Meet the Teacher: Erik Lutz

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On Wednesday, May 29th - 7:30 - 8:30 pm, we are welcoming Erik Lutz to The Zeal Center where he will share a Sound Bowl Meditation. Get to know Erik a little more below.

Tell us a little about you: 

I really enjoy being in nature.  I’ve been playing drums for about 20 years now and I’ve been learning didgeridoo for about 7 years.  I enjoy that those instruments along with my experience with sound healing, conscious dance, and appreciation of nature all have a thread of being with the rhythms of life.  

I’ve been exploring how I can bring my many interests together - doing more with less and creating some delightful combinations…  I like animals a lot; I have a sweet dog (Magellan) and cat (Jon Snow) in my life!  I also like woodworking, long boarding, snowboarding, photography, playing frisbee, and more

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Tell us about what you are offering at the Zeal Center:

The offering is a Sound Bath Meditation using primarily Tibetan metal singing bowls. The bowls are a mix of ancient and modern bowls ranging from 30-200 years old or more.  These sacred instruments promote a variety of healing benefits through their vibration and I do my best to be with what the attendees need and play intuitively to support that.  It’s like a bath for your soul!

Simply show up, get comfortable and let the waves of the bowls wash over you!  

These instruments support meditative and harmonizing states of being which can include: relaxation, serenity, detox, inflammation reduction, vitalization, enhanced focus, personal insight and development and much more!  Science is confirming a lot of what the wise ones have know for centuries.

As a recipient, it’s one of my favorite ways to relax, meditate, unwind, and restore.  As a facilitator, I get those benefits too, and, I get to be of service in helping others connect to their best self, while I am connected to mine.

How did you get started?

I first started experiencing Sound Healing through Kundalini Yoga classes and experiencing gong baths during shavasana. Through some mutual friends I found out about The Crystal Ashram, a consciousness/meditation group in my area who were starting to do Sound Healing among many other things.  After really enjoying my first event with them and getting a sense of what they were up to, I kept coming to their events and started volunteering with them.  Now I am well on my way as an apprentice with them to be a Certified Sound Bath Facilitator and to be able to facilitate some of their other empowerment experiences and tools.  It’s become more clear over the years, that this is a modality that resonates with my core and I am very grateful for the growth and illumination it has facilitated in myself. 

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What do you love about what you do?

 I really appreciate and love how this work has empowered me and even more, I appreciate seeing how it transforms other people through the meditations.  It’s such a simple practice, yet it has so much depth.  Each meditation is different, even if it’s the same people, in the same place, with the same bowls… I truly appreciate and love the sense of empowered peace and serenity that I’ve been able to reinforce in my life through practicing with the bowls, a practice which is amplified by being of service and facilitating meditations.  Working with the Crystal Ashram/Human Activation tribe is truly a blessing.  The culture we cultivate and stand for in the core team has a sense of family and empowerment and I am deeply grateful for.  I also appreciate seeing values we’re co-creating ripple to benefit others outside of our core group.  I also have the privilege of working with a very dear friend with the Conscious Dance work that I do and that brings a lot of joy to my life.  

What’s your funniest story from your job? 

There have been some especially sweet and funny moments with our yoga dog, Magellan as he settles into shavasana.  At one of the recent meditations I did, he came around and made sure everyone was tucked in and then settled down.  He sighed along with the rest of us as we began the meditation :)

I don’t necessarily have a funny story (there’s lots of inside jokes with our team), but I can say that there is plenty of humor and sweetness in this work that we do.

When I was a part of the team that was facilitating a meditation for 800 elementary school kids in Virginia, one of the kids came up to one of my teammates and said “man I can feel that activating my chakras!“ We enjoyed the way he said it -and- it was delightful that he knew what chakras were.

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What do you offer beyond this amazing event at The Zeal Center?

Other modalities that I incorporate into my work include Reiki, Health Coaching, other forms of Energy Work/Harmonization, Chakra Balancing, Crystal Healing, and Conscious Dance events!  I facilitate or co-facilitate monthly Conscious Dance events with Sound Healing that sometimes include Yoga, Chi Gong, and Live Drumming.


Where can we find you online or in person?

Please check out CrystalAshram.com or HumanActivation.com to see more of what the fantastic sound healing and empowerment team I’m a part of is up to!

