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Aren’t we having the most amazing summer weather? People are saying that fall is just around the corner, but I’d love to hang onto summer for a while longer, wouldn’t you?

I recently received a most welcome note from a friend of ours, whom I introduced to you a few months ago. His name is James Keolker, a certified master teacher of mindfulness and meditation, and he’s sharing with us the news that the Rianda House Senior Activity Center in St. Helena will soon be featuring a fall series of his meditation classes specifically designed for seniors.

Before I get into further details, I’d like to share with you some research that I’ve been doing on ways of staying mentally alert and keeping our minds sharp as we get older. One of the things I learned was that we should be mindful and avoid stress in our lives, as stress can lead to depression, and, believe it or not, depression is linked to dementia.

Thank goodness meditation and mindfulness can help soothe stress. In addition, and I find this fact very encouraging, meditation can also increase the size of our brains, and may improve mental function. So, James’ classes are coming just in the nick of time. Bring it on, James.

James is truly one of the best teachers I have ever had the pleasure of learning from, and I’ve been meditating for over 20 years. I’ve been away from it for a couple of years, but am eager to begin, once again.

It’s James’ desire to bring peace of mind and insight to his classes. “Election concerns can be very frustrating, no matter whom your candidate,” he recently shared with me, “so our goal is to provide a refuge, a place of peace within our minds through meditation. Besides, meditation doesn’t have to be all work and no play, so we’ll stress the joys as well as the benefits of learning meditation.”

The new fall series of meditation classes specifically designed for seniors at Rianda House Senior Activity Center is titled “The Joys and Benefits of Senior Meditation.”

The series will begin on Friday, Sept. 9, and continue on Friday, Sept. 16, with “Putting the WOW Factor in Your Life through Meditation.” James describes this as “a potent form of establishing equanimity and care for others.”

He said, “Kind-sight over hindsight will be featured on Friday, Sept. 23, with a discussion of a compelling form of meditation for friends, families and even enemies.”

The series concludes on Friday, Sept. 30, with “Delighting in Your Life as It Is,” which will focus on how to ensure “bliss and contentment in our elder years through meditation.”

Since these are Napa Valley’s only mediation classes specifically designed for seniors, they have become increasingly popular so there will be two sessions each week, at 9 and 10:15 a.m. at the Rianda House Senior Activity Center, 1475 Main St. in St. Helena.

I would suggest that if you plan on attending, and I hope you do, that you call and make your reservations early as they fill up fast. Call 707-963-8555 to ensure your reservation.

Dear readers, I truly believe that this is an experience not to be missed. Come and check out what meditation is all about. It’s an amazing treat to give yourself, often. Learn from Dr. Keolker how you can give yourself peace of mind.

It’s been a pleasure visiting with you, as always. Please write to bettyrrhodes@sbcglobal.net.

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