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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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funny

“One must give value to their existence by behaving as if one’s very existence were a work of art.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

Bring more creativity, fun and play into your life everyday by implementing 2 simple actions. A little goes a long way! Creating everything you want is FUN and easier than you may think!

The path to creating your best life is a journey of exploration, self- discovery and fun. It’s not going to happen all on its own though. We need to help the universe by telling it exactly what we want. Then it will start co-creating with us in partnership so we achieve our goals faster and with ease.

What if you say, “Dana, I don’t know what I want?” or you could say “I know what I want but have not been able to achieve it yet?” or you may be somewhere in between…wherever you are these exercises are highly effective and will help you to get clear and empowered around your goals. You will experience amazing results, that is, if you do the work.

I want to get you started powerfully, so I am requesting you to please write the words “I am ready to receive!” in the comment line at the bottom of the blog. Please take a second and do this now…

Congratulations! You just took the first step closer to achieving your goals. Thank you for receiving my contribution. Remember nothing is what it seems and every action counts. Most importantly you are now officially out of your head. You successfully transitioned from a fantasy world of “thinking about doing something” to declaring a powerful statement in the real world by doing it!

 

Action 1 – Journaling – Unlocking Creative Energy

Write 3 full pages a day. This 15 minute investment in you is priceless! Here’s why…

 

Untitled This is a 15 minute investment in yourself that will pay out 1000 times over. Journaling is a simple and effective exercise to awaken the creative energy within you. But don’t just take my word for it. Here is what the Harvard Business School has to say about it.

“According to a new working paper from Harvard Business School, setting aside 15 minutes to write at the end of the workday is enough to make you better at your job”. When people have the opportunity to reflect, they experience a boost in self-efficacy,” says HBS professor Francesca Gino. “They feel more confident that they can achieve things. As a result, they put more effort into what they’re doing and what they learn.” The journaling employees had 22.8% higher performance than those that did not journal. “In the field study, we were asking people to work less,” Gino says. “It’s counterintuitive, because you think you want to use those 15 minutes to keep working, but it actually leads to better performance.”

The great news about the journaling I am asking you to do is that all it requires is literally writing the thoughts in your head on paper. You are not telling a story. It does not have to be creative. You could start by writing your grocery list, what happened at work, what you forgot to do today. You could write “I have nothing to say” or you could write about one of the leading questions I have written below to get you started. I promise by the 3rd page you will get something of value for yourself. Just be open, let go of your expectations/criticisms and allow yourself to experience the exercise. The journaling is a vehicle for you to clear out the noise and awaken your inner giant, your creator within, and hear what your heart is trying to tell you.

As humans we have these BIG ideas of goals and dreams we want to achieve and then the brain kicks in with these hardwired 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th thoughts which bring up questions, concerns, fears, past experiences, “logic”, all thoughts that stop you from achieving your goals. The brain does this to “protect” us. However, it is time we learn to outsmart our own thought process and reinvent the way we perceive and create the things we want in our lives. The physical act of writing what we want down so that our eyes can see it is extremely important to your success.

So, get writing! Let whatever wants to come out, come out. Do not judge, access or criticize anything you write. Give yourself FULL PERMISSION to SAY ANYTHING YOU WANT! And I mean ANYTHING! I guarantee you will find things to say and once you get past all the concerns, complaints and judgements of the 1st page of your journaling the brain will open up and you will start to discover some juicy information and insights that will give you clarity and direction in your life. Questions will be answered and new clear actions and opportunities will present themselves to you like magic. Things that you thought were not possible, will now become possible. You will find yourself asking, “Why didn’t I think of that before?”

At first I resisted this exercise and now I look forward to it. Resistance, also known as boredom, is just more of your brain stopping you from achieving your goals, there is nothing to fear. Go for it! Your future is calling and you are ready!

Some questions to get you started journaling:

1. What did “play” mean to me as a child? What does “play” mean to me as an adult? What does it look like to play in a healthy, positive way as an adult? What would it look like for me to bring more play into my life, family, relationships, work, goals, and community?

