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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Publisher's Letter for October 2021

Sep 30, 2021 07:13PM ● By Dana Boulanger
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.  
—Melody Beattie 

Nature teaches us change daily, so I feel blessed to live in the Hudson Valley, with its magnificent changes of season. I love every one, but there’s something special about autumn. The cooler nights are perfect for cuddling, comforting me into sounder sleep, while the days’ warming sun feels wonderful for walking, and the fall scenery invigorates my senses. The natural cycle of growth and abundance leading to shedding and dormancy teaches me valuable lessons in grace, gratitude, faith and living with more joy. Autumn is a perfect example of the beauty of letting go. 

In keeping with that theme, our October magazine focuses on living simply, beginning with our feature article, “Less Stuff, More Joy,” on page 20. I’ve been cultivating a simpler lifestyle for years, prioritizing my time according to what brings me joy. Setting my priorities first makes it easier to say no to activities and things that pull me away from what I really want to do. I’ve always tended to like “less stuff,” although it’s also nice to have what you need when you need it, so I strive to purchase mindfully. 

One of my simplest pleasures is walking. In fact, that’s how I start most of my days. It’s my time to move and connect with nature. If you haven’t discovered the beauty of taking a daily walk, read “Walk About: Simple Steps to Well-Being,” on page 30, and hopefully you’ll be encouraged to start. Walking is a great low-impact exercise that you can do at any age, wherever you are. 

Another of my simple pleasures is cooking. However, it takes time, so I’ve adopted a new philosophy: Cook big less often. The idea is to prep foods and cook extra fewer times a week, so most days I can whip up a meal with less effort. I also love reading and could easily overbuy books, so I limit myself to two bookshelves. Once they’re full, I donate or share with others. I’ve made good use of my local library lately. 

Over the past 18 months, many of us have had to navigate life differently, spending more time with fewer people or even alone. I’ve used this time to concentrate on what makes me happy, and to create some new, healthier patterns that are working for me now. My wellness remains a top priority, because when I feel good, life is better.  

As a 21-year conqueror of breast cancer, I understand the trauma that comes with a frightening diagnosis. Every October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’m always thankful for the local organization Support Connection, which helps women (and their families) near and far who are living with breast or ovarian cancer. Their services—including support groups, counseling, meditation, yoga and much more—helped me stay hopeful and strong through my own treatment and recovery. I urge you to contact them if you or somebody you know needs them, and to support their fundraiser (see ad on page 31). I also encourage you to learn about thermography (see page 11)—noninvasive, radiation-free imaging that can detect breast abnormalities years before other screenings do. Currently I alternate between thermography and mammography.    

I hope you’ll check out our monthly news briefs, where you’ll discover new businesses and great workshops and fall events happening in our area. In our monthly calendars starting on page 40, you’ll find classes and workshops to enjoy. Find additional events on anytime. And make sure to sign up for our email list, to stay connected throughout the month. 

With joy, 
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