Monthly Archives: February 2012

March 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.

March is Women’s History Month, and March 8th is International Women’s Day! For a listing of women’s events in MN happening over the month of March, please visit the Advocates for Human Rights’ webpage.

Day Time Events:

Thursday, March 8, 12-1:30pm, Location: Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Design of Clean, Healthy Cities: Interactions Between Urban Form and Air Quality, put on by State and Local Policy Program with HSPA, Julian Marshall, Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota, will discuss the design of clean healthy cities.

Thursday, March 8, 3:30-5pm, Location: Maplewood Professional Building, Watson Education Center, Fighting Cancer with your Fork, hosted by HealthEast Cancer Care, “Everyone knows it’s important to eat healthy. But did you know that the way you eat can help you live longer? Join us this March in Maplewood to learn more about diet and cancer prevention. Registered dietitian Tracie Swearingen will be leading this valuable seminar.” Cost: FREE, but registration is required. RSVP with Tracie at tlswearingen@healtheast.org or 651-232-7098.

Evening Events:

Thursdays, March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 6-8pm, Location: Founders Hall Reception Area, Metro State University St. Paul Campus, Beading workshops ,” funded by a grant from the Tri‐College NEW Leadership Institute at Metro State University, “Are you interested in learning how to make your own beaded jewelry and accessories? Whether you are new to beadwork or are experienced but just want to come for the company, join us! Everyone is welcome.”  Cost: FREE- This program and materials are free for registered participants. RSVP to cultural.events@metrostate.edu and for questions, call 651‐793‐1367.

Monday, March 5, 7-9pm, Location: River Market, 221 Main St N # 1  Stillwater, MN 55082, Movie Night Monday: Independent America: The Two Lane Search for Mom & Pop, “a documentary which follows award-winning journalists, Hanson Hosein and Heather Hughes, as they travel across America in search of independent small businesses. The filmmakers speak to economists, activists, political leaders, union members, and concerned Americans from all walks of life. They also meet with a top executive from the corporate giant: Wal-Mart.”.Cost: FREE. Registration required. Call (651) 439-0366.

Monday, March 19, 6-6:30pm, Location: River Falls Area Hospital, WI, Breastfeeding Basics, helps mom and baby get off to a good start in breastfeeding. Taught by a certified lactation consultant. Cost: FREE. For more information, call the hospital at 715-307-6330.

Wednesday, March 21, 7pm, Location: MCAD, Auditorium 150, Sustainable Film Series: Living Lightly/Permaculture: A quiet revolution, Living Lightly “offers a magical glimpse into a world where the 21st century family lives with the land and the season in a corner of New Brunswick, Canada,” and Permaculture is “a documentary by Vanessa Schultz featuring leading permaculturists including the Water Institutes Brock Dolman. Be sure to “stay after for a lively discussion about the movie and relevant sustainable topics.” Cost: FREE.

Thursday, March 29, 6:30pm, Location: Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Honoring the Earth, Transforming Our Communities: Winona LaDuke on Environmental Justice, “Internationally acclaimed author, orator and activist, Winona LaDuke will be speaking about her work regarding environmental justice and it’s impact on human rights and social justice. Attendees can gain insight regarding questions like: What is environmental and what does it have to do with me? How does environmental justice go beyond ‘going green?’ What can I do to affect change in my community?”Cost: FREE. RSVP online at z.umn.edu/winona.

Weekend Events:

Saturday, March 17, 11am-12pm, Location: Sumner Library, Minneapolis, Laughter Yoga, Lighten up! Laughter yoga combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing to bring about good health, joy and peace. Bring a mat to lie on. Cost: FREE. Register Online or call 612-543-6875 for more information.

Saturday & Sunday, March 17 & 18, Sat.: 10am-7pm, Sun.: 10am-5pm, Location: Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, Body Mind Life Expo“We want to help you to simplify your life, feel better, and become more centered. This year, be sure to join us at the Body Mind Life Expo! You won’t want to miss out on the expertise we have brought together to help you reach your health and fitness goals.” Also, don’t miss guest, O’Neal Hampton, season 9 contestant from The Biggest Loser. “Come listen to his inspiring story and stay to hear his exciting news!”  Cost: Payment required – $6 at the door contact for VIP ticketing.

Saturday, March 24, 8:30am-3:30pm, Location: Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland, Minneapolis, 7th Annual Twin Cities Sustainable Communities Conference: Linking Citizens and Cities for Sustainable Communities, this event is great for networking with people in the community who are dedicating their lives to all matters sustainability. Come to share your expertise, make a friend, or join an initiative. Registration required. Cost: FREE, suggested lunch donation $5-10. 

Saturday, March 31, 9am-4:30pm, Location: Neighborhood House, 179 Robie Street, St. Paul, Community Garden Spring Resource Fair “Nourishing Neighborhoods, Connecting Communities,” put on by Gardening Matters, “The annual hoe-down is back! An excellent chance to meet other gardeners and gardening organizations from around the metro area, glean what resources and opportunities are available to community gardens, and cultivate some new horticultural and organizational skills.” This year, meet keynote speaker, “Karen Washington, an active urban farmer, president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition and founding member of Black Urban Growers (BUGs). With over 20 years of experience working in New York City, Karen has developed abandoned lots into successful community  gardens and food initiatives.” Registration required, Cost: Suggested donation of $5-10.

In a Rut (or a Hole)? Need Inspiration? Read this Poem

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I walk down the street.

            There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

            I fall in.

            I am lost …. I am helpless.

                        It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

 

I walk down the same street.

            There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

            I pretend I don’t see it.

            I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in this same place.

                        But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

 

I walk down the same street.

            There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

            I see it is there.

            I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,

                        My eyes are open.

                        I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

 

I walk down the same street.

            There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

            I walk around it.

 

I walk down another street.

 

–Portia Nelson, “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters,” There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk

I love this poem. I find it simple, true, and relatable to our individual and collective struggle to become ourselves and to really thrive in spite of our shadow sides. In the sense of the meaning of the poem, I find Portia’s depiction of the experience of being in a rut and playing out useless patterns in our lives to be a very real description. When we are stuck, we are really stuck. We cannot help ourselves, because we do not take responsibility for our actions.  However, once we start to notice how such behaviors and thought patterns are serving us (or not), we can begin to make small changes that will greatly impact our well-being and our personhood. My two main takeaways from this poem fit perfectly with Mandala Reflections’ focus on the self and the greater community.

“My” sidewalk vs. “Our” sidewalk

1) My sidewalk. Take personal responsibility and avoid avoidance. When I read this poem, I couldn’t help but think about the metaphor of changing streets to avoid the hole.  I recognize that Portia was not intending her words to be taken so literally and that part of changing streets requires us to recognize or “see” the holey sidewalks we attach ourselves to, yet, I still wanted to point out the imagery, because I think our society has a tendency to avoid matters by simply changing directions, (I know I have). At the same time, her poem still affirms that often times we really need that time spent sitting in the hole. When we sit in the hole and really see, we understand ourselves and situations better, we recognize and accept it all with greater ease, and we can move to influence change in our stories and our surroundings.

2) Our sidewalk. Mend the BIG holes together. Sometimes you just can’t do it on your own. Rather than just avoiding it and walking down another street is there a way that allows us to repair/mend the hole that we are falling into? What if this hole is not a shadow in your psyche or family history, but is a bigger societal problem that affects the greater community? Just mending your own hole won’t be as easy if it is not you who is causing the problem. Fixing this kind of hole can only be done with the collaboration and cooperation of many concerned individuals. To effect change on this level will require you to build relationships and connect with others in a way that is meaningful.