2. When you are 85 years old what are some goals you would want to have achieved when you look back on your life and say, “What a ride! I played full out and have no regrets”. If you are 100% healthy when you are 85 what are 5 things you would give yourself full permission to go out and experience?

 

Action 2 – Put You First – Create & Receive

Write down 20 things that you love and that bring you joy then do 3 of them every day. Stop saying you don’t have time. No judgement is required for this exercise. Put it in your calendar and just do it!

 

Your list can include small things like taking 30 minutes a week to read that book you have wanted to read for the last year, going to the movies, buying a house or planning a trip to Spain by starting to research flights online. Break down the large items into smaller steps, and allow yourself to fully enjoy the smaller things. Know that the smaller things you do, like get your nails done or play tennis with your friends, are equally as important to your big goals and must be valued and treated with the same care.

I had a client that said she didn’t want to put down exercise because she did not have the full hour or two that she needed to do her workout, so she was not exercising at all. This happened to be an area of her life that was very important to her. I said to her, “Why can’t you start with taking a 10 minute walk around your neighborhood to get the ball rolling and accomplish that goal?  Why does it have to be all or nothing?” This is very important. If you get caught in this trap recognize it for what it is and do something small now and over time you will find ways to expand upon it and create more time. Just start! Taking an action and being in action is the most important thing!

Allow yourself to receive self-love and care. The more you let down your walls and receive your own self-love the more goodies the universe will bring to you, because you have told the universe that you are ready to receive! Receiving is one of the most vulnerable and courageous things we can do as human beings because then we give up all rights to complain about our lives when we create everything we want. I promise you it is worth it. The grass is greener on the other side you just have to keep walking and stay focused. Your brain will throw you curve balls. Do not get distracted. You will start to see the people and things in your life that are distracting you and you will be able to takes actions to reduce or eliminate those obstacles with ease. You will experience a huge sense of relief when you let go of what and who no longer serves you. The path will leave a trail…it’s your job to keep taking the next step.

BONUS:

Register on www.AwakenYourInnerGiant.com to receive a FREE BONUS EXERCISE.

 


 

Awaken Your Inner Giant CREATIVELY!

Imagine your life and your world expanding. Imagine yourself AWAKENING to new levels. Can you see yourself CREATING and MANIFESTING everything your heart desires? Can you then see yourself UNLEASHING that new you to the world?

A new AWESOME one day workshop has been designed for just that purpose. This is not a workshop where you just sit all day listening to people drone on endlessly with information…OH NO!!

Our workshop is perfect balance of peaceful reflection and high energy interactive exercises so you experience the best of both worlds. You will play, reach deep inside, write, create art and you may even do some dancing…but we can’t give it all away. There are many more surprises that you must attend to see. It’s an amazing day I can promise you. When you tap into and explore your creative brain you discover something magical. You will discover new solutions to problems, new opportunities for action, and new results. You will see how you can finally achieve, new dreams and create and a new found confidence. Your light shines bigger and bolder than ever before lighting the way to clarity of purpose and excitement to move forward achieving your goals with ease.

Are you interested? You should be, it’s your life and you only get this one. It’s time for you to make a creative investment in yourself. It’s a day packed full of fun. You can strengthen old bonds, make new friends and connect with a community of people uplifting and supporting each other so that we all rise together.

It’s time! CLICK HERE for more information and join us.

Register now and receive 10% off the

“Awaken Your Inner Giant Creatively” class

for a limited time using coupon code: LWL10

 


Dana DellaCamera — Summer of WellbeingDana DellaCamera holds a Master of Science degree in Management and Human Resources from FIU. She is a Creativity and Professional Development Speaker, Life Coach and Performer. As a performer and a Life Coach Dana is extremely excited to be able to combine both of her loves and launch her first Creativity Workshop in 2015 through FIU Life Well Led. Her goal is to eliminate any barriers to creativity which often go unnoticed because they are so ingrained in us. Once we eliminate these barriers we are able to discover what we are passionate about newly take new actions and dream new dreams. Through this process, Dana encourages her clients to play more, exercise compassion throughout the growth process, make mistakes, draw outside the lines and live life on your own terms authentically.
www.danadellacamera.com
www.awakenyourinnergiant.com

