Mindfulness Meditation

a tribute to: sleeping children

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote:

"I have arrived, I am home" is the shortest Dharma Talk I have ever given. "I have arrived, I am home" means "I don't want to run anymore." You need that insight in order to be truly established in the here and now, and to embrace life with all its wonders.

mindfulness in eberyday life

What a powerful sentence. For me it has always been a balance. I like running... well I like being driven, I like the passionate and excited side of me. I like the part of me that creates ideas for every step I take. What I have learned through the years of practice and training is to notice when that isn't serving me, when I no longer fills me up, but is draining me instead. And also learned to see that all that running robs me of the things that really creates a deep connection in my life.

It is so valuable to check and see in the moment what life is. In everyday life what gives me joy, happiness, a sense of belonging and depth aren't things like winning the lottery or running fast - it is the simple things.

Like last night, my oldest was asleep and I went in to tuck her in again. I stopped and looked at her, and she looked so big, yet still with her little baby face. She was so peaceful and cute. I was filled with love and gratitude. It brought me home. I didn't need to run to feel love, I didn't need to run to feel purpose, it was right there in that moment.

Moments like those pop up every day. They're not big sensational moments that will be written down in history. But shit they're valuable. It can be a good laugh, a moment when everyone at the table just shuts up and we are there together no strings attached. It can be that brief touch that let's you know you have been seen. The smell of the crisp Fall air. It is random smiles on the street. It's sitting on a chair by your house enjoying the sunset or dinner with close friends.

We don't need to run.

[Day 2] B R E A T H E

 

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathe - Mindful ground

We are often told (in the world of meditation) things such as "remember to breathe", "It starts with learning how to breathe" etc. I get what they are aiming for - I think. But as I see it, we are lucky beings because breathing happens whether you are intending to or not.

At last something in our lives we don't "have" to control... blink wink blink...

The breath is a very supportive way to anchor our awareness and can be used as a resource to come back to the present moment. It can be a way in to what is happening right now.

Anytime we want to, we can bring our attention to the breath and notice how it moves in the body.

For just a moment we can allow thoughts, feelings, sounds take care of themselves and just sit, stand, lay down with the movement of the chest and stomach. Giving ourselves the chance to show up - right where we are.

Simple - Yes. Easy - No not all the time. Available - anytime you want.

For me in my daily life it is my way of stopping, observing, letting be and connecting to what is important in that moment.

Mindful Ground Living mindfully

Now write a post or grab your journal and write about your reflections, experience and share your story.

1. Add the URL http://www. mindfulground.com/30-day-living-mindfully-blog-challenge-day-2 as a TrackBack

2. Add a comment with a few words about your post below with a link to the blogpost

Share the love

Click to tweet: Connecting to my breath with @mindfulground ’s 30 Day Living Mindfully Challenge. Come join me http://tinyurl.com/p9mr8sy #LMBC13

Recommend reading

Mindful Living - Mindful Ground

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness meditation for everyday life

By, Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

A few posts from Day 1

Habits, Bringing larger awareness to life...

Krista, being mindful and floating happily through the day...

Charlotte, Denmark - om bevidst nærvær og børn..

Getting lost in the woods.

This summer I needed a break from the city, the internet and my iPhone! My daughter and I took off, with some of my family to Sweden. In the middle of no where, a little house just sat there waiting.

Mindful holiday

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was so peaceful and the air so fresh, that I instantly felt at ease.

The past few years going through time with serveral anxiety attacks a day, becoming a mom and struggling with feeling sane enough for it..., and opening up to my sensitivity more, living in the city has become a bit of a stress factor. Living in constant noise doesn't have great effect on my system. So I knew this would be just what I needed.

Even the shower was amazing, standing butt naked with a full front view of the woods. And no peeping Toms.

Feeling free

 

 

 

 

The toilet being very good for the environment, was not so much a place for meditation...

Evivornment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This trip reminded me of the importance of re-charging, creating space in my life, and that although full of life, the city and being online ALL THE TIME, does have a negative effect on me and my stress level. And even better, to my big surprise of course, the city and my partner DID survive without me for a while...

The blog post is kicking off the blog, again. so this fall will be time for writing and hopefully interacting with you all.

