was offered through Dominican University, our partner University for offering graduate credit. This partnership not only allows us to offer graduate credit to our educators, but it also allows the course to be offered on a national level.

Our workshops have been presented to a variety of specialized groups such as the Cape Cod Alzheimer Support Group, To the Moon & Back (a non-profit dedicated to children born with in utero substance exposure and their families) and to the technology division of Accenture, a worldwide company invested in delivering on the power of technology and human ingenuity. In addition to the noted programs, our collaboration with Creative Outlets and their work with teens continued, and we are looking forward to the start of a new collaboration with Barnstable Land Trust around Mindfulness in Nature.

If Calmer Choice has not touched you yet within the participation of one of our programs, I invite you to join us weekday mornings 7:30-8:00 (except Thursday) for a time of sitting together in community for our Mindful Awareness Practice Groups. They have been a source of support and comfort for me in my practice. Please click here for information or to register to participate.

Before I close, it is important to me to acknowledge and thank our wonderful team of instructors as they too have had to persevere to see the potential of the opportunities and possibilities. For some, advancing outside of one’s comfort zone into technology and the adjustment to a new teaching platform has been challenging. And yet they remain flexible, patient, and eager to share these new ways with our community. Thank you, Calmer Choice instructors, we could not do what we do without you!