Live in the Conversation

by Jess Piszker Live in the moment, including the moment of a conversation. In today’s world, our minds are often thinking ahead. Our brains are visualizing our to-do list, keeping a mental note of what’s next. Even when we are doing the next item on the list, we are thinking about the item after. This is why we aren’t fully present in the conversations we are having. We are thinking about other things on our mind, texting someone else, or invested too deeply by something on the phone distracted continuously by ring tones, memos, and reminders that keep popping up …

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My Journey to Mindful Parenting

Imagine bringing mindfulness into your parenting journey. Imagine finding a source of peace and acceptance with yourself and your kids, even at the worst of times. Imagine being able to take a breath and pause before you react in an unhelpful way. Imagine developing a self-care ritual so you don’t feel so overwhelmed and so stressed. Parents have a huge impact on their children. Our kids watch us and model our actions, words, and emotions based on how we conduct ourselves. It is not so much what you say, as what you do. Parenting Fantasy vs. Parenting Reality I was …

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What Is This Thing Called Mindfulness?

“…we don’t have to look outside the present moment to experience wisdom, compassion, and the boundless purity of our true nature. In fact, these things can’t be found anywhere but the present moment.” —Mingyur Rinpoche We use the word mindful or mindfulness in a lot of different ways. Be mindful of your step. Do that mindfully. Be mindful of the planet by recycling. But mindfulness is not just watch your step, be careful, or recycle. Those things have been around for a long time and they are very important, but not what we mean when we talk about mindfulness here. …

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Change Your Brain With Mindfulness

It wasn’t all that long ago that scientists believed that our brains stopped growing and changing in our mid-20s. Then, new technologies were born. EEGs, PET scans, and fMRIs gave us the ability to observe the inner workings of living, functioning human brains, and everything changed! These amazing machines created a window into a brain that is constantly molding and re-molding itself from birth to death. When we learn something new or train in a new skill, our brains get bigger in areas that relate to that new knowledge. When we quit using certain areas of the brain, they shrink. …

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I’d Rather Be At Peace Than Be Right

Let’s face it: Who’s NOT talking about COVID-19 these days? Everywhere I turn, that’s the topic du jour. With all the division, I can’t help but feel like I’m supposed to “pick a side” among the many conflicting viewpoints, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to know what to believe. It doesn’t take much self-reflection to acknowledge that we each have a tendency to hold certain people and certain professions as more trustworthy and therefore a source of truth. But the challenge in this digital age is that I can conveniently find whatever evidence I need to reinforce my personal biases …

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Learning to Listen to the Body

Today, I decided I needed to do some yoga or meditation before getting started with work—especially because I neglected to do my usual meditation immediately after waking up this morning. I’ve let that slide more than I care to admit in the last couple months. I use the word “yoga” loosely in referring to my practice because I feel like I don’t really “practice” it. So far, it has consisted of warmups for my pole fitness classes or what’s been included in mindfulness classes I’ve taken. But sometimes—and this has only been true for me in the last handful of …

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You’re Stronger Than You Think

I’ve been contemplating resilience in adversity a lot lately. We’ve been forced into a position where we can either fold to the insurmountable obstacles in our path or reach deep down inside and find the reserves to climb out of the hole. This pandemic has pushed us all into a place of discomfort and uncertainty, and the question we must ask is how are we going to respond? Because as we are continually reminded, we don’t get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose where we go from here.  Where it All Began When I was younger, …

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I’m Not a Mess! Life is Messy

“Life is hard!” It was such a relief when I first heard that. Until then, I had believed that life was hard because of some internal flaw and I was to blame. When I hit a bump in the road my internal message was, “I am such a mess.” I had entirely missed the message that “Life is just messy.” From my vantage point, all those other people were perfectly happy, enjoying wonderful vacations, and doing meaningful work because they had it together; not that they had found ways to triumph over the messiness of life. Struggling is Not an Error—It’s …

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The Wisdom of a Broken Heart

A poem by Jeni Juarez What saddens me the most about the current state of the world is how people everywhere are becoming so paralyzed by fear; that they are struggling so much to access their emotional resilience—their unarmed heart. It is this turning away from—this armored heart—that keeps us separated, alienated from one another; unable to feel the warmth, the magnificence of a heart-to-heart connection. What encourages me the most about the current state of the world is how people everywhere are becoming so paralyzed by fear. Because my deeper wisdom tells me that suffering is Grace. It forces …

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Spiritual Bypassing in the Time of COVID-19

by Susan Duesbery, as originally posted in Elephant Journal The other day I was speaking with a woman who told me that she was “excited” about the positive changes the coronavirus was already ushering in. She went on to express the hope that a new world order based on love would replace current systems based on corruption and greed. After she spoke these words, I realized that I’d seen a lot of similar comments on social media lately. In many ways, I couldn’t agree more with such remarks. But there are two sides to this coin, and to ignore one …

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