Jan Ogren, MFT


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June 21, 2020    Please Join Me in the Beautiful Dark of Love

All my life I have been deeply saddened by the continual racism I see in our country. I’m a writer so I look to words for understanding. I see embedded in our language a basic racism. We talk about blackmail as bad but white lies are OK. The examples are endless. And spiritually you’re supposed to go to the light and avoid the darkness.

As a person of light skin, I imagine what it would be like to frequently hear people say, “I just went through a really light time in my life and it was terrible. I’m glad to get away from the light. That whiteness was truly ugly and disturbing.”

I believe that there is a pervasive “spiritual racism” occurring in this country, deeply embedded in our spiritual communities.

Equating light with spirituality doesn’t even make sense. When I get ready to meditate, I don’t go around turning up all the lights or sit under a spotlight. I turn down the lights, close my eyes and enter a blessed darkness where I can feel a connection with all Oneness. I feel more inspired and peaceful staring up at the black night sky than staring at the white sun.

I believe It is time to “blackwash” our language and avoid the terrible lightness of prejudice. Let’s talk about encouraging love and connection and avoiding disconnection and chaos. I find it a good spiritual practice to be aware of my words and try to avoid the white/good, black/bad bias. As a white person it also helps me stay aware of racism and white privilege as I listen to my language and other people’s use of words.

I wish I had a magic wand to change the entire world but I can change my words and so I invite you to join me in embracing the beautiful dark of love.

March 24, 2020   A State of Common Sense  (about Health) 


This is in response to the current world situation concerning the virus Covid-19.

  May it bring you peace and new perspectives during this challenging time of transformation.

(there are links below for more support – including a poem “from” Covid-19)

I’d like to frame this time as a State of Common Sense rather than a state of emergency. Viewing it as an emergency pulls us into the reactive part of our brain called the ‘lizard brain’. That’s the part of us that goes into survival mode and responds with panic, aggression and competition. It’s a reactive, non-thinking part that shows up when people frantically go to stores to get toilet paper and grab enough for a year so that other people don’t have any. Going into a high anxiety state decreases the immune system and can lead us to make choices that don’t help us or our community.
Calling this a State of Common Sense moves us into our creative cerebral cortex where cooperation and connection are dominant. Viewing ourselves in a State of Common Sense encourages us to slow down, increase our awareness and make conscious, healthy choices.

Personally, I feel this country (USA) has not used a lot of common sense when it comes to health. Productivity and consumerism have often been valued more than physical and mental wellbeing. We now have an opportunity to reverse this system. But it’s obviously coming at a cost to those who are ill and can be very stressful to those financially suffering in this time of change.
Two years ago during flu season, I wish we had been in a State of Common Sense concerning health. People came to work sick at the senior living complex where my father lived, and he almost died from that flu. Unfortunately, I’ve often heard people brag about continuing to work while they are ill as though it were a badge of honor rather than something that’s harmful to themselves and dangerous to others.
Being sick in this culture can often be accompanied by self-criticism and denial rather than compassion and nurturing. We need to increase societal support in general and specifically within businesses to encourage people to stay home when they are ill. It is common sense to wash hands, pay attention to your health and stay home when sick.

Now in this State of Common Sense we are encouraged to calmly ask ourselves – What increases my immune system and my health? Some ideas are: deep breathing, exercise, meditation, being in nature. Giving yourself a big hug – go ahead and wrap your arms around your body and love yourself. I feel healthier when I laugh, smile, and think of five things I’m grateful for. Remember others, connect safely with friends and family, reach out and do something nice for somebody.

An easy way I’ve found to support others is through donation. For all the events that have been canceled, I am donating my tickets back to support the performers and the venue. For a conference that was canceled, I’m still paying the retreat center for the room and meals I would have used had I been able to attend it. This also includes any services from people like haircuts, bodywork, and housecleaning. It’s an easy to be generous because I already either spent the money or I was planning to spend the money. I’m still able to work, for which I’m very grateful, and it’s a way for me to help those who aren’t able to work. I haven’t figured out how to support the restaurants I love but I’m thinking of just sending a check to one of them, or buying gift certificates. (I don’t care for takeout and the packaging waste it creates).

This new State of Common Sense around health is positively affecting the environment. I volunteer with the Institute of Noetic Sciences http://www.noetic.org
 that has been working on creating a shift in global consciousness for almost fifty years. They believe the only way to deal with climate change, and other problems is by changing the way humans think. We need a shift in consciousness. But sometimes that has felt almost impossible, especially politically. But now the whole world is focused on health and starting to make the changes that we’ve needed to make in order to address climate change. While I have deep compassion for everyone who is affected by this transformation, it is also very hopeful. I suggest looking at pictures of China with improved air quality and Venice with cleaner waters. It shows people that if we change our behavior and our priorities, we can make the choices to truly address climate issues.

I suggest we all do things for our health and to support others. This is a link to some ideas https://qz.com/1818622/how-to-practice-self-care-during-coronavirus/

This is an amazing poem “from” Covid-19 that was written by Kristin Flyntz


Thanks for allowing me to share these thoughts.
I’m very pleased to see how many people are outside walking in this beautiful area because keeping social distance doesn’t mean isolating inside. Being in nature is healthy.

It certainly fits with my 100-year-old father's philosophy of life to be positive, work to build a better world and exercise. And here’s a link to a video to hear him talk about being 100 and happy.  (It's at the bottom of the page below a video of his reading from the book in his honor Choose Live.) 


One of the ways I’m trying to be supportive is by sending emails. I am also finally getting a blog site and even doing a Facebook page to help people connect. You can let me know if you’d like to be included in my blog and also if you’re familiar with Facebook (which I’m actually not) you could try joining my group by going to Jan Ogren: Laughing with Spirits.
https://www.facebook.com/Jan-Ogren-Laughing-with-Spirits-100406098246977/  And I’ll try posting more there and on my website.

The good news is we are re-arranging our society around health. The bad news is we’ve been so out of balance with health that it is taking a lot of re-organization and it comes at a cost. Let’s support each other and put our health, our community’s health and our world’s health in a continual State of Common Sense.


Jan Ogren, MFT

Other resources:

Watch Dolphins returning to Venice


News about the decrease in pollution in China.


Meditations with Deepak Chopra


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