Mind Full or Mindful?

Feeling relaxed is a natural feeling when you are in a state of balance. In order to understand balance, you must first allow yourself to experience a state of true relaxation, so that you have a reference point for what it feels like to be in balance. Why is this important? For some people, anxiety feels natural.

How might you gain greater balance? An important tool to practice using is “mindfulness.” Mindfulness is actually a natural activity that we can all use to help us discover and sustain balance. To be mindful means to bring your attention fully into whatever you are doing or experiencing at the moment. For example, if you are washing a glass, you focus on and experience that activity without letting your mind wander into some other task. You notice the feeling of the warm water and the soap on your hands, the feeling of the sponge as you hold it to wash the glass. If you are eating a bite of an apple, you eat it slowly and taste and feel that bite. Mindfulness can change even routine behaviors, and in turn, can enhance your life.

Most of us make a life of multi-tasking which generally means our mind is rarely focused on where we are, and we’re not fully present to the experience we’re having. If you learn to bring greater mindfulness into even a small fraction of your activities, you can add years of quality experience to your life. Research suggests that there are tremendous health benefits to mindfulness.

From an energetic perspective, love and mindfulness vibrate at a similar frequency, and we know that love is the highest vibration there is. By practicing mindfulness, you can create a stillpoint to return to in moments of chaos or anxiety.

One of my clients did a class project on mindfulness which she called “stopping.” She simply sat very still in a chair and took several deep breaths and relaxed for five minutes each day. She didn’t do anything during that time nor did she try to “think” of anything. This activity, she reported to her class, at first was so hard for her! She was so used to keeping her mind and body busy at all times that she felt like she was wasting time. Yet as she stayed with her project every day for 8 weeks, she came to realize that this stopping was a time when she began to let herself “feel” rather than to keep “running from herself.” By slowing down and becoming more focused, she became more purposeful about where she was putting her energy and what she was choosing to do and how.

If you’d like to practice mindfulness, a wonderful exercise is to use awareness of your breathing as a balancing force. Sit calmly in a relaxed position and focus on your breathing for a few moments. Breathe in slowly and notice your breath as you breathe in, feel the expansion of your chest, and then release slowly–feeling a state of surrender on your exhale. Breathe in and out for several moments with full awareness.

In the words of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh– “The secret of your transformation lies in your handling of this very moment.”

A Tale of Two Wolves

two wolves
I was reminded of one of my favorite Native American legends and wanted to share it with you again:
One evening an old Cherokee chief told his grandson about life.
He said, “My son, a fight is going on inside me.  It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.”
“One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.”
“The other is good–he is joy, peace, love, hope,
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
“This same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”
-A Cherokee Legend-

The Wisdom of Mother Teresa

mother teresa picQuotes of Mother Teresa

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

Good works are links that form a chain of love.

I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.

Mothering Your Soul

As young children, we held within our hearts the motherly feeling of knowing we would be okay. Who performed that role for you? It may have been your biological mother or “spiritual” mothers who have loved and mothered you in ways that cared for your soul. In some cases, not just your mother, but also other loving people helped you feel safe and loved, and inspired and motivated you to be your best self.

To our mothers and these wise and loving caregivers, we honor you on Mother’s Day!

Your Mother Is Always With You

Your mother is always with you…
She’s the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.
She’s the smell of bleach
in your freshly laundered socks.
She’s the cool hand on your brow
when you’re not well.
Your mother lives inside your laughter.
She’s crystallized in every tear drop.
She’s the place you came from,
your first home…
She’s the map you follow
with every step that you take.
She’s your first love
and your first heart break…
and nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time, Not space…
Not even death…
will ever separate you
from your mother…
You carry her inside of you…

Author Unknown

Body Wise

Are you at ease in your body? It is believed that the more at ease you are in your body–that is, the more you treat it with respect and care–the more at ease you’ll be in your life. The state of your body and your connection to movement and peace often closely reflect the state of your life.

How can you ensure a healthy relationship to your body? Paying attention to the language of your symptoms, honoring a relationship to movement, loving your body and honoring your spirit are a few ways to connect with your body. Here are other pointers:

  • Your body reflects what is happening in your life, and you body tends to get sick more easily when you are not present in it.
  • A commonly held perspective in integrative medicine is that the body gets sick to get your attention, and your symptoms provide a type of language about what is going on with your spirit.
  • Healthy people usually have a loving relationship with their bodies and often feel inspired.
  • Life is movement, so when you’re feeling in pain or in some way disconnected from your body and spirit, one of the most effective integration tools is through movement.
  • Movement releases and helps energize the body, creating a new sense of aliveness in the body and mind.
  • The body, mind, and emotions are interrelated, and deeply negative emotional states can cause enormous stress in the body–contributing to disease.
  • The body is a living, breathing organism in which every cell is aware of every other cell—constantly conveying information through numerous communication pathways.

It can be healing to engage in bodywork and meditation, particularly to practice “listening” to your body.

Holding a Sacred Viewpoint

When we are overwhelmed, it is difficult in that moment not to get caught in the minutia of life.  Whatever is going on seems to BECOME our life–the whole of it.  Our emotional response can be out of proportion to the events that are occurring.

It is important to be able to step back at any given time and take a “sacred view” of what is going on.

You can ask yourself:

–From a larger perspective, how does this problem or issue factor in to my whole life?

–Are my feelings and response to this situation appropriate given the meaning of the situation in regard to my life?

–How can I be “in this world but not of it”–in other words, participate in it but not be caught in the drama?

–Will I remember this on my deathbed?

When you are caught in a dramatic or fearful moment, take a breath, and remember to hold “a sacred view”!  It will make those difficult times far easier.

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