• NUWAY Annual Picnic 2019Hazelden Renewal Center

Parenting Younger Children: Making a Difficult Job More Rewarding

parenting young children

Raising little kids is hard. After a grueling day it’s mommy this and daddy that. And I don’t like macaroni and cheese any more. And why can’t I jump on the couch?! Then it’s scream, scream and tears because my tummy hurts. Besides I don’t want to go to bed tonight. And by the way, I need a costume for the class play tomorrow. Can’t we go to Target to get one (at midnight)? Grandma, let’s us jump on the couch! Oh, the endless joys of raising little ones! If they weren’t so cute we’d kill them! Yet having kids … Continue reading

Getting to the Heart of Retreats

retreats

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.”  Elizabeth Kübler-Ross When I think of retreats, I imagine practicing early-morning yoga, living virtuously on a plant-based diet for two weeks while detoxing my mind and body on a beach in Mexico. Even though my shoulders relax from up near my ears and my eyes widen at the prospect of such a retreat and some desperately needed time out, as I slowly exhale I … Continue reading

Rising Above After a Breakdown

“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed and rearranged to relocate us to the place we are meant to be.” Life on Purpose – Mandy Hale When I had a nervous breakdown, I was in a bad way. The world I thought I knew had fallen apart. I was supposed to be something else, someone else. Life had passed me by and gradually the world seemed strange and unfamiliar. I had spent my whole life gearing towards an acting career but it never happened. Instead, at 40, I found myself doing nothing of what I wanted to … Continue reading

Jump Sober

collage of books

The author spoke of his earlier self, describing how he so desperately wanted to bring good things into his life to attract the wealth, health and happiness he had always craved. He eagerly and often lined his shelves with tons of books about all things spiritual. This fascinated me, here was someone writing about wanting the same things I did and didn’t start with sterile how-to’s. I was also intrigued with our similar desire for answers — and, I too had shelves filled to the brim with such books. He went on to describe the “ah-ha’s” each book he read … Continue reading

As Good As It Gets

snowy scene in minneapolis

There are times that feel bigger than life itself. When these times happen, we may be filled with immeasurable inspiration as we escape the usual routines of ordinary living. Many of the tensions of daily stress and world turmoil disappear in the abundance of such special moments. Some magic moments we never forget — the birth of our first born, the day our beloved parent took a last breath, the day we awoke from a coma after a bad car accident, seeing the panorama of colors of the Grand Canyon for the first time, being reunited with beloved old friends … Continue reading

Too Much To Do

woman on elevator mountain of books

I am relaxed when I stop at the library, having dissolved a truckload of tension on a massage table. The library, not far from the spa, seems like a good place to kill some time before my next appointment. Good chance to pick up a novel and maybe a movie. Oh, here’s a good movie. Looks like it anyway. I’d better get another one just in case. Well, here are two that both sound promising. I’ll just take all three. Maybe I can get to all of them this week.  The CDs catch my eye. Oh, good thing I came … Continue reading

Social Integration Will Add Years to Your Life

young adults interacting

Smile and say hello to a random stranger today — social integration and personal relationships lead to longevity. Face-to-face connection releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters that reduces stress, including dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps give you a natural high and may relieve pain. It’s been found through various long-term studies that the top two predictors of living a long life are social integration and close relationships. Social Integration means interacting with everyone you come into contact with such as the barista, grocery clerk, a stranger, and people in your neighborhood. Close relationships may be the people that you can … Continue reading

The Art of the Urban Retreat

sauna towels

The sauna meister artfully swirled a white towel over his head, sending waves of eucalyptus scented steam to envelope us. “Try to hang in there and breathe it in,” he urged those of us remaining in the room. A couple of people from the group of 22 had slipped out the door already, opting instead to breathe in the urban air at the top of the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis. I moved to a lower bench in the small wooden-walled sauna, and calculated in an utterly unscientific way that it was probably 10 degrees cooler on the bottom bench versus … Continue reading

Sounds of Silence

Tuscon, Arizona

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”  Chaim Potok, The Chosen I retreated to Tucson in January for my annual days of silence. It was luxurious to leave Minnesota in the depths of winter. The low desert sun warmed my stay. I had another engagement in Arizona, leading me to wander the web to see what might be available for retreat. There were several. I chose the Desert House of Prayer, which borders Saguaro National Park, providing access to acres of open land and miles of trails for exploration. Most importantly, it … Continue reading

Sometimes It’s Better to Be Sorry Than Safe

scared woman

At some point or another most of us have been told, “Play it safe” or “Better safe than sorry.” Perhaps it was wiser for us to not take a given risk and stay with familiar ways of doing things. The caution we felt from a loved one may have really saved us. However, what if we’re always playing it safe and hardly ever take risks? Is there such a thing as playing it too safe? Yes there is. Marie and I have a big decision to make. We can’t decide whether to get married or not. Marie and I are … Continue reading