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“…We have an infinite number of moments between now and the time we are going to die. That is a lot of time for living. So there is no hurry!” —John Kabat-Zinn

If you’ve been following my recent blogs, and/or you subscribed to our Summer of Wellbeing, you know I’ve been blogging about John Kabat-Zinn’s book, Mindfulness for Beginners. Let’s keep it going for a bit longer.
Although I’ve already discussed a few of these in my previous posts, let’s re-cap what Kabat-Zinn tells us are the 7 Attitudes that are foundational to a mindfulness practice. He describes them as:

  • Non-Judging – Lead with your heart, here, not your mind. There’s nothing to do or be, just sit in awareness and understand what’s happening.
  • Patience – Lack of patience prevents us from being where we are already, the whole point of mindfulness. 
  • Beginner’s Mind – Even Monks and Lamas with decades of experience may say, “I don’t really know anything,” and they mean it! One Zen Master is famous for having described his forty years of teaching as “selling water by the river.”
  • Trust – Trust in the nothingness. Trust in what you discover (or you don’t!). Trust in your senses. Trust your feelings. 
  • Non-Striving – Set aside “human doing.” Boredom can be unbelievably interesting. As you watch it, you might find that it dissolves into something much more interesting, another mind-state. 
  • Acceptance – Has nothing to do with passive resignation – far from it. Ultimately, it means realizing how things are and finding ways to be in wise relationship with them. And then to act, as appropriate, out of that clarity of vision.
  • Letting go – It means letting be. It doesn’t mean pushing things away or forcing ourselves to release what we are clinging to, what we are most strongly attached to. It is non-attachment to outcome. We can let go of both our cravings and our fears, we can let things be as they are. 

I don’t know about you, but when blogging about mindfulness and reading/writing about these 7 attitudes, I catch myself breathing deeply, smiling, and ultimately “being”. I feel that non-judgment, trust and acceptance within me, and it truly does become easier to let go. And then it makes me ponder, these attitudes are not just about being mindful, they are truly about LIVING. How we choose to go through all of our moments. Pondering further, I can’t help but to get excited about contemplating our Beginner’s Mind in particular. In the book, Kabat-Zinn compares beginner’s mind to the beauty and joyfulness of young children, and the WONDER they see and feel in all of their doings and beings. 

This idea took me right back to my childhood and the freedom and freshness I experienced. In fact, while walking our dog this week, my husband led me down his normal walking path. Under a bridge that leads to the other side of the street. In that second I went back in time to my life as an 8 year old. This exact spot (under the bridge) was what I called “Paradise”. It was my paradise, because I would ride my bike there and climb under the bridge to think and dream by myself! Now, I had a huge laugh, because under the bridge was a lot of trash, not-to-enticing smells, and I’m sure some gators lurking under the water. Yet, as a child I didn’t judge the bridge or anything around it. I didn’t see all those “bad” things, because I chose to see a “paradise.” I craved WONDER and created it for myself. 

Why does the WONDER need to stop when we “grow up”? Why does the judgement get stronger, the trust lessen, the lack of patience increase, and our fears falsely lead us to believe that we have to DO to BE?
 

NOPE. I won’t buy into it any longer. Are you with me? How did you WONDER as a child. Were you full of WONDER

My request for you this week is to step back into the past briefly to remind yourself of that WONDER and give yourself permission to bring that energy into your life today. Then, thank your past and LET IT GO and come into the NOW, where you can create a life full of WONDER through this magnificent practice of mindfulness. 

“Challenge for us as adults is to see whether we can meet each moment an recognize it as fresh and therefore interesting – after all, we’ve never seen this one (moment) before. 

“If you take a ‘you’ve seen one moment, you’ve seen them all’ attitude, you’re going to get very bored cultivating mindfulness.” — John Kabat-Zinn



It’s your life, lead it well!
Namaste,

Monique

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I still feel like I’m floating! My post today is simply to express gratitude for having been in the presence of amazing trailblazers this past weekend at Oprah’s Life You Want Conference. I am grateful for being surrounded by such wisdom, and a confirmation that I’m on my path. What’s a life of seeking without confirmation? As human beings we are always seeking because we don’t know everything. Or as many believe, we know, but have just forgotten. The amazing Eckhart Tolle reminds us that seeking too much takes us away from our purpose, which is always in this moment, and that’s exactly what Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth GilbertRob Bell, and Iyanla Vazant reminded us of at this magical gathering. Our homework–the reason for attending this conference was to claim your new vision. I’d love to share my simplified version with you, which we were asked to post on Twitter or Facebook 24 hours after the culmination of event.

