This YouTube video came at just the right moment, early in the new year with all its competing calls for our attention and action. With simplicity, gentleness and passion for what we do, it brought me home to my own heart space. Please write your thoughts in the comments below, I am interested in your experience of the video and of writing today.
All the best,

( We do not own this video and claim no rights to it. If you like this video please follow this link to Lauren Hales’ Youtube Channel and let her know.)

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Can you use a little inspiration today?

For Presence

by John O’Donohue

Awaken to the mystery of being here
 and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

From: To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue

/ Photo by AlicePopkorn /

A blessing poem for us today in ways to be present. One way to understand a blessing is that it is just that: opening a pathway to be present. The idea behind a blessing is that it helps us, in some way, to receive more fully the best possibilities of the moment, the fulness of life, the goodness ready for us, and the bliss hidden in the heart. These are all different ways of saying that a blessing somehow ushers us into the magic and wonder inherent in our own full presence within the present moment.

A blessing doesn’t need to be “religious.” It doesn’t even need to have words. What it needs is your presence. And your goodwill. And then a gentle call to the presence of another. A blessing is presence + presence + All That Is…

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.


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One Lucky Kid

One Lucky Kid

By Donald L. Hindal

–As told to Joanne Klassen

 I can still close my eyes and taste the smooth, cold chocolate milk as if I’d just taken a hearty swig. I’m 81 today, but I was barely a teenager when that icy cold treat made me feel like one lucky kid.

After we finished our west side milk route, my buddy Emory Campbell and I would each reach behind us on Mr. Fisher’s big old International Harvester truck and help ourselves to our first reward: our own quart bottles of chocolate milk.

Freezing in the winter, singing in the spring, sweltering in the summer and whistling in the fall–for two years, starting when we were thirteen. Mr. Fisher would pull up at 4 a.m. and we’d hop on, one on each side, hanging on to the back of his blue milk truck.

We’d help Mr. Fisher deliver bottles of milk and pick up the empties, sometimes with money frozen inside. We’d travel first along the west side, then the south side of Des Moines. At 6:00 a.m. we’d be back home in time to grab a bite to eat and get ready for school. On Saturdays I got to drive Mr. Fisher’s car for Mrs. Fisher when she collected the milk money from customers.

The pay? Chocolate milk and fifty cents each at the end of a shift; a princely sum in 1935 when jobs were mighty hard to come by. With ten kids in the family and Pop on relief, there was no question where the money I earned was headed. I handed my pay directly to Mom and never minded.

How many guys had the pleasure of popping the paper tab off a glass bottle and drinking their own quart of chocolate milk every single morning? As I said, I considered myself one lucky kid.

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Behind the Cookstove

A Peek Behind the Cook Stove

By Peggy Hindal

 On a chilly day, if you were looking for my younger sister Mary or me, in our home in rural Iowa, a good place to look was behind the wood-burning cook stove in the kitchen.

In the cozy warmth and shelter of the big black stove we worked on puzzles together, drew pictures, played dominoes, checkers, or Old Maid, hour after contented hour

Here we’d come to dress on cold mornings. Here we’d spread a blanket on the worn linoleum and create a magical kingdom for just the two of us.  Here we’d whisper our secrets and dreams.

I remember vividly when I was seven and then again at ten, when I was sick with Rheumatic Fever. Mother even had to hold the spoon to feed me.  A cot was placed behind the stove.  Mother kept a close eye as she bustled around our big country home, but it was the boys she asked to move my cot closer or further from the stove.  They did all the heaviest work..

Mother needed the help of my two older brothers when our father was away at his job as a conductor on the Rock Island Railway. I can still hear her call out, “George, you help Charles shovel a path to the wood box before school. I’m going to need a heap of wood today, it’s nearly zero.”

Sometimes, after bath time, Mary and I would curl up with our books behind the stove and drift off to sleep. How sweet it was when Father was home and scooped us up and carried us up to bed.

When my daughter asked me about our kitchen when I was growing up, I really couldn’t recall anything, it was too far back. But as I began to describe the wood-burning cook stove, so different than any she’d seen, a flood-gate lifted and memories poured forth as clearly as if I were there again today.  It’s surprising to discover the details that unravel from a single everyday object.

The space behind the stove, a perfect private play room for children when I was growing up, lives on today only in the realm of fading memories.

–As told to Joanne Klassen by my mother, Peggy Hindal 2016

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Can You Hear It?

Can you hear it?

The sound of 2017 ticking away is running gently in the background. If you look back to witness some of the most important moments for you in the year that is passing, what do you notice?

