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