Tag Archives: mindful

Change Your Inner Voice with Positive Affirmation

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By Simona Rich

I was staying in a guesthouse room in the ancient city of Bhaktapur, Nepal. I was preparing for the night’s sleep – I switched off my laptop and was about to go to the bathroom to remove my makeup and brush teeth.

A thought came as a response to my intention to go to the bathroom – “Wait a minute, I already removed my make-up and brushed teeth! I’m so lucky!”

The last thought caught my attention. Was it really lucky to have brushed my teeth and removed make-up? It wasn’t, but the most important thing here is that my mind is so used to positive affirmations that they come out naturally, even in situations they shouldn’t.

I completely changed my self-talk. I used to put myself down a lot when I was a child and a teenager. Children always thought of me as different and thus I was alone most of the time. It was easy for me to make up imaginary reasons why I had so few friends.

When, after finishing school, I moved out of the family home and out of my country (Lithuania) to study in England, I felt more empowered to change my behavior and my life. It was as though I gifted myself a blank page of life to write whatever I wanted on it.

I started using positive affirmations to heal my mind and self-image. Although it sounded silly to tell something about myself to myself that I didn’t believe in, I continued with the practice because something in me felt it was the right thing to do.

It worked. I’m a living affirmation now. I am lucky. I’m one of those bloggers who succeeded to make a living of this art and I only need to work a few hours a week.  I live wherever I want – now in Nepal; soon I will be going back to India where I usually stay. Early next year I’ll be settling in London to organize sound therapy sessions.

I feel so blessed and happy. Yet the being that blessed me was my own self. Affirmations made me into who I am today, so my own life experience tells me not to underestimate the power of simple words said regularly and with complete focus on them.

What’s the mantra you’re going to use to empower yourself with? What is it that you really want to manifest? A change in behavior? Material riches? A loving relationship? This you can surely do if you dedicate a few minutes a day, every day, to repeating words that already embody the change you want to experience.

***

Simona Rich lives in tropical South India, rides scooter, meditates, does yoga and helps people create fulfilling and unique lives. Read her story to find out how she changed her life. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

photo by: lednichenkoolga

Free Yourself From the Cycle of Stress to Live More Fully Than Ever

Photo credit: Kalliope Kokolis
Photo credit: Kalliope Kokolis

For many of us this is a season when it feels that we are going faster and faster. Everything’s racing, through school semesters, wrapping up work commitments, entering the holidays; the currents of life are in full tilt.

Given the time of year, one student fell into a period of intense stress resulting from a cycle of classes, studying, working, and little sleep. He didn’t realize how long he had neglected to write home until he received the following note:

Dear Son,

Your mother and I enjoyed your last letter. Of course, we were much younger then and more impressionable.

Love,

Dad.

As you know, it’s not just students. Some months ago a friend described getting caught in this state busy-ness while trying to get her daughter to school. She was busy getting things ready while her daughter was trying to show her something. Every time her daughter would call her over she would say, “Just hang on a moment. I’ll be there in a second.” After several rounds of this, the little four-year old came out of her room tired of waiting. She said to her mother, hands on hips, “Why are you always so busy? What’s your name? Is it President O’mama or something?”

Along with the speediness we have the sense that there is not enough time. It’s interesting to observe how often we are living with that perception. It is usually accompanied by a squeeze of anxiety: “I’m not going to be prepared,” and a chain of insecurities. “There’s something around the corner that is going to be too much,” “I’m going to fall short,” “I won’t get something critical done.” There’s this sense that we’re on our way somewhere else and that what’s right here is not the time that matters. We’re trying to get to the point in the future when we’ve finally checked everything off our to-do list and we can rest. As long as this is our habit, we are racing toward the end of our life. We are skimming the surface, and unable to arrive in our life.

Thomas Merton describes the rush and pressure of modern life as a form of contemporary violence. He says: “…to be surrendering to too many demands, too many concerns, is to succumb to the violence.” When we’re speeding along, we violate our own natural rhythms in a way that prevents us from listening to our inner life and being in a resonant field with others. We get tight. We get small. We override our capacity to appreciate beauty, to celebrate, to serve from the heart.

