Thursday, November 10, 2011

Swami Dayamrita visits Cleveland

Sunday, November 13, 1 to 4 PM at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church.
Click image to enlarge for more details.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

................"Cedars & Sunlight" ........... Oil painting by Kristen Boyesen
Imagination Arts help foster Inner Peace
Begin World Peace: It is Up to Us
Peace Prayers from twelve religions


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Oberlin's multi-nation class promotes world peace

OBERLIN, Ohio -- As the new course in American democracy ended to applause last week, professors Carol Lasser and Gary Kornblith walked their matching bikes across the Oberlin College campus -- nearly walking on air.
After more than 30 years teaching history, the husband-wife team had tried to make some. They brought two of the world's most divided peoples -- Israelis and Palestinians -- to Oberlin's serene campus to discuss how multicultural America works.

Read more at the title link.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Let Go for More Control

By Kristen Boyesen
Life Learning and Creativity Coach
Published in The Bedford Standard, March 25, 2010

I added a lot to my life learning this past week. One small problem with my laptop computer grew into a major catastrophe, and I lost several folders of files from my laptop. My desktop computer, used for scanning, photo retouching and printing, will no longer turn on: a long boring story not to be repeated here. The first life learning, is, of course, “Do regular backups of your computer!”

The most useful learning of this experience is how one handles such difficulties in life. Yes, there were some tears, a few muffled screams and a late night email to a friend lamenting my loss. Yet, I came to accept it, regain my inner peace, and still have a smile.

This was the process: Knowing that prolonged upset lowers immunity and causes health problems; Knowing that poor health is worse than losing a documents folder; Knowing that I did not like being in this helpless state of recurring unpleasant thoughts; Knowing that meditation has been shown in study after study to help alleviate depression, anxiety and rumination; Knowing that meditation enhances wisdom, compassion, awareness and pleasure in life; And, knowing that the only way out of my misery was through action, I choose to take action.

This had happened close to midnight. Sleep was what was needed, but I was too distraught to sleep. “Meditation will calm me down,” I thought, “then I can sleep.

I took three or four meditative breaths, … and went right back to thinking about all the work I had lost.

I tried again. And again. Nope. A shower perhaps? Yes, a shower, then try again.

• First a deep breath with eyes closed.
• Make the intention to take control.
• Take control by letting go.
• Take control by consciously relaxing all the muscles of your body.
• Focus awareness within.
• Feel the breath flow into your body.
• Allow your abdomen to expand as you breathe in, contract as you release breath.
• Look deeply into the darkness that is behind your eyes.
• Become aware of different parts of your body.
• Feel the tingle of life from your toes to your fingertips.
• Feel every breath as it expands your abdomen.
• Feel the blanket of warmth that surrounds your body.
• Appreciate the calm.
• Feel the peace.
• Imagine you are hovering over yourself, giving yourself a hug.
• Appreciate your ability to return to breath focus each time your mind wanders.

Next thing I knew it was morning, and I could take steps to try to solve the problem of the missing folders. Two days later, the results are in. The documents folder is indeed gone, but the folder containing hundreds of slides of photos, drawings, and other colorful imagery prompts for my presentations and workshops were retrieved, and that is much more than a small pleasure.

Training yourself to focus in this way becomes easier the more you do it. Start before you have a major meltdown, and it is easier still. Meditation builds the brain’s ability to focus, relax, and to be aware. Awareness helps you to always put your keys in the same place every time you enter the house. Awareness snaps you out of your head and into the song of a bird, the flutter of a butterfly, or the smile of a child.

Take a break from the incessant whirl of thoughts that go on most of the time in your head. Several small meditation breaks a day will make a big difference in your health and well-being. The practice listed above was what I personally did when I needed to return to peace from chaos, but it is not the only form: Some use sound, some use words, some involve movement, others use image-making. There are many excellent books on the art of meditation and there is much information on the web. Find a meditation practice that is right for you. Peace!

Kristen Boyesen, a resident of Bedford, offers art and meditation-based classes and workshops for core creativity training and empowerment for change. She belongs to the American Holistic Medical Association Speakers Bureau, the Bedford Senior Network, and Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She gives rehabilitation workshops at the Brecksville VA Medical Center and is a graduate student in Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College. Contact her at Kboyesen(at)
Visit to see accompanying photos.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Driving Yourself to Tranquility

By Kristen Boyesen
Life Learning & Creativity Coach
Published in The Bedford Standard, March 11, 2010

In May of 2005 I began two years as executor of the estate of Persis Boyesen, Historian for the City of Ogdensburg, the Village of Heuvelton, and the Township of Oswegatchie. She was also a genealogist, a gardener, cook, seamstress, English teacher, historical preservationist, keeper of three or four generations of family heirlooms, and my mom. By law, all things related to her official capacities as historian had to be sorted and turned over to the proper municipality. Every part of the 12-room farmhouse had things to identify, sort, and make decisions upon. I was living in Bedford at the time. Ogdensburg is in Northern New York State. For two years my life was split between these two places. I would return from a seven-day trip to a pile of mail six inches high, classes to teach, and major catch-up tasks to do.

The drive from Bedford to Ogdensburg could be done in as little as six and one-half hours, and I did my best to drive the distance in that amount of time. “Why waste time driving?” The day after the trip was spent in recovery mode: not much was accomplished at either location. Stress was my middle name. I was a frequently in “fight or flight” mode with all of its adverse health effects.

One day, a year into this process, I was ready to embark on yet another trip. The car was packed with clothes, food, and everything I would need to camp out in a vacant house. I opened the car door, sat in the driver’s seat, and breathed a big sign of relief and pleasure.


