Schenectady Peace Week: meditation exercises focused on alleviating stress and reducing violence
Multiple guided meditation events at various locations will be offered for free to the public throughout the city August 20th – August 27th
What: Schenectady Peace Project - Meditation Week aka Schenectady Peace Week
When: Monday, August 20, 2018 through Monday, August 27, 2018 – multiple days and times (see full schedule below)
Where: City of Schenectady – multiple locations (see full schedule below)
Who: Global Peaceful Cities Project, Schenectady Peace Project, community organizations in Schenectady, Schenectady companies, educational institutions, nonprofits, retailers and restaurants
Details: The Schenectady Peace Project is a new initiative of the Global Peaceful Cities Project, a collection of research projects designed to determine how trained meditators creating a “coherent state” in their bodies and then focusing peaceful intention outwardly can measurably reduce local violence.
Schenectady Peace Week will be held from August 20 through 27, with trained meditation leaders going into organizations and leading group coherence meditations for peace, that are free and open to the public, at multiple locations, days and times throughout the city of Schenectady.
The goal for the Schenectady Peace Project is to get 1,000 people in and around the city to participate in what’s known as coherence meditation, to align the mind with the heart, and invoke feelings of love, appreciation and care - at least once a day for 15 minutes per day, during Peace Week. Professor Karin Reinhold, from SUNY Albany will be gathering data to see the impact of the meditations following Peace Week.
The Schenectady Peace Project (SPP) is part of a larger organization called Global Peaceful Cities Project. GPCP was started a few years ago by Bethany Gonyea in Albany. She is the founder of the nonprofit Numinous, sponsor of the Peace Project, and believes in the power of meditation to affect change for the better, both for individuals & communities. The goal of the SPP is to make Schenectady more peaceful through intentional meditation. The focus of Peace Week is to produce a viable study that actually shows our meditations can create this change.
Organizers for the Schenectady Peace Project include: Bethany Gonyea, Mary Clare O’Connor, owner of Yoga Bliss on the Boulevard, Mati Michele Grieco-Hackett, yoga instructor at Yoga Bliss, and Karen Radley, local yoga instructor. At least 20 people attended the initial meditation trainings at the onset, Gonyea was very pleased with the community’s response.
“We are deeply grateful to the passionate Schenectady volunteers who have worked so hard to carry this message of heart coherence,” said Gonyea. “They are passionate to carry this message forward because they have embodied the skills during times of high stress and have experienced the power of this work.”
Community organizations and companies that have partnered with the Schenectady Peace Project to host events, get their employees engaged and support this overall effort include: MVP, the YWCA, Proctors, City of Schenectady, Union College, Schenectady County Public Library, Hamilton Hill Arts Center, The Schenectady Foundation, Schenectady City Schools, Yoga Bliss on the Boulevard, Crossroads, the Jewish Community Center and Johnny’s restaurant.
“MVP Health Care is excited to be involved as a Peace Week sponsor,” said Mollie Rooney, senior leader of marketing and communications at MVP Health Care. “Just as a balanced diet and physical activity are important for the body, this experience will provide opportunities for our community to explore mindfulness, which is equally important to well-being. We encourage everyone in Schenectady to meditate for peace.”
“This mediation project is open to the community and is also part of the city's action plan for health and wellness for our employees. 67.3% of employees screened reported experiencing stress, and of that number, 26.2% reported a high level of stress,” said Tiffany White, personnel and benefits administrator for the City of Schenectady.
The Schenectady Peace Project will use a 15-minute guided heart meditation created by the HeartMath Institute. They have trained meditation leaders in this protocol who will lead live meditations throughout the week at various locations in Schenectady. All meditations are free and open to the public. People also have the option to meditate from home by signing up here: https://www.peacefulcities.org to receive a recorded meditation in their inbox each day.
“Our hope is that this will start a wave of peace in Schenectady that will build throughout the upcoming year, so we can have a peace week each year, and eventually get schools involved, too. For years when we were working in Albany, people would urge us to move our work into to surrounding areas including Troy, Rensselaer and Schenectady. The people in Schenectady are so progressive and have been warm and inviting. We are expanding rapidly,” said Gonyea.
The Peace Project team, led by Bethany Gonyea, founder of NUMINOUS, sponsor of the Global Peaceful Cities Project, and Professor Karin Reinhold, Ph.D., is drawing inspiration from Maharishi University and the impressive research team of Lynne McTaggart, author of The Intention Experiment. To date, dozens of studies have been performed and published in peer-reviewed journals, suggesting when a relatively small number of people meditate, there appears to be a corresponding calming of the entire population.
The Global Peaceful Cities Project started when the citizens of Albany, NY gathered in 2013 to promote coherent based meditations through the leadership of founder, Bethany Gonyea, and Karin Reinhold, PhD with the Albany Peace Project. Currently, other cities are beginning to organize around this peace research, including, Boston, MA, Chicago, IL, Calgary, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Mexico City, MEXI, and Schenectady, NY, with more cities joining soon.
Dozens of research studies have demonstrated that focused peaceful intention has a real-world impact. The Global Peaceful Cities project is replicating that research to offer added validation of such work and raise awareness.
The studies cite that not only does achieving a coherent state dramatically enhance the lives of individuals, but it has remarkable applications for the workplace. As individuals achieve a coherent state, they are much more likely to work better in groups.
Special Guest Keith Mitchell to Kickoff Schenectady Peace Week on Monday, August 20th:
Keith Mitchell (www.keithmitchell59.com) former NFL player turned yogi, is coming to Schenectady to help kickoff Peace Week. On Monday, August 20th he will start at Schenectady City Hall at 10:00 am and lead the crowd in meditation. Mitchell will end the day in Jerry Burrell Park at 6:00 pm with a "Mediate & Celebrate" theme. This event will include performances by the Umoja Drummers & Dancers from the Hamilton Arts Center, as well as Carla Page. Both events are being sponsored by MVP Health Care. Keith will also be giving a talk and leading meditation at Union College's Nott Memorial at noon. All of Keith's appearances on August 20th are free and open to the public.