 

motweet

 

I know that one of the reasons I exist is to learn and share. And so today, that’s what I’d like to do. It’s my gift to you. Below you’ll find some of the juicy nuggets of wisdom I captured during this event, as well as some photos and videos. I hope that something I’ve shared today provides you with some confirmation as well that you are doing your work to Live the Life You Want!  So many of my friends and professional colleagues were “in the house” as well, and each of us took away something unique–what our souls needed to hear. For me, it was simplified into my vision or mantra above, focusing on the fact that I am everything I need to be right now in this moment, that only in this moment is where I will be on purpose, and that my breath and connection to spirit by being aware and being guided (by the whispers!) will allow me to fulfill my earthly contract and live a magnificent life.

Finally, I want to thank my mother, Ellie Kane, who treated me to this conference. What an amazing way to spend time together! It’s one of those Mommy/Daughter moments I won’t forget. Love you, Mom!

Mom and I with Oprah's best friend and Good Morning America co-host, Gayle King!

Mom and I with Oprah’s best friend and Good Morning America co-host, Gayle King!

Mom & I with some FAB powerful Fems!

Mom & I with some FAB powerful Fems and Friends!

Nuggets of Wisdom

From Oprah…

•   All real success comes from being connected to spirit.

•   We all have been called; nothing is an accident.

•   Your legacy is every life you’ve ever touched. (via Maya Angelou)

•   “I am the master of my fate; the captain of my soul!” Her mantra.

•   You can be a better you than you can be a pretend anyone else!

•   Knowing what you want to do is just as important as knowing what you don’t want to do.

•   Our lives speak to us in every moment. We have to listen! Listen for the whispers before they turn into rocks! The whispers will guide us.

•   If you can’t get paid for it (i.e., what you want to/love to do), then let it pay you! The miracle is in service.

•   For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

•   You co-create your life with every intention.

•   Who you are right now is what you have believed you are. You become what you believe!

•   Your greatest power is in your ability to love.

•   Gratitude is the best way to share your vibration.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=110292575&force_embed=1&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

From Deepak…

•   Don’t let the voices of the world drown out your voice from within.

•   You accomplish more via the Law of Least Effort; living from the level of your soul. (Source: 7 Spiritual Laws of Success)

•   There is no point of arrival (i.e., I have arrived!), it is in the right here and right now. That’s all we have.

•   7 Ways to Accelerate Synchronisity

1.   How you see the world is a reflection of your inner state. Shift from fear to love.
2.   Understand the essence of relationships; validating others for who they really are; honoring them.
3.   Create intentions not only for yourself, but for the common good.
4.   Learn to center yourself thru meditation.
5.   Free yourself from emotional hostility; it’s like drinking poison. Create a ritual of release.
6.   Embrace both the masculine and feminine aspects of yourself.
7.   Keep yourself healthy!

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=110292574&force_embed=1&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

And, a few final tidbits from Liz (Author of Eat. Pray. Love), Rob, and Iyanla

•   If you’re planning to change your life don’t expect it to be easy and painless. All movement brings the risk of injury! (Liz)

•   We all have stories, but one never goes away, our Hero’s Journey (must stick with it, endure the pain to come out glorious on the other side!). You can hear Liz speak about a Hero’s Journey on Super Soul Sunday.

•   We co-create our lives by listening to what the world is telling us; by paying attention to the signs (whispers) and following them. (Liz)

•   We are miracles! Breath brought us into our lives and takes us from our lives. The fact that we are breathing is a miracle. Each moment is a miracle. Embrace the life that you have in this moment! This is the art of the spiritual life. (Rob)

•   The sound we make when we breathe (Ahhh!) is the name of God in all religious traditions! Breath is life; breath is being connected to spirit. (Iyanla)

•   The life you want is on the other side of the labor pains it takes to birth it! (Iyanla)

•   If you made it through the past, you passed!

