Tag Archives: Kaia Svien

We are all one

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This month I am fortunate enough to start a series of classes with Elder Kaia Svien. The course aims to build upon inner resources so we can be our best selves in face of uncertainty in the world. With the beginning of a new year and a new job, the timing has been impeccable, and I feel so fortunate to cross paths again with such a wonderfully in-tune mentor and role model and a like-minded community.

In class the other night, like in life, I was so up and down. We were asked to introduce ourselves with an animal movement. While I was thinking whale and moving very slowly with my back to the circle – trying to figure out how I would express water coming through a blowhole – when it was time to turn around and share our move with the group my body went all penguin on me, which is a very happy feeling by the way. You should try it. Anyway, despite feeling elated and fortunate to be present that evening, moments later when we had to share about what we were grateful for, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. The only thing that kept coming to my mind was all the planetary and personal and collective sacrifices that have occurred along the way (some intentional and some not-so-intentional) so that people like me could live the privileged life that I lead with ample choices that I make for better or worse. They were tears of joy and sorrow, hope and grief, fear and love, but mostly of gratitude and indebtedness. After sharing what I was grateful for, I was to talk about something I loved as a child that I still love now. Once I finished cry-talking about my love for animals, like a crack of lightning, I came to realize how ridiculous I’ve been leading my life lately, and how I have lost touch with my indebtedness to those that went before me and those that will come.

Here I am in a big life transition, an honor that has only been grounding and challenging and inspiring, and I have spent more time than I care to admit focusing on the “I wish this” or “I wish that” or “I wonder if” or “if only… I did this or did that or that they did that or didn’t do this.” You get the picture. Or I will get that overwhelming feeling, “well what can you really do?”

Well in that moment of exalting my love for my dog, Yuki, as I mentioned something in me seriously clicked and it’s like I actually finally get it. It’s hard to explain. But I know now, that now is the time, and the time is now. We need each other now more than any other time, and I’m ready to be a part of the solution. I’m not just saying this (I have just said this before). I know that our time is precious and the more I spend my energy on the “I wishes” or the finger pointing or the judgment, the less time and energy I have to be the change I want to see in the world.  There isn’t enough time to continue wasting life because of fear and because we are holding back our truth. And that’s that.

So I came on here partially for selfish reasons – to sort it out, but also because I wanted to share this thought process with you in hopes that you will join me in entertaining the possibility of just being once again but in a way that is coming home to our authentic selves and not turning away from our deepest fears and desires and to the fact that we are all connected.

I can’t go without saying that I owe this recent shift in consciousness to a number of people, places, and furry friends in my life – my parents/families (that includes you, Anne!), my teachers past and my teachers present- Kaia, her teacher, Joanna Macy, my yoga teacher, Tanya – and my current supervisors and place of work.

The greatest thing I’m finding about really recognizing that I am part of a whole, is that the whole has plenty of room for all of us – for the penguin moments and for those uncontrollable tears tied to deep grief and pain. As Joanna Macy says about the pain – it is simply the gateway into which you go into a communion with the living world that is fearless.

So tonight, not without regard to the pain and suffering in the world, I offer a toast to celebrate our connection to one another and to the whole. Here is a happy feet, penguin-like kind of a song. Call me cheesy, or call me real. Today, this song’s words resonate with me and I hope they resonate with you, too. Now let’s take care of the world and one another – and for some of us that means starting at home with ourselves, our friends, and our families.

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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.