Inside the classrooms

Fix-It Classes at Nashville Community Education

NCE_FA 18_web-378.jpg

Recently, there was an article written on the website Route Fifty. The article talked about a clinic that opened up in Washington, D.C. and other cities called “Fix-It Clinics.” Residents carried in items that needed to be repaired, and this helped families save and stopped things from going to the dump and waste. 

We wanted to share with you our traditional and nontraditional “Fix-it” classes that Nashville Community Education is offering this fall. 


Our sewing classes have always been very popular, and one of the classes that can fill up quickly. Sewing is great because it’s an opportunity to learn basic sewing skills. Students eventually can handle fixing clothing items, household products, and create clothing items on their own. 

Register: Beginning Sewing/ Intermediate Sewing/Intermediate Sewing Project

Picture Framing:

If you need to replace a frame around some of your favorite pictures and art pieces, this class is perfect. Students learn everything from materials selection, mat cutting, and framing methods. No need to throw away pictures or let them sit and pile up at home. 

Register: Picture Framing

T-Shirt Quilting: 

This class is a great way to stop those old t-shirts from going to waste. T-shirt Quilting allow students to bring up to ten to twelve of their favorite memorable t-shirts and create a quilt for your home or as a gift.  

Register: T-shirt Quilting

From Seed to Table Gardening:

From Seed to Table is an excellent class to learn what to do with the seeds you have at home and preserving techniques. Students also learn how to create and maintain a garden! 

Register: From Seed to Table Gardening


We have two canning classes happening this fall Canning Basics and Advanced Canning. These are two excellent classes that help reduce food waste. Canning Basics teaches you how to can jams and jellies, and the basics of non-fermented pickling and Advanced Canning teaches students about pressure canning. 

Register: Canning Basics/Advanced Canning

Eat Smart at Home:

Another way to avoid food waste is with our Eat Smart at Home class. This class teaches students how to use and make healthy food choices and make meals using items they already have in their pantry and fridge. 

Register: Eat Smart at Home

Remember classes for fall 2019 starts on September 3rd. Get registered by heading to our website, call the office 615-298-8050, or stop by the office at 4805 Park Ave. Suite 123. 

If the class has a wait list, sign up for the wait list!

Opportunity Now Internship Comes to an End

Opportunity Now


Hello, my name is Maha, and I am an Intern at Nashville Community Education. Sadly, my Internship is coming to an end. The past five weeks have been very informing and fun. I've had the experience to work in an office. I've learned a lot from my supervisors on how offices work. I had the chance to answer phones, send emails, and organize. This internship gave me an opportunity to consider office work in the future.

My supervisors were really fun and sweet. They always answered any question I had. I worked with Josh mostly and he was really patient and sweet. He taught me how to do invoices, send surveys, and answer phones. I also worked with Lakeithea on taking pictures and she was also very sweet and easy to work with. I also worked with Imelda on the schedule for new classes and she explained everything I had to do very well. I rarely worked with Imelda but, when I did I enjoyed it. Mary Beth was also very friendly and always in a good mood. I had an amazing experience working with all of them.

I took a class about two weeks ago with Shukri and, it was a lot of fun. We learned about sun printing and how it works. I learned new things in that class. Overall, my time here was amazing and I hope to come by again in the future.


Hi, my name is  Shukri and I am the social media and communication intern for Nashville Community Education. My internship has come to an end and I'm truly going to miss working here. I've had the chance to do social media posts, post classes on event sites, blog posts,  interviews, and help Lakeithea with other things.

 My supervisors were fun and nice people to work with. They were always polite and asked us if we needed anything or if we were doing fine. I mostly worked with Lakeithea and she was amazing. She taught many skills that I can really use in the future. She even told me about her personal fashion business because I am looking to go into the fashion industry as one of my career choices. I helped Josh like once or twice, and I enjoyed it. I haven't worked with Imelda, but we had conversations and she's a sweet person. Mary Beth would give us assignments now and then, and would always ask it in the politest way possible. I enjoyed working with everyone in this office and I think anyone who does this position for Opportunity NOW will not regret it.

 I had the chance to take Cyanotype Sun Printing with Maha and it was great. David was a great and fun teacher. He really knows how to teach what he does and taught us more about sun printing. Overall, my five weeks here have been amazing and I don't regret applying for this position.

Cyanotype Sun Printing with Shukri and Maha 

Cyanotype Sun Printing

Today we took the Cyanotype Sun Printing class. It was a relaxing vibe. We got to get creative with sun printing artwork. We went for a nature theme when we were working on our artwork. We enjoyed our time with David and he was a fun person to be around. Our experience with this class was great and we recommend this class to anyone who enjoys art.

Overall, it was a nice experience and we would both love to take this class again.

3 Questions about their experience:

1.     What nature items did you use to design your sun printing?

We used some flowers, leaves and construction paper. We chose our own designs and formatted it the way we wanted to be depending on the look we were looking for.