Our mindfulness practice offers us the opportunity to pause and rediscover the space of presence. When we stop charging forward and open to what’s here, there’s a radical shift in our experience of being alive. As we touch into this space of hereness, we access a wisdom, a love and a creativity that are not available when we’re on our way somewhere else. We are home, in our aliveness and our spirit.

Enjoy this talk on: The Space of Presence

Adapted from my book Radical Acceptance (2003)
For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

10 Quotes to Inspire an Abundance Mindset

It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated the New Year but we’re already halfway through the month of January. By now, those of you who have made New Year’s resolutions have had some time to adapt to your new routines. Some of the most popular resolutions each year are to lose weight or to improve one’s finances. Believe it or not, the two are very closely related because in both cases, in order to be successful, you must focus on consuming fewer resources than you take in. Whatever the goals might be that you’ve set for yourself,  I hope that you’re making steady and consistent progress every single day. It’s also possible that some of you might be struggling to stay on track so you might be feeling frustrated or disappointed in yourself.  If the latter is true then this is precisely the point during which you need to stop what you’re doing and give yourself a chance to make a change that will help you continue along the intended path.  As a financial expert, much of the work that I do with my clients involves helping them practice goal-setting in order to achieve their ultimate desire which is to improve the state of their finances.

When it comes to achieving your (financial) goals, you first have to prepare your mind for the task ahead. You have to literally wipe the slate clean in order to receive new information which will serve as the basis of your new habits that ultimately will lead to the achievement of whatever you have set in mind to accomplish. Think of it as a warm-up which helps you make the transition to a more rigorous routine. Your heart and your mind need to be aligned in order for your actions to feel authentic and to yield the proper results. You have to create an abundance mindset before financial abundance can become a reality. When I refer to financial abundance, it takes on a unique meaning depending on the individual according to their respective life circumstances. The focus on abundance is not just on financial resources and wealth but it is also important to think of abundance in terms of time, energy, and resources to help others in need as well as the community of which you’re a part. Abundance in this sense takes on a transitive property that helps you make an impact in a way which is aligned with your values which ultimately helps to contribute to a better and more just world.

I’ve selected some quotes which are accompanied by photographic images. Each quote and photograph is meant to serve as a daily meditation to help you prepare your mind for the actual task of defining your goals, mapping out a specific plan for accomplishing them and then taking the actions needed in order to make the goals a reality. I recommend that you start and end your day with these meditations but you’re welcome to review them as often as you wish. Since this and subsequent exercises are based on being mindful, find a quiet and tranquil space in order to really focus on the words as well as the images. Practice these mindful meditations for a full week and prepare your heart and mind for success and abundance.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP & GO THE DISTANCE: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

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YOU ARE IN CONTROL (OF YOUR EMOTIONS/PERCEPTIONS); THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY:  “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” ~ William Arthur Ward

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BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL THINGS AT ALL TIMES: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continually. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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FOCUS ON WHAT YOU KEEP NOT WHAT YOU MAKE: “The amount of money you have has got nothing to do with what you earn. People earning a million dollars a year can have no money. People earning $35,000 a year can be quite well off. It’s not what you earn, it’s what you spend.” ~ Paul Clitheroe

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BELIEVE IN YOURSELF – IT IS ESSENTIAL TO YOUR SUCCESS: “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failures certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.” ~ Alexandre Dumas

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YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES, JUST STAY FOCUSED AND DEAL WITH OBSTACLES AS THEY COME: “Whatever course you decide upon there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires….courage.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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ENJOY WHAT YOU NEED FOR TODAY BUT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE: “When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.” ~ Confucius

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PRACTICE DISCIPLINE & RESTRAINT – THESE QUALITIES BUILD CHARACTER AND SELF-WORTH: “Savings represent much more than mere money value. They are the proof that the saver is worth something in himself. Any fool can waste; any fool can muddle; but it takes something more of a man to save and the more he saves the more of a man he makes of himself. Waste and extravagance unsettle a man’s mind for every crisis; thrift, which means some form of self-restraint, steadies it.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