Special Screening of documentary Resilience on Aug. 21st as part of Schenectady Peace Week:
In addition to various meditation events held throughout the week, Schenectady Peace Project is offering a free screening of the documentary Resilience at Proctors – The Addy on Tuesday, August, 21st, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:30). Following the screening will be a panel discussion with guest speakers: Larry Spring, Superintendent of Schenectady Schools, Robert Carreau, Executive Director of the Schenectady Foundation, Damonni Farley, Common Thread Consulting Founder, and Bethany Gonyea, founder of NUMINOUS, sponsor of the Global Peaceful Cities Project.
According to Gonyea, the film Resilience discusses the nexus point between health and academics, and how important it is for students to be in the rest and restore part of the nervous system to feel safe enough to learn. Although the film specifically mentions meditation as one of the most powerful ways to facilitate that level of resilience, the film also discusses several other ways to help students eliminate toxic stress and invites a large community conversation.
Resilience is the sequel to the film, Paper Tigers a documentary about adverse childhood experiences.
The public is invited to join the conversation of promoting healthy communities and schools.
Schenectady Peace Week Full Schedule of Events
Monday, August 20th through Monday, August 27th:
EVERYDAY of Peace Week, Monday 8/20 – Monday 8/27 at 7:00 am, Yoga Bliss on the Boulevard
Monday, August 20:
Monday, 8/20 10:00 am, kickoff with Keith Mitchell meditation, City Hall (sponsored by MVP)
Monday, 8/20 12:00 pm, talk & meditation with Keith Mitchell, Nott Memorial, Union College
Monday, 8/20 5:00 pm, YWCA
Monday, 8/20 6:00 pm, Meditate & Celebrate, Jerry Burrell Park, with performances by Hamilton Hill Arts Center's Emoja Dancers & Drummers and Carla Page (sponsored by MVP)
Tuesday, August 21:
Tuesday, 8/21 12:00 pm, Gateway Park
Tuesday, 8/21 12:00 pm, Union College
Tuesday, 8/21 12:30 pm, City Hall
Tuesday, 8/21 6:00 pm, Schenectady County Public Library (main branch)
Tuesday, 8/21 6:00 pm, Documentary Resilience & Panel Discussion at Proctors – The Addy
Wednesday, August 22
Wednesday, 8/22 12:00 pm, Vale Urban Farm Wednesday, 8/22 6:00 pm, Schenectady County Public Library (main branch)
Wednesday, 8/22 6:00 pm, Jewish Community Center
Wednesday, 8/22 7:00 pm, Crystal Bowl Meditation at Crossroads Gifts & Wellness
Thursday, August 23:
Thursday, 8/23 12:00 pm Gateway Park
Thursday, 8/23 12:00 pm Union College
Thursday, 8/23 12:30 pm City Hall
Thursday, 8/23 5:00 pm YWCA
Thursday, 8/23 at 6:30 pm, fundraiser, Pennies for Peace, with Grand Central Station Band at Johnny's
Friday, August 24: Friday, 8/24 12:00 pm, Gateway Park
Friday, 8/24 12:00 pm, Union College
Friday, 8/24 12:30 pm, City Hall
Friday, 8/24 5:00 pm, YWCA
Saturday, August 25:
Saturday, 8/25 12:00 pm, Gateway Park Saturday, 8/25 2:15 pm, Schenectady County Public Library (main branch)
Saturday, 8/25 6:00 pm, Peace Songs & Poetry at Yoga Bliss
Sunday, August 26:
Sunday, 8/26 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, tabling at the Schenectady Greenmarket Sunday, 8/26 12:00 pm, Gateway Park
Sunday, 8/26 2:15 pm, Schenectady County Public Library (main branch)
Monday, August 27
Monday, 8/27 12:00 pm, Gateway Park
Monday, 8/27 12:00 pm, Union College
Monday, 8/27 12:30 pm, City Hall
Monday, 8/27 5:00 pm, YWCA
Monday, 8/27 6:00 pm, Schenectady County Public Library (main branch)
Monday, 8/27 6:00 pm, Closing meditation at Jerry Burrell Park
***In addition to the public meditations, the following organizations will be offering meditations to their staff &/or clients during Peace Week - MVP, Golub Corporation & New Choices.
Schenectady Peace Week's schedule of events (Aug. 20th - 27th) can also be found here: https://www.peacefulcities.org/events
For more information please visit:
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The Global Peaceful Cities Project is a collection of research projects designed to determine how many trained meditators creating a “coherent state” in their bodies and then focusing peaceful intention outwardly can measurably reduce local violence. Dozens of prior research studies suggest that focused peaceful intention has real world impact. The Global Peaceful Cities project is replicating that research to offer further validation of such work and raise awareness that ordinary individuals have the opportunity to “vote with their hearts” to see more.
The Mission: To bring people together to meditate with a shared intention of peace, love, and compassion for the purpose of creating a coherent state of wholeness and wellness within their own bodies and also within their community. By creating peace within ourselves and then radiating elevated energetic emotions of love, compassion, peace, and oneness into our community, that peace is exponentially radiated throughout our planet and the universe.
About MVP Health Care:
MVP Health Care is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health insurer caring for more than 700,000 members in New York and Vermont. Committed to the complete well-being of our members and the communities we serve, MVP makes health insurance more convenient, more supportive, and more personal. For more information, visit www.mvphealthcare.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mvphealthcare, and on Twitter at @MVPHealthCare.