2.     What was your favorite part of the class and the process?

Our favorite part of this class was being able to get creative with simple objects and creating our own looks.

3.     What part of the class did you find the most relaxing?

The most relaxing part of this class was the Cyanotype Sun Printing.

Take a look at our experience and process.

Shukri & Maha

Welcome NCE Opportunity Now Summer Interns


I’m Shukri Jama, one of the new NCE intern from the Opportunity Now Program. I currently attend East Nashville Magnet High School as a rising senior. I heard of the opportunity now from a friend and wanted to do medical or office work. I thought about how I would want my summer to be fun and go on vacations but I realized what a great opportunity it would be. I want to be prepared for college and my future career. The main thing I want to get out of this experience is being more social and interactive with others. I feel like the social media and communication internship will help me very well with that.

 My first day at this internship didn’t start as expected. I got lost and couldn’t find the entrance. Eventually, I called Mary Beth and she led me inside. It wasn’t bad, I actually enjoyed it. The people here are really nice and it’s a small office. It’s quiet and peaceful and a great thinking environment. Mary Beth introduced me to Josh, Lakeithea, and Imelda. With the looks of it, I’m sure I’ll enjoy this internship. Lakeithea told me what I’ll be working on as a social media communication intern and it sounds great. I hope to enjoy it and get a great experience out of it.

Opportunity Now

Hi! I am Maha Oskar, one of the most recent NCE Intern with the Opportunity Now Program. I currently attend East Nashville Magnet High School and I am a rising senior. With this program, I wish to improve on professional and communication skills. I hope to gain more knowledge of office work. I really enjoyed training week with my employment coach, Mrs. Patton. I met many new people who were friendly and supportive.

On my first day at work, I was expecting to see a lot of Interns and office desks separated all over the room. I was also expecting it to be a strict workspace. I first met Mrs. Harding, she greeted me and my co-worker with a big smile and was very friendly. I then met Josh and Lakeithea and they were also very friendly and kind. The office was quite small and simple which was not what I expected. I then was shown my desk and where I would be most of the time. Mrs. Harding then explained all the rules and requirements throughout the program. We then got a tour around the school and all the classrooms where some classes will be held. Everyone was really kind and patient.

My first day overall was calm and easy. Everyone was nicer than expected. The working environment was wonderful. I believe I will have a great six weeks working with NCE.

4 Places to Go Backpacking in Tennessee

Backpacking Basics is back this summer taught by Rebecca King. The class covers essential knowledge, gear selection, planning and more. We wanted to know some of Rebecca’s favorite places to go in Tennessee to go backpacking and she shared four spots that she loves!

Long Hunter State Park.jpg
  1. Long Hunter State Park - This is my favorite trail to recommend for beginning backpackers! It's just 30 minutes from Nashville, and a flat 6-miles to the campsite. It's on the lake, so you never need to worry about running out of water!

Big South Fork.JPG

2. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area - This is my husband and my favorite spot to backpack in Tennessee. The area is so large that we never have to hike the same trails twice!


3. Fall Creek Falls State Park - I love this place because it was the park where I camped with my family every Thanksgiving when I was a kid. A gorgeous, towering waterfall, miles, and miles of trails, and large backcountry campsites - one even has a pump for water right beside it!

Frozen Head.JPG

4. Frozen Head State Park - A good friend of mine calls this "The Poor Man's Smokies" and I love it! It's only a couple of hours from Nashville, and there are a variety of trails for you to mix and match according to your fitness level and length of time you want to camp. The Spicewood trail is challenging but a must-do in the spring for the wildflowers!

Would you love to learn more about these places and more? Register for Rebecca’s Backpacking Basics class that is $30 and starts on June 4th.

3 Steps in Creating a Podcast

This past spring we offered Podcasting Basics for the first time with local Nashville Podcaster Christopher Taylor (BTSE365). The class was a hit and I wanted to find out, is it difficult to create a podcast, once you have your show idea, what does creating the show actually look like behind-the-scenes.

Christopher was nice enough to give a few examples of how he puts together his show in the studio.

I asked Christopher to share three simple things he does for each episode!

Recording the show: Christopher decided to go into the studio and record his podcast. Here he is in the studio recording his show with his two mascots and handmade sign. He believes it’s important to have special branding products for your podcast.


Create Advertisements: Chris spends some time recording advertisement from some show sponsors. It’s great to have sponsors that support and aligns with your audience.


Interview Guests: Chris is on set with two in-studio guests discussing an event happening during Memorial Day Weekend.


Would you like to know more about how Chris took these three simple steps and put together a whole show? Register for Podcasting Basics with Christopher. Class starts on May 30th!

What are your experiences with creating a podcast?

Nashville Community Education Spring 2019 Highlights

As our spring 2019 session comes to a close we want to highlight some awesome things that happened this session.

We welcomed many new classes and partnerships including our Partnership with Metro Nashville Business Assistance Office, Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Metro Arts Commission.


