A Note from Louisa
 
I am feeling agitated this morning, as I sit down to write this. The vernal equinox is less than a month away, with its promise of bird song and new blooms. We’ve just emerged from the record-breaking cold, and watched as our sisters and brothers in Texas have had additional suffering piled on to their already considerable burden.
 
I am weary. We are weary.
 
In my meditation practice, this feeling of restlessness is an old friend… the urgent desire “to do something”, “to make something happen”. It feels insufficient to simply befriend the impulse and observe it with curiosity and compassion. Yet, that is the task.
 
What I notice immediately is the unpleasant sensation of helplessness that we have all been living with for the better part of a year. So much is beyond our control. We are merely passengers on an out-of-control train that has jumped its tracks.
 
I must remind myself at these times that that train was never really ON the tracks in the first place. In fact, in rare moments of quiet, I glimpse that there isn’t really even a train. There is only the illusion of the train on its orderly track, that is navigated at respectable speeds, that I create to avoid feelings of… well, this. 
 
You might think that this understanding makes the loss of control all the worse. In the face of such enduring loss, it’s no wonder we create complex illusions that further our belief of control. Who wants to feel that everything is so random? 
 
Yet, perhaps, letting go of the illusion of the train, also liberates us from having to try to steer the damn thing.
 
If there is no train, no track, no illusion, then perhaps I can relax into the experience of the ride. Yes, it is frightening, but at times exhilarating. Yes, there is sorrow, but there is joy and love as well. And, in my panicked desire to try “to make something happen”, I might miss all of this.
 
I’m still gripping the “not-really" seat on the "not-really” train, and even this is evidence that, once again, I am trying to “do something”. I wonder what it might take for me to put my hands up in the air, throw my head back, and laugh with delight at the imminent roller coaster drop, and just… enjoy the ride.
 
Every Blessing,
Louisa
I asked Meg, our newest CML practitioner, to describe the services she offers to folks looking for something directive and solution-focused as an adjunct to therapy, or those looking for some exploration and goal setting outside of the therapeutic setting.
 
She shared this with me about her coaching sessions and the Energy Leadership Index she uses to help clients work on more intentional use of their time and energy.
 
“We see our world through a different set of lenses. You can learn how you show up on a daily basis by taking an attitudinal assessment that will tell you where and how you use your energy. The Energy Leadership Index will help you know where your stress sabotages your response to everyday situations. After you take the Index you’ll build awareness and start making conscious choices in every moment.”
Do you need to hit the RE-Fresh button in a certain area of your life?
Is there an area of your life that can be improved?
A better future is possible!

I can support your mind+body+soul as you figure out
where you want to go next in life.
You can RE-Invent, at any age.
RE-New yourself by starting with a free 30-minute discovery session. 

Contact Meg to learn more:
Congratulations To... 

Dr. Kara Cavel, in addition to being a valuable CML team member, Kara is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Nebraska Wesleyan. She was just named “2020 Exemplary Teacher of the Year” for her dedication to providing inclusive experiences and opportunities to her students, as well as her commitment to anti-racist practices.
 
Dr. Louisa Foster for her contribution on meditation and mindfulness practices to the chapter on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in the textbook Family Medicine, published by Springer.
 
Hay W., Steinke L., Foster L. (2021) Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In: Paulman P., Taylor R.B., Paulman A.A., Nasir L.S. (eds) Family Medicine. Springer, New York, NY. 
Daily Silent Meditation             
8:15 - 9:00 am
Monday - Friday Morning
Meeting ID: 899 6440 8784
Passcode: 818114
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Guided Meditation
1:15 - 1:45 pm          
Tuesday Afternoon
Meeting ID: 826 1223 4516
Passcode: 058471
Conversations with Wisdom:
Re-membering Feminine Voices of Antiquity
An Online Contemplative Writing Group
Facilitated by Dr. Louisa Foster
Thursday Evenings March 25th- April 29th
5:30 PM -7:00 PM
 
This contemplative writing group will focus on the voices of women mystics, poets, and sages throughout the ages as a means of connecting with our own inner wisdom. 
 
In this eight-week series, we turn to the words of women from antiquity for inspiration. Visit the writings of the first recorded poet, the Sumerian Priestess Enheduanna, the reasoning of Hypatia of Alexandria, the love language of Sappho, and the teachings of the Desert Mothers, among others.
 
Each session, we’ll use gentle guided meditation, quiet inquiry and contemplation, followed by personal writing and journaling, to allow the deepest part of ourselves to speak. We’ll then gather together to share our gifts of wisdom with one another through the process of Sacred Witnessing.
 
No prior experience with meditation or contemplative writing is needed. Please come as you are!
 