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DO WHAT YOU LOVE, DO IT WELL, DO IT WITH PASSION – MAKE THAT YOUR FOCUS: “You can only be truly accomplished at something you love. Do not make money the goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you. All the other tangible rewards will come as a result.” ~ Maya Angelou

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DO THE BEST YOU CAN EACH DAY/THERE WILL BE GOOD DAYS AND BAD DAYS – JUST KEEP GOING: “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Hellen Keller

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5 Intents to Help You Rejuvenate Your Finances this Spring

 

First blossoms of Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth

Earlier this week the vernal equinox heralded in the much anticipated Spring season with the cold, short and dreary days of winter eventually giving way to longer, warmer and sunnier days. The arrival of Spring signifies a time of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation – a time for new beginnings, new possibilities and new hope since that which lay dormant in the winter is now able to blossom and flourish. In fact, in my Persian heritage, the arrival of Spring marks the beginning of the Persian New Year (Norooz, literally “New Day”) which we honor, as we have for thousands of years, as a season for renewal, both within ourselves as individuals as well as in nature and the world all around us.

This spirit of renewal can be applied to anything in our lives and given my role/expertise in helping my clients learn about money and personal financial matters, the message which I’d like to share with those who wish to rejuvenate their finances is that there’s no better time to get started than during this beautiful season of renewal. Of course, there is no cookie cutter formula since everyone has different aptitudes, life circumstances, goals, etc. Also, the  process of becoming more financially literate and empowered does not happen overnight. It is a habit, which if adopted consistently over time, can become a valuable asset to one’s life with far-reaching ramifications.

For those of you who have a desire to take control of your financial health but don’t know exactly where to start, the first step is to begin with a commitment toward adopting a new mindset and an openness to a new way of doing things. With consistent daily practice of keeping your hearts open and your minds ready to accept new and positive messaging, it will become easier for you to take the steps necessary to identify and work toward reaching your own unique financial goals. Focus on making small changes, but do so consistently to yield big results.

In celebration of the season of renewal, I’m dedicating my inaugural post on the Intent Blog to the community of individuals who seek financial empowerment. I’m honored to share with you a series of five intents which can be incorporated into your daily consciousness to help you create the proper mental and spiritual environment for improved financial wellness. Whether you choose to focus on a single intent or all five, make sure to connect with the chosen intent(s) on a consistent basis (ideally daily) since the application of a consistent effort is the key to success in anything that we do in life.

  • Intent #1:  I acknowledge that my financial wellness is a vital component of my overall wellness (which includes the wellness of my mind, body and spirit).
  • intent #2: With improved financial health I will be better able to be a force of positive change in the world.
  • Intent #3: By being mindful of my finances today, I will ensure a better future for myself and for my loved ones.
  • Intent #4: My finances are aligned with my beliefs and attitudes. My finances reflect who I am (and who I want to be).
  • Intent #5: I have the power to change my habits, thoughts and emotions about money. I will replace past mistakes and bad habits with positive inspirations and healthy habits each day.

As I stated before, there is no cookie cutter formula. There are as many unique ways to incorporate these intents into your life as there are unique individuals so feel free to find a method that works best for you. Based on my experience with my clients, I find that the individuals who are best able to harness the power of these intents are those who write them down, either in a journal or on index cards. As impactful as it is to fill your mind with positive thoughts, you’d be amazed by the power of writing your thoughts down on paper. Once you allow yourself to engage in some form of written self-expression, you’ll notice a tremedous release of creative energy from within. Whatever method you choose to follow as far as incorporating these intents in your life, make sure that it fits comfortably within your overall schedule and lifestyle. Start with baby steps and then expand as you need to over time.

I hope that these intents will be a useful first step in your journey toward financial empowerment and I look forward to sharing more posts with you in the future. If you have any comments, insights, etc., feel free to connect with me on this blog or via Facebook or Twitter.

