The divine within...

When I first heard the quote that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience,” I was genuinely moved. It resonated with me on such a profound level. Through my yoga and meditation practice, I developed a deeper understanding of what it means to live from this perspective. In a consumeristic society and culture that places so much emphasis on the physical and material, it’s often difficult to remember that we are spiritual beings.

Meditation can help reduce our stress and it can also bring us into the present moment connecting us with the divine. It can help us understand our eternal nature. It can remind us of what is most important in this chaotic world.


So, take a deep breath and give yourself an internal hello. When you hear that “hello” back, know that you are connected to the essence of who you are.

See you tonight where we continue to focus on connecting into our higher selves. And as our friends in Nepal say—“Namaste;” the divine in me recognizes the divine in you.


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Happy Discover's Day!

Happy Discoverer’s Day! 

Rather than looking outside to discover what is out there in the world, take a moment to look within—the path of self discovery can be much more fulfilling and a huge awakening for you. This can bring your life so much more meaning…than moving through life unconsciously.

Rumi says, “You have no need to travel anywhere. Journey within yourself, enter a mine of rubies and bathe in the splendour of your own light.” Take a moment to sit in nature or put on your favorite music and get in touch with the divine that is inside of each of you. Find that place of peace in your intuitive center. Delight in what you may find.


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Appreciating Death....

Yesterday a good friend’s husband was stung by two wasps. He had a reaction that sent him to an almost seizure like state. It was terrifying for her and her 16 year old daughter, as this had never happened before and they feared he may die. After a 911 call and a day spent in the ER, we were all grateful for his recovery and healthy prognosis.

Sometimes it takes moments like this to appreciate all that we have. Death can be our greatest teacher, yet we live in a culture where it is uncomfortable to talk about, let alone admit the fact that we are all going to die at some point. Death teaches us how precious life is. None of us know when it will be our turn to take our last breath. If you knew you had a week left to live, what would you be doing differently in your life right now?

Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, says, “Learn to live as though you are facing death at all times, and you’ll become bolder and more open. If you live life fully, you won’t have any last wishes. You will have lived them every moment. Only then will you have fully experienced life and released the part of you that is afraid of living."

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Really listening...

Last year my PCF meditation buddy, Julie, (who was very resistant to mediation to begin with!) came to class after two months with a big AHA moment for herself. She was eager to share with us that for the first time in her life she felt like she was REALLY listening to whomever she was talking to. She realized that by listening, she was being present in a whole new way. I was so excited for her as that is one of the benefits from meditation—however, it took me years to understand that and for Julie it only took two months.

As an adult with ADD, I find that it is really difficult for me to not interrupt sometimes. I want to finish people’s sentences for them (much to their annoyance!). It takes effort, but I find that if I try to breathe deeply when I am feeling impatient, I can usually put a muzzle on my chops and let my friends complete their thoughts on their own and express themselves in a much more authentic way than if I was to do it for them. 

Take a moment to notice where you are the next time someone is speaking to you. Are you thinking about what you are going to say next? or are you really listening to what this person is saying to you. When you are truly listening to someone you are giving them the best gift there is…the gift of PRESENCE.

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Responding like Mrs. Carol Brady....

It’s amazing to have a 15 year old son who thinks he knows it all…he is certain he knows everything. One would think I would be thrilled to have such a bright son who doesn’t need to be told ANYTHING!!! Whew! However, his cheeky attitude pushes me to my wits end at times. I have really been practicing my deep breathing with his all knowing teenage brain….I am trying to not to wrap my fingers around his neck while I continue my deep breathing exercises and RESPOND to him in a way that models the likes of the Buddha or at least Mrs. Carol Brady.

Tonight will be looking at the difference between responding to an experience vs. reacting to an experience. Through a mindfulness practice, we can learn to take the critical pause in a tense moment. This can have a profound impact on all of our relationships.

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Halloween stuff in AUGUST????

When I went into Safeway last week, I stumbled upon the Halloween decorations on display…in my flu headed haze, I had to check in with myself to see what month it was….yes, it was still August! I thought to myself, “How can I be present in the moment here in August when I am being pushed into the end of October??”

I let go of the little voice in my head telling me I should by the candy and stepped back into the quiet of my mediation sanctuary where I grounded myself into the present moment. We have the capability to do this at anytime. Be here now…in this moment & enjoy!

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"Worry is pointless...."

Before Hurricane Hector arrived, I was mildly freaked out after watching the behemoth from the satellite pictures. After a day of being snappy with my family, my observant hubby sent me the following piece about being in control. It helped me to put some things into perspective.

