Tag Archives: Christmas

First Coming by Madeleine L’Engle


For those of you celebrating Christmas, here is a poem for you. For those of you not celebrating Christmas, here is a poem for you.(Courtesy of J. Tammen who shared it with me via a Christmas Letter she received in the mail.)

First Coming

By Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace
He came when the Heavens were unsteady
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He died with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait

till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
He came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Mandala Reflections hopes regardless of your religious background that you can find something to rejoice in, today and every day. Now is not a time for waiting, the world needs you, and if you are waiting to tell someone you love them, don’t wait.  Seize the day and your life!

Thanks always for reading along, we wish you love and light today and hope to see more of you in the New Year! May you be happy and healthy and an active participant in the world inside you and around you.

Peace be with you!

January Happenings


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.

Gifts for the Mind, Body, Spirit & World


It’s the time of year many people are thinking, worrying and procrastinating about gifts. For a small percentage of you, you are already done purchasing your gifts. If that is you, please share with us how you do it. For the rest of you, Mandala Reflections would like to post some thoughtful, health-related gift ideas. Make this holiday season the perfect time to empower a loved one to take care of their health.



Forever an advocate for and appreciator of education and learning, I will never tire of this gift suggestion. Do some research and look up a class or classes that might inspire and nourish your loved one’s mind. This could be as large as offering to pay for a class in graphic design at a local community college or as resourceful as buying a little stitch by numbers kit for a friend who shows an appreciation for embroidery. Because schedules are hard to predict, sometimes the best thing to do is buy a gift card to the desired place. Also, remember to think outside of the box. Education comes in all shapes and sizes; this could be a gift card for a sewing, cooking or woodworking class. The options are endless.

Low on cash? Do you know something your friend would like to know? Offer your own workshop for your friend. A friend of mine recently taught me how to bind a book over a series of three classes. This was an amazing experience and the coolest gift ever. Just be sure if you decide to teach that you come prepared and have a lot of patience.

Lectures/Talks/Live Performances

Does your loved one have a hero or person that they admire, maybe even more than you? Check around and see what events are happening in your neighborhood and you will be surprised at what you may find. A friend of mine recently received tickets to see the Dalai Lama speak in Minnesota. Talk about a cool present. Maya Angelou, a personal hero of mine was here in St. Paul just last year, and I was lucky enough to snag some tickets and bask in her presence. Think about it.



Yes, that’s right. Get that body moving. If the person you are looking for is health-focused, chances are they know and appreciate  what exercise does for the body. Whether they have a regular routine or sit thinking at home about how they should be exercising, you can find a fun class to peak their interest and their heart rate. Kettle bell classes, yoga classes, personal training packages, tai chi sessions, dance lessons, water aerobics…the possibilities are endless. Pick an option that fits the person. Also, I think this goes without saying, but make sure you know the person would enjoy the class and not be offended by your suggestion. For class listings check out your local gym, fitness center, yoga center or community education catalog. If you live in a smaller town you might need to be more creative, maybe it means making an outing to the nearest ski hill for a day. If you want to make sure the gift is used and appreciated, one way to make it more fun is to take the class with your friend. You can be active together. Also, if the person is a homebody, you could always gift an exercise DVD and put a date on the calendar to workout together.

Winter Wear

If your runner friend or dog lover hasn’t already thought of it, a perfect gift might be some winter traction for their running/walking shoe. For the right person, this gift is practical and affordable.

If you have extra money to spend and have a loved one who enjoys walking off the beaten path, a pair of nice winter boots or snowshoes might be more useful. Because there are many choices buy a gift card to your local outfitter and let your friend decide from there.

Meatless  Mondays for a Month

Their “body is a temple,” so why not take care of it? Does your friend enjoy eating? What about gifting your friend one month of Meatless Monday meals? This means you preparing 3-4 vegetarian dishes for your friend during the month of their choice. You can really be creative with this gift. If you want you can bring the dish over, or you could prepare the meal together. You could gift them a vegetarian cookbook. If you do, be sure to check out any Moosewood Cookbook, one word: FABULOUS. If you want to be more political, you could watch a series of food-related documentaries after dinner (if your relationship is strong enough). Remember you are providing a gift–not trying to change or upset someone. Therefore if your person loves meat, perhaps you make a top of the line steak meal. Whatever works for the person you have in mind. However, to keep with the spirit of health and wellness, the meals you share, meat or no meat, should have some sort of health-related theme. Perhaps one evening you focus on the Mediterranean diet and another month you look up a recipe using anti-inflammatory foods. Have fun with it, and don’t be afraid to learn something new. You don’t have to be a good cook to make this gift a fun experience.

Strapped for cash? Do one meal. Gifting anyone a home-cooked meal is golden and makes them feel special. One is plenty.

Does healthy cooking sound boring to you? Well that’s okay, because simply cooking and sharing a meal is a healthy practice.


Book on topic of Poetry/Meditation/Nature/Spirituality

There are many ways to uplift the spirit by way of books. Depending on the person you can gift very intellectually driven, informative books about spirituality or you could buy a book of poetry that may carry spiritual meaning. For some it might be a book about the wonders of nature. For others it might be about art or it might be the essential writings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Is the person you are looking for passionate about their heritage? Maybe you would like to provide a book about the spirituality of your giftee’s ancestors.

Feel like the book idea would be too hard or too pushy? Gift them a lovely journal and let them decide how to fill the pages.

Musical or Meditative CDs

Maybe the person you are buying for does not enjoy reading or isn’t even that spiritual. Picking out a CD with their favorite music or with a relaxation or guided imagery/meditation component might be the best thing you could give them to uplift their spirit. Better yet, make a CD for your friend. Homemade mixes are always appreciated.

Trinkets/Art/Home Decor

A kitschy trinket that holds spiritual meaning can sometimes be the best gift ever. Symbols are so important in understanding and living spirituality. If your giftee would like a daily reminder that is aesthetically pleasing, this kind of gift might be the right route for you–whether it is a candle, singing bowl, little labyrinth soap dish or a set of beautiful stationery.  This kind of gift is not for everyone though, so be sure you know who you are shopping for before you suggest planting a giant fairy in their backyard. One place I like to idea shop for ornamental trinkets of spirituality is the Isabella Catalog. Etsy is another good place to search for random, spiritually inspired art.



Giving is so good for our health. Donate to your friend’s favorite organization in their name, or buy products from organizations that donate to various causes. A good compilation of places to shop can be found on the “Top Ten People’s Choice for Green Gifts list.” If your friend is picky be sure to do your research in this arena to understand how much of your donation will actually be used; for example, some places only donate a small percentage to the said cause. Also, make sure you trust the work of the organization. Unfortunately some groups have come under heat for not using the money properly, so be sure you feel comfortable making the purchase.


Recycle, reduce, reuse. This year with my husband’s family we are trying to make or “re-gift” our presents. I know one of the most meaningful gifts I have received was a bracelet of my friend’s that I simply admired. To her it was meaningful, but not as meaningful as it would be to give it to a friend. Someday when I am ready, I will re-gift this bracelet to a special someone, too. Art work, home decor, jewelry, maybe a favorite sweater–depending on how much your friend liked it and what shape it’s in–all would be appropriate and easy re-gifts. Surprise a friend with something they like of yours.


Support local businesses. Buy gift certificates to places that help out the neighborhood economy and your giftee, whether it’s a gift card to the local barbershop, a favorite family owned restaurant or a piece of work by a local artisan.