Yes, pleasure: pleasure that my only responsibility for day was driving! I did not have to pay bills, do laundry, make flyers, deliver artworks, teach classes, mow lawn, wash dishes, vacuum, weed the garden, clean the bathroom, answer email, sort papers, decide where my mom’s research and books should go, or which things to sell, and which things to keep.

The stress I had been experiencing for a year was close to being a stress crisis requiring medical intervention. Instead, I found a new way of dealing with the situation. I relaxed and enjoyed the trip!

I looked at the scenery, had warm thoughts for the other drivers on their way to visit families or on business trips, was polite in letting people in front of me, made sure I did not cut people off, watched my speed to be sure it was safe and in keeping with the general traffic flow, sat comfortably with good posture, did small body movements to relieve pressure points, and made each stop a time to take a short walk. In Canandaigua I meandered through a bookstore located just off I-90. I did not listen to the radio or to books on tape. I was in a state of appreciation for nine hours instead of the “go!-go!-go!-mode.”

The result? I arrived refreshed and energized! The next day I was able to immediately start work with no recovery time.

Various clinicians have used different terms for personal growth that can happen by learning from and dealing with life’s challenges: “crises of renewal,” “positive disintegration,” “creative illness,“ and “spiritual emergencies.” It was a wonderful turning point for me.

I drove back and forth on this nearly 500-mile trip for another year using the opportunity as a chance to relax and be appreciative. In 2010, three and one-half years later, I still relax as I get into the car to drive.

You have heard of “road rage”?

How about “road tranquility”?

Both are infectious.

If you drive in a fighting mood, you will get a fight. If you drive in a relaxed state feeling that everyone on the road is in your group of best friends and it is part of your job to see that they arrive safely at their destinations by polite driving, you will spread this sense of peace to others on the road. As a great side benefit, you will arrive at your own destination in a good mood with an immunity boost!

Driving as a practice in relaxation, appreciation and giving becomes one of life’s small pleasures.

Kristen Boyesen, a resident of Bedford, offers art and meditation-based classes and workshops for core creativity training and empowerment for change. She belongs to the American Holistic Medical Association Speakers Bureau, the Bedford Senior Network, and Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She gives rehabilitation workshops at the Brecksville VA Medical Center and is a graduate student in Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College. Contact her at Kboyesen(at)
Visit to see accompanying photos.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Forcing Spring

By Kristen Boyesen, Life Learning & Creativity Coach
Published in The Bedford Standard, Feb. 18. 2010.

One can force bulbs into winter blooming. Can you force Spring?

The days are still short, and Spring still seems ages away. Flickers of moodiness and seasonal depression are problems for everyone from time to time.

How do you start your day?

There is a time of no time, a place of no place, where we exist before the waking world makes itself known. Awareness slowly opens, and we remember who we are and where we are. The day has begun.

In winter, this slow process of waking to consciousness is stopped on several counts. It is dark! One wants to sleep when it is dark! We resort to alarm clocks to startle us awake to a pitch-black world. The dark adds temporary confusion to the shock of the sound of the alarm.

In summer, the light of dawn arrives before most of us wake for the day and the appearance of light while we are sleeping begins a gentle waking. We open our eyes to a visually visible day.

Fifteen years ago I was as a leaf blowing in the wind, subject to mood swings caused by the weather and the short days of winter. When I heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and learned that light was the solution, I took immediate steps to be in charge of dark-induced mood swings. Sitting for hours in front of an expensive light box was not what I wanted to do.

My solution was to use light in the dark corners of my home, even in the daytime. Clusters of plants were happy to have a timed light pop on at 6 AM. (It turned off whenever the sun was able to take over.) Islands of greenery bathed in pools of light now greet my entry to the kitchen and living areas of the house on cold and dark winter days. What a pleasure!

The most important light, however, is in the bedroom, timed to come on at 5:30 AM. It is not a bright light, nor is it anywhere near the bed. Its purpose is to mimic the dawn, so is located next to the East-facing window. The gentle waking that happens in the long days of summer happens year ‘round with a simple timed light in the bedroom. Gentle waking to the day allows time for appreciation before beginning the day’s tasks, and appreciation is a great immune booster. (See more on the effects of appreciation on the body in the Jan 7 issue of The Bedford Standard online.)

Being startled awake to an alarm starts the day with a shot of fight-or-flight adrenaline.
Fight-or-flight is triggered when your life or safety is in danger. The classic example is “the tiger at the cave door”. The tiger leaves us no choice, and is a good reason for a healthy shot of adrenaline.

Your thoughts determine how the body responds to a situation. Your thoughts alone can trigger a fight-or-flight adrenaline rush. Perception alone can cause stress. If you think it is essential that every speck of dust be removed before company arrives for you to be valued as a human being, if you think you must have that contract completed by an arbitrary deadline or else … then you are creating modern-day versions of the tiger at the cave door.

These kinds of daily stressors can become chronic. A side effect of fight-or-flight is cortisol, an immune-busting hormone that makes you susceptible to illness. Constant stress lowers health and wellness. In my own experience, I once believed that the “go get ‘em” attitude was the only way to live, and I mentally created daily adrenaline to be constantly active. The side effects were lower back pain, chronic pain, mood swings and digestive problems. Once I realized what I was doing, I stopped my daily dose of adrenaline, and the physical problems all but disappeared.

We have choices. We can be as that leaf blowing in the wind, feeling helpless to determine the outcomes of our lives … or we can take action for change. A simple and inexpensive solution to ward off winter blues is to install a timed light in the bedroom. Allowing your body to wake naturally to the light of dawn is an easy way to help you start the day in a positive mood. Your smiles throughout the day will be your reward for bringing early morning light into your home. You can indeed Force Spring!

