Meditation Monday: Healthy Body. Healthy Mind

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Welcome to Meditation Monday!

I work with people every day who want to regain balance and healing. I often encourage clients to do regular meditation for assisting their journey back to balance. There is a growing body of research on the benefits of meditation for balance and for healing.

At work, I let my clients know what I am detecting in their pulses, their tongue diagnosis, and what I am focusing on as I design their acupuncture treatment. Even if they aren’t familiar with some of the terminology in Oriental Medicine, I try to make my explanations simple. What I know is that the person on the table then has an image to focus on for their health. My informing them of my treatment focus engages them to participate in their return to balance and health.

Today’s meditation is focused on balance and healing both body and mind. There seems to always be an area in need of healing energy that will bring us into balance. We will use the breath to direct our energy towards healing. Focusing your attention does assist your desired outcome. There is an adage I love, “Where your attention goes, your energy goes.” By focusing our attention on areas of our body and/or mind that are calling for healing we, indeed, assist in the healing process.

Though some diseases won’t be erased with focused attention (for any variety of reasons), our body will find balance and healing where it can to assist in our journey. I’ve been privileged to work with many people who found healing even though their disease eventually took over.

I hope you enjoy this meditation as much as I’ve enjoyed recording and experiencing it.

Have a great week and I hope you will return next Monday!

Meditation Monday & Appreciation

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Welcome to meditation Monday. I am so glad you are here — the more who join in meditation together, the stronger the ripples of relaxed calm and peace, even for these few minutes.

Today’s meditation is on appreciation. When was the last time you paused to appreciate? Your home. Your surroundings. Your friends and family. Yourself?

Whatever we appreciate, appreciates or grows in value. In this meditation we will move through the body to appreciate each and every part. Like gratitude, a close cousin, appreciation is an uplifting and empowering practice that leads to greater happiness.

I hope you will gain more appreciation of your body and all that it does for you.

See you next week!

Ten Minutes For Me ~ Meditation Monday

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I am so glad you are here. This meditation is a break for you — ten minutes to step away from the busy-ness of your life. Meditation helps overcome stress, worry, and overthinking, then leading us to a calm center. There is no magic although it can feel very magical to unplug, be quiet, and to take a few minutes to simply follow your breath.

Over time, meditation does calm our minds so that our thinking slows down. Too much thinking leads to unhappiness. Meditation allows us to be more mindful and settle into the present moment where there is no thought, only presence. Meditation is the practice of cultivating a relaxed and focused mind.

Let’s sit together and step back for another perspective by simply following our breath, then see what happens.

“Even This…” A Practice in Reframing

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Most of us meet with overwhelm, fatigue, and not enough hours in a day to pause to take a quiet moment for down time and recovery. Many of us have changes in our lifestyle we wish to make — food, exercise, obsession with the news, more sleep, etc. Change is often seen through the lens of “What to get rid of” or “What needs fixing” which often lead to failed attempts at change.

When I was actively mothering and working full-time to keep up with my financial responsibilities, overwhelm was a familiar companion. I remember times I wished to ‘stop the train’ and get off. What a helpless feeling! I wanted change and found myself looking through the lens of ‘what needs fixing or changing” in my day so that I could have a quiet moment for me.

One day as I rose from my morning meditation, I had an aha moment. Instead of looking at what to get rid of, I realized that another approach would be reframing my experience and creating a new story. I placed my hands in front of my heart creating a container with my hands. As I gazed at my hands I imagined my container filled with whatever I felt was a source of overwhelm — such as lack of time for quiet, children’s schedules, a busy workday, meal preparation, etc. I would then say (either out loud or silently depending on where I was), “Even this is time for me.” or “Even this is my time”. I’d repeat the phrase several times from a heartfelt place while breathing deeply.

When finished, I felt (sometimes, only a bit) lighter and more positively focused. I could take a deep breath and smile. I was less focused on what I should fix. This simple practice was – and continues to be – a lifesaver for me during some of the most intense times of my life. Over the years I’ve continued the practice of ‘Even this…’ completing the sentence in reference to what I was feeling in the moment — ‘Even this hopelessness, helplessness, or overwhelm contributes to my well-being.’

“Even this….”, is a positive way to reframe an experience, especially when I may not be able to change the situation or I feel stuck and unable to make change. I have recommended this practice to friends, family, and clients over the years with successful results and more openness to change. When I do this, I feel a new agency to my life. I find myself enjoying life more in a positive and empowering way. I enjoy more of my day because I take the time to own my life circumstances without judgement, social comparison, or the need to change anything (especially the things I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to change).

I love when I can share this practice with others and it helps. Most recently, I recommended a client use this practice to begin changing his lifestyle away from an unhealthy addictive behavior and toward healthier choices. Instead of focusing on stopping the behavior, “Even this…” practice reframed the behavior and his feelings of judgement. After doing this for several days, he saw his feelings shift from negative resistance to an opening toward positivity and hope. The behavior he struggled with naturally diminished with little effort and he is confident that the behavior is on its way gone.

