This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Beth Lawrence, RYT 500

Our chair yoga practice will connect body and mind. You are invited to relax deeply as we move through a series of gentle seated and supported poses that promote self-care.

All levels welcome.


Our Chair Yoga classes meet each Tuesday afternoon from 12:00 – 1:00pm.

Suggested Donation for 1 Class: $10

Suggested Donation for 1 Month of Classes: $25

Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


About Beth Lawrence

Beth discovered yoga in early 2002 as a mother of six month old twins. She was looking to get back into shape after their birth. In yoga, she found far more than she anticipated- an age old practice designed to help people relieve stress- both mental and physical. After a few years of regular practice, she knew she wanted to share her positive experiences with others. She has been leading yoga classes in the DC area since 2007 after completing her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Nth Degree Yoga with Martha Rosen. In 2011, she went back to earn her RYT500. Her personal practice is inspired by Integral Yoga and Sivananda Yoga, both of which incorporate body and mind into the practice.

Please email instruction@knitwell.org to schedule an Individual Knitting Instruction appointment.

with Project Knitwell

Knitwell in the Cloud

During these stressful times, we need the wellness benefits of knitting now more than ever.

Project Knitwill invites you to join Knitwell in the Cloud, a new program offering private, one-on-one knitting lessons via Zoom. It’s a safe, effective way to knit and learn.

Who is this for?  Beginner knitters and those who already know how to knit but need help with a project.

How long are the sessions? 45-60 minutes. You will have up to 4 lessons with your instructor.

What equipment do I need to participate? A smartphone or tablet (iPad, etc.)  and the free Zoom app downloaded on the device you will use.

Do I need to get my own supplies?  No — Project Knitwell will provide you with what you need.


Knitwell in the Cloud is an ongoing program with rolling registration. Please email instruction@knitwell.org  or call 703-249-9112 and mention that you heard about the program through Smith Center.

About Project Knitwell

Project Knitwell

Project Knitwell offers knitting as a tool to promote wellness and help people cope with stressful situations at more than a dozen hospital and community settings.

All of Project Knitwell’s programming is provided by volunteers, and services and supplies are provided free of charge to the people we serve.


About the Project Knitwell Volunteers

About Ilene Gast

Ilene Gast

I have been knitting since childhood, learning when I received a knitting kit as a gift.  Knitting allows me to combine color and texture, transforming long strings of yarn into aesthetically pleasing, functional items.  I knit all manner of objects, but my favorites are wild colored socks and unusually shaped shawls.

Although finishing a knitted object is satisfying, it is secondary to the process of knitting. The rhythm of knitting is relaxing; it never fails to relieve stress.  At the end of graduate school, I not only completed a degree, but also created a series of “dissertation sweaters.”  Knitting also lets me take leave of myself.  When I am knitting for someone else, which is often, I can virtually spend time with that person.  Or, if I use yarn acquired in a special place, I am transported back in time and space.  Add portability to these benefits—I can take it with me!

However, most of all, I enjoy sharing the art and craft of knitting with others. I am fortunate to have discovered Project Knitwell, an organization dedicated to bringing the benefits of knitting to people in stressful situations.  I am doubly grateful to be part of the Schar ISC Artist in Residence program.

Please email Carla at carla@smithcenter.org to be added to the waitlist.

with Carole O’Toole

A small, almost inaudible voice will say what lies ahead. By Sheila Petruccelli

Cancer often initiates an intense transformational process that can raise more questions than answers, leading us to re-examine our beliefs and approach to life. We may feel called to explore opportunities for spiritual growth, feeling a desire to connect with the sacred in a more conscious way and define more deeply life’s meaning in the face of cancer.

Regardless of your personal beliefs or faith system, working with a spiritual companion offers you an opportunity to reflect with another on what is going on for you spiritually, and explore how to integrate your cancer experience with your personal beliefs.

Spiritual Companions:

  • Provide a safe, trusting environment that invites stillness and reflection.

