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A Guide to Restoration: November 2017

Welcome Dear Friend,

The Fall and Winter months are often noted for their long nights and cool temperatures.  It is also a time for hibernation, hunkering down with loved ones and contemplation.

Restoration is our guide for the month of November!  Restoration is defined as the act of restoring; renewal, revival, or reestablishment.  Just as dusk comes sooner these days, we also hope the light and warmth burn brightly.

November will be filled with weekly content on rest and renewal.  Please check out our content guide for dates!  We look forward to going on this adventure with you!

 

With love on the journey,

Your friends at Sounds True

When Art Inspires Art

I recently I came across a word I hadn’t heard since grad school: ekphrasis, a term used to describe writing (or other art) inspired by another work of art. Think Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” or Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The list goes on (and perhaps it should even include such Quirk Classics as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters…).

I find it fascinating that inspiration and creativity can dance in this way across cultures and ages. I think it’s beautiful when an artist can transcend time and space to commune with the spirit of another artist and with his or her creations. When done well, ekphrasis can serve to both honor, sustain, or even deepen an original vision but it can also take us in a completely different, perhaps contradictory or even comical, direction. It’s a cycle of sorts wherein art begets art, recognizes itself, and becomes expressed again in a unique way. Not to improve upon but simply to say, “and this too!”

I suppose one could make the argument that ekphrasis has a place on the spiritual path as well. (In fact, in ancient Greece the word was originally used as a device to call out or give name to the inanimate…check out Plato’s Republic if you’re bored some time…) When we come across an individual who we deem a master of living, so to speak, they can become a source of inspiration for our own artful expression of who and what we are as we go about our days. When we identify ourselves as a Buddhist, Christian, Jew, and so on, perhaps that’s a type of ekphrasis as well.

What are some of your favorite instances of ekphrasis, in art or in other arenas? Have you ever created art inspired by art? I’d love to hear about it!

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The Boulder Floods

Thank you so much to all of you who have written in (and otherwise sent) your thoughts, prayers, and love to us here at Sounds True, and to all our friends throughout Colorado during this very difficult time. It has been a very trying week for all of us and many here have lost their homes, businesses, towns, and even lives. Like any tragedy, though, it has brought individuals and the community together in new ways, and shown us what is truly important at the end of the day.

Fortunately, the sun was out all day yesterday, and today is also looking sunny and dry. We are praying that the worst is behind. While some of the roads near Sounds True have been damaged quite extensively, we were able to re-open yesterday, and were grateful that most of our employees are doing okay. We are for the most part safe, but many of us are in touch with others who are not faring so well – friends who have lost their homes, have been air vac’d out by the National Guard, cannot find loved ones, and are experiencing great fear and despair. Many dozens are still unaccounted for in Boulder.

Here are some photos to give you a visual sense of how the flood is impacting local communities.

And here is some video footage of Longmont, a town just next to Boulder where a number of our employees live.

Finally, a rather shocking amateur video of the flood as it moves through Boulder Canyon.

If you’re interested in helping via making a donation, information may be found here.

Thank you again for thinking of us and we join you in sending our thoughts, love, and prayers to our brothers and sisters throughout the state as we move through this very challenging time.

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Ep 9 Bonus: The Bodhisattva Check-In

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 9: “Live the Questions Now” deeper into your life. 

Jess will guide you through an adaptation of the Work That Reconnects exercise called “The Bodhisattva Check-In.” In Buddhism, the bodhisattva is the archetype of the compassionate person who devotes themself to collective well-being. 

In this exercise, you will be invited to use your imagination to “step in” to each of the circumstances of your life in order to make the contribution to the Great Turning that is yours to make. 

All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is enough space to take slow meditative steps in a straight line or in a circle. A living room or a yard are great. If you don’t want to or can’t walk, there will be instructions on how to do this without moving. You’ll need a total of 20 minutes, including time after the recording has ended.

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

Justin Michael Williams, Shelly Tygielski, and Mario V...

The end of racism—really? When your eyes stop rolling, tune in to this podcast to hear why it’s actually possible—in our lifetimes—to free our society from systemic racial oppression and  injustice. In part one of this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Justin Michael Williams and Shelly Tygielski about their new book, How We Ended Racism. In part two, filmmaker and activist Mario Van Peebles joins the conversation to share his own hope-giving perspective. 

This stirring and uplifting podcast explores the five assumptions that perpetuate racism; the eight pillars of possibility; the pledge to help end racism; how our inner work relates to the outer change that we’re working toward; assertion versus assessment, and learning to recognize our own biases; shadow work and confronting the concept of supremacy; taking action where we’re standing right now; “loving with bigger arms”; crossing the divide within families; the metaphor of the inherited house; the practice of calling forward; intraconnection; the link between exposure and empathy; the SUSS process: State, Uncover, Synergize, and Select; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Breaking away from the idea that there is one “right...

We live in a wild world with a wealth of information at our fingertips. This means we can read reviews, check forums, and see what other parents are saying about everything we purchase or do for our children. 

But that is not always a good thing. There is such a thing as too much research. 

I distinctly remember working with a client who had very high expectations around her child’s food. She was concerned with what ingredients were in the food, how it was prepared, how it was served—and anything less than “healthy” felt wrong to her. She was a self-proclaimed perfectionist who wanted the best for her child—she wasn’t going to “lower her standards” at the request of her partner or anyone else. 

As a result of her food concerns, she spent hours upon hours extensively researching topics related to food such as GMOs, toxins, ingredients, and safety. Through her research, she also read that stress could decrease her milk supply—so she shut down any conversations when her family tried to approach her about this or how it had taken over her life. 

This level of research was no longer about the food—postpartum anxiety was in the driver’s seat, pushing her to search for control. 

It’s also important to break away from the idea that there is one “right” way to mother. Just because we have access to information doesn’t mean there isn’t room for nuance. Take “healthy food” as an example. What constitutes a “healthy” diet has been a debated topic for decades and is often a wellness space filled with fads and extremes with each approach contradicting the next. There have been more rules prescribed to our food then I can count that cause people not to trust themselves and leave them seeing food as being good or bad. Food is not black or white. Our approach doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

In my client’s case, research had gone beyond just information-seeking. Sometimes, research is just research. But other times, research is:

  • Trying to find the “right” or “best” way to do something
  • Seeking reassurance
  • Grasping for certainty
  • Feeding your anxiety
  • An attempt to soothe your anxiety

I have seen this pattern play out many times with many of my clients. I believe that in many ways intensive mothering prevents us from seeing signs of anxiety. When we interpret perfectionism and the need to avoid mistakes at all costs as being a good mother, we have a lot of pressure to carry. It’s no wonder that so many of us find ourselves in the research rabbit hole.

Does that mean all research is bad? Of course not. But we need to learn the difference between when it’s helping and when it’s not. Researching should be used to provide you with enough information to make an informed decision. It should have boundaries—not be all-consuming. 

Excerpt from Releasing the Mother Load: How to Carry Less and Enjoy Motherhood More by Erica Djossa.

Erica Djossa

Erica Djossa is a registered psychotherapist, sought-after maternal mental health specialist, and the founder of wellness company Momwell. Her popular Momwell podcast has over a million downloads. Erica’s a regular contributor to publications like the Toronto Star, Scary Mommy, and Medium, and her insights have been shared by celebrities like Ashley Graham, Nia Long, Christy Turlington, and Adrienne Bosh. She lives in Toronto. For more, visit momwell.com

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