Sunday, June 7, 2009

Object of Beauty Meditation

From The Council Suit
The Object of Beauty technique is an ancient and classic meditation, universally beloved and practiced through the ages by mystics from all traditions. The Object of Beauty is a simple and powerful meditation, particularly useful in times of social and personal unrest. You will find that regular practice of this meditation will become a kind of retreat from tension. Over time, you will draw ever greater equanimity, serenity, and a deepening of compassion for yourself and your world. Download the audio files for this meditation by clicking on the link below. May you find great joy in practicing this wonderful technique. Namaste!

Object of Beauty Meditation Audio Files

Monday, February 9, 2009

Services of Designs for Peace

The purpose of this blog is to share what I have learned about cultivating a Life of Santosha or Contentment in an Age of Discontent. As I enter the third trimester of life, I am committed to living harmoniously. To practice Contentment means that, moment by moment, I re-commit to...
  • observing and accepting what life brings, no matter what;
  • remembering my commitment to practice Contentment;
  • meditating and discerning the wise action and then responding at the right time and place with wisdom and lovingkindness.

Here are some practical ways that I can help you to cultivate Contentment in your daily life.

Meditation Classes (available for groups or one-to-one)
  • How to establish a daily meditation practice
  • How to develop the Witness practice
  • How to increase peace of mind through The Object of Beauty Meditation
  • How to cultivate Santosha or Contentment
  • How to develop an intimate relationship with the Divine
  • How to create a meditative lifestyle

SoulCollage® Circles To Mark Rites of Passage

If you are looking for a different, meaningful and joyful way to celebrate life's turning points, invite your loved ones to make SoulCollage® cards together. I can help you design a memorable event for...

  • Birthday parties
  • Wedding showers
  • House Warmings
  • Baby showers
  • Anniversaries
  • Retirement
  • End of life passages, celebrating the life of a departed loved one.

Spiritual Partnership Circles
  • If you want more intimate communication with your closest family and friends, I can teach you a structure that enhances intimacy and some effective communication techniques to deepen your understanding, compassion and respect for one another.
  • I can also teach you a respectful way to discuss difficult or controversial issues.

Supporting you to shift your thinking and create easy to use systems to help you
  • Manage time, space and projects
  • Organize rooms, closets, files, drawers, etc.
  • Create a beautiful and peaceful environment

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Practicing the State of Being called Witness

What advice would I give to others who are practicing SoulCollage? I would encourage you to explore the State of Being called Witness. (Though I did not know its name at the time, the second SoulCollage card I made was the Witness.) The disciplined spiritual practice of Witness has made all the difference in my life and creative journey. Activating the Witness has provided the objectivity and insight required for wisdom to flourish. It has liberated me from a soul-killing dependence upon others for answers or approval.

As Witness, I can regard my creation/situation without the previously overwhelming interference of the Neters of Critic, Judge, and my conflicted Virgonian mind. Standing firm in the neutral place of Witness has allowed genuine healing and integrating of body, mind and spirit. Because Witness reveals my own truth, I can speak from it. Witness has illuminated the profound truth that I am the greatest authority in my own life about my own life!

In our SoulCollage® Circles, we do our best to practice Witness. This means that, as women together, we live from a different, sometimes uncomfortable, social norm. We agree to not comment on each other’s cards. Each woman agrees to trust her own intuitive wisdom about the message and meaning of her cards. Instead of commenting, we witness the mystery of our creations. In reverent silence, we give each other the rare, empowering gift of our rapt, wordless attention. I think the Witness practice is a major factor in the longevity
of the circle.

My primary teachers about Witness have been
  • Pat Allen, author of Art is a Way of Knowing and Art is a Spiritual Path, first introduced me to the practice of Witness when I attended her Open Studio Project classes in the late 1990’s.
  • Sue Monk Kidd had a major impact on deepening my practice of Witness as I devoured her spiritual memoir The Dance of the Dissident Daughter.
  • Swami Jyothi Pranananda, my beloved Kriya Yoga meditation teacher, teaches practical techniques for activating the Witness. Because of her example and my own practice of Witness, over time my life is unfolding in ever greater contentment, joy and wisdom, regardless of external circumstances.

