And We’re Back…

 

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To school that is… As a teacher and mom, the summers are GREATLY appreciated. Having lots of quality time with my family and friends is a wonderful opportunity. Of course, going back to work after 2 lovely months, can be tough (even if I have done this for 15 yrs!)  I know that other colleagues, moms and educators share the feeling… So I wrote about getting ourselves back to work mindfully this month. You can find the article here. And while some of us may not be educators or parents, simply getting into the “swing of things” – can sometimes be tough. We hit stumbling blocks – it’s ok, and just part of the journey. Using some of the mindfulness techniques mentioned here just may make those blocks a lot easier to get by.

You may also want to use some of the resources from this blog for other “tips and tricks” on using mindfulness in your every day living.

Lastly, a few visuals (for rainy days or times you’re “forced” to be at your computer) to help you breathe a bit easier…

 

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Mini Meditations

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Check out this great piece on incorporating simple, relaxing and meditative practices into your every day!

Article excerpt:

In her book Self-Meditation: 3,299 Mantras, Tips, Quotes and Koans for Peace and Serenity , bestselling author Barbara Ann Kipfer offers a wealth of inspiration for practicing kindness and breathing in the beauty of daily moments and the miracles that are our lives.

  1. Let small chores act as a stop sign to “breathe, relax and experience peace.”
  2. Sit down and “become a human still life.” Don’t do anything. Just breathe.
  3. When you’re driving, focus solely on that experience. “Feel the steering wheel, the pedals, the seat.”
  4. “Listen for the quietest sound.”
  5. Focus on your sense of smell. Take something you’d like to smell, such as a flower or food, and put it up close to your nose. Notice the changes in the aroma. Focus on the sensations in your body as you inhale and exhale. Then try to focus on other fragrances around you throughout the day.
  6. Focus on your sense of touch. Focus on the sensation of your hands touching each other, “your clothes brushing against your skin, and the air moving across your face.”
  7. In the beginning of the week, pick an activity you normally do on autopilot, such as washing your hands, applying makeup or getting into your car. Pause for several seconds before starting the activity. Then perform it with your full attention.

Click here for the link to the full piece found on Stumble….

 

Be The Change…

We know the quote, and we do our best to live by it…

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi

These are words I look at again and again, especially in these past few days. Many of my friends and family have seen the devastating effects of what a hurricane is capable of doing.

I watch trucks and workers around the clock, working to remove debris, trees and wires so everyone can get back into their homes, or, simply drive down the street.

Be the change…

On the evening of Hurricane Irene I took some time to meditate and thank her. I hoped to be the change and send grace and kindess to  an act of nature. Thanking her for the change she may bring.

I wanted no harm, no destruction of any kind. I asked that the animals would be cared for and find a safe place.

Though there have been some “ugly” post-storm effects, there is more community, more communication. There are more people witnessing nature and what it’s capable of doing. There are more people spending more time in nature, noticing, cleaning, caring.

…See in the world…

Making time to listen, ask, find grace is something all of us can do – every day. Meditate. Pray. Speak. Listen. Be the change… Be grateful and spread grace.

Scan Me!

When I was 14 I had my first (and last) summer camp experience. I don’t truly know why I went there that summer – but  I do think it had something to do with a certain boy whom my parents weren’t too crazy about!  There are a few things I remember about the camp, and it was a beautiful place, set up in some mountains in PA. We hiked and canoed. I helped little kids learn how to swim and care for horses – two things I was very good by that age. There was a farm, we picked and ate fresh foods and even decorated our cabins with fresh flowers. It was a little slice of heaven, as they say. There were also Beth and Tom, honestly, I don’t remember their real names, I saw them once, that was it, but the work they did with us that day has remained with me for all of these years.