Create Mindful Moments Everyday. By Raelynn Maloney, Ph.D

I recently published a book designed to help parents integrate mindful presence into their everyday parenting. Waking Up: A Parent’s Guide to Mindful Awareness and Connection introduces parents to the practice of mindful presence. Mindful presence grounds you in the moment with your child. It anchors you in the here-and-now and allows you to truly experience what is real and alive in your parent-child relationship.

Consciously creating mindful moments in your daily life is easier than you think, especially when, as a parent, you realize that your child has been waiting for you in the present moment all along.

Creating mindful moments is about using what is right in front of you, right now, to connect with and tune into your child. It is about consciously bringing purpose to any interaction through a laugh, a look, a book, a smile. A “moment of presence” is about using your full awareness to make a connection. It is a moment when you are fully paying attention to what is happening internally for you and externally around you. It’s as if you let everything fade into the background except what is in front of you and available to you here and now (the laugh, the look, the book, anything).

You can experience a whole new way to connect with your child. Start today by taking this moment to stop and treat yourself to a full, deep breath. Drop into yourself and feel your center. Look over the three moments described below, apply them to your own parent-child interaction, and transform your every day into mindful moments.

Everyday Mindful Moments

Morning

• How can I mindfully wake my child for the day?

As I wake my child for the day, I am conscious of wanting her to enter the day positively and peacefully, therefore, I bring positive and peaceful energy with me into the interaction.”

Afternoon

• How can I mindfully greet my child after school?

I put my phone in the console and watch my son approach. I smile when I see him. I give him a high-five or a fist-bump when he jumps into the car.”

Evening

• How can I be mindfully present at bedtime?

Instead of yelling up the stairs to ask my daughter to start getting ready for bed, I climb the steps. When I am closer to her, I speak directly and in a normal tone, bringing a positive, healthy energy into our night.”

Find out more about Raelynn Maloney here:

Counseling Practice- http://www.amindfulplace.com

Book:Waking Up: A Parent's Guide - http://www.wakingupwithawareness.com

Book: Caring for Donor Families- http://www.caringfordonorfamilies.com

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/raelynnmaloney

LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/in/raelynnmaloneyphd

Twitter - http://twitter.com/raelynnmaloney

Mindful Parenting. By Michelle Sedas

I’m delighted that Carina invited me to write a guest post for her Mindful Parenting series. I must admit that even though she reminded me that this post is, “not about being an expert, it is about being human,” I was still hesitant. In fact, I am a week late turning in this post, and for this deadline-driven writer, that is a rare occurrence, indeed. As may be the case with many of you, Mindfulness is not something that comes easily for me. I began studying it recently in order to alleviate anxiety. As a full-time mom and wife and a part-time writer, trying (with all my might) to juggle everything often leaves me feeling anxious. Yet what drives me to improve myself is my love for my family.

While being able to stay easily accessible to others with today’s technology can be good, staying in constant contact can become addictive. I must make a conscious effort to go off-line so that I can focus on what matters most. And with all of life’s demands bombarding us, it can become easy to get caught up in our jobs, hobbies, and volunteer work. I believe, though, that the quality of our relationships create the quality of our lives, and my most sacred relationships are those that I have with my family.

I remind myself on a daily, at times hourly, basis, to be present for my children. To look them in the eyes when they are speaking. To ask open-ended questions to encourage them to engage in conversation. To notice when they act with kindness or compassion and to praise them for it. As part of our routine, each afternoon, we play soothing music throughout the house and spend time together. We play puzzles or games or read. This is one of my favorite family rituals, allowing us an opportunity to enjoy one another’s company. It is also our family tradition to always eat dinner together at the table. For us, this time is priceless and we spend it talking about our days.

Being present with my children often requires that I turn off my phone and hide it in a drawer. Or that I completely shut down my computer so that I’m not temped to multi-task. There are times, however, when I do slip up. When I’m not fully present for my children. In those moments, I remind myself that I am a work in progress. I am making an effort to become a more relaxed and mindful parent. And, as Carina says, I am, after all, human.

