We started off our meeting with introductions, during which each participant shared their name, a fun place to go, and when they think it is time to move on or let go. Many members of the group took “a fun place to go” less literally, and opened the discussion to how they use art to escape to their own minds. Participants stressed that writing, playing music, and making other forms of art allows us to, figuratively, take ourselves wherever we want to go. Other participants shared fun summer sports like Belchertown Lake, Ocean Beach and campgrounds.
Our speaker, Mabella Mendez, shared with us some key ways to ensure that we are living our healthiest, happiest lives. First, she advised us to take three deep breaths, and to do so before we speak or take action. To help us remember the essentials, she gave us an acronym: NEW START. N is for nutrition, simply eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. E is for exercise, which, Mabella stressed, does not require an expensive gym membership. W is for water and drinking plenty of it. S is for sun and getting enough of it. T is for temperance, or saying no to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. A is for air, or better yet- fresh air. Mabella shared tricks to keep our homes well ventilated and our air fresh, like using baking soda to get smells out of fabrics and furniture. R is for rest and relaxation, making sure you set aside enough free time to maintain peace of mind. And the second T is for trust in a higher power, to believe in reciprocity and hope. Participants got to color in a print out on the acronym to display in their homes as a constant reminder.
Mabella reassured us that this fundamental principle, NEW START, can be taken in any context. This one-size-fits-all guide can be followed no matter your religious affiliation or lack thereof.
By: Laura Flynn