Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Crossroads

My son and I went outside this morning to shovel just enough so that he could pull the car out and not have to drive over and pack down the three or four inches of white slush that came down last night. I have enough cold weather and snow experience, of a life lived mostly in Central New York, to know that you don’t just drive over that small snow fall in the morning when you leave, just because you know you can and it is not going to slow you down. Unless of course you are eager to do the experiment to find out just how much of an ice base you can create on your driveway, and how many months it will take to get rid of it!!

As I am shoveling this morning, the cold snap of air against my eyes and face in combination with the movement of shoveling brought some gentle tearing to my eyes. Not from exertion or emotion, but a purely physiological response to the elements outside. It reminded me, however, of a lesson I learned many years ago when I stubbed my toe. I had been walking up some steps, and clumsily missed the next step up, and stubbed my toe. The injury was not very significant, but hurt enough to elicit tears. Next thing I knew I found those tears created an opening, and all of a sudden there I sat completely bawling, something between real serious tears, and also laughter. Tears because of the insult to my toe and ego, and also because of all the other things that had been stressful in my life at that point, that should have brought me to tears well before then, all of a sudden found their outlet of explosion. Laughter, at the instantaneous realization of what was happening.

So this morning I did not find myself turning the tears into a major crying fit, but I was surprised at how I felt that familiar opening and the vulnerability that could have easily become more than just gentle tears from moving around outside in the cold and snow. If the right person had been there and offered me ears and attention the tears could easily have become much more real. I quickly understood. The experience of falling into a major puddle from a minor stub of my toe all those years ago was a powerful experience, and it comes back to me easily. Today’s vulnerability I understand as recognition of my being at an important crossroads. It is the eve of the New Year, and floating around in my head are events of the year past and many anticipations of the year to come.

As I will be turning 50, 2008 will offer me an important landmark birthday. The years of studying, and working as a family therapist should finally pay off in the acquisition of a license from New York State, finally!! Did I say Finally?! After spending time and energy seriously panicking about whether I would accumulate the hours I need in the time frame required, it has become evident that this really will happen. For someone who despises test taking, it is an indication of the level of stress those hours were creating, to witness my relief at turning the stress of accumulating hours into relief for having to study for an exam!! And then there are my children, all of their lives and significant anticipations, and of course, my own personal life struggles. Many many places where things seem to be at important crossroads for all 5 of us.

Reflecting back on the year behind me, I am again amazed at how much can happen in a single year. I know too, that some of what will transpire in the year ahead I will easily be able to anticipate, but much of what will come will be unpredictable. Predictable or not, the result of years of striving, or spontaneous events that just seem to come out of nowhere, life offers itself up. The challenge is ours to live it to our best. To step away with a smile, and warm feeling when things fall into place as we like them. To offer our tears when they can help us along. And, to take the time to recognize our need for tears and laughter, listening and being listened to.

Many warm wishes to all for a Happy, Prosperous, Healthy New Year. May you dream ambitious dreams, may you have loved ones around you to witness your dreams, your accomplishments, and your sorrows.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Syracuse Community Choir Solstice Concert

22nd Annual Winter Solstice Concert: Do Justice, Make Peace
Karen Mihalyi, conductor

Saturday, December 15, 2007 @ 7:00 PM

Price: $10 - $25 sliding scale; children under 12 free

Plymouth Church
232 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse

"Do Justice; Make Peace" is the theme of the Winter Solstice Concert this year. As the season turns chilly and we approach a new year, the choir trumpets an unwavering refrain for change. The languages in which they sing are diverse -- Spanish, Zulu, English, Arabic -- but the call for individual responsibility and action is the common thread. The Syracuse Community Choir is an ever-growing group of children and adults who work to educate each other and the greater community about social and political issues -- focusing on indigenous rights, civil rights, environmental rights, religious acceptance, and inclusion of all people. SCC members are bound together by an interest in music, a desire to work for social justice, and a quest for community.