Wishing you success,

Lili

President & Founder, Empowered Bookkeeping LLC

Don’t Sit On The Railroad Tracks- Face Fear

 Face the Fear…And ‘Do It Anyway”…but don’t sit on the railroad tracks. How can we distinguish a ‘real fear for an imagined one’?  Living in the illusion of mind-garbling exaggeration, we can take a mere fly buzzing around our head and turn it into a monstrous germ factory. We can spend an hour, an entire day, or a lifetime trying to sort out this misperception.

Debilitating beliefs anchor inside of us, ‘I’m a failure’, ‘no one likes me’ ‘doomsday thinking’ fester as toxic waste. You live in fearful every ready anxious state, anticipating disastrous outcomes.  Cognitive therapy expert Dr. Caren Caty states, "We can intentionally learn to exaggerate or minimize a fear and then begin to distinguish our reality".

How can we know when the train wreck is upon us?  It’s reality for sure, when we witness our 401 K’s plummeting, corporate greed and corruption exploding, lies  and power mongers…keep us individually and collectively fearful in an anxious ready state. Do we fight, stay, or flee?

Let’s imagine for a moment that we are sitting on the railroad track. It’s a glorious sunny day; the breeze is cool and gentle on your face, the clouds are gently rolling by. Focusing on the stillness and beauty you forget everything… even where you are.  OOPs…not the time to fall asleep, to contemplate.

Time and place plays into consciousness, every moment, every day, in every way. Fear in the right situation is a common sensical reaction. If you see the train coming – get off of the tracks, and don’t drive your car across them when the red-saftey signal and bells are clanging.

Lesson: Be mindful, where you put your attention, on what and for what intent.

Merrie Way Muses:

When someone’s drowning you best throw him/her a life preserver. And, that starts with you. Fear is an insidious state that immolb0izes the best of us. We can feel like we’re  “Bouncing Off the Walls”

Inspiring new book….“Bounce Off The Walls- Land On Your Feet  ‘How to Morph ‘Havoc & Hassles into Harmony & Happiness’.  August release.

www.merrieway.com

 

Meditation and the False Lure of Zoning Out

Why meditation does not make you a self-involved, zoned-out bliss-ninny.

Here’s the polite version of a question I received recently about my support of mindfulness meditation as a practice for well-being in relationships:

Why are you encouraging people to zone out? Sitting around pretending they’re above it all, and avoiding real feelings? Who wants to be in a relationship with a self-involved bliss-ninny?

Wow.

There are an awful lot of misconceptions about mindfulness meditation. This one, about how people who meditate are just using it as a place to “hide out” by just getting zoned, escaping into some blissed-out, checked-out place, is why a lot of people mistakenly decide that meditation is useless, or worse.

There are some merits to asking the question, though, because it’s true that some people who meditate use it in ways which aren’t beneficial, sometimes making them pretty obnoxious to spend time with.

The place from which I look at the benefits of mindfulness meditation is in my work with people who want to create more meaningful lives, including better, healthier, more satisfying relationships. I’m a clinical psychologist who believes that being emotionally present and authentic is the cornerstone of emotional well-being. I’m also trained as a neuropsychologist, who knows that the better integrated a brain is, the better it works. It’s a bit like needing the left hand to know what the right one is doing in order to get anything done. (I don’t just use that phrase lightly – in cases of damage to the corpus callosum, the brain’s bridge between the right and left hemispheres, one hand quite literally doesn’t know what the other is doing, with one buttoning up the shirt and the other following behind, unbuttoning it.)

So from that stance, let’s take a look at the notion that mindfulness meditation leads to people becoming zoned-out, self-involved bliss-ninnies.

“Don’t people use meditation just to escape?”

Is it possible for people to hide out in meditation? Yes. People who “use” meditation to escape, just like using drugs or alcohol to escape, can closely resemble the “kindly, calm pod person” that Judith Warner wrote about in a New York Times blog post. The added “benefit” of using meditation as your drug of choice is that, unlike zoning out on alcohol or drugs (or TV, surfing the web, and so on), you can also adopt a “more enlightened than thou” stance that some meditators have been known to take, much to the annoyance of those around them.

