Hold It All

Month: December, 2015

Share the Wealth with Matthew Hyde and Tina Villalobos: Acknowledging the Human

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ”
― Pema Chödrön

It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to acknowledge the humanity in others if we do not acknowledge it in ourselves. This Sunday, Matthew Hyde and Tina Modde Villalobos will share about their experiences of how, in their own professional and educational paths, they both lost sight of, and then later re-embraced, their humanity. Their stories are ones in which it becomes evident that to acknowledge the pain and hurt in someone else is to simultaneously acknowledge it in ourselves. They are also about getting lost, and then finding one’s way back home. While their stories are unique, they will both be discussing how they clumsily but also courageously committed to living a life that felt congruent with their belief in the human.

Matthew is a graduate nursing student at SLU, former medical device engineer with bioMérieux. He has a Bachelor degree in Biomedical Engineering from SLU, Master degree in Engineering Management from WashU, and is a licensed professional massage therapist trained at the Healing Arts Center. Matthew will be sharing about his journey through jobs and experiences to find passion and meaning, while navigating through distraction, disconnection and dehumanization both inside and outside.

Tina is a clinical therapist at McCallum Place for Eating Disorders who also has a small private practice. She received a Master’s in Social Work from Washington University and her Bachelor’s in Theology from SLU. She will be sharing about how her own self-image as well as the career goals she held for herself became thwarted when she began to recognize troubling signs of fatigue, resentment, and disconnection, and how after many months of wandering through these unsettling feelings, she opted to reform her inner attitudes as well as change her professional path.

Join us Sunday 20 December for a potluck (starting at 6 p.m.) and Matthew and Tina’s sharing (commencing at 6:45). We gather at the home of Fatima Rhodes, 4406 A Laclede, Central West End, 63108.

Matthew and Tina

Gratitude for Imman and Sharifa

A wonderful and illuminating sharing last evening by Sharifa Barakat and Imman Musa before a packed house at Marty and Jerry’s. Thanks to the many students from Maryville and SLU who came as well as new and old friends.

Sharifa and Imman

Share the Wealth with Lindsay Sihilling: What I Do is Live, How I Pray is Breathe: Leaning into Mysticism and the Inner Voice

This coming Sunday Lindsay Sihilling will offer a few stories and experiences flowing out of her pursuit of authentic spirituality. She’ll talk about how one night of babysitting for a Greek Orthodox family, a deep love for mountains and state parks, and years of debilitating illness opened her life to what some call mysticism, or, as Richard Rohr puts it, the move “from mere belief systems or belonging systems to actual inner experience.”

She’s found that greatest spiritual treasures are often found beyond any buildings or institutions, but in daily practices as ordinary as washing the dishes, laughing with a friend, or a trip to the farmer’s market.

Through stories, discussion and a guided exercise, Lindsay will share about how she embraces her Christian identity as a student of yoga, Buddhism, Native American spirituality, and her own body and breath.

Lindsay is a freelance writer and health coach. She lives in Tower Grove South.

Join us on Sunday 13 December for a potluck beginning at 6:00 p.m.  Lindsay begins sharing at 6:45. We gather at the home of Matthew and Patrick, 4537 Tower Grove Place, Saint Louis 63110.


Lindsay Photo

Calming the Breath by Ko Un

Poised like an aging bear
climbing a tree, hanging on tightly,
I collect my breath.

Poised like a bird
stretching its neck out and pecking at food
I collect my breath.

Heaven and earth are full of breath.
When a dragon chants, a cloud rises.
When a tiger whistles in reply,
it becomes the wind.

While breath moves in and out this way,
the breath grows calm
the breath grows calm.

From the foot of Mount Lunlun onward
I grew miserable with breathing.
Exhale, inhale,
calming the breath.

–Ko Un, Himalaya Poems, translated by Brother Antony and Lee Sang-Wha


After Reading Justin Kaplan’s Walt Whitman: A Life

July 2005

It was one month ago that I began to read Whitman in earnest, and, while I still have far to go in prose and poetry,  an impression has been made, a fire has been lit, a joy has been savored. Driving with Joanie up from Corpus Christi to Dallas, and then on the Amtrak train back to St.  Louis, hour after hour, I read Whitman.

I read Whitman to lessen the grounds for Simone’s scowling about my alienation from nature.

I read Whitman to rejuvenate a vision of what is possible for These States.

I recommend Whitman to friends as as a kindred spirit.

I read Whitman to learn the scourge of war.

I read Whitman to celebrate comrades like Andrew Wimmer and Jean Abbott. Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Imman Musa and Sharifa Barakat: Growing up Palestinian American

We would like to talk to you about our Palestinian heritage and some of the unique experiences we have had as Muslim Palestinian-American women living in the Midwest.

Sharifa is a product specialist at Elsevier, a medical publishing company, in St. Louis. She graduated from Saint Louis University with a degree in English and minors in education, communication, and information technology management.

Imman is a graduate student at Saint Louis University pursuing her degree in Clinical Psychology. Her research focus is Muslim mental health. She currently works as a mental health counselor at Employment Connection and as a behavioral health consultant at Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Centers.

Sharifa and Imman were both active in the Muslim Student Association and SLU Solidarity with Palestine during their time at Saint Louis University.

Join us Sunday 6 December: Potluck begins at 6:00 p.m., and Imman and Sharifa begin sharing at 6:45. We gather at the home of  Marty and Jerry King, 830 DeMun Avenue in Clayton (63105), third floor. Text me if you need anything–314-807-8769.

Sharifa and Imman