Mindfulness

Gratitude: A Training Ground for Happiness

Gratitude: a feeling of appreciation or thankfulness. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts and failures into successes. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie “The Scarcity Loop” Sometimes …

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What is Mindfulness and Should You Give it a Try? 

“To meditate is to discover new possibilities, to awaken the capacity that each of us has to live more wisely, more lovingly, more compassionately, and more fully.”  – Jack Kornfield, Meditation for Beginners Mindfulness and meditation have gotten a lot of press lately. They are teaching it in healthcare settings and therapists’ offices. Athletes swear by it, soldiers are finding it improves their resilience, and it helps school kids focus and learn. You may have heard that meditation is a great way to create more balance or maybe that you know someone who is convinced that it has helped them …

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Move Your Body Change Your Brain

Your brain is constantly remodeling itself. When you learn to play the guitar or expand your vocabulary, you physically alter your brain. When you meditate, you stimulate the executive parts of the brain to get bigger, and the anxiety parts to get smaller. In brain-speak, this is called neuroplasticity and there is powerful science to back it up. When I tell my mindfulness students about the research into brain science, they are excited that they are doing something positive and proven. When I first started meditating, we had no idea that meditation was changing the brain, just stories that said …

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Too Busy to Meditate? – Try This

I started out great! I was beginning to see the actual benefits of my practice…but then I got busy. My lapse in practice started with one day when I didn’t have time. Then, the next day it was really easy to say, “I broke my streak, I’m still busy, and I’ll get back to it tomorrow.” Then the next day, it was, “One more day won’t matter.” That was two months ago, and now whenever I think about meditating, I just feel guilty. How can something that was beginning to make a real difference in my life become so dispensable? …

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8 Simple Mindfulness Practices to Weave Into Your Day

Although I know that meditation calms my mind and makes me feel more confident and spacious, I can’t always fit a formal practice into my day. Knowing what’s good for me and doing it are often two different things.  I’ve experienced the profound healing that formal meditation practices can provide. These practices helped me through the anxiety and depression that were constant parts of my existence. At that time in my life, yoga and meditation were my medicine, and it was critical to take that time just for me. Some would say that these daily practices are the bedrock of …

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Benefits and Pitfalls of Mind Wandering

Moving Through Life on Auto-pilot Have you ever gotten into your car driven someplace, gotten out of your car, and had no idea what happened in between? Or, sat down to read a book and at the end of the page realized that you had no idea what you had just read? These are two examples of how we check out on our lives, how we can be there and yet not be there at all. Another word for this is mind-wandering, and researchers have found that our minds wander nearly half the time. The Benefits of Mind-Wandering The idea …

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The Practice of Welcoming: Well-Being Series

“Welcoming…means opening the door to everything we experience-turning nothing away-and learning how to authentically meet our own experience in each moment.” Kelly Boys But I don’t want it to be this way, you say. I want things to unfold according to plan! I hate this! That is natural, we all want to be happy and fulfilled. So, as often as not we refuse our experience. We create a story in our heads about our inability to handle that thing whatever that thing is. How we’re not smart enough or strong enough to find a solution. We look the other way …

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Train for Happiness with These Three Skills

When I got up this morning, things were not going my way. It was shaping up to be a really bad day. I stubbed my toe on the way to the bathroom, the plate shattered when it slipped out of my hand between the cupboard and counter, and I realized that the blog I was writing just wasn’t going to work for what I wanted to convey. Then, I stepped into the shower. The water was warm and felt good. I redirected my attention to the sensations of water cascading down my body and reminded myself how grateful I was that …

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Grounding with the First Chakra (Tools for Well-Being Continued…)

“Do you have the patience to wait, till your mud settles and the water is clear? Lao Tsu A chakra is a wheel or circle of rotating energy; some say real, some say metaphorical but useful nonetheless. (See brief overview from last week here.) We can use the chakra system to chart a path of understanding through the physical body, can view chakras through the eyes of human development, or we can use them to shed light on our habitual patterns and behaviors. We can explore our personal patterns of thought and activity through the lens of the chakras, and …

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Working with the Energy Centers of the Body – Tools for Well-Being

This last week things almost seemed like normal again. We had a great weekend with family, and I could feel my heart crack open when I spent the evening with my granddaughters. Lots of laughter and people talking over each other, just as it should be. It was in the midst of all of that I realized how abnormal everything had been over the last 18 months and how it had affected me more than I was willing to admit.  Many years ago, when I wasn’t really sure which end was up, I embarked on a healing journey through the …

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