Monday, December 3, 2007

flyer blurbs

Ok.... the flyer really is much better as a "flyer"... somehow loses it's impact as I try to offer pieces of it in this format. I might just have to enlist one of my tech age kids to help me figure out how to post it on my blog as a flyer!! :

What creates a need for therapy is change, either a desire for change, or a need to adjust to an unexpected change. While navigating your way through change, keeping balance in your daily life can become challenging and problematic. A healthy and satisfying relationship with a therapist will nurture you with patience and compassion through the process.

Change in Motion Healing Arts
The Spa at 500
500 W. Onondaga St.
Syracuse, NY 13204
Donna: 315-885-3057

Change in Motion Healing Arts

Donna Dallal-Ferne

MA, Marriage and Family Therapy

RYT, Yoga Instructor

Licensed Massage Therapist

Donna Dallal-Ferne, MA: Donna entered Syracuse University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program in the fall of 2002. After finishing her internship in February of 2005 at The Center for Living with Loss, associated with Hospice of Central New York, she opened an office and maintained a small private practice on her own for a year. In January of 2006, she began working with Jill Weldum in Weldum Family Therapy Services. In the summer of 2007 Donna moved her practice to The Spa at 500, in downtown Syracuse.
Donna brings to her therapy practice experience as not only a family therapist but also her experience as a massage therapist, and her passion for yoga. Her massage practice solidified and grounded for her the meaning of “mind-body connection” and inspired her to go to graduate school for marriage and family therapy. She also brings to her practice her own personal experience of marriage, divorce, and raising 4 children. Her special areas of interest in family therapy include:
Helping families and individuals through times of loss and grief. Couples therapy, including communication, intimacy, separation and divorce. Gay/lesbian/transgender issues. The struggles of adolescents.
Donna is an Associate member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and an active member of the local professional organization, CNYAMFT.
In addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, Donna is also a Licensed Massage Therapist, and a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance.

Change in Motion Healing Arts offers family, couple and individual services. The office includes play facilities for children and families.
CIMHA also offers massage, and has space for private yoga sessions with individuals, couples, or small family groups.

A massage therapist can help you undo deep muscle tension. A psycho-therapist will help you address and uncover the issues in your life that bring on bodily tensions. A yoga practice will bring your awareness keenly to your habitual form, and help you to see and feel how you carry your life in your body.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Donna at:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Love Byte

I wrote a thought about what love is not too long ago, hoping to stir responses and comments. Of course love is many many things. Here is another muse on the matter, which felt particularly important to me in a moment of quiet reflection the other day.

Love is: the ability to recognize and embrace our wounded selves, and to forgive what we perceive as the sources of our wounds.


Monday, October 1, 2007

New Office Announcement

I am pleased to announce that I have moved my office. I am working with a new supervisor, Susan White, LMFT and will be sharing two office spaces with her. One will be in the newly opened "Spa at 500" on W. Onondaga St. just west of Armory Square and of downtown Syracuse. The Spa is the home of massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, counselors, yoga instructors, and others.

The other space Susan and I will be sharing is in the Women's Info building at 601 Allen St. in the University area of Syracuse, NY.

My phone and email contact remain the same:


October Yoga

I will begin teaching yoga at a new location this month on Monday evenings at 5:30.

My new space will be at 500 W. Onondaga St., Syracuse, NY on the very near west side of downtown, about a mile from Aromory Square. There will be no class on Monday the 8th of October due to Columbus Day weekend.

Fee for the class will be $12.00 for drop-ins, and $10. per class if you buy a series of 4 or more.

I continue to offer very small and private classes in my small studio in my house as well.

Feel free to call me to schedule a private, or for information about my classes: 315-885-3057


Monday, August 13, 2007

Love is:

Love is being able to honestly "let go", while not taking it personally. Ahhh, so profound!!! Yet, definitely what I discover more and more in both my professional and personal life. People take so much so personally, and when we do that, it is more about ego than about love. Offer your sweetie some freedom; freedom to mess up, freedom to hurt, freedom to move from a hurt place, and you may find that all the things they do that you find hurtful are really not so much about you, but more about their own mortal imperfections.