Monday, February 2, 2009

More About SoulCollage®

Created by Seena B. Frost in the late 1980’s, SoulCollage® is an intuitive art-making process usually done on mat board, 5 inches by 8 inches in size. As Seena says in her book SoulCollage®,“The SoulCollage® process is a way to tend soul and explore psyche at the same time.”

The artist creates a collage of images that symbolize the Neters or the many allies, guides and challengers of his/her Self and Soul. Since each SoulCollage card has a message for the artist, they can be utilized to help the artist answer pressing life questions by tapping into inner wisdom.

Absolutely no artistic ability is necessary to create a SoulCollage card, only a willingness to trust the SoulCollage® process and one’s own intuition.

Ultimately, the artist will compile a deck of SoulCollage® cards, typically consisting of three Transpersonal Cards, Source, Witness and Soul Essence, plus four Suits--the Committee, Community, Companion, and Council. The artist can do readings with the deck of SoulCollage cards, asking a question, drawing cards at random, and then allowing each card to offer its guidance in response to the artist's question.

There are only three Transpersonal Cards. Though Source is formless and imageless, the Source card is an attempt to symbolize the artist’s images of Spirit, Ground of Being or the “Oneness of all that is.” The Witness card represents the part of every person’s soul that has the capacity to ascend to a higher state of awareness and see through the lens of Source, observing all of life without judging. The SoulEssence card depicts the “unique spark of Source that is present in every created form; a spark of divinity within each of us that is our particular essence.”

The Committee Suit consists of cards that represent the psychological dimension or the inner parts of the artist’s personality. Making Committee cards has allowed me to celebrate, name, claim, and integrate many parts of my personality. Seena says that everyone should have a Happy Inner Child card as a reminder of that delightful aspect of human personality.

Some parts of the personality become hidden in the shadows, away from conscious awareness. Often, these shadowed parts are exaggerations of some positive aspect of soul. I have found that claiming all the parts of the personality can lead to a feeling of integrity, of health and wholeness. For example, the part of my personality that pays attention to details and strives for perfection can often manifest in the Critic (of Self) and the Judge (of Others). By making cards for the Critic and Judge, I have been able to reflect on these destructive aspects of my inner life and to make new choices about how I think, speak and act. Slowly, the Critic is transmuting into a kind of Objective and Fair Witness.

The Community Suit honors real people in the artist’s life, family and friends, ancestors and mentors, teachers and heroes, public figures and fictional characters as well as pets. It is a great joy to present my Beloveds with a Community card that honors their unique place in my heart.

The Companion Suit taps into the invisible energetic dimension. Many indigenous people have recognized this energy. Often during special ceremonies such as vision quests, a particular animal appears to the quester with a special message. That animal then becomes a lifelong, sacred and powerful totem. In the SoulCollage® process, a guided visualization helps the artist find images from the natural world to symbolize the artist’s seven chakras or major energy centers in the body.

The Council Suit depicts the powerful archetypes that influence the artist’s life. Archetypes are universal themes and qualities that dwell in the invisible realm of the spiritual dimension or what Carl Jung called our collective unconscious. Certain Committee cards show how the archetype is manifesting in the particular psyche. For example, my Council card archetype of Great Mother has its corresponding Committee card of Journey of Motherhood.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Acknowledging My Teachers

In modern Japanese, “okagesamade” means “thanks to you.” In the ancient Japanese mystical tradition, okagesamade means thank you, because of you this moment exists."