In my work, I see folks who wish to change addictive behaviors (from quitting smoking, food addictions, to alcohol). I’ve noticed that, for most people, directly going for getting rid of the behavior is met with any number of failed attempts that may or may not end in success. By adding an empowering practice that reframes their experience allows for more successful change with fewer failures.

Try using, “Even this….” by adding your personal ending to this prompt for reframing your story. I look forward to hearing about your experience.

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Meditation Monday on Peace

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This weekend has been focused on change through the inspiration of youth marching in Washington DC and over 800 marches around the world. Watching the youth of our country step into leadership around gun control has filled me with hope. Listening to their passion through their speeches – many survivors of useless shootings – has inspired me to continue working for peace.

What these students have organized and carried out in a little over a month is more than impressive. They have begun a movement in our country that I am certain will continue. The youth of the world are becoming politically involved and are using social media as their tool to spread their message worldwide. I do believe they will be a force for positive change in the coming elections.

I am reminded of the marches for change that happened in the 1960’s — it was a time of rippling transformations and a major wave of change. It is time again for change and our youth are leading the way. I am grateful!

This weeks meditation is my offering for cultivating peace, love, and hope within us and around us. Remember, the more people who meditate together the stronger our collective energy becomes. My lifelong quest has been for peace, even if global peace seems impossible. Today, I feel hopeful that more peace within might be possible.

My hope is that you will consider sharing this meditation with others so that a wave can be created of more and more people joining in meditation.

 

It’s Meditation Monday

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Welcome! It’s Meditation Monday and I am so glad you are joining me.

This weeks meditation is focused on Mindful Awareness. As with all meditation, the breath is always a way to return focus to the present moment. Mindful awareness is a practice of noticing what you feel; what sensation, emotion, or thought captures your attention; or how your body is positioned in space. Mindful awareness also means simply noticing without needing to do anything about what we are aware of in any moment. Mindfulness invites you to actively notice without judgement, no action, and no response beyond noticing.

I am glad you have joined Meditation Monday. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned meditator being guided in meditation creates a ripple of many meditating together.

Have a mindful week!

Yes, It’s Meditation Monday

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Welcome to Meditation Monday!

Here in Massachusetts we changed our clocks last night into Daylight Savings time. What this means today is that it is still light outside and I am a bit disoriented. I don’t really understand why we continue to change our clocks both in the Spring and Fall. I see it as going into jet lag without the vacation or memories! I know that in a few days my body will adjust and I will enjoy more light in the evenings so I can spend more time outdoors.

Now it is time for meditation. This weeks meditation continues with a focus on the breath and adding a visualization of light with the breath. I find adding a mental focus helps me to let go of my thinking mind more easily. This week we’ll also meditate a few minutes longer.

I hope you are enjoying joining me in meditation. There is strength in numbers. I remember how powerful meditations were when living at Kripalu Center and meditating with many people on a daily basis. I found it much easier to dip deeply into my inner experience while feeling supported by the energy of the group meditating together. As you settle into this guided meditation imagine that you are meditating with a group and feel supported on your inner journey.

Of course, passing it along to friends and family who might join you will widen your tribe of weekly meditators. The more ripples of relaxed calm, the more light and peace we can send out into the world.

It’s Meditation Monday

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Welcome to Meditation Monday.

I hope your week has been filled with calm, especially if you were able to begin last week with meditation. If you are a beginner or a sporadic meditator, I encourage you to bring more meditation time into your life — even 2 – 3 times each week for 10 minutes reaps many benefits.

Each week I’ll have a focus to the guided meditation. Todays focus is more on the breath — deepening the breath and adding some control to our inhalations and exhalations.

In every meditation I will include a period of silence (or contemplation). During the silence you can continue your focus on your breath or allow your breath to settle into its own rhythm in silence.

I hope you enjoy the guided meditation and will check in each Meditation Monday for a new guided experience.

Please, pass it along to friends and family. I do believe that the more of us meditating, the more peace and calm we offer the world.

Consider following my blog to remain updated on weekly meditations as well as posts on health and happiness that will, hopefully, enrich your life.

 

Eye Exercises For Health

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Are your eyes healthy? Do they get enough exercise? Exercising the eyes stimulates the muscles and nerves of the optical system. Sounds like a good idea doesn’t it?

In my work, I recommend using the Tibetan Eye Chart for exercising the muscles of the eyes. I even use it myself. Recently, I have recommended using the Tibetan Eye Chart to a woman who was diagnosed with Glaucoma (beginning stages). I suggest its use for any eye issue with promising results.