Laura from Crème Catering who hosts our Seasonal Cooking Class with Nashville Farmer’s Market came on-board and welcomed two new classes, Anti-Inflammatory Comfort Foods Series and a Knife Skills class that was a huge hit.


Amanda Scott, who has been teaching our Essential Oils class for several sessions introduced new classes, Green Cleaning with Essential Oils and Essential Oils for Emotions. In these two classes, students were able to learn healthy alternatives and also make products in class to help them get started on their new journey.


We had a fun Cookie Decorating Basics class----YUMMM!! Hope the students enjoyed decorating these cookies as much as they enjoyed eating them.

And students in our Mandarin Chinese class celebrated Lunar New Year and their instructor, Winnie gave all of her students their own Chinese New Year red pocket, “Lucky Money.”

Lucky Money

Oh, let’s not forget we got to see costume and vintage jewelry and learn all about Leather Craft and make handmade leather bags, who would’ve thought it would be that much work!!!

Leather handcraft

Making Comics class had a comic exchange party thanks to the sponsors (Wakeup Comics).

Imelda, our Program Director wrote a blog post for the spring program in Spanish!!! -Read it here!

We learned how fun HEMA can be through our Beginning HEMA: German Longsword class

Lakeithea, our Community Engagement Coordinator interviewed our instructor, Thomas Dowd about Understanding Heart Disease. Students learned about applying Makeup, we embraced Podcasting and we loved creating in journaling in Creative Personal Journal.

What an awesome session and we are looking forward to returning for the summer starting May 28th!

7 Ways Self-Care Can Reduce Stress

Incorporating self-care into your daily life is an incredible way to reduce stress and improve your mental, emotional and physical health. To lower your anxiety, live a fuller life, and reverse your risk of developing health issues, here are some Nashville Community Education classes to nurture and enhance your well-being.

Guitar lessons

 Photo: NCE

1. Discover the healing power of music

Perhaps you have heard the phrase “let food be thy medicine”, but how about music? Scientists have found that music can improve health outcomes among a variety of needs, including healing from depression.

 NCE classes: intermediate guitar, beginning ukulele, Instant Piano and more

Creative Writing


2. Let go of control through writing

Tap into your inner writer and activate its scientifically proven calming effects. Start a daily journal to release stressful thoughts from your head, with a gratitude or self-reflection entry. If you are feeling adventurous, deep dive into your imagination with some creative writing, poetry or a short story.

NCE classes: Creative Writing, Creative Personal Journaling and more

Tai Chi

Photo: NCE

3. Move that body

Be intentional about getting physical, whether it’s a dance session at home or a brisk walk around the park, regular movement helps your body cope with the physical and mental impact of stress.         

NCE classes: Fencing, Fitness and Nutrition for Women, Qigong Movement, Tai Chi for Energy, Body Positivity for Wellness, Beginning Fencing, Badminton and more, Kung Fu Basics, Kettlebell Swing Basics


Photo: NCE

4. Embrace your inner artist

Did you know that art can be therapeutic? From the mindful act of focusing on a single activity, to taking time to reflect and reorganize your thoughts, creating art can enhance one’s quality of life.

 NCE classes: Photography Basics, Ceramics, Art Journaling, Handmade Leather Bags, Beginning Sewing, Crochet Basics, Oil Painting and more



5. Release negative self talk with mindfulness

Guess what! You can heal and repair your DNA from past traumas and toxic stress. Intentional breathing techniques, like when you practice yoga, mindfulness or meditation can help stimulate your body’s natural relaxation response. Don’t worry; you don’t have to sit cross-legged for an hour, or do advanced poses for these exercises to work.

Try a few minutes a day using a mobile app or guided meditation on YouTube, and work your way up. In addition to healing, these breathing exercises can help reduce mental stress, strategically calming your mind, body, and spirit.

NCE classes: Mindfulness Basics, Gentle Yoga Free, Curvy Yoga, Hatha Yoga

Personal Journal


 6. Manage anxiety with planning ahead

Are you stressed when you have to rush to a meeting, or finish up an assignment last minute? Do you feel like you are disconnected from fulfilling your life’s purpose? Managing our time helps us to be more productive, efficient and to feel more balanced. Learning a system for time management and creating a personal life plan can help us to lessen our anxiety and relax, knowing that we are moving towards our goals.

NCE classes: How to Maximize Your Time, The Life You Want II and more

Cooking Classes

7. Challenge traditional, try alternative healing

Culinary therapy is a treatment mental health professionals use to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders, ADHD and addiction. Did you know about the powerful healing properties of essential oils, or that removing sugar from your diet can improve your emotional well being? How about Reiki self-healing, the Japanese healing art that uses energy to heal from within? The great news is that there are countless alternative healing methods, and NCE let’s you find what works best for you!

NCE classes: Essential Oils For Healthy Living, Essential Oils for Emotions, Traditional Cuban Cooking, From Seed to Table Gardening, Anti-Inflammatory Comfort Foods Series and more, Nashville Farmers' Market Series, Fitness and Nutrition for Women and more

Short practices each day will help you to enjoy a life in the moment, being at peace with what is to come.