  • Support your spiritual growth and exploration, your unique and personal journey.

  • Listen, deeply and with compassion, honoring your sacred story. This deep listening helps you to connect with your most authentic self and illuminate your unique spiritual path.


About Carole O’Toole

Carole O'Toole

Smith Center’s Spiritual Companion, Carole O’Toole, was called to companion others following her cancer experience that led her to explore how illness offers opportunities for spiritual growth. Since 2006 Carole has served in many roles at Smith Center, including Director of Residential Retreats, Director of the Institute of Integrative Oncology Navigation, Director of Smith Center’s Integrative Navigation Training Program, and as a member of and mentor for our integrative navigation team. Carole is currently receiving professional training in Spiritual Direction through The Haden Institute, with a particular focus on grief and loss and the spiritual challenges of living with cancer.

As a Spiritual Companion, Carole believes that what is truly transformative is compassionate presence.

“Your soul already knows the way to wholeness and healing, but often speaks to us in a small, still voice. In our time together, we create a nest for your soul to rest awhile, allowing space for your sacred truth to be revealed.”

Carole invites you to explore with her how to make meaning of your cancer experience and to look for where the holy is in your life. Currently, limited space is available for new clients. Individual appointments are available via Zoom or by telephone and are free of charge.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Candida DeLuise, LICSW

The holiday season can be stressful and this year’s holiday will be different for all of us, presenting new challenges. Join us in creating a peaceful refuge for each other. Candida will guide us in mindfulness practices to help us slow down and connect to our true hearts.

Suggested Donation: $10


About Candida DeLuise, LICSW

Candida DeLuise

Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy – Reiki, Energy work, Buddhist Psychology

As a contemplative psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience, Candida integrates mindfulness and psycho-spiritual approaches into the therapy process. She has worked with clients on transitions, relationships, trauma, mood disorders, chronic illness and aging issues. Creating a safe and nurturing space, she draws on mind-body awareness and Buddhist psychology. Candida is also a Reiki practitioner and life celebrant, crafting rituals to honor significant events. She is licensed in D.C. to officiate weddings and loves working with couples to create a custom ceremony that highlights their unique relationship. An experienced coach, consultant and Buddhist practitioner, Candida teaches meditation and leads workshops on mindfulness in everyday life. She works with artists in the creative process, and with individuals and groups committed to social change. She believes that as we reconnect to our inherent wisdom, we empower ourselves to live a more full and expansive life. 240-462-9550
candidadeluise@gmail.com

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Beth Lawrence, RYT 500

Our chair yoga practice will connect body and mind. You are invited to relax deeply as we move through a series of gentle seated and supported poses that promote self-care.

All levels welcome.


Our Chair Yoga classes meet each Tuesday afternoon from 12:00 – 1:00pm.

Suggested Donation for 1 Class: $10

Suggested Donation for 1 Month of Classes: $25

Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


About Beth Lawrence

Beth discovered yoga in early 2002 as a mother of six month old twins. She was looking to get back into shape after their birth. In yoga, she found far more than she anticipated- an age old practice designed to help people relieve stress- both mental and physical. After a few years of regular practice, she knew she wanted to share her positive experiences with others. She has been leading yoga classes in the DC area since 2007 after completing her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Nth Degree Yoga with Martha Rosen. In 2011, she went back to earn her RYT500. Her personal practice is inspired by Integral Yoga and Sivananda Yoga, both of which incorporate body and mind into the practice.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Kiersten Gallagher & Smith Center Staff

Happy Holidays to Our Extended Family

In an effort to keep our Smith Center family connected over the holidays, we have set up two times that we can hop on Zoom and be with one another. We hope that you will utilize this time to check in with each other. Wishing you peace and love during this holiday season.
Holiday Chats Dates: 
  • Monday, November 23, 12-1pm
  • Monday, December 28, 12-1pm

About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at SmithCenter and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent’s illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. Kiersten has also completed the Compassion Cultivation Training – CCT™ an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Hooper and Pablo.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Nancy Novack and Sangeeta Agarawal, RN, MS

Helpsy Health

 

Nancy's List

Financial stress is the last thing a cancer patient wants or needs in his or her life, whether in treatment or post-treatment. It gets in the way of deep healing. Financial distress can be very powerful.
To help patients who are struggling with this issue, we have identified resources that will provide financial assistance to you and your loved ones. We want you to know what is available to you so that you can find relief and focus on your healing.

