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Songbird Healing Center is two years old

Saturday, January 21st, 2012 | Posted by | 15 responses

Carol Hince, center, leads iRest (yoga Nidra), a guided meditation for her clients Cherin Willett, left, and Meredith Muench, right, at the Songbird Community Healing Center in Cotati, Jan. 19, 2012. (Crista Jeremiason)

From the outside, Cotati’s downtown Songbird Community Healing Center seems like an ordinary storefront. Inside, though, is an artfully designed space made for taking potentially extraordinary journeys into physical, mental and spiritual health.

“We see and teach how the world is changing and shifting,” says clinic director Jasmine Gold, “and we try to make a positive difference in the world and in our clients’ lives.”

As Songbird prepares for a free public celebration of its second anniversary, its practitioner list includes those with traditional Western training (certified physical therapy, licensed clinical social work, master’s degrees and a Ph.D.) and those educated alternatively (in yoga, Reiki, holistic nutrition, hypnotherapy, psychic and card reading, astrology and aroma, crystal, herb, oil and sound therapies). Some have a foot in each world.

“We work really well together,” says Gold, herself a Reiki master (energy healing), Toltec mentor and certified Four Agreements facilitator. “We offer mainstream alternative or complementary treatment and some stuff that’s really ‘out there.’

“We’re trying to reach out to those who haven’t heard that there are alternatives to going to the doctor, a variety of options at reasonable prices in a community setting.”

Like Kaiser, for example, the center offers low-priced weekly classes in Feldenkrais movement (for back pain) and sessions in guided meditation and gentle stretching.

Physical therapist Carol Hince is one of the center’s longest practitioners and often works with veterans in accepting “what is” and “freeing up energy for joy, abundance, and well-being.”

Among those who use the space for private practice is Jeffrey Edelheit. He works with Tibetan singing bowls, cymbals and gongs to facilitate intense Chakra meditation.

The center regularly offers monthly and one-time events and workshops, especially on weekends and outside regular appointment hours.

During the Hands of Gold Healing Clinic on second and fourth Tuesday evenings, “you might see two to three massage tables, energy healing, readings. We offer unconditional love, personal growth, emotional freedom,” says Gold.

Special speakers and film showings like last year’s “Farmageddon” (comparing family and corporate farming) attract members of the public interested in health and environmental issues as well as personal growth.

Also, says Gold, people sometimes need a very rational approach to information before embracing more intuitive activities.

“Our practitioners often donate services to attract clients to the center and to help build their client base,” notes Gold. The center also offers donation-based events, sliding fees and does its best to make sure no one in pain goes without some kind of assistance.

The center is partially underwritten by the Women’s School of Healing Arts & Sciences, and the building is owned and managed by Frogsong co-housing community, to which Gold belongs.

“I was involved over 10 years ago, before the land was even purchased,” says Gold. “I grew up in Berkeley, lived in the South Bay. Cotati is quieter and more relaxed. It has a nice balance, not too urban or too rural. I can step outside for a walk, visit the creek.

“Once I moved here, I realized something was missing in my life and began looking for a spiritual pathway. I spent three years studying under Toltec master don Miguel Ruiz. That gave me the confidence to do the healing, which I first did out of my living room.

“In 2010 this space had already been an art gallery and location for healing, but needed new direction. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to direct a community, so went on a retreat for six weeks that included a visit to the underground temple at Damanhur in Italy. I became really clear that I wanted to continue with Songbird.

“My aim is to create a community of practitioners, share information, create a healing space that is open to everybody. I want to see the difference it makes in people’s lives.”

8280 Old Redwood Hwy., 795-2398, www.songbirdcenter.org.

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Nick Walden is our Cotati and Penngrove correspondent.
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