“Ok, today we’re going to take a full  body scan. Find a blanket and lie down, please.” Beth and Tom were young, probably college students. There were about 10 of us there that day-all chatty, giggly, little teeny-bopper campers.  They had us lie on a cabin floor and guided us through a meditation and full body scan – two things I had never heard of. “You need to be quiet and try to keep  your eyes closed. If you fall asleep it’s ok, you may get very relaxed,” they told us. “Ha! quiet? US? This is going to be interesting,” I thought to myself.

First we were guided into a short meditation. I don’t recall much of it, but it felt quite nice! Then, we were “awakened” a bit and told to curl up our toes as tight as we could. “What?!,” I worried to myself, “I’m so relaxed, I feel so good! why would I want to do this to myself now?! Beth and Tom are nuts!” But, I followed along, I was always good at following directions. “Now, breathe in, feel your toes, and breathe out, release your toes. Let them go. Wiggle them around. How does that feel?” AHHHH! “WOAH! That felt SO good!” I answered out LOUD. I couldn’t help it, they asked the question.

Tom and Beth continued to move throughout our entire body, having us tense up a certain muscle area, breathe, recall the feeling, then breathe out and release. Let go. I will never forget the blanket I was lying on or how the body scan felt – simply amazing. Not one of us spoke afterwards. It was as if we were in this cloud, floating , relaxed and happy. There were truly no words for the pure bliss we had just been exposed to.

I had never been taught anything like that before, and, sadly, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet up with it again until almost after my college years.  Finally, I  was reunited with things like meditation, yoga, breath work.  I found NIA , an amazing dance flow and Reiki. I’ve become a collector of healing arts. I’ve learned how to meditate while walking. And, of course, I use the body scan, the same one I learned as a young camper, almost daily.

Body scans can be done in a variety of ways. However, the most simple way is to lie down in a comfortable, quiet area and start with your feet and work your way up. Tense and flex your muscles, one at a time, feel your muscles and note any sensations that accompany the movement. Breathe. Then, relax your muscle, breathe out , let go, release and move on. You may want to journal any unique or unusual sensations that you find during your scan afterwards. Making a daily practice out of this can produce amazing results in your health and physical appearance, energy, attitude and awareness.

Be well, go scan & let go.

Fear Not!

If I had to pick one phrase from my childhood to have TRULY learned, it would be “don’t be afraid…”  Try it, pick something you just wish you had listened to years ago.

My selection comes from the fact that now, so many years later, I TRULY understand what fear is capable of, and how fear can hold a person, a community, a nation, back – way back.

Intuitive diagnostics on humans show that fear (and anger, also, fear-based), is the primary cause of so much of our daily stress and tension. Just listen to your body for stress, you know what hurts and where. But, why? Why does it TRULY hurt? If you’re honest with yourself, you may find that a lot of your aches and pains, from stress, originate in fear.

Fear of what? I’m not afraid of anything. I’m not 4 years old any more. No, you’re not 4 any more, but some of the fears that you have carried with you may stem from when you were 4, or 6 or 10 years of age. Fear of not having enough, fear of not being enough, fear of disappointing someone, fear of making a mistake – they’re all fears we’ve encountered, but we may just not have dealt with them when we did first encounter them, and ever since, we’ve carried them with us.

Good news! You don’t have to do that any more. Confront your fears. Sit quietly each day, meditate – it’s fear medicine. A potent potion which will, in time, help put your fears to rest. As you meditate pay attention to any aches, pains you may feel. You may want to journal what you find as well. After discovering what fears may be ailing you, confront them – head on. Otherwise, they will continue to cause you distress.

There are two wonderful resources that can help you identify your pains with your fears: 1. Louise Hay Heal Your Body A-Z  and 2. Deborah King and her “Truth Heals Chakra Chart.”  There are , of course, many other authors and teachers on this subject, however, I’ve found these two to be most helpful for my understanding of fear and the body’s responses.

If meditation isn’t something you have tried before, there’s no time like the present! And speaking of which, the present is all we have. Right now, that’s it. So, what a great time to get rid of the fears you’ve been holding on to. They don’t serve you now.