Author: Eleanor Leonard

On Retreat: Waiting for the Summer Lightning

Whether you create your own mini-retreat or take part in a retreat gathering with several hundred people, the intent is to truly retreat – pull back, get away from the usual, disengage, create downtime for all levels of your being – mental, physical, spiritual, emotional. In today’s fast-paced, always on, tech-connected culture, idleness or downtime …

Read more

Have You Hugged Your Teddy Bear Today?

Eleanor Leonard

Her college-age daughter had died unexpectedly in an accident. In a state of shock and controlled focus, she and her husband had reached out to friends and family, made funeral arrangements, housed out-of-town family members, carried on conversations. Now the house was empty; guests were gone, her husband had returned to work, a neighbor would …

Read more

Looking Both Ways in the New Year

Ah, the new year! Starting over, a clean slate, a fresh beginning wrapped up in our lists of resolutions to improve some aspect of our lives, to make the year ahead better. But better than what? The uptick in ads and commercials for fitness club memberships, diet plans and body sculpting would indicate a narrow …

Read more

The Art of Giving

Eleanor Leonard

Potatoes; a pocket watch chain; a pair of decorative combs; a plastic crucifix. Are any of these on your gift list? We may turn up our collective nose and scoff at the quaintness, yet each in its own way could stand in for the grander definition of “gift”. The 14th century Persian Sufi master and …

Read more

The Next Step — Rediscovering the Whole Person

The landscape for alcohol and substance abuse recovery has been dominated for 80 years by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its guiding principles The Twelve Steps which became the gold standard for recovery. While the program is credited with helping millions of people around the world, the gold is losing some of its luster. The National …

Read more

Learning Spaces

“The roots of education are bitter, the fruit is sweet.” – Aristotle How could a 15-year-old girl be considered a threat to the Taliban? On October 9, 2012, in the Swat valley of northwestern Pakistan, a gunman stepped onto a bus in which Malala Yousafzai was returning home from school and shot her in the …

Read more

Healing From Abuse: Light Encourages Recovery

In 2015 as the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis was hosting festive events to celebrate its 50th anniversary, a smaller, quieter happening began to ripple through the CTC alumni community. No fanfare, no hype, but to those involved, of greater celebratory significance. Thirty-one years had passed since the 1984 arrest of John Clark Donahue, …

Read more

From Mozart to Motown Music Reignites Memory

“Music is my sanctuary. Music kept me alive.” Sir Elton John, in a recent CBS News profile, could have been speaking for all of us. But most of us are more likely to take music for granted because, well, it’s just always there. Natalie Angier, in a February 8, 2016 New York Times article, wrote, …

Read more

Good Health. If it’s so easy, why is it so hard?

“Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford In 2009 Rip Esselstyn published The Engine 2 Diet – The Texas Firefighter’s 28-day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. He had followed a plant-based diet most of his life and credits it with giving him the …

Read more

Homeless for the Holidays

On a cold December evening in 1962, I was walking home along Nicollet Avenue enjoying the elaborate holiday displays when I saw a man leaning against a store window. His wellworn wool coat was fully buttoned against the cold air and one boot was slit open to accommodate a bandaged foot. He held pencils in …

Read more