Who made it possible for you to experience this specific moment? Take a minute and observe your surroundings. Consider all the known and anonymous people...
  • Who built the structures around you
  • Who designed, built, and delivered the furniture you sit upon
  • Who gathered and delivered the materials for the building and furniture
  • Who built the roads you traveled on to be where you are, and before that, who pioneered and cleared the land around you
  • Who grew, delivered, cooked and served your last meal
  • Who invented, built, and delivered the technology you are using in this moment
  • Who cleaned and beautified your environment
  • Who designed, made, and sold your clothing
  • Who nurtured and educated your body, mind and soul
  • Who gave you life, starting with your parents and including the thousands of love stories before your parents
It is an enriching spiritual practice to contemplate who made it possible to experience this moment. Regardless of current challenges, it soon becomes apparent how incredibly blessed each of us has been, and is, in our lives.

My life has been blessed by a multitude of teachers who have enriched my life beyond measure. Because of them, this moment of connection with you, dear reader, is possible.

My greatest teachers have been my three sons and two daughters, their partners, and my seven precious grandchildren. In the course of daily life, they have mirrored to me how to walk my talk in concrete, mundane ways. Among many things, they have taught me about the power of forgiveness, the need for humor, the value of positive thinking, the wisdom of keeping my mouth firmly shut, and the utter joy of the present moment.

(In this picture, you see my husband Harry Hitzeman and me; Thomas and Connie Lord with Malcolm and Madeline; Matthew and Denise Lord with William, Andrew, Callie and Owen; Harry Hitzeman III and Evan; Helena Hitzeman and Ron Micheletto; Lauren Hitzeman; and my special sister in spirit Cha Moon.)

I am deeply grateful for my primary teacher, my beloved soul mate and husband Harry Hitzeman, who shows me his love and care in practical and romantic ways. He encouraged me to make this blog and has helped me learn more about technology. Harry embodies patience, forgiveness, self-discipline, problem-solving, lovingkindness, joy and beauty. Because of Harry, I am a better person.

The following incomplete list of my life teachers is a start in practicing “Okagesamade”. Though I have grouped them, many of my teachers have taught me in each category listed. If you are curious about certain teachers, please contact me. I will be very happy to tell you more.

The Spiritual Practice of Kriya Yoga

Goswami Kriyananda
Swami Jyothi Pranananda

Some Other Teachers in Walking the Spiritual Path

Dalai Lama
Thich Nhat Hanh
Pema Chodron
Angeles Arrien


June Purcell Beddoe
Hal Beddoe, M.D.
Geoffrey Beddoe
Corean Shoffner Beddoe
Bae Emilson
Robert Fritz
Elizabeth Caperton
Ira Progoff
Sr. Brigid Molloy
Kelly Williams
Jenna Eisenberg
Julia Cameron
Marjorie Johnson
Oleh Sydor
Betty Edwards
Millie MacKinnon
DeAnn Trucano
Judy Cowley
Judie Welch
Pat Allen
Dayna Block
Jacqueline Huxel

PeerSpirit Circling

Christina Baldwin
Ann Linnea


Seena Frost
Kylea Taylor
Anne Marie Bennett
Alia Moore
Noelle Remington
Sue Gelber
Suzie Wolfer
Renee Robbins
Marie Drennan
Leslie Sann
Vivian Londos
Marianne Cirone


Annette Spiezio
Don Riso
Jerry Wagner
Sondra Maitri
Helen Palmer

Feminine Spirituality

Marie McFadden Purcell
Curt Hyman
Patricia Beddoe Bernardello
Judy Beddoe Crocker
Suzie Beddoe Robinson
Mary Calenda
Louise Guenther Webber
Bridget Morgan
Alfrieda Wilkins
Sonja Johnson
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Marilyn French
Betty Friedan
Gloria Steinem
Marian Woodman
Jean Shinoda Bolen
Grace Paley
Carol Lee Flinders
Beverly Hightower
Jean Houston
Edna Groves
Brenda Kien
Sue Monk Kidd
Joanne Reichlin
Sr. Virginia Mary Barta
Shirley Tassencourt
Allegra Ahlquist
Robbie Lapp
Nancy Masland
Judy O'Leary
Cha Moon
Helen van Dongen