Kristen Boyesen, a resident of Bedford, offers art and meditation-based classes and workshops for core creativity training and empowerment for change. She belongs to the American Holistic Medical Association Speakers Bureau, the Bedford Senior Network, and Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She gives rehabilitation workshops at the Brecksville VA Medical Center and is a graduate student in Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College. Contact her at Kboyesen(at)
Visit to see accompanying photos.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Walking in the Path of the Deer

Life’s Small Pleasures by Kristen Boyesen
Published in The Bedford Standard, Feb. 4,2010.

“Four degrees, feels like minus 5,” said for Bedford at 9 AM. The sun was shining off thin lines of snow atop each branch of every tree and shrub. By 10:00, I was booted up with camera in hand ready to enter brisk morning air.

What a gorgeous day! I headed for Ellenwood Park and was glad to see that my off-path trail had not been filled in with additional snowfall. I could clearly see my footstep indentations from two days before.

There are three small parks that connect to Ellenwood Park: Automile Park (off Broadway), The Bedford Municipal Pool (off Lamson) and the Bioswale (behind City Hall.) This collection of planted trees, shrubbery, nature-grown trees and brush, a small feeder stream to Tinker’s Creek, bioswale holding ponds, rolling hills, mowed lawn and wild places is home to a herd of at least six deer. Today I walked in their path, and saw that they had walked in mine. By following their fresh tracks from this morning, I discovered the herd’s nighttime resting place for last night. *

Ted Andrews, in his book Animal Speak, says that deer are a symbol of “gentle luring to new adventure,” a “return to wilderness,” and an indicator that it is time for “new perceptions and degrees of perceptions to grow and expand.” The gentleness of the deer encourages this new growth through gentleness, rather than by force. Interestingly enough, on my way to Ellenwood, I encountered a flock of six robins on this cold January day. The extensive red breast of the robin signifies “new growth in all areas of life.”

These are wonderful thoughts with which to start the New Year. Resolutions are typically forced and hardly ever kept except by constant force, which is tiring, stressful, and may create emotional or physical dis-ease (a lack of ease or actual illness) as we criticize ourselves too harshly for not keeping to the “new leaf” that we turned over.

The key to new growth and to understanding ourselves, our relationships, and the world around us is gentleness. Another way of expressing it is “effortless effort” or “not forcing it”, key concepts of the Wu Wei of Taoism.

I have lived in this house for five years. For four of those years I did everything I could to keep the deer out of my back yard: hair, soap, rotten eggs, fencing. My shrubs were broken by the males in the Fall, rubbing itchy antlers against rough bark. Beans, lettuce, and tomatoes were eaten off just prior to harvest. Flowers disappeared while displaying bountiful color. I would run into the yard yelling and clapping my hands in an attempt to make them leave for good. I went so far as to ask politely for them to live somewhere else. None of it worked.

One day last spring I pushed aside some weeds under the elderberry patch to retrieve some bricks I had stored there and nearly stepped on a newborn fawn.

That was the beginning of my acceptance of their place in my world and the start of effortless effort with regard to my gardens. Instead of attempting to enclose the entire yard, I enclosed patches of plantings with garden fencing. My space/your space. We shall live here together. The fawn turned out to be the male of a boy/girl set of twins. They spent much of the summer visiting my yard, sleeping under the shrubs, the spruce trees or next to the fencing. There are plants inside the fenced areas that need to come out, and plants outside the fencing need to go inside. (Why protect plants they do not eat?) Effortless effort will be employed for these plants to exchange places.

How does effortless effort work when one is sweating with a shovel? By enjoying the process. By gentleness with yourself and the task. The amazing thing is, just as much will get done, as the body does not tire as fast with mindful gardening. When need to stop to go on the other things, you will be amazed at how much was accomplished and how good you feel.

Give yourself a Valentine. Life’s Small Pleasures create big changes in your life.

Kristen Boyesen is a resident of Bedford offering art and meditation-based classes and workshops for core creativity training and empowerment for change. She belongs to the American Holistic Medical Association Speakers Bureau, the Bedford Senior Network, and Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She gives rehabilitation workshops at the Brecksville VA Medical Center and is a graduate student in Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College. Contact her at Kboyesen(at) Quotes from: “Animal Speak” © 1993 Ted Andrews.

* Photos from this morning’s walk in the path of the deer may be seen at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Northeast Ohio Coyotes

Last spring I heard the wonderful sound of a coyote family of pups learning to use their voices. Quite exciting! The article at the title link has photos from the Cleveland/Cuyahoga Valley area and an insert that shows the difference between a dog footprint and a coyote footprint.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Creating New from Old

Life’s Small Pleasures by Kristen Boyesen
Published in The Bedford Standard Jan 21, 2010

On January 1st I had not put wood into the woodstove for 23 hours. When I went to start the first fire for the New Year, I was surprised to find a few live embers. Some ancient memory instilled me with wanting to start a new fire in 2010 with coals from 2009. It took awhile, as there were only three pea-sized embers, but I managed, and soon I had a warm fire that carried over to the New Year.

This morning was January 5th. I had kept that first fire going for four days! It was now time to clear out the ashes, however so I decided to let the few remaining embers go. I scattered the glowing dots about so they could burn out.

When I returned later to clear the ashes and start a fire with matches, I discovered that one small area of the ash bed still had the tiny orange dots of glowing embers.

I carefully emptied the darkened ashes while avoiding the live embers. A few glowing dots that managed to get into the hod were placed back into the woodstove.