To register for a class head to

Article written by: Simone Sibley

Behavioral Health Program Specialist

Suicide Prevention, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Self-Care

Metro Public Health Department



In this day and age of almost everything is automated, it seems that taking the time to learn how to play a musical instrument has almost died out. In the past, there were pianos or organs in almost every home. Children would learn an instrument as they were growing up and have basic musical skills to provide enjoyment throughout their lives. Now it seems that everyone is too busy to bother with what once was a common form of recreation and enjoyment in everyday life.

"Music can be relaxing, stimulating, exciting and moving. It is a safe and even healthy release from the tensions of the everyday world," says Michael McMillan, musician, and piano instructor. “Playing an instrument can be a wonderful way to relax after a hard day!" Mr. McMillan instructs a workshop which can actually show adults how to do that in about three hours. This revolutionary class uses a chord based method to play piano; much like a guitar player would play off a chord chart. No previous piano experience is required, and very little note reading is involved. “If you know where middle C is, and remember 'Every Good Boy Does Fine' I can show you how to play in a few hours."

"Many people learn this method and find themselves spending evenings playing the piano, instead of playing 'couch potato' in front of the TV!" Studies have shown music to be mentally, and physically, beneficial to people of all ages. It has been shown to improve the body's immune response, and along with other mental activity, may even reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's.

Mr. McMillan's class, INSTANT PIANO (for hopelessly busy people), is geared towards adults who just want to make playing music a part of their lives. "Some students may go on to a more serious career in music, but most of them just want to make piano playing a part of their life for the sheer fun of it!"

INSTANT PIANO is being offered this spring at Nashville Community Education. You can register to take the class HERE.

Sailing in Nashville with John Summers  

The smile on my daughter’s face says it all—sailing is fun.

Sailing In Spain.JPG

In fact, for many people it’s transcendental.  Gliding gently, quietly across the water, pushed by the wind in a piece of cloth—it’s hard not to think of those who dared to cross the oceans the same way.

Nashville is fortunate to have two large freshwater lakes within its boundaries.

But if you are new to sailing, where does one begin?

That’s what this course, Sailing in Nashville, is designed to help you with.

Over six-classes, we’ll tell you what options and resources are available in Nashville to learn to sail and your sailing options with or without your own sailboat.

Sailing is not difficult, in fact, it’s easy.  But it does take more knowledge and skills than simply turning an ignition key.

Whether you want to simply spend the day quietly gliding along the water, or racing around the buoys in a regatta, or maybe chartering a bareboat through the Bahamas or the British Virgin Islands, this course will tell you how to get there.

You will come out of this class with the basic knowledge to sail a dingy or a small keelboat.   What you won’t get from this course are instructions on the water, that’s beyond this class’s capabilities.  But we will give you the options to take that next step.  Sailing is a recreational pastime you can enjoy long after you have retired, unlike most outdoor activities.

I’ve sailed in the Bahamas, the Windward Islands, the Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, Florida, San Diego—but most of my time has been spent here on Percy Priest Lake.   It’s a wonderful day of sailing just minutes from our homes.  This course is the first step to begin enjoying a lifetime of fun.  

Just look at my daughter’s face.  It says it all.


There are many definitions of mindfulness, many of which point to the same essence, and have many of the same components. The definition I work with is the practice of being in the present moment, with both compassion and non-judgmental awareness.

Another helpful definition I’ve read recently is the practice of allowing whatever is present, to be present. What this gets at is how often we aren’t here for whatever is present – whether our experience is unpleasant, pleasant, or neutral.

So, when we’re having difficult emotions like anger, sorrow, resentment, irritation –

We’re often adverse to these feelings and turn away from them. Or when we’re experiencing something pleasant, we’re often scheming about how to keep the experience or get more of it, and not simply enjoying what we have at that moment. Say it’s a sunset we are enjoying: we might wonder when we’ll see another like it, or who we can tell about it, or that awesome sunset we saw last year. And in this way not be totally present to the sunset in front of us, robbing ourselves of the fullness of the experience.

Neutral moments we might not notice at all. Neutral moments are important because when we notice them, we begin to see we aren’t having bad things happen to us all the time, as sometimes it seems when we’re caught in depression, or grief, or maybe caught in cycles of anger, or whatever it may be (for a perfect encapsulation of this, by Mary Jean Irion, go here:


Turning back to the first definition I cited: The practice of being in the present moment, with both compassion and non-judgmental awareness.

The word practice is a vital part of mindfulness. Just like we say practicing medicine, or a law; or perhaps, going to soccer practice or softball or band practice; or practicing yoga – just like we practice anything to get better – mindfulness too is a practice. Like anything else, as we practice and notice good results, we want to practice more. And just like the pros still practice, so too, the masters. The practice of mindfulness is a necessity if we wish to further our understanding and abilities to remain in the present moment.