The Daily Stoic

Humble people worry less than the arrogant. Why is that? Because they aren’t so conceited as to think they have any idea (or control over) what may or may not happen. The poet Rilke put it well: “Life is not even close to being as logically consistent as our worries; it has many more unexpected ideas and many more facts than we do.”

Worry is pointless not only because it rarely makes things better, but also because you’re rarely ever worried about the right thing!

Seneca’s line was that “nothing happens to the wise man contrary to his expectation.” By that the arrogant person might take it to mean that the wise man is so smart that they are aware of all the possibilities. The humble soul knows that is probably not what Seneca meant. They know it’s more plausible that the wise are aware of Murphy’s Law and the absurd randomness of the universe. That is, within the range of expectations of the wise man is the idea that just about anything can happen.

Remember that today when you get anxious. The thing you’re hoping won’t happen, or hoping will happen...well, it’s just as likely that the world has entirely different plans for you. These plans are often things we couldn’t have even comprehended, let alone anticipated or prevented.

So let go a little bit. Don’t worry. It’s unbecoming. It’s arrogant. Be humble instead.

Noticing...not judging....

Yesterday, I was with my 16 year old daughter, Malia, when we were driving by a neighbor’s house under reconstruction. There are some things being done in a rather different style than the other neighbors. I pointed out to my daughter that it annoys me that it is so “different.” She then looked at me, without any judgement, and said, “It only annoys you if you choose to let it annoy you.” Wow. She’s spot on. She is my child who came into the world with a moral compass the size of the Dalai Lama’s. However, when I told my husband what she said, he replied, “It would be nice if she practiced that with her brother (who’s breathing annoys her!). 

One of the goals of mindfulness is to try to view the world through that neutral lens. To be objective in our observations. When we are able to do this, we are less likely to go down the rabbit hole of negative talk. As a result, our calm mind keeps our body calm and in that optimum place of healing and health.

Notice when you are being critical. Instead of beating yourself up over it, just say, “noticing.” This practice will help you feel better about yourself and your day!

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Stubborn Gladness

After I read the morning news and some posts from friends with different traumas or dying pets, I was ready to swim in a dark cup of despair & gloom….then I remembered a podcast with the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, who spoke of living with a “stubborn gladness.” She first heard of this telling from a Jack Gilbert poem that I’ve included below.

 So, I turned off my phone and focused on the chirping birds and silliness of my goofy dog named Moose. Letting go of the blue funk and redirecting my energy towards more cheery aspects of my life, lifted my spirits.

Yes, there is great suffering around us AND we can let it get us down or we can choose to pull out our rose colored glasses and an attitude of “stubborn gladness” to move through the day.

Despite whatever is going on in our lives, it feels so much better to live this way. Take a moment to find those rose colored glasses and put them on for the rest of the day….or for at least a few minutes.

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take a moment

Put those rose colored glasses on!!

A Brief for the Defense by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants. Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women at the fountain are laughing together between the suffering they have known and the awfulness in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody in the village is very sick. There is laughter every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta, and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay. If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction, we lessen the importance of their deprivation. We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil. If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down, we should give thanks that the end had magnitude. We must admit there will be music despite everything. We stand at the prow again of a small ship anchored late at night in the tiny port looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning. To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth all the years of sorrow that are to come.

Finding the sacred in the ordinary...

As I was folding my laundry this morning and eyeing the seemingly endless pile of dirty clothes, I stopped myself from dreading the task. I reminded myself to just breathe. To be in this moment. My body immediately relaxed. I took the moment to be present rather than trying to rush through or find a podcast to distract myself with. This moment is all I have. I listened to the birds chirping noisily at the bird feeder. I smelled the deliciousness of my coffee. I felt the stillness and calm from being present and from quieting my mind. I realized how quickly I am able to shift how I am feeling.

We don’t need to be sitting on a cushion or in a church to feel “spiritual.” When we bring presence into whatever we are doing, we are infusing the sacred into the ordinary. By quieting the little voice in our head, we are giving way for our own spirit to be heard. 

Give your divine self the opportunity to shine today. 

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Letting the truth speak....and listening with an open heart.

Thank you, all, for your condolences about my friend. I rarely post things on Facebook, but I posted what I wrote to you last week. By the end of the day, I had several people tell me they were offended by my post. They wanted to protect Sierraʻs memory/family. I immediately took it down, as the last thing I wanted was to offend anyone I cared about.

