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Henri Nouwen Society
An Honest Being-With
March 15
Photo courtesy of V. Dobson
Being with a friend in great pain is not easy. It makes us uncomfortable. We do not know what to do or what to say, and we worry about how to respond to what we hear. Our temptation is to say things that come more out of our own fear than out of our care for the person in pain. Sometimes we say things like "Well, you're doing a lot better than yesterday," or "You will soon be your old self again," or "I'm sure you will get over this." But often we know that what we're saying is not true, and our friends know it too.

We do not have to play games with each other. We can simply say: "I am your friend, I am happy to be with you." We can say that in words or with touch or with loving silence. Sometimes it is good to say: "You don't have to talk. Just close your eyes. I am here with you, thinking of you, praying for you, loving you."
Henri Nouwen
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I love this thought...

Henri Nouwen Society
Where Mourning and Dancing Touch Each Other
March 28
Photo courtesy of SDGimagery.com
"[There is] a time for mourning, a time for dancing" (Ecclesiastes 3:4). But mourning and dancing are never fully separated. Their "times" do not necessarily follow each other. In fact, their "times" may become one "time." Mourning may turn into dancing and dancing into mourning without showing a clear point where one ends and the other starts.

Often our grief allows us to choreograph our dance while our dance creates the space for our grief. We lose a beloved friend, and in the midst of our tears we discover an unknown joy. We celebrate a success, and in the midst of the party we feel deep sadness. Mourning and dancing, grief and laughter, sadness and gladness - they belong together as the sad-faced clown and the happy-faced clown, who make us both cry and laugh. Let's trust that the beauty of our lives becomes visible where mourning and dancing touch each other.
Henri Nouwen
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Henri Nouwen Society
The Importance of Receiving
April 3
Photo courtesy of GLady
Please note: We sent a different Daily Meditation to you this morning in error. This is the meditation we wanted to share with you today. We hope you enjoy it.
Receiving is often harder than giving. Giving is very important: giving insight, giving hope, giving courage, giving advice, giving support, giving money, and most of all, giving ourselves. Without giving there is no brotherhood and sisterhood.

But receiving is just as important, because by receiving we reveal to the givers that they have gifts to offer. When we say, "Thank you, you gave me hope: thank you, you gave me a reason to live; thank you, you allowed me to realize my dream," we make givers aware of their unique and precious gifts. Sometimes it is only in the eyes of the receivers that givers discover their gifts.
Henri Nouwen
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A thought for the day...


Small Steps of Love
June 15
Photo courtesy of SDGimagery.com
How can we choose love when we have experienced so little of it? We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit ... all these are little steps toward love.
Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness. When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey.
Henri Nouwen
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I love Mary Oliver... 


 Every day

I see or hear


that more or less

 kills me

with delight,

that leaves me

like a needle

 in the haystack

of light.

It was what I was born for -

to look, to listen,

 to lose myself

inside this soft world -

to instruct myself

over and over

 in joy,

and acclamation.

Nor am I talking

about the exceptional,

 the fearful, the dreadful,

the very extravagant -

but of the ordinary,

the common, the very drab,

 the daily presentations.

Oh, good scholar,

I say to myself,

how can you help

 but grow wise

with such teachings

as these -

the untrimmable light

 of the world,

the ocean's shine,

the prayers that are made

out of grass?

 ~ Mary Oliver ~

                                                                                        (Why I Wake Early)


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From our friend and colleague Belleruth Naparstek, recognized expert on guided imagery:

Hello again.

Just this past Saturday, we sent out news of a remarkable new meditation device we started carrying in our catalog. It’s called the N.O.W. Tone Therapy System, and, unlikely as it sounds, (and believe me, we all get how unlikely this sounds) its two shiny, palm-sized, wireless speakers offer a deep, calm, focused mind-state within 3-minutes or less to anyone lucky enough to be hanging out in its magnetic field. 

What you hear (and feel and sense) are random selections of sound patterns, in the form of very pleasing, delicate tones and pings – crystal clear pinpoints of sound with their own after-waves. If you want to hear the whole story of how Belleruth met the inventor of these gizmos, click here. She approached the whole enterprise profoundly skeptical about the purported super-powers of these widgets.

