The Fall Shift

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October represents change to me. The colors of fall are infectious as I watch the dramatic changing of leaves. Pumpkin patches glow in the fields, and apple trees sparkle as they wait to be picked. Sunsets become works of art. A new and invigorating energy seems to grip the air. Everything about fall and the change of seasons brings a new fresh energy to my life.

It is fascinating to watch how nature deals with change so effortlessly. If only it were the same for us. Nature moves without a push back—it simply adjusts and makes the necessary next move. I am amazed at the order of the universe—how complexity and simplicity work together to deliver exactly what is needed for the planet.  Continue reading

The Season for Change

Quite often change is brought about by pain. Our minds supply us with all the justification we need to stay stuck. I know from personal experience how hard change can be. Even good change can be hard to see as good. Thinking of the future can be so scary that hope is hard to find. Often our thinking generates only the bleak side of endless possibilities. So we push back, consciously or subconsciously, to resist change. We dig in our heels to protect our lives as they are. Even in extreme circumstances such as domestic violence, dysfunctional relationships, drugs and alcoholic abuse, we often will protect what is “normal” in our world and resist change. We also protect the thinking that created our life’s situations. What a paradox—the mind battle of wanting change and resisting at the same time. In our heart of hearts, we know what to do. We hope for change, yet are frozen. We think we are unable to change. How could we know it was our thinking that was wrong?  Continue reading

A Model Experience – Letter from the Publisher – July 2018

Recently, I spent a few days in Sweden. What an amazing trip. The views were stunning and the city of Stockholm majestic, but it was the people and the human interactions that knocked me over. Not only the experience there, but how the effects of spending a short amount of time with a small group of exceptionally nice people have impacted me.

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Letter from the Publisher – June 2018

Recently, we introduced a new column, written by teenagers, called Teen Voices. The idea behind it is to help parents (and other adults) get a glimpse of the world through a teen’s eyes. In raising my own four children, I found striving to better understand their world through their eyes was one of the most powerful tools I could use. This simple approach does help build a foundation of trust; however, building trust with a teenager is a day-to-day business. Some days, you are best friends. The next day, one of us is from another planet. As in most things, it is a process. Listening (when my 15-year-old talks to me) is more important than speaking. No Einstein moment here. The goal is to learn something, not tell something, and keeping that in focus is paramount to building trust. But let’s step back to the beginning, long before the teen years.

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The Day a Mother is Born

May brings sunshine and flowers, and a new energy to the Northeast. It also brings us Mother’s Day. Of course, every day should be Mother’s Day, but that’s another column.

I was pondering what to write here when I thought of my wife, Asta, and her experience in becoming a mother. I remember how she was consumed with fear as her pregnancy progressed toward delivery. As part of her family dynamics, she had had very little, if any, experience with newborns, including holding one. In addition, she was just about to enter her forties, so she had a lot going on. Reading, talking, getting advice, going to classes—everything leading up to delivery was just a fog that covered up her insecurities. Having moved from Lithuania, she had no family around the corner and only a small circle of friends to lean on. I understood just how tough it was for her. I’m sure that, despite my being there, she most likely felt alone at times. I know she was frightened—of child birth, of motherhood, of the future. Everything about taking care of a newborn “scares me to pieces,” she would tell me.

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On the Other Side of Words

I have been thinking lately about words and how they fit into our world of communication. My 24-year-old son, Sean, tells me I need a college course in texting so he can make sense of what I’m trying to say when I speak with my fingers. On self-examination—and the evidence before me—I have to plead guilty as charged.

I have had numerous people tell me they don’t understand my email. It has been pointed out to me, mostly by my editor, that I have a “Joe Dunne mind speak” when I hastily shoot out emails. Again, guilty.

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Seeing What’s Good – Letter from the Publisher, March 2018

Thank you for being a reader. I hope you enjoy our March publication of Natural Awakenings.

I find myself wanting to write about the injustice of things—the penal system, gun control, blame, closed-minded people, war, violence, inequality, inappropriate behavior, prejudices and our education system—and then there’s health care and veterans’ rights. Thankfully, our magazine is not part of “the world of what’s wrong.” Seeing the problem is so easy. Want proof? Turn on a TV, a talk radio station, a political cable broadcast, the news… Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on what is wrong. Continue reading

Letter from the Publisher, February 2018

Hello! to anyone reading this letter. My name is Joe Dunne, and my wife, Asta, and I are the new proud owners of Natural Awakenings magazine of Bucks and Montgomery counties of PA.

Before I start on me and my background, I would like to thank Karen for the more than spectacular work she has performed over her three-year ownership. Not only has she grown the magazine, she has also recruited a talented and dedicated support staff in Melanie, Julie, Kevin and Megan (all of whom are staying with us), and together they have made a difference. Karen’s outreach to the community, her dedication to her advertisers and her attention to editorial content so our readers continue to love us, are second to none. I am almost scared to try to fill her shoes. I know you will all join me in applauding her efforts, and wishing her well, as she designs her new life’s path. Making a difference matters in my world. And Karen, you have made a difference; we thank you. (I know she will still be an avid reader of this magazine.)

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Letter from the Publisher, January 2018

We are living in a historic moment for natural health and wellness in the United States. More than half the country—29 states—have legalized medical marijuana. Pennsylvania did so in April of 2017. Despite decades of stigmatization and criminalization, polls show that 71 percent of Americans support full legalization, and nearly 90 percent favor marijuana for medicinal use.

The cannabis plant has demonstrated powerful healing effects on the quality of life for thousands of suffering men, women and children. Medical marijuana (MMJ) has been shown to be an effective treatment modality for PTSD, epilepsy, autism, chronic pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, neuropathy, asthma, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other conditions. Continue reading

Letter from the Publisher, December 2017

Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others is possible.

~Excerpted from Being Peace, by Zen Master, Tibetan Peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh

The holidays are a time for reflecting on spirit and peace. Doing so requires that we consider the obstacles to peace—in ourselves, our communities and around the world.

With each news story that breaks, revealing the degree to which violence and aggression occurs in places near and far, it is natural to want to find someone or something to blame. Like something out of a Marvel comic book, it would be so comforting if there were a singular, sinister villain at whom we could shake our finger, and who could hold the culpability for all that ails our society.

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Letter from the Publisher, November 2017

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass;
it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, I’m internalizing some hearty lessons about loss, gratitude, resilience and transcendence.

The chasm between the nightly news and my own life closed the night that Hurricane Maria destroyed the town where my colleagues, Natural Awakenings Puerto Rico publishers Luis Mendez and Waleska Sallaberry, have built a vibrant, thriving holistic health community over the past 15 years.

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Letter from the Publisher, September 2017

Karen_LFP_0516The upcoming year marks a major passage for me. My friends have started asking how I want to celebrate the big “4-0”. And while I concur with the saying “age is just a number,” I’m also aware that marking my years on Earth, in this body and mind, is a valuable tool in the process of self-discovery.

For me and, I imagine, many women, aging becomes evident first in our changing physicality. Crow’s feet around my eyes have emerged recently. They show up when I smile, smirk and laugh, and linger indefinitely. My body is a little rounder and thicker than before. As a woman of a certain age, I wrestle with accepting my visage as it grows further away from media-perpetuated beauty standards, and how far I’m willing to go to meet those standards.

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