Vroman’s Bookstore was bustling and busy on Sunday January 28, as I arrived for a local authors event. Perhaps that is typical for a Sunday at Vroman’s but perhaps it had a little to do with the recent announcement that after 100 years of ownership, the Sheldon family is looking for a new buyer – a buyer that they hope will be committed to preserving Vroman’s as a community treasure, according to Joel Sheldon’s statement. In the meantime, the statement went on to say that they need the community’s continued support. I hope the crowd at the store is an indication that our community is ready and willing to do just that.
On this particular Sunday, local author Chantal Donnelly was participating in a local authors event by discussing, reading from and signing her new book “Settled – How to Find Calm in a Stress-Inducing World”. I recently spoke to Chantal and you can read that interview here. I was intrigued to learn more and Donnelly explained to the gathered crowd that she, too, had become overwhelmed and stressed just as she was beginning her research on her book and how she takes you on her journey along with those of several of her physical therapy clients as she figured out these life-changing methods.
Donnelly went on to talk about how stress leads to problems like dysfunctional sleeping, dysregulation of insulin, inflammation, problems with focus, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and chronic pain and that these have traditionally been treated in a “brain down” way, where her method invites us to treat them from a “body up” or somatic approach. “Stress lives in the body and we were ignoring, for the most part, “body up” strategies,” she says. “When I really started looking under the hood of all this research, I realized we were barely scratching the surface of things like breathing techniques and exercises. We weren’t addressing why breathing works or why they work for some and not for others. Is there something we’re doing on a daily basis that is restricting our breathing or increasing our stress?”
She gave a specific example of addressing breathing and how our breathing and overall health is affected when we, for example, have a job where we are sitting all day. Her book offers over 30 exercises and strategies to release areas of your body that specifically target the sympathetic nervous system.
Donnelly read a chapter of her book and then during a short Q&A, she demonstrated one of the techniques and had the crowd do it along with her.
Donnelly was joined at the event by local poet, Marcia Arrieta, who read from her books of poetry, “permimeter homespun”, “through time waves”, and “within sky”. Author Roger Parham-Brown read from his novel “The Song of Sylvia”. The authors all sat for a meet and greet and book signing after their readings. It was a full house.
After the event, I couldn’t help but nostalgically walk through the children’s section where I used to bring my young son to Storytime with Mr. Steve and meet up with other parents, a tradition that continues today. Yes, Mr. Steve is still there! Vroman’s has a special place in my heart and I have spent many an hour in their biography and cookbook sections. Hey neighbors, they even have a wine bar now! So, do yourself and our community a favor and make that ten minute drive to our local bookstore and buy a book. You’ll be happy you did.