We thought that for starters we’d just introduce it to you on Saturday, just to explain it, and not even try to sell it – and that later we’d run an introductory sale on it the following week (now). We had only a half-formed product page in place, almost like a place-holder.

So, imagine our surprise when, in spite of the half-baked page, an avalanche of orders blew through our entire inventory in a matter of hours.  We frantically called the manufacturer and quadrupled our order.

And being as how we’re now running the scheduled introductory sale, at $10 off list price, and a whole bunch of unsuspecting people bought their NOW’s paying full price, we’re reimbursing the difference to each and every one of our “early adopters".  (So please don’t even think about getting mad at us – we feel your anticipated pain and the situation will be automatically rectified).

And stay tuned. Next week we’ll be sending out some of the astute (and sometimes funny) questions about the NOW system that we also got in spades, and the amazing answers from Michael Joly, the inventor.  It’s heady stuff! 
Download our new streaming app on Apple or Android

Copyright © 2019 Health Journeys, All rights reserved.
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Our mailing address is:
Health Journeys
3615 Superior Avenue
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Cleveland, Ohio 44114
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Honoring Our Ancestors & Beloved Dead

Today is Halloween, the sacred day of Samhain, in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the ancient Celtic harvest festival, the cross quarter day between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice. Tomorrow and Saturday, November 1st and 2nd are the Days of the Dead--Dia de los Muertos--the thousands of  years old tradition of honoring the dead that stretches back to the Aztecs, celebrated all over Mexico, Central and South America and each year spreads further across the world.

This season asks us to contemplate death and those who have come before us. It asks us to consider life and its brevity as well as the sweetness it can hold. This is the time when the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds are thin. We have greater access to the spaces between where we are and where they are. When my son died I realized that as bereaved people we have two significant and very necessary tasks. We have to figure out how to have a relationship with someone who is no longer here on this physical plane. We must also figure out who we are now that this has happened. Because we are forever changed. Grief and trauma change us. Ritual helps us navigate and learn how to be in our new reality. 

These days of the dead, the festival of Samhain and Dia de los Muertos, give us opportunity to explore these things. Rituals surrounding our beloved dead and our ancestors allow us the ability to commune and join with them in the liminal spaces between the world of consensus reality and other equally valid realities. The word liminal comes from the Latin, limen--threshold. Liminal spaces, thresholds, are the places between what was and what is next--where all forms of transformation happen. These are the sacred spaces and places where we can meet those who live beyond the world where we currently reside.

This time of year offers a special opportunity when the planet, the stars and the universe conspire to help you reach your beloveds as well as access your ancestors, those who would travel across generations, rivers of time, who still live on in you--in your blood, your bones, your breath--for knowledge and support.

Included in this email is a special guided yoga nidra to take you to the Isle of the Ancestors, into the sacred groves where you can commune. Scroll down to the bottom for the link.

Traditionally, at both Samhain and Dia de los Muertos, altars are created to help us connect to our ancestors and to our beloved dead. Creating your altar is itself a ritual and helps us navigate times of change and transition. Altars are external representations of internal mysteries. They are ways of showing in tangible form what is happening in our hearts and in our spirits. They are expressions of our love and are meant to honor as well as welcome those who have gone before us.
Creating shrines and altars gives us space and opportunity to remember, reflect, and honor those we love who have died, as well as transform pain through the creative act. The creation of a shrine can establish a permanent or temporary place to which you can return to reflect, meditate, grieve, engage in communion and personal ritual and to remember those who reside in other realities as well as in your heart and mind.
Click here to learn more about altars and shrines, as well as a guide to creating your own.
My Gift to You
A Guided Yoga Nidra:
Journey to Encounter Your Ancestors

This is 40 minute long guided yoga nidra. Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep. The state is not truly sleep but a state in which you are awake and aware, able access all layers of your being--physical, energetic, mental, intuitive and spiritual--and potentially create change and healing where healing is needed.