About Nancy Novack

Nancy Novack

On the evening of my first meeting with my oncologist, he said to me, “This is a challenging diagnosis. The prognosis is bleak. But I do believe I can help you. I am with you.” Those four words sustained me whenever I was in fear. They directed my understanding of the power of relationship in my healing process. I was able to open my heart and receive the love and generosity of family and friends and oftentimes strangers who were there to hold my hand and my heart.
When people ask, and they often do, “What happened? How did you make it when so many others do not survive stage 4 ovarian cancer?” I don’t have any answers to that mystery. I do know, for certain, that the opening of my heart, the receiving of the blessings and the love, the sense of abundance of good will coming my way changed my being — during my cancer and forever more.

I am the luckiest lady in the world. I truly enjoy defying medical statistics and being the poster child for Stanford’s Cancer Center.

I made a vow to make a difference for people living with cancer, for those who love and care for them, and for the children who have a cancer diagnosis or love someone who has. My simple and profound wish is that no one will ever go through cancer alone. I started Nancy’s List to help my community cope with the epidemic of cancer.

For me, cancer changed everything. It generated my growth. It taught me the essence of gratitude. I adore the generosity of strangers. It defined my calling and refined my purpose as a psychologist. It gave me the opportunity to offer hope to those who have lost theirs. I found my courage and resilience.

Read Nancy’s full story here: https://nancyslist.org/name-nancy-novack/

About Sangeeta Agarawal

Sangeeta Agarawal, RN, MS

Ms. Agarawal is passionate about empowering people to live life to the fullest by making integrative medicine accessible to people where they are. She started her career as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, working for companies including IBM, Motorola/Google. She then developed the world’s first mobile video technology at a startup later acquired by Skype, this invention continues to change the world even today. She then changed her career into integrative medicine by studying, practicing and conducting research in both eastern and western medicine. She spent the next decade as a researcher, oncology nurse and integrative medicine practitioner at institutions including the Mayo Clinic, Stanford Cancer Center, and UCSF Cancer Center.

Her groundbreaking research work on the development of algorithms for clinical impact of integrative medicine was recognized by UCSF and NSF, and she received support from them to start Helpsy, the world’s first Artificial intelligence nurse for holistic symptom management and navigation (San). San can automatically create a personalized care plans and provide dynamic support to patients through integrative technologies, empowering patients and clinicians alike. Helpsy has served tens of thousands of patients from all over the world and the data generated provides insights that have never been captured or understood before.

She is passionate about empowering people in health care to understand and be at the forefront of the technology revolution. She is a nationally recognized speaker and author. She leads innovation initiatives at both SIO and ONS, and serves on the board of NCI PDQ for integrative medicine. She serves on the board of innovation centers and health care startups. She believes women deserve an equal place and is involved in several leadership initiatives to move the needle.

Please contact Kiersten at kiersten@smithcenter.org to register.

with Wendy Miller & Larry Kanter

This ongoing healing circle will focus on the unique needs of those experiencing the loss, recently or not, of a spouse or partner. No matter where you find yourself in your journey with grief, a chance to be with others who have lost a spouse or partner can lead to profound learning and healing.

Come join us in our healing circle of collaborative conversations.


What is a Healing Circle?

Healing Circles bring together small numbers of people impacted by a condition or circumstance to share experiences and harvest collective wisdom.  Healing Circles is a peer-led process by which people support each other through deep listening and shared learning. When working at its best, this collaborative conversation model leads to authentic and deep connectivity and can create wisdom and healing for participants.