For Summer of Wellbeing this week I continue blogging about John Kabat-Zinn’s book, Mindfulness for Beginners. In the vlog below I explain a key concept from Part 3: that we already possess wellbeing and joy, but too often our heads are stuck in the storm clouds that life brings, that we are not aware of all the goodness in our lives. Watch the video below and share your thoughts!


super-mama

 

The superhero cape gets way more credit than it should.

Here’s why: the cape has become a symbol for perfection. We strive to be perfect mothers, sisters and partners. We want to be perfect friends, colleagues, and bosses. We want to have perfect bodies, skin, and hair.

What I have found is that so many of us put so much unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect. To be a superhero. To be what really is a fictional character to begin with.

Our cape is so tightly fastened, it is choking us. And before we know it, we are living our lives without really experiencing it.

So, let’s ditch that cape and release the weight of the world off your shoulders…so you can start to experience the awesomeness we call LIFE!

 

1. Stop feeling guilty.

Ever feel guilty about missing your child’s soccer game or leaving the office early? When we put up this wall of guilt, it negatively affects our relationships and makes it hard to savor our blessings. Confront situations when you feel guilty, put things in perspective and just plain move on.

 

2. Ditch your superhero cape.

Wearing a superhero cape all the time is exhausting. The urge to do it all yourself is really an addiction to perfection. But, guess what? Doing your best is good enough. Remember: the pursuit of perfection prevents progress. I invite you to begin a new pursuit: the pursuit of perspective.

 

3. Don’t compromise yourself.

When you say “yes” to something you know deep down you wanted to say “no” to, you unnecessarily burden yourself. Sometimes, saying “no” to others means saying “yes” to you. It’s as simple as saying no gracefully, and offering a solution or alternative that better suits you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

 

4. Accept help.

Did you know that you can’t breathe out without taking a breath in first? In the same way, I invite you to accept help, support and love from those around you. Allowing others to help you frees you up to be the best version of yourself. Accepting help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of grace. After all, if you want to be a great giver, you need to be a great receiver first.

 

5. Recruit the right people for your life.

Who’s in your army, and who’s hating on it? Take a good look at the people in your life, and identify those individuals that help bring you up, as well as those who just bring you down. Clean house accordingly and surround yourselves with people who love you unconditionally, support you, and lift you up.

 

6. Be grateful.

Practice gratitude! Shift your perspective to be positive and optimistic, to look at what you have instead of what you don’t have. Every morning when you wake up, think of three things you are grateful for. Release the fear of “what if” and be grateful for “what is.”

 

7. Celebrate YOU!

Work hard, celebrate harder! You deserve to celebrate yourself the same way you’d enthusiastically celebrate a friend’s birthday. What’s all this hard work for, anyway? Celebrate with a dance, a high five, dinner or a trip. You don’t need to land a huge client or a big promotion in order to celebrate your awesomeness.

 

How will you take off your super hero cape this summer? What will you commit to?

 


 

Luly B. — Summer of Wellbeing

Speaker  |  Coach  |  Author

Click here to step into my virtual living room and step into your greatness!

www.lulyb.com

 

“You are never not whole. While we may long for it, the great irony is that it is already here in any and every moment, and it is already ours.”
 —John Kabat-Zinn
mindfulness-purpleI just got through reading section two (Sustaining) of Mindfulness for Beginners by John Kabat-Zinn, and I have a new favorite verb!

AWARENESSING (verb) – The dynamic process of being aware. It has no end state. Life itself becomes the meditation process.

We take lots of action every day. We shower, brush our teeth, read, drive, eat, exercise, talk, listen, yell, cry, laugh, think, cook, watch TV, etc. We do a lot! How often, though, can we say that we are AWARENESSING? If you happen to be one of those individuals who regularly practices mediation or other forms of mindfulness, perhaps you are raising your hand and saying, “Me!! I do awarenessing!” If you do, celebrate, because you’re really onto something. Something that can and will change your life.