On January 1st, I had started with newspaper strips upon the embers, but discovered that newspaper restricts airflow and has a smothering effect. This time, I used splintery slivers of wood, toothpick size to pencil size, that were pulled from dry split firewood. These were carefully placed on the tiny embers. The pile started to glow! In my excitement, I too quickly placed a splinter on the small pile, disturbing the struggling flame trying to arise. The glow subsided. I blew on it a couple of times, but then decided to rely on the embers themselves.

I kept harvesting splinters from large hunks of firewood. The small pile over the glowing embers grew. Soon, smoke started to emerge from its midst. ("Where there is smoke, there is fire.") Larger 2 to 3-inch diameter pieces of firewood were arranged around the small smoking pile, being careful to keep the heavy wood away from the delicate cocoon of tinder I had created.

It looked impossible. How could “toothpicks and pencils” ignite the 3-inch diameter hunks of wood that were looming over the tiny not-yet-burning pile? The smoke was really spewing forth now, but still there was no flame. I added more large pieces at the edges, and closed the door.

I watched through the glass as smoke billowed out of the center, all but obliterating the small ember-glow within. I waited, smiling a small smile and feeling the fullness of impending success. Patience.

Then, whoooomph! A bright yellow flash burst forth, and the entire pile of toothpick and pencil-sized splinters was alight, licking at the larger wood chunks that arched overhead.

As I finish this writing, the large pieces of firewood have collapsed onto themselves, and are glowing red. Soon, they too, will be the embers to start a new fire.

Our lives are rich with such opportunities for discovery, invention, creativity and contemplation. One does not have to own a woodstove to discover creative interludes. Replacing worry-time, waiting-time or anxious-time with joyful contemplation helps bring your inner world into balance with your outer world.

You will smile your way through your daily hassles.

Kristen Boyesen is a resident of Bedford offering art and meditation-based classes and workshops for core creativity training and empowerment for change. She belongs to the American Holistic Medical Association Speakers Bureau, the Bedford Senior Network, and Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She gives rehabilitation workshops at the Brecksville VA Medical Center and is a graduate student in Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College. Contact her at Kboyesen(at)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Life's Small Pleasures

By Kristen Boyesen, Life Learning and Creativity Coach
Published in The Bedford Standard, Jan. 7 ,2010

Winter has arrived in Bedford. As I began my morning walk this morning, I marveled at the mildness of the temperature even though the world was bathed in white. Small nuggets of snow graced the brown stalks of September’s blooms, now gone to seed and providing food for neighborhood birds singing and chirping in the trees and bushes near City Hall. It is the enjoyment of such small pleasures that creates connections to the inner goodness that is in us all, connections to friends and family, the community, and beyond. Appreciation for the small things grows like a vital seed sown into warm spring earth.

How does this relate to you as you plan your day knowing you will run out of time or energy before accomplishing everything on your list? How does it relate to everyone around you going through the same must-do way of life? You protest, “I do not have time for a walk in the snow!”

Do you have time for a free immune boost? Do you have time for creating new brain cells? Do you have time to awaken your creativity and energize your excitement for life?


In your busy day there are plenty of opportunities for all this and more. Every time you are in a waiting situation (stop light, grocery line, on “hold”) is an opportunity for: 1) bringing feelings of appreciation into your heart for things in your life that are special, 2) immersing into the colors, shapes, and sounds of your environment … wherever you are, and 3) feeling empathy for someone in need, known to you or in the news.

Stress is a reaction to being over-booked with “good” or “bad” emotions or obligations. The physical manifestations to chronic stress are a lowered immune system and illness. Taking time to appreciate the small things every chance you get helps release the stress and boost immunity. Research by the Institute of HeartMath finds that, “Five minutes of sincerely feeling care or compassion” boosts immunity for six hours. Utilizing four five-minute breaks throughout the day to delve into appreciation (combined with the recommended hand-washing techniques, good nutrition and plenty of sleep) will be of great protective benefit during this flu season.

A new brain cell is created each time you engage in a new activity. According to Daniel Goleman in Social Intelligence, 10,000 connections to that newly formed neuron are added over the course of a month with the continuation of that new activity. Meditative practices such as the 5-minute appreciation exercise actually change how your brain is wired. You have the power to choose how you interact with the world. Stress or inner peace? Plant the seed you want to grow. Stress causes reaction. Inner peace allows for choice of action.

Once you begin to re-train your mind-body organism towards action rather than reaction, creative thought blossoms. A stressed mind/body is focused only on survival. Creativity is blocked because the brain is used up with coping strategies. Just as a slow computer is restored to fast functioning with a “clear and reinstall”, so do meditative practices help to clear the brain for improved functioning and access to global thinking and creativity.

Two months after one of my Imagination Arts workshops at a VA Medical Center a veteran ran up to me saying, “It works! It really works!” What worked,” I asked? “The Imagination Arts exercises! I used them to lose weight!” That was a creative use on her part for the meditative exercises that I offer people for emotional and behavioral change. I had never said that one could use them to lose weight!

The human body is an amazing collection of neurological connections. By focusing on the more powerful neurological energy of the heart and connecting it to the brain, one is truly able to re-direct one’s life. A daily meditative practice to clear brain-cobwebs opens the life experience to the wonder of the small things that are all around us at all times. The side effect? Boosted immunity!

Congratulations to Doug Smith and the City of Bedford for our new community newspaper, “The Bedford Standard”. It is indeed one of Life’s Small Pleasures. When all the small pleasures of life are experienced to the fullest, one feels true contentment.

