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Anna Salamone: A Feature on Health and Wellness & More


The Ithaca community has many health and wellness resources and organizations, including Firefly Farm Retreat and Tompkins County Public Library Midday Meditation. Both of these organizations are run by Anna Salamone, a retired Psychotherapist.

Anna Salamone, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher (Photo Credits of Anna Salamone)

“In about 1990, I was introduced to meditation and I’ve been a student of meditation ever since…I discovered there’s a course called Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and it is designed to help people prevent recurrent episodes of serious clinical depression, so when I saw that, I jumped right on it, ” said Salamone.

Salamone didn’t always start with a background in meditation. Right after high school, she went off to nursing school, received her master’s in clinical social work, combined that work into her own private practice, came to Ithaca in 1999, and in 2007 officially started studying mindful based programs, which had a lot of involvement with many other mindfulness meditation practitioners and specialists both within in New York and Massachusetts such as Judson Brewer, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

When attending a meditation group located in Palmyra, New York, Salamone met her now-husband, Barry Perlus who is a photographer and retired Cornell professor. They bonded over their shared interest in meditation and mindfulness, eventually married, and moved to Ithaca, where they founded Firefly Farm Retreat.

“…[it] started out trying to find space like at the library and here and there and then I realized I had the perfect environment and I kind of dove into that so we call our property Firefly Farm and since I’ve been teaching here, it is Firefly Farm Retreat and it has worked out really well…”

Firefly Farm Retreat (Photo Credits of Barry Perlus)

As the main focus of the story is dedicated towards Black, Indigenous, People of Color’s (BIPOC) Health and Wellness, I asked Salamone to elaborate on how her practice is inclusive and open to “all walks of life.”

“I think there are populations that have not been touched and maybe that my setup isn’t conducive and that is why I try to do things that reach out to the community more. For instance, the weekly meditation at the library, now online but formally at the library, is open to everyone and I really value that…”

Anna Salamone teaching Mindfulness/Meditation on Zoom in Firefly Farm Retreat (Photo Credits of Anna Salamone)

When discussing making her space inclusive to all, Salamone agreed that when it comes to mindfulness and meditation, she emphasized the use of having those safe, comfortable, and quiet spaces and their importance.

“I would say that first of all it helps to have a space for formal practice that is quiet and free from distractions so we do have that kind of space here… I do think that people may come on to the farm and enter the building [and] often feel something… that begins to touch them and is rather calming and that’s useful…”

Salamone also had the chance to express her thoughts on her own definition of health and wellness and how it connects to mindfulness and meditation. Not only did she give the background of meditation, as well as some words of advice for starting mindfulness and meditation.

 “I would say that being able to […] being in life with our fullest potential possible, physically, mentally, emotionally, is a sign of health and wellness, right? Meditation didn’t just start in the last few decades, meditation comes from ancient practices that were spiritual practices and in recent years they have been respectfully borrowed… Knowing the direction that is deeper than the surface of our mind and all the chatter and when we make these decisions from there, we are tapping into something that is more grounded, wiser, and has great potential.”

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