Dieting implies restriction, deprivation, bland, boring foods and frequently guilt, self-hatred, and regret. No one wants that and no body responds well to that. Trust me, I tried.
I tried the low-fat diet, the low-carb approach, vegetarianism, no white foods, all of it. I tried shaming and criticizing my body into losing the weight. And you know what it made me? Fatter and more resentful.
Why? Because dieting doesn’t work on a physical level nor on an emotional level.
Today marks the 95th anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote and so, has been named Women’s Equality Day. In that time, much progress has been made and at the same time, it’s hard to believe that women have had a voice in American politics for less than a century. Time Magazine reported that only 20% of the US government is represented by a female while female voter turnout has surpassed males at every election since 1980.
With plenty of distance still to go in the world of women’s equality globally, we celebrate our ladies with words of wisdom from those who have come before and sacrificed greatly and pioneered in a variety of ways for the good of many: Continue reading →
I’m sitting at a café having miso-mushroom soup, processing my meeting with an inner city high school principal about expanding the Mindfulness and Cultural Development program next year. The pilot was so successful; she would like to see it reach the entire freshman class. “I want them to have a full 4 years of support from the pressures they are under!”
“I think they are heroes for just being able to pay attention to their teachers in this academically challenging program. Some of them are dealing with such intense problems at home and in their neighborhoods.” The sole school counselor, serving 550 students with everything from college applications to behavioral interventions, nods her assent.
An image flashes across my mind from earlier this month. A lanky sweet looking girl in a yellow and orange bikini roughly kneed and handcuffed by a burly Texan policeman. The infraction? Going to a pool party.
To be a teenager in an inner-city these days is to be faced with issues far more complicated than first loves or summer jobs at the ice cream shop.
There isn’t an easy answer to the complex social, cultural, economic, environmental, and physical problems that face this next generation. But, there is a potent and profound way to empower our young adults, a way to help them cultivate inner strength for outer stability.
That’s where this innovative program Mindfulness & Cultural Development comes in. With all the benefits of classical mindfulness training, students gain objectivity on the thought process and de-stress through focus and non-judgment. Then they cultivate one more skill, which may make all the difference. They look at their experience in a vast context of cultural and evolutionary development. It’s fun. It’s powerful. And it creates space for heart and compassion in spades.
When they become parents, many people wonder how to impart spiritual values to their children. The traditional model of sending them to Sunday school is one alternative; another is to draw the entire family into the personal spirituality of the parents, as more people turn away from organized religion to carve their own path. Children grow up to reflect how they are raised, which makes this an important issue.
To begin with, a child’s spiritual life should be age appropriate. A very young child’s brain hasn’t matured enough to absorb adult beliefs, and the overall development of every child is unique. Before age ten or so, I feel that spiritual parenting will have the most lasting effect if it builds a foundation in the self rather than focusing on principles. As a practical matter, every young child should feel that Continue reading →
I am convinced that there is a direct parallelism between spirituality and fitness. Indeed, the foundation and centeredness achieved through regularly practiced physical activity is attributed to the interlacing of spirituality throughout the entire experience of exercise.
The commonalities of spirituality and fitness include, but are not limited to:
Discipline, Commitment, Focus, Mindset, Lifestyle and The ability to say “no.”
The aforementioned list most certainly has room for improvement and modification, but don’t we also have room for improvement and modification? After all, our bodies are constantly changing, and we modify our actions and behaviors to accommodate the continuouschanges we experience throughout our lives. It is through disciplined exercise and a spiritual mindset that change is embraced rather than feared.Continue reading →
Let’s take a two minute pause to stop and consider kindness.
If you Google “kindness” , you’ll get responses like
“the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
If you Google “friendly“, you’ll get all sorts of synonyms like communicative, approachable, easygoing, unreserved, benevolent. While those are words we can understand in relation to other people, they are not always things we think to extend to ourselves. Are we being a friend to ourselves before we try to be a friend to someone else? Are we showing kindness to ourselves in the same way we know other’s hope to receive?
Normally when we discuss intention, it’s about our internal directive and how we want to achieve something. Whether that is being more loving, maintaining balance in our lives, or practicing patience; it’s very easy to understand our own objectives. But what about when it comes to others?
For instance, what about the driver who cuts you off in traffic? Do you believe they’re being aggressive? Or the person who repeatedly kicks the back of your seat in a movie theater or airplane? Are they being deliberately annoying?
How we interpret another’s intention actually reveals more about ourselves than them. The stories we fabricate of what we’re observing, can be subtle but rampant. Yet this is the cognitive energy we lug around when we unconsciously follow these unexplored guesses that usually result in lashing, negative and superficial judgments. Continue reading →