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Archive for the ‘General mindfulness’ Category

image-header_long-e1447711621383This morning during a writing exercise, I found myself reflecting upon how frustrated I feel when I don’t have enough time for my creative projects. How painful it feels to start — only to end before I’m ready. Zooming out, I suspect that sometimes I might even avoid creative work because I don’t want to experience this uncomfortable, unpleasant dynamic.

Suddenly, I remembered words of advice that I share every day: I encourage others to show up and “savor” their experiences with food. We practice inhaling delicious aromas, gazing at our food, exploring texture, and holding it in our mouths to fully absorb flavors. By doing so, we experience the richness of each bite, each meal. We allow ourselves to feel more fully satisfied – and to discern what we like, or don’t like, and how our bodies receive these gifts, so we can make adjustments in the future.

So often, I forget that I can practice savoring many moments of my day. With food, and during other activities. I do remember to “show up” for some of the good stuff – a walk beneath a beautiful, smoke-free blue sky, for example; doing so fills me and helps to buffer difficult parts of my day. However, for those activities that I especially love (writing, as an other example) but experience with scarcity, I become fused to the story “not enough, not enough”….and miss what is happening, what is possible, even in the moment.

Is there an activity or connection in your life for which you desperately long? Can you experiment with showing up – with intention and curiosity – to its next occurrence, to explore what is available to you, even in a few brief bites?

 

 

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13972775576_ac7b8af48c_bA few weeks ago, I began reading The Book of Awakening, by the poet and teacher Mark Nepo. From the September 23rd entry, he writes:

“There is no expected pace for inner learning. What we need to learn comes when we need it, no matter how old or young, no matter how many times we have to start over, no matter how many times we have to learn the same lesson. We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up…We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal. No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance….”

We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up.

To be human, is to fall. “Everything looks like a failure in the middle,” I heard a TED talk speaker once state.

It’s how we respond to the falling, how kind (or unkind) we are to ourselves, whether we are willing to get up – sometimes again and again and again, that can make all the difference.

 

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Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness bookI was delighted to receive this book in the mail recently – not only is Dr. Treleaven’s book a long-awaited and valuable contribution to the field of scientific mindfulness-based programs, but it is also a timely exploration of the relationship between trauma, privilege, power, and oppression.

From an article he wrote recently:

“Trauma is not just an individual tragedy—it is rooted in larger social systems that shape our lives. When we peel back the layers of a traumatic experience, we find that they’re bound up within a larger social context.” Safety is an essential ingredient in the development of any self-awareness practice.

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“We are lacking intimacy with the activity – and reactivity – of our minds…,” which can have tremendous impact on our health and well-being.

Humorous, relevant, and deeply embedded in wisdom: check out this new lecture by one of my most influential teachers of mindfulness meditation.

 

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body-awarenessIf you are interested in refreshing skills or dipping into mindfulness practices for the first time – particularly those oriented toward awareness of our eating experiences and of the body, join me for my 7-day “mindful eating challenge” (from 2014). You can participate over the next week by visiting my Facebook page.

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Feeling stirred up? Emotions on fire? Perhaps you’ve found yourself turning to food, to soothe, celebrate, or cope. Stop, Drop (in) and Roll with a mini-meditation exercise, adapted from the MB-EAT program. This one-minute mindfulness exercise is useful at any time of the day, particularly before or during meals.

1: Take a few breaths, bringing awareness to the body as a whole. Can you observe the sensations associated with breathing?

2) Bringing awareness to the mind, use it to scan your body for other sensations or emotions. You might ask yourself: “What is happening, now?” Notice the state of the mind: is it busy? racing? or quiet?

3) Allow a sense of curiosity to flavor the exercise – you are gathering information, and checking in, not policing your experience. Witness “should’s” or judgmental or self-critical thoughts, as they come and go.

4) Proceed with eating, or other desired activities. Notice how it feels to do so, after pausing for this mini-meditation.

Feel free to adapt the exercise as needed. In the future, you might also try choosing one object of awareness, such as hunger cues. Emotions. The level of stress felt in the body. Remember, there is value in learning how to attend to your experience, without always trying to change or avoid it. Don’t take my word on this, however. Experiment. And observe what happens.

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What did you see? What didn’t you see? I’ll talk more about the nature of selective attention – and what we potentially miss during activities such as eating, during this weekend’s free virtual event.

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