Tag: mindfulness

Self-Care

Winter for many is a time when colds and flus become a menace in our lives. If this is true for you then finding ways to stay conscious of what your body is telling you is paramount. Notice things like if you feel more tired than usual, or a tiny tickle in your throat, as such observations and treating them can be the difference between having a cold and it developing into flu.

Many of us are taught not to trust our bodies. If you listen, your body will tell you when it is time to slow down. Often we wait until someone of authority such as a doctor or our mother tells us to rest or to take a preventative homeopathic remedy, rather than thinking of it ourselves. By listening to our bodies and trusting in them we begin to take better care of ourselves. By being more aware of our bodies we may prevent or lessen the impact of the colds and flus we encounter during the winter season or any season.

Self-care is a lifestyle; it incorporates daily habits to ensure that you are taking time for yourself in the best possible ways – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Some ideas on how to enrich your practice of self-care on a daily basis:

  • Every morning set your alarm early to allow for 10-20 minutes of meditation.
  • Following your meditation do a quick body scan. This will allow you to hear what your body has to say.
  • Mindfulness will help you slow down and notice the details around you and within you. Once you are more aware, you might notice that tickle in your throat before it becomes a cough. For example: Every time you touch your phone, think about that phone. What color is it, what is the shape, how does it feel against your hand? Doing this will help you be in the moment every time you touch your phone. Eventually this will begin to occur naturally with other things or events as well.
  • Unplug! Sleep better and leave your devices outside of the bedroom at night.
  • Exercise in whatever way appeals to you. Walk, dance, swim, yoga, the gym. Do something, even if it’s for 10 minutes in your living room. Exercise increases blood flow.
  • Make small changes to create a healthy diet. Establish a routine for meals. Drink more water.
  • Take power naps. 10 to 20 minutes once or twice a day.
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine in the evening and plan for 7-8 hours of sleep. Your body will tell you how many hours you need, listen to it.

               catcleaning“Make yourself a priority in your life. Afterall, it’s your life.” Akiroq Brost


Slipping Mindfulness in and Anxiety Out

When you begin to feel anxious, recognize that anxiety is just a feeling and like all feelings, it is temporary. Consider what you were thinking right before you felt the anxiety, as thoughts create your feelings, not the other way around. Once you know what you were thinking dispute your thought by changing it’s language so that you feel calm. This is the first step in eliminating your anxiety and will allow for practicing mindfulness. Being in the present deliberately is the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness involves being actively in present time, being in the moment, paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Focusing your full attention on your breath will allow you to see your thoughts (positive and negative) as fleeting or transient. Thoughts come and go, they do not define you. Just as anxiety comes and goes, it can be as temporary as the thoughts that created it.

Practice a moment of mindfulness. Here is an easy technique to bring yourself into present time: Use all of your senses and notice what you see, hear, smell, taste, feel what your hands are touching. By doing this simple technique you will immediately be in present time.

Suggestions to fit mindfulness moments into your day:

Start your day right: while drinking your first cup of coffee or tea, focus on the smells, the color, the taste. Think about all of the people who are responsible for you enjoying this warm beverage – the coffee bean farmers, the roasters, the packagers, the shippers, the store clerks and so on. Send them a quiet nod of gratitude.

A doorknob: Every time you put your hand on a doorknob or handle, take a moment to center yourself and breathe. Get yourself in the present moment for even just a few seconds think about where you are, as opposed to where you will be.

Driving: Turn the radio and phone off. Breathe deeply. Enjoy the quiet and experience the moment consciously.

Shopping: Mindfully shop. Whether at the grocery store or at the mall; ask yourself, where was the product made? Choose colors and textures that make you happy. Don’t just buy to buy. Thoughtfully choose your purchase.

Silence your phone: When you are with others, keep your phone on silent or better yet, have it in another room. Be present with other people by giving them your full attention. This will show them they are important to you.

Use mindfulness to quiet anxiety. Mindfulness is simply attention to the here and now. Rather than letting life in thoughts that create negative futures, awaken to the gifts of each moment.


Notice the Little Things

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As October ushers itself in, the subtle shifts of one season surrendering to another become apparent. Do you ever wonder where the time goes? You may ask, “How did September sneak by and leave without warning?” Often the rapid pace of life creates a whirlwind of perpetual motion and we forget to take the time to notice leaves hinting of autumn or the harbingers of rain on its way. Learning to notice the little things in our lives, in nature, and in others can slow time in its tracks and give us those fleeting moments we may have missed had we not paid attention.