Not so many comments happening on this little page of mine. Would greatly enjoy hearing other thoughts about this, and what you think "love is", outside of silly fairy tales!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

As I contemplate saying good-bye soon to my very dear feline friend Kaspar, I am yet again deeply moved by the poetry of John de Kadt. Thank you John; for simplicity, depth, and truth. This is the lead number from his Drum Poetry album:

This Rhythm Is Not Mine

this rhythm is not mine
it comes from all hearts beating
all things opening and closing
it comes from the silent movement
of fishtails in the ocean
and from the swinging of waves and tides
it comes from the woodpecker
and from the way the ants
parade across the ground
it comes from the circling sun
and swaying leaf
that falls every autumn
no this rhythm is not mine,
but none of these
can claim it either,
not even the spinning moon
in her waning and waxing
can boast its creation
this rhythm is old
and as constant as our sure death
and as sure as the way morning
appears again and again
on the horizon
nothing does not dance to this rhythm
it is heard in every spec of all the worlds
even the gods are forced to step in time
it’s been around so long
it never began

John de Kadt

Monday, June 4, 2007

Bristol, NY

I went away on Yoga retreat for a few days over Memorial Day weekend; was blessed to be able to take in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate NY. The retreat was hosted in a building that was originally designed to be a hunting cabin, and has now been converted to yoga retreat space. People who own homes in this area generally have many acres of land and if they don’t happen to be right on a lake, rather than digging and installing a pool, they will dig and dig and very easily create a fresh water pond. Which was the case at this sight. This creates a perfect setting for nighttime music of frog and toad calls. This particular retreat drew a small crowd of women, mostly from Colorado. It was very interesting for me to observe their impressions of this most gorgeous area between Central and Western New York State. We truly were extraordinarily lucky to have unseasonably warm and sunny weather (whatever is seasonable anymore?!). The women from Colorado were drinking in, not only the warmth, but also the humidity in the air. It is not what the air feels and smells like in Colorado. To me, this is what late spring and summer just is; to these women, this was a delicious treat. Of course, I had nothing to do with their total enjoyment of the lush green, the gorgeous pond, the singing spring birds, toads, and frogs, the sunny, warm, and humid weather; but somehow all of this felt a little more like mine, and I felt special. No doubt my feeling special came not only from their new found appreciation of what is close to home and familiar to me, but also came from Jeanie Manchester’s yoga classes, Douglas Brooks’ inspiring talks each afternoon, and Vishali’s welcome setting. Many thanks to our talented teachers and to the Goddesses from the West (and East too)! See you at our next gathering!

Blessings, Donna

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A very dear friend has experienced a tremendous loss recently. He and his partner, pregnant for the first time, first child for both of them, lost the pregnancy in the ninth month. I feel grief, sorrow, love, tenderness, and so terribly clumsy. What could be more contradictory than death that precedes birth? Than spending the better part of a year in eager loving anticipation of the hopes and dreams that new birth offers, then to have those dreams turn to grief and mourning? My deepest heartfelt sympathies are with you, D&L. Love, Donna

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Upcoming Yoga Classes

Apologies for being delinquent on posting my teaching schedule. Here is the schedule for the rest of May and into June:

Monday's 10:00 AM at the Westcott Community Center, corner of Euclid and Westcott St., no class Memorial Day; last Monday class in this series will be Monday June 18th.
Wednesday's 10:30 AM, in my home studio, until further notice. Call for directions: 315-885-3057

Monday and Wednesday morning classes are $10. per class.

My schedule with "The Fit Biz":

Monday May 21st 5:40 PM at Rockefeller church
Monday May 28: Memorial Day, No evening class
Monday June 4 and June 11: 5:40 PM at Bellvue church
Thursday June 14: 4:15 PM at Bellvue Church

See November '06 posting for directions to both churches.


