Peace, love and taco salads

DeAnna Hettinger

Zen lovers, peace-activists and semi-gurus explored “The Seven Realms of Wellness” Sept. 21 at Santa Rosa Junior College. While the taco salads were truly a spiritual experience, the connection of mind, body and soul was the main focus of this event.
The event was hosted by SRJC’s PEERS Coalition, a club that aims to promote positive mental health, educate students about the symptoms of mental health issues and encourage students to reach out for help when needed.
The coalition is funded by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act, Prop. 63. It is one of several prevention and early intervention initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority, an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
Cheri McLean, a representative of the PEERS Coalition said, “The goal of the workshop is to help students achieve optimal wellness. The presence or absence of mental illness does not prove one way or another one’s mental stability as a whole.”
McLean elaborated on “The Seven Realms of Wellness,” which include the physical, emotional, mental, social, environmental, occupational and spiritual dimensions of being. “The importance of finding a balance between all of them to incorporate into normal life. Lifestyle, habits and your actions are telling of who you are,” she said.
“To revamp your way of thinking, for example, negative thoughts, one must practice optimism and gratitude. Challenging oneself to practice positive self-talk helps to avoid being stagnant,” McLean said.
Inside the student leadership building, students were invited to eat taco salad, sit in a circle and breathe deeply. Holding rose petals, SRJC Counselor Luz Navarette led the group in a healing ceremony. She also gave a lecture, highlighting her recent trip to the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico to visit her Mayan elders.
She spoke of her current mission as being a messenger for them after receiving their blessings. The event focused on purpose, intention and love of all mankind. Following Navarette’s presentation, the students split up into groups of three and were assigned a “realm” to discuss amongst themselves. They then shared with the group as a whole.
PEERS Coalition member Rebecca Fein said, “Overall, the workshop was a huge success; we had a great turn-out, a substantive and high-quality series of activities and very tasty food. Luz Navarette offered a beautiful presentation that discussed the importance of holistic wellness, and wrapped up by giving the group a few simple body movement tools to promote personal well-being.”