Oprah & Iyanla saying good bye!

Oprah & Iyanla saying good bye!

Any of these tidbits inspire you to Live the Life you Want? I’d love to hear your shares!

It’s your life. Lead it well!

Monique

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 5

The practice of meditation has many benefits when it comes to health and well-being. It is especially helpful if you are a busy professional and you find yourself sometimes caving into your hectic work and life schedule. If you are knew to the world of meditation, don’t worry. This week for Summer of Well-Being, we give you Livia Stabile. In the video below she talks about the benefits of meditation and walks you through a simple meditation that you can do anywhere for as long as you’d like.  Watch her video, try it out, and leave a comment below!



Mary P
Livia Stabile
Certified Vedic Master and Registered Mental Health Counselor at South Florida Counseling Agency
Livia Stabile works as a Vedic Master certified by Deepak Chopra since 2009 and a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern since 2013. She combines the ancient healing powers of meditation with the modern neuroscience and psychology to empower and transform her clients’ lives.
Website: SouthFloridaCounseling.net
Email: livia.yoga@gmail.com

 
 
 

Breathe in. Breathe out.

February 12, 2014

 breathing

For those mommies out there, or perhaps athletes or actors, who had to learn how to breathe a certain way to give birth with less pain (yeah right!), or manage your energy and nervous system, you probably recognize the importance of BREATH in these circumstances. But how often do we use our breath daily, consciously, to regulate our emotions and mange our energy?

It just so happens that breath is another one of the primary inputs into our energetic system. If creating a high level of wellness and energy is important to you, then becoming a bit more aware of your breath and using it as a tool is a great way to achieve that goal. In fact, our bodies are mostly made up of water and oxygen (65%). If being more of who we are naturally helps us feel at our best, then giving our bodies more O2 is definitely a great strategy.

I recently learned that while working at a computer, adults’ breathing rate increases by 30% to 18 breaths per minute, which can lead to hyperventilation, increased neck and shoulder tension and fatigue. Add coffee to that equation, and “Houston…we’ve got a problem!” And, since the majority of us are technologically ON all the time with our “smart” tools, is it no wonder we are exhausted, tense and, literally, running out of breath?

Personally, I LOVE my productivity tools, but, I, too, understand the importance of being aware of my breath and using it proactively to help energize me and give me a greater sense of well being.

Here’s a simple way to breathe more life into your mind, body and soul:

Begin to associate sitting with breathing. When you get into your car in the morning take a deep, expanding belly breath and blow it out through your nose. Do this at least three times before you turn on the ignition. Try breathing in slowly to the count of four and slowly exhaling to the count of four.

Then, when you get to your office and sit down at your desk do the same thing. When you need a potty break, guess what? Do it again! (Not kidding). When you sit down to eat, do it again. Continue this throughout the day during those “breaks” when you sit down to begin a new task. Pretty soon you’ll have created the awareness and habit of sitting and breathing—giving you many tiny moments of delicious breath and consciousness.

If you’re super busy and can only take one deep breath each time, that’s okay. It’s a great start and will make a big difference.

Try it out and see how you feel. Ahhh!

Share your outcomes with me below.

Sharing is caring!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Namaste… Monique

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Morning Prayer to the Four Airs

I give thanks that I have risen again today and to the Great Rising of Life Itself.
As the sun brightens up the sky and earth,
may my soul be bright with gratitude for all the good things in my life.
May I be generous in sharing these with others.
I give thanks that I have risen again today and to the Great Rising of Life Itself.
As the trees, rivers, animals and everything sing their songs of life,
may my soul sing the song of my heart.
May I sing gladly whether in joy or in sorrow,
and may it help me find humor and laughter in the day.
I give thanks that I have risen again today and to the Great Rising of Life itself.
As the sun crosses the sky to where it will set in the west,
may my soul proceed on its journey through life.
May I keep the vision of my life ever before me,
and may I have faith that my life has meaning.
I give thanks that I have risen again today and to the Great Rising of Life Itself.
As everything in nature strives to live and survive,
may my soul be strong in its struggles.
May I meet adversity with courage and hope.
I give thanks that I have risen again today and to the Great Rising of Life Itself.
As the earth spreads out from me to the horizon,
may my soul expand to embrace it.
May I speak the truth of the land
and take responsibility for my life.