Kristen Boyesen is a resident of Bedford offering art and meditation-based classes and workshops for core creativity training and empowerment for change. She belongs to the American Holistic Medical Association Speakers Bureau, the Bedford Senior Network, and Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She gives rehabilitation workshops at the Brecksville VA Medical Center and is a graduate student in Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College. Contact her at Kboyesen(at)
Visit her at HeartMath quote: “From Chaos to Coherence (the power to change performance)” by Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer, ©2008.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Do you dream of your newborn to grow up to be a top-notch gambler?

57 percent are in favor of the casino issue? Great! That can be the rallying cry to get people out of their houses on November 3 to vote against it. I was not against slots in the casinos, which would have provided a boost for the sport of horse racing. But casinos? No way. In its totality casinos are not a boon for the public good. The public good, as a whole, needs to be considered in all our decisions. It is not about right-now-short-term needs. Look at the entire picture. Is gambling a productive community based endeavor? As you look at your newborn babe in the cradle do you dream that someday he or she will grow up to be a top-notch gambler? Vote NO on Issue 3, for the common good. Vote NO for YOUR good. Vote NO because there are better ways out there to take care of our Ohio community, our Ohio family. Vote NO.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Exploring Meditation

These are stressful times. Meditation can help you regroup, refocus, relax.

There is still space available in the workshop "Exploring Meditation." Below is the verbal presentation. Sign up for the experience, held two Wednesdays at the Chagrin Falls Middle School from 6:30 to 8:30 beginning Oct 28. Call 440-247-5375 to register and for more information.

If you miss this class there will be an ongoing Saturday morning meditation at (the soon to open) Your Holistic Health Team, a resource center for healthy living, Brecksville.

Exploring Meditation (verbal presentation)

Meditation seems to be everywhere in the news for wellness, recovery, stress relief, and improved quality of life. But where does one find the time?


All the time that is spent doing stressful things like growling at a stop light, cursing when something is spilled, and feeling annoyance at menial tasks can be spent in meditative practices.

Personality Psychology (Larsen and Buss 2008) describes many ways that people are different, how they behave, and how that is expressed in body function. A most interesting discussion in the chapter on physiological approaches to personality tells of a study done with workers in high-stress jobs in the biotechnology industry. After eight weeks of practicing mindfulness techniques, their brains measured less chronic stress. From the participants themselves came reports of “feeling more energized, more engaged in their work, and less anxiety.” Researchers were surprised to find the meditation training also seemed to increase workers’ immune systems.

How does one meditate everywhere? The word “mindfulness” is the clue. Here are a few ways:

1. A stop light is an opportunity for getting in touch with the extremities of your body by tensing/relaxing different body parts.

2. Being on the phone “on hold” is an opportunity to take a tour with your eyes, of all the shapes that are within your visual field. Depth of field is unimportant. Separating the different objects is unimportant. Do a flow-meditation with your eyes as if you were traveling a maze. Feel your body relax. Try to keep the relaxed feeling even after the “help desk” (finally) breaks into your state of peace.

3. When a box of paper clips spills and scatters all over the carpet, the angry actions of cursing plus slamming each paper clip back into the box to vent your rage at them for making such a mess blasts a large dose of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol into your bloodstream. A high level of cortisol in the resting state is an indicator of chronic stress and a predictor for the appearance of stress-related illnesses. What to do instead of venting at the paper clips? Be present. Sometimes being present and aware can help one to see that the box of paper clips was too close to the edge of the table. That avoids the spill all together. Accidents happen all the time, however. Dealing with them can increase the initial stress or be an opportunity for reflection and meditation. With practice in being present, being in the moment, the spilled paper clips evoke a mild “oops” and the physical/emotional act of just letting go … Letting go of whatever you were doing to deal with this new situation, and total immersion in the process of collecting them to return them to their state of tidiness. The letting go and immersion is … meditation. An awareness of “letting go” of the events around us that happen of their own accord (being “cut off” on the freeway) brings a sense of peace all on its own.

A daily meditation practice of at least ten minutes will begin to train your body and mind to this new way of being in the world. This is time set aside for you. It has no intent other than being for you, your time, because you appreciate yourself and have love of life. Doing meditation with "intent" separates you from the process of meditation. Let go and let it happen. Immerse. Know that the benefits will come of their own accord. There is great fun in discovering them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Creating a Culture of Peace

Creating A Culture of Peace

November 14 Noon to 6 PM
November 15 Noon to 6 PM
November 16 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Cleveland Location for this International program:
Calvary Presbyterian Church
2020 E. 79th Street (at Euclid Ave), Cleveland OH 44103
Well-lit, secure, accessible parking.
Meals are included.

Cost: $200
Registration is required by no later than October 30.
Please contact Doug Horner as indicated in the poster.
(Click to enlarge image for reading.)
A limited number of partial scholarships are available.

“CCP is a nationwide program for community peacemaking. Its innovative design provides a holistic and practical foundation in active nonviolence. Participants come to recognize their own power for making personal and social changes that will create a world without violence.” For more information about CCP:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Class offered by Rev Susanna Goulder, Bedford OH

'Practicing The Presence' Class Begins April 22nd

"You've been walking in circles,


Don't drink by the waters edge.

Throw yourself in. Become the water.

Only then will your thirst end."

--Jeanette Berson

'Practicing The Presence:

Being A Conduit For Wisdom, Grace & Love'

Facilitated by

Reverend Susanna Margaret Goulder

Rev. Susanna will lead this experiential workshop for 6 consecutive

Wednesday evenings where together all will approach the font of peace

within that is called God.

Classes commence Wednesday, April 22nd.

