Jody Telfair-Richards Contributed photo

DAMARISCOTTA — Mindful Transitions will be the focus of the Inn Along the Way’s first summer “Challenging Conversation Circle” taking place at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 27, at the Chapman Farm, 741 Main St., facilitated by Jody Telfair-Richards, PDD.

According a program description written by Telfair-Richards, she wrote, We live in a very fast paced society with constant, and often, turbulent changes. But our culture often conditions us to deny and ignore the challenges of moving from one rapidly changing situation to another — whether a move from New York to Maine, or an inner state such as stay at home mom to working mom. We learn to expect ourselves to move seamlessly from one completely different environment to another or from one developmental stage to another.

The ultimate transition is of course the death of a loved one. But we may not look at the challenges we experience with a major loss as a time of change and reevaluation. We are expected to go back to work in a couple of days as if nothing has changed. Or if we are the caregiver we may expect ourselves to pick up where we left off before our loved one’s illness. And we are even less likely to pay careful attention to the transitions we move through in smaller or daily ways, such as adjusting to being alone after the family or house guests leave or “settling in” after arriving home from traveling or visiting a child or grandchild, or simply transitioning from the office to home and vice versa.

During the June 27 “Mindful Transitions Challenging Conversation Circle” participants will be invited to share stories of less acknowledged, but often challenging transitions. Examples could be:
• Having your first baby;
• becoming a grandparent;
• moving to a new home as a child or as an adult;
• changing jobs or careers;
• graduating from high school or college;
• life after divorce (either as a child or as the divorcee);
• moving from middle age to older age;
• recovering from a major illness — or from a major setback in one’s health; or
• transitioning from employee to volunteer.

Telfair-Richards said, “Many of the transitions we experience are from choices we have made in pursuing something we want, and we feel we ‘shouldn’t’ be having any difficulties because we wanted to move, or wanted a baby, or wanted to downsize. Allowing ourselves to recognize that changes/transitions in our lives are going to being challenges, no matter whether desired, chosen or not can help us be more self compassionate and meet whatever difficulties come with appropriate responses,” according to a news release from the Inn Along the Way.

Telfair-Richards, who has a doctorate, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Bristol. She collaborated with a group developing one of the early Hospice Programs in Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid 80’s. She was also a faculty member of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, an internationally renowned professional training organization in mental health, before retiring after 25 years. From 1999 to 2003 she worked with the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing in Washington, D.C. She moved to Maine in 2004 and restarted a private practice, working with individuals, couples and groups. Issues around different kinds of transitions people are struggling with are constant themes in her work.

In addition, she has practiced many mind body disciplines, including Aikido (3rd degree blackbelt), Tai Chi Chuan, the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Yoga and Meditation, and she studied in the summers with an Ojibway (Anishinabe) woman for 16 years. These practices inform her work as a counselor. She teaches Tai Chi in her home studio in Bristol, and spends as much time gardening and birding as possible. Her interests are diverse, and she has experienced the challenges of many transitions, large and small, including becoming a grandmother in her mid 70s.

The day’s gathering will end with the opportunity to continue conversations while enjoying light refreshments. Current State of Maine CDC guidelines and protocols will be followed. For the safety of all, unvaccinated participants will be asked to wear a mask. The IAW’s second conversation circle “Loss, Other than Death” will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 25.

For more information about the Inn Along the Way including volunteer opportunities, contact President of the Board Sherry Flint at 207-751-6261 or [email protected]. Show your support for the IAW. Make an online donation by going to innalongtheway.org/contribute or mail a check to: IAW, PO Box 1133, Damariscotta, ME 04543.

 

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