Friday, September 15, 2017

Grief, Loss, Trauma and Reiki


Grief, Loss, Trauma and Mindful Presence Reiki


All of us have heard the expression “life is a process” or “grief is process” and indeed it is, especially for those among us who have  experienced grief, loss or perhaps even some form of trauma. It seems to be part of “this being human” aspect of life that can both bring us to our knees and lift us up in profound and moving ways.  However,  becoming embroiled in the midst of all this pain and suffering can indeed feel overwhelming to even the most hale and hardy of us at times.
It is, at times like these, an especially healing process to work with someone who is trained in the mind/body connection process.
All of us store much our personal emotional history within our bodies. Learning to explore into these places with Mindful Presence Reiki, along with a bit of gently guided meditation can be an opportunity to learn more about yourself, feel more in control and better able to withstand the ebb and flow of human emotion.
It is a process. Leaning into those places that need your tenderness with awareness, kindness and love is indeed so healing. I am reminded of the Leonard Cohen quote “There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.” We often say things like “our hearts feel broken” in times of deep pain, and indeed they do! But knowing too, that through this break, the light can begin to shine in, allowing us to heal ourselves, is so comforting a thought!
Trusting yourself to know what you need, when you need it, is the first step in your wellness process. Let Mindful Presence Reiki be one of the many “tools” in your personal healing toolkit. Knowing you have alternatives to wellness, especially when used in conjunction with the many wonderful, more traditional healing modalities, is so comforting and empowering!
Mindful Presence Reiki was developed from my past experience teaching the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, leading mindfulness classes, teaching meditation and as a result, helping hundreds of people feel more at ease in their life, more in control and developing greater resilience to face the ups and downs of every day living. 
This powerful, deeply relaxing process combines two things I love so much: mindfulness and Reiki. Together, they are yet another tool to have in your personal wellness process.

Visit Mindful Presence Reiki to learn more or to schedule your appointment online today:


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Weekly Meditation Class in Bedford, NH






SETTLE INTO THE MOMENT WITH A COMBINATION OF SOME GENTLY GUIDED AND SILENT PERIODS OF MINDFULNESS MEDITATION BY ELECTRIC CANDLELIGHT.

MINDFULNESS MEANS: PRESENT MOMENT, NON JUDGMENTAL AWARENESS. THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SETTLE INTO THE STILLNESS, BE PRESENT, AND ALLOW YOURSELF TIME TO JUST SIMPLY BE!

So, unwind, relax and find more calm moments in the midst of all that is happening in your life right now.

This class is for anyone, regardless of your experience with meditation: beginners to the more advanced.

Wear loose, comfortable clothes, bring along a yoga mat, pillows, blanket, cushion, etc. or anything else you may need for your comfort. Chairs are provided.

About the Instructor: Cecilia has been teaching meditation and mindfulness classes for the Town of Bedford for 6 years now. She also teaches the full 8-week traditional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program as taught at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she received her training. In addition, Cecilia is a 23 plus year practitioner of both yoga and meditation. Those who have taken her classes are typically engaged by her enthusiasm, warmth and willingness to share her knowledge of mindfulness practices. Making people feel at ease by debunking the myths and iconic images of meditation is what keeps people coming back again and again to her classes.

If you are nervous or have any questions about joining a meditation class, be visit my recent post on my Blog called:

"Nervous to Try Group Meditation"



See below for details as to specific class dates.

2017 Jan 5, 12, 19, 26 Feb 2, 9, 16, 23 March 23, 30 Apr 6, 13, 20 May 4, 11, 18, 25 June 1 SEPT 7, 14, 21, 28 OCT 5, 12, 19, 26 NOV 16, 30, DEC 7, 14, 21

LOCATION: Old Bedford Town Hall (across from the Library) Plenty of parking behind the building on Meetinghouse Road.

COST: Fee is donation-based (suggested donation $5-$20 per class, paid by cash or check directly to the teacher each week.

CLASS CANCELLATION DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER OR OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES: I change the outgoing message on my cell phone 603-801-8945 if class is cancelled and notify everyone on Meet Up site thru email, so make sure you are set up to receive organizer notifications on your own Meet Up Profile. I also update all my websites to reflect the cancellation notification.

