Moving Forward: Embracing All Parts of Ourselves

I want to think of myself as level-headed and compassionate, slow to anger and reasonable, but lately, it has become evident that’s only part of the story. I am also a person who can get lost in feelings of anger, judgment, and disgust. Being forced to contemplate these two sides of my personality has been a struggle. It’s painful to look into the shadows.  Over the last few months, I’ve been depending on my mindfulness practice to bring me back again and again from the brink of despair to a level of equilibrium. As I’ve listened to the rhetoric of …

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Care for Yourself This Holiday Season by Asking: What Do I Really Need?

Now, more than ever—amid the ongoing pandemic, social unrest, and divisive political climate, the pleasure I seek from food goes a long way in soothing the raw edges of my emotions, connecting with family, and entertaining myself with a love for cooking.  I teach what I need. When I teach mindful eating, I often say mindful eating is a lifetime practice. That may feel daunting to hear, but my personal experience tells me that it’s true.  Lately, my own mindful eating practice has needed some extra care and attention as I find myself struggling with more internal distress. The ways …

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Election Stress: Ways to Meet a Mess of Emotions

This month’s election is unprecedented. It is unprecedented in the sense that everyone will be impacted by it one way or another. After the election is said and done, there will be a group of people celebrating and a group of people grieving, angry, and scared. There may also be a third group who feels indifferent or ambivalent.  There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to be dealing with a MESS of emotions—a mess of so many different thoughts and feelings, both on Election Day, as well as after the results are announced. As I pondered …

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Creating Space When Life Feels a Bit Too Routine

As I write this, we are 10 months into 2020, 7 months into a pandemic, 5 months into renewed racial justice protests, about 2 months into the school year, and a week away from a momentous presidential election. It feels cliché to comment on how unusual of a year we’ve had—but we can all agree it’s been a difficult year, for many reasons.  And though I’ve been struggling with anxiety, missing seeing my friends and their babies in-person, and grieving the loss of the ability to pick up and visit my favorite local coffee shops and small businesses on a …

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How Parents Can Share Mindfulness with Their Families

As a youth mindfulness educator, parents often ask me, “What can I do if my teen won’t attend mindfulness classes?” My answer might be surprising, but it is always, “Learn and practice mindfulness yourself.”  Our children learn from our behaviors: How we express ourselves when we’re happy, sad, or mad; how we find ways to bring calm into our own lives; how well we can be present for them and really listen and support them when they’re struggling.  Learning to be present with ourselves first can be a beautiful gift we then share with our children. Begin With Present-Moment Awareness …

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How to Motivate Yourself in the Midst of Hard Times

My teenage son and I recently got into yet another argument about bringing his dirty dishes from his bedroom to the kitchen. Have you ever stumbled upon a bowl full of months-old, dried-up cereal and milk? Or a glass with a mysterious sugary substance now devoured by mold? Yuck! We’ve gone back-and-forth about this issue over the course of days and months. I have tried every possible creative, as well as punitive, solution to remedy the situation.  During one of our most recent disagreements, my son protested that he kept forgetting to bring his dishes to the kitchen because he …

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Not Another Zoom Call!

We’ve all gone through a year+ now with video meetings taking the place of in-person connection. And Zoom fatigue is real.  Yet, we’d like to invite you to our upcoming online multi-week classes, or our free introductory classes two weeks before.  We get it: The last thing most people want to take on these days is one more Zoom call.  But while most video conferences on your schedule are asking for a chunk of your time, energy, or input, our online classes are meant to help you add some peace, balance, and restoration to multiple areas of your life!  Overcoming …

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Can Mindfulness Make Us More Socially Engaged?

There’s a fair amount of criticism about how practicing mindfulness is a selfish endeavor. The assumption is that by taking time for classes or retreats, quietly reflecting on my inner state, and choosing to minimize distractions or “noise”, that I will become overly focused on myself at the expense of the very real local and world issues surrounding me. To that I say: Perhaps, but there’s much, much more to the story. Harmful vs. Noble Selfishness For most of my life, I have strived to be considered a success; to be “enough”. This meant being hyper-fixated on my outward appearance, …

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How Perfectionism Harms Us (and Those We Love)

Imagine coming home after a long day at work to a house cluttered with dishes, a stack of mail on the table, stray socks on the floor, and an overflowing trash can. You’re so exhausted, and with another intense day at the office awaiting you tomorrow, you’d love nothing more than to crawl under the blankets and go to sleep. Do you eat a snack, brush your teeth, and hit the sack? Or does your breath quicken as your eyes scan the room and you begin a mental list of everything you need to do before going to bed? If …

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How to Help a Loved One Who’s Struggling

Hello, my name is Jeni, and I am a recovering fixer.  I first started noticing my penchant for telling other people what to do when I was repeatedly called bossy in elementary school. Later, it became a joke when I’d tell everyone that I had declared business management as my major because, “No matter what happens to the economy, you’re always going to need someone to tell someone else what to do.”  So when the people around me were struggling with anything from poor sleep to grief, you could leave it to me to tell them why they’re feeling what …

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