News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
What is your name and the name of your business?
My name is Heather Cameron, owner of Eastman House, LLC dba Eastman House Creative Counseling & Yoga.
How did you get to Sandwich, NH?
That’s a long and lovely story. In 1983 my husband Ray, whom I was dating at the time, brought me to New Hampshire to meet his family for Thanksgiving. After spending Thanksgiving Day with extended family in Andover, MA, Ray learned that the Lakes Region had received some snow. Ray was excited to share his beloved Squam Lake and family history that was deeply woven into the fabric of Rockywold Deephaven Camps where he had spent most of his summers growing up.
We decided to venture north and hike up Rattlesnake Mountain, Ray’s Golden Retriever, Haller, joining us. Being an outdoorsy southern girl, I was overtaken with the natural beauty of the entire area. Ray chose the Ramsey Trail for our hike up Rattlesnake. Little did I know that there were other trails to meander that may have been a bit less strenuous. Our hike was exhilarating and once we summitted West Rattlesnake I took a deep breath and absorbed what I saw and felt. I was energized. Ray smiled as we took it all in and made the comment… “hmmmm, wow, you did it…” A month later on Christmas Day Ray proposed.
Over the next 40 years our family, including daughters Hannah and Darrow, have spent time on Squam Lake vacationing at RDC. Summers brought annual rituals like pursuing the various businesses in charming Center Sandwich. As time went on, we began to ponder the next chapter of our lives and where we might want to spend our time. In the summer of 2017 during one of our familiar “what if” conversations, I offered the idea of retiring to New Hampshire. Needless to say, Ray was immediately on board and we began the exciting adventure of exploration. We had a lot of help along the way and ultimately knew that we wanted to live in the Center Sandwich community.
In March 2018 we closed on our new home. Ray and I were fortunate to have bought Leo Dwyer’s fully and creatively renovated 1792 farmhouse on Holderness Rd. We were thrilled at the prospect of what lay ahead and began making plans. Over the next couple of years, we traveled back and forth from North Carolina and our work life there. Ray retired in 2020 and moved to NH permanently while I was figuring out my work exit plan. Then in late 2021 I finally arrived in Center Sandwich, making it my home.
Tell us about your business. What do you make, do, or offer as a service?
My business is service oriented. I am a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (NH and NC), an Expressive Arts Therapist, and a Registered Yoga Teacher. I offer counseling for adolescents, adults and elders. My work with individuals is collaborative and holistic. It is based on an appreciation for the connectedness of the mind and body. It addresses all aspects of a person's health and well-being. This includes spirituality and sense of purpose, social connectedness, physical health and living an authentic life.
In therapy, I create a safe, non-judgmental space that allows the individual's own healing wisdom to direct the work. I teach practical coping skills that address immediate concerns like overwhelming emotions and anxiety. I may invite clients to explore their creative nature through expressive arts-based therapy and yoga, providing another level of insight.
In addition, I offer yoga classes in my barn studio as well. I explain yoga as an ancient Hindu philosophy that encompasses a variety of practices which most commonly include postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation, mantras, and lifestyle changes. In my practice I teach all aspects, generally with a focus on gentle yoga. Currently I provide three in-studio classes per week and may also hold virtual class opportunities when requested. I work with groups, and privately for individuals seeking deeper knowledge or those with specific needs.
How did you get started in these professions?
In late 2003 my life took a sudden and dramatic turn, shaking up the foundation of what life had been, giving me an insight on defining a new focus and direction. It was then that I began to explore what this life meant and how I wanted to BE in it. I decided to investigate a graduate program in counseling with a certification in expressive arts therapy. I wanted to better understand the psychological aspects of the human condition and how healing can be accomplished through the use of various therapeutic interventions such as art.
My graduate school experiences were wonderful, challenging and life changing. After completing my graduate work in 2009, I had gained experience with treating cancer patients, their caregivers, and medical teams. I counseled women who had experienced domestic violence and sexual assault, and their families, as well as staff who worked with this population. Soon after graduation, I provided addictions counseling for opioid addicts at a methadone clinic, and later served as the clinical director for a day treatment center for children. Since then, I have continuously had a private practice where I hold gratitude for all my clients and their stories of hope, faith, resilience, pain, and their desire to live the life of their choosing.
Upon becoming a resident of Sandwich, my friend Leslie Jose informed me that Dragonfly Yoga Barn was offering a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training that fall. As I was in the midst of a huge life transition and having been a student of yoga, I decided to enroll. I was not sure where the training would take me. I hoped that my desires would unfold naturally. For a long time, I could see the potential intersection of counseling, expressive arts and yoga, so that is where I began. Once I completed the program it was clear that I enjoyed teaching yoga and that my desire to integrate yoga into my counseling practice would add value and benefit my client’s wellbeing and healing.
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your work?
Making a difference in the lives of others. That’s all that matters… I have so much fun practicing yoga with others and I gain satisfaction when my students feel successful and less stressed as a result of the practice, connecting mind, body and spirit.
What is the hardest?
Living in today’s world can be very difficult and for some it can feel scary, unsafe, and hopeless. When faced with a client who has reached a dangerous space of hopelessness one must reach deep and access the necessary training and resources to provide immediate assistance. That’s hard…
What are your goals and hopes for the future?
My primary goal is to continue to grow and develop my counseling practice. I hope to offer group opportunities in areas of need, workshops, and expressive arts events just to name a few. Additionally, I hope that my yoga classes develop and provide an outlet for students to achieve physical health, mental clarity, spiritual growth and expansion.
What else can you tell us about yourself, your business, and your life in Sandwich?
The business name Eastman House is a historic revival of our home’s identity. The Eastman House was named through the ownership of Nellie Eastman (widow of Charles Everett Eastman) who had inherited the property from her family named Watson (Dana). Although the earliest known owner and presumed builder of the home was Gilbert Hodgdon, the name Eastman House seemed to prevail for some time until the reference became lost.
I thought it important to focus the business around the land and history associated with our property. Eastman Brook flows through the land as it has meandered to Squam Lake for thousands of years. Eastman House Creative Counseling & Yoga is located in our barn which was relocated from a property on Wiggin Farm Road in 2020. Rich Benton and his amazing team took care of the dismantle, transportation, and re-assemble of the barn. My husband Ray then took on the finishing aspects of the space creating a beautifully warm and inviting studio for counseling, yoga, and art-making. It was truly a labor of love.
What does living and working in Sandwich mean to you?
It is as if I have come full circle, 40 years later. I am living my dream and so grateful for the new opportunities and friendships that have met me along the way. And what a place to land! The natural environment, flora and fauna, and the most interesting collection of humans… life is good!
Note: All photos are by Heather and Ray Cameron
Heather Cameron, MA, LCMHC, RYT200
Peggy & Mark Longley
2/19/2023 10:07:38 am
Welcome Heather and Ray and hope your dreams continue to bloom!
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