Balancing life with mindfulness

I don’t know about you – but my meditation practice went down the drain as we got into summer with the kids being home, guests arriving, dog sitting, trips away from home and things going on all the time.

Meditation is one of those things that is as important to me as brushing my teeth. It is where I reconnect with myself, find balance, tune in to my core, listen to the songs of my soul and come home.

When I get out of my life-balance rhythm, I suffer and it leads to unrest in my body. As a result, I get stressed, I feel grumpy more often, feel restless. I get distracted and feel disconnected. I may overeat, convince myself I don’t have time to run or that I really, really need that bag of chips!

When this happens, I know it’s time for me to reconnect with myself, and one of the best ways I find, is mindfulness meditation.

In an earlier post I wrote about how meditation changes the brain – how meditation keeps us clam and grounded long after we finished mediating. It helps us stay calm and focused, even in stressful situations. The situation is very much like the way that running helps us to burn fat even in between runs and while resting, because our muscles have become a fat burning furnace. The same happens in the brain when we mediate – and even after just a short period of time it is possible to see changes in the brain. The propensity for relaxation becomes larger and it becomes easier to find back into the same peaceful place within, just as we experience during meditation.

I know that in beginning meditation may very well feel inside like Times Square during rush hour! It takes a while to find the calm and it is important to remember that meditation does not mean that the mind is totally quiet. As my mediation hero, Jon Kabat-Zinn, says: “If you have a mind, it is going to wander”! When the mind wanders and you start thinking about shopping lists, who is driving the kids to soccer, what you should have said to someone or should not have said, when you start telling yourself you will never learn to meditate and you don’t need it anyway – the trick is, to return to the breath – again and again, without judgement.

I have downloaded my meditations to my phone so I can hear them whenever I need them – 5 min, 10 min, 15 min 20 or 30 minutes meditations – voila no excuses.

The latest addition to my collection is a Mindfulness Meditation App – it has 4 guided meditations 3 min, 5 min, 15 or 30 min – it also has 4 silent meditations and a guided Body Scan. You can set it so that at certain times, it reminds you that it’s time to meditate. It can even poke you at certain intervals to remind you to be more mindful and allowing yourself to be exactly as you are – not escaping life as it is, but to be mindful in the moment.

For years I have used Jon Kabat-Zinn’s  mindfulness meditations and I never get tired of them

Here is a workshop Jon Kabat- Zinn gave at Google some years ago

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Morning run in the clear blue

The weather here on the west coast of  Canada has been grey, cold and rainy all winter so many of my morning runs have been in pouring rain. But, I don’t mind, I actually think it has its charms – the freshness and the coolness of the air is invigorating. But…I must admit that it is much more fun when the sun is shining and the sea is calm — like this morning!  I hit the road at 7 am with my friend and running partner – and as we solve the world’s problems as we run, I always return with a light heart and a smile on my face.

 

The Olympic Mountains (USA) in the background. Amazing clear blue sky.

This arrangement made me laugh!

By the lighthouse at the end of the pier.

You can walk on the side of the pier on these impressive stones.

The lighthouse in its full beauty.

The pier – not protected by anything – which is quite amazing considering. It gives me a sense of freedom as I head out to the lighthouse.

Beautiful wild flowers and grass – I adore that everything is natural and allowed to be wild.

Mr. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

The sea is as clam as my soul after a good run.

Hope you have a great Saturday !

Soul Blossom

Springtime is full of new beginnings. It is time to let the light in and and the darkness out. Its time to breathe in the fresh air and the new life and let ourselves bloom like the flowers in the garden.

But there might be things that are holding you back from the full bloom or to from spreading your leaves out.

Try to look within and see if there are any old grudges laying around, shame, fear or pain that need to come out in to the light and be embraced, loved and be set free.  In fact the things we have felt the need to suppress and store, are the things that need the most love and compassion.

Sometime we store experiences and the accompanying emotions inside in a corner of the soul, because it was too painful to deal with them at the time. But those emotions are still in there and draining us of energy and new life.

I am not telling you to forgive, forget, move on and pretend. We know it doesn’t work to suppress and pretend it robs us of health and happiness.  It is important to feel the emotions of the experiences we have had in order to truly be able to forgive and move on. In fact, forgiveness comes naturally when we have felt the emotions.

I encourage you to look in, be gentle and compassionate with what ever comes up. Is there anything that is causing you pain or regret? Write about it, talk about it, feel it, share it with someone you trust – do what ever it takes to finally set yourself free.

” And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin

The truth is:

You are worth it
You are lovable
You may speak your truth
You may feel and have all emotions
You may be YOU with all there is

I love this poem by David Whyte – Questions that can make or unmake a life

SOMETIMES

Sometimes
if you move carefully
through the forest

breathing
like the ones
in the old stories

who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
and

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

questions
that can make
or unmake
a life,

questions
that have patiently
waited for you,

questions
that have no right
to go away.

David Whyte