Monday, April 23, 2007


Hamilton College’s
College and Community Oratorio Society present:

Carl Orff’s Carmina Burina


James Hopkins’ Songs of Eternity

under the direction of G. Roberts Kolb

Lauralyn Kolb, Soprano

Ray Larzelere, tenor

Timothy LeFebvre, baritone

Tuesday April 24, 2007, 8:00 PM

Carol Woodhouse Wellin Hall in the Schambach Center for Music and Performing Arts on Hamilton College’s campus, Clinton, NY

Admission: $6.00, Students/Seniors: $4.00; Hamilton Students free with ID

Should be a Wonderful Concert! Donna

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

So here's another beautiful poem from Danna Faulds. This is from her collection, Poems from the Heart of Yoga: Go In and In


There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

This little verse spoke to me well this evening. I hope it does for you also. Donna

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Some thoughts about couples therapy

So, here I am thinking about what to publish on this fun little site that gives me an opportunity to write, and as I am thinking I realize…. The name of this site is “Donna’s Therapy Blog”, yet recently it has felt a little more like, “Donna’s Musings.” Musings are good; after all, they indeed are fodder for therapy. However, today I am feeling compelled to be a little more direct in bringing theme and title in synch with one another.

In my musings about therapy and what I like about being a therapist, I often find myself thinking about how much I appreciate working with couples. As I consider why this client pool is so satisfying, I find myself going to this place of understanding the correlation between my rather eclectic theory of therapy, and how it corresponds to and intersects with both my moral thinking, and my broader thinking on what the key elements are to living a content life with integrity. As I personally am not in a couple relationship right now, and have not been for a number of years, I understand that being part of a couple is not the basis for satisfaction and contentment in our adult lives. Indeed, as a therapist, and someone who has lived through the separation and divorce process, I also deeply understand how coupling can, sometimes, complicate one’s sense of self in a manner that can create a lot of confusion, unhappiness, and downright misery.

YET, there is this very lovely piece that I have witnessed with couples as I have been invited to participate in the therapy process with them. Here is a somewhat condensed version of what I most appreciate about working with couples:

~ They dare to bring their most humble selves forward together to effect a change in their most personal, most intimate relationship.

~ Change happens because people put forward their most tender vulnerabilities, developing greater trust both in themselves, and in their partners.

~ As change happens, depth of understanding comes not only about each other, but about themselves as individuals, creating space for expansion and growth in other relationships in their lives as well.

~ None of this happens without a willingness to develop deeper honesty with each other, and with themselves.

~ I believe that the work in couples therapy is some of the deepest work that people will do for themselves, and that it is the foundation for developing better relationships in the rest of their lives.

~ I further believe that there is a powerful ripple effect when others see, witness, and are a part of the lives of those who work hard to have integrity in their relationships. And, that at some level it will reverberate well beyond what we know and see in our own personal daily lives.

~ In other words, if we all dared to do what struggling couples do to better their relationships, the entire population of the planet would have a greater chance at living in peace with one another!! Now that is exciting and powerful stuff!!!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Tease of Spring

Yesterday we had a Tease of Spring. Today, it is back to the Soaking of the Earth that Central New York is famous for. I was all set last night to write something to post on this site all about how lovely the warm air felt, and what a nice welcome home it was for me, after being away in the much warmer climate of the Florida coastline for a few days. However I got distracted by other things and here I am, the very next day, and the great outdoors is not exactly providing me with the back drop for writing about the Tease of Spring.

It is March however, and the very experience of the teasing weather is a huge reminder of how impactful what is happening outside can be on our state of mind. Being someone who has spent most of my life in Central New York, I have always said that, despite what can be long winters, I appreciate the beauty of this part of the world, and the experience of very clearly having four seasons. And yet, here we are at the end of what was a harsh February, but not really all that harsh of a winter, and that little tease of warmth had the locals, and me, buzzing like bees who couldn’t wait for the taste of the first spring flowers.