–Colleen Deatsman & Paul Bowersox

Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

Namaste, Monique

A Montana Walkabout - M. Catoggio

I’m so excited! I remember being entranced by novels at the age of 16. I would pick one up on a weekend morning and not close it shut until the sun went down the same day. Sidney Sheldon and Danielle Steel were my favorite authors back then. Good stuff! I don’t believe I’ve read a novel since, mostly because I became fascinated with self-actualization books. What I’ve quickly realized through The Walk is that we also can learn some hearty lessons via a good novel—one that mimics the real life situations many people endure.

Are novels that far-fetched? Some, yes. But all we need to do is turn on the nightly news to experience the realness of our lives.  The Walk is exceptional, and that “I can’t put it down” feeling I had as a young reader has returned.

I’ve chosen to read and blog about The Walk: A Novel, by Richard Paul Evans for two reasons. First, because I have been craving the “Calgon—Take Me Away” sensation a good novel gives me, and second, because the description of this one in particular felt appropriate to be reading right now. I believe the author knew what he was doing creating a piece such as this one, right now, when so many people in our country have lost so much of what was a big part of them—a career, a marriage, a home, or as in the case of The Walk, all of the above and then some.

In the first chapter of the book, the main character, Alan Christoffersen, has this to say…

Life has taught me that to fly, you must first accept the possibility of falling.”

He has fallen hard, and I have to admit that going through the motions with him was not easy. I was holding my breath, clinching my hands, screaming (inside…didn’t want to frighten my little ones!), and crying heavily. Alan definitely takes you for the ride.

In the middle of the book (yes, I’m already almost finished with this one after just one day!) he explains what he’s been through to a stranger he meets in a small town. It’s a great summary of the novel:

“(I had the) Classic riches to rags story. I had the perfect life. And in less than six weeks it was gone. I owned a Seattle advertising agency. Actually, money was only a small part of it. One day my wife was thrown from a horse. She was paralyzed from the chest down. Then a month later, she died from complications. While I was taking care of her, my business partner stole my agency, and my home went into foreclosure. I lost everything. That’s when I decided to walk away.”

He walked all right—3,600 miles to the farthest point from Seattle—Key West.

I guess in a spiritual way I was called to this novel because of the many benefits one can receive from walking. Aside from exercise, walking can be a form of mindful meditation, and for me, it has always been a source of creativity. I can not only come to closure on issues that are “in my way,” but also come up with some great ideas while going for a walk. Or, as I like to say, the answers and ideas come to me.

In the novel, Alan has this to say about his decision to walk…

“In that moment it was clear to me what I had to do…the only thing left for me to do. I needed to walk far away. I believe that in spite of the chains we bind ourselves with, there’s a primordial section of the human psyche that is still nomadic and still yearns to roam free. We see evidence of this in the walkabouts of the Australian aborigines and the Spirit Walk of the native Americans. But it’s not new. Every generation has dreamed of roaming. Deep in our hearts everyone wants to walk free.”

You will find many aha moments while reading The Walk, and there are definitely lessons the author hopes we will learn from his masterpiece. Things like, walking a day in your father’s shoes (Alan’s mother died when he was young and now he understands—a bit—what his father went through); listening to your intuition (his no good, crooked partner); not living beyond your means (the success of his agency enticed them to have it all NOW), and taking the time to smell the roses (would his wife have had the accident if he had taken her up on her invitation to spend the day together instead of rush to work as usual?). And, there are many more lessons we can learn as Alan begins his journey—on foot— to Key West.