Details below. Click the image to enlarge.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Applied Spirituality: The Sufi Perspective

On Sunday, April 19, Sufi Iman Kim Corrick
Will present an afternoon workshop:
‘Applied Spirituality from the Sufi Perspective’
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
At the Star Institute (Emery Plaza)
2501 Emery Rd, Suite 100
Warrensville Hts OH 44128

Click on the image to enlarge for reading.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What is the Meaning of Life and Progress?

*** Question the Meaning of Life ***
What is my purpose? Why am I here? Explore these questions at "We the People" Dialogue Series with lay leaders and others on April 26 from 3 – 5:30 pm at the Cleveland Buddhist Temple (1573 East 214th St. Cleveland, OH) Sensei Dean Williams, an ordained Zen Buddhist priest will outline the basics of Buddhist belief with and panelists Imam Ramez Islambouli, Rabbi Susan Stone, and Rev. Laury Larson will add their particular religious perspective before the conversation is turned over to the audience for group discussion. The dialogue will ask about Human Destiny, the destiny of followers of other faiths, and whether human destiny is separable from that of the planet Earth. All are invited and welcomed to join. Suggested donation $5.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Climate Solutions

A friend sent the title link with this message:

If we all just pass on the good news as we come across it, we’ll encourage each other and the world will look different.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Three Day Silent Meditation Retreat, Cleveland area

The Fourth Annual Silent Meditation Retreat will again be held at the Templed Hills Retreat Center, Bellville, OH.

Reservations must be made by February 14. $90 for two nights and five meals (three in formal Zen Oryoki, instruction time included).

Contact Sensei Dean Williams at (four four zero) 537-7104 for information and to register.

“We The People” Dialogue Series, InterAct Cleveland

Press Release from InterAct Cleveland

“We The People” Dialogue Series Examines Religion within Civic Scope

“America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents.” - President Obama

Cleveland: February 3, 2009.

In her book, A New Religious America: How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation, Dr. Diana Eck, director of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University asks “Who do we mean when we invoke the first words of our Constitution, ‘We the people of the United States of America’? Who do we mean when we say ‘we’?” InterAct Cleveland and the interreligious community will respond to this and other clarifying questions in a series of dialogues in 2009 addressing religious diversity in America.

The first dialogue, We the People: “What difference does difference make?” is scheduled for Sunday, February 15, from 3 to 5:30 pm at Trinity Commons (2230 Euclid Ave. with parking lot entrance on Prospect Ave.). Sudarshan Sathe of the Shiva Vishnu Temple will lead the dialogue as the primary presenter answering the dialogue’s main question, “What are the traditional teachings, and range of other beliefs, within your faith tradition concerning the proper relationship with those who differ in race or gender, in culture, politics or faith?” Panelists representing the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith traditions are the following respectively: Sensei Dean Williams from the Jijuyu-ji Zen Sangha of Cleveland, Dr. George Matejka of Ursuline College, Rabbi Alan Lettofsky of Beth Israel- The West Temple, and Sister Suna Aziz of the Islamic Center of Cleveland.

There will be two additional dialogues will be presented in the spring and summer this year:
April, 2009--We the People: “What is the meaning of life and progress?” with Sensei Dean Williams
Late June, 2009--We the People: “What is the place of religion in civil/civic arena/society?” with Dr. Ramez Islambouli

The series will include a presentation on a specific question posed by a member of one of the growing minority traditions in our community. Each presentation will be followed by a brief response from representatives of three or four other religious traditions, followed by small group discussions before returning to the larger audience for a question and answer session.

All dialogues are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For more information please contact InterAct Cleveland at (216) 241-0230 or Suggested donation $5.

InterReligious Partners in Action of Greater Cleveland (InterAct Cleveland) promotes mutual understanding and appreciation of diverse religious beliefs and practices, as well as discovery of the values and beliefs shared by many religious traditions. InterAct Cleveland members actively engage with one another to help shape positive responses to the challenges and opportunities facing Greater Cleveland, including religious diversity itself. InterAct Cleveland: Showing how the love, growing out of religious belief, can change the world.

Monthly Peace Meditation

This month’s Meditation for Peace will be: Tuesday, Feb. 17th, 7:00 pm
St. Paul's Community Church
4427 Franklin Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44113

Bring an up to 2-minute reading on spirituality and peace to share with the group after our period of meditation/silent prayer. Following will be news of an NSPA event dedicated to peace for Sunday, Mar. 22nd, 7:00 pm at First Unitarian Church on Shaker Blvd. Those who volunteered for the Homeless Stand Down are invited to share their experiences.

Past locations for this newly formed ongoing multi-denominational event:
Jan 20, Euclid Ave. Congregational Church, Cleveland;
Dec. 17, Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, Tremont;
November 18, Noble Road Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights;
October 15, St. Paul’s Community Church, Ohio City.

Sponsored by the Network of Spiritual Peace Activists
The event is free. For more information contact Sensei Dean Williams
Jijuyu-ji Zen Group of Cleveland (four four zero) 537-7104

Monday, January 12, 2009

Soto Zen Buddhism Meditation Cleveland OH

The Cleveland Zen Meditation Group with local priest Sensei Dean Williams meets on Thursdays at 7:00 pm at the Cleveland Buddhist Temple, located at the corner of E 214th Street and Euclid Avenue, Euclid OH. Free. For more information visit at the title link.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Free program for Veterans

This month's Imagination Arts program for veterans will be at the Recovery Resource Center at the VA Medical Center, Brecksville OH.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
1:00 to 2:30,
Building 5 Rm 23 B

Limited to 20 participants.
Call 440-526-3030
ext 6399 or ext 6760

Monthly Peace Meditation, Cleveland OH

The Network of Spiritual Peace Activists is again sponsoring an evening of meditation for peace in the Cleveland area.