March, a season of water, is most definitely upon us. Yesterday it was the gushing floods from the snow banks melting under the warm suns rays. Today it is the floodgates in the sky opening wide. Tomorrow, it might be snow again; we won’t know until we know. We locals now have the opportunity, once again, to moan about the weather in Central New York, and how cold and wet it is so much of the year. The Tease of Spring is, however, real. A real taste of what we all know lies just around the corner, when the warmer temperatures of spring and summer really will come our way. A bit of spring water allows us the privilege of our complaining, as well as the other privilege of living in one of the most beautiful lush green spots on this planet.

Happy March one and all. May the anticipation and eagerness of the season of green buds infect your spirit, even if a little early!


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yoga in March

Here’s my schedule for teaching yoga in March:

Monday March 5: 10:00-11:15 AM at Westcott Community Center
5:40- 6:55 PM at Bellvue Heights Church on Geddes St.
Monday March 12, and 19: same as above

Monday March 26: 10:00-11-15 AM at Westcott Community Center

Wednesday March 28: 5:40 – 6:55 PM at Rockefeller Church on the corner of Tecumseh and Nottingham Rds. in Syracuse

Wednesday mornings: 10:30 AM- noon in my home studio. Call for location and directions: 885-3057

Monday, February 26, 2007

Kyra Remembered

So, February has been a slow month for posting things here. Not entirely sure why. Maybe the excitement of the New Year is fading into the mundane of everyday. Last week provided some extra challenges for me. Spent the week alone, while my children were, all 4 of them, even the youngest, off in other places. During their absence our old family dog passed, and I had to figure out how to manage the event by myself. It was a lonely, sad, and difficult process. I felt a little like I should somehow find a way to memorialize her, so wrote an obituary of sorts for her. It felt a little silly at first, but I decided that really it is not, so here it is:

Kyra: Feb 15, 1993-Feb 20, 2007

Sweet devoted family doggie, left us last week. Suffering from complications of old age, and arthritis, her body finally decided it had had enough. Kyra waited until 5 days after her 14th birthday, roughly 98 doggie years to give up the fight. She has been wearing the badges of old age for a few years now: multiple fatty cysts that made her look disfigured, and of course the pain and discomfort created from the complications of arthritis, especially in her hips.

So much history that accompanies our memories of Kyra. She came into our household when her human siblings were: 9, 8, 5, and 1 ½ years old. She gracefully offered herself as buffer to so much chaos, and put up with our nonsense when the craziness of our lives meant that she got lost in the chaos. She chose her moment to leave this world when the kids were all away; Paul, Justine, and Karl off traveling and/or studying away from home, and Ruth away for school break week with her father. I will always marvel at the timing of Kyra’s departure, 5 days after her birthday, and during a brief and unusual absence of all the kids.

Kyra leaves behind, besides her human family, three four legged friends: Maggie: Mini Dachshund, who is now left to take on the role of Pet Principle, a role that she has been ready, willing, and able to take on for quite some time; Casper: the most senior of the household critters, 16 ½ year old gray cat; and Smokey Joey: black cat extraordinaire, quietly keeping his distance from most of the household chaos. The house is very different without you, Kyra. You will be dearly missed.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A Tears Kind of a Day

Some days are just a tears kind of a day. Appointments get missed, communications don't happen, the cold freezes the car battery, and then when I trade cars, car number two's door is frozen shut, and I have to climb over the stick shift to get in and out! Life shouldn't be this difficult. Where is the flow?? And then, my thoughts wander to baby number two, daughter number one..... 22 years old today! Happy Birthday, J! Thank you for the smile between the tears. With love, and a bit of perspective; smiles and tears sent your way, Mom

Thursday, January 25, 2007


For some reason this January I have been feeling particularly moved to go after my New Year’s “anticipations” with some pretty serious energy. In a manner like I cannot remember for past January’s. Maybe it is about the stage of my emptying nest, and I am somehow feeling particularly vulnerable (age), as well as particularly capable (youthful, and feeling a taste of more freedom). It begins to feel something like, all right, DO it Donna. Now or never! In many ways this is my life’s moment of prime. Now is the moment to make my body stronger, find an extra hour for yoga, take some time to walk daily, lose that bit of weight I keep talking about wanting to lose, go after that bigger client base I want to develop, and nurture the growing wisdom that continues to evolve from the years of single parenting and all the other events that have lead to my graying and thinning hair. All of this at once; right NOW!

