Note From Louisa
This has been quite a month! We have been busy preparing for our exciting move at the end of September into our beautiful new Urban Sanctuary, just a block away from our current location. We are looking forward to sharing it with you!
Thank you to all who stopped by our booth at Dundee Day to say hello! It was a warm and humid day made more enjoyable by all the friendly, happy faces we saw.

In all of the busyness of the past few months, overseeing renovations and preparing for our move, I have found myself losing touch with the values of my mindfulness practice.
The start of the school year, the press of getting everything organized, managing illness, bill paying and car trouble... It is so easy for the demands of daily life to seem so important and urgent that they eclipse our ability to bring loving kindness and curiosity to our experience.
Too often we are short with others, or ourselves. We take a stressful situation and pile on, adopt a posture of martyrdom, or push through - sadly, all familiar states for me as of late.
In meeting deadlines, checking boxes off the to-do list, or hurrying on to the next task, we deprive ourselves of the very moments that comprise our lives, and the sheer joy of sharing these moments in relationship.
In putting this edition of the newsletter together, I found myself in just such a state. Rushed and harried, I was brought to a dead stop while reading Laura's featured article this month.
Entitled, "Hidden Kaleidoscopes", Laura asks us to see with new eyes the tender moments of each day, each interaction, as an opportunity to experience ourselves, and others, as an ever evolving pattern, rather than as a fixed "self" or "other".
Truly, this moment is all there is. It is precious and irretrievable. We never cross the same river twice.
I have read about this concept a lot over the years, but never with such clarity and poignancy. I am grateful to Laura for her beautiful writing and for sharing with us such an intimate moment from her own experience.
Please, make yourself a cup of tea, find five quiet minutes in your busy, hectic day in which you can enjoy this gentle, touching piece.
In kindness always, and in gratitude for the beautiful, ever changing Kaleidoscope that you are,

Yes, We're Moving! 
As of October 1st, you can find us at 
621 N. 51st Street in our new Urban Sanctuary.


CML welcomes Massage Therapist Rae Minten!


"I believe our natural state is one of vitality and wellness; yet illness

and injury can alter and challenge your day to day ease. Fortunately, bodywork and massage access places in the body you cannot release yourself. Many of the modalities I offer allow the client to remain fully clothed so you can easily get the support you need, enhance your awareness and facilitate transformation in order to help you Feel Better."

The first time Rae remembers feeling good in her skin was during a community yoga class. It was right then that her life changed for the better. Now, after 27 years of practice, yoga has come to hold a central place for her, offering guidance and support in her emotional and spiritual life as well as her physical well-being. Wanting to share the amazing gifts of yoga, Rae has completed several yoga teacher's training in the past 13 years. She has continued to study the path to wellness through the use of Essential Oils with  ArōmaTouch and Energetic Healing with  Reiki. Wanting to know more, Rae graduated from the 800+hour massage program at  East West College of Massage & Healing Arts.

Rae will have massage and Reiki appointments on Fridays starting October 5th. Learn about her services, pricing and how to schedule and appointment here.
Ongoing Contemplative Practices
  • Workshop: Sitting Meditation Groups (No Charge) 
  • Workshop: Mindfulness Study Group (No Charge) 
Workshops & Events
Mindfulness Talk & Guided Meditation
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
Wednesday Mornings, from 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Ongoing until October 3rd
Fifteen minute teachings followed by group discussion & meditation. Deepen understanding and practice of mindfulness as we draw on teachings about bringing mindfulness and meditation to essential life experiences ... stress, relationships, difficult emotions, habits, change, conflict, and more.  Following a 15-20 minute teaching, we will have a facilitated group discussion and a meditation based on the teaching.  Some mindfulness practice helpful, but not required. All materials and supplies provided. This session is freely offered.   There is no charge to participate. This is a drop-in offering. No registration is required.
Compassion & Peace over Lunch
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
Wednesday Afternoons, from 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Ongoing until October 3rd
Group sessions for cultivating compassion and peace in everyday life Experience and cultivate your innate compassion and peace. Engage in group discussion and mindfulness/meditation practices to bring loving-kindness and compassion to ourselves and others, while finding greater equanimity and calm. Some mindfulness practice helpful, but not required. Bring your own snack. All other materials and supplies provided. This session is freely offered.  There is no charge to participate. This is a drop-in offering. No registration is required.