This month the group will gather on
Tuesday, January 20th
at the Euclid Ave. Congregational Church at 7:00 pm.

This is a wonderful way to observe Inauguration Day. Everyone is welcome to join in for an hour or so of quiet contemplation and sharing of readings. The church is located at 9606 Euclid Ave on the Cleveland Clinic campus and has its own parking lot directly adjacent to the church. The meeting will be in the parlor.

Discussion on the current situation in the Middle East will follow the 30 minutes of meditation/silent prayer, as this is something that weighs heavily on our hearts. 

InterAct Cleveland is in the process of looking into what role it can play here locally in working with the various religious traditions to try as best it can to dampen hostilities that are being heightened by the violence taking place in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Sensei Dean Williams will report on projects being undertaken by InterAct and looks forward to hearing the perceptions and ideas of those in attendance.

You are invited to bring a short reading on spirituality and peace to share with the group. Information to share on social/political issues and events or currently pending legislation pertaining to peacefully existing in the world is also very welcome.

Past locations for this newly formed ongoing multi-denominational event: December 17, Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ. November 18, Noble Road Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights. October 15, St. Paul’s Community Church, Ohio City.

The event is free. For more information contact
Sensei Dean Williams, Jijuyu-ji Zen Group of Cleveland

This program is one of many sponsored through InterAct Cleveland. The Homeless Stand Down is in need of volunteers for the 2009 program. Read comments for more, or go to the links provided.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Free program for Veterans

This month's Imagination Arts program for veterans will be at the Recovery Resource Center at the VA Medical Center, Brecksville OH.

Tuesday, January 13, 1:00 to 2:30,
Building 5 Rm 23 B

Limited to 20 participants.
Call 440-526-3030
ext 6399 or ext 6760

Monday, January 05, 2009

Inner Peace Brings World Peace

It is hard to believe that more than a year has passed since I last posted. So much has happened! With peace in all our hearts, peace will grow and spread.

During the past year, some of the websites at the other end of the link list to the right have changed or disappeared. Let me know if you find one that needs to be deleted.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Shift

From the website for the movie, "The Shift".

A massive worldwide phenomenon is in progress, offering seeds of great hope for the future.

Millions of individuals, organizations and corporations around the world are waking up and embracing a new outlook with an emphasis on their responsibility to contribute positively to our collective future.

We are in the middle of the biggest social transformation in human history, The SHIFT.

At this critical point, it is imperative we make the masses aware of this global movement quickly. This evolutionary phenomenon is broader and deeper than the most visible SHIFT, the environmental movement. It involves our very understanding of who we are as human beings, and our responsibility to the world and to life itself.

THE SHIFT movie raises awareness to the story of our roles in an evolutionary shift in our collective consciousness.

As it chronicles the faces, the stories and leaders assisting in this social transformation, the film reveals its emergence & meaning.

Make a tax-deductible donation to help fund the completion of the film.

See a trailer for the movie at the title link and HERE.

Photo copyright 2007 Kristen S. Boyesen

Friday, July 06, 2007

Regina Brett

Two for two. Today's Plain Dealer has great columns today under the theme, "Do unto others ..."

Peace begins at home. Peace begins with our neighbors. Peace begins on the local basketball courts.

Read her article at the title link.

Connie Schultz

Peace comes in many forms, as today's column shows. As Schultz says, "Everybody has a name."

Read the article at the title link.

Poppy with Iris

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Turn American Industry Green

A long article in Today's Plain Dealer interviews Jerome Ringo about Apollo Alliance's goal to make the US energy independent in 10 years. The title link contains a summery.

The name "Apollo Alliance" stems from the Apollo Mission to put a man on the moon in 10 years. With that kind of dedication of purpose, the ten-year energy independence goal can be achieved.

Emerging Ferns

I took this photo on May 3 on a hike near Peninsula, OH.

Photo copyright 2007 Kristen S. Boyesen

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We need "Energy Policies" not "Energy Politics"

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Still Here

Thanks to all who have kept on visiting for the last month. Sorry there was nothing new for you to see or read. Starting a new business is more than a full-time job! I have piles of articles and loads of photos to share if I ever get several hours free to accomplish this task.

Meanwhile, remember ...

Inner Peace Brings World Peace

Peace in your heart spreads to those around you, even complete strangers.

I'll be back soon!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Flowers in the Snow

Photos copyright 2007 Kristen S. Boyesen

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Waiting ...

Photo copyright 2007 Kristen S. Boyesen

Public Utilities Commission, OH, takes positive step forward.

"Connecting home and business solar panels, wind generators and other alternative energy sources to utility distribution networks will soon be easier." Full article at title link.

Circle of Life

Photo copyright 2007 Kristen S. Boyesen

Loving Yourself

Connie Shultz has done it again. Her columns always tell us something important about the world. I just found the time to read yesterday's, and it fits perfectly with the post I submitted earlier.

See the article at the title link. What do you think?

I think it very refreshing to see people be real and honest about themselves.

Love Your Neighbor. We are all One.

Spring is a time of renewal, a time to let go of the old and begin the new.

A friend recently used the word heresy in a sentence, causing me to ponder the word. I have concluded that it is a word in direct opposition to the peaceful way of living suggested in the words, "Love your neighbor as yourself".

The word "heresy" is used by one religion to condemn the doctrine of a other religion.

"Love your neighbor" crosses religious boundaries.

"Love yourself" comes first. One who accepts and appreciates the talents they have while appreciating (not envying) the talents of others is "loving onesself".

It is time to let go of the learned beliefs that create hostility, fear, and condemnation.