~Michelle Sedas

Michelle Sedas is the author of Welcome The Rain, Live Inspired, and the coauthor ofThe Power of 10%. She is the cofounder of Running Moms Rock and the host of the Inspired Living Cafe. Her stories have appeared in five Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Follow her on facebook www.Facebook.com/MichelleSedasAuthor

Visit Michelle on her site http://www.michellesedas.com,Twitter @MichelleSedas

The art of making magic moments. By Susana Hooper

Analiah is laughing at herself every time she snorts like a pig. Or maybe she's laughing at me laughing at her when she sorts like a pig.  Either way, we can’t stop laughing!” I live for moments like these.  Simple moments that warm my heart and make me feel so alive. These are my ‘magic moments’.

Moments when my to-do list escapes my mind. Moments when I'm not thinking about the past or planning about the future. Moments when I don't care what I look like or who’s watching. Moments when I'm oblivious to the chaos mess around me. Moments when I'm out of my head long enough to be completely present in the here and now.

For me, there is a subtle difference between being ‘present’ with my children and ‘playing’ with my children...and my kids feel the difference.

When I ‘play’ with my kids, my body is there but my mind is usually a million miles away, and I lack the enthusiasm required to totally accept and enjoy that precious moment of being with my children. I’m suddenly more interested in cleaning the house, checking my iphone for updates, or finishing that article; anything but playing handball or hairdresses or hide and seek.

But when I’m present with my kids, my mind is EXACTLY where my body is. There’s this whole new dimension that adds so much more meaning to the moment. There’s a greater awareness and a deeper connection.

So how exactly does one be present with their children? For me, it’s all in the little things.

It’s looking them in their eyes when they speak to us or when we speak to them. It's truly listening to what they have to say without cutting them off or finishing their sentences. It's joining in and getting involved, instead of just watching from the sideline. It’s seeing things from their eyes and being a child all over again. It's saying yes a whole lot more and saying no a whole lot less. It’s taking a moment to breathe when your patience is wearing thin. It’s observing your emotions before reacting to a situation. It’s letting them be who they are and letting go of who we think they should be.

It’s the very same little things that add more meaning and a deeper connection to any relationship, not just between parent and child. It’s no wonder then, that the more present I am with my kids the more calm and cooperative they are; they show more initiative and have more confidence; and on the whole, our home is filled with much more harmony + happiness.

So when ‘magic moments’ aren’t happening, I remind myself to come back to the present moment. And the fastest way to get there is to breathe.

Yep. Just breathe.

Because whenever you are conscious of your breath, you are absolutely present.

And when you are absolutely present, magic moments happen. Mindful Parenting

Susana Frioni is a yoga teacher + a lover of sacred commerce. She lives on the Sunshine Coast, Australia and share cares her 2 children with their father. She shares her insights + discoveries at www.ramblingepicure.blogspot.com

How does your child see you? By Jamie Stacks

Mindfulness…as a mental health therapist I talk about mindfulness all the time.  I explain it to clients, encourage them to use it, plan programs around it and read books about it.  Since I started studying mindfulness in about 2008 the concept has fascinated me.  It makes so much sense and appears so simple.  Be here, be present, focus on what is.  Sounds simple yet is so very difficult to actually implement!!! As a mother I try to model what I want for my daughter.  This too is so much easier said than done.  Life is busy, we have work, school, family, friends, etc. and multi-tasking is easier to do now than ever before.  We can check email and other social media on the phone or computer, text etc.  This can be good or bad.  It “in theory” allows me to be with my daughter and work and talk to my friends all at the same time…huh?  Does it really let me do all that?

Maybe I am not really doing any of it when I try to do it all at the same time.  How many of us cook dinner ( I don’t really cook) and play with the kids and watch TV at the same time?  Do you remember what you watched?  Do you remember what your child said to you?  My guess is not really you just weren't really there!  We have to slow down, focus, do what we are doing to really get it and ‘be present”.

I search online for mindfulness info quite often and one tidbit really caught my eye a few months ago.  It impacted me so much that I think about it often and even share it with my families in therapy.  It is this or something close  “If you were your child right now, what would you think about yourself?”  How does your child see you?  Happy, unhappy, mad, calm, sad? How your child perceives you is his/her reality. It doesn’t really matter what your intentions are.  It matters how they see you.  If they see you doing many things at once yet not really "doing" any of them they will do the same.

