Note From Louisa
 
I've been considering the role of anchors a lot lately - the role that they play, both literally and metaphorically. Most of us are familiar with the anchor of a ship, which acts as a weight that prevents drifting and allows the vessel to hold steady against currents and opposing forces.
 
More abstractly, we understand that, in meditation, our breath, or other object of concentration, anchors us in the present moment, orienting us in space, time and awareness.
 
There are other anchors as well, such as family and community that keep us true to who we are and where we came from. In a similar fashion, our values anchor and guide us in decision and action, so that we may live with integrity and intention.
 
While we may establish anchoring unintentionally, or quite purposefully, they are necessary structures for creating order out of chaos, definition out of randomness.
 
In this month's featured article, Kara introduces us to a way of using the Tarot as an external anchor to help us access our own intuition. The tools used for centuries in practices known as "divination" have long been viewed as a means of connecting with our own innate wisdom: a lens of sorts, through which we can interpret the world.
 
Please let us know how you stay connected with your inner wisdom by posting on our Facebook page. We'd love to hear your thoughts!
 
With compassion,
Louisa
Announcements
Ongoing Contemplative Practices  (No Charge) 

Workshop: Sitting Meditation Groups
Workshop: Mindfulness Study Group (see below)

Workshops & Events
Hosted at The Center for
 Mindful Living


Communication Teacher and Author Oren Jay Sofer
to Share Teachings and Community in Omaha
 
The Art of Mindful Communication:  Living Your Values 
Evening Talk ~ Friday, June 14, 2019 ✦ 7-9pm at Brownell Talbot School (James Library)

Oren Jay Sofer will help us explore how our contemplative practice can provide a foundation for bringing more compassion, clarity, and connection into our speech and relationships. Oren will be offering teachings from his new book, Say What You Mean:  A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication. The evening will include a guided meditation, lecture, and time for questions and answer. For those who wish to explore the topic further, see below for a daylong training on this topic.


Say What You Mean: Creating Meaningful  Conversations  
Daylong Retreat ~ Saturday, June 15, 2019 ✦ 9-5pm   at Brownell Talbot School (James Library)

In this daylong session, Oren will share the foundations of an integrated approach to skillful communication. We will explore how to bring more mindfulness and care to our communication - our listening, speaking, and thinking. The day will include a combination of guided meditation, discussion, and interactive practice. This workshop is appropriate for all levels of experience; NVC will be taught at an introductory level.

Register for one or both sessions here or email lcrosby@me.com 


Ongoing Offerings
 
Mindfulness Study Group
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
First and Third Sunday of the month from 4pm to 6pm
 
Join us as we begin A Path with HeartA Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield. Considered an essential classic that many return to again and again as part of their mindfulness practice, A Path With Heart offers inspiration and teachings for living mindfully, intentionally, authentically and compassionately - or as one reviewer put it, with "full-tilt compassion."
   
The Group will read together, so there is no pre-reading or homework involved.  We will read, discuss and practice mindfulness meditation based on the teachings of the book.  Copies of the book are available for use in the study session or to check-out.    

This Mindfulness Study Group is freely offered. There is no charge to participate. Drop-ins welcome at any time. While this selection is based on Buddhist mindfulness teachings, the Study Group as a whole is not religiously affiliated.
Featured Article

The practice of tarot: An unexpected tool to grow intuition and
develop self-regulation

By Kara Cavel, PhD, CMSW, LIMHP
 
Knowing what one needs and how one feels is not predetermined and does not happen in isolation. D.W. Winnicott, a pediatrician and psychoanalyst, believed the caregiver, if attuned to the child's physical and emotional needs, provides a holding environment for the child to experience the feeling of becoming real. Ideally, this happens in the relationship between a child and primary caregiver, but the relationship between a therapist and client can also serve as a source of consistency, predictability, and comfort, facilitating the feeling of becoming real. With the help of the caregiver or a therapist, an individual eventually learns to regulate their emotional states and tolerate feeling what they feel, and knowing what they know (van der kolk, 2014, p. 115).  
 
When we are unable to feel what we feel or know what we know, we become vulnerable to "shutting down the direct feedback from [our] bodies, the seat of pleasure, purpose, and direction" (van der kolk, 2014, p. 116). In other words, we shut down our intuition. When this happens, our inner sensations are ignored. When intense sensations are associated with safety and comfort we can learn to self-regulate and self-soothe. When they are not, we fail to have a sense of agency over our bodies and mind.
 
In the spirit of Winnicott's work who emphasized the power of play in his work with children, other tools or anchors can be utilized to invite safety in moments of distress. These tools serve to anchor us in the present moment and invites us to tap into our visceral sensations and ultimately the truth of who we are. This brings us to the use of tarot in one's own practice in developing intuition and self-regulation.
 
Several years ago, a friend gifted me a deck of tarot cards. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more about how I could use tarot as a source of guidance in my life. A tarot deck consists of Major Arcana and Minor Arcana cards. The Major Arcana cards are emblematic pictures that represent archetypal themes influencing one's life journey. These archetypal themes are reminiscent of Carl Jung's contributions who also worked with archetypal images and their role within the unconscious. The Minor Arcana cards comprise four suits (Cups, Swords, Wands, and Pentacles) each of which has distinctive characteristics.
 
At first, I understood the tarot to be THE guide, a power outside of myself, used to give me direction and clarity about a situation in my life. As I began to utilize the cards more and study the purpose of tarot, I began to understand how this power resided within me and not the cards. I became my own "midwife of the soul" a term used by Mary Greer (first coined by Sigmund Freud), an author and teacher of tarot. This allowed me to utilize the tarot to gain access to my own intuition and bodily wisdom. In times of distress, I would remind myself that I already know what I need. I would turn to the tarot to bring that knowing to light.
 
Recently, I was introduced to Lindsay Mack's work, the creator of Soul Tarot. She interprets and utilizes the tarot as a tool for self-care, healing, and evolution. Her work inspired me to use tarot as an anchor for myself and others. I have found that tarot has served as an adjudicative tool to assist in helping me know what I know, and feel what I feel. It is an unconventional practice used to move into the present moment. The tarot serves as a way to "visually and tangibly clarify another way of viewing our inner experiences, and allows us to be with them in a different way" (from Trauma and the Tarot taught and presented by Lindsay Mack).
 
Using tarot has given me a creative way to understand my experiences. I have learned to better tolerate the discomfort of not knowing the outcome of an event, and instead tap into my intuition using the cards to guide me. Pausing, breathing, and using the cards to support myself in a particular moment and remain calm and connected to my wisdom, has deepened my relationship with myself and has steadily become a practice of mindfulness, helping me to know what I know, and feel what I feel.
 
I invite you to consider the use of alternative forms of knowing in your practice to grow your intuition and tap into the truth of who you are.
 
Reference:
van der Kolk, Bessel (2014).
The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma.
New York: Penguin Books, ISBN: 978-0-14-3122774-1

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The Center for Mindful Living is a space for healing that hosts independent practitioners and educators coming together to create an Urban Sanctuary in the middle of the city.