Sandy's May/June 2023
"Empathy is a strange and powerful thing.
There is no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it.
It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of “You’re not alone.”
~ Brené Brown ~
Artist Credit : Bidje Hansje
"Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is your plan
to do with your one wild
and precious life?
When I finally (after a couple years of pondering) landed on the name “Centered-Connections” for my business name, I had no idea how profound those words would become for me and my well-being. I knew at the time that they reflected a value that I held high, that of real, authentic connections. And I knew I wanted my life's work to be about cultivating those connections.
One week into our March ‘National Parks of the Southwest’ road trip, as we were heading into the Grand Canyon, my husband and I received word from home of a tragedy in our family that shook us to the core and jarred us awake. My apologies if this sounds abrupt and harsh, but that's exactly what it was and is: My sister-in-law and her husband were found dead in their home, a murder-suicide, to which there is no sense-making. Left behind are four grown boys and their families, suddenly without parents to share in their lives.
Juxta positioned against this anguish are the incredible joys of my life (a grandchild’s delight, heartwarming feedback after our retreat, ‘Transitions and New Beginnings,’ the chance to explore the splendor of some of our National Parks with the man I love, and my dear friends’ and family’s support). It feels selfish, at these times, to acknowledge so much joy and to allow myself to feel it.
Which, I suppose, is part of the reason why my emotions have been like a roller-coaster, from the sobbing depth of grief's despair and disbelief to the heights of wonder and awe, not just witnessed in nature but also in the loving, human response to tragedy and loss.
My friend, Barb, pointed me in the direction of a book by David Kessler entitled, “Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief.” In it, Kessler writes, “Each person’s grief is as unique as their fingerprint. But what everyone has in common is that no matter how they grieve, they share a need for their grief to be witnessed. That doesn’t mean needing someone to lessen it or reframe it for them. The need is for someone to be fully present to the magnitude of their loss without trying to point out the silver lining.”
I believe bearing witness to one another is important in all aspects of life, because every new stage, every transition requires letting go of something you once valued. In her newest book, “The Light We Carry”, Michelle Obama recalls the time of transition from their Chicago home to the White House, and writes about her profound need for her friends to be present: “I was happy to have so many of them coming to D.C. to help us celebrate, to witness what for America counted as a transfer of power, but for me also felt like a nerve-racking transfer from one life, one way of being, to another. I needed my own witnesses for that, friends who could revel in the day’s glory…and who could find me afterwards and hug me tight, knowing exactly how much about our old life I was going to miss.”
Perhaps that’s why I am feeling the need to write openly about this today. All I know is that it absolutely points to why I value centered-connections and deep friendships in my life. It’s why I have cards from many of you (some recent, some from years ago) sitting around my home in places where I see them, reread them, and feel your loving presence.
It's why these words by Mary Oliver are calling out to me, even though my grief is still too fresh to fully embrace them, "Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is your plan to do with your one wild and precious life?".
And it’s why YOU, who gather to practice Qigong together, are such an important part of my life and well-being. Together we can bear witness to every aspect of life, we can laugh and sob together, we can send our healing energy out into the world in a mindful way that upholds all of creation.
I hope you feel it, too – the sense of being part of a loving community, a ‘centered-connection’ to one another and to the Divine in each of us.
With deep gratitude,
P.S. Don’t miss the chance to feel connected to the entire WORLD this coming Saturday, April 29th at 10am: World Tai Chi and Qigong Day Event in Middleton, WI: One World, One Breath! Details are below. For those outside the Madison area, check out events in your local area at: Worldtaichiday.org
Arches Nat'l Park Qigong
Grand Canyon Support
Artwork at Transitions and New Beginnings Retreat
WORLD TAI CHI
& QIGONG DAY
"One World, One Breath"
SATURDAY, APRIL 29TH | 10-11A
Harbor Wellness Studios (Topaz)
2711 Allen Blvd,
Middleton, WI 53562
People from around the world will be practicing at 10am their time!
