Monday, July 22, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: ‘Conscious Conversations’; ‘Talking Ticks’; ‘Edith Wharton in France;’ public speaking workshops; Zen lecture

The Milne Public Library will host “Talking Ticks: Literary, Medical and Personal Views,” a panel discussion about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

Berkshire Country Day School to launch ‘Conscious Conversations’ series

Stockbridge — Berkshire Country Day School will host the first installment in its new “Conscious Conversations” series Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The conversation, led by Head of School Jenifer Fox and Associate Head of School Leigh Doherty, will center on the question, “What are some meaningful ways to provide children early experiences with issues of social responsibility?”

The ongoing series is designed to engage parents and community members around such topics as the environment, education and citizenship. Fox conceived the idea of inviting adults to share questions and observations, and offer suggestions because: “Children have a right to a promising future, and adults have a responsibility to discuss this. Ideally, this dialog leads to activities at home and at school that equip kids with the skills they’ll need to begin solving the problems they will inherit from us.”

In hosting these monthly conversations, BCD hopes to equip parents with a toolkit of ideas for ways their children can begin to be conscious citizens and confident problem solvers. Refreshments will be served.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Berkshire Country Day School at (413) 637-0755 or


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‘Talking Ticks’ panel discussion to shed light on tick-borne illnesses

Mary Beth Pfeiffer. Photo: Jim Smith Photography

Williamstown — On Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Milne Public Library will host “Talking Ticks: Literary, Medical and Personal Views,” a panel discussion about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses featuring award-winning author and former Poughkeepsie Journal investigative reporter Mary Beth Pfeiffer; Korey DiRoma, N.D., of Stram Center for Integrative Medicine in Bennington, Vermont; and Lyme disease patient Jennifer Benoit of Bennington, Vermont.

“This is an opportunity for people to hear experts talk about the controversies and science of tick-borne diseases,” said Bill Densmore, executive director of the nonprofit Citizen Media Inc., which is organizing the event. “It’s also a chance for people who have suffered from Lyme, or know friends or relatives who have, to share information about their treatment.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Milne Public Library at (413) 458-5369.


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Susan Wissler to discuss ‘Edith Wharton in France’

Image courtesy the Mount

Lenox — Susan Wissler, executive director of the Mount, will give a talk on “Edith Wharton in France” Friday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m. in the Parish House of Trinity Church.

Wissler was the editor and publisher of the biography “Edith Wharton in France” by Claudine Lesage. During her presentation, she will discuss her role as editor and also present fans with new insights into Wharton’s marriage, her relationship with William Morton Fullerton, and how her life in France inspired much of her writing.

The event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. For more information, contact Trinity Church at (413) 637-0037.


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Shakespeare & Company to present public speaking workshops

Shakespeare & Company’s founding artistic director Tina Packer leads a master class during the Company’s Summer Training Institute in Lenox. Photo courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Lenox — Shakespeare & Company is accepting applications for upcoming public speaking workshops with founding artistic director Tina Packer and co-teacher Samuel “Mooly” Dinnar. Shakespeare & Company will host the workshops Oct. 4-6 and Dec. 13-15.

The workshop was designed and launched at Shakespeare & Company by Packer and Dinnar with the goal of improving participants’ skills and confidence in connecting to an audience, delivering their messages, and moving their listeners. The workshop includes knowledge gained from Shakespeare & Company’s experience of embodying the text of a great speech, and improving the alignment of the speaker’s personal voice to who they are as a person. No experience in acting or Shakespeare is required to participate in the workshop, and participants from all walks of life are welcome to apply.

Tuition is $100. Each workshop is limited to 12 participants. Scholarships are available. For more information, contact Shakespeare & Company at (413) 637-3353.


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Zen Master Jok Um to lecture on Zen

Zen Master Jok Um (Ken Kessel). Photo courtesy Orlando Zen Center

Williamstown — Williams College will welcome Zen Master Jok Um Monday, Sept 30, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. for a lecture on the use of kong-ans, or koans, in the Kwan Um School of Zen. The lecture will be held in Griffin Hall, room 3.

A koan is a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.

Zen Master Jok Um (Williams graduate Ken Kessel ’74) received transmission in April 2017. He began studying with Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1975. He is a licensed clinical social worker and a psychotherapist, working with children and families in foster care, substance abuse, outpatient and inpatient mental health and therapeutic preschool settings, as well as in private practice. He specializes in infant and early childhood mental health. He is a guiding teacher for the New Haven Zen Center, Orlando Zen Center, Gateless Gate Zen Center and Cypress Tree Zen Group. He also teaches at the Chogye International Zen Center of New York, as well as at other Zen centers and affiliates.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For building locations on the Williams campus, consult the online map or call the Office of Communications at (413) 597-4277.



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