One final one that truly made me stop and think, and I’ll close with this, is the transition of death. I see so many individuals struggle and fall into deep darkness at the loss of a loved one. In the book, Alan is definitely in the pit of that darkness. When we lose someone it is hard to find the light in the darkness. For many, they never find that light. Here are a few passages in the book spoken by a small town stranger (to Alan) that helped me feel lighter about death when I walked in Alan’s shoes:

“That’s all death requires of us, to give up living. The thing is, the only real sign of life is growth. And growth requires pain. So to choose life is to accept pain. Some people go to such lengths to avoid pain that they give up on life. The irony is, in the end their escape becomes more painful than what they are avoiding….You know, (Alan) she’s not really gone. She’s still a part of you. What part of you is your choice. She can be a spring of gratitude and joy, or she can be a fountain of bitterness and pain. It is entirely up to you…The greatest secret of life is that we find exactly what we’re looking for. In spite of what happens to us, ultimately we decide whether our lives are good or bad, ugly or beautiful.”

At this point in the story, Alan has only walked for a handful of days. Some may get the feeling that he’s given up, that he is weak for not fighting for his agency, for his home, for his life. But is he weak? There is a powerful Zen quality to this story that I appreciate. Sometimes the transformation we seek is in letting go instead of holding on and fighting. I believe Alan is powerful and courageous, and he is on his way to finding that within him which will lead him home—wherever that may be.

How can you choose happiness in this moment?

What in your life may you be seeing as bad or ugly, which can instead be a source of beauty for you?

Walk on, and have a wonderful week.

Namaste,

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.

Blog Challenge! #best09

December 11, 2009

Check this out! What a great way to appreciate what precious and simple gifts 2009 has brought us all. As a happy blogger I’m deciding to participate with many others in this challenge, share in others’ great ’09 moments, and hopefully, get some great tips along the way.

The idea is to micro blog about the topic of the day (25 topics in December). I’m not starting on time, and so I’m just choosing to pick and choose some memorable topics and moments which apply to me and that I wish to share.  So, you’ll hear from me a bit this December! Hope you don’t mind. 🙂

I particularly like a few of the topics I’ve missed, so I will begin with them in order to catch up. And away we go!

Dec. 1 – Trip – My best trip this year was to Chicago with my Junior High School girlfriends (Las Sucias….Lina, Kiki, Ody, Anne, Rosie and Audra). We have been taking trips each year for nine years. This was my first time in Chicago, and I absolutely fell in love with the city and the people. My favorite moment was taking the SPEED Architectural Tour and getting super soaked. You know when you laugh so hard you think you’re going to pee??? It was one of those moments. Nice. Thanks for a wonderful time, Chicago! But, mostly, I can be anywhere with my “girls” and be perfectly content. I love you, Ladies!! XXXOOO

Out and About in CHI!

Dec. 4 – Book – Hands down, the best book I’ve read this year is Energy Leadership by Bruce D Schneider. Yes, Bruce, I’m giving you a plug!! I love Bruce, iPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching), and I can honestly say that reading this book solidified my desire to become a Professional Leadership Coach, specializing in the study of energy. This book showed me exactly how a company could be turned around using the Energy Leadership Index and Energy Leadership Coaching. Very exciting stuff that gets me going!!

Dec. 5 – Night Out – OMG! I was reborn the night I was invited to attend a friend’s party at a hole in the wall bar just a few blocks away from my house (good thing for those very late nights!). I am a natural-born performer (former dancer and kick but karaoke singer!), so when I saw the encyclopedia-sized Karaoke book in the 7 Seas Bar, I about lost it. I had a blast belting out my favorite tunes with my friends, letting loose, and hanging out with the most random people I’ve ever met. Fun night. Now… a monthly tradition.

Dec. 6 – Workshop or Conference – Absolutely my iPEC coaching program weekend trainings in Tampa, FL with my fellow coaches. You all ROCK! Much love, always.

Dec. 8 – Moment of Peace – Ok…don’t laugh…but, sometimes, the only place I can be still and meditate in the dark for 10 or so minutes is my bathroom! Sad, but true.  Every morning after my shower, this is my “get my morning off on the right foot” ritual. Regardless of the location, it shall continue for my sanity!

Dec. 9 – Challenge – Something that really made me grow this year was taking a huge leap of faith, together with my husband, and launching our new venture http://scubanation.com. Yes, the unknown can be risky and scary, but also can be down right exciting! Pursue your passion and success shall follow.

Celebrating at the ScubaNation.com Launch Party

Whew! I think I’m caught up now. I can’t promise I will blog each day this month, but I will be back soon to continue my #best09!

Enjoy and celebrate the best of your year!

Monique