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Archive for the ‘mindfulness’ Category

For the next two days, pick one or two of your favorite mindfulness tips:

Self Love and Approval

Loving Your Darkest Self

Empathy

Self-Truth

Peace over Power

Loving Community

The Invitation

Accepting People As They Are

Have a Sense of Humor

Your Mind Matters

Just Listen

Drop the Blame

Everything Changes

Sit each day for five minutes and reflect on those tips.  Were you able to incorporate them into you life? What were your challenges.

This ends the mindful love series.  Thank you for visiting Sally’s Healthy Living blog and look for more healthy living  posts coming up soon!

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“Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.”

― Thích Nhất HạnhGoing Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers

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Photo Courtesy Ed Ogle

Everything changes.

Between my 31st and 34th year, my grandmother, father, sister, two uncles, aunt, landlady and her daughter (both good friends) died.  My father and sister were the closest people to me at that time in my life.

I mourned and remembered my pain was impermanent.   For over a year, I meditated one and half hours every day, turned off all sources of media, went to graduate school and let go of relationships that weren’t serving me.

I landed on my feet with a new diploma, a new and more exciting career, new boyfriend and a profound respect for the fragility of life.

Change is also subtle. Look at a picture of yourself fifteen years ago.  You look different today yet, on a daily basis, you can’t see the subtle changes happening in your body.

Look at your relationships with your siblings, spouses, and children.  They change constantly and subtly.

A friend is upset about a conflict they are having with their significant other.  We talk about it.

A week later I call them to make sure they are OK and ask “How is everything?”

They respond “Great!”

Frequently, they can’t even remember why they were upset when we talked a week ago.

Everything changes.

Mindful Love Exercise Saturday and Sunday Sit for five minutes each day.  What happened over the last twenty four hours that made you uncomfortable?  How long did that feeling of discomfort last? If it feels like a vice on your brain or like a magnet with iron, release it. Let it go.  All feelings are transient.

 

 

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When you blame others, you give up your power to change.

Robert Anthony

 Mindful Love Thursday and Friday – Stop the blame

Yesterday morning, Ed and I left for long a long hike, 8.8 miles 2,300 foot elevation gain. When we got to the base of the mountain, realized I forgot my inhaler (I have mild asthma).  I wasn’t about to turn back.

I learned a long time ago, one way to control my asthma is to go deep inside and calm myself down.  I donned my head set, played some soothing music, and started my descent into my mind as I ascended up the mountain. With each step, I slowed my thoughts down, took deep breaths and listened.  This is what I heard.

“Why didn’t Ed help more this morning, I wouldn’t have forgotten my inhaler…we had to rush to get out of the house that is why I forgot my inhaler…If only Ed would…I wouldn’t have forgotten my inhaler”

I was mortified at the cacophony of my background thoughts. Unless I had an agreement with Ed, I was the one responsible for putting my inhaler in my pack, not him.

If I was preoccupied with blame, I would have missed the beautiful views in the photo above!

Blaming others starts first in our subconscious thoughts, by the time it blurts out of our mouths; it usually has been brewing in our minds for a while.

But what about when horrible things just happen?

In the early 1980s, I worked at Children’s Hospital in Boston doing some of the first pediatric bone marrow transplants in the world.  Our patients came to us as a last resort. All their other treatments failed.

During the three-month transplant process, our patients lived in completely sterile, eight foot by six foot rooms,  We gave them medications that made them vomit and chemotherapy that gave them additional, debilitating side effects. Anyone entering their room had to wear sterile gloves, gowns and masks. It was just about the most challenging circumstance a parent could face.  Eighty percent of our patients died.

One time, two teenagers were getting bone marrow transplants at the same time. Each had one sibling and came from the same socio-economic background with similar spiritual beliefs.

Family A fought constantly, blaming each other for trivial things, angry when things didn’t go their way.

Family B focused on making things tolerable and fun for their lovely teenage daughter.  The recreational therapist taught her to create images that relaxed her body and mind. They did not blame themselves or others for their daughter’s illness and discomfort. The medical staff did not expect her to live more than three months.

Thirty one years later, she is alive, married and has three children.  She still uses those images today to help her navigate through difficult times.

While no one can say creating positive images, dropping blame and providing a loving healing environment cured this patient, I am sure it helped everyone involved find peace and clarity in this difficult situation.

Train yourself to drop all blame.

