Monthly Archives: December 2011

January Happenings

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Mandala Reflections provides space for thought, dialogue, learning and community that involves ourselves but also includes the collective experience. While a blog can offer a lot to some people, a lot of us need to experience something in “real life” to reap the full benefits. With that said, each month, Mandala Reflections provides a list of various low-cost happenings occurring in the Twin Cities Metro community that contribute to Mandala Reflections’ ongoing discussion about life, health and wellness and how it relates to our stories. Please send me an email prior to the 1st of each month if you have a wellness event you would like to share.

Listing of events does not indicate endorsement by Mandala Reflections.

Day Time Events: 

Tuesday, January 17, 9am-12pm, Location: Carondelet Center, St. Paul, Minnesota Presencing Training: Prototyping Collaboration, “The Presencing process is a journey that connects us more deeply both to what wants to emerge in the world and to our emerging, higher self. A community is emerging, in Minnesota and internationally, to learn from and apply this process. You are invited to join us for this free training, which will introduce the practice of Presencing and focus on the tool of prototyping to bring about deep shifts in organizations and communities. Wendy Morris will lead the training, and we’ll interact with case studies of prototyping from several fields.” Cost: FREE, but space is limited. To find out more or register go to the Event Brite page.

Evening Events:

Monday, January 9, 7-8:30pm, Location: River Market, 221 Main St N # 1  Stillwater, MN 55082, Movie Night Monday: Food Matters, Come and see a controversial documentary about food and its effects on human health. The filmmakers have interviewed several leading experts in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer. For more information, visit the Food Matters Website. Cost: FREE. Registration required. Call (651) 439-0366.

Tuesday, January 10, 7pm, Location: Nina’s Coffee Cafe, 165 Western Ave. N., St. Paul, Community Health Talk Series: Natural Sustainable Approaches to Common Health Issues- Overcoming Arthritis, Brought to you by O’Keefe Matz Functional Health Clinic. Cost: FREE. For more information call 651-292-8072. 

Thursday, January 12, 5:30-6:30pm, Location: Healing Waters Health Center, 2705 Ensloe St., Hudson, WI, Qigong practice, Come try out a qigong practice, no experience necessary. Cost: FREE. Please pre-register by emailing Denise at denise@healingwatersqigong.com or calling the center at 715-381-8123. For more events from this center check out their calendar.

Thursday, January 12, 7-8pm, Location: Mississippi Market, 1500 West 7th Street, St. Paul, Detox class with Dr. Salmi, Learn about toxins in your environment, how they affect you and how to remove them from your body. Cost: FREE. Registration is required and space is limited. To register and see more events from Mississippi Market check out their event’s page.

Thursday, January 12, 7-9pm, Location: Waldorf School, 70 East County Road B, St. Paul, Movie Screening and Discussion: Play Again, This documentary “follows six teenagers who, like the ‘average American child,’ spend five to fifteen hours a day behind screens and are unplugged and taken on their first wilderness adventure – no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no virtual reality.” Cost: FREE. For more information check out the event details 

Monday, January 23, 7-9pm, Location: TBA, Jungian Dream Workshop, given by Dr. Carrie Sword, Jungian psychotherapist, In this workshop “discover the meaning of your dreams and their profound implications for your life, enjoy being with others who share common interests in a comfortable atmosphere, learn how you can renew yourself by turning depression and anxiety into personal growth, make your life adventurous and bold through dreamwork.” Cost: $20. For more information about the meeting place and registration call (612) 382-7843 or send an email to Carrie.

Tuesday, January 31, 6-7:30pm, Location: The Aliveness Project Conference Room, East 38th Street Minneapolis, MN 55407, Raising Your T-Cell Count With Drumming, with Cheri Bunker HealthRHYTHMS instructor, This event is “for people living with HIV/AIDS to create personal ownership for managing their own health care.” A $5 giftcard will be provided and if you come early dinner is provided. Cost: FREE. For an extensive list of free educational sessions at the Aliveness Project, please visit their Health and Wellness page or please contact their Health and Wellness Program Coordinator at 612-822-LIFE (5433), extension 213, or by e-mail at wellness@aliveness.org.

Weekend Events:

Friday, January 20, 7-9pm, Location: Common Ground Meditation Center, 2700 East 26th Street Minneapolis, Center Yourself in Greater Love: Open Your Heart to Earth’s Cries, an eco-spirited talk given by Kaia Svien. For more information about Kaia, her Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class schedule and the important work she does, visit her website, Mindfulness for Changing Times. Cost: Donation.

Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22: 10am-5pm, Location: Minneapolis Convention Center – Ballroom, 1301 2nd Ave S – Minneapolis, MN 55403, Healthy Life Expo, a great place with over 200 exhibitors where you can explore the latest products, services and information for staying healthy. Interactive seminars will occur both days. Cost: $6 or FREE if you bring non-perishable food items.

Saturday, January 28, 2:45-4:15pm, Location: Spirit of the Lake, 244 Water St., Second Floor, Excelsior, MN, Introduction to Insight Meditation, with Karen Schott, “Have you ever wondered how to remain focused and joyful in today’s sometimes stressful environment? Take just 90 minutes out of your busy schedule to see how easily Insight Meditation and Walking Meditation can become part of your day and help you discover joy in the moment.” Cost: FREE. Registration is required, pre-register here.