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Series
Facilitated by Kara Cavel, LICSW, Ph.D.
Tuesday Evenings, from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
October 16th - November 20th
"The guiding principle of recovery is restoring a sense of power and control to the survivor"-Judith Herman
Because trauma is often stored in the body, yoga-based interventions are a way to approach healing through a somatic experience in an effort to rebuild a sense of connection to the self by becoming curious about the experience of being. For those interested, you can expect to engage in an embodied practice that utilizes movement and breath work as a way to experience the present moment, feel empowered to make choices, take effective action, and to experience the flow of creating rhythm or synchrony with your breath and body. 
This yoga series is ideal for indivdiuals who have an established relationship with a psychotherapist and who attend weekly therapy. 
Tuition for the 6-week series is $150 dollars ($25 dollars per class). The group will consist of 6 or fewer individuals due to limited space and it is highly recommended that the participants attend
Mindful Self-Compassion: Moving From Shame to Self-Acceptance. A Comprehensive Program to Cultivate Peace and Compassion in Ourselves & Others.
Four Day Long Retreats, Saturdays 9 am to 4 pm
December 1st, January 12th, February 9th, March 9th
Nurturing a strong, positive relationship with ourselves is at the very foundation of emotional well-being and resilience. This series of four day-long retreats will help you to develop the skills necessary to turn toward life's challenges with tenderness and curiosity, rather than avoidance, anger or shame. Research has found that having a self-compassion practice acts as an effective buffer against anxiety and depression. Learning to soothe and comfort ourselves in times of distress increases our sense of gratitude and happiness, and enhances all of our relationships.
Each retreat includes small group exercises, opportunities for private reflection, and guided meditations. No prior experience with meditation is necessary. Maximum 12 participants. Tuition $125.00 per session. Must commit to attend all four sessions as skills and course content are designed to build on one another.
Mindfulness Study Group
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from 4-6 p.m
Join us as we begin Reflections on Silver River by Ken McLeod. This short work is part translation of a revered Tibetan poem on 37 mindfulness and compassion practices and part short reflections on how these teachings apply to life today.  
The Group will read together, so there is no pre-reading or homework involved. Copies of the book will be available for use in the study session or to check-out. There is no charge to participate. Drop-ins welcome at any time - feel free to jump in at any point! While this selection is based on Buddhist mindfulness teachings, the Study Group as a whole is not religiously affiliated. No registration required.

Featured Article
Hidden Kaleidoscopes

By Laura Crosby


"Our identity is like a kaleidoscope. With each turn we reset it not to a former or final state but to a new one that reflects the here-and-now positions of the pieces we have to work with. The design is always new because the shifts are continual. That is what makes kaleidoscopes and us,so appealing and beautiful."

David Richo, How to be an Adult in Relationships

Is this true for you? Are you like a kaleidoscope? Can you sense yourself always shifting from one "design" to another that "reflects the here-and-now positions of the pieces" of your life - 
thoughts, feelings, moods, attention, body?


Don't think about it. Look and listen, open and curious. What is your experience? What is true for you? Is there a fixed or final state of you? Or is there a shifting and flowing? 

What is it like to witness, even smile at this experience - your kaleidoscope -- whatever design it is taking? Letting go perhaps of what it was or what it will be. What is it like in this moment? Is it "appealing and beautiful?" 

We don't often recognize the inevitable, constant changing in ourselves or in others - let alone appreciate the "beauty" as we would a kaleidoscope. As a practical matter, we go through our days assuming a "me" or a "you" or an "us" of some former or fixed or final state. 