On Saturday there was a celebration of life services at Hoʻokipa and a "paddle out." A friend of his spoke on behalf of Angela and his daughters. He spoke of Sierraʻs beautiful spirit that we all fell in love with and how helpful and kind he was. He also openly spoke of Sierraʻs struggles with depression, abuse of alcohol and drugs, and eventual suicide. As difficult as it may have been for them, I was relieved that they wanted to talk about the “elephant in the room.”  His courageous family wanted everyone to know the truth. They also wanted to let everyone know that help is available for any of us, if we were struggling, too. I was deeply touched by their bravery and love. It was a moment of healing for us all. 

When we speak the truth, we are able to use our energy towards healing instead of using it for pretense or show of face. We are able to be more authentic and connected to our true selves. We are closer to an optimum state of healing when we are in alighnment with our truth. We feel better. We can heal.

AUTHENTICITY is not something we have or donʻt have. Itʻs a practice—a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. Itʻs about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen
— Brenne Brown

I miss you, my friend....

I lost of a friend this last week when he decided to end his life by driving off the cliff at Maliko. It was devastating to learn of his passing and how he chose to leave this world. Sadly, I had felt that I lost Sierra a long time ago when he started his trip down the rabbit hole of drugs and alcohol. 

Iʻve seen many crosses by the sides of the road over the years and had always wondered why people paid such homage to them. I understood immediately, as the shock of the news of his death wore off. I wanted to drive out to the place where he ended his life…to feel close to him in some way. Iʻve been twice now. Neither times was I able to feel his presence, but I left a lei and contemplated the life of my beautiful friend, Sierra Emory. I remembered his call to me this year on my birthday…so loving.

A friend suggested to me to walk the beach and find a rock or shell that spoke to me of Sierraʻs spirit. As many of you know, I collect heart shaped coral rocks. When I walked the beach yesterday, I found several hearts that reminded me of Sierra. One was really big and full…bursting almost from the seams. That was Sierra…bursting with love for his friends and family, especially his two daughters. Another heart was full of bumps and lumps…not a perfect shaped, but still a heart…that was Sierra, too…I placed these hearts in the hands of my statue of the Buddha who sits at the top of a little waterfall overlooking my fish pond that my father built. I feel Sierra there, as the water flows from the waterfall surrounded by the flowers. I feel Sierra while I watch the birds eating at my bird feeder. I feel Sierra as my husband holds my hand in comfort. He is with me…right now, in my own heart.

Good bye, my sweet friend, Sierra...may you be at peace...may you know how loved you are by so many…may your daughters know who their father really is…such a beautiful divine being to your core…may we remember your essence and not your tragic ending. I love you.

P.S.

I will remember you this way…down the waterslide with my son, Ryder, and your daughter Eden. This is who you are.

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How to be less of an asshole...

Without going into too many details, last week I had a little bit of a misunderstanding with a friend. When I called to apologize for my part (and quite honestly, it was mostly my fault…), he said he was glad to hear from me, as he felt “attacked” (eye roll for the seemingly obvious fabrication for my communication…), I about lost my cool. However, instead of jumping all over him for his magnification of my not so ZEN communication, I took a breath…and then apologized (swallowed some pride/ego)—as I certainly did not mean for him to feel attacked. Over the course of the next five minutes, he told me three times how grateful he was for my apology. We went on to have a great afternoon together when we got together later.

Dan Harris, author of two meditation books (10% Happier & Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics), says that the real litmus test of whether or not meditation is working isnʻt if whether or not you are able to sit on a cushion for longer periods of time without random thoughts coming into your mind….itʻs whether or not you are any LESS of an “asshole” to yourself and others. 

I happened to hear Dan speak about this on a podcast the day after I had apologized to my brother. I found the timing to be rather serendipitous, as I had recently been questioning my success as a meditator, as I often have difficulty with wanting to take the time to meditate. However, I did realize that I am definitely kinder to myself and to my loved ones since I started…definitely less of an asshole! So, on that note, I feel that perhaps my meditation practice has been paying off! So, be kind to yourself when you go to meditate and know that you are making the world a better place by doing so.