And then the Divine within me speaks up and offers a soft quieting voice reminding me of the fine edge of change. The edge of change that straddles acceptance with the desire for movement. So, how do I navigate this edge? How do I balance my eagerness with what I understand and know are my limitations? How do I use what I know about myself to make my way in a manner such that I can anticipate a level of success I can feel good about, and yet not become so ambitious that I will feel defeated before I put my first foot forward?

As I ponder this, I bring myself back to my yoga practice, where I find a sweet combination of direct and metaphorical assistance to just about everything. As I consider some of my edges in yoga, I come to this beautiful, “Ah ha” of Vasistasana (Side Plank Pose). This is the pose that will become a focal point for my practice for the next stretch of time. The metaphor of Vasistasana, and the challenges it offers me are very apt. It is a balancing pose that requires strength, confidence, and a determined spirit. I generally bring myself into it, no problem, but fall out quickly, and then, the tendency is to walk away and not come back to it for a good long time. Not so unlike some other struggles in my life!

The benefit of taking care of business through yoga is that, not only is yoga a serious practice that brings me to a depth of understanding and insight about both myself and the world around me, but it is also a friendly, playful practice, that is patient, kind, and forgiving. So I will honor and nurture my space in Vasistasana, allowing it to become my play; the play that will help me guide my determined spirit with balance, strength, and confidence.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Quietly I sit

Good intentions:
Empty my mind; create a
Loving Focus
Surely this is the making of the positive changes I seek.

My mind is a wander.
Gently, I pull the restlessness back.

Loving Focus; Doubts
Intent on anticipated, desired Movement.

Stillness persists, Mind moves
Change: inevitable, unpredictable
With a mask of stillness I fuss, protest and
Quietly allow all that is, just is.


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

New Year's Anticipations

Less than half way through January, it is not yet too late to be contemplating what some refer to as New Year’s “resolutions”. I have decided this year not to call them that. In deference to the side of me that looks forward to looking forward, I am contemplating my New Year’s “anticipations”.

Also, being a therapist, being a human being that has lived on this planet for something more than 40 years, I understand that those pesky “resolutions” we make for ourselves are all about the desire for, not just change, but healing change. Well, change happens whether we plan on it or not, and whether or not the change is healing is often a matter of our state of mind. So, rather than approaching the inevitable with an underlying sense of punishing myself for all the things that “need” to be improved, I will anticipate that my past, whatever it is, will serve me well as I approach and look forward to what lies ahead for me in 2007.

As we resolve we are requesting healing of ourselves. As I anticipate, I approach my resolve with hope as well as confidence in my own capacity to understand myself, and make choices that will ultimately offer the healing I am most able and ready to receive. Not that I anticipate all things will necessarily come up rosy for me in the New Year. However, as I approach resolutions with an air of anticipation, I give myself a vote of confidence, rather than a punishing shake of a finger. I suspect that if more of us thought of our past with a mixture of forgiveness and gratitude, moving forward into healing changes would come more naturally, and with less suffering. If I can offer myself such compassion, I can offer that compassion back to the people I love and thereby the healing I give to myself is also offered back to the relationships that are most important to me.

Here’s to 2007, and all of its as yet unrevealed mysteries, and to our ability to anticipate with confidence the healing power of compassion.


Sunday, January 7, 2007

Teaching Yoga in January

January 8, Monday; 5:40PM at Bellvue

January 17, Wednesday; 5:40 at Rockefeller

January 22, Monday; 5:40 at Rockefeller

January 31, Wednesday; 5:40 at Rockefeller

Monday mornings, 10:30.... call to confirm class and for location: 315-885-3057

See November class postings for location of Monday and Wednesday evening's classes.