Love yourself.
Love your neighbor.
Love the land that feeds us.
Love the water that is our lifeblood.
Love the earthly home of our current existence.

We are all One.

Photos copyright 2007 Kristen S. Boyesen

Monday, April 02, 2007

Solar, Wind Energy for Cleveland

"Cleveland is about to become the greenest major city in Ohio," said William Spratley, head of Green Energy Ohio. "

Full story at title link.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hiking Photos, Bedford Reservation Cleveland Metroparks

I tucked this hike in between two meetings on Thursday.

Photos copyright 2007 Kristen S. Boyesen

First of Many

I have taken loads of photos lately with thoughts of adding them here for all to enjoy, but have not had the time. Starting a new business is labor-intensive!

Here is my favorite of the new photos from my garden.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Beetle Bailey Wisdom

I found this recently. It is from Oct 6, 2006. Click to enlarge for reading.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Abusive Relationships

The Link above is for the main article. This guide was next to the article in today's Plain Dealer, but not included online. Please click to enlarge for reading.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

To the Garden!

I spent three hours in the front yard clearing away those few brown stalks I had left for the birds and for visual variety. I forgot I have a new camera and I could have taken a photo. It was not too exciting, though, so I will wait until the daffodils and hyacinths bloom for an outdoor photo. Meanwhile, I have two plants blooming indoors.


Gardening gives me much peace and contentment.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Balanced Living Magazine

No time to do much posting! I have totally filled my schedule. There is an event tomorrow morning I would like to attend, but enough is enough! The speaker is the editor of Balanced Living LLC, "Your Guide to Wholeness and Well Being." It is right up my alley, as they say, but I have to devote as much time as I have left to getting ready for Imagination Arts for Veterans which starts next week. Today I created a display for Charter One Bank in Bedford. Here is the poster I designed.

Well, I will try again later. I've tried 5 times and it won't upload.

But it did upload over at Art Experiences using Firefox. Click the link to see the poster!

I have never had trouble with Safari before. In fact it was faster than Firefox!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Making Choices. Progress. Earthquake!

I woke this morning with a frown on my face and surrounded by a feeling of oppression.

"Oops", I thought. "I do not want to go through the day with this attitude surrounding me."

And with that, I closed my eyes and reached my mind up beyond myself to the clear air and sunlight above as I took in a long and deep breath. The deep breath brought the clear air and sunlight of my imagination into myself, replacing the heaviness and gloom.

As I breathed out, some of the gloom returned, but I was not to be overtaken. Five or six more times I reached above myself to the clear air and sunlight above me, outside of me in my imagination, and breathed it in. Each time the gloom was weaker, and when it was gone I was ready to start the day with a fresh outlook and light spirit.

I created a poster for Imagination Arts for Veterans, and a brief press release to go with it, searched out email addresses to send the press release, and printed out hard copies to send to other print and broadcast media. I collected addresses for the mailed press releases, and headed off to teach the Draw and Paint class at Sylvia's with a 30-minute stop at Sirna's on Broadway for cheesy tortilla soup. They make the best homemade soups there: Fresh ingredients and not too salty.

There was a bit of excitement during art class. We had an earthquake! I have been through several while in NY and OH, but usually I miss them because they are pretty mild here. One I remember in Northern NY sounded (and felt) like a train passing by very close (but there was no train.) The sound even came from a distance, got louder, then faded, along with the shaking. This one today sounded more like a sonic boom, or perhaps someone dropping a rail car from a crane onto the ground. There was a loud sound and the house shook, but it was over in about two seconds.

All for now. Tomorrow I will be back at getting out the word for the veterans' program.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Veteran's Beat by Ron Seman, Record Publishing Co.

For those of you who are new to this blog, this is the first published article about my new Imagination Arts for Veterans program.

Click on Image to enlarge for reading.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"Venezula, Part II"

Ashley Cecil has posted another great essay and painting from her recent trip to Venezula.

It is Time for All of Us to "Attract Peace"

My most current writing has been posted at The Peace Tree.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Explore the secret to a better life

Sunday, March 04, 2007, Regina Brett, Plain Dealer Columnist.

"What if I saw the universe as friendly? I've been practicing that for two weeks. It's like seeing the world through new glasses.
Think fear, you attract anxiety. Think abundance, you attract wealth."
...complete Regina Brett column

One hundred quotes from the movie referenced in the column.

The Colors of Winter

Photo copyright 2007 Kristen S. Boyesen

A photo of the rocks along the banks of Big Creek, part of the system of Revervations of Cleveland Metroparks.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

We are consumers of our planet

Kevin O"Brien was at it again on Wednesday, denying that humans have anything to do with global warming. (He finally did admit that there is an increase in the heat.)

I sent off a letter to the Plain Dealer, and it was published in today's paper. The title link goes to an online version that mixes together my letter plus one by Randy Cunningham. (Corrected soon, I hope.) Our two letters are headlined: "Why deny the abusive way we're treating our planet?"

My letter, as it appears in today's paper:
I see there is no swaying Kevin O'Brien. He has his opinions that global warming is a scare scam, and nothing is about to change his mind.

I ask him, though, what about global abuse? Can he possibly say that humans are not abusing the planet with their use-it-up philosophy? How did the word "consumer" ever get to be said with pride, meaning a person with rights to products and services?

I agree that a person who purchases things has rights, but using "consumer" instead of "customer" as a descriptive term gives credence to the notion that it is OK to use things up without a care for how they will be replaced.

A house is "consumed" by fire, and is but dust.

Our planet is being "consumed" by humans. If global warming is the wake-up call to create awareness that our actions have consequences, then the more press the better.
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