Conscious Aging

The Heartland Council of Grandmothers
The Arizona Council of Grandmothers
The Gulf Coast Council of Grandmothers
The Texas/Oklahoma Council of Grandmothers

Nonviolent Communication

Marshall Rosenberg
Myra Walden

Career/Life Counseling & Coaching

Jon Hansen

Virginia Satir
Marsha Sinetar
Richard Bolles
Robin Sheerer
Jack Chapman

Tom Camden
Judy Lansky
Randy Bennett
Peter LeBrun

Community Building/Intellectual Methods

Joseph and Lyn Mathews
Joe and Carol Pierce
Gene and Ruth Marshall
Dennis Lord
Institute of Cultural Affairs

Mary Ellen Durbin
The People's Resource Center

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Marti Beddoe

Naperville, Illinois


Discovering and expressing life’s beauty, meaning, and purpose have been the consistent threads of Marti Beddoe’s journey since her Libran birth in 1948. Marti has creatively woven those threads into her life and work...
  • as a community organizer;
  • as an imaginal educator, teaching topics ranging from the ABC's to theology and spirituality, to people from diverse backgrounds and all age groups from womb to tomb;
  • as a single working mother and full-time student;
  • as a career/life coach and founder of Right Livelyhoods and Designs for Peace;
  • as an artist;
  • as a friend and mentor;
  • as a spiritual partner and wife; as a mother and step-mother of five; as a grandmother of 7;
  • as a caller and facilitator of PeerSpirit women’s spirituality circles;
  • as a student of the Enneagram, psychology, astrology and mysticism;
  • as a meditator and meditation teacher;
  • and now, as a facilitator of the SoulCollage® process.

SoulCollage® Circles

With respect and gratitude, I acknowledge my teachers Jean Houston, Seena B. Frost, Kylea Taylor, and Anne Marie Bennett, the Giants upon whose shoulders I stand. In October 2007, I had the pleasure of participating in the first East Coast Facilitators Training in Baltimore, MD led by Seena and her colleagues. It is an honor and a delight to share the SoulCollage® process with anyone looking for “a way to dive deeper into an awareness of their many-faceted Self/Soul parts”, especially their own Inner Healer and Wise One.

In September 2005, after learning the SoulCollage® basics from my friend Jon Hansen, I called a circle of friends interested in exploring the lush intersection between creativity and spirituality. We have met the first Saturday of each month since then. At the center of our SoulCollage® circle is a sacred space of silence, a bottomless well where we can pause to drink deeply the nectar of authenticity, creativity, encouragement, integrity and wisdom before returning to our daily lives.

I am especially interested in fostering similar kinds of communities of SoulCollagers where members learn the powerful practice and utter privilege of being Witness to the mysterious unfolding of personal and collective beauty, meaning, and purpose. Currently, I facilitate a monthly SoulCollage® circle at a cancer resource center where members can find respite from their daily health challenges and dive into a dialogue with their Souls.

If you would like to celebrate a special Life Passage, I can help you design an event that would incorporate SoulCollage card making, resulting in a memorable and meaningful experience for you and your loved ones.

About My SoulCollage® Cards

In April of 2005, I saw Jon Hansen’s breathtaking SoulCollage® cards and I was hooked! Though I had made and had taught my clients how to make collages of Treasure Maps/Vision boards for decades, Jon’s cards were like no collage I had ever seen! Their other-worldly quality more closely resembled images on a 16 square quilt I made in 1997, an attempt to create a non-verbal autobiography of my life’s most significant events. The quilt’s images were based on symbols mined from my dreams. SoulCollage® feels like a natural continuation of my quilt.

