Healing Arts in Housatonic, a refuge for body and spirit
Housatonic — Christina Koldys is a seeker; she is also the holder of some well-kept secrets, gleaned over the course of a life well-lived in the Berkshires. Last week, despite her gardens lying dormant beneath the season’s second snowfall, a glimpse of her spirit was visible despite the season. A jaunty sign, at the edge of the walkway, reads: “Tomatoes. Take one or two.” It is this generosity and genuine sense of gratitude that seems to make Koldys tick. Today, from her home in Housatonic — a tiny hamlet of Great Barrington that is bustling with creative energy — she is not only using all of her talents, but also sharing them, in her latest venture: Giving Tree Healing Arts Center, a hub for holistic and spiritual services.
At the very root of Koldys’ work is a very simple premise: “Put hearts in the roots of what you plant.” This concept is captured in a larger-than-life mural painted on the side of her Center, and it is a recurring theme in Koldys’ own artwork from hand-painted river stones to mandalas. These mandalas offer balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony. The goal of the mandala is to serve as a tool on one’s spiritual journey as it symbolizes cosmic and psychic order. Koldys uses the mandala paintings — each of which she creates with loving intention — as a visual statement of her life’s journey; and, in her case, this journey has included being a wife and a mother; a baker and a café owner; a business woman, running both a candle shop and a motel; and a teacher, having taught middle school math in Great Barrington for 30 years.
“We all go through life with labels,” says Koldys who acknowledges the myriad labels she has acquired over the years. Today, Koldys has shed all of these labels and is busily being herself, a practice that begins each day by asking how she can be of service to others. “Without some of the darkness, you can’t see the light,” Koldys says of her life — a process she likens to “walking a journey with faith.” From an in-
law apartment attached to the home where she has lived for nearly four decades, Koldys has built “a beautiful place — gathering a community of healers.” Since the Center’s opening in August, she has drawn people from all walks of life to take pause and reflect on their hectic lives. Her location, on Pleasant Street, is no coincidence; there is a peacefulness that pervades the space, one in which visitors feel softly held. Koldys — a certified Holistic Life Coach with Vibrational Sound Association certification — has only scratched the surface of what she hopes to bring to the Center. She offers Mindfulness Training through a course that will teach and practice techniques for staying in the present moment and how to deal with circumstances mindfully; and Vibrational Sound Therapy. This modality offers healing, to diseased or parts of the body that are out of harmony, by altering the rate of vibration and restoring normal frequencies to those areas.
In addition to Koldys, the Center is staffed with varied holistic therapists, each offering a different modality; Karen Andrews offers Creative Coaching for musicians, visual artists, performers, writers and entrepreneurs; Jeanne Bassis offers Embodyment Work through a gentle, holistic approach to healing using an intuitive blend of techniques; Kate Durien offers Wave Energy; Jill Eldredge, is a certified hypnotist and Magnetic Auric Healer, Medical Intuitive and Vibrational Healer; and Susan Solovay offers medical hypnosis which uses the power of one’s mind to enhance health and healing.
Before leaving the Center, I was invited to step into a massive brass bowl, handmade in Nepal, spanning more than 24 inches in diameter. One of the services offered by Koldys is grounding, a technique that helps to keep one in the present. Grounding can help one to reorient to the here and now and can be helpful in managing feelings of anxiety and stress; it also helps one to regain mental focus from an emotional state. It was, for all intents and purposes, like “clear[ing] out the proverbial cobwebs,” and I was happy for the experience. The bowl, etched with an intricate set of footprints, was symbolic of the many individuals who have stepped in and felt the effects of vibrational therapy. “Every bowl speaks to its owner,” explained Koldys who recounted for me her own process of procuring this specimen. The use of continuous vibration, both on and around the body, can be tuned to an individual’s chakras.
“My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue,” Koldys reflects — through an impromptu rendition of Carole King’s 1971 hit — before trailing off. “Life has brought me so many beautiful experiences [all of which] far outweigh any of the unbeautiful ones,” she says. And now, despite the shortest day of the year fast approaching, light abounds at the Giving Tree Healing Arts Center. In summer, perennial gardens spill onto the sidewalk adjacent to the old Housatonic Elementary School; Koldys has a butterfly garden, and an oval mirror on a stand that — to the delight of passersby — reflects the iconic Housy water tower across the street — all just a stone’s throw away from a peaceful space devoted to healing mind, body and spirit. For more information, visit Giving Tree Healing Arts Center on Facebook.