If you don’t practice mindfulness, then consider the two points I’ve honed in on below, as darn good reasons to develop a mindfulness practice.

Optimize Your Wellbeing

As we’ve posted in many blogs during this summer so far and during last year’s Summer of Wellbeing, there are many ways to approach and ignite our wellbeing. Kabat-Zinn suggests that mindfulness is highly applicable for us if we want to optimize our own wellbeing. This means that although we may be partnering with doctors, surgeons, therapists or healers to help us feel better or get out of illness, through mindfulness we are taking responsibility for whatWE can do to create the optimal condition of our mental, emotional and physical functioning of ourselves.

Through this optimization, or as I like to refer to it, owning our power, we begin to understand and live from the perspective that WE ARE ALREADY AND ARE ALWAYS WHOLE, even if we have problems or illnesses. I hope you read this sentence a few times! Take it in. Through moment-by-moment awarenessing we can truly live out this truth. There is nothing to fix in mindfulness. Instead, “We pour energy in the form of attention and awareness into what is already right with us—what is usually taken for granted.” I hope you read this a few times too!

 

See Clearly Again

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of seeing a Tony Robbins clip, where he talks about the three steps we need to take to truly get out of our way and experience an incredibly joyful and powerful life— (1) Success leaves clues! ID those strategies that leave clues of success for you. (2) Change your story! (3) Change your state! I won’t go into the details in this post, other than to elaborate on these stories we tell ourselves, the stories that hold us back from moving forward and LIVING in our power. These stories are false stories. They are tall tales. You want the truth? The truth that we know deeply but are not seeing? Awarenessing will get you there!

“Mindfulness is about awareness—it’s capacity to free us from our own habits of self-diminishment and of ignoring what is most important in our lives.
It creates ‘clear seeing’ – knowing the actuality of things rather than being caught in our misperceptions and misapprehensions of reality.It clears us from our habits of self-disctraction.

Want a way out of your life that’s on auto-pilot, where your thoughts make you believe things that you are not? You and I are so much more—so much bigger than stories we are telling ourselves. We can change both our stories and our state through awarenessing – through mindfulness.

Because I love science and data (it supports my woo-woo tendencies!), I’ll share this from the book as well. It’s just too cool not to share! 

A recent study from the University of Toronto has shown that there are different networks in the brain for different kinds of self-referencing of experience. One network, termed the Narrative Focus (NF), is active when we build a story based on our experience. It involves a great deal of  thinking, often coupled with rumination and worry. A second network, termed the Experiential Focus (EF), is active when we are grounded i what is being experienced in the present moment, when we are every much in the body and in unfolding sensory experience – without all the evaluation of the narrative network.

The study found that people who train in mindfulness showed an increase in activity in the EF network and a decrease in the activity in the NF network. This is one example of how training in mindfulness can actually influence how the brain processes experience – in this case, how you experience your life unfolding and what you tell yourself about it. It is not that the EF is superior to the NF. Both are necessary to live an integrated and balanced life. But when the NF predominates, especially out of awareness, it can very much limitour understanding of our selves and of what might be possible. 

So, via awarenessing – this one action that can really change our lives, we pay attention in new ways. We see new things and feel new things. We tap into our true story, which shall set us free.

I’m all about freedom. Feeling free to be me, to live in my WHOLENESS.

How about you? How can awarenessing set you free?

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Namaste,
Monique

“Do what you love.”

We’re all familiar with this phrase yet few of us really take its advice.   Have you ever used it to convince yourself of a path you must take?  Isn’t it funny that when someone does, everyone else thinks they’re crazy?

Here’s my take on that….

I think we were all born with a purpose and no map.

The purpose is what drives us.  What we love to do and wouldn’t mind doing forever if given the opportunity.