True story, my daughter who is 3 will get her purse and her computer and walk around on her phone talking while she is “leaving” for work?  Wonder where she got that?  That is not what I want my daughter to think of when she thinks of me.  I want her to think of playing and relaxing and just being together.  I want her to think comfort and consistency.  If I don’t give her this, she will not get it.  It is my responsibility as a parent to slow down and be with my daughter.  Enjoy her at every age and every phase.   I ask myself that more now “Would I want to be my child right now?”  If the answer is no and it often is then how can I change that?

My goal is to put my computer up when I get home from work and just be with my baby until bedtime.  Email, Facebook and Twitter will all be there when we are done playing and “being”.  I want and intend to let her lead the time…color if she wants to color, read if she wants to read.  She deserves me to be present with her everyday for this time.  If I don’t make this a reality for it her then it won’t be.  This is not something you can go back and do over.  Everyday is 24 hours…be mindful of how you spend your time.  We don’t get it back but we do have a chance to start fresh from this moment on!  Go….how can you be a more mindful parent and give your children what they need?

Mindful Parenting articleProvided by Jamie L. Summers Stacks, LPC.  Jamie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has been providing therapy since 1998.  Jamie graduated from Henderson State University in 1998 with a Master’s of Science in Community Counseling.  She has experience with a variety of different populations.  Her experiences have included working as an outpatient and inpatient therapist for adults, teenagers and children.  Jamie has been in private practice since 2009 and she is thrilled to be able to try some innovative and exciting new things. Jamie is licensed as an LAC Supervisor to provide individual and group supervision and has a specialization to provide technology assisted counseling and supervision.  She thinks that everyone should love what they do and create a career that works for them and those they help.

Jamie practices psychotherapy with adult women and adolescent girls, individually or with their families/partners. The focus of her practice is helping women and girls to recover from anxiety, depression and addictions.  You can follow her blog at www.jamiestacks.blogspot.com.

The wonder broom

Meditation kit for the working mom... Do you know the feeling of repeatative movements having a calming effect on you? Or do you just feeling bored? : )

Working meditation is a part of a lot of mindfulness or vipassana retreats. Do you we bring the working meditation into our homes? Or are they tasks that just need to get done?

We are used to vaccuming a lot in this house. Little feet and hands everywhere and with that crumbs and food galore. I just bought a broom. I find it very calming to sweep my floor. It was my way of turning an annoying mess into a little meditation practice. It is peacful compared to the vacumcleaner and the only time I really like to vacum is when I hear dirt going down the tube... is that just me?

To go with the broom my partner bought a power hoop... repeatative (painful) movement that I am still trying to find the calming in using.

Do things like that calm you down? Knitting, sewing, rowing any other -ing?

5 ways to bring Mindfulness into your day

Woman meditating I often hear how hard it is to fit a meditation practice into everyday life. No time, no motivation, no support from home. Mindfulness doesn’t only have to be meditation on the cusion or lying down. It can involve other activities as well.

Bringing attention to doing the dishes, brushing your teeth or changing a diaper etc. are ways of supporting presence in your life. A lot of those activities are things we often hurry to get over and done with. It might create tension because we would rather be doing something else. A challenge this week is to bring mindulness into those activities. Let me know how it goes. : )

Here are 5 exercises that may inspire you to ways of mindfulness in your everyday life.

1. Before getting out of bed in morning, spend 3-5 minutes just following you breath. Feeling your inbreath and your outbreath. Bringing attention to your body and the sensations that arise. Keeping your eyes closed just taking a few minutes to tune in before continuing with your day.

2. If you are waiting at a red light. In your car, or as a lot of people here in Denmark, on your bicycle. Touch base with your breathing, feel the wind against your face, the sounds around you. Observe what is on your mind, how you feel right there in that moment. The key word is observe not change.

3. Eat a meal or a snack in silence. Taste, smell, feel what you are eating. Try not to sit in front of the computer or TV while you eat. You could also do the same with a cup of tea. Take it all in. Bring awareness to the fact that you are eating or drinking.

4. Pick a routine activity you do everyday. How does your body feel, while you are doing it? Is there any tension, relaxation? Do any feelings arise - resistance, annoyence, happiness or any other feelings. Do any thoughts occur? Observe your mindstate and body. Being present with what you are doing eventhough you might want to be doing something else.

