Mindfulness

Managing Mental Habits

Eckhart Tolle asks, “Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?”

I don’t know about you, but most of the time I can’t.

That little voice in my head comments, draws conclusion, compares, and tries to figure out pretty much everything. ALL. THE. TIME.

It’s relentless.

It’s exhausting.

And (more often than not) it’s completely unnecessary

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Just “Let It Go”

Before I had any idea how to go about doing it… THERE WAS NOTHING MORE ANNOYING TO ME THAN SOMEONE TELLING ME I NEEDED TO JUST “LET IT GO.” Especially when I was in the midst of having a mental fit about something.

Maybe you can identify?…

Like when you get into a kerfuffle with your loved one about something that’s (usually not that) important but you KNOW YOU’RE SO TOTALLY RIGHT ABOUT. So, you keep trying to explain it in a way she’ll hear you. But, instead, she simply—and sooooo annoyingly lovingly—tells you to please “just let it go.”

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Chasing Shiny Things

“When I sit down to work on a project, an idea comes to me that maybe isn’t completely relevant to the task at hand—maybe it’s theoretical or conceptual. And, it’s like this shiny thing off to the side. I feel like it’s important for me to examine it. And, so I do. But then I see another shiny thing, and I examine that. And, then all this time goes by, and the task I need to get done never gets done.”

Does this sound familiar?…

A client of mine was finding it challenging to stay focussed on a less-than desirable task she needed to do for work. She shared the above with me, and I’m sharing it here (with her permission, of course!…) because I think—especially for those of us who identify as “creative” folks—we’ve ALL experienced this at some point (if not, regularly). Heck, this giant, glowing orb of diversion caught my attention while sitting here trying to write this post:

If a blog post is on the internet, but nobody reads it,
does it exist?… 

[puts “serious mindfulness blogger” mask back on] 

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Creating Mindful Community

 

I have something to confess… I’ve been feeling lonely lately. Ever since I got back from the month I spent immersed within the mindful community at The Center for Mindful Learning in Vermont, I’ve noticed the sincere lack of community in my life…

As I contemplate it now, I recognize this as nothing new. I’ve never really felt a true sense of community—at least not a lasting one. Looking back on it, I can pinpoint several reasons why this area of my life has been lacking…

I grew up an only child with emotionally distant parents, in a relatively remote area of New Hampshire.  A shy, highly sensitive introvert with ADHD, social anxiety, and a host of other isolating symptoms—”community” was never a word that resonated with me. I mention this, not to play victim to my neurological differences from the norm—but to bring to light that my using it as an excuse to not partake in community needs to change.

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Finding One Another (Through Vulnerability)

I have something to admit.

All those feelings Sharon Salzberg mentions in that quote featured above—I’ve been feeling them. Big. Time. I’ve been seeing (and experiencing) lessons in impermanence left and right. And it’s got my metaphorical panties in a wad. Sure, from a philosophical standpoint, I “get” that it’s the nature of things. Change is the only constant. Yada, yada…

But I’m still struggling with accepting this fact. I constantly find myself trying to dig my heels into some semblance of firmer ground, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that it’s all just sand slipping through the hour glass. And I’ve been avoiding sharing any of this with you because there’s this little voice inside me that keeps saying: “You’re a mindfulness facilitator. You should have a handle on managing your angst by now. The people who read your blog don’t want to hear about all the uneasiness you’re facing. Chill out, buck up—and get your act together!”

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Are You a Strong Domino?

Happy New Year, Friends! ‘Tis the season for personal resolutions. For setting intentions for the purpose of bettering our lives in some way…. But, as time drifts further away from that fresh, new year energy—we might start feeling a nagging tug toward our “old,” pre-resolution ways.

I know I’m starting to feel that tug. Are you?…

This year, my partner, Kate, and I resolved to eat healthier. Specifically, we decided to give up sugar, cow dairy, and all grains, except quinoa for (at least) the next 40 days. The reason Kate and I resolved to eat healthier is because we want to feel healthier. Sugar, in particular, isn’t good for our physical—or mental health. It gives us both mood swings and varying levels of anxiety. And, we’re nicer people to ourselves, to each other—and to the rest of the world—when we don’t eat it.