One way to take a personal inventory is to look at four basic dimensions of ourselves: body, mind, emotions, spirit.

What has changed with your body in the last year? Are there new habits that you have developed that support health or well being? Are there new challenges that have shown up that have taken you to the doctor, the hospital, or the lab? How would you summarize your overall relationship to your body and your health as 2017 comes to a close?

What is the state of your mind at this time? Are there things you have thought about more deeply, things you have learned, things you have studied and mastered in the last 12 months? Are there things weighing on your mind? Are there worries, concerns, unanswered questions? What are your favourite ways of being kind to your mind or putting your mind at ease?

When it comes to emotions, what are the feelings that have been most familiar to you in the past year? Five major categories of feelings are: mad, sad, glad, hurt, and scared. Which of these has taken up the most space in your life in the last year? Is that the same emotion you would like to predominate in the year ahead? Consider something that triggers a feeling of joy. What happens when you focus on that right now?

Spirit is a word that is used to describe a sense of unity with all of life. Have you felt connected to people close to you, and some different from yourself, perhaps people from different circumstances or distant places in the last year? Spirit can also include connecting with nature—plants, animals, water, air, earth and fire—the natural world. How do you experience your part in the cosmos? Is there a power greater than yourself that you experience? Where do you find that connection?

I hear the sound of 2017 ticking gently in the background, slipping away to make room for 2018 and all the newness that will come with it. From all of us at Heartspace, I wish you a year of wondrous possibilities and opportunities ahead, enjoyed with awareness, our prime power tool for transformation.

Joanne Klassen
Dec. 28, 2017


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Awareness, Triggers and Full Circle Stories

Squeezing the Nectar

 Awareness, Triggers and Full Circle Personal Stories

© Joanne Klassen —

Transformative Life Writing™ provides easy-to-use tools for getting the most out of our life stories by guiding us directly to them with awareness; getting specific using “Triggers,” and then helping capture the essence of a lived experience, often in just five minutes (J5M). Further, Transformative Life Writing™ moves us on to discover the gift each experience offers today. I call this “squeezing the nectar.”

“Full Circle” stories take us from the present to the past and back again, full circle, to arrive with fresh insight. This process includes three phases:

  1. What happened?—Begin by writing the details of the experience, as you remember them.
  2. So What?—This is where the awareness or memory took you, or its gift.
  3. Now What?—Take a step back and see how you can use this awareness now.

Here’s an example:


As I drove to my condo yesterday I became aware of a Trigger; my eye was drawn to a decal on the rear window of the car ahead of me. It was the symbol of Free Masons.

Immediately memories of my Grandpa, Charles W. Mellerup, my mom’s dad, from Iowa poured in.

What flashed across my mind was a black and white photo of Grandpa on his 90th birthday at a party in Mesa, Arizona, his winter home. He is dancing in a chorus line with two of his Mason buddies. The three of them have surprised the assembled crowd by appearing dressed as women.

Grandpa, a mountain of a man, a big Dane, well over 6′ tall, is muscular, sturdy with dazzling sky-blue eyes. His usual spiky white brush-cut is covered by a blonde wig. Decked out in make-up and earrings, he’s kicking up 3” heels.

I can hear Grandma Mellerup’s voice, that of a true Victorian lady, chiding Grandpa on so many occasions when his frolicking child-like side would emerge, “Charles, please.” She was probably thinking this as Grandpa surprised the crowd dressed in her clothing.

So What?

The gift, or ‘news I can use’ from this story is the joy Grandpa lived and gave others when he slipped free of propriety and stifling self-restraint. Grandpa reminds me today to take risks, to stretch limits, to live life more fully–surrounded by good friends.

In truth, I can’t remember when I last threw my head back and laughed from my nose to toes. Lately I’ve been way too busy with work, focused on obligations and tasks that I think require my attention. I’ve been more impatient and critical than I’d like.

Now What?

Grandpa Mellerup always made everything around him seem lighter, brighter. He made me and others feel special. His early life was very hard, but he still chose to enjoy the moment. This balance is what I want for myself. His ability to play freely is his true legacy to me. This story inspires me to schedule more time with friends, especially friends I can be goofy with. Nina, Lynne and Gloria come to mind; I’ll reach them today.

 We all carry the buried treasure of countless life-enriching stories within us. Transformative Life Writing™ gives us step-by-step tools to become aware of and uncover Full Circle stories, complete with timeless gifts of yesterday that we can enjoy and benefit from today.


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Join our September Classes

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