A Note from Louisa
 
Today, I went for a long walk with a friend. It was chillier than we expected, but still, it felt glorious to be outside, moving our bodies, and catching up. The sun was nowhere to be found, but knowing that there were warmer days on the horizon made the temperature feel just fine.
 
I always marvel at how warm 50 degrees feels after a long, cold winter, and yet how cold it feels when November rolls around. It’s all about the perspective, isn’t it? Perspective and expectation.
 
When the temperature begins its inevitable drop toward the bitterness of winter, the same weather I experienced on my walk today feels foreboding. It chills me to the bone. Yet today, knowing that spring is just around the corner, I welcome the wind and rain as a sign of the new life that is struggling to push through the earth.
 
So it is with all of our reactions. Our entire experience is often shaped, not by the present moment, but by the narrative we construct around it. 
 
I remember a couple of years ago, getting angry at someone who cut me off in traffic. A few blocks later, we got stuck at the same red light. I looked over and saw that the passenger of the car was in some distress, vomiting into a bag. The driver was clearly upset, trying to comfort and soothe the passenger, while navigating rush hour traffic to boot.
 
In that moment, the context of the story changed my entire perspective, as well as my expectations, and most importantly my reaction. Instead of indulging my self-righteous indignation, I saw the driver as a fellow traveler, worried, preoccupied, trying to manage the urgency of the situation. How might I drive if I was anxiously tending a loved one?
 
My heart softened. I wondered how much unnecessary resentment I might have continued to carry had we not both been stopped by that light. If I had not been “reeducated” about what was really going on. How many other times have I not been compassionate because I didn’t have all of the information? And, frankly, isn’t this always the case? Do we ever have all the information necessary to warrant our judgement of others?
 
I’m reminded of that famous saying attributed to Plato “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  
 
Because, when we peel back all of our expectations, interpretations, assumptions, judgments, and narratives, 50 degrees is just the temperature.
  
Blessings on your journey,
Louisa
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
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: (I’d like to help someone attend)
$280.00

Standard: (I’d like to attend)
$240.00

Supported: (I’d like some help to attend)
$180.00
 
Register here.
Self-Compassion and the Path of Sorrows
An online retreat on kindness and loss
Facilitated by Dr. Louisa Foster
May 28th - May 30th
 
As we slowly begin to emerge from the shadow of 2020, we find that the healing process is complex and woven, in part, around grief. How can we honor these sorrows with kindness and compassion? Our grief may be around a lost way of life, a diminished sense of safety, or the loss of being with those we love. 

In this weekend retreat, we will learn to approach grieving, whatever its form, with acceptance, rather than regret or attachment to what no longer is, using gentle meditation, self-compassion practices, and personal journaling in a supportive community.

Together, we’ll learn about the stress response to loss, the limits of our cultural approach to grieving, and self-compassion practices to companion us through suffering. We’ll explore the Five Gates of Grief, and listen in stillness to our own Wisdom. We’ll identify the creative response that best suits our own process, and develop our own plan for healing.
 
Weekend Schedule:   
Friday night: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Saturday Morning: 10:00 am to noon
Saturday Afternoon: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Sunday Morning: 10:00 am to noon
 
Supportive: (I’d like to help someone attend)
$225.00 before May 14th or $250.00 after May 14th

Standard: (I’d like to attend)
$175.00 before May 14th or $200.00 after May 14th

Supported: (I’d like some help to attend)
$160.00
 
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.
Provider Play Date
An Online Half Day of Play for Mental Health Providers
Facilitated by Dr. Louisa Foster
Saturday, May 8th, 9:00am to noon
 
When’s the last time you got to hang out and be silly? Has your creativity muscle atrophied under the weight of the last year? Has a sense of burden and responsibility kept you from breaking into song between sessions, or using a funny accent to order take out? 

Imagine if there was a therapeutic benefit to all that spontaneity and occasional lack of impulse control! Would you be surprised to know that there is?
Come and enjoy three hours of goofiness with your colleagues and learn about the importance of play and how you can use it with your clients to address issues of anxiety and depression. 

