Cancer Support Programs & Classes

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 Click here for printable September-November 2014 Calendar

All programs require pre-registration. To REGISTER, call 978-456-3532.

Journaling: A Self-help Tool For Finding Peace Within

Open to the Community!

Wednesday, August 27, 11:00am–12:30pm
Cost: $15 for HG members, $20 for non-members

Journaling is the most widely recommended tool by therapists and counselors to supplement therapy.  It is the ultimate self-help tool - accessible and cost efficient!  In living with cancer or other health crisis, those who journal report having an enhanced understanding of themselves, are more in touch with their needs and are better able to cope.  Learn to take control of what Thich Nhat Hanh calls the "monkey mind" - the constant, incessant fluctuation of emotions and thoughts - and develop a new practice of positive, productive thinking.  Join others in developing this simple skill and learn its profound healing power.

Dana Snyder-Grant, LICSW will be the facilitator for this class.


QiGong: Finding the Life Force Within

Open to the Community!

Thursday, August 28, 11:00am–12:00pm
Cost: $10 for HG members, $12 for non-members

This class is ongoing, Thursdays, 6/5 - 8/26. 

Qigong is the art and science of a systematic cultivation of human potential passed down for over 4,000 years in an unbroken lineage of practice that comes from the Wu-Shamans of ancient China. To this end, we study the complex interaction of the mind, the body and the various potentialities of the soul as it expresses itself into our being. From the basics of body mechanics and the material forces that make up our experience to the subtle and complex dynamics of consciousness, we practice exercises designed to awaken all of our senses to the subtle and the not so subtle experiences, both internal and external, of being a human interacting with our environment. We begin with exercises, both physical and mental, designed to enhance our awareness and interaction with the life force within our own being. From this launching pad we explore the potential that this expanded awareness and interaction can have to enhance our health, prosperity and joy.

Jeff Coté has been a student, practitioner, and a teacher of Martial Arts, Qi Gong, Tuina, Qi healing, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Taoism for over 20 years. He began his journey in the Asian healing arts through the practice of martial arts and meditation. This naturally led him to a deeper awareness of the purpose of such arts; the wholeness of mind, body and soul. To further his understanding, Jeff sought professional training; first at the Tai Institute of Oriental Medicine in Oveido, Florida where he studied acupuncture, Chinese herbs and Asian bodywork therapy. Later he sought training in western massage at American Spirit Institute in Williamsburg, Virginia in order to interface with the western bodywork community. Jeff then continued his studies in clinical apprenticeships and attending NanJing University College of Medicine to be trained in Medical Qigong. Jeff's full history of advanced training and extensive certifications, please visit Traditional Arts Institute.  For further information, contact: Jeff Coté at, (978) 906-4934.


Mindful Movement — Tai Chi and Qi Gong

Open to the Community!

Mondays, 10:00–11:00am (Free Class 9/8, No Class 10/13)
Meets: 9/8, 9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/6, 10/13
Cost: $60 for HG members, $72 for non-members

Mondays, 10:00–11:00am
Meets: 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 11/24, 12/1, 12/8
Cost: $60 for HG members, $72 for non-members

"Meditation in movement is a hundred, a thousand, a million times superior to meditation at rest." Zen

Combining the vehicles of TaiChi and QiGong this practice incorporates ancient healing art practices to promote living mindfully. This is done through movement, breathing exercises, meditation and posture strengthening. Mindful living promotes contentment, calmness, steadiness and strength.

The exercises are simple and easy to learn. They can be done standing or sitting. Bring an open mind and curiosity to try something new. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and supportive shoes (or you can go barefoot.)

Carol Mielo Swerzenski is the facilitator for this class.


Wisdom in the Woods Nature Walks

For Clients Only

Wednesday, September 24, 10:00–11:30am

Wednesday, October 22, 10:00–11:30am

Wednesday, November 19, 10:00–11:30am

This program is a once a month easy local nature walks designed to integrate mindfulness with a nature immersion.

We shall connect to the deeper parts of ourselves through the simple gifts found in nature through nature play, visual exploration, mindfulness and breathwork.

Nature Play- simple little games that invite us to engage our senses with our surroundings

Visual exploration- techniques that heighten what we see, allowing awareness without labeling.