What’s so great about the present moment? And why ever would we want to be with sorrow or irritation or fear?

How many of us miss parts of conversations because our minds have wandered? Or perhaps we’ve been walking in the woods, and we wake up to the fact, we can’t remember the scenery from the last mile? How many things do we miss every day? The smile of a child, a beautiful sky, dogs playing, flowers growing along the road…. With mindfulness, we can begin to wake up to what’s here, all the time if we are aware enough to see it. And why would we want to be with an unpleasant emotion? Because what we resist, persists. Only by working with what’s right here, can we manage to work through it. Mindfulness provides the tools and techniques to do so. And when we are experiencing a beautiful emotion, mindfulness helps us to notice and deepen these experiences, which helps foster these emotions and invite their reoccurrence.

So, the practice of being in the present moment. Which we do with compassion and non-judgmental awareness. We need to be kind to ourselves as we practice, and as many of us know, allowing the self-critic to tell us how we are failing, doesn’t help, and often hurts.

So we practice being in the present moment, with whatever is here. And to do this, we need to be both compassionate with ourselves and others – and for best results, we do this without the judging mind. It’s important that we don’t judge our experience as this compresses us – compresses our ability to be here, just as we are. Thus when we notice we are judging our experience or ourselves or others (as we will), we do not wish to judge the judging. This is where compassion can really be helpful – we can bring kindness to the noticing, kindness to the judging, kindness to the experience.

Mindfulness helps us become aware of our moment to moment experience – whether that’s what’s happening in our minds, or in the world around us. Eventually, with practice, we will become more and more awake to our moment to moment experience and be able to live from a less distracted and less reactive place. In doing so, we can live more often in the freedom of now, instead of the sorrows of the past, the anxieties of the future, or the turmoil of emotions that can arise from our imaginings.

The Buddha said, “I would not teach this if it were not possible.” As a student, I’ve come to know that mindfulness does work, and continues to do so. Am I in the moment all the time? Absolutely not. Which should give hope – I reap the benefits of mindfulness without living awake in many of my moments. You too can reap the benefits; to do so, bring openness, curiosity, the intention to practice, and the discipline to practice. Join me in finding what’s possible.

Looking to learn more about Mindfulness? Register for the upcoming class. Class starts March 20th.

Financial Success … for life!

Financial success.JPG

This February, I’m looking forward to teaching Financial Success – a 2-part personal finance workshop.  This workshop covers all the major personal finance topics: budgeting, investing, credit, and insurance, buying a home/car, student loan debt, credit bureau reports, and more!  It’s packed full of information, but presented as part of a larger framework, so all the pieces fit neatly together.  Financial Success is targeted for working adults to help them navigate through life making sound and logical financial decisions.

I love teaching this workshop because my students get so excited when they realize they can now be in control of their financial decisions, whether it’s building their emergency fund, paying off debt, or starting an investment program.  As part of the workshop, the students will receive a notebook containing all the information covered during class.  This notebook will be a valuable resource after the workshop when students start to implement their financial plans.

So … please consider registering for Financial Success and get ready to reap the financial rewards for years to come!

Cindy Stone

Workshop Instructor 

Singles Empowerment Day According to 372WN

Recently the team was reading through the new issue of 372WN and came across the article by Hannah Herner called “Singles Empowerment Day.”  Well we thought it was a pretty great article Hannah and we also very much agree, with number 10 “LEARN SOMETHING NEW.”

Life-long learning is one of our favorite topics, for obvious reasons and I wanted to share some awesome classes we having upcoming up. Come alone or come with a friend and spend the month of February giving yourself a little extra care and love by learning something new!

1.     Green Cleaning with Essential Oils

Essential oils naturally have deodorizing and disinfecting properties. The use of all-natural essential oil cleaners utilizes these powerful properties without worry of toxins and chemicals. In addition to learning more about essential oils for home use, students will make four different cleaning products that can be used as a natural alternative to commercial products.

2.     What’s Your Number?

The ancient Enneagram tool is gaining popularity and you may be wondering - why is everyone talking about this? What is this thing? This workshop serves to explain the Enneagram tool - where it originated, what it is, how to use it, and why it matters. You will learn your number (and your wing numbers, if any), a detailed description of your number and how it can benefit you in your life and relationships 

3.     Reiki Self-healing

In order to help others, we must first help ourselves. Beginning Reiki (ray key), a Japanese healing art, focuses on harnessing energy to perform healing techniques on your body and mind. Reiki has been shown to be effective in helping to reduce stress, pain management, soothing emotional turmoil and improving mood.

4.     Relief Printing Basics

Would you like to learn how to print your own cards using traditional techniques? Explore the basics of relief printmaking! Using hand tools to carve your own soft blocks, participants will learn a simple and satisfying process to create and print their own one-color designs, along with basic registration practices, ink techniques, and ways to continue exploring printmaking. Come prepared with ideas or improvise on the spot, and leave with cards and your own printmaking block!