This guided journey takes us to the Isle of the Ancestors where we can encounter those who've come before us, those ancestors and guides who perhaps we've known in this lifetime as well as those who are loving and supporting us from previous generations, across rivers of time, who live on in our body, our blood, our breath.

This journey includes several stages to take you into a deep trance state where you may commune with your own personal guides and ancestors.  It begins with a traditional chant to bridge the space between the living and dead and which offers healing on all levels, the Maha Mrityunjaya chant, The Great Death Conquering Mantra. Nothing can stop death, but this chant helps ease grief and supports healing on all levels--personal, familial, societal, planetary and Universal. 

 You will move through stages of grounding and settling in, creating your own intention, followed by a full body scan to deeply relax the nervous system and then you'll experience sensations in the emotional and energy bodies as you move to a deeper level of awareness. These are followed by a guided journey to meet your ancestors, where you can commune in a sacred grove. Then you'll be guided back to waking consciousness.

Stages 1-5 are influenced by yoga nidra scripts written by Jennifer Reis, taught in her Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra training. The Journey to Encounter the Ancestors is my original work.

I hope you enjoy this journey.
Peaceful travels.

Sending love to you and to your beloved dead,


CLICK HERE to access your free recording of a Guided Yoga Nidra: Journey to Encounter Your Ancestors
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Entering the Holiday Season: 
When Gratitude is Hard to Find


This is always true. Even in the pain, I am grateful you were and are mine.
And that I have the privilege of being yours. 


This week, many of us make official entry into the Holiday Season. Thanksgiving can bring with it particularly painful emotions as we are surrounded by reminders everywhere in our culture that we are supposed to be grateful. In a state of bereavement, such feelings can feel very far away. 

Bereavement is the state of being deprived of something precious to us. The word comes from the Old English bereafian, a word which meant to take away, to seize violently, to plunder, to rob. The bereaved feel robbed for sure. Grief includes our reactions, experiences and feelings, in response to having been robbed of something so precious. It can be very difficult to imagine feeling grateful when what you mostly feel is that  life as you knew it has been plundered; all the things that made sense, all the things that were true, violated; ripped away. 

It isn't that we in grief don't feel gratitude. We do, likely for a great many things. I'm certain there have been moments that you've been struck with a profound sense of gratitude--for a moment of peace, for a soft bed, for people who have been there at just the right times, for a cup of hot tea, for sunshine after dark days of cold rain. For moments when you've felt the presence of the one you love who is missing. For the love that you shared, for the love that you still have and which can never be destroyed. Very likely, the bereaved understand better than most that each breath we take is a gift. And we also know that sometimes the same breath can feel like a curse. 

The problem is not that we don't know that we have things to be grateful for. The problem is that this person we love so deeply is gone. In moments when the pain of missing our beloveds is so raw, so real, so painful, on so many levels of being, it can feel next to impossible to be grateful. Depending on where you are in your grief, how deeply you've been impacted, those moments of pain may come far more often than moments of gratitude. Inside the fires of grief, the sense of betrayal, of anger, confusion, of isolation; these feel immense. The very idea of being grateful can feel like insult on top of the worst injury. We don't stay in these places, but these places are very real. 

Much of the pain also comes from the feeling that the world around us does not understand. The directive to find and express your gratitude can feel forced, as if it is just so simple to simply be grateful. Resentment and anger can easily grow up around the idea of being thankful, especially when the gravity of what has occurred is so mammoth. The notion of simple gratitude seems wholly out of reach and completely nonsensical.  

Know that you are not alone. What you are going through is painful, but it is not pathological or abnormal. Taking the time you need to care for yourself, to spend with your grief, as well as others who you know are safe and supportive, can help you move through the holidays with a little more ease and maybe a tiny bit of comfort. Taking the time to nurture yourself, even in the smallest of ways, can help the natural moments of a sense of connection and along with that, gratitude, to rise. Setting aside even 15 minutes a day to be outdoors, to breathe, to sit and watch birds, to focus on savoring a piece of chocolate or mindfully drinking a soothing cup of tea can all be nurturing practices.