Facebook.com/ConsciousDanceAnnapolis to see what my partner and I are up to with Conscious Dance - we also post some fun music and other media every week or so

I also have a Facebook page and a website I’m developing which you can get in touch with me and get more information.  Please check back as things progress!

www.HealingArtswithErik.com

Facebook.com/HealingArtswithErik

Join us Wednesday, May 29th - 7:30-8:30 pm for a Sound Bath Meditation with Erik!

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Noticing Our Stories

And How to Move Past Them to Become More Present

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to ground myself and settle into the present moment, I drew myself a salt bath. I had been busy busy all day and needed a moment to settle in and allow my physical body to release.

Sometimes when I take a bath, I’ll listen to music or set up my laptop and watch a tv show to zone out, but that day, I remained in the quiet and focused on my breathing.

I started watching the water. The way it moved when I moved. The ripple effect of droplets on the surface. The distortion of my hand as it entered the water.

Over and over again, I began dipping my fingers into the water and pulling them back out, amazed at the almost disappearing of my fingers as they fell below the surface. But when I pulled them out, the truth of my hand remained. All of my fingers were there, the same proportion that they always have been, despite what the water told me.

The water was so quick to change the way that I viewed the reality, that is my hand. It told me a story that was different than what was actually happening.

When we are moving through our daily lives, there are so many things that impact every situation, conversation and environment that we walk into. We have this distortion of the water flowing all around us.

Yesterday, I had this awful interaction with my sister. I’m still so upset about it. And now I just had a fight with my best friend about something that wasn’t even a problem.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Yeah, me too. This is the same as when someone gets “hangry” or hungry angry!

If we imagine the water as emotions, trauma and stories that are constantly swirling around us, coming in and out of our daily lives, we might start to notice how this water impacts other parts of our day, conversations and situations.

Oh. I’m not actually upset with my best friend, I’m upset with this past interaction.

This self-observation takes incredible amounts of practice, vulnerability, compassion and non-judgement.

It’s not an easy practice, by far. But it can bring us to a different level of TRUTH. By being present with my emotions and listening to myself deeply to understand what it is that I’m experiencing, I can be more true to myself and to those around me. I can be more present.


Where do we even begin?

  1. Get quiet with yourself.

    Take 1 minute. Take a big inhale and sigh it out through the mouth. Scan down through the body, from the head all the way to the toes. Notice the sensations that are present - physical sensations, emotions and thoughts. Allow everything to be as it is and build a picture of what you are feeling in your body. Know that there is no right or wrong.

    You can practice this before you eat a meal, before you get out of your car to walk into a restaurant or in the morning as you drink your coffee. The more you practice, the more awareness you’ll bring to what you are feeling.

  2. Notice your stories.

    Just like the scenario above about getting upset with my best friend, I noticed the story. We create stories in our heads about what we think is happening, sometimes before it’s even happened. Have you ever planned a conversation hours or even days before it has happened? (me too!)

    Notice when the story is taking place. When you find yourself acting out a scenario or find yourself emotional about something and taking it out on someone else, come to the saying Is this real? Is this true? Notice if the answer is yes or no and then move to the most important and most difficult part:

  3. Find compassion and non-judgement for yourself.

    The most difficult and most transformative piece of this practice. I like to phrase it to myself as this: Even though that didn’t go the way that I would have liked it to, I still deeply love and accept myself. I appreciate this place that I am, in this practice of self-observation with compassion and non-judgement.

    While this is not my full mantra every time something goes not-according-to-plans or I’m telling myself a story that’s not true, it’s important to note one major detail of this affirmation: I still deeply love and accept myself.

    Will I do it better next time? Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, I deeply love and accept myself, no matter what.

    Keep saying it. Even if it doesn’t feel true. Especially if it doesn’t feel true.

    With consistent practice, it becomes engrained in the body and becomes habit more than practice. (More on that in a future post)

Are you practicing this already? Can you relate? Write your questions or comments below!

Sending big love always ~ Mackenzie

Meet the Teacher: Alyssa Budinock

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Tell us a little about you:

Other than tying knots, I like to read and write and listen to podcasts that make me think...or laugh!

I think podcasts & macrame are a match made in heaven. Some podcasts I love to listen to while doing macrame are Harry Potter & the Sacred Text, Heart House Radio, and the WeCroak podcast.