Our eyes are as if closed to the pattern of the kaleidoscope in our midst in this moment, dreaming instead of a "freeze frame" we knew or loved or were wronged by in some other place and time. And so our understanding of what or who is here-and-now is imprecise, even distorted.  


I remember waking up to this. My son was three, teary-eyed and wobbly as I knelt before him. It was Friday afternoon, and, as was our weekly tradition, we were having snack at the Village Grinder coffee shop and would then visit the Bookworm. We had done this hundreds of times before. 


He stood on tippy-toes, nose resting on the counter, reaching for the cookie the cashier held out for him. He no sooner had the treat in his eager hand than it was gone, crumbs on the carpet. His lips began to quiver. I knelt. Took his hand. Found his eyes.


Then I saw. I wasn't looking, I was seeing. It was subtle, but I was struck. Before me was something new, born of familiar elements and yet more and different. This beautiful boy was morphing into some new design of himself continually right before my eyes.


I was seeing him as if for the first time, over and over again. The first time and perhaps the only time he would take this exact design.


It came to me. Let me remember the former design and hope happiness for the future ones, but let me not allow either to obscure my understanding of the one before me now.  Let him be seen and known - and his unique design honored - in every moment of his life. 


What would that be like for you? To be seen and known, really accepted, in every moment by yourself and others? What would it mean for your relationships ... your health ... your happiness ... your peace?  What would it mean for you to offer this to others?


Here is how my story continues ... I was shifting too, coming out of mommy autopilot. I was able to see what was called for in that moment, rather than automatically reacting to the hundreds of moments and millions of former versions of my son and I. 


We didn't hurry to clean up the mess out of embarrassment. We didn't buy another cookie to "make it better." We didn't hustle out of line worried we were taking time and space that didn't belong to us. We didn't hush our selves so as not to make a scene or disturb others -- we didn't need to. We paused quite naturally.


There was clarity. There was a slowing down, a relaxing into, an allowing for even the sad and unpleasant. Silent tears and holding each other, an outpouring of compassion for this little being and for all of us who find something we so want in pieces before us with no going back.


And then ...a smile, a brother's nudge, a giggle, a moving on, a new design. The kaleidoscope turning continually, "appealing and beautiful."


What would it be like to thoroughly pause and know what was needed, especially during times of trouble or chaos? What would it be like to be surrounded by family and friends who could do the same?

Goodness knows there were countless moments before that Village Grinder Friday and countless since when I forgot to remember that this "I" and "you" and "we" are kaleidoscopes, not fixed and final, but continually flowing from one intricate and singular design to the next. When I do remember, which is to say when I do become mindful, I am filled with curiosity and awe - and always astounded by what I learn.


It seems that the trick for many of us is in the remembering.  Life is demanding, busy, distracting, exhausting and often traumatizing.  Even so, can we remember to open to the kaleidoscope of someone - and ourselves - in each moment?


Can we remember to let go of or suspend the ideas and stories we attach to a person? Can we see that the kaleidoscope has turned and is turning -- and that we may miss our one and only chance to know it as it is now?


Any static picture we hold too tightly is obscuring our understanding. We get stuck and stagnant, walled off in many ways from the fullness of the precious, fleeting life before us now.


Perhaps it's easy to romanticize the beauty of our "kaleidoscope" when times are simple, people are easy and memories are pleasant -- less so when they are difficult.  Very importantly, "appreciating the pattern of the kaleidoscope" is not about tolerating or condoning abuse or minimizing trauma. 


First be safe.  We can invite ourselves to see the "here-and-now" of a difficult person or experience from a safe distance in healthy doses (and if necessary work with the guidance of a therapist).


When we do, we may find that softening around a preconceived notion and seeing the here-and-now paves the way for an understanding or acceptance that lessens a burden, eases a pain, or allows for a healing forgiveness.


Here's an invitation for you.  Consider greeting the next person or being you encounter - or even yourself - with a gentle interest in their "kaleidoscope designs" during the time you spend together.


Is there a fixed or final state? Or is there a shifting and flowing? May you see and know this being - and honor their unique designs - in every moment you share.


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.