Despite my love of language, sometimes in life, there are experiences that are simply beyond words. That is what I love about SoulCollage®! From the cards’ images, a flow of soulful poetry is summoned and expressed as the "I Am the One Who..." statements.

I have especially enjoyed delighting my loved ones with the gift of a Community card depicting their essential nature. During a course of work with Internal Family Systems, making many Committee and Council SoulCollage® cards enhanced and accelerated great personal insight, healing and integration. Notably, I was able to confront and heal the ferocious "Inner Critic" part, which then allowed me to take a profoundly transforming journey from "Bad Mother" to "Whole and Nurturing Mother".

When I am with close friends, I share my newest cards as a way to express what is currently most alive in me. Along with my daily meditation practice, SoulCollage® has become a rich spiritual practice. Since emergency heart surgery in December 2007, my SoulCollage® practice has helped me begin to map and explore a new and more expansive territory of consciousness emerging within.

By February 2009, my deck has grown to 97 cards: 7 Companion cards; 22 Community cards; 37 Committee cards; and 31 Council cards. My beloved husband Harry Hitzeman has offered me great encouragement and honored the SoulCollage® process by building special shelves to display some of my cards in our home.

As I enter the third trimester of my life, I am very grateful to Seena and Source for the ever-deepening Well of Joy and Wisdom made available to my psyche, soul and spirit through the practice of SoulCollage®. I invite you to explore your own Well and discover what beauty, meaning and purpose it holds!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Return to a New Normal

When the soul wishes to experience something, she throws an image of the experience before her and enters into her own image.
-- Meister Eckhart
This is the story of one soul’s journey. It is a story best told through images and with few words. This story illustrates the power of the SoulCollage® process to hold the center as Witness while a soul undergoes a profound transition. It is a story that is particularly personal and utterly universal. It is a story of the One and the Many...

Thanksgiving 2007

With gratitude and pleasure, I heed Seena’s advice and create the Fool, Death and Lightbearer cards. I share my Death card with Harry, my soul mate and husband. Our dialogue takes us to a deeper, more respectful understanding of our differing views of death. Harry admits he has never considered the possibility that death could hold any beauty. Four days later, Harry’s oldest brother makes his transition unexpectedly. Our reflection on the Death card Neter serves to strengthen and comfort us. In the midst of our grief, we are able to stand in a solid place, consoling Jim’s distraught family more effectively. Then, 13 days later, another surprise...

December 11, 2007

I have a sudden heart attack and emergency open heart surgery. During this event, my soul enters into an experience where Death midwifes her into her next existence, a place of unparalleled beauty and serenity. After an eternity, Sophia the Lightbearer guides her back into this life with her beloved mate. Since words fail, I will let the Return card tell the rest of the story. (The people on the card are Harry and my late parents with my precious dog Jess.) Thirty six hours later, I regain consciousness. There on my bedside table, sits the Lightbearer card! Some time passes before I begin to comprehend the enormity of my soul’s journey and its Return to a New Normal.

Winter and Spring 2008

As the body heals and the mind and personality struggle to accept the New Normal, I am steadfast in my SoulCollage and daily meditation practices. Sophia shines her bright light as I explore this new territory, seeking to grow in wisdom. Deliberately the newborn soul in me retreats from her old life into a hermetic existence. Patiently, she waits in a safe, vast, and silent cocoon of Darkness, allowing the eternal flame to burn off all that is unnecessary for the next stage of the journey. My soul completely surrenders to the Great Mystery, trusting that the Darkness, like the Light, will bring healing and wholeness. I am willing to become New, once again.

Summer 2008

My soul emerges from her safe cocoon, draws back the curtains, opens the window and welcomes the refreshing breeze of illumination that brings new thoughts, new possibilities and new life. I am awake and aware, receptive to whatever will be. I am deeply grateful for the transforming journey, for its gifts of profound peace, beauty, meaning and purpose, and for its many mysteries. I offer my re-newed heart and soul in service to all of life, as I await Sophia’s guidance.