This Healing Circle meets bi-monthly on Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

Upcoming sessions:

  • November 19
  • December 3 & 17

About Wendy Lynn Miller, Ph.D.

Moving here many years ago from the SF Bay Area, my relationship with Commonweal led me to Barbara Smith Coleman. I am proud to have been part of an early group of people with Shanti Norris who met with Barbara to envision the cancer retreats, a healing center, and gallery for Smith Center. Years later when my late husband Gene Cohen was facing metastatic prostate cancer, he went to Commonweal for his cancer retreat. The gift of community support, reflection, and care guided the choices we made through the many years of living with cancer in our family body. I became a widow in 2009.

Wendy Miller is an expressive arts therapist, artist, and writer living in Kensington, MD. In 2016, she published the book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging, and illness, about her life and work with her late husband. It is a spiritual treatise on love and creativity during life’s major transitions.

About Larry Kanter

My late wife, Alex Todorovich, passed away in 2009 from breast cancer. My work with the Smith Center began in 2007 when Alex and I attended the Center’s week-long retreat, which marked a turning point in our understanding of what it means to really live, to love life, and to live in the embrace of a healing community. After Alex’s passing the Center’s Hisaoaka Gallery mounted a show of Alex’s art entitled “How to Leave a Well-Traveled Road” which documented her life, her fears, her loves and the path she chose at its end.

Larry Kanter is a graphic designer living in Washington, DC and is a Smith Center friend and an ardent supporter of the Center’s work.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. Please click here to register for a 6-week circle.

with Kiersten Gallagher

Holy Ground

Please join us in a series Healing Circles for Grief “to discover the extent and limits of what is lost, what is left and what is possible.”  – John Schneider

If you have lost a loved one, this is an opportunity to share what is on your heart and mind right now, to listen and be listened to deeply and generously. Together we create a safe space for listening to messages from our inner experience. We have several series of six Healing Circles planned to start in September. Please see the schedule below; space is limited.


Some Assumptions about Grief

  • The experience of grief is unique for each individual. While we can make some general assumptions, there is no template that describes the experience for all people.
  • Grief is cumulative. That is, each time loss is grieved, the grief encompasses the lifetime of loss and the remnants of each experience.
  • Grief following a significant loss is most often a lifelong process, with each pivotal point in life bringing the grief back up to be processed from a new perspective.
  • Grief, loss and suffering fundamentally changes and reshapes the individual.
  • Grief is not about forgetting or disconnecting. Rather, healthy grief is about remembering the parts of self that get lost amidst the experience and reorienting the individual in their relationship with self, the world and others.
  • Grief is a whole body experience: emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual. Each have a wide range of expression which can cue us that grief is present.
  • While grief and trauma are often intertwined there are significant differences between them. Trauma should be addressed with trauma specific interventions that often go beyond what is possible in circles.

Adapted from Khris Ford


Grieving Together Healing Circle will meet Bi-Monthly on Thursdays from 3:00-4:30pm for 6 weeks.

Circle Dates:

  • September 10 & 24
  • October 8 & 22
  • November 5 & 19

Click here to view the schedule for 2 other Grieving Together circles.


About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at SmithCenter and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent’s illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Hooper and Pablo.

The Energy Balancing team will offer distance sessions during the regular Thursday times, 1:00-3:00pm. If you wish to receive, please email kiersten@smithcenter.org

with the Energy Balancing Team

Our Energy Balancing Program addresses the subtle energies of our body. When these energies are out of balance, all our body systems can become askew. One key to bringing us back into balance is deep relaxation. This is just what our volunteers provide – a half-hour of stress reducing relaxation to calm the body and enhance our well-being.

Most likely you are familiar with many of the body’s systems such as the respiratory system, the digestive system, the endocrine system, the skeletal system and so on. But are you aware that we also have subtle energy systems, systems that cannot be seen, cannot be measured, cannot be felt. Perhaps you know of some; the most familiar are the aura (also known as the biofield), the meridians, the chakras.