Mindful Love Exercise Thursday and Friday

Sit for five minutes each day.  Listen to your subtle, inner dialogue.  When are you blaming things or people in your environment for your unhappiness?  Can you stop blaming? Imagine what it would be like to have more control over your feeling of peace and contentment in life.

 

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Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others – Jacob M. Braud

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Photo Courtesy Ed Ogle

Accepting people as they are or loving what is

I don’t know a person that doesn’t have some “annoying” habit, do you?  Some of my pet peeves people who talk about themselves constantly and never show interest in others, sarcasm, and chronic tardiness. I am sure you have your own list.

So then, what is unconditional love? It’s about not trying to change people and its not about letting people walk all over you.  When someone has an annoying habit, you have a few choices a) throw a tantrum and try to change them. Well good luck with that, when was the last time you changed a habit just because it annoyed someone else? b) Ignore them and remain annoyed. c) Change your response to the situation.  You guessed it the best answer is c.

 

My friend Mary used to be at least 45 minutes late every time we met.  She is a great person with this annoying habit.  Finally one day, I decided I had enough.  I waited 20 minutes for her and then I left.  This was before cell phones. She called me that evening and asked what happened.  I simply said, “Mary, I waited 20 minutes, I had other things to do so I left.” She was never late again and we are still good friends.  I didn’t try to change her and I didn’t put up with her tardiness, I simply took care of myself.

 

Wednesday and Thursday’s exercise:

Sit quietly for five minutes. Remember to breathe deeply. Identify two habits in someone else that you find annoying.  Look at how you respond to these habits.  What are you thinking?  What is your reaction?  Come up with a totally different response and try it out. Have courage.  Changing our behavior means taking a risk.  Sometimes we have to be uncomfortable to gain comfort.

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LOVING YOUR DARKEST SELF

My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another. – Shakti Gawain

 

Loving your boo boos.

Hating or fearing some part of yourself isn’t going to make it better.

 

I used to have a problem with overeating.  That all changed when I heard Paula, a woman I knew, confess to a group of people “I stand in front of the mirror every day and say I love myself.”  Really? I thought. How arrogant.

 

And then, I thought again. I hate myself. That can’t be good.  I’m always picking on myself. It’s like I keep tearing the skin off my heart in hopes that it will heal.  Maybe I have this all wrong.

 

That day I changed.  I experimented saying, “I love that part of me that is destructive and overeats.” I repeated this over and over again and almost always with my hand on my heart.  My breath opened up, colors got deeper, I could feel my skin again. I could put my toe in the water and not worry about it freezing off. And, of course, I lost all my excess weight.

 

Friday and Saturday’s Exercise:

Sit in a quiet place. Wait a few minutes, then, identify a quality you don’t like.  Next, take a deep breath and say (aloud or to yourself):

 

I love that part of me that [is cynical, critical, a bad artist, can’t write, isn’t diplomatic, fat, bad hair, no hair, impatient, lazy etc.). Put your hand over your heart as you say this and breathe deeply.

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Have you ever thought about meditating on a regular basis?  This article demonstrates how meditation combined with a focus on compassion can increase happiness as measured with brain gamma waves.

Click on link below:

http://india.nydailynews.com/newsarticle/7b470adb0a9b6c32e19e16a08df13f3d/buddhist-monk-is-the-worlds-happiest-man

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Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right. – Oprah Winfrey

1.  Make it fun, interesting, challenging and enjoyable.   For example if you want to begin a regular exercise routine, make it fun.  Learn to Belly Dance or  study a form of Martial Arts that interests you, or, volunteer to work on the National Park Trails, there many options beyond the gym (which is s a good choice as well).

2. Make it accessible and easy as possible.  Instead of planning to be the best spouse or parent, make a resolution to listen to others and speak kindly.

3.  Break it down into small parts.  Make a resolution to ask  your spouse or child about specific events in their life at least 4 times a week and commit to listening to their answers.  Take a course in communication skills.

4.  Create some form of accountability.  Make an agreement with a friend to communicate on a scheduled basis and discuss your progress (I have a friend that I do that with, we speak once a week about our success with our respective goals) or do this with a professional or find an on-line program like the Stephen Covey Community (I use this also).

5. Reward yourself in a healthy way.  If your goal is to lose weight, do NOT reward yourself with some high fat, sugary food.  Reward yourself instead with new clothes or an exercise training or class you have always wanted to do like skiing or a guided nature trip into the wilderness.  Everyone is different, find one that is affordable and truly rewarding

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