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"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls."--Joseph Campbell

As I have mentioned before, I worked for the Xerox Corporation in San Francisco out of college, schlepping copiers all over the SF area. This was considered THE job to have out of college, as Xerox provided amazing sales training and benefits. Six months into the job and in the middle of a recession, I knew I was in trouble. I hated getting out of bed in the morning. Although I had little love for the job, I was actually having some success with it. Just enough to keep “the Golden Handcuffs” on for a few more years. But, as my heart was not into it, I was passed up for what everyone considered to be an easy promotion. I was devastated. So, with my parentʻs support and the companionship of my little brother, Paul, I headed to Asia to live my dream of teaching & travel. Although the living in Taiwan wasnʻt the dream life, the travel through Asia was truly my BLISS!

I bought a one way ticket from Taiwan to Bali and had saved enough money to travel the next six months by myself. Between meeting travelers from all over the world and experiencing new countries and cultures, I was in heaven. Although I was lonely at times, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. It was amazing how there always seemed to be help around if I needed it and I always found a safe place to stay. 

Joseph Campbell said, “When we follow our bliss, we are met by a thousand unseen helping hands.” When a pesky skeeter gave me Dengue Fever in Indonesia, a couple of Americans took care of me for a week while I felt the effects of “Bone Break Fever.” My angels in Nepal made sure I made it to safety when I had high altitude sickness. When my brother and I were hitchhiking in Taiwan and then Malaysia together, we always were given rides by the kindest of locals. Not to say that there werenʻt moments of potential disaster or danger, but I seemed to always be okay.

After my year abroad, my parents and friends helped me to resettle back in San Francisco where I started working for some Technology startups that were more in affinity with who I was. People want to help you when you are following your bliss!

How do you find the divine power in yourself? The word enthusiasm means ‘filled with a god,’ so what makes you enthusiastic? Follow it. So I have a little word: follow your bliss. The bliss is the message of God to yourself. That’s where your life is.
— Joseph Campbell

Let go of expectations & you may end up just a bit happier!

After Billy and I got married on Maui in 1999, we took a year off and back packed “around the world.” For both of us, our four months spent driving and camping from South Africa to Kenya (11 countries, 14 game parks, and 12,ooo miles on some of the bumpiest roads Iʻve ever been on) in a truck with a pop up tent on the top was the highlight. They will let any bozo into an African game park without a guide, gun, or much common sense (lots of “stupid American” stories were told to us!). You get more instruction at Space Mountain in Disney than you do going into a game park where you are navigating between migrating herds of Wildebeest and dodging angry elephants.

So here we were, on an adventure of a lifetime and so many people who were so concerned about what our Y2K plans were going to be. We werenʻt certain, but I wanted it to be something special, for sure! (Like traveling around the world for a year isnʻt special enough???) As we made our way from Malawi into Tanzania after Christmas, Billy was really not feeling well. He had no interest in talking about our Y2K plans, as his stomach was riddled with all kinds of worms and parasites (which we didnʻt know yet.) Poor me. I was stuck with a sick husband in the middle of the bush feeling dusty, dirty, and disappointed that my Y2K celebration was starting to look like it would be nonexistent. 

So, on New Years Eve, as we were looking for a place to park our Landy (Land Rover) for the night, we stumbled across a dank motel outside of a small National Park, called Mikumi. There were seven rooms at this well worn motel and there was only one room left--as a van of Brits had made reservations a year in advance to spend Y2K there! AND, as there was only one room with air conditioning which the manager gave to us as he didnʻt want there to be an all out brawl between the Brits. Happy, the well suited name of the very happy hostess, showed us to our room. We were thrilled to have a shower and to soak in the luxury of air-conditioning (did I mention it was Africa HOT in Africa in the summer and our carʻs air-conditioning was non existent??)

So even though I wasnʻt going to be whooping it up on Y2K, I was feeling pretty satisfied with where we ended up. Billy was asleep before 8:00 p.m. and I dozed off for a bit…before I was awoken by the annoying sound of a drum that seemed to be playing right outside my window. I was not a happy camper. My visions of a good night sleep with an air conditioner was quickly starting to evaporate as the drum continued to play…and then was joined by a few more drums! I was not pleased and put my clothes on to go out to complain to Happy and the manager. My idea of the perfect evening was ruined!! 

SO, as I made my way out the door, I was quite surprised to see about 50 of the villagers from down the road gathering and listening to “music.” At that moment, I saw Happy, gaily skipping over to me. Before I could say anything, she grabbed me by both hands and indicated that she wanted me to start dancing with her. Her smile and energy were contagious. My anger melted away as we started moving to the beat of the drummers. Then, the Brits joined in!  Before we knew it, another 50 villagers showed up who also started dancing. Happy wouldnʻt let me out of her site the rest of the night. We danced till midnight and then drank some champagne the Brits had brought. I was so present in those moments. SO aware of where I was, listening to the African songs and the rhythm of the beating drums, dancing under the stars, while whooping it up and yelling out my Carlita Jones Mexican cat calls. The women were dressed in brand new brightly colored sarongs that they had bought for the festivities. Their exuberance for the dancing and singing left me in awe. The children ran in between the dancers giggling with delight. The vibration of everyoneʻs energy was off the richter scale. I wished my husband was well enough to be with me, but felt grateful that he could get some much needed rest.

