North Shore Meditation Instructor Helps People Find Peace In a Hectic World
Jul 29, 2016 07:16PM
By Sheila Julson
Ann Marie Arvoy
Ann Marie Arvoy, a licensed professional counselor and owner of Dragonfly Meditation Studio, in Mequon, knows firsthand how meditation can keep the mind grounded positively in the moment to savor life and the world around us. She discovered meditation in 1994, after suffering from a period of depression as an undergraduate student at State University of New York at Cortland. The practice helped lift her mood when little else could. “That was when I first found meditation,” she reflects. “It really helped me a lot.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Arvoy knew that she wanted to be a therapist. She pursued a master’s degree in contemplative psychology at Naropa University, a small liberal arts school located in Boulder, Colorado, founded by Buddhist meditation master Chogyam Trungpa. She chose Naropa because of their unique programs that blend Buddhist psychology with Western psychotherapy and psychology.
Arvoy stayed in Boulder after graduating from Naropa in May 2000 to work at several clinics and organizations that helped people with HIV and AIDS, and integrated aspects of mindfulness into her practice. It was in Boulder that she met her husband, Jerry, a Milwaukee native. In 2011, the couple and their two children moved to Wisconsin to be closer to Jerry’s family.
In the realm of alternative health practices such as meditation, reiki and ayurveda, Boulder was very cutting edge, Arvoy observes, but she found there weren’t as many resources for people practicing meditation in Wisconsin despite an apparent demand, particularly from those that desired a place to meditate in a secular way.
“For my personal path, I benefit from the practices of meditation and mindfulness, but I didn’t necessarily identify myself as a Buddhist,” Arvoy says. “I started teaching meditation in my private practice and through structured groups, and the feedback I was getting from my clients was that they wanted to have a place to go, but they weren’t interested in places that are religiously Buddhist; or some people already had their religious beliefs and didn’t want to integrate a different religion into their lives.”
In March 2015, Arvoy opened Dragonfly Meditation Studio to serve the broad range of people interested in benefiting physically and psychologically from meditation mindfulness. Her psychotherapy practice, Mosaic Counseling, is in the same suite, but separate from Dragonfly.
Arvoy notes how in the short time Dragonfly has been open she has been getting rewarding feedback from clients saying they’re less reactive and more positive, and they can enjoy life and find balance in home and workplace relationships, despite the distractions and demands of a fast-paced, technology-obsessed world.
“We are continuously distracted by technology. Even as we drive, there’s the temptation of checking texts or Facebook,” she says. “We don’t have as many gaps in our lives as we used to have. When I was growing up, if somebody called and you weren’t home, there was a note that read, ‘So-and-so called.’ Now we are so easily accessible, which is wonderful in some ways, but it comes with so many distractions and challenges. We don’t have as much space in our lives.”
Arvoy says that meditation—maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the surrounding environment—can help us achieve a peaceful mental place. In addition to Arvoy’s structured meditation classes, Dragonfly also offers yoga; unified body method classes, which teach people to become more mindful of their bodily movements; gong soundscape, in which the instructor uses a large gong to create vibrations for sound meditation; massage therapy; reiki; and the Alexander Technique, in which the practitioner uses subtle manipulations to break negative movement patterns within the body.
Dragonfly has classes and camps for children, teaching them how to incorporate mindfulness practices in a fun way that helps them pay attention to their senses. The next kid’s camp is planned for late August. Arvoy also offers talks and meditation sessions for businesses and for teachers at her children’s school, and she has donated gift certificates to the Mequon Mom’s Club for charity raffles. In June, she began teaching a meditation instructor certification class.
Arvoy looks forward to helping more people naturally find peace and contentment as she proudly emphasizes Dragonfly’s slogan: “More meditation, less medication.”
Dragonfly Meditation Studio is located at 11649 N. Port Washington Rd., Ste. 225, Mequon. For more information, call 262-518-0173 or visit DragonflyMeditation.com.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.