I’m looking for places in the Milwaukee area where people can gather together for important conversations over a light meal/beverage. Top preference goes to locally owned/operated businesses. I currently facilitate an expanding group of Servant-Leaders and I’m growing a group by and for persons with disabilities engaging in community and economic life.
The ideal location would include:
- A reasonably priced menu that lends itself to consumption while engaged in conversation
- A space where a group of 10-15 could converse without disrupting/disruption by others
- Access to both parking and public transportation
- Is accessible to persons with disabilities
I’m not making money by convening these groups so I have no money for room rentals. The goal is to find a location where people can support the business with their purchases and want to return with others.
If you have been to such a place please let me know.
I just completed two weeks of what I had set aside as vacation time for myself. It wasn’t actually vacation but it was a good opportunity to regroup and see how I spend my time when I’m doing the things I really want to do.
I hadn’t planned the time in advance, that seemed like it would be counter productive but I did make a list of the things I find bubbling up to the top of my consciousness on a regular basis. I used these as a guide for the past two weeks. The result? I found I did far mor productive, “I really want this complete and off my list.” things than I had expected. This is not to say I didn’t spend time on my hammock but I applied the same criteria to down time as I did to productive time: if I was motivated to focus my attention on an activity, I did, if not, not.
The final result of this time to regroup is I probably got done as much in the past two weeks as I do in any given two week period. The difference is I found I was more relaxed, more focused, more aware of my own feelings, and happier than in the average two week period.
The challenge will be to understand how to carry this experience forward into the next 50 weeks.
As I was meditating this morning I found myself attracted to the song of our local cardinal. What I realized is it was actually two cardinals singing in harmony.
With the warmth of summer, we keep the windows open enough to feel the fresh air and the sounds of the season. We have a cardinal that starts singing each morning at about 4:30 AM. It has become my informal alarm clock this summer.
The cardinal also acts as a reminder for me as to why I meditate. My goal is to be more present to where I am and who I am in the world. With this goal in mind I have gotten in the habit of opening the windows in our living room before I start my meditation session.
I frequently hear the cardinal’s song as I meditate. When I don’t hear the cardinal singing it is often because I have drifted off into the world of “monkey mind” where random thoughts bounce around in my head. . What I have discovered when I am present and my mind is quiet is that there are a number of cardinals in our neighborhood. I have simply made an assumption that once I hear the clear sound of the closest cardinal within earshot I don’t really need to listen much farther.
I can’t help but wonder how often I fail to hear the sound of the cardinal behind the cardinal or the quiet voice behind the loud voices closest to my ear.
I had a chance to visit with a lovely 92 year old woman named Francis yesterday afternoon as a part of my wife’s visit with an old friend. Francis is the mother-in-law of my wife’s friend and had come along on the trip. Until last year, Francis had been living in New York state . She’s now living with her son and daughter-in-law in Arkansas.
It was great to learn of Francis’s life and family. Her life has taken many twists and turns and has been shaped by such diverse forces as the great depression of the 1930’s, World War II, and the women’s movement. One of the things that impressed me about Francis is how sharp and attentive she is. My expectations of a 92 year old are of diminished senses and slow responses. This was not the case with Francis.
When I asked Francis about what she is doing with herself to stay busy in her new home she mentioned her memory is not as good as it used to be and that she really hasn’t gotten into too many activities. I let the remark pass without too much thought. The comment came back to me later as Francis periodically repeated herself and its meaning was clarified later in the visit when Francis pointed out how beautiful New York is in the fall in response to her daughter-in-law’s suggestion we come to visit them in Arkansas.
As I reflected on my time with Francis I tried to put her memory loss in context. Francis is very likely on a path of increased memory loss and her memory may likely fail her completely before she dies. At this point however Francis is a wealth of wisdom and experience from a life well lived. The millions of Francis’s in the world still have much to share, and we have much to learn, about relationships, hard work, dealing with change, and all sorts of things I don’t even have the experience to think of. It was an honor to be with Francis and it would be a great loss if the wisdom she has accumulated in her ten decades of life were overlooked because her short-term memory is not what it once was.