15 February 2011

white house farm pottery and gifts.

white house farm pottery and gifts
jennifer baro, potter

specializing in custom-made pottery to complement your d├ęcor, from funky to functional, and sometimes a pinch of both.



48 pear lane
boyertown, pa 19512

610.858.1089 / jenniferbaro7@aol.com

follow white house farm pottery and gifts on facebook.

14 February 2011

( a health plus with jikiden reiki )

a health plus with jikiden reiki
by jennifer hetrick
    
tusia o’brien of gilbertsville knew her lifelong perceptive way with others was meant for something more, and two years ago, she channeled her skills newly in the name of jikiden reiki.
     
reiki stems from its first practitioner, mikao usui who lived in japan from 1865 to 1926. he is said to have once traveled to mount kurama, and on this excursion, he intended to fast, meditate, and reflect on his life. during this time away, surrounded by the whims of nature, he became injured on the 20th day, then discovering the ability to recognize and work with the energy forces within the body for balance and healing.
     
after returning from the mountain, usui sensai knew the importance of sharing what he’d learned, and he opened several clinics over a period of years to offer reiki to the public, also teaching his methods.
     
“reiki in general is the universal life force,” o’brien said about the hand healing approach which oftentimes involves little or no touch to a person through its movements. “many cultures have some type of name for this  universal life force, whether it’s prana, chi, or ki—which is what it is in reiki.” 
     
“life force is the energy that differentiates that which is living from that which is not,” o’brien added. “it is recognized and has been used by numerous cultures around the world for thousands of years.”
     
“reiki is an energy healing practice which originated in japan,” reiterates the united kingdom’s official website for jikiden reiki. “practitioners use the life force energy or ‘ki’ all around us and are able to pass it on to re-awaken the natural healing process in others by focusing the energy on the areas where it is most needed.”
     
o’brien acknowledged the need to pursue training in jikiden reiki when her talents in reading the bodies of others became all the more important after a major illness stirred its way into her family. she received her certification from the inner path learning & healing center in midland park, new jersey from third generation practitioner sue ananian.


   ( tusia o’brien’s jikiden reiki certificate penned in japanese

photograph courtesy of larissa garman )

“everyone has energy inside of them,” o’brien said. “but i truly believe that people have an ability to heal themselves; and reiki is about intention and love.”

for those who are familiar with the term reiki, it is important to understand the difference between jikiden reiki and western reiki.
     
jikiden means original, pure, and handed down from teacher to student, which is how usui sensai wanted the methods taught.

“jikiden reiki stands for reiki teachings from an original authentic japanese lineage. this lineage goes from usui sensai to dr. chujiro hayashi to chiyoko yamaguchi (who started learning reiki from dr. hayashi in 1938 when she was 17-years-old)  to tadao yamaguchi,” the site continues. it then went on to ananian with whom o’brien took her jikiden training.  
     
as a japanese-american living in hawaii, a woman named hawayo takata was told by her doctors that was terminally ill, with little time left in this life. she then visited japan for surgery, but upon meeting dr. hayashi, elected to take his treatments instead.
     
in a year’s time, takata overcame her apparently terminal sickness. working her way around language barriers, she learned reiki while in japan, later returning to hawaii and opening up a clinic which became the start of western reiki.

“because jikiden reiki was not passed down through takata and her masters, it lacks the westernization of reiki as it is currently taught in the west,” the site elaborates further. “jikiden reiki allows you to experience a japanese form of reiki in its original beauty and simplicity.”
     
while western reiki made its way around the globe, becoming familiar to people in different countries, many thought that the original style of reiki had become somewhat obsolete because japan outlawed the practice following world war ii.
     
those in japan who wanted to learn reiki or have it performed on them had to visit the united states to learn about it, in that time, so fortunately, takata in a sense helped to save reiki from dying out. bringing it to the islands of america allowed for reiki to still benefit people, and its introduction in hawaii made way for it to spread to the mainland.
     
western reiki as it is today stands as a spa-like, feel-good experience, whereas jikiden reiki is more focused on healing. 

for example, one element western reiki lacks, which is still a strong component of jikiden reiki, is byosen.
     
o’brien described it as the accumulation of toxins in the body.
     
“i as a reiki practitioner will go over your body and help the blockages to open in little pits,” o’brien said about where energy normally flows. “when you open those passages up, it allows the body to heal itself.”
     
“i’ve been told that my reiki is a stronger feeling of energy,” o’brien said, also noting that she’s certified in quantum touch, does reiki on animals as well, and recognizing the grief often sparked in humans when their animal companions die, is working toward becoming trained in pet bereavement counseling.


    ( tusia o’brien in a recently snowy winter scene

photograph courtesy of larissa garman )

“a number of my patients are cancer survivors or currently under treatment,” o’brien said. “many hospitals embrace the use of reiki alongside traditional medicine, especially in cancer treatment, because it is noninvasive and comforting—this includes the pottstown memorial regional cancer center where these programs are supported and funded by the american cancer society.” 
     
the cancer center’s website notes that  with integrative treatment, “patients who participate in complementary care offerings reported feeling less fatigue, anxiety, nausea, and pain.”
     
o’brien considers jikiden reiki a harmonizing modality to work in conjunction with modern medicine.
     