SPONSORED BY: Bedford Parks & Recreation Department
Visit our website: http://www.BedfordRecOnline.com or call 472-5242

Weekly attendance is most beneficial, but never required.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meditation at the Londonderry NH Senior Center


Classes Are EVERY Monday  
9:45AM to 10:30AM

Check the Londonderry Senior Center Calendar for specific class dates.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mindfulness Workshops Manchester and Concord NH

Join me at HOPE for NH Recovery in both their Concord (1st Monday 1:30 to 2:30PM) and Manchester (1st and 3rd Wednesdays 1:15 to 2PM**)  NH locations. 

The Manchester group is open to anyone in the community, however, due to space the Concord group is limited to those working through their recovery process. 

Thank you and please email me anytime directly at cbhoward@mac.com for more information!


Monday, November 14, 2016

Mindful Living Workshop for 55 Plus in Manchester NH

Join us! This workshop is for anyone 55 years of age and up,  who is a new or existing member of the William B. Cashin Senior Activity Center in Manchester NH. Membership is FREE for residents of Manchester and only $25 annually for anyone from other cities and towns. Members can partake of this workshop, as well as a huge array of other activities, classes, and much, much more! 
Lovely place, wonderful people!


Monday, October 31, 2016

Nervous to TRY Group Meditation?

Well, you are NOT alone! In fact, when I first went to a meditation center over 20 or so years ago, I was scared, nervous and had a whole host of questions running through my head.  I thought I would take some time to answer them here in the hopes it will encourage you to give it a try sometime and join a mindfulness meditation class here in Bedford, NH or near where you live:

Will it be weird?
It might feel weird. You are learning something new, so if you typically take a bit of time to warm up to learning new things, then the same feeling may or may not might apply here as well.

Will the people who come to class be even weirder?
The people who attend meditation classes are just like you, me and everyone else: like-minded people looking for ways to help alleviate stress and learn to be more present and focused in your home or work life.

Will I fit in?
These classes are attended by a variety of people, of all shapes and sizes, from all ethnicities, careers, and ages! 18 and up, as the focus is on adults, not children. Most fall within the age of 20 something to 70 something. A mix of both men and women attend.

Will I stand out?
See above!

Will everyone know I have never done this before?
Only if you tell us, although sometimes I will ask if I have any people who are new to meditation practice. I only to do this to help assist me with my choice of guidance to the group as whole. Not because they or I are judging you. In fact, mindfulness means "non judgmental, present moment awareness." So rest assured, this is a very accepting place to practice and learn!

Will I have to do anything odd?
You will sit in a chair. In fact, most people who attend sit in the chairs provided. Some folks bring yoga mats to sit or lie down on, and that is always open to everyone. You might be asked to do a bit of VERY gentle stretching,  seated or standing, now and again.

What if I don't like it?
You might not, and then again, you might. Try not to let this hold you back from trying it. Something about meditation spoke to you, which is why you are taking the time to read through this right now. If I have learned anything in my life, it is try something.....just  give it a try.  It may surprise you!

What if I can't sit still, am coughing, or have to go the bathroom?
Then shift your seat, cough or go to the bathroom! You are not restricted, in any way from doing so. Bring some water in an enclosed container if it will help. And recognize it is perfectly normal to feel like you cannot sit still. The more you practice, the less bothersome this becomes, but we ALL feel antsy! Leaning into the discomfort sometimes, prior to shifting, and not running from these feelings was so helpful for me to learn!

Will meditating make me a zombie, someone lacking emotions or the ability to think?
Meditation practice is an opportunity to learn far more about yourself then you think you know, and to learn how to RESPOND, not REACT to the difficulties you encounter. You will feel more deeply, and develop better ways to respond to those feelings. Less "knee jerk" reactions to life. Those habituated patterns we all learn get so deeply ingrained in our brains. Meditation allows us to develop and strengthen new neural pathways that bring about more calm, greater focus and creativity in how we handle life.