5.     Basketry: Weaving with Paper

Weaving can be a mixed media adventure! Explore acrylic painting techniques then cut your painting into weaving strips. Use those strips to weave a square basket perfect for cocktail napkins or other storage.

6.     Master Meal Planning

Do you want to meal plan, but are unsure of where to start?  Learn a tried-and-true method to help you perfect your process of meal planning from grocery store to dinner table. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Lindsey Joe, will share tips and tools for saving time and money while eating healthier. 

Thanks Hannah for including Nashville Community Education in your #SinglesEmpowermentDay

Unconscious Bias and Your Relationships

Megan Johnson Rox

What's perception have to do with it? All good communication and relationships start with an accurate perception – a perception about what the person meant by their words &/or actions, i.e., the meaning of the message. How do you know if your perception of someone's words or behavior is accurate or not? It becomes clear pretty quickly when you get angry, hurt, annoyed, aggravated, offended, insulted, etc. at their words/behavior. It's safe to say that someone you are in a relationship with, whether it's a friendship or romantic relationship, is not intentionally being hurtful or malicious, and did not mean to hurt, or anger you, unless, of course, you don't choose friends/significant others wisely, or you allow yourself to be surrounded by negative, unhealthy people.

Because our perceptions are frequently incorrect, you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Haha. Seriously, checking your perception is necessary to have good communication and good relationships. It also helps you see that your perception of others (and the entire world around you), is just that – a perception and not the “truth” or the only way of seeing/understanding something. There are other possible ways of perceiving someone’s message and behavior and it all depends on …… YOU! Yep, it’s you who makes meaning from someone’s words, non-verbal and behavior, not them.

But, as you know, we communicate with more than just the words coming out of our mouths. In fact, a large percentage of the meaning of a message comes from the non-verbal.

Good, accurate communication is when the meaning that the person sending the message intended to send is understood by the listener/viewer exactly as the sender meant. If the meaning of messages came strictly from words, we wouldn’t have as much of a problem with miscommunications. But, as you know, we communicate with more than just the words coming out of our mouths. In fact, a large percentage of the meaning of a message comes from the non-verbal. This probably isn’t a surprise to you if you’ve ever had a miscommunication when communicating through text or computer/social media when they couldn’t use non-verbal’s to communicate what they were really trying to say. Thanks to whoever invented emoji’s, which helps a little? We pick up on someone’s emotion behind the words and focus on that more than their words. Ever asked your friend/significant other if everything’s ok and they say, “Fine” but the tone of their voice says otherwise? 

Our perception of all of this involves many things that we’re not aware of. It’s unconscious. The definition of bias, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, is “an inclination of … outlook especially: a personal … judgment”. That is what perception essentially is: your outlook and judgment. So, when I talk about unconscious bias, I’m referring to our perception and everything that affects our perception… our beliefs, values, past experiences, etc.…

In this workshop, your perception and what affects it will be brought from the subconscious depths of your mind to the forefront. You will also learn how your perception affects your relationships. When you are aware of what is controlling how you view the world and others, you can take control of it. And this is the most empowering feeling! You will start to see your communication and relationships change for the better when you become aware of your perception and not let it unconsciously control your reactions to others and the world around you.

Written by instructor: Megan Johnson Rox

Register for Megan’s upcoming class: Unconscious Bias and Your Relationships.

Here's my website link:

I just wrote a FB post about this too...

And a LinkedIn article... My LinkedIn profile link is:

Learning to Manage Conflict for Peace and Happiness


Do you find yourself frustrated in conflict situations? Do you have trouble identifying a way to communicate and it be well received? In this 2 week course, you will learn what your conflict style is and what that means for you and others. 

The Friendly Style Profile is a 20 item conflict style inventory that surveys your personality strengths and excesses in both types of situations - calm and storm. In this course, you will identify what your conflict style(s) are, what the characteristics of each style are, and receive suggestions for managing your style.

Gaining knowledge about each of the conflict styles will help you gain self awareness, adjust your self in conflict situations to more easily reach mutually agreeable resolutions, and help you bring out the best in others when in conflict. If you know the conflict style of those you spend most of your time with, you can adjust your communication to minimize conflict situations. When we understand more about those around us, we are also able to offer more grace and understanding. 

Conflict is inevitable in all aspects of life! Managing conflict is instrumental in bringing peace and happiness. 

The new class: “Calm vs. Storm: What's your style?

Are you the calm or the storm? This workshop will help you identify your personality style by creating a fair and honest picture of yourself. It will increase your understanding of yourself and others and encourage you to use these insights to improve your relationship with others. You will better understand your strengths, vulnerabilities, habits, and preferences.

Register today!

Three Reasons to Work After Retirement

I will be offering Finding Part Time Work in Retirement through Nashville Community Education where you will learn how to access your skills and then find and apply for part-time jobs!  -Bonita

Bonita- Finding Part Time Work

Extra Income - Social Connections - Sense of Purpose

Want (or need) to work after retirement? The growth of the economy in Nashville has resulted in employment opportunities in fields from hospitality to logistics. 