“so many people have emotional issues that come out in their neck, shoulders, and back,” o’brien said, “but actually, they’re other things coming out.”
     
belly gurgling is also a common reaction to her handwork.
     
her sessions are usually 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half long, depending on the body work a person needs. most people benefit well from three sessions, but some come to her regularly.
     
she suspects that since receiving her certification in jikiden reiki, she has worked on at least 80 people and 40 animals in her part-time efforts.
     
“people are surprised by the intensity of it,” o’brien said about her energy work, adding that many are happy, refreshed, open, and relaxed-feeling afterward, and some even sob, but for the better.
     
children with behavioral problems often become calm during and after reiki.
     
wellness of the body, mind, and spirit are the overall advantages o’brien deems to offshoot from a person undergoing the the practice of reiki, with the bodily energy then flowing more freely for a better quality of life.

“when people begin to feel better, they tend to pay more attention to their bodies and focus more on what they need to do to feel well, as opposed to just taking a pill for it, she said. “reiki can do no harm, only good.”
gokai – the five reiki principles   

the gokai were compiled by usui sensei with the intention of having them incorporated as a central part of reiki practice; he stressed their utmost importance.
     
“jikiden reiki practitioners are taught to say this in japanese, and we embrace the wonderful wisdom that such simple words hold,” o’brien concluded.

kyo dake wa           just for today
    ikaruna                    do not be angry
        shin pi suna                do not worry
            kan shashite                 be grateful
                gyo o hagame                do your duty
                    hito ni shinsetsu ni             be kind to others
     
to contact o’brien about her practice, call 484.366.5813.

for a chance to win a free jikiden reiki session, comment below. please include your e-mail address in the comment. this contest ends sunday, the 20th of february. good luck !

02 February 2011

( an inside sky-gift: our local planetarium )

( an inside sky-gift: our local planetarium )
by jennifer hetrick

when light pollution and cold keep people from wanting to stare up at the nighttime sky in their own wintery time, the boyertown planetarium is the perfect indoor substitute, fittingly equipped with well-prepared educational programming at the hands of peter detterline who became enamored with the world above in his early childhood.

the boyertown planetarium became an asset to the community and local school district in 1973 when junior high east was built. detterline explained that back then, the state subsidized either a planetarium or pool in new school buildings to make facilities more unique and valuable.

as a result, pennsylvania has more planetariums than other states, given schools taking advantage of the opportunity made available to them decades ago.

many of those who grew up within the boyertown area school district remember taking field trips to the planetarium throughout their elementary years. school programming is a large portion of how the planetarium is kept active. outside schools and organizations are also welcome to make requests to visit for educational shows.

detterline offers shows to the public during a few evenings per month. upcoming shows in february include a starwatch scheduled for monday, february 7th at 7.00 p.m. and other worlds slated for friday, february 25th at 7.00 p.m.

other worlds is a special show planned to coincide with the timeframe of when nasa's kepler spacecraft team will be announcing the discovery of earth-like and similarly sized worlds around star systems outside of the milky way galaxy.

throughout a year’s time, detterline hosts around 45 differently themed shows. just a few of the programs detterline formulates are animal migration, constellations, day & night, egyptian mythology, greek mythology, native american mythology, sensory writing, and stonehenge.

detterline is happy to develop custom programs at the request of classes or groups when possible, especially to work in line with classroom curriculum. he pointed out that the planetarium is also often the home to multi-disciplinary learning.


a view inside of the planetarium before it’s been made to
 emulate the nighttime sky. photograph courtesy of peter detterline )

each program at the planetarium is live and interactive, never taped, which detterline said is unique today. when not operating the planetarium in gilbertsville at the junior high, he is teaching astronomy at the high school or at kutztown university.

detterline noted that many planetariums today are digital, as is the one he uses to teach at kutztown university. boyertown planetarium’s system is mechanical and original, but detterline said it has its advantages and sometimes looks more real in its projections than digital imagery does.
    
during starwatch shows, when weather permits, detterline wheels out several telescopes into the back parking lot and allows audience members to use them to search for stars and planets. the planetarium’s largest telescope is about the size of a water heater, he said. with public show admission costs of $4.00 for adults and $2.50 for students and children, these fees seem tiny considering the opportunity to use expensive telescopic equipment to see the nighttime sky up close, as a night out on the town.
     
one show yet without a set date is about the space shuttle. with its first launch and mission in 1981, sometime in the next few months, it will take its 134th and final mission. nasa hasn’t announced this yet, but once it does, detterline intends to run a program in honor of the space shuttle, detailing its history and the advantages of knowledge it has brought to us as a country and to the world too.
     
detterline said that as a teaching tool, the planetarium itself is unparalleled. the visual components and his voice clearly sewn of a passion for astronomy and its related science arenas serve to complement the educational programming unique to the planetarium, illustrating its value to area residents in mingling education and entertainment all in one.
     
although many people believe the north star, or polaris, is the brightest star in the nighttime sky, detterline revealed that sirius is actually the most light-provoking in our human view. but detterline noted that the north star is still incredibly important, as it signifies the topmost of cardinal directions.
     
detterline admitted that just looking at the sky sky reworks his moods for the better and puts him in awe. the beauty of the nighttime sky captivates him, and in his au revoirs, he regularly encourages people to remember to look upward.
     
he first fell in love with the sky’s expanse while camping with his family during first grade, and since then, his interest and appreciation for it has only multiplied, especially taking hold all the more when he became the boyertown planetarium’s director in 1982.
     