These subtle energy systems were very familiar to the ancients. They used them regularly to bring the body into energetic balance. When the body’s energies are in balance, we function at a higher vibration and are more relaxed, more joyful, more centered and able to enjoy life more productively. Many of the age-old techniques are now being used to bring calm to the body and to optimize one’s well-being.


Energy Balancing is offered Weekly on Thursdays in 1/2 hour appointments.

By appointment only. 

Time slots:

  • 1:00pm
  • 1:40pm
  • 2:20pm

About the Energy Balancing Team

About Ann Ringenberg

Ann Ringenberg

I am a reiki master and have been practicing reiki for over 12 years. I have provided reiki through volunteering at Thomas Circle Retirement Community, The Smith Center and was approved to start volunteering at INOVA Life with Cancer center prior to the COVID pandemic.  I also volunteer at the Charles County Hospice Center.  Reiki helps me to stay centered within myself and helps me to give others the gift of relaxation and a moment of peace.

About Anne Molofsky

Anne has always been interested in promoting health and wellness. She had a forty-year career as a nutritionist, beginning as a research nutritionist in several NIH-funded clinical trials, then working for the federal government in policy and education, and subsequently counselling clients in her private practice. She received her reiki training over 10 years ago and was able to offer reiki sessions to her nutrition clients as part of their treatment. Since 2013 Anne has also volunteered at Walter Reed offering reiki sessions to Wounded Warriors and their families. She became a Reiki Master Teacher in 2017. Anne is thrilled to be joining the wonderful Energy Balancing Team at the Smith Center!

About Margaret Haggerty

It is a privilege to be part of the energy balancing team for Smith Center for healing and the Arts.
Having had a long and gratifying career as a registered nurse, I bring a wide range of experiences. Before my retirement nine years ago, I had worked for 47 years as a nurse in a variety of capacities. Whether I was taking care of a tiny two-pound NICU infant or doing diabetic teaching for a centenarian, I realized that there was a larger Presence who was always guiding me. And I believe deeply that whatever experience of healing we receive, involves body, mind and spirit. I became a massage therapist and Reiki Master in order to incorporate a more deliberate approach to healing touch. It was a privilege to work with many clients who were dealing with cancer. What a joy it was to offer some hope and gentle touch as they faced many medical and emotional challenges. Now in my later years I am happy to bring the soft, caring touch of energy balancing to help those who come to Smith Center, to relax in order for. their bodies to mend and their spirits to heal.

About Pat Spellman

Pat Spellman

Pat studied English literature and has a special interest in reading and writing poetry. She has been certified as a Reiki master and as a practitioner of reflexology and Feldenkrais movement.  She is a long-time member of the Self-Realization Fellowship, which teaches meditation methods and principles for harmonious living. After a career in publications in DC, Pat retired in Baltimore where she continues her active interest in the Smith Center and its clients.

About Ryoko Julia

Ryoko was born and raised in Japan. She studied economics and business management and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for about 25 years in Asia-pacific and the US. She started learning traditional Japanese Reiki in 2005 in Japan and became a master in 2012.  As she deepens her understanding of Reiki, she decided to leave the corporate world and focus on deepening and teaching the core Reiki philosophy to more people. She has actively been involved in volunteering at Walter Reed and Shady Grove Medical Center for about nine years. Ryoko is also trained in clinical aromatherapy.

About Sylvia Sturm

Sylvia Sturm, EEM-CLP, RM/T, heads our Energy Balancing volunteer team. Sylvia is a Certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner and a Reiki Master Teacher. For many years she has managed a Reiki Volunteer group at a seniors’ residence and has served for 6 years as a Reiki volunteer in GWU Hospital. She is delighted to now work with a dedicated and wonderful team to address the balancing of one’s subtle energies in order to allow the body to completely relax. She has an independent practice in Kensington, MD. To learn more about Sylvia and subtle energies, please visit her website www.sylviasturm.com.