Mindfulness- a practice that allows for self observation, stillness and peace.

Breathwork- focusing on our breath is the easiest way to be  “present” and allows being “in the body”.

We’ll share our knowledge and discoveries, learning about the local flora and fauna.

Location: Local conservation trails in and around the Healing Garden and Harvard.

Led by Penny Dickson, Women's Wilderness Retreat Leader. 


The Nature Cure

For Clients Only

Thursdays, 1:00–2:00pm
Meets: 10/2, 10/9, 10/16, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6

This program offers nature-based therapeutic activities including:

*Ikebana Japanese Nature Arranging

*Fall Edibles


*Labyrinth and Walking Meditation

*Ritual Burning

*Plantings for Renewal and Connection

Led by Marilyn Strong, a Holistic Nurse Practitioner, Reiki Master, and member of The Nature 


From Person to Patient & Back

Open to the Community!

Wednesday, October 8, 3:00–4:00pm

A presentation by Healing Garden founder, Betsy Tyson-Smith.

Betsy has had Breast Cancer twice.

She will present the topic of how to move forward emotionally after cancer treatment and how to learn to live well with cancer, even in spite of it.


Mind-Body Sound Therapy

Open to the Community!

Thursday, September 11, 11:00am–12:00pm 2nd Thursday of the month
Free, For Clients and the Community

Thursday, October 9, 11:00am–12:00pm 2nd Thursday of the month
Free, For Clients and the Community

Thursday, November 13, 11:00am–12:00pm 2nd Thursday of the month
Free, For Clients and the Community

You are invited to lie down on the floor or sit in the cushioned Garden Room chairs as you absorb the healing energy of Bernadette's music. 

Learn about the power of sound for relaxation and self-healing: use music to create relaxation in the body, joy, uplifting energy in the home, grief processing, and meditation.

Learn to listen to your body’s intuitive wisdom through listening to music and feeling how music and tones affect your body, your emotions, your mind.

This program is designed and led by Bernadette Yao


Oneness Blessing

Open to the Community!

Sunday, September 14, 3:00–5:00pm 2nd Sunday of the month
This event requests a $10 donation.

Sunday, October 12, 3:00–5:00pm 2nd Sunday of the month
This event requests a $10 donation.

Sunday, November 9, 3:00–5:00pm 2nd Sunday of the month
This event requests a $10 donation.

At this Oneness Blessing event you will receive a transformative blessing preceded by a meditation. Also known as Deeksha, a transformative blessing is a direct transfer of energy “which causes the heart to flower and the mind to quiet.” This brings a shift in perception and the realization that the sense of separate self is an illusion bringing the experience of oneness. The blessing initiates neuro-biological changes in the brain, freeing the senses from the constant chatter of the mind, bringing clarity and spontaneous feelings of love, joy, peace and inner silence. It dissolves negative patterns, releases traumas stored at the cellular and energetic levels and facilitates deep emotional physical healing. Facilitated by Lisa MacDonnell, LMT, who is certified in oncology bodywork, reflexology, Reiki Master, and Spiritual Psychology.

The Blessing will be accompanied by the healing music of Bernadette Yao, a Mind-Body Music & Reiki Therapist, who trained for four years at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. As a musician for over 30 years, Bernadette combines her unique blend of energy healing through music (vocals, crystal singing bowls, guitar, harmonium, keyboards, percussion) to create a soothing sound healing


Exploring Our Creative Spirits

For Clients Only

Wednesdays, 1:30–3:30pm
Meets: 10/15, 10/22, 10/29, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19

Maya Angelou’s philosophies encourage us to use our innate creativity to help us move through life’s challenges.  She said, “We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”

These six classes will encourage us to explore our inner creativity as we “invent new scenarios” that will help us find our own ways to heal.

Candace Anderson will guide participants through a relaxing series of projects, utilizing free-flowing watercolors, tactile fiber papers, and rich colors, to stimulate the senses and deepen our connections to our own creativity.  All projects will be process-oriented, with gentle, non-threatening guidance that will encourage individual exploration.

Projects will include a delightful array of offerings, such as windblessings, colorful “self-portrait” mandalas, water exploration to uncover our personal healing mantras, card-making, and other surprises.

