Send Your Roots Down Into Soil That Nourishes Your Soul

March 20th, 2020

Overnight my phone rang at 3 am.  It was my daughter who lives in Nashville TN.  Over the past few weeks she and her fiancé have been through a tornado which destroyed their new neighborhood of east Nashville. They have, as all of have, made many difficult adjustments to their lives due to the spread of coronavirus.  And last night – the phone call.  Their living roof caved in and collapsed on their dog crate (yes – dog inside) and all over their living room.

Strength, Gratitude, and Loving Kindness

A lot to cope with.  And yet, when I spoke to her this morning her attitude was upbeat, they had a friend helping them store some items, had saved their artwork, and prepared their home for the contractors as they pack up and head to Montana to wait out this outbreak. They are safe and un-harmed, and the dogs are safe and unharmed.  Thank goodness. The new couch is completely ruined.  That, we can handle. We are so grateful.

I was reminded of a phrase my father has shared me often when I have faced difficult times.  “God never hands you more than you can handle.”  I know this to be true.  We are all stronger than we think we are.  There will be pain and there will be loss. There will be days where it feels like the roof is collapsing over our heads and spreading dust and chaos everywhere.

We do not move through these times by avoiding the conversations, by resisting our fears, and ignoring our emotions.  Brain science and the mindfulness research teaches us that facing our fears and acknowledging our emotions is the key to moving through the stressful, anxiety ridden moments in our lives.  And there is no greater time then now to practice gratitude for what we do have and to show loving-kindness to those around us, and through meditation, to those around the world.

Important Strategies for the Days Ahead

  1. Communicate.  Call family and friends. Write Letters. Gather virtually for dinner and parties.
  2. Listen with empathy and without judgement.  Everyone is going to experience these days differently and with various lenses.  Just listen. Let people feel how they feel.  Let people share their opinion even if you disagree. Listen and hear.  “I hear you.”  “Thank you for sharing.” “I understand your feelings.”
  3. Move, Move, Move.  Everyday.  There are tons of online yoga and exercise programs out there.  I am offering a GENTLE YOGA CLASS on Tuesday afternoons from 3 pm to 4 pm through ZOOM beginning Tuesday the 24th of March and ongoing for the next 5 weeks. 
  4. Get outside and get fresh air.  Talk a walk, go for a run, or go hiking.
  5. Practice mindful meditation and learn more about “mindful living.”  I am going to be offering Mindfulness and Meditation on Tuesday and Friday mornings from 8 am to 8:30 am through ZOOM, starting on Tuesday the 24th.
  6. Practice Gratitude and Loving Kindness.

Inspiration

Here are three quotes that are inspiring me each day – I hope you find a light in reading them.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny.”

How can we each be extraordinary as we travel the road ahead?

C.S. Lewis

“I am stronger because I had to be, I ‘m smarter because of my mistakes, happier because of the sadness I’ve known, and now wiser because I learned.”

Now, more than ever, is the time for us to practice gratitude, to be kind, and to know we are more capable than we often believe ourselves to be.

Nick Schluga

“Storms make trees take deeper root.”

Send your roots deep into your faith and into the soil that nourishes you.

Dolly Parton

12 Days of Mindful Living

January 5th, 2020

Day One: A Day of Listening

Today, in the hustle, bustle, and busyness take time to listen.

“From Listening, Comes wisdom…” Proverb

TODAY’S MEDITATION:
Practice a 10-minute Meditation of listening to the sounds around you.  Listen to sounds far away, sounds in the space where you are and even the sounds of your own body.

MINDFUL ACTIVITIES:

  • Ask an elder to share a story from their past with you.
  • Read aloud a story with your partner/family/friend.
  • Sit and listen to some inspiring and spiritual music.

MOVEMENT
Take a walk in Silence and listen to the sounds around you.

Day Two: A Day of Appreciation

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Attending to Gratitude

December 1st, 2019

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, food, and fun!  I am so grateful to all of you – my clients and students. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me over this past year.  You all bring so much joy and learning into my life each and every day.

Last week I was speaking with a client who is working on shifting her negativity bias.  One of her commitments is to write down three gratitude’s every day.  After doing this for a week she said to me, “I feel so silly. My gratitude’s are so insignificant, they feel unimportant and trivial.”

I have heard this reaction before when asking clients to do this assignment.  How easy it is for us to point out, talk about and emphasize the trivial and unimportant negatives in our lives.  We complain about the weather, traffic jams, a disagreement that will soon fade; we are quick to point out and comment on all the minor inconveniences, mishaps and roadblocks we face. 

Why do we find it silly then to mention, emphasize, and even honor those small and yet wonderful things that surround us every day?  A comfy bed, a good book, a smile, a hug, a sunset, a perfect fall day, a delicious meal, a surprise phone call from a friend, an easy commute, a good workout, a hot cup of tea… there are so many mini blessings in each and every day.

Where is your attention?

How amazing would be if we learned (and practiced) to give our full attention to all the simple yet wonderful things that surround us each day?

What were you grateful for over this past weekend? Take a few moments and reflect. Reach out to a family member or friend and let them know how much you appreciated your time with them over the past few days.

As we continue through this holiday season we can focus on the busy, hecticness, or the old conflicts and challenges that seem to surface during the holidays.  Or, we can shift and train our brains for positivity and success.  We can bring our attention and focus on gratitude and appreciation. Where we each choose to direct our attention will expand into our homes, to our communities and to our places of work. Where will you put your attention for this month?

Ten ways to Cultivate and Share Gratitude

  • Notice your negativity bias, take note, then rephrase or refocus by finding gratitude within that moment.
  • Wake up each day and as your feet hit the floor say, “I am grateful for this day ahead, for every opportunity and for every challenge.
  • Write in a gratitude journal at the end of each day.
  • Recognize the efforts of family, friends, and co-workers with a “thank you” or “job well done.”
  • Donate your time or financial support to a charity that speaks to what you are you are grateful for in your own life and know that you are helping to provide that for another.
  • Practice the art of the hand-written thank you note.
  • Write a letter to a family member or friend and share what they have meant to you in your life.
  • Even in the midst of the greatest challenge practice focusing on what you are learning.  What gift or blessing can you find?
  • Social media posts; share something you are grateful for each day throughout the month of December.
  • Take time to meditate each day and practice moment by moment presence to all that is good in your life.