Click Here to Access Your Guided Journey Toward Gratitude
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How Meditation Can Ease the Path of Grieving

By Suzanne Boles December 2, 2019

Four months after becoming sick, my husband took his last breath and my life changed completely as I went from “we” to “me” and began the inevitable, intense journey of grieving.

Soon after, a friend invited me to meditate with a group of women. But the timing wasn’t right for me. Grief takes away your ability to focus, and my mind wasn’t ready to settle down for quiet contemplation.

As a writer and journalist, I followed my instinct, researching tools that might help. Of course, it’s impossible to get a magic pill or learn something new that will remove the heartache. But mindfulness and meditation were recurring words in my research.

Read on here >>>

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From our friend and colleague Karla Helbert:

Valentine's Day can be one of the hardest days of the year when you're grieving. 

When we are missing our most deeply beloveds, grieving the pain of separation from them, every day of the year, is painful. When we are surrounded by a culture celebrating a day of love and hugs and touches and kisses--all of which we can never experience with our beloveds again--it can be particularly excruciating.

I believe that remembering that deep grief exists because of deep love can make the fact of grief more bearable. If we never loved, we would never grieve. How many would relinquish love to be free of grief? I would wager not many. And I have not yet met the person who would trade their love to be rid of their grief. I know I wouldn't. The place of deep love and longing for our beloved dead is sacred. It is through love in that sacred space that transformation occurs. It is transformation we never asked for, but we are changed nonetheless. Grief and love are equally transformative. It is also through our deep love for them that we remain connected to them. 
Being able to express your feelings to another trusted person, writing them down, finding creative outlets for the pain and confusion can help. Finding ways to be in physical contact with others is imperative—get a massage, make the effort to be around those you love and trust, with whom you can share touches and hugs. Remember, even though it may hurt, being close to, loving and holding your beloved. Love is stronger than death and it is eternal. And it continues to grow in our hearts. 

My Valentine gift to you is this guided meditation from my book Yoga for Grief and Loss. This heart centered meditation can help support your heart and its energy. It may help you to feel more connected to your own heart center as well as to the Source of Love, to your chosen form of the Divine, and to your beloved dead.

From my broken heart to yours. 

Access Your Guided Heartlight Meditation Here
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A Meditation Process to Connect with Your Animals During Illness and After Death

Teresa Wagner Copyright 2020

When our beloved animals are very ill, or have already left their physical bodies, it can be quite meaningful and healing to connect with them at the deepest level of their soul, to communicate with them from the deepest level of our emotional hearts.

To begin, arrange a period of undisturbed time-– perhaps ten to fifteen minutes, or more if you like. Even one minute of such intimate connection is enough to soothe and bring deep peace to both of you.

You do not need to be physically near your animals who are still physically on earth in order to connect with and talk with them. In fact, sometimes it is easier to be off by ourselves, not distracted by their beauty and our love of their form, which can keep us focused on the physical rather than the soul. It might also keep us focused on their illness which can trigger worry or grief. However, if it feels more comforting or appropriate for you to be with your animals, then by all means be by their side. Just be sure to make the intention that you wish to connect with their soul at this time, not primarily with their body or personality. Of course, the energy of their personalty may come through in a telepathic conversation, and, information about their body may be something you seek or your animal wants to talk with you about.

The point is that what we need to focus on in telepathic connection goes far beyond the body and the personality. In telepathy, we are not reading the body or experiencing their personality to collect information about our animals from some distant, detached vantage point; we are connecting with their souls to talk with them intimately. If your animal is no longer on the earth, the same principle is true. If holding a photograph (or other sacred physical item like a collar, fur or urn) comforts you, by all means keep it with you for this process. Just remember that nothing physical is necessary to make a telepathic connection. What is important is to make the intention to connect with your animal’s soul which transcends physicality and personality.

Read through the following steps to become familiar with them. Then, jot down a phrase for each step on your phone or small piece of paper to have a reminder with you as you go through the process.  Read on here >>>

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