Note From Louisa
 
We stand, yet again, on the precipice of another Holiday Season. This one sneaked up on me somehow. In truth, I think they all do.
 
I have my 2020 calendar ready and have begun transferring important information onto the pristine pages that represent all the possibility of a new year. (And, yes, I do still use a paper calendar).
 
I noted something I jotted down in the now nearly undecipherable pages of December 2019. Scrawled in the margin, amidst the canceled appointments, to-do lists and reminders, is the word "Breathe".
 
Seeing this word, I am reminded of the "Holiday Hangover" I often experience in the aftermath of holiday chaos. And the vow I undertake, nearly every year, to do it differently next time.
 
The demands on us inflate exponentially this time of year, fueled by expectations and traditions that may or may not reflect the personal meaning that the season holds for us. Perhaps there is an opportunity, before the mayhem sets in, to pause and assess?
 
What do I most value about this time of year? Is it time with family and friends? Being of service to others? A much-needed restorative break from work?
 
What activities do I get swept up in that may be depleting or overwhelming and risk making the season feel chaotic or obligatory? Where are the moments of self-care that I can protect when I find myself anxious, resentful or exhausted?
 
Perhaps, if we can take a moment to breathe right now, before the myriad of party invitations and the constant press of consumerism set in, we may find the joy and gratitude that helps us stay grounded and connected to what we value most this season.
 
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.
We at CML are eternally grateful for the community you are helping us to build.
 
With Compassion, Joy and Gratitude,
Louisa
 
If meditation is part of your self-care strategy, please note that we offer two opportunities for practice during the holidays. The first occurs this Friday from 9 to noon, when we will host a Gratitude Retreat as a respite from Black Friday pandemonium.
 
On New Year's Day, Wisdom House Collaborative will be offering an hour-long sit at CML beginning at 11 am for the annual event "Omaha Meditates". Please join us for a contemplative start to the New Year.
 
Both events are offered free of charge and no registration is needed to participate. See below for further details.
Announcements
- This week is the last day to drop off coats for our coat drive! -
 
Thank you so much to those who have already donated! If you haven't had a chance to clean out the closet yet, we will be accepting donations this Monday and Tuesday, and at the retreat on Friday. Please feel free to drop off your gently worn, winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves to the main house kitchen. We will deliver them to Siena Francis house after the retreat on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
If you've been blessed with warmth, shelter and resources this year, please consider sharing your good fortune with those who have less.

Ongoing Contemplative Practices (No Charge)
 
Workshop: Sitting Meditation Groups
Workshop: Mindfulness Study Group (see below)
Inclement Weather Policy

When Omaha Public Schools are closed, we will suspend activities of the Center as well. We will also send out an email to notify of cancellations. If inclement weather falls on either a weekend or school holiday, please check with your specific instructor or facilitator regarding cancellation and rescheduling.
Workshops & Events
Hosted at The Center for
 Mindful Living
The Gratitude Retreat
(formerly the Buy Nothing Day Retreat)
A Half-Day Meditation Retreat
Friday, November 29th from 9am to Noon

Instead of waiting in long lines for the opportunity to fight over even more discounted, unnecessary stuff, please join us for a more grounded approach to the holiday season. Together, we'll explore gratitude and abundance in a world that is focused on competition and possession. How can we bring our gratitude to life in ways that elevate those we love and better the lives of others with less?  There is no charge, just drop in!

Omaha Meditates 2020
One-Hour Sit
Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 from  11am to Noon
Wisdom House Collaborative is partnering with the Center for Mindful Living to celebrate Omaha Meditates on New Year's Day. Please come join us at 11 am for an hour sit on January 1st to start 2020 with intention.  If you wish to take the Omaha Meditates pledge to dedicate one minute or more to the goodwill of the event please go to 
Omahameditates.org .  Or visit the Wisdom House Collaborative website at  wisdomhouseomaha.org  where you'll find their New Year's Resolution page that talks about recent scientific findings on the mechanism for changing our habits through literally rewiring our minds and bodies beginning with the training of attention and clarity. 


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 Heart, A 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

Pregnancy and Identity
By Pamela Mueggenberg, MA, LMHP, LPC
 
Before finding my home here at the Center for Mindful Living, I worked as a pregnancy counselor for a local non-profit organization. I am proud of the work we did, using our compassionate and nonjudgmental space to help women facing unplanned pregnancies make the choice that was best for them.
 
During that time, I met dozens of women facing a wide variety of psychological, financial, and logistical concerns that needed to be addressed as they made their decision. Am I healthy enough to raise a child like I would like to? Will my partner be supportive of my decision? What does labor feel like? How on earth do I tell my boss?
 
Now that I am a mother of a wonderful little boy with another on the way, I look back on those conversations with a new sense of empathy and awe. I am grateful that both of my pregnancies were planned and I am buffeted by a support system that helps me to be successful.
 
At the same time, there are some common threads through every pregnancy that I've witnessed or experienced that is necessary to explore to help keep both mother, family, and baby safe and healthy.
 
One of my favorite senses in the human body is proprioception. Proprioception is the innate awareness of your body's position in space. If you close your eyes right now, you will still be able to know how your feet are touching the ground, how the chair is supporting your back.
 
During times of rapid change to our body, our proprioception sometimes takes a while to catch up to our current physical shape. When a teenager goes through a growth spurt, they are famously clumsy until their senses can catch up with their new gangly legs.
 
Given the sudden change in a pregnant woman's body, we also see a disassociation between our proprioception and physical selves. This gap between how we sense ourselves and how our body is moving through space can be confusing at best.
 
Do we still take ownership of our body if we're not sure where it is in space? This disconnection can be exacerbated by the sudden shift of a woman's body from a private vessel to a public announcement of fertility. Strangers asking medical questions, friends rubbing your belly, family members sharing intimate or disturbing stories of their own experiences. Women can often lose track of their physical identity, which can lend itself to feelings of powerlessness, anxiety, or depression.
 
As we navigate this shifting landscape of physical identity, a deeper identity shift may also arise. Before a pregnancy, women often choose how they are seen. Small business owner. Feminist. Cancer researcher. Funny. Bibliophile.
 
As they engage in the monumental task of creating a life, those identities tend to be subsumed by the weighty title of Mother. We all have different expectations of how mothers function in the world, but for many women, their rules of "How to Be a Good Mother" are rigid, unforgiving, and requiring a level of self-sacrifice that most adults could not possibly meet.
 
Many women grieve the loss of the pre-mother identity while at the same time blaming themselves for not being good enough. These feelings are often minimized by well-meaning onlookers, and their optimistic if myopic statements about "enjoy every moment!" and "being a mother is the best thing that ever happened to me!" It is a painful catch-22.
 
There are so many more aspects of pregnancy that can elicit a huge gamut of emotions. The reminder that you are literally creating a human out of that grilled cheese you ate for lunch. The first time the baby moves and you realize he's happy in there. And, oh my goodness the hormones!
 
However, I believe it is a disservice to our society if we minimize the challenges that women face during these times under the guise of optimism and excitement.
 
If you are pregnant, planning on becoming so, or recently had a baby, I would strongly suggest that you think about coming to therapy. Therapy is a weekly check-in to make sure you aren't exhibiting any precursors of postpartum depression.
 
It is a safe place to explore all these complicated emotions without feeling judged or guilty. And it can be a wonderful time to take a break from being a mother and explore how you can integrate who you are into who you are becoming.
STAY CONNECTED
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.