Note From Louisa
 
As I write this, sitting by the fireplace, a gentle, freezing drizzle is falling outside the window, the occasional car cautiously making its way down the icy street.
 
I am amused as the Universe conspires with me in my engagement of stillness. Not much of anything out there is moving...
 
There was so much response to last month's issue on Stillness (you can read it here) (Christina, can you insert a link to the January issue here?) that I thought it might merit an update of sorts.
 
I've spoken to several of you who've adopted your own word for the year, and a few who've in embarked on your own inquiry into Stillness. The frozen wasteland outside seems to beckon us further into this exploration, and I am happy to submit.
 
So here's what I'm learning about Stillness right now...
 
One thing I have noticed over the last few weeks is that there is no moving fast when the ground is covered in ice. Slow is safe. How antithetical this seems to our hyper-charged, fast way of life!
 
Also, and thus far, most importantly, there is spaciousness in stillness. This surprises me and I am perplexed when trying to articulate what that actually means. Perhaps, it is the absence of all the press, demand, and urgency that allows for so much room?
 
Perhaps it is just stopping for a moment that allows me to glimpse the true, irrepressible beauty around me that I all too often speed past in my self-importance? The resulting intake of breath as I am present to that beauty allows it to wash over me and briefly suspends time, that most illusive of commodities.
 
These are glimpses only. My investigation is young and there is much to learn. I am still far more comfortable with deadlines and to-do lists, with concrete evidence of my productivity and "good girl-ness". It is hard to slow down.
 
To be... and not do.
 
And it is really, unbelievably spacious.
 
With compassion,
Louisa

Announcements
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.

Ongoing Contemplative Practices
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, February 22, 2019 7-9pm 

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, February 23, 2019 ✦ 9-5pm

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.

The complete event flyer is available here 

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


Facilitated by Laura Crosby
Wednesday Mornings, from 10:00 am - 11:15 am
 
Mindfulness teachings, followed by group discussion & meditation. Deepen your 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 20 minute teaching, we will have a facilitated group discussion and a meditation based on the teaching.  Some mindfulness practice helpful, but not required. This is a drop-in session and is freely offered.  There is no registration necessary and no charge to participate. 
 
Exploring Mindfulness, an 8-week Introductory Workshop 
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
Wednesday Mornings, from 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm  
March 20, 2019 through May 15 (no session on April 10) 
 
New to mindfulness? Familiar with mindfulness and want to deepen your practice?  Join us for this exploration of mindfulness and meditation practices that help cultivate everyday mindfulness.    This workshop introduces mindfulness of body, emotion, thought and experience, giving  participants a deep understanding and experience  of Mindfulness and meditation as they develop their own personal  practice. We will explore tools and  techniques for informal and formal mindfulness, including:  
  • Establishing a Meditation Practice
  • Mindfulness of Body, Feelings, Mind and Experience
  • Compassion Practice
  • Guided Meditations and Body Scans
  • Journaling
  • Walking & Movement Meditation
  • Conversations & Questions
No prior mindfulness training or practice required. All chairs, cushions, materials and supplies provided. Occasional gentle movement involved. The group will consist of 10 or fewer individuals due to limited space. Tuition for this 8-week workshop is $180, with an early bird rate of $120 if you register before February 15.  Click here to register.
Ongoing Offerings
 
Mindfulness Study Group
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
First and Third Sunday of the month from 4pm to 6 pm
 
We're choosing our next book!
Join us on February 3 from 4-6 p.m. as we read a sampling of each of the following books and make our next selection.   It should make for an interesting session!  Copies of the chapters or excerpts will be available for everyone.   
  • After Buddhism:  Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age.  Stephen Batchelor. 2017  
  • Touching the Infinite: A New Perspective on the Buddha's Four Foundations of MindfulnessRodney Smith.  2017.   .
  • A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life. Jack Kornfield. 1993.  
  • Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication. Oren Jay Sofer. 2018.  
The Study Group meets on the first and third Sundays of each month from 4-6 p.m. to read, discuss and practice mindfulness and meditation based on the insights and teachings of our book selection. Participants are also invited to share related readings, poems, short podcasts or videos, and articles. 
 
The Group reads 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. For those preferring to have their own copy, our books are available in print and electronically.  
 
This Mindfulness Study Group is freely offered. There is no charge to participate. Drop-ins welcome at any time. While some selections are based on Buddhist mindfulness teachings, the Study Group as a whole is not religiously affiliated. 
Featured Article

Stonewalling or Taking a Break? How Do I Know the Difference?
By Daniel Tipton, MA

When couples get into arguments, a common behavior that derails effective communication is called stonewalling. This occurs when a person becomes flooded with emotion and chooses to utilize the "flight" portion of the "fight or flight" response. 

"Flight" can be anything from actually fleeing the room (maybe with a door slam or middle finger to add emphasis) to giving the "silent treatment." We have all been there. 

It is perfectly reasonable to disengage when you have had too much but it must be done with care in order to preserve the respect and dignity that relationships need. I instruct couples to utilize self-awareness to know when they need a break. Ideally, stepping aside to cool off is done by stating why you cannot engage at the moment and a time when to return and try to sort out the problem in a more respectful way.

What typically happens is that couples slam the door shut on communication, usually leaving the other person out in the cold. This comes in several forms including: ignoring, only communicating in disingenuous ways (sarcasm, stubbornness), leaving without saying where you are going or when you will be back, or refusing to acknowledge the other person's point of view. 

These behaviors are harmful to relationships and should be avoided as much as possible. The antidote to stone walling, according to Dr. John Gottman, is to practice self-regulation. Essentially, it is knowing when you are past your limit. Often, it can be measured by a heart rate of 100+ beats per minute. Another way to look at it is knowing personal signs that you know mean you are very angry. Most people have signs like, tightness in the neck or chest, a feeling of heat in the face or abdomen, a deep feeling of dread, etc... 

When you can manage it, simply say you need a break and try to meet up again within one hour. This lets the other person know you aren't abandoning the issue or "getting off easy." With consent on both sides, a little break can prevent a painful blowout.
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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.