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Posts tagged ‘meditation’

Stirred Up, Settled Down

“As a result, nature has endowed the human brain with a malleability and flexibility that lets it adapt to the demands of the world it finds itself in. The brain is neither immutable nor static but continuously remodeled by the lives we lead.”― Richard J. Davidson, The Emotional Life of Your Brain

“A short practice that you do every day is better than a long practice you keep putting off to tomorrow.”― Kelly McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

Meditation isn’t complicated and the payback is worth the small investment.
I have been using the free Insight Timer app for three years.
10 to 20 minutes in the morning to set the stage for the day as well as at the end of the day to close it out.
Some guided, nature sounds, mostly music.
Give yourself the gift of reflection, quiet and discernment.
You are worth it.
Continuously remodeling, learning, unlearning, unfolding, becoming.
Stir up by settling down.

“Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness.”― Kelly McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

Church

“Every natural object is a conductor of divinity and only by coming into contact with them... may we be filled with the Holy Ghost.” – John Muir

“Every natural object is a conductor of divinity and only by coming into contact with them… may we be filled with the Holy Ghost.” – John Muir

“Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” – Alice Walker

Sacred surrounds us.
Holy invites and enfolds.
Church isn’t a building.
Church is all around each day.
It’s the sky on fire with pink and orange at days end.
It’s a walk into the woods.
It’s people reaching out, connecting, caring.
In listening.
In laughter.
In gathering.
In solitude.
In tears.
In service.
In generosity.
In frustration.
In patience.
In celebration.
In music, art, poetry.
Hallowed ground.
In awe, praise and wonder of ordinary days.
Church in session.
The Author and Creator abound.
Amen.

“For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.” – William Blake

Stones to Altars

“Prayer is a small fire lit to keep cold hands warm. Prayer is a practice that flourishes both with faith and doubt. Prayer is asking, and prayer is sitting. Prayer is the breath. Prayer is not an answer, always, because not all questions can be answered.”― Pádraig Ó Tuama, Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community

“So let us pick up the stones over which we stumble, friends, and build altars. Let us listen to the sound of breath in our bodies. Let us listen to the sounds of our own voices, of our own names, of our own fears. Let us name the harsh light and soft darkness that surround us. Let’s claw ourselves out from the graves we’ve dug. Let’s lick the earth from our fingers. Let us look up and out and around. The world is big and wide and wild and wonderful and wicked, and our lives are murky, magnificent, malleable, and full of meaning. Oremus. Let us pray.” ― Pádraig Ó Tuama, Irish Poet and Theologian

May you be hurled into the big and wide world, rapt in amazement, wonder and awe.
May you swim in the deep end of magnificent, murky and meaning, buoyed in the ebb and flow.
May you build altars to kneel in praise, gratitude and joy, from the stones and flowers in your path.
May Amen be woven throughout the beginning, middle and end of each day.
Let us pray, receiving and giving, blessed and awake.
Amen.

Change Your Mind

“As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. ” — Adabella Radici

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer

According to research, “mindfulness meditation has been reported to produce positive effects on psychological well-being that extend beyond the time the individual is formally meditating. Over the last three decades mindfulness meditation practices have been increasingly incorporated into psychotherapeutic programs, to take advantage of these benefits. A large body of research has established the efficacy of these mindfulness-based interventions in reducing symptoms of a number of disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and chronic pain, as well as improving well-being and quality of life.  Mindfulness meditation involves the development of awareness of present-moment experience with a compassionate, non-judgmental stance. It has been suggested that this process is associated with a perceptual shift, in which one’s thoughts and feelings are recognized as events occurring in the broader field of awareness.”

To simplify the practice of meditation, I use Insight Timer every morning with guided meditation or music to set the course for the day as well as listening to relaxing music before bed. Our mind naturally resists change, but we can change our minds. Change your mind, change your life. Stop trying to change others, change your life. We don’t need to be in a constant state of fight or flight.

Meditation, gratitude and optimism are powerful practices to create a daily state filled with joy, light and ease amidst challenging circumstances and people. Rise above by going within.