I also teach yoga classes a couple nights a week and I love taking yoga classes, but I think I love cooking even more. I'm in love with experimenting with food and trying new things.

I am also hooked on ABC's the Bachelor/Bachelorette. If you know me, you might think this is out of character, but I just can't help myself!

Tell us about your business:

I wouldn’t call it a macrame “business”. I work from home teaching English online and I set my own hours, so it’s up to me to find the time to create if/when I feel the urge or get inspired. There was a time I dreamt of making my art into a business, and now those dreams have been replaced with other callings!

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How did you get started?

It was a pretty humble beginning and an organic transition into bigger scale pieces. I used to make friendship bracelets out of embroidery thread when I was in high school. I taught myself using a book from one of the craft stores. The knots used in macrame are actually the same in friendship bracelets, fun fact! Making friendship bracelets turned into making hemp jewelry, then other knotted crafts like coasters, plant hangers and bags, and from there I was inspired by people putting their macrame pieces on walls!

What’s your favorite part of your work?

The presence and focus I find when I settle in to work on a project is meditative in quality. I don’t use patterns or sketches most of the time, so it’s exciting to have an idea and then see where it leads. Most of my finished work looks nothing like the original idea. There are infinite ways to use 2-3 knots to make a magical textured beautiful weaving! The creativity is boundless.

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What’s your funniest story from your job?

I take macrame very seriously, thank you very much.

Just kidding - I have a hard time taking anything seriously. In my first workshop ever the language I was using to teach a square knot actually sounded very…..sexual. It was totally unintentional but there was wine involved in that workshop, so the students DEFINITELY noticed!

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What do you offer beyond this amazing class at The Zeal Center?

I enjoy podcasts so much that I decided to create one! I’ve created GraveDancers: Life and Leadership After Loss as a way to bring love and light into conversations about grief, loss & impermanence. You can listen to it on iTunes or at my website.

I also teach yoga twice a week: 7:00pm on Mondays at Roc & Soul Fitness in Webster, and 6:45pm on Thursdays at NuMvmnt on University Ave in Rochester!

Where can we find you online or in person?

I have a website dedicated to my podcast as well as my yoga teaching schedule: www.gravedancers.net

On Facebook there’s a page you can like & follow that is dedicated to my podcast. I share episode announcements as well as events for live discussions: GraveDancers: Life and Leadership After Loss

I am also on Instagram sharing all of my macrame work, quotes from podcast guests, and other little musings: @alyssabudinock

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Join Alyssa this Saturday, March 30th from 11 am - 1 pm at The Zeal Center!

She’ll be teaching us how to create beautiful macrame wall hangings, we’ll have snacks and so much fun. Hope to see you there!

What we have been up to: January & February 2019

What an amazing beginning to 2019!

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There has been a lot going on over here in Sodus, NY. So much that I wanted to give you all an update on the insides of the Zeal Center and what’s going on outside too!

The first weekend of January, we held an open house with discounts galore on our new shop items, yoga packages and held a raffle for a yoga package and reiki session with Mackenzie. Around 25-30 people showed up throughout the day to shop, win prizes and munch on the delicious Imprint Coffee and snacks. (If you haven’t tried them yet, get over there because everything is delicious!)

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At the Open House event, we introduced our new shop! Filled with fun and colorful Gaiam yoga equipment, our favorite Banyan Botanicals products and some Zeal Center specials, like t-shirts, stickers and postcards.

Our Gaiam yoga equipment includes bolsters, blocks, reversible yoga mats (with beautiful designs) and 8 ft yoga straps. We love the quality of these products. Perfect for a home practice space or to bring to your favorite classes.

Our Banyan Botanicals products include Healthy Hair Oil, Breast Care Balm, Sleep Easy Oil and more! We have free information on how to use some of the products. All of the products are non-toxic and natural.

Our shop space is currently open around the class schedule. Come before or after a scheduled class to check out our products!

January’s workshops were all about self-care.

Julie taught two beautiful Yin Yoga classes, focusing on releasing the deep tissues in the muscles and slowing down your practice. Yin Yoga creates a very meditative space and is the perfect relaxing practice. We’ve scheduled another class for April 15th from 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm. No experience necessary. Click here for more information.

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Dynamic Thermal Imaging, Patty Paprocki from A Gentle Breeze Massage Therapy and Julie from the Zeal Center came to present at Supercharge Your Breastcare.

