What if- just for a little while today we gave up all that constant evaluation of everything, most of all, our own sweet selves.
Evaluation, while it does have an eventual place under certain conditions, is generally just a form of death in which we give up our choice.
Because if we decide ahead of time whether something is either “good, bad, friendly or mean,” we eliminated all choice and are basically saying I’m not actually here and have no reason to be because I already “know” how it’s going to turn out. And we write off others in their truth and so much possibility!
But part of the juice and excitement in life IS making choices as we step moment by moment into the beautiful wild uncertainty of life.
And they make me feel so inspired to make some of my own featuring Chicago places. Lord knows I feel every day like I need more practice in loving kindness too living here. I confess that at first I was like, WOW, those videos of hers are so awesome and also a little jealous or something because I had JUST BEEN THINKING OF MAKING THE EXACT SAME THING! Augh! And so for a time I did nothing.
But I realized after sitting with it all for a while, that there’s no way two creative people will do the exact same thing at all anyway and that even more importantly, I believe we need as many reminders to practice loving kindness as possible. So, stay tuned. I’m making some videos on how to practice “On the Fly” here in the Windy City.
I’m also offering two new classes that will support your own loving kindness toward your own fine self as well as the rest of the world.
One is a Gentle Tai Chi class, made for all body types and abilities. We’ll meet every Saturday from 3:30-4:40 starting on 11/4. You can sign up via Eventbrite or via Chase QuickPay. (calm chicago at gmail dot com) or email me and we’ll figure out what works best for you! Cash is cool too!
Being Your Own Best Friend:Booting Anxiety & Building Compassion
This is one of series of Calm Chicago Chill Out sessions, which bring very small groups of people together for self care, listening to each other and ourselves, healing, and exploring the possibilities of living fully, authenitcally and from a sense of grounded peace and interconnection. The cost is low to make it super accessible. I invirte you to join in right away while there’s still spots.
We’ve all seen thos folks who always seem calm no matter what’s going on, right? Whether it’s in the midst of some crazy crazy weather, or a major deadline at work, or the El has broken down and sitting on the tracks forever, or dealing with major medical or health stuff. They just seem to be able to surf through it. While we are quietly or not so quietly cursing and secretly hating them, and knowing that for sure, we sish that was us but that we are the sort of person who is not CALM or self possessed and never will be.
If anxiety (social or otherwise) is a thing in your life and you’re tired of that being so; if you’ve heard about the importance of self care and compassion but can’t seem to get any, this workshop is for you.
Abiding calm and self love are not things that we can just wave a wand and BOOM, you have infinite amounts of them but you can learn how to cultivate them through simple practices that you can do at home, in the bathroom, in the car, on the El, everywhere you are in your day to day life. We’ll use tools from mindfulness, yoga and positive psychology, to give you the direct experience of learning how to get better at dealing with anxiety and bulding up your self love so that you can really become your own best friend. You’ll leave knowing how to practice these outside of class so that you can keep building those skills and feeling stronger and better day by day.
You will learn:
We’ll take these 2.5 hours to focus on supporting and encouraging you with specific exercises to help you feel better right here and now and making sure you know how to take the practices home with you with confidence.
How to practice simple awareness that bring you back to the moment with love
How to practice “on the fly”
How to identify what makes you feel great and get more of that good stuff
How to give yourself love and then spread that around to help create peace inside and out in the world
Quick tips for pausing amidst the chaos of life and emotions
Who should come to this?
You. Anyone who wants to be able to be able handle lifes inevitable ups and downs with more grace and ease; wants to feel safer, shappier, stronger no matter what is going on.
Who’s teaching this?
Hillary Johnson is a photographer and mindfulness and creativity coach who’s been leading retreats and helping people feel better and companies work better since 2008. She’s into travel and helping people feel authentic interconnection between themselves and all things. Also border collies, cattle dogs and bicycling.
Register with PayPal to: calmchcago at gmail dot com
What are we to make of Belgian artist George Minne’s solitary kneeling youth and how might contemplating this work illuminate something of our own condition?
You notice the little card doesn’t help us much.
There’s still time to register for my class on Saturday at the Art Institute of Chicago, in which we might figure out how this piece of art, this lovely painting of a young woman with a book, sitting quietly might help us ourselves to find a way to be rebalanced from the stresses of everyday life.
Perhaps she reminds us that it’s good to sit down and step away from the news, to turn off our digital media.
The directness of her gaze might indicate that she’s speaking straight to us, inviting us to enjoy even a moment of solitary contemplation perhaps with a good book.
Because certainly with the work schedules that we all keep, the challenges of trying to strike a work/life balance, we could use a little help seeking balance. Couldn’t we?
This class is for anyone who ever went to an art museum and felt like they didn’t quite get it but were afraid to admit this. Sign up here!
Next date: Saturday April 29th from 1-3pm!
Do you ever find yourself going to a museum because you think you’re supposed to go look at great art and you want to feel something but then nothing happens?
Do you sometimes find yourself standing there in a room full of art and wondering what all the fuss is about and at the same time being a little afraid to confess that to the person standing next to you, even though that’s your friend/partner/spouse, who came to the museum with you in the first place?
Do you think, holy crap, these things are here but I’m not sure what to make of them! (HELP!) Very often reading the little cards pinned to the wall next to the pieces of art don’t really help do they?
Perhaps it all makes you feel a bit stupid. I’ve been there. I know how you feel.
And so you wander out of the museum, unsure of what to say or do, maybe head to a movie or grab a drink, relieved to be off the hook of CULTURE, hoping to silence that little voice in your head which says this would’ve been much more fun and interesting if only I wasn’t such a dope.
So- If this sounds like you, you’re going to love this class.
We’ll visit a museum and talk about how to see, how to engage with the work in a way that involves all our humanity, our hearts, our minds, even our bodies.
I promise that you’ll have a good time and you’ll realize you can form your own way of making sense of the art that fits rather intuitively with your own experience of life.
We’ll talk about what art does for us.
Like: how coming into contact with art can allow us to feel moved and connected with the divine.
We’ll start to see that art can help us remember what is precious to us, help us establish and cultivate hope, even in very challenging times; deal with our sorrows, and so forth.
You’ll leave this interactive class able to enjoy not only art in the museum but to see differently in your everyday life.
To appreciate the art and divinity in every moment, every breath. To see that each moment of seeing and perceiving, listening, touching and tasting is a moment to respond differently, from a place of an expanded sense of our own potential for the adventure that is ourone and only life.
If this interests you please sign up now. I highly recommend this for loners, friends, first dates, non-dates, adventurers of all types. Introverts. Extroverts. Non-dualverts. IT specialists. Humans. I really hope to see you there, and please tell your friends and bring them with you.
You will need to pay your admission to the museum. Please check coats, backpacks etc. You may bring a pencil, not a pen, into the museum and a sketchbook. You may bring cameras but no flash. Depending on the size of the group, admission price may vary. Once you register and we get closer to the date, I’ll send complete details about admission fees and other essentials. You may not bring food or drinks into the museum.
Looking at art can make us feel happier and more connected.
Art helps us remember what we love and may have lost or fear to lose.
Connecting with art helps us feel more hopeful.
In challenging times art can help us deal with inevitable sorrows.
Art can help us feel centered and more peaceful.
Art helps us develop compassionate understanding of self and others.
Materials to bring
A note book, blank, lined or squared and a pencil to write/sketch with. No pens allowed in the museum. Admission to the museum paid separately. Members enter free. Museum admission variable based on residency.