“it makes you humble and puts things into perspective,” detterline said about letting our eyes skim the sky.
     
and if you couldn’t guess, his favorite planet is our home of earth.
     
to find out about upcoming planetarium shows, visit its website.

01 February 2011

( with a sway of those hips )

( with a sway of those hips )
by jennifer hetrick
     
with a lightly flicking sway of her hips, douglassville resident georganne mcintyre is making herself known in the area in the name of belly dancing and is helping the women she meets learn to love their bodies and themselves through the practice.
     
mcintyre’s interest in belly dancing began in the 1970s, but with some time away from the movement-happy endeavor, she plunged back into it in 2007 through a comedy act based around making fun of herself, teaching her audience the importance of women straying from the culturally unspoken rules that train them to think they and their bodies are not good enough.
     
she also approaches this subject from the view that belly dancing is a holistic means of healing and works to cultivate inner happiness back into the lives of women through the motions that bring their bodies in sync with their hearts in a much-needed sense of harmony.
     
her experience with belly dancing stems back to when she took lessons from a turkish woman who taught at a ymca in philadelphia. having always been active in extracurricular activities like plays and choral groups in high school, mcintyre didn’t like that in nursing school, she had no opportunity to still hone her more creative, theatrical side.
     
“i didn’t realize the healing affects of dancing,” mcintyre said about her first exposure to the belly-persuaded work. “the dance is empowering.”
     
“we hold emotions inside of our bodies, our hips,” mcintyre said. “through movement, we realize that we can release these emotions—anxiety, guilt, jealousy, and other negative feelings.”
     
this view is one mcintyre learned from dr. christiane northrup after reading her book women's bodies, women's wisdom and hearing her speak at a conference in new york city.
     
“it's also where most of us keep our protection, in that belly area, if we feel intimidated by life or have had traumas through our lives,” she said. “we protect ourselves with a layer of fat in that area.”
     
mcintyre said belly dancing has the double benefit of aid in weight loss, when it is needed, by working the middle section's muscles, in combination with helping to release the stored negative motions held and gathered in the hip region.
     
“the movements of belly dancing allow us to forgive, and it empower us,” she said. “tapping into the feminine side of ourselves allows us to be confident, and then that reaches out to everyone in our lives. healing effects go on to our families and our relationships for embracing better connections with others.”
    
“a lot of women think they’re not the right age, shape, or size to be belly dancing,” she said. “but it can be for anybody.”
     
in her classes, mcintyre brings along the props of brightly hued coin scarves for everyone to wear and also sometimes the accessory of finger cymbals, or zills.




     



georganne mcintyre teaches her belly dancing at lovely events & occasions 
in west reading, inner light holistic center in gilbertsville, & clayote in boyertown. 
she is often asked to do classes for corporate and retirement parties,
 girl scout troops,  and in nursing homes. )

while she said most people seem to be intimidated about showing their stomachs, nobody has to show theirs to sway to the dance as she teaches.
     
mcintyre also teaches to men and children.

she notices that with how free-spirited children often are, they end up teaching her as they dance, and their jumping and flexibility is impressive to adults whose built-up tension is away from younger years.

her youngest students were three-years-old, and her oldest was a 91-year-old woman at the frederick mennonite community.
     
last year, she served as the keynote speaker to a healthy women’s group affiliated with the pottstown memorial medical center. two hundred women laughed, swayed, and enjoyed themselves to mcintyre’s wholesome instruction.
     
lately, she is delving into inspirational motivational belly dancing, incorporating positive affirmations into her teaching. she’s even been asked to do motivational speaking in work environments, striving to dispel the quilted dramas people often carry into their jobs with competition and anger instead of teamwork.
     
“the bottom line is to find joy, still focus on your desires, to know that you can love yourself exactly as you are, and that life is always guiding us into something better, loving, and good,” mcintyre said.
     
“no matter where people are in their lives, just to break out of their comfort zones with a little bit of dancing can help change the way they think about life,” mcintyre said, noting that she works with people also to help them see their no longer functional patterns of living and to move beyond them.
     
what mcintyre finds most fulfilling about teaching belly dancing is seeing the transformation of women in her classes, watching them learn to love who they are. reach her at 610.308.0745.

comment below to enter for a chance to win a free belly dancing class ! this contest ends saturday, february 6th. please include your e-mail address in the comment. good luck !