Come for the free information, come to spice up your practice but, mostly, come because it will fill your bucket after a long and difficult year.
 
Freely offered, but you will be asked to pay it forward in smiles and laughter!

Register here.

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 April, we'll use the onset of spring as a catalyst for our discussion on "New Beginnings". We hope you'll join us!

Meeting ID: 817 7852 5724
Passcode: 212247

Join us on the Third Space Facebook page.
Most Powerful? Most Important?
By Megan Filipi
 
Chess is all the rage these days. Since we’ve been home during the Pandemic and binge watching “The Queen’s Gambit”, chess is the latest oldest trend. However, chess was played in our home long before this pandemic. Chess can help you in life in many ways. For example, it can help you make mindful, unrushed decisions, look at the bigger picture, and weigh the pros and cons of your choices.
 
Many years ago, I distinctly remember my 3-year-old son on his tippy toes, arms folded on the edge of the dining room table, chin resting on the tops of his hands, fully engaged and following the chess game being played by his Papa and Uncle Joe. Ever since, he’s been a chess player.
 
I’ve always wanted to learn this game my kids play regularly. I decided it was time for my son, who is now 21, to teach me. He started off small and slow, just what I needed! With pieces in place, he then described the role of each. Pawn “least powerful”, Rook “protector”, Knight “minor piece”, Bishop “minor piece”, King “most important”, Queen “most powerful”.
 
“Wait! Wait a second” I said. “What did you just say?” He then repeated it. “The King is the most important, but the Queen is the most powerful.”
 
I had to stop and take that in. What does that mean? Are they not synonymous? What does that even look like? Let’s apply that to us. What does it look like in everyday life? Important versus powerful. Don’t they have the same qualities?
 
Not necessarily.
 
I decided to investigate. Tony Robbins writes…”Let’s talk about one of the most sought after human needs: the need for significance. There’s not a person alive on the planet who doesn’t want to feel important or needed. Why is feeling special such a compelling force? Why does feeling insignificant make us feel so devastated? Once you understand why you’re driven to feel significant to those around you, you can better interpret your own actions and use this desire to help you work toward your goals.”
 
Why do we have a need to feel important? How do we do that? What are the characteristics of feeling ‘most important’? Let’s look at this more closely.
 
Some characteristics of feeling most important can be: haughtiness, overly self-confident, proud, productive, a go-getter, self-focused, boosts of self-esteem, being recognized, being acknowledged.
As I think more about this I wonder if one only feels important when being compared to others? Do these two terms ‘feeling more important than’ and ‘feeling important’ mean the same thing? Do you feel important because there is comparison to another? When you feel important you are gaining and getting all this attention. Attention can be paid to you but is it genuine interest? If the gained attention is only that then the ‘feeling important’ can be fleeting. Once that feeling is gone you want it back again.
 
Let’s look at what the characteristics are of feeling ‘most powerful’: quiet confidence, silent strength, self-assured, courageous, humble, vulnerable, intuitive, grateful, solid, calm, others focused, quick emotional recovery, self-disciplined, the ability to see with a wide-angle lens.
 
There doesn’t seem to be a comparison to another when feeling ‘most powerful’. It comes from within. It’s on the inside, not out. Take care of the power.
 
To me, feeling powerful is the most important. Be like the Queen. Move in any direction that’s best. Be surrounded by love and support. Know who you are and with conviction have the quiet confidence to live the life you were born to live.
 
So I ask you…which is better? To feel ‘most powerful’ or ‘most important’? Are there negative connotations for each? Does one have to be better than the other? Which one do you want to be? Can you be both?
 
Skills acquired while playing chess are nothing short of problem solving, patience, strategic thinking, creative thinking, or calm under pressure. These qualities can be used to live a fulfilling, daily life. Whether you want to feel ‘most important’ or ‘most powerful’, chess can show you the way.