George Bemanos, a well-known French author and WWI soldier once said; “Little things mean nothing but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but altogether perfume the air.” How many times when you are in a hurry have you overlooked the setting sun as it paints the sky purple and pink? The majestic colors lost in the moment as you text your friend that you are running late. One way to slow down and take it all in is to have a silent conversation with yourself and breathe. Gently remind yourself that you can take the time to smell those infamous roses or listen to the chirping of a mocking bird; the “to-do” list isn’t going anywhere. Gaining a deeper sense of peace is one of the many benefits of noting the little things Mother Earth has generously given us.

Taking in the nuances of life, such as the leaves dancing on a wall when the sun shines through the window or the ripple of water as the wind grazes over it, brings beauty and connection into our lives. Listen to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof and allow yourself time to reflect, to smile within. Waking up to little things beckons us back to childhood, when noticing was instinctive. Reflect back to the first time you smelled the earthy scent of moist dirt either in a garden or a forest. Close your eyes and harken back to gazing at the stars as a child, marveling at finding the big dipper or seeing a harvest moon. By creating a practice of noticing we can reconnect with that child-like imagination that dares us to dive into our creativity. When you take time to truly see the little things, you begin to appreciate the abundant beauty that has perhaps been invisible in the past.

Noticing the little things, like sadness on a strangers’ face or the look of wonderment in a child’s eyes gives you a peek into the heart of another. Cultivating this practice of paying attention, allows you to be present in your own emotional life as well. When you are present, you live more in the moment, less in fear of the future or regret of the past. Being aware of your posture and body language polishes your intuitive skills and plugs you into the currents of the here and now. Developing sensitivity to the understated signals we receive from others, fosters empathy and positive communication.
By taking note of the small things in your life, you develop a sense of appreciation for all that went un-noticed before. Try watching the quality of your breath. If you pay attention—you can slow it down, which in turn physically provides you with a way to ease stress and calm the nervous system. For example, if you notice that your breathing is shallow and your shoulders are up around your ears; pause and breathe slowly to the count of five. Then exhale slowly to the count of five. Allow your shoulders to slide down the back, the neck elongates as the crown of the head lifts and the sitz bones root.

By noticing the little things in life, the sun on your face on a lazy afternoon, sharing a chat with a friend, creates a life filled with contentment and joy that is not dependent on how much money you have or what you own. .
Perhaps in the upcoming week notice the little things in your life and maybe even write them down. If you live in the middle of a bustling city, find a park or a street where there are lots of trees to admire. Notice your inner feelings and how often you smile. Listen for the sounds of children playing or smell the familiar rich scent of your coffee or tea. Noticing wakes you up to the moments of your life and gives you permission to slow it down. Not all pleasures in life have to be bought. Simply sitting under a tree for a few moments can give you back the freedom to daydream and to reconnect with the many gifts in your life. Noticing the little things gives value to what has been surrounding you all along.



The Holistic World of Music

Music can provide feelings of love, inspiration, relaxation and joy. Which is why some people use music to set a mood. Others will have their favorite symphony playing while they study for exams, and let’s not forget dancing to your favorite song as a form of meditation! Yes music does inspire and provoke us to be who we are in a to the fullest of our abilities, creating mindfulness.

I imagine that music plays many roles in your life as it does in mine. It allows others to have a sense of who we are and what we believe. Consider the ways that music has influenced your life. Music has the power to shift our feelings from joy to sorrow in a split second. It can bring us back to memories we forgot we had or act as a muse and bring us forward to the world we have yet to create. Music has many purposes and abilities. It can be used for healing and communication as both Don Campbell and Tom Kenyon mentor us. They both have schools that teach ways of using one’s voice for healing. There are degrees in Music Therapy offered at many Universities.

American Indians and many African and South American Shamans have been using the drumbeat for centuries to elevate shamans to other dimensions. Yes music is a very powerful source. So the next time you are sitting with your partner, or by yourself for that matter, and you want to change your mood, feelings, or thoughts, just listen to music and notice the difference in your body mind and spirit!

Music can be a beautiful form of meditation, as I speak about in this video: