Mindfulness

Give Your Mind A Place to Sit

Who am I? Do people like me? Is my work good enough? Am I failing at being a parent? What if I don’t get that job? I know the rattling noise in my car is going to be a huge repair bill! Can you relate to any of these thoughts? There’s nothing wrong with you. In fact, with nothing to focus on, the brain will begin to search for potential threats in the environment. It is a mechanism designed to keep you safe, but it can leave you feeling like your mind is ricocheting out of control. When the mind …

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One-Minute Mindfulness Hacks

Definition – hack: Any procedure or action that solves a problem, simplifies a task, reduces frustration, etc. …Got up late, out of coffee, no time for breakfast. Got to work, vending machine out of yogurt, only candy bars left. Picked up my voicemail, woman yelling, had to hold the phone away from my ear, twenty-page report lost somewhere on my hard drive… Sound familiar? Sometimes life starts throwing you gummy bears, and it just won’t stop. That probably wasn’t my worst day ever, but it sure wasn’t my best. So, what can we do in the midst of the storm? …

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5 Tips for Maintaining a Mindfulness Practice

The ancient Greek poet, Archilochus, wrote, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” Do you have high expectations for yourself? I know I do. Another word you can use for expectations is “hope.” I like the word hope because it feels more gentle than the word expectation. When I say, “I hope to be a more peaceful person,” it lands more softly than “I expect to be a more peaceful person.” It can feel risky to be honest with yourself about your hopes because you will likely fall short of …

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Finding Wholeness

A couple of years ago, I went on a spiritual journey to my church’s headquarters. I took a class titled “Healing and Wholeness.” Little did I know that this was the beginning of some very significant changes in my life. My Healing and Wholeness class taught me that to heal deeper life wounds, and to achieve greater wholeness, the path includes embracing all that comes my way in life. Acceptance is the key. I’ll never forget the instructor asking us what we would do if a baby in our home were crying: leave it to cry alone, or pick it …

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Being in the Midst of Doing: 5 Ways to Bring Your Practice into Your Life

When I hear the phrase “being versus doing,” I think of two things that are diametrically opposed. Way too often, I get lost in my world of “doing” and lose my sense of “being-ness.” I feel out of kilter, off balance, like I can’t stop and settle. My body is constantly moving—and even more troubling, so is my mind. And, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. In one of my MBSR classes, I read two lists of words. The first has the frenetic energy of “doing”: fixing, striving, judging, forcing, and figuring out. Then I read a list of words …

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A Beautiful Challenge for the New Year

I am going to give you a beautiful challenge for the new year! Are you ready? I challenge you to cultivate affection for your meditation practice! Did your face scrunch up a little as you wondered how affection and meditation could possibly go together? After all, isn’t affection better left to the realm of romance? Not anymore! Affection can be defined as “a gentle feeling of fondness or liking.” If you dig a little deeper, you will find that affection is also associated with words such as devotion, sympathy, caring, warmth, and tenderness. Take a moment to imagine the sweet …

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“What If We Were Already There?”

What would life look like if you were actually present for the experience? One of my students shared this lovely story with me about her vacation in Japan: “My friend and I were rushing all over Tokyo in search of the perfect restaurant, perfect store, perfect whatever…and my friend stopped me in my tracks. ‘Kathleen, how about if we just say we are already there?’” That was a profound moment for her… she realized how much she had missed by being so busy moving to the next thing and not enjoying the experience as it unfolded. Does that sound familiar? …

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Mindfulness Can Be Hard: 8 Reasons Why You May Not Want to Start a Mindfulness Practice (and 4 Supports)

We Are Experiencing a Mindful Revolution Mindfulness is all the rage right now. In 2015, Time magazine declared that we are in the midst of a mindful revolution. Rigorous studies in the field of neuroscience continue to demonstrate the efficacy of the practice in areas ranging from chronic pain to post traumatic stress to the emotional health of children. So Why Would I Tell You to NOT to Start A Mindfulness Practice? For the sake of illustration, think of a young Superman who suddenly realizes he can fly, but he doesn’t yet know how to fly well. Instead of being …

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Easiest Meditation Practice Ever

There is a wonderful meditation story in which a student asks his teacher, “How do I practice meditation in my everyday life?” The teacher replies, “By eating and sleeping.” The student protests, “But everyone eats and sleeps! How is that meditation?” The teacher answers, “But not everybody eats when they eat, and not everybody sleeps when they sleep. When I eat, I eat; when I sleep, I sleep.” Clearly, the teacher is exhorting the student to do one thing at a time as a way of weaving meditation into his everyday life. The Easiest Meditation Practice Ever If everyone in …

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My Amygdala Made Me Do It!

Imagine a world where each time you messed up or said something mean, you yelled, “My amygdala made me do it!” Although that may sound funny, it could be just the thing to help you step back from reactivity and take more responsibility for your actions. Why? The amygdala is the portion of the brain responsible for sounding the alarm when we perceive a threat or some nearby danger (see Carol’s blog post: Change Your Brain). The time between the amygdala sounding the alarm and our reaction is so fast we usually do not realize the alarm has sounded until after …

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