“Things do not change; we change.” – Henry David Thoreau

A Listening

“A LISTENING – Going through Lent is a listening. When we listen to the word, we hear where we are so blatantly unliving. If we listen to the word, and hallow it into our lives, we hear how we can so abundantly live again.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

When the answers are hollow, listen to hear the hallowed;
Speak less, listen more;
Listen to understand rather than to respond;
Be open to a new space of possibility;

I discovered Ann Weems work through listening to Amy Bost Henegar, who I discovered on Insight Timer. When we search with an open mind and heart, one thing leads to the next, connections begin to form and sense-making follows.

May we all be open to listening, changing and growth on our joyful journey to Bethlehem and the difficult journey to Jerusalem. Oasis and desert. Living and dying. Winter to spring. Renewed and strengthened.

“THE WAY TO JERUSALEM IS CLUTTERED – The way to Jerusalem is cluttered with bits and pieces of our lives that fly up and cry out, wounding us as we try to keep upon this path that leads to Life. Why didn’t somebody tell us that it would be so hard? In the midst of the clutter, the children laugh and run after stars. Those of us who are wise will follow, for the children will be the first to kneel in Jerusalem.” — Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

 

 

 

It is What it is

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.” – John Keats

We are creatures who thrive on control and certainty. The past year has been filled with uncertainty and chaos. Lately, I hear a lot of people say “it is what it is,” a statement of acceptance, a prompt to let go of what’s not in our control. Some circumstances, other people, a pandemic, the past belong in this “bucket.” However, our attitude, thoughts, actions, reactions and perspective are not in this bucket. We have agency over these and should not “surrender” to mere acceptance and resignation.

As I look at the date today when I began writing, I realize that we are coming up on the one-year of the pandemic becoming part of the world’s everyday reality. I also realize that it’s in the backdrop for me, not the forefront. The distribution of the vaccine is in the forefront, promising hope and anticipation of getting to the other side of the pandemic and not returning to pre-pandemic times but to a new and even better tomorrow.

We are not there yet to be sure and many have lost loved ones the past year so we are amidst the grieving and trauma of what the pandemic has left in its wake. The dailyness of “pandemic” living has also taken it’s toll. Moving through grief and trauma, whether it be a pandemic or other life altering event, is the only way to the other side.

Daily rituals can expand “it is what it is” thinking to include anticipation of “what’s possible.” My strategies over the past year that have helped me move the pandemic to the backdrop rather than the forefront include training for a marathon, exercising, writing daily, going to the dog park with the girls and meditation/prayer using Insight Timer.

On Insight Timer this morning, I decided to listen to a Ted-Talk by Dr. James S. Gordon founder of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine on Fulfilling Trauma’s Hidden Promise. It is a compelling talk that offers strategies from a psychiatrist, which I am not so I highly recommend taking 20 minutes to listen. Optimism is a strategy and fuel for living that can break patterns that bind. Creativity and meditation are conduits to healing and joy.

“Trauma comes to all of us, and its consequences can be terrible. The good news is that all of us can use tools of self-awareness and self-care to heal our trauma and, indeed, to become healthier and more whole than we’ve ever been.”― James S. Gordon, The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma

There is good news to be found in each day. Pursue it. Each of us are the authors of our own life, so choose the “pen” of hope, faith, anticipation and light to write a beautiful narrative and happy ending.

 

At Ease

“Ours is a time of anxiety because we have willed it to be so. Our anxiety is not imposed on us by force from outside. We impose it on our world and upon one another from within ourselves.” – Thomas Merton

We’re “connected” at all times – texting, email, cell phone … Technology is a major part of what I do in my career everyday, but it’s not a replacement for relationships and reflection. Take time each day to unplug by yourself and to reconnect with others one on one – face to face, not only Facebook to Facebook.

And don’t just buy the hammock and adirondack chairs for decoration. Put them to good use for regular restoration. At ease … that’s an order.

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why." - Eddie Cantor

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” – Eddie Cantor

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