Even Jack Kornfield, PhD, one of the pioneers and great teachers in the use of mindfulness meditation in the West (and also a psychologist), points out that “[m]editation and spiritual practice can easily be used to suppress and avoid feeling or to escape from difficult areas of our lives.” He goes on to say that “the sitting practice itself… often provide[s] a way to hide, a way to actually separate the mind from difficult areas of heart and body.”

Obviously, this isn’t the approach to mindfulness meditation which I advocate. This will become more clear as we go on.

“The people I know who meditate just ended up being more self-involved.”

This can happen, too. In one variation of this, sometimes people who meditate profess that their practice is making them “more present” when in fact they’re just more self-involved. Judith Warner again:

[P]eople who are embarked on this particular ‘journey of self-exploration,’ as [Mary] Pipher has called it, tend to want to talk, or write, about it. A lot. But what they don’t realize – because they’re so in the moment, caught in the wonder and fascination and totality of their self-experience – is that their stories are like dream sequences in movies, or college students’ journal entries, or the excited accounts your children bring you of absolutely hilarious moments in cartoons – you really do have to be the one who’s been there to tolerate it.

For the truth is, however admirable mindfulness may be, however much peace, grounding, stability and self-acceptance it can bring, as an experience to be shared, it’s stultifyingly boring.

What she’s describing (okay, complaining about) is not “real” mindfulness, though. Mindfulness isn’t about droning on and on about your own inner exploration, ignoring the feelings of others (or your own), or gushing your newfound love for all of humanity. Mindfulness is about developing a larger capacity in yourself for empathic, attuned, contingent connection.

That last sentence is vital: Mindfulness is about developing a larger capacity in yourself for empathic, attuned, contingent connection.

  • empathic = being able to see things from another’s point of view, getting a sense of their intentions, and being able to imagine what something “means” to another person
  • attuned = allowing our internal state to resonate with the inner world of another, to “get” someone else’s inner state, allowing us to feel connected
  • contingent = responding to another in a way which is informed by what we sense in them, not just what we think or feel

(These definitions as presented here are largely influenced by Dan Siegel, whose latest book, Mindsight, I highly recommend.)

A thumbnail sketch of what this looks like: You talk to me, and I listen with an open heart and an open mind, tuned in to you while also being aware of my own internal state. And my response to you, if I’m being mindful, is contingent on what you’re saying and feeling and communicating – not just my own internal experience. When I talk, I’m speaking with mindful awareness of my internal state as well as being attuned to you, and I pay attention to shifts in myself and in you while I speak, to be able to remain connected, attuned and empathic.

That would be a far cry from being self-involved.

“Seems to me that people who meditate aren’t dealing with their real problems.”

It’s also true that many who meditate may need additional help. As Jack Kornfield put it in his essay, “Even The Best Meditators Have Old Wounds To Heal”:

There are many areas of growth (grief and other unfinished business, communication and maturing of relationships, sexuality and intimacy, career and work issues, certain fears and phobias, early wounds, and more) where good Western therapy is on the whole much quicker and more successful than meditation…. Meditation can help in these areas. But if, after sitting for a while, you discover that you still have work to do, find a good therapist or some other way to effectively address these issues.

Jack, in his honest wisdom, goes on to say that many American vipassana (mindfulness meditation) teachers who have gotten stuck in disconnection, fear, or other unconscious places, have sought out psychotherapy.

(As a brief aside, I would say that the same seeking of good psychotherapy should be true of anyone leading others in a quest to better understand themselves, or to heal emotionally. That includes psychotherapists. It’s my strong opinion that good psychotherapists have done (and continue to do) work in their own psychotherapy, and need to have the capacity for empathic, attuned, contingent communication.)

So, mindfulness meditation isn’t a one-size-fits-all cure for everything that ails you. It is, however, powerfully helpful, whether on its own, or in conjunction with psychotherapy.

I’ve had people come into my practice who have been meditating for years, who have found that they’ve resolved much but can’t seem to crack the core of the issue, and their meditation practice serves them well in the psychotherapeutic work.

I’ve also worked with people who have been in psychotherapy on and off for years with different therapists, benefitting from it but with the next level of growth seemingly out of reach. When we’ve added mindfulness meditation to the mix, they’ve begun to make some remarkable progress which they hadn’t been able to before.