5. While waiting in line, on hold with customerservice, waiting for the computer to turn on, on the bus. Close your eyes and follow your breath for a minute. Allow yourself to take a few minutes of silence. You are stuck there anyway. Use the time for meditation.

Why India Weirds Me Out

KajYogaI am very lucky to have Kimberly Johnson guest blog here. I hope you enjoy her post. You can also visit her site and blog here. Kimberly has been practicing yoga for the past 17 years and teaching for the past 11. She has studied personally with the carriers of the Krishnamacharya lineage- Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar, and Desikachar. After years of practicing traditionally from New York to California to India, she went through the initiation to motherhood. The energetic rearrangement of pregnancy, birth and motherhood, brought her to a new phase of self-inquiry. She realized she needed a whole new approach to her yoga and movement practice, her health, and womanhood itself. She brings in-depth anatomy studies, an incurable love of India, and a love for helping women navigate the waters of modern life guided by ancient wisdom. Pretty much every time I come back from India, I am weirded out.

I hold eye contact a little too long.

Lots of long pauses in conversation.

I eat ice cream because I figure if I am going to have diarhhea anyway, why not just eat what I want and what I didn’t have? So bean burritos and ice cream.

I thought it was just the last time I came back from India – the time when I was seriously f*ed up from a guru thing—that I was acting like a Moonie. But then I remembered a time when I was 19 and came back from my first trip. My mom took me to her therapist who handed me a magazine and I said, “no, thanks, I’ll meditate.” I was serious. And I did.

After being in the inner world for a long period of time, the outer world is jarring.

In retrospect, I think it was genuine introspection sprinkled with a tad of affect/pretension. I am grateful to my parents and friends for accepting me in all my sancrosanct namaste-ness.

However today I realized there was some wisdom in my post-India behavior.

This morning, I taught a class, sent my daughter off with a friend, changed clothes to receive a new Rolfing client, brought in chairs and a table to the yoga room so that I could sit and talk with the client, gave the session, called the client a taxi and realized I hadn’t eaten yet today. So I had three amazing Brazilian bananas and went to try to “get something done” before my daughter came back. I wasn’t sure how long it would be before my friend would bring her back. Those periods of time are always the hardest because I can’t seem to get deep into anything, like projects or practice, when I am not sure of the time frame I have.

And a voice inside came, “just sit down and meditate.”

It felt so natural and obvious. Sit down until she comes.

My mind (and I am guessing your mind) always provides the excuse of “not the right time” or “not enough time”, but the truth is those “right times” are hard to come by. Our mind provides us with a million other things we could and should be doing. But if we run around trying to satisfy that manic voice, we miss out.

The truth is: We DO have time and time actually expands when we are present with it. We all have one minute at a stop light. We CAN go to the bathroom for five minutes. The shower. Boiling water to make coffee or tea. There are infinite moments in a day, but we mindfully “spend” them.

What is really the point if we are running around disconnected but fulfilling our roles as parent, worker, partner, friend, etc. but we are not really present or enjoying any of them? So we are basically taking care of business and getting things done but not depleted and exhausted by the end of the day.

Here are a few things that have worked for me to fit practice into my day.

  1. Practice first. Right when the baby takes a nap, or the kids go to school, or while you water for tea is boiling, sit for five minutes first. There are a million things that might call (dished, phone calls) but before you “do” them, prioritize your practice.
  2. Stop beating yourself up over not having a home practice and practice with a friend or carve out time for one class a week. (or more if that is possible- but we can all find 1 ½ hours once a week) We often have an ideal of what we “should” be doing. Bag it, and do what works.
  3. Less really is more: 10 or 15 minutes is enough time to sit, enough time to do a few salutations, or a couple poses that you are now are specifically good for you. When you set out to do less, you usually do more. But when you set out to do more, you often don’t do anything at all.

Be overly forgiving with yourself. All the emotional backlash, judgements, and guilt just creates more junk to weed through later. You want to create a positive association to practice. Soon you will build momentum as something deeper than your thinking mind will crave the practice.

Every once in a while, just close your eyes and tune in. Listen. Feel.