Archive for February 15th, 2012

“Why does meditation have to be so hard? According to Jason Siff, there is an inherent tension in meditation practice between your mind as it is and the meditation instructions you use.”  From Tricycle Talks.

Click here to for Jason Siff’s instructions on thinking about meditation in a whole new way that might help you free up your mind from old ways of thinking about your practice.

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I could not love this any more if I tried. Michael, you are my hero for going out and spreading the compassion!

Have A Dream

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved – loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”
~ Victor Hugo.

I visited the seniors at the nearby Alzheimer’s Care Center. Although the Center is located a little out of the way. but upon arriving one will definitely be impressed with the vast, lush green environment there. Here, it is pollution free, quiet, lift the moods and an excellent location for these ageing seniors.

The center is reasonably new, staffed with professionals and supported by well-trained maids. I was pleasantly surprised to find two elderly aunties smiling and waving happily at me, as if they recognize me when I entered the building.

I wanted to celebrate a meaningful St. Valentine’s Day this year. So I decided to go and spend some quality time chatting with the seniors, accompanying them for lunch and joining in…

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I love this… thank you for reminding us that beauty comes at the price of a healing crisis sometimes…

The Book Of Guff

Remember how pearls are formed. Always be grateful to people who irritate you, for they are providing you with the opportunity to grow the precious pearl of patience.

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Today, it’s been 17 years since my brother died.  I honor his life and his journey and I am filled with gratitude for him allowing me to companion him through his journey with dying.

I wrote this less than two weeks after he died and thought I would share it today.

May we be blessed by those who have touched our lives and who have died.

May we be blessed with people who love us, right here and now.

May we know that we have made a difference in every life we have touched.



Whatever happend to the

fair-haried boy,

sitting and watching the campfire?

With a shy, sly grin,

You must have been a real charmer!


The boy whom I used to admire so.

How I lament his disappearance from our lives.

I see him in front of the fire,

Amazed and awed by the gods

That warm him.

A boy well-learned in the arts

And knew all the finer things.

This youth, thinking so hard,

So far inside of himself.

What could be that grave to

Captivate this imp’s consciousness?


The precious blonde boy

With eyes wide and blue,

Could not stay forever in front of that blaze.

Had he,

He would have had less of

A chance of being burnt by the flames,

Then by his life.

He met the world,

Turning his back and taking the hardest path.


Along the journey,

This toddler grew into an “angry young man”.

His eyes turned toward money and power

And reflected the cold that he

Tried to warm in his heart.


Whatever happened to that bright

Young man whose future

Was just beginning?

Any journey could have been taken. . . .

Why this one?


Whatever happened to the beautiful man

Whom I admired so much?

Brilliant, classic, and pristine

Like a piece of Waterford crystal,

Or a Grecian urn.

Why did I not understand the anger and the pain in your eyes?


Here I am,

Left with broken pieces,

Lamenting your death,

Unsure above your life.

I can barely remember now

That man whom you

Were for just a moment.


I know this journey

Led us on paths we wish

We had never time to explore,

But I think that I found

That fair-haired boy,

With the shy, sly grin

You tried so hard to bury.


I held you close

And wept by your side.

I saw the pain in your eyes,

As you rain into every mountain

And hung onto each cliff.

I close my eyes

And see you let go . . .

Drifting. . .

Taking flight. . .

Soaring high above

With the other lavender balloons.


I look toward the heavens

And find you there.

Glowing brilliantly and pristinely against the darkness

Of the night sky.

I know that fair-haired boy

Has returned to his place before the campfire,

Returned to his home.


It’s a comforting sort of feeling

That washes over me

After the tears fall away.

With every breeze and every note

Of the chime, I hear your voice and

The sound of an “I love you”.

If I close my eyes tight enough,

That luminous star helps me

To know the beginning

And remember the end.



In Memory of M.H. Stevens

Jan 6, 1963-February 15, 1995

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Alzheimer's Speaks Blog

The Reverie Harp –

A New Beginning in Music Therapy

Matt and Jerry from Musicmaker’s Kits in Stillwater, Minnesota explain how the Reverie Harp was born.

The Reverie Harp –

How it is used in Music Therapy

To get more information on the Reverie Harp Contact

Music Makers


Mailing address
Musicmaker’s Kits
14525 61st St. Ct. N
PO Box 2117
Stillwater, MN 55082
Toll free
800-432-KITS (5487)
(651) 439-9120
(651) 439-9130


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Ways to Memorialize Loss in the Workplace


Tonight we had a caller on our Blog Talk Radio spot, a social worker, who was concerned about the staff at her agency. She works in a residential center and finds that her staff is dealing with patient’s deaths more often and wanted to know how she could help.

The last post was follow-up on Annette, the social worker’s concerns.  Some of them were talked about on the show and others only here.

But what if a staff wants to get together and have a special time for just themselves?  What are simple inexpensive things that staffs can do?

Some of the following ideas were things I did year-round with hospice families and with children from our community that had suffered losses.  Any of them can be modified for use in a residential setting, an office, church group, or family.

Some groups might not feel comfortable, especially in a workplace setting, creating a real “memorial” service for a co-worker or patient that has died.  They might not feel comfortable with religious music or prayers so listed below are some ideas that you can use with any group.

  • Luminaries created out of white paper bags that can be purchased at party supply stores.  They can be created by using shearing scissors, markers, pastels, stickers, etc.  These are placed outside (in a circle, semi-circle, heart or star shape) and filled with something like sand or kitty litter and tea lights.  If you are concerned about open flames, you can even purchase electronic tea lights.  Luminaries are best used at dawn and after dark.  Those who are present can say a few words (or remain silent) as they light their luminary.  A song or poem can be recited after all the luminaries are lit.
  • www.balloonrelease.com – great resource online for biodegradable balloons that are safer for the environment.  They also have supplies for butterfly releases.
    • Now some groups, particularly eco-friendly groups have problems with balloon releases so the butterfly releases might be a better way to go.
  • Sky Laterns http://www.amazon.com/Premium-SKY-LANTERNS-Tall-Balloons/dp/B001T8G4T8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329275181&sr=8-1  I liked the idea of these when I saw them.  My mentor had a memorial service for an abuse survivor that she worked with for years where they put paper boats into the lake they spent a lot of time at.  And the boats had tea lights on them.  It was a powerful experience… my friend sent off the client’s ashes in a larger paper boat ahead of the rest.  It was lovely, especially as a southern rain storm came over the park as all the boats swarmed around.  The group sang and hugged in the pouring rain.
  • www.griefwatch.com ceramic hearts, love stones, etc. starting as low as $1.00.  For whatever kind of service or get together your create for your group, grief watch’s ceramic keepsakes are always a good idea.  I’ve used these hearts and stones in different ways.  Sometimes, I’ve given participants a piece of ceramic and passed a basket around.  Each member of the group could share a few words before passing the passing the basket.  If family is there, the basket can be given to them.  If family can’t be there, a note can be sent with the basket as a keepsake of love from the group.
  • www.seedsoflife.com  Special trees such as magnolias, blue spruce, enduring oaks, drift roses, etc to plant in memory of that special person.   Also have memory tree kits and engraved tree name tags.  Trees can be planted at a work site, on church grounds, or other places that hold meaning for the deceased.

Whatever your group decides to do, honor the person who has died.  Know that not everyone is going to be pleased with your decision and some will choose to do something by themselves.  Everyone grieves differently and we honor the love between people and how they decide to show that love.

Best wishes with whatever plans you create.

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