The New Retirement Generation

Baby boomers are ignoring the traditional retirement age of 65 and working in retirement. Thirty two percent of those aged 65 to 69 are now employed. In addition, nineteen percent of those aged 70 to 74 are still working. It is expected that these numbers will grow.

Three Reasons to Work After Retirement

Income, connection and a sense of purpose are three reasons for continuing to work.

  1.  Income to help pay the bills or pay for life's pleasures.

  2.  Social interaction that provides a sense of community.

  3.  A sense of purpose and a new self-identity. 

If you are interested in working after retirement but want to learn more, the session will help you assess the skills you have to offer an employer. You will then determine which job postings match your skills.

If you need help with applications, the session will provide information on completing online application forms and short resumes along with a hands on experience applying for jobs.

Register Today! Class Start: February 6

3 Things That Can Help You Decompress Your Stress


Checklist= adopt a Qigong practice, get your Reiki on, teach somebody something you love :)

1) Allow yourself to explore the ancient practice of Qigong.

Some have referred to Qigong as "medicinal movement" (see Dr. Mercola's article using this term here ). If you have a hard time settling your mind, when you add your desire to meditate to good posture and proper breathing, you find that the mind will settle on its own. That's just getting started in a Qigong practice; there are so many physical and mental/emotional benefits to be gained from Eastern healing exercises like Qigong, Yoga and Tai Chi- and positive results are shown over and again in medical research. Most Qigong movement classes are inexpensive, and you don't have to buy a lot of equipment to begin; once you get going, even 5-15 minutes a day can produce dramatic stress relief, so why not give it a try?

I am excited to announce that I am being given the opportunity to teach a free mini Qigong course for three weeks on Wednesday evenings at the Madison Community Center in January. This class is only a short term commitment and is coming up fast- come out and bring a friend to experience this with you.

If you are unable to find room in your busy schedule for this class, don't fret- more chances are available- check out the newest classes offered at Nashville Community Education. Registration for their Spring Session is now open online, or you may call them at: 615-298-8050. The dynamic staff at NCE is dedicated to the pursuit of lifelong learning and continues to expand their reach throughout the city. I know of two great energy healing classes that are being presented among their super interesting course selections during the spring 2019 session at the Cohn Adult Learning Center and in Madison. Look on page 14 *hint, hint*.

2) Make self-healing part of your "Ideal" life. Allow yourself to consider that self-care is healthcare.

Reiki Natural Healing can be a simple and powerful part of a self-care routine and it is easy to learn.

We all have the capacity to do healing work, whether the aim is to become a professional healer, or to use our super powers informally to help the people around us, our pets or ourselves. It isn't even hard, once you allow yourself the possibility. The only requirements for beginning Reiki training are a sincere desire to learn it and an open Heart/Mind. Like many of the Eastern Healing Arts, the first thing a student learns is to heal him or herself.

What is Reiki like? Here's a perspective on what Reiki is like:

Carla Trujillo, Sedona based Reiki Master/Teacher

The Reiki Ideals form the ethical backbone for Reiki practitioners worldwide. There are many variations translated from the Japanese, but the actual origin of these principles remains debatable and hence, a mystery. Their meaning taken together is a powerful practice of self-healing. William Lee Rand, a well-known Reiki Master has written an article on the possible origins of these principles, if you would like to read it here. The first level of Reiki training usually includes memorizing these precepts and using them as part of a healing meditation, but, I like to encourage students to personalize them, once they begin to understand the intent behind them. Words spoken from the truth in your very own Heart are always more powerful. The guidance from these values is not meant to suggest that we can eliminate anger, worry, cruelty, or ingratitude- these are all emotions that are very natural for each of us. The trick to happy living, or to be more content with life's circumstances, is to learn how to "touch and release"- acknowledge when these emotions come up, but don't get hooked in for too long.


3) Use some of your time to teach somebody something you love to do. Allow yourself to trust in the value of the things you share and believe in.

As Booker T. Washington once said, "Living is the art of Loving. Loving is the art of caring. Caring is the art of sharing. Sharing is the art of living. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."

There are at least two reasons why I love teaching:

1) It helps me deepen my learning and practice. I probably learn more from my students than they do from me in many ways.

2) I love seeing other people be as profoundly affected by these healing practices as I was from the beginning and continue to be every day.

For the past 5 years, I have had the wonderful privilege of being able to share the practices of Qigong movement and Reiki Natural Healing. Volunteering at Fifty Forward and teaching for Nashville Community Education has given me great opportunities. I am so grateful for both organizations and their outreach to serve the best and highest good for the whole community of Nashville, Tennessee. If you are interested in teaching or volunteering with either group, click their links to find out how to get involved. You'll be very glad you did.