They spoke about preventative scans from Dynamic Thermal Imaging to see if there is inflammation building in the body, a precursor to heavier illnesses, basic lymphatic massage and self-care tips for preventative care. It was packed full of information and was a wonderful presentation.

We also began our Community Yoga Classes again!

On scheduled Saturdays, we hold a beginner’s level class that is pay-what-you-want style. Come for free or give a couple dollars - it’s up to you.

Click here to check out our calendar for the next Community Yoga Class.

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The Zeal Center also had the opportunity to work with kids at Sodus Central School District in January and February!

Mackenzie worked with the kids on positive affirmations, quieting down to notice how the body feels and moving the body to release energy through yoga sequences. We had so much fun!


We began February at the Zeal Center learning about Labyrinth Walking.

During our workshop, we talked about the history of labyrinths, why and how we would use a labyrinth, how to create a labyrinth, built one together inside the Zeal Center and then we walked our creation. It was such a beautiful night and we’re looking forward to more labyrinth walking in the future!

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On February 13th, we celebrated Galentine’s Day!

Every year, we celebrate being with our gal pals on Galentine’s Day. This year’s event was just as fun as last year’s! We ate yummy snacks, made bracelets, sugar scrubs and Valentine’s cards for the folks at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. It was a great night full of lots of love and laughs.

Mackenzie also has begun offering private energy healing sessions.

Mackenzie is a Reiki I & II Practitioner and a current student in The Jaguar Path training. She’s so happy to offer tools to others that have shifted so many aspects of her life! Find out more on her offerings and make an appointment by clicking here.

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Outside of the center, here’s what mackenzie is up to:

Listening: Gravedancers: Life and Leadership After Loss

Watching: Queer Eye

Learning: The Jaguar Path


Thank you to everyone who made this year start on a bright, shiny note! We’ve had so much fun already and there are so many more awesome things coming. Keep checking out our calendar and Facebook page for what’s coming up!

Sending Big Love ~ Mackenzie

Meet the Teacher: Kim Taylor, Owner of Holistic in a Heartbeat

This Spring, we’re welcoming a new teacher to the Zeal Center. Please help me welcome Kim Taylor of Holistic in a Heartbeat!

Kim is the founder of Holistic in a Heartbeat in Rochester, NY. She encompasses the holistic approach of the mind, body and spirit through coaching and integrating plant-based nutrition. Her purpose is to guide women to be the healthiest they can be and live a life full of energy.

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Tell us a little about you: In my free time I love to be outdoors and explore. When the weather is nice you'll find me hiking every weekend. I also enjoy photography, yoga, and reading.

Tell us about your business: Holistic in a Heartbeat encompasses the holistic approach of the mind, body, and spirit through coaching and integrating plant based nutrition. My purpose is to guide women to be the healthiest they can be and live a life full of energy. 

How did you get started?

As I transitioned to a plant based diet, I found myself being asked questions that I didn't know how to answer. This inspired me to learn everything I could about my new lifestyle. The more I learned, the more passionate I grew about sharing this information with others. Plant based nutrition gave me the energy and mental awareness to encompass the holistic approach to my life to bring my mind, body, and spirit into alignment. I have lost over 40 lbs, healed from health issues, and overcome depression and anxiety. I hope to guide others through their journey to a happier,  healthier life.

What’s your favorite part of your work?

My favorite part of my work is making a difference in someone's life. I have the opportunity to meet many different people and hear each person's individual story. As much as I love helping others, I am also able to be inspired and learn from what others have gone through.

What do you offer beyond this amazing class at The Zeal Center?

I offer one on one life coaching to a happier, healthier you! Rooted in plant based nutrition, I encompass the holistic approach of the mind, body, and spirit. I offer several package options with varying time frames to guide you on your journey. In addition, I offer a variety of workshops to encourage, uplift, help you manage stress, and give you tools to live a healthier life.

Where can we find you online or in person?

You can find me on Facebook and Instagram at Holistic in a Heartbeat. 

How can you experience some of Kim’s amazingness?

She’ll be at the Zeal Center for two new events!

Mindfulness through Goal Setting ~ March 7th ~ 6:30 - 7:30 pm

Empower Your Mind through Happy Thoughts ~ April 10th ~ 6:30 - 7:30 pm

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