Health and Wellness
Writing as an Emotional Outlet
Each Thursday afternoon, Abigail Moone ’23 can be found on the third floor of the Chapel. Following social distancing guidelines, a dozen or so students sit in a circle and wait for Moone to begin the meeting. She reads a poem from the student literary publication Red Weather and sets a reflective mood that continues for the next 20 minutes.
Recoup & Soup is a meditative space that allows students to practice mindfulness, and it’s one of the many programs Moone coordinates as the mindfulness intern, working under Chaplain Jeff McArn.
To expand mindfulness programs throughout campus, Moone has encouraged more students to join Recoup & Soup, led guided meditation sessions for Questbridge students, and held a mindfulness workshop for COOP Service Interns. She’s part of the All Beliefs Council and is currently working on redefining the chaplaincy so that it’s more accessible to students.
Moone also works with residents of Wallace Johnson Residence Hall (known as Wally J), which houses students interested in mindfulness and quiet living, introducing students to journaling circles, leading them on quiet walks through Root Glen, and setting up finger painting and drawing activities.
“Before coming to Hamilton, I had explored mindfulness through writing and mostly poetry,” Moone explained. She had chosen to live in Wally J her first year on campus and was introduced to Recoup & Soup and their community dinners. “The community and peace I found there were really important, and I kept going.”
The following year, she started coordinating with the resident advisor for Wally J and encouraged students to adopt mindfulness in their everyday lives. Now Moone works as an orientation leader for Wally J students, building individual relationships with them and serving as a mentor for anyone interested in a quiet life. She recognizes, of course, that not everyone who lives in Wally J is interested in mindfulness. But for those willing to give it a try, she finds it rewarding to see them grow individually.
“She has a natural ability to reach out and build community,” McArn said proudly. “She’s thoughtful, creative, and very grounded.”
McArn is not the only one who thinks so. Sarah Ferland ’23, a resident at Wally J, was persuaded to join Recoup & Soup thanks to Moone. Ferland in turn introduced Owen Routhier ’23 to mindfulness, and the community continued to grow. According to Ferland, Moone has made Recoup & Soup a welcoming environment for everyone, turning the Chapel into more than just a religious space.
Although this semester has made it more difficult to connect with others and build relationships, Moone did not let that deter her. She plans to organize a Mindfulness Awareness Week, create more programs for Wally J, including art and yoga, and partner with more campus groups. “I love what it’s brought me — the contentment, the control, and the people, and I’m very excited to keep learning and experimenting with it because it is still relatively new to me,” she said
For anyone interested in becoming a mindfulness intern, Moone advises demonstrating mindfulness not just to the community, but also to yourself. “It’s about growth and reflection,” she said. “That’s the best way to get started.”
Writing as an Emotional Outlet
A Conversation With Counseling Center Director David Walden
During the course of the pandemic, Hamilton’s Counseling Center has had to quickly adapt to better meet the needs of students navigating social restrictions and a high-stress environment. We asked David Walden, director of counseling and psychological services, some questions related to all that. This is what he had to say, edited for length and clarity.