"When one teaches, two learn." Robert Heinlein

Preview of Making Comics

Students will learn how to plot, plan, and prep an eight page mini comic, on the topic of their choice. Learn how to make daily journal comics, create recipe comics, or tell a short story in this immersive class. No drawing skills necessary - artists of all skill levels are welcome. Materials are provided. A final class on March 7 will meet at Wake Up Comics inside Groove Record Store for a comics and zine exchange!

Note: Open to ages 16+ (no parent necessary) or ages 13+ if a parent registers as well!

Thanks to @wakeupcomics for sponsoring our final class and some materials!

Want to learn more about Visual Storytelling in Making Comics? Read instructor Becca Hillburn latest blog post, Learning How To Tell Stories Visually with Becca Hillburn.

You can also register for the class Making Comics. The class begins 1/24 at Cohn School.

Learning How To Tell Stories Visually with Becca Hillburn

Learn how to turn your story ideas into scripts, your scripts into thumbnail sketches, and your thumbnail sketches into finished comic pages in this six-week course!

If you've always wanted to learn how to make your own comics, or are interested in learning more about visual storytelling, Making Comics is a perfect introductory course designed to get you producing comics. Over six weeks, you'll learn about scripting, planning and designing your characters, environments, and panels, the ins, and outs of the comic production process, traditional inking techniques, and assembling your comic into a printed mini-comic for exchange. For students interested in a deeper dive, there are additional materials for the course from the instructor available online via blog posts and YouTube videos.

Comic Book

During this class, we’re going to cover the basics of human anatomy for cartooning, an introduction to perspective for constructing backgrounds, and an exploration of traditional inking materials such as technical pens, brush pens, inking nibs, and brushes.

Comic Books

Even if you're already making comics, this class provides an excellent opportunity to meet other comic artists, create comics in a friendly setting, hone your skills, and seek critique. Feel free to work at your own pace in a welcoming environment, or work along with the structure of the class.


Not an artist? Fear not--this class is geared to be useful for beginners as well as more experienced artists. If you need additional help or resources, I’m available via email during the semester, and there’s a Facebook group to facilitate critique and growth during and even after class.

Class ends with a mini comic exchange--every student will get a copy of their classmates' comics, learn a bit about zine and mini comic culture, and find about about further opportunities for creating comics.

The next class Making Comics starts on January 24th.

Comic Books

Contracting for Equity with Metro Business Assistance

metro women businesses

“Do you know what Chuck Berry said?”

One of my favorite movies is Ocean’s Thirteen.

In an iconic scene, Don Cheadle’s character asks casino boss Al Pacino,

 “Do you know what Chuck Berry said every night before he sang one, two, three, four?” 

A clearly perplexed Pacino is silent until Cheadle—counting down his four fingers as he goes—replies,

 “Pay me my money…in cash!”

I’ve worked in government contracting for 20 years.

I could talk for hours about equity and the responsibility we have to ensure a fair purchasing process.

I could cure your insomnia with facts and figures about supplier diversity and the importance of certification.

I could tell you how, statistically speaking, doing business with metro leads to more opportunities in the private sector.  

But in 20 years of working with Nashville’s entrepreneurs, I’ve learned you prefer a more direct approach.

So why should you care about doing business with Metro Government? Or Metro’s minority business programs? Or becoming a certified as a women-owned enterprise?

Like Chuck Berry said…pay me my money.

Last year, Metro Government purchased approximately $832,000,000 of goods and services. That’s 832 million very good reasons to care about government contracts. Not sure how to get started? That’s ok! Sign-up for one of our “Getting Government Contracts” classes offered on January 31st, April 16th or May 7th.

Metro Government has spent more than $450,000,000 with small, minority and women-owned enterprises over the last decade. That’s 450 million reasons to care about minority business programs. Upcoming changes to these programs will affect both minority and non-minority contractors. Want to know how you can make these changes work for your business? Sign-up for Contracting for Equity: Understanding Metro Government’s Minority Business Programs” offered on February 12th.

Around 10 percent or approximately $82.5 million of our total procurement spending last year was with small, minority or women-owned businesses. Do I even need to say it? A key aspect of doing business with Metro Government is getting your business certified. For women-owned businesses, one certifying entity is the Women’s Business Enterprise Council-South (WBEC). Join our Business Assistance Office and WBEC-South on March 7th (the eve of International Women’s Day, appropriately enough) forLunch & Learn: The Benefits of Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification,” to find out why certification is such a valuable tool for government contracting.

The Metro Business Assistance Office is excited to collaborate with Nashville Community Education, Griffen & Strong, PC and WBEC-South to bring you these capacity building opportunities. We hope you’ll take advantage of them and look forward to seeing you in the classroom!

Written by instructor: Michelle Hernandez Lane, Class: Contracting for Equity: Understanding Metro Government’s Minority Business Programs”; “Lunch & Learn: The Benefits of Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification”; “Getting Government Contracts: How Your Company Can Do Business with Metro Nashville”