“Can meditation really change people for the better?”

Nothing is a “build it and they will come” guarantee when it comes to personal change. A joke in psychotherapy is, “How many psychotherapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one, but the lightbulb has to really want to change.”  That’s not just true of psychotherapy, but of any endeavor we take on to create better, healthier, more meaningful lives, and that would include meditation. (As George Carlin said, “Ya gotta wanna.”)

Mindfulness meditation is being shown in a growing mountain of well-done, peer-reviewed scientific research to make demonstrable changes in how your brain is wired — which in turn changes how you perceive the world, how you respond to it, and how you behave.

Meditation isn’t a magic wand that creates enlightenment, but it does have what can look like almost magical effects on connections in the brain — including synaptogenesis (the creation of new connections between neurons), and even neurogenesis (the creation of brand-new neurons in the brain– an ability which neuroscience has only accepted as a real phenomenon in the last 15 years or so).

What I see in people who practice regular mindfulness meditation is that they’re more integrated in how they relate to the world, including themselves. (This is more true of people who are practice developing their mindfulness at all times, not just when they’re formally meditating.)

They haven’t found a magic way to hit the “bliss” button – not if they’re being really truthful with themselves. They might experience bliss more often and more fully, but it’s likely that they’re also experiencing all of their emotions more often, and more fully. What they’ve found is a way to be more whole, more integrated, to not just listen to their rational intellectual side “versus” their non-rational, emotional side.

I see a lot of very bright, high-functioning people in my psychotherapy practice who are so far one-sided or the other — over-reliant on the rational, or hyper-attuned to the emotional — that they can’t get a handle on what their “real” problem is. Mindfulness meditation helps them see a more integrated picture, warts and all, and then they’re also better equipped to deal with it in an honest, authentic, insightful way.

Let’s take a look at how that applies to a relationship problem. If you use only your rational brain, and ignore your feelings and those of your significant other, it’s unlikely to go well (in fact, you’ll probably make things worse). On the other hand, if you lead solely with your emotions, you could similarly end up never solving the problem (and blowing things up). It’s much like the right-hand-buttoning, left-hand-unbuttoning dilemma.

But: If you are able to integrate both your intellect and your emotions — and be attuned to your significant other’s feelings and thoughts as well (in a real way, not the way that Judith Warner described) — you can be positively brilliant in dealing with the issue.

“Yeah, but is there any real change?”

Yes — “real” as in “measurable by scientific methods”. This is what the research in neuroscience is pointing to. Researchers have been looking at the structure and activity in the brains of those who practice regular mindfulness meditation, and they see changes and benefits.

Whichof those findings excite me the most, as someone who works to help people create more meaningful lives and relationships?

How about this: Increased activity, connectivity — even size — in brain areas (most especially, an area called the middle prefrontal cortex) known to support the integration of the rational, problem-solving areas (e.g., the frontal cortex) and those known to be centers for emotions (e.g., the amygdala).

The brains of people who practice mindfulness meditation appear to be more integrated, and the clinical evidence supports these changes as well, such as the nine benefits of mindfulness meditation I discussed in a previous post.

If your brain is better integrated, you’re neither ignoring the facts nor discounting emotions. You’re better able to know what’s true for you, and to be better attuned to the person you’re with. You can evaluate more clearly what you’re feeling, rather than having knee-jerk reactions or jumping to conclusions. While it doesn’t mean you always do, you’re more likely to be able to stay present with whatever’s going on.

 

Save money by slowing down!

Want to save money?

 
I have a lot of ideas about how to save money and you guessed it, they are heavily inspired by living in the DR. I see people every day living on very little, so I thought and thought, and found a commonality… SLOW DOWN!!

On general terms, the pace in North America is fast! We often overspend and overeat! We rush around to meetings, appointments and lessons leaving little time to plan, let alone digest our meals. We slurp and gulp things and wonder why we have indigestion, feel stressed and experience trouble sleeping. We choose the fastest foods to cook, often from a box because we have to move on quickly to the next event.

How much money do you spend at the grocery store in a month?