WHAT TO EXPECT:
- Qigong Warm-ups w Sandy
- Tai Chi Walking & Cloud Hands w Joan
- Tai Chi Fundamentals w Rita
- Qigong Flow w Sandy
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC *OPEN TO ALL LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE
Invite your family and friends!
Cross Plains Area
Mindfulness Meditation Group
All are welcome to join this open learning community focused on exploring mindfulness meditation practices to cultivate compassion and mutual understanding while enriching our personal faith journeys. No experience necessary.
Meeting monthly on the 3rd Monday of the month, 6:30-7:45pm on a drop-in basis. St. Martin's Lutheran Church, 2427 Church St, Cross Plains, WI., or specified outdoor location.
May 15: Centering Prayer by the Creek , Zander Park, Cross Plains
June 19: "Awe Walk" Summer Solstice Meditation at Graedel's Garden
Contact Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Come as you are.
Come when you are able.
There is nothing quite like welcoming the day with a group of friends practicing Qigong by the lake, with the sun rising over Lake Mendota!
Please join us each Wednesday from 8:30-9:15 am at Marshall Park, Middleton, near the boathouse.
We move under the shelter in the event of rain. If storms are present, we cancel.
I hope you will give it a try!
In Memory of Marilyn Carien
(Nov. 29, 1944 - Mar. 25, 2023)
Marilyn's joyful spirit will forever bless our Qigong practice
by Lake Mendota. This poem was shared by Marilyn
at a New Year’s Day sunrise celebration in 2019 with close friends
at her home.
May it bless your days...
The Poignancy of Living in these Days
By Richard S. Gilbert
I inhale and exhale in regular rhythm,
An act so common it never occurs to me to pay attention.
And when I do, I am overwhelmed with the wonder of it all.
I eat my food, as I have done for a thousand thousand days.
A practice so frequent I hardly notice
The miraculous million events that happen in my body.
And when I do, I am taken with their singular beauty.
I greet my loved ones, as I have greeted them for years.
A habit that I pass off casually
Until I realize the deep poignancy of greetings and farewells,
How precious they are,
How they touch deeper feeling chords each time.
Perhaps it is middle age, or old age,
Or perhaps sentiment grows in me,
Or perhaps I am awakening to life
In ways transcending my usual semi-awake state of being.
The poignancy of living in these days
Penetrates me, burrows deep into psyche or soul or spirit ---
I know not what.
I only know that I feel things more deeply with the passing years,
That the common things of life become uncommon,
That the ordinary becomes extraordinary,
That the habitual becomes sacred.
Bittersweet is the poignancy of living in these days.
I awaken myself,
And bow down in deep gratitude.
From What We Share, Collected Meditations, Vol Two, 2002, Edited by Patricia Frevert
Weekly Qigong Classes:
Monday 9-9:45am CT: Qigong via Zoom
No class May 1st
Meeting ID: 891 1999 2696
Wednesday 8:30-9:15am: Qigong at the Lake
Meet near the Boathouse, Marshall Park, Middleton
No class May 3rd and May 24th
Refer a Friend, Get a Free Class Yourself!
Any time you refer a friend who tries a free Qigong class, you will receive a free class yourself! It’s that simple - you keep track on your own. Let’s keep spreading the word about this amazing form of self-care!😊
Suggested Qigong Class Fees for 2023*
One-time drop in: $12/class
Class-Pass Bundle of 6: $54 ($9/class)
Class-Pass Bundle of 10: $80 ($8/class)
Class-Pass Bundle of 15: $102 (6.80/class)
*These rates apply to weekly online Zoom classes (Mondays, 9am) and weekly outdoor classes April-November (Wednesdays, 8:30am). Feel free to mix ‘n match as your schedule allows.
Or mail check to:
Sandy Salvo :: 7521 Oak Circle Dr, Middleton, Wisconsin, 53562
For more information about my services, please use the menu bar at the top to explore my website!