Will it cost me a lot to do this?
My routine weekly and the monthly classes are a donation based fee structure. You give anywhere from $5 to $20 every time you attend. HALF of all donations are shared with the people who donate the spaces for me to to run these classes. If you enjoy what you are doing, and feel it has value then give generously to show your appreciation! It is DEEPLY appreciated in return!

What should I bring?
A yoga mat, if you prefer. A blanket or towel. pillow or cushion. Meditation cushion. In other words what ever helps to make YOU feel more comfortable. Chairs are provided and the cushions/blankets help to make them a bit more comfy for you. Bring along a friend or family anytime!

What if I can't stop thinking while I sit there meditating?
Guess what....you CAN'T! Your mind does exactly what it it wants and it will often seem just when we get the most quiet, that our mind goes on over drive! Well....you are not alone! Happens to me all the time. Meditation practice enables me to focus less on the story line going on in my head, and just attend to the breath or the focus of the meditation as a means to not get caught up in the thinking mind.

Will people make fun of me if I tell them I practice meditation?
Speaking from personal experience, I find many people are most supportive. However, there are some people who may still see meditation as oddly exotic, new age mumbo jumbo, or just plain weird. My personal aim with all this mindfulness teaching I do, is to dispel those myths and iconic images of what it means to practice meditation or be a meditator.  Locally, I have found most people are genuinely interested and curious, while also a bit nervous about trying it for the first time with a group. Some too feel it will be of no value, or a waste of time. Having a bit of skepticism about meditation, along with a somewhat open minded approach will serve you well, as it has myself. No goals, and no expectations as to outcome.

Does practice mean I have to give up my religion or join another?
Bottom line answer is NO! In fact, practicing mindfulness meditation can enhance your own spiritual practice. The weekly and monthly meditation practice classes are non secular. And the only reason the monthly Taste of Mindfulness is held on a Sunday is because BYPC: The Bedford Youth Performing Company who lends me the space Sundays is closed, so quiet abounds in this typically wonderfully busy establishment!

When and why did I start a meditation practice?
I was a very bright, intelligent, creative, joyful, happy and fun loving child! When I entered the working world in my early 20's I was unstoppable. I was my career. Promoted at a very young age, I was under 25 and found myself responsible for over 125 employees in Downtown Boston.  It was super scary and frightening, and a few people made it a truly difficult transition, but I loved every minute of it!

So as the years progressed,  I was the first one to give up my vacations, started work earlier then most, stayed super late, and volunteered for special projects time and time again, even if it meant sacrificing relationships and family. I WAS my job/career. For a long time, my good health, fit body and youthful outlook were of help. But slowly, that thin veneer of what I thought would make me invulnerable fell away and I felt burned out. Panic attacks started (I did not even know what the word panic attack meant till I had one.....remember back in the late 80's early 90's many people were still skeptical of the effects of stress on the body!) This lead me to seek answers, and in so doing discovered yoga, meditation and CBT. All three helped me to get back my footing, regain my self confidence and move ahead in life.

Have there been false starts and difficulties along the way! YES! Breast cancer 13 years ago....and yes, practice made a huge difference! Now, with menopause, Hashimoto Thyroiditis, loss of both my parents within 6 months of one another and the co parenting of a middle school aged son to be an empathetic, caring, healthy and resilient person, all bring their share of challenges to life.

So, I continue to practice. Discovering along the way that when I think I need it the least, is actually when I need it the most.

Is there any difference between the two ongoing monthly and weekly meditation classes?
The biggest difference is that Thursday night meditation practice is done by electric candlelight as it is held in the evening 7:30 to 8:30 PM at the Old Town Hall in Bedford, NH. The monthly Sunday class  at BYPC is at 10AM, so no electric candlelights.

Remember, meditation is not a panacea for all of life's ills. It is not a substitute for traditional health care. It is not the answer to everything. These are all myths to dispel. 

If you want to learn how to listen to your body and understand its feelings, learn to find more moments of calm, develop clearer focus, increase creativity and just learn to perhaps adapt better to the upheavals in your own life or to simply experience a greater sense of well being, then.......

Try It! And remember all of us are BEGINNERS at this....THAT is why we PRACTICE!