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Breaking Down Walls: Cultivating Awareness, Nourishing the Soul

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Today’s post challenges us to break down the walls that we create inside ourselves. The idea and excerpts came from a book that I highly recommend, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. According to Singer, our continued focus on our thoughts and emotions create walls inside of us. We pay so much attention to these thoughts and emotions that we eventually stop noticing everything else, and worse yet, we stop going beyond the borders they create.

Try to knock these walls down. It won’t be easy.  Notice “the closer you get, the more you will have the urge to pull back. That which you collected from your past forms a boundary you intuitively want to avoid. That’s natural, that’s what we do with walls; we avoid running into them.”  However, just because it feels uncomfortable doesn’t mean you should stop. Go there and be with the discomfort. Because the moment “you avoid running into them, they lock you inside their perimeter. They become your prison because they are the boundaries of your awareness. Because you are not willing to approach them, you cannot see what is beyond them.”

Once we stop going beyond ourselves we lose the ability to grow individually and spiritually. If we cannot go beyond ourselves,  we will never have a transpersonal awakening–we will never connect to that which is greater than ourselves. The line between ourselves and the world will remain at a disconnect. As long as we remain removed from one another, our individual and collective health and well-being will suffer. However, if we work on breaking down our walls and we become aware of our walls, we make progress toward becoming our true selves instead of being reduced to our feelings and emotions.

Take five minutes, find a quiet space and think about your walls. Think about your thought patterns and how they are serving you today. What would it be like if you let go of those thoughts and just witnessed them as nothing more than thoughts? Think about all the worrying you do. What if you just let those worries go? What would you start noticing in your life that you were unable to notice before? How would you grow? How would this new way of being affect the health and well-being of you and those around you? Climb the walls; break them down and watch what happens when you start seeing what lies beyond them.

How to Keep Your Holiday Tradition and Skip the Food Coma

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Mandala Reflections is excited to introduce guest blogger, Elisabeth Meyer. This post will hopefully be the first of many, because Elisabeth is an amazing cook! But most important, she is real. Read on to hear how she finds balance amidst extravagant holiday eating.    

For many of us, the holidays are a time to celebrate with loved ones…and lots of indulgences come along with all of the celebrations!  If you’re trying to eat healthy or stick to a specific diet, this time of year can feel stressful.   I know it always has been for me:  I would obsess over all the unhealthy food I was eating.  Mind you, I still ate it – but I felt terribly guilty about doing so.

I have a new, more balanced philosophy this holiday season:  I am going to eat the foods that are special treats for me, eat healthy when I’m at home by myself, and stop worrying so much about all of it.  For me, this means I will eat the special foods that my family makes at this time of year (lasagna on Christmas Eve, my grandfather’s homemade kolache, my dad’s French toast the day after Christmas) and any special foods that are offered at other celebrations (homemade Christmas cookies, for example) without guilt or regret.  I’ll skip the treats that I don’t get too excited about but often eat anyway just because they’re available (candy canes at the office, store-bought cookies and cakes).  And when I’m home alone in between the merriment, I’ll make the healthy foods that I’m accustomed to eating the rest of the year.  I can’t tell you how much better it feels to eat the foods I love and allow myself to really enjoy them, and consciously pass on all the extra junk that I never enjoy that much anyway.

In between the indulging and the abstaining, one of the things that keeps me grounded and tied to my commitment to eating healthy, whole foods is having whole grains for breakfast almost every day.  Breakfast is an easy meal to commit to eating healthily during the holidays, because most of the partying happens later in the day, and hot cereal is such a great way to start off the morning in the wintertime.  I like to cook a large batch of grains at the beginning of the week, and keep them in the refrigerator to reheat in small portions all week long.  A couple of my favorite recipes are below:

Cinnamon-Berry Quinoa

(makes 4 servings)

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 cup quinoa (tip:  if you rinse quinoa before you cook it, it will eliminate some of the bitterness that people often associate with quinoa, and make it taste much better!)

2 cups frozen berries (fresh berries are great too, but not seasonally available for most of us in December!)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Chopped pecans and agave nectar or honey, to taste

Combine milk, water, and quinoa in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Turn off heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Stir in berries, cinnamon, and pecans.

Add agave or honey to taste just before serving.

Cranberry-Ginger Oatmeal

(makes 3 servings)

1 cup old-fashioned oats

2 cups water

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup sunflower seeds (shelled and unsalted)

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Bring water to a boil.

Add oats, raisins, cranberries, ginger, and a pinch of salt.

Reduce heat to low.

Cook until water is absorbed and oats are creamy – about 7 minutes.

Add sunflower seeds and syrup.

Serve with milk if desired.

Elisabeth Meyer owns and directs an early childhood center in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, where she teaches cooking classes for children and families that focus on natural, whole foods cooking.  She is also a holistic health graduate student at St. Catherine University, where she focuses her studies on child nutrition and a (lapsed) blogger at Cooking in Cathedral Hill, where she blogs about her favorite recipes and experiences in her own kitchen.