Supportive: $260.00 (I’d like to help someone attend)
Standard: $220.00 (I’d like to attend)
Supported: $160.00 (I’d like some help to attend)
 
Register here.
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Beginning Meditation & Mindfulness: An introduction to the practice of insight meditation and mindfulness
An Online Class Facilitated by Laura Crosby
Tuesday Evenings April 6th - May 25th 
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
 
This 8-week offering provides a supportive setting for learning about and practicing meditation and mindfulness. It’s perfect for anyone new to these practices. 
 
We will introduce simple, yet foundational techniques and insights for beginning a meditation practice and living more mindfully. Our time together will give you an opportunity to not only understand meditation and mindfulness but to really experience it. 
 
Through guided meditations, soothing movement, gentle inquiry, and quiet reflection, we will slow down and tune into our natural awareness, clarity, calm, and compassion. We will learn to practice with the body, heart, and mind amidst the joys and sorrows, blessings and stressors of life. 
 
Everyone is invited. No prior meditation or mindfulness experience is necessary.
 
Supportive: $280.00 (I’d like to help someone attend)
Standard: $240.00 (I’d like to attend)
Supported: $180.00 (I’d like some help to attend)
 
Register here.
Please don’t let cost be a barrier to your participation. If you are truly in need, please contact us so that we can make arrangements to help accommodate your participation.
Mindfulness Study Group
Facilitated Online by Laura Crosby
First and Third Sunday of the month from 4pm to 6 pm

The Mindfulness Study Group is beginning its new book selection, In the Face of Fear, Buddhist Wisdom for Challenging TimesThis anthology features teachings from the Dalai Lama, Pema Chödrön, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chögyam Trungpa, Sylvia Boorstein, Jack Kornfield, Norman Fischer, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein and many others. Its 33 essays explore how we can:
  • remain open, joyful, and caring, even when life is stressful 
  • access our innate confidence and fearlessness
  • turn difficult times into opportunities for spiritual development
  • discover that our true nature is always awake, wise, and good, no matter what is happening   

Our sessions are freely offered, drop-ins are welcome, and there's no registration necessary. We read together - so no homework! - and discuss each chapter. Books are available from lcrosby@me.com.

Meeting ID: 843 4464 0572
Passcode: 570798
CML Third Space
Shared Facilitation Online
Second and Fourth Sunday of the month 
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

CML Third Space is a virtual community where we can gather, meet new neighbors and friends, and engage in resiliency building to help us stay connected and grounded through this difficult time.
 
Please join us on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month at 7:00 pm CST for a co-created space where we use mindfulness, connection and play to keep our immune systems strong and robust!
 
In February, we’ll be checking in with our mindfulness practice. What’s it looking like these days? Hope to see you there!

Meeting ID: 817 7852 5724
Passcode: 212247

Join us on the Third Space Facebook page.
Building Skills for Challenging Times
By Nanci Nilles Psy. D.
 
As we approach the pandemic’s year milestone, it is important to note many of us are experiencing emotional and physical fatigue, irritability, and overwhelm. Months of vigilance for our health and safety, disruption of daily routines, and social isolation have stressed our nervous systems and depleted our emotional and physical resources (Turmaud 2020).

Thankfully, there is a lot of literature available about navigating challenging times. A consistent message is to keep socially connected; get your sleep; maintain good nutrition; regulate social media; take a news break (Turmaud 2020). Excellent recommendations.

I want to add to this wisdom with the following tools, which may be a valuable addition to your self-care skill set. 

One such tool is staying in the present moment. No small task as internal and external distractions bombard us daily, causing our minds to race to the future or the past. A good question to ask oneself is, “What is most important now?” This question directs the attention to the present moment, creating a focal point. And having a focal point often helps to tune out noisy thoughts or a stressful news cycle (Athey 2021.)

The challenge of staying attuned to the present is redirecting attention when it wanders. Rather than criticizing yourself for an inability to sustain attention, it is more effective to accept that you will need to bring it back to the present moment.

Mindfulness and meditation develop this refocusing muscle. Another method is to adopt this daily practice: acknowledge a distraction by thinking “hello” to it. And then letting the distraction go by bidding it “good-bye.”

We often hear how isolation is one of the main struggles of the pandemic. Keeping regular contact with our support system is the best way to break this isolation. As an adjunct to personal connection, it can be helpful to “find your heroes.” This tool involves regularly reading, viewing, interacting with people or ideas who inspire or uplift you.

In challenging times, when there are multiple ways for the media to influence our outlook, we must choose the messages which will energize us rather than bring us down (Firestone, L 2021.) 

In these challenging times, we can actively choose to break out of living in crisis mode by practicing self-care regularly. And in doing so, may we find more moments of resilience and calm.

Athey, A (2021, January 14) “How to Weather Psychologically Toxic Conditions” Psychology Today.

Firestone, L (2021, February 1) “Nourishing Your Resilience in Hard times” Psychology Today.

Turnaud, D.(2020, June 21) “Why Survival Mode Isn’t the Best Way to Live.” Psychology Today.