The map we must create ourselves.   It’s created by knowing with full conviction where you need to go and not stopping until you get there.  This map is written as you go or sometimes in sections, tweaking it along the way a little to the North, left or right, etc.

 If I had a penny for every single time someone tells me, “I’m tired but I don’t know why”, I’d be writing this sitting in my 80 foot yacht.   This feeling of being “tired” groggy, or a case of the walking dead, I believe, is just your heart sending signals to your brain that we can’t keep going the wrong way.  It’s your heart saying, “I need to find my purpose, please. “

Your brain’s response is to send the archenemy, Fear.  Brain needs to know you’re ready for anything that comes your way (like those that will think you’re crazy).   You must believe in your heart that Fear is a giant bully, only if you let him.  You must push Fear hard, and drag his ass to the ground.  Once Fear is laying on the ground panting for breath and afraid of you, this is when the brain knows it can’t mess with you.  Put on your walking shoes warrior, you’re ready for that road ahead.  You can handle bad weather, people’s negative comments or any other negative influence that will try darn hard to stop you along the way.  All these are needed in order to test you on how bad you really want it.  Next thing you know, the brain and the heart work together to draft out that map we all want to find.

But remember this: Finding that map will take courage, determination and perseverance. But it’s not life threatening. You’ll just be asked every single day, “How bad do you want it?”  Don’t use finances, family, upbringing, age or even certain situations as an excuse. If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way.

During the drafting of my life map,  I figured along the way that helping people is what makes me the happiest.  I discovered, this is my main purpose in life.  I actively take courses, attend workshops, read books, and (my favorite) listen to as many podcasts on the subject as I possibly can.  Every chance I get, I work on what I’ve decided to pursue: to help people. I don’t plan on ever stopping.  My goal is to enjoy and to exercise my purpose for as long as I live.  I’m reaping the benefits by just doing this.

So next time you tell yourself or your kids “Do what you love”  say it with conviction.  Doesn’t matter what it is they want to be that day.  Say it and mean it.

Un abrazo!
Ralph

Ralph Quintero — Summer of Wellbeing

Ralph knows a thing or two about what it takes to make a business successful. He’s built and sold multiple businesses, has transacted over $1 billion in sales, and has worked with both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies all over the world. Ralph’s experiences as both an entrepreneur and high-level corporate executive give him a very unique perspective into what is working in the business world and how entrepreneurs can apply these things to grow their businesses. This makes him one of the most sought after experts on the topics of entrepreneurship and business development. He’s a dad, serial entrepreneur and a Happy Someone. You can find him just about anywhere online @RalphQuintero. You can also check out some of his projects at http://www.BaldOneMedia.com & http://www.AppYourBiz.com
mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice that provides endless opportunities to cultivate greater intimacy with your own mind
and to tap into and develop your deep interior resources for learning, growing, healing, and potentially for transforming 
your understanding of who you are and how you might live more wisely and with greater wellbeing, meaning and happiness in the world. 

Summer of Wellbeing continues with my reading of Mindfulness for Beginners by John Kabat-Zinn. In the book, Kabat-Zinn covers Entering, Sustaining, Deepening, Ripening, and Practicing. He makes it clear that it’s a journey we’re on, but what a lovely picture he paints!

Let’s ENTER, shall we?

A Practice that doesn’t discriminate

There are so many reasons why we should consider “entering” this practice. Let’s begin by understanding that Mindfulness is for everyone and is a universal practice. Kabat-Zinn addresses the idea thought by many that because it is a form of meditation it is only for Buddhists. I really enjoyed what he had to say about this. He shares that, Mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” It is all about attention and awareness, which are both human capacities innate in all of us. Additionally, he shares that statutes of Buddha as well as other Buddhist objects serve as representations of states of mind rather than of divinity. Buddha himself symbolizes the embodiment of wakefulness—coming into awareness.
 