No prior art experience is necessary.  (Remember: we are all created creative).

This class is led by artist, Candace Anderson


Sunflowers: A Vibrant Watercolor Study

Open to the Community!

Wednesdays, 5:30–7:30pm
Meets: 10/15, 10/22, 10/29, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19
Free, For Clients and the Community

What is it about sunflowers that have captivated artists for centuries? Is it their radiant colors, bold contrasts, and stately forms? Is it their unabashed grace, swaying from strong supportive stalks? Is it, perhaps, that we deepen our own ways of being as we witness the vibrant flowers turning their faces toward the light?

The Healing Garden invites you to seek your own answers to these questions through a series of six watercolor classes featuring the glorious sunflower. 

Candace Anderson will teach basic watercolor skills while inspiring participants to see and interpret the elements of design in sunflowers. She will be assisted by theHealingGarden’s expressive arts intern fromLesleyUniversity, Sarah Maker.

The course is open to Healing Garden clients as well as members of the community. The classes will be supportive and process-oriented, with guidance and step-by-step demonstrations offered to lead participants through the classic steps of creating a watercolor painting.

All materials will be provided, and no prior art experience is necessary.

This class is led by artist, Candace Anderson


Authentic Movement

Open to the Community!

Wednesday, September 17, 9:45–10:45am
Free, For Clients and the Community

Wednesday, October 15, 9:45–10:45am
Free, For Clients and the Community

Wednesday, November 19, 9:45–10:45am
Free, For Clients and the Community

Authentic Movement is a profoundly simple form in which a mover moves with eyes closed in the presence of a witness.

At its core, Authentic Movement is about trusting the innate wisdom of the body to lead us toward healing and the development of conscious presence.

The Process:

The group is usually divided into movers and witnesses (later swapping roles) working either in pairs or with the witnesses acting as a containing circle for all the movers. There is no music, the mover has to listen to, sense deeply, himself. With eyes closed it is easier to focus inwardly. Moving blindly symbolizes the journey into the unknown. Only if someone is moving very quickly, the eyes may be kept open to make sure everyone is safe. The time for movement may be short - ten to twenty minutes - but the experience can feel very condensed, like a dream.

Afterwards, the movers may draw or talk directly about what occurred for them. The witness may respond in movement, or by drawing, or verbally. The subjectivity of her experience is owned through phrases like "I saw....I imagined....I felt....I heard". The witness does not interpret.

This experience is deep, focuses on the expression of inner life and depends on a safe and trusting environment.

Led by Marcia Lewin Berlin, LICSW.


Morning Yoga

For Clients Only

Ongoing, Thursdays, 9/04 - 11/27 (No Class on 11/27), 9:30-10:45am
Cost: $10

The goal of each class is to find ways to neutralize physical and emotional stress. The tools we use include postural alignment, breathing, and yoga poses to strengthen and lengthen weak areas. With consistent practice, your body awareness will improve, leading to an increased sense of well-being, relaxation, and health. No prior yoga experience is necessary and all postures can be modified to accommodate individual needs. Drop-ins welcome. Pre-registration not required. 

 Katherine Lee, LMT, RPP, facilitates this class.


Spiritual Companioning Journey

For Clients Only

1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, 9/4 - 11/20, 11:00-12:30pm
Free, For Clients and their Friends or Family

The group meeting dates are as follows: 9/4, 9/18, 10/2, 10/16, 11/6, 11/20.

This group offers a safe and confidential setting to discover and explore an awareness of one's deepest longings, the chance to learn and engage spiritual practices or resources to support and develop this awareness, and the opportunity to identify the source and foundation of one's own spiritual truth or wisdom.

This group is led by Susie Allen, Rev. and Lisa MacDonnell, M.T.


All programs require pre-registration: Scholarship opportunities are available for clients. Please call 978-456-3532.

Please know that community participation helps to underwrite services for clients facing cancer.

Inclement Weather Policy: If the Harvard School District cancels or delays classes, we will apply the same rule to our offerings. If there is a delay, we will open the same time as the schools. If the school system closes for the day, we will also close for the day and/or evening.

You are a person, not a disease, and you can live well with cancer, and beyond. We are here to help you.

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