How much food do you throw out at the end of each week? Or after each meal?

Save money by ~

  • Slowing down and taking time to plan your meals. Find your favourite recipes, create a list and don’t buy what isn’t on your list.
  • When eating, slow down and eat only what you need – avoid stuffing yourself. Eat mindfully. Taste and enjoy your food. Think quality not quantity.
  • Eat leftovers and if you don’t like leftovers -adjust how much you buy, avoiding throwing food out at the end of the week or after meals.
     

I remember being at a colmado [a small convenience store selling fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, beer and everything else including batteries, diapers and tools 🙂 ] when this little boy asked for 20 pesos worth of olive oil – the man poured a specific and small amount into a bag and the boy carefully walked away with it. I thought about how specific the amount was and how necessary oil is in cooking and how little we need to make a meal. We are so used to having an abundance of food – we do not feel threatened by a potential lack of food. We have bottles and varieties of oil in our pantries. We are so fortunate!

So if you are looking for ways to save money and live well ~ slow down, nourish your soul by nourishing your body by eating wholesome food slowly and only what you need, be graceful and mindful.

Enjoy your day and ~ Embrace Your Life!
 

Kelly McIntyre M.Sc.
Life/Career Coach

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Never Diet Again. Instead, Be Mind-Full.

In the world of TV commercials, they call it "the bite and smile," and in my day as a commercial actress, I learned to be masterful at it.

As the camera zooms in, the actor eyes the food in rapt anticipation, sniffing the air and sighing at its delectable aroma. Then she reverently picks it up and takes a slow, sumptuous mouthful. Her eyes close as her tastebuds take in the full effect of the heavenly cuisine. Only then does she slowly chew and swallow, before flashing to the camera a satisfied smile that drips with delight.

Sure the food on the commercial set is intensely prepped and perfected (so much so, in fact, that the slang name for it, befittingly, is the "hero"), and certainly the actors are skilled in the dramatization of these simple moments of enjoying food. Still, the "bite and smile" is a great example of how food is meant to be eaten. Our food is supposed to be appreciated, and eating intended to be a delightful experience.

Imagine how much more satisfied we would be if we took in our food with greater awareness of our senses—smelling the food’s aroma, noticing how it is arranged on our plate, feeling its texture as we put a forkful into our mouth and again as we swallow it down. This would make the experience of dining much more satisfying and pleasurable, and also bring us more fully into the moment.

 

The perfect strawberry

About ten years ago, I attended a week-long retreat with Tich Nhat Hahn. We spent the week deliberately eating in silence, lingering over each bite as I described above. A few weeks after returning home from the retreat, I accompanied my then-husband to a corporate banquet for his work. Long tables were draped in thick white tablecloths. A buffet stood in the center of the room including metal platters filled with grilled vegetables and creamy Fettucini Alfredo. A chef wearing a tall white paper hat carved thin slices of roast beef. Steam rose out of a basket filled with warm rolls while an iceberg salad with carrot shavings stood nearby. The other attendees greeted each other, shaking hands between moments of filling their plates, and hurried back to their tables. Seated, they shoved forkfuls into their mouths amidst small talk and laugher.

On one side of the room was the dessert table, oveflowing with all manner of gooey, creamy, and suger-laden delights—the kind I’d drooled over so many times in the past. But this time, my eye was drawn to a large platter in the center of the table, laden with fresh fruit. Among squares of pineapple and melon sat a gorgeous, ripe strawberry. I’d spotted it from across the banquet hall and I knew from my experience at the retreat that one strawberry could satisfy my appetite.

So I put the strawberry right in the middle of a dessert plate and headed to my table. In the past, I might have felt silly or made up some excuse to the others for my "odd" preference. But this time, I just filled my senses entirely with the sight and scent of the bright red treat. If any of the others noticed me while I took each Soul-Full bite and genuinely smiled, I never noticed them. Gone were the days of performing for the camera. At that moment, everything else fell away and I was in heaven.

 

The above is an excerpt from Maureen’s book, Soul-Full Eating: A (delicious!) Path to Higher Consciousness. For more info, www.soul-fulleating.com

 

 

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