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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Endings and Beginnings

December is a fitting time for contemplation and, as we bid farewell to 2023, I’ve been reflecting on what a transformative year of learning this has been. Between navigating the stages of grief and subsequent duties involved with the passing of cherished loved ones to reconnecting with others who have reminded me of the remaining love that abounds, I’ve acquired new emotional and intellectual intelligence through life experiences that now affords me the fresh insight to take on the future, no matter what. Plus, this year’s blessings have outweighed the strife, so I can say it’s definitely been a zestful and unique 12 months of living! 

As I took my morning walk today, I was reminded that there is a time to bloom and a time to rest; there is a time to grow and a time to reflect. Every day the sun rises and sets and I have no control over that. I can only hold onto gratitude and appreciation for that all is good. Life cycles continue and that teaches me to trust—to know that I am perfectly where I need to be on my journey and to have faith that all is working out for me in the highest and best ways possible.

No doubt, with the unknown of a new year on the horizon and the hustle and bustle of the current holiday season, this time of year can also yield apprehension. So it’s even more important to stay mindful and present—remaining grateful for what we have in our daily lives. If you need a little inspiration, this month we offer you oodles of articles that can help!

Our feature article, on page 28, highlights the healing power of generosity and gratitude. It is certainly motivation to begin “paying it forward”. If you have been thinking about volunteering, donating hours or your talents to help others, there’s no time like the present. We’ve highlighted some local nonprofit organizations, starting on page 28, that I’m sure would appreciate your help and support.

Even if you’re just spreading a little love within your own home and family, I hope you’re finding many reasons to celebrate this month. One of my favorite passions is cooking, especially for family and friends, and since our family is riddled with various allergies, lately I’ve been having fun diving into new recipes, all with the help of many of the recipes within the magazine! If you are planning to host a holiday feast like I am, our Conscious Eating department article, all about fashioning a holiday feast fit for every guest, is a must read on page 24.

It is also with pure gratitude and joy that I’m now announcing my retirement as publisher of Natural Awakenings magazine in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties. Erica Mills, who currently publishes our Fairfield & Southern Litchfield Counties edition of Natural Awakenings, in Connecticut, will kick off 2024 as publisher of this edition as well. I’ve known her for more than 15 years and am positive she will have an affirmative pulse on what is happening in our region as she and her family live right here in Westchester. Rest assured that Natural Awakenings will continue to grow and thrive under her leadership. Learn more on page 13.

What is next for me? Lots! My sweetheart and I have our eye on moving to New Hampshire. We both love nature, the four seasons and I have some family there already. We plan to focus on simplifying and embracing life together. I am anticipating more time for hiking and exploring new trails, gardening, cooking, reading and reveling in more joyful living.

Working with our vibrant local wellness community for years has gifted me a satisfying and rewarding career so that makes it bittersweet and somewhat difficult to completely detach. But I have various ideas percolating that may keep me aligned with Natural Awakenings in support of various publishers in the future. For now, it just feels wonderful to be passing the publisher baton on to the perfect person. Please warmly welcome Erica aboard when you can.

Wishing you all the best,


Dana Boulanger, Publisher