Now, I haven’t eaten sugar, cow dairy, or grains in over ten days. And, it’s been challenging…. But, having eliminated these foods from my diet, I feel much more clear-headed. And my anxiety levels have been, literally, non-existent. However…. I’m starting to get bored with the limited flavor profiles and textures of the foods I’m eating. I’m yearning for more variety. And I’ve been craving bread.

Like, big time.

I went to a baby shower this past weekend and, literally, salivated at the sea of homemade pupusas waving around in front of me. I had to physically block my mouth with my hand to keep myself from eating one of these things. Just look at this picture, people…

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Time to Reframe?…

As a multi-disciplinary artist who’s constantly in one phase or another of the creative process, I’m used to the point at which fear rears it’s gnarly head and roars ferociously in my face. It tends to show up right before I’m about to share a new creation with someone outside my inner circle. And, in the past (prior to my regular mindfulness practice…) this more often than not would halt any further forward momentum. I’d either stop working on the particular project, or I’d end up sabotaging it in someway.

Thankfully, I’ve learned how to mindfully persevere through challenges and keep marching my projects forward. My meditation practice has helped me build the necessary “muscles” to sit through the soul quaking fears that arise—riding them out and letting them move through me without destroying my work or myself in the process. And I’ve made it through this phase in my creative process enough times now that I didn’t think it was possible it could stop me again.

But the second I start getting cocky and stop paying close attention—I always get knocked on my ass.

Which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago…

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A Tip for Staying Grounded (From Sharon Salzberg)

I recently had the pleasure of attending a half-day retreat with renown meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg. Sharon is one of the foremothers of mindfulness meditation in the west (and I encourage you to explore her many books and offerings on mindfulness if positively moved to do so).

During the retreat, Sharon took questions from the practitioners in the audience. One woman stood up and talked about how living in the city was so challenging for her—that every time she goes out, she feels bombarded by the constant stream of energy and activity. It inevitably knocks her off-center, and she wanted to know if Sharon had any advice.

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Food for Thought

 

 

I recently started an elimination diet to help me get some clarity about how my body reacts to certain foods—and to give myself the opportunity to be more mindful about eating, in general.

The elimination diet has proven elucidating. I still have a few foods left on the list to test. But here’s where I’ve landed thus far:

White rice causes body anxiety almost immediately after eating it. I even tested this on two separate occasions to be sure. And, Yup. Me and white rice don’t seem to be compatible. (MERP)

Brown rice seems ok, though… (YAY)

And, although dairy doesn’t cause stomach pain or anxiety, it definitely seems to effect my sinuses. Within hours of re-introducing it into my diet, I started experiencing minor post nasal drip and sinus cavity pressure/headaches. During my fast/juice cleanse, I experienced zero sinus issues—which was unusual for me (I’ve always had chronic sinus inflammation that neither I nor any doctor was ever able to diagnose). I’m not sure if I’m willing to give up dairy completely….But now that I’m clear that it’s the cause of my sinus symptoms, I’m definitely going to start cutting significantly back.

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A Tale of Inner Melodrama

 

March 5, 2014

10:48am

It’s been a challenging morning… Did some intense Yoga online that made me feel queazy. And then I was convinced my iPhone got destroyed in the washing machine…

That was quite a roller coaster.

As soon as I noticed it was gone, I scoured the entire apartment—all my usual spots: the bathroom, the nightstand in the bedroom, the kitchen counter, my desk….

It was nowhere to be found.

SHIT. WHERE’S MY PHONE?…

I popped my head into the bedroom where Kate sat propped up on the bed, working on her laptop.

“…Have you seen my iPhone?”

She looked up from her computer. “Sorry, baby…Maybe check between the cushions in the couch?”

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