 

A filter through which to experience everything

As I read on I couldn’t help but to clearly see how through mindfulness our filter by which we see and experience everything changes. Kabat-Zinn tells us that there are two complementary ways to do it: formally and informally. Formally means engaging in making some time every day to practice (with guided meditations). Informally means letting the practice spill over into every aspect of our waking lives in an uncontrived and natural way. In the latter method I can see mindfulness supporting every single dimension of wellbeing: how we love ourselves and grow in intimacy with our own being; how we eat and move; how we think, explore our feelings, and communicate, and how we approach our work and aspects of pleasure and play in our lives.
 
“Ultimately, I see mindfulness as a love affair— with life, with reality and imagination, with the beauty of your own being, 
with your heart and body and mind, and with the world.” —John Kabat-Zinn
Let’s take wellbeing a bit further.  As you can imagine, and as studies are continually citing, the health benefits of mindfulness are endless. I’ll touch on a few that are highlighted in the book. First, mindfulness has the ability to shift us from our right-sided prefrontal cortex to the left (side) where there is greater emotional balance, and where positive immune system changes are induced. Perhaps years ago this information would not have been so fascinating, but today when we are constantly preaching the benefits of emotional intelligence for everyday effective life leadership, it is pretty awesome! Sticking with our brains, we know that mindfulness activates networks in our cerebral cortex that are involved in direct experiencing of the present moment, and activates less those networks that are involved in generating narratives about one’s experiences. You know…those stories we tell ourselves!! (BAM!) Pretty cool, huh? Finally, as our guest blogger last month shared with us (Janet Altman), mindfulness also thins out the right amygdala, a structure in the limbic system that loves to put us in fight or flight situations. As Janet would suggest, let’s stop running from that charging Buffalo!

Breath is a great beginning

“We drink in the air on each in-breath, giving it back to the world on each out-breath. The last breath is gone and the next one hasn’t come yet. It’s always a matter of THIS ONE.” Kabat-Zinn so beautifully reminds us that although we often don’t realize it, our breathing happens with our without us! We would not be alive without it. Our first breath was our beginning…our entrance into this beautiful world. We can “enter” this practice through focusing on our moment by moment breath. At the beginning it is important to focus on something (like breathing, a sound, or an object). But through sustained practice it grows and develops into the awareness of awareness itself. Focusing on our breath is a great start, and a “radical act of love and sanity” (I’ll add…as Air Supply expressed…in a very hustled and hurried world!).
 
 

Creating a new default baseline

I connected so deeply with this last concept I’ll share with you. In fact, as I took in all Kabat-Zinn had to say about Entering, I couldn’t help but think about a few situations life wanted to challenge me with this last month, which threw me into the black hole of my thoughts. Have you been there? You know, that place where you associate your thoughts with who you are, with who you think you should be, and with who others want you to be? It’s also that place where we feel we have to run at a ridiculous speed to solve everything “now”.  In fact, we don’t even need big universal tests to get us into those ego thoughts, because we usually are already there . This is the difference between doing and being. It is really only through this awareness that Kabat-Zinn speaks of that we can release our thoughts (like a running stream) and our judgments of ourselves and others in every moment.
These thoughts we create become our “default”. Through mindfulness we have the ability to “befriend our thoughts and hold them in gentle awareness.” It’s not about stopping them or changing them, but holding them in a space where they don’t overtake us or “dictate our responses to life no matter what their content and emotional charge. They then can become workable rather than imprisoning.” Kabat-Zinn likens this practice to turbulence. “You can descend beneath the surface thirty or forty feet or so and you’ll find no turbulence at all, just gentle undulation.”

Let’s close with this powerful thought, which helps drive in the importance of creating our new default— BEING of purpose, intention and impact.
 
“Often our lives become so driven that we are moving through our moments to get to better ones at some later point. 
If we are not careful, it is all too easy to fall into becoming more of a human doing than a human being, and forget who is doing all the doing and why. Then our doing can come out of our being and be much more integrated and effective.”

We may feel as though we are doing nothing when we set off to be mindful, but it is truly an exercise in everything!
Thank you for sharing your last few precious moments with me! Take a long, delicious, deep breath, and have a wonderful day.
Namaste,
Monique