Note from Louisa

Forty days until the election. A hundred days left in 2020. Five months to a possible vaccine. Eight months left until... And so, the countdown begins. 
 
I find myself caught up in numbers that signal the end of this interminable era of bad news, one with one portentous event stacked on the next, with little to no time to process. How I long for it to be over and to move back to more solid and predictable ground.
 
"Surely, it will be better when..." has become a common refrain when speaking with friends. And while we were once boisterous in these declarations, our voices seem more like whispers now, as if we dare not invoke anything more challenging.
 
In the midst of one of these conversations, it occurred to me that I was compounding my own present-day misery in my forward-looking posture. What was masquerading as hope, was truly only another attempt to escape or control the present situation. Do I really need to stay here now, in this challenge and difficulty? Can't I lose myself in a possible future that is more pleasing?
 
On the heels of these thoughts, another: What have I been missing as I pin my security on an unknowable six months, or year from now?
 
Yes, I have avoided some of the pain that I witness around me in this unpleasant present. But, perhaps, I have also missed some of its beauty, teachings, and anchoring?
 
Why do I believe things should "get better"? And better for whom? There are no guarantees that I will even be around to witness change that suits me in the next month, the next week, or even the next breath.
 
This is the moment. This is the only moment.
 
Can I turn toward this moment, with all of its discomfort and imperfection? Can I lean in? True, I don't approve. I don't like it. But I have yet to note that the Universe is seeking out my approval or counsel, or that the world is meant to be ordered to my liking.
 
What if there is something really good here that I am missing because I'm busy trying to be somewhere, or somewhen, else?
 
There have been hard times before. There will be hard times again. And this moment, this resplendent moment, is hard too. We need not pretend it isn't. 
 
But it is so much more than that. And, it is the only one that holds any certainty whatsoever.
 
Be well, stay safe, and, most importantly, stay here.
 
Blessings on your journey.
Louisa
Announcements
CML VIRTUAL MEDITATION SCHEDULE:

Daily Silent Meditation                         
8:15 - 9:00 am
Monday - Friday Morning
Meeting ID: 899 6440 8784
Passcode: 818114
----------------------------
Guided Meditation
1:15 - 1:45 pm          
Tuesday Afternoon
Meeting ID: 826 1223 4516
Passcode: 058471
__________________________________________________________
ONGOING OFFERINGS
 
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 Times. This 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   
You can join us for the Mindfulness Study Group the first and third Sunday of each month from 4-6pm via Zoom (info below).  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!

Meeting ID: 817 7852 5724
Passcode: 212247

Featured Article

The River
By Pamela Mueggenberg LMHP, MA
Art Therapy Counseling
 
Stillness and action are relative, not absolute, principles. It is important to find a balance... in everyday life. In movement, seek stillness and rest. In rest, be mindful and attentive. ~Ken Cohen
 
This week as I connect with my friends and family, watch the news, and talk to my clients I am better understanding that we, as a culture, are currently floating in a sea of stress.
 
I won't list all the different issues that could be causing you to lose sleep at night: they permeate our everyday world and seep into us as water seeps into dry dirt. It is as difficult to stop this anxiety from infecting us, as it is trying to keep mud dry.
 
Enter one of my favorite neuropsychiatrists, Dr. Dan Seigel. Dr. Seigel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author to many wonderful books that integrate neuropsychiatry, attachment, and mindfulness into concrete strategies to be kinder to yourself.
 
One of my favorite ideas of his is how we are individuals interact with the outside world. We have rivers of information and energy flowing within us in the form of sensations, thoughts, emotions, and behavior. This river flows into itself, building up to rapids when we are anxious or slowing to an ice floe when we are sleepy.
We can change the course of this river by changing our focus of attention, or change the speed with conscious breath. We can think of this river inside us as our mind, a new way of seeing ourselves.
 
The other river we need to be aware of is the flow between ourselves and the outside world. Information and energy flow into us and can affect us in subtle but powerful ways: alerting us to danger, softening our bodies around those we love, speeding up our minds when asked an interesting question.
 
This river that flows into us is how we experience being a part of our larger world.
 
Currently the river flowing into us is urgent, information packed, and often unsettling.   If we view ourselves as a person trying to stand in the river we will surely be toppled.
 
However, we can always remember - we are water. As this river flows into us we can allow it to pass through us and out again. The river within us cannot be knocked over, swept up, knocked aside. A river is always moving, changing, finding new paths.
 
We are the river, and we are powerful.
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.