I felt grateful that I had let go of my attachment of my idea of what the perfect Y2K should look like. It is a moment in time I will never forget. What the universe provided for me WAS the perfect way to bring in the new millennium. I could have never planned it to match up to what actually transpired. I remind myself of that evening whenever I get fixated on wanting things to be a certain way. I try my best to let go of the attachment of needing to know how things will turn out. 

So, let go of your attachments of needing to know how things will be. Have faith that things will fall into place exactly how they should. Accept and live in the moment…making it beautiful.

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Accept...then act.

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it...this will miraculously transform your whole life."--Eckhart Tolle

Asking for help might be a little bit hard to do....

In 1995, I left my very corporate job at Xerox and  my panty hose for Asia where I had wanted to fulfill my dream of living in another country while teaching English. After a month in China & Hong Kong, my brother and I found jobs in the not so lovely city of Taichung, Taiwan where I spent the next 6 months dodging traffic while wearing a surgical mask (pollution). It was nothing like the fantasy I had concocted in my head. I let go of that dream rather quickly, but made enough money to travel for the next six months by myself through South East Asia (my brother met a girl and he stayed).

The highlight of my six months backpacking through Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Nepal was my time spent trekking in the Himalayas. While in Kathmandu, I had met some guys from Australia & Isreal and tagged along with them to the Everest region where we took an old Russian helicopter to start our trek. Needless to say, the overly macho Aussies were not that excited to have a chick tag along. I made sure they knew that they were not responsible for me.

The culmination of the ten day trek was reaching the summit of Gokyo Ri (17,575 ft). We left at 3:00 in the morning to summit the last peak to watch the sun rise over Mt. Everest. Nothing short of spectacular. More than the sun rising itself that sticks in my memory, is the deft silence experienced while hiking at that altitude. I remember a couple of birds flying by at 17,000 feet and the sound was deafening….like a couple of F-14ʻs roaring in between the peaks. Other than that, only the sound of my breath could be heard.

After returning to our lodge that evening, I noticed I wasnʻt feeling well. In the morning, I told the guys to scoot on out, as I didnʻt want to be the chick that kept everyone waiting. I took it slowly, as it was going to be a 6 hour trek back to the village of Namchee Bazaar where we would spend the night. However, after an hour and losing my breakfast with blood in my vomit (sign of high altitude sickness), I knew I was in rough shape. SO, I took a seat on the side of the trail to study my options. After a while, a couple of Yaks with some Nepalese were headed up. They took no notice of me. After another couple of hours, a young couple was coming down the mountain. They gave me a brief head nod and when they started to continue on, I tentatively said, “Excuse me."

After living a life of feeling that I needed to prove to the world that I could do everything on my own and that I didnʻt need anyoneʻs help, I was now in a position of really needing some help. “Excuse me, but I…I….I…think I need some help.” It took everything in my power to let go of the attachment of I DONʻT NEED ANYONE to “I NEED HELP.” I was a sobbing sack of potatoes when I explained that I was too weak to carry my back pack and that I had vomited blood. As this Scottish couple had just helped the first woman to summit Everest without Oxygen and unaided by sherpas (Alison Hargreaves), they knew that high altitude sickness was nothing to mess around with. The very large bearded Scottsman put my pack on top of his and his girlfriend lifted me up to help me down the mountain to the next teahouse. Coincidentally, the doctor from their Everest team, was shortly behind them and he insisted that I needed to get down to a lower elevation. 

There were two options to get me down. I could either be strapped to the back of a Yak or a porter could be hired to carry my bag while I walked behind them. As sick as I felt, I knew I could not give up my attachment to being in control and strapped to the back of a hairy beast whoʻs shuffling gait along the rocky path of the steep himalayan mountains would have been too much. So, I settled into a walking pace of slow and steady for the next four hours behind my porter and the kind doctor. When we reached the village of Namchee and to the safe altitude, they found me a lodge and I checked in for the next week to decompress and heal from my adventure ($3.00 a night!).

Since that time, Iʻve learned to ask for help. Letting go of my need to do it all alone has enriched my life in ways I never dreamed. Learning to ask for help is a strength. It was just one of my many attachments to an idea of who I thought I “should” be that didnʻt serve me anymore.

What attachments or beliefs do you have about yourself that donʻt serve you anymore? Letʻs take the time to explore this as we meet for meditation and fellowship tonight.

Namaste!

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Letting go of attachments...

When we moved to Maui 18 years ago, we fell in love with Haiku. We bought a home with 3 acres on land that I LOVED. I thought I would die there, as I was so attached to our home and land. After several years, my husband wanted to move to Paia to be closer to the beach, but I wasnʻt budging. I really felt that we were happy because of living on this beautiful land. 

However, all that went out the window in 2006. In the course of ten days, I saved a little girl from the crashing surf (I thought we would both die) and then while windsurfing at Kanaha, found a 77 year old man dying in the water (he had also been windsurfing and had a heart malfunction.) To say it shook me up, would be an understatement. The combination of both events brought me into the present moment with a lesson of non attachment like nothing else ever could have. To understand the fragility of life and how it can change in an instant helped me shift my priorities quickly. I realized that it didnʻt matter where we lived. It opened me up and helped me let go of my attachment to our home. Within six months, we bought an old house in Paia and moved closer to the beach. I never looked back. 

After 2006, I found a new sense of freedom. I realize attachments hold us back. I now know I could be happy living anywhere (or almost anywhere!) by focusing on the present moment and appreciating what is happening in the now.

What can you let go of? What is holding you back? 

The root of suffering is attachment.”—The Buddha

"To live in the present moment is a miracle." --Thich Nhat Hanh

When we multi-task, our body releases dopamine (a happy hormone that gives us instant gratification), so it encourages us to keep switching between small mini-tasks. However, it also increases our production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. When our brain is constantly shifting gears, it pumps up the stress and leaves us more exhausted, even if the day is just beginning!

Our IQ literally drops!!! It lowers our work quality and its efficiency. 

SO! Take a deep breath and pause! When we focus on one thing at a time, it brings us into the present moment. We are cultivating this wise awareness that keeps us calm. When we are calm and our nervous system is relaxed and our body is in its natural state of healing!! 

One of the best ways to focus on one thing at a time, is to put away your cell phones! Stop checking your email/texts/facebook while you are in the presence of someone else. Give them the gift of yourself!

Do activities in clusters. Sort your to do list in pieces that can be completed one after another. When online, close your windows and tabs, as you go. Even if you think you might want to go back to it!

"It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world." --Og Mandino

How many of you wake up in the middle of the night with your to do list running through your head? That running list of everything that needs to be done…no matter how many checks you mark off in the day, it doesn’t seem to get any shorter! It’s like the laundry…endless.

What an opportunity to practice mindfulness in our day to day living! Stop and breathe. Know that the science shows that we are not more productive when we are multi-tasking and “trying to get everything done.” Focus on one thing at a time. Be mindful of what you are doing. As I was rushing to make my dog’s breakfast before I could rush to the computer to write this, I took a breath and paused. I stirred with some love and gratefulness for this puppy who has brought so much joy to our lives. I set it down with a deliberate intent of taking a moment to recognize this happy and delightful four-legged being (who is VERY much a teenage puppy!). 

When we are more mindful during our tasks, it is easier to find that sense of calm. We can be present. We can appreciate the ordinary beautiful moments that string together to make a more rich and meaningful existence.

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment.” — Amit Ray

"In the middle of every difficulty lies an opportunity."--Albert Einstein

During meditation, when emotions such as anger arise, it is important to acknowledge the anger. Last week I had mentioned how I had a person in my life whom I let disturb me greatly in life and in my meditation. Anger would arise and I would acknowledge, “anger” (or more realistically, I would become angry! Even in my meditation!!) What was underneath the anger? Looking a little deeper, I found sadness, hurt, and disappointment. This person had been a friend at one point; someone I had enjoyed being with. So, allowing sadness, hurt, and disappointment to arise and acknowledge, made it easier to let the “anger” sail by. Acknowledging these thoughts and emotions, rather than suppressing them, helped in my letting the anger go, along with the sadness, hurt, and disappointment. 

The more we practice this in meditation and in our daily lives, the easier it becomes to letting these more difficult thoughts and emotions go.  Remember that meditation is a practice….a life long one that helps us to stay grounded and present while we cultivate a wise awareness. Go easy on yourself!