I remember the first time I recommended using the eye chart. Back in the 1970’s I was teaching a yoga class to a group of women at a local college when Alice came to class one night and let us know she’d been diagnosed with the beginning stages of glaucoma. She asked me if there was anything in yoga that could help her. It was the perfect class to talk about eye health and exercises with yoga to maintain the health of their eyes. The next week, I brought in Tibetan Eye Charts for everyone to have a tangible as well as visible guide for exercising the eyes.

We continued eye exercises for several more classes and then didn’t revisit them until a year later when Alice arrived for class quite excited. She announced that her Glaucoma had improved and she owed the improvement to the eye exercises she continued to do daily for the entire year. She told us her Tibetan Eye Chart hung on a wall so she was reminded every day to exercise her eyes. We celebrated her improved health and her persistence in continuing all year.

Over the years I have recommended eye exercises to many others to maintain eye health.

Fast forward to 2017…  A regular client came in who had just been diagnosed with early onset Glaucoma (a buildup of pressure in the eye that can damage the optic nerve over time). Yup! Out came the Tibetan Eye Chart! I used part of our time together to teach her how to exercise her eyes using the chart. She went home and practiced every day, sometimes several times a day. (I do love those with persistent personalities!)

Earlier this week (only two months later) she called thanking me for teaching her about exercising her eyes – she was ecstatic! Her eye pressure has improved and she attributes the improvement directly to the eye chart. She will continue to exercise her eyes and I am inspired to renewed exercising my own eyes (even though I don’t have glaucoma, I do experience tired eyes) with the Tibetan Eye Chart!

Note: Now it is true that there has been no research to confirm the benefit of exercising the eyes with the Tibetan Eye chart, however, hundreds of years ago there was only testimonial through practice. I certainly recommend that clients get their eyes checked by their eye doctor and not rely solely on an ancient practice.

Instructions for the Tibetan Eye Chart:

Stand facing the chart (hang it at eye level) with your nose aligned with the center spot.
Place your palms on your eyes for a few moments.
By moving only your eyes, follow the arms out to the dots at the end of each one, beginning with the top dot. Follow the dots around the chart clockwise. Repeat following the dots around counterclockwise as well.
Repeat twice again.
Rub your palms together and place them over your eyes for several moments when finished.
For eye health, do this exercise daily.

** You can print your own chart from a simple Google search. **

Oh yes, be sure to check back on Monday for another recorded meditation as part of Meditation Monday!

Meditation for Stress Less Living

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Welcome to Meditation Monday — a new addition to my blog. Each Monday (as much as possible, anyway) I will post a recorded meditation for you. Below is the link to the meditation. I hope you will enjoy it!

Meditation has been my daily practice for most of my life. The benefits of meditation on health and happiness are growing as more research exists (especially on the benefits of Loving Kindness Meditation). Of course, the recent research simply reflects and affirms what I and many have experienced through regular practice.

What is meditation? Meditation is practice of contemplation that can be practiced in many ways — following the breath, focusing on loving kindness, eye gazing on a candle or photo, prayer, or using a mantra or affirmation to focus your mind on peaceful quiet. Meditation is integral within every religious and spiritual approach. Contemplation is an important practice for experiencing inner peace and devotional prayer. Quietly sitting for several minutes or more a day is how to begin meditation.

In my work, I recommend meditation to many of my clients. What I often hear in response to my suggestion is, “I’ve tried and can’t”, “I can’t meditate. I can’t empty my mind.” After several unsuccessful attempts to experience a silent mind, they stop trying. However, the myth of meditation is that we can empty our mind of thoughts.

Consider this. Our mind’s job is to think. Instead of trying to empty your mind from thought, acknowledge the thoughts that continue while sitting. Practicing meditation is learned by sitting in quiet, gently breathing in and out, noticing thoughts that drift by, letting them go, and refocusing on the breath (or whatever you choose to focus on). A quiet mind? That comes with years of dedicated practice and, even then, the mind continues to think, only slower. A mind without thought is momentary.

The benefits of meditation keep me taking the time to meditate daily. Meditation cultivates more happiness and peace in life; increases focus, creativity, memory, and compassion; decreases the experience of stress and anxiety overall; builds self-esteem and intuition; offsets the aging process of the brain; lowers blood pressure; and improves our health.

How to Meditate? Schedule the time to sit, stand, or even walk in order to calm your nervous system, quiet your mind, and experience focused awareness. Use this dedicated time to turn off the tv, radio, or even music so that you can experience a settling of your nervous system even if thoughts continue. I encourage the same time of day so that it becomes a consistent practice.

Initially, it is helpful to listen to a guided meditation. A favorite for many is the app, Headspace. There is a convenience to Headspace because you can listen from your phone anywhere. Search Google for ‘guided meditations’ and you will find many teachers who offer free guided experiences. I suggest listening to several of them to see who’s voice you resonate with most.

I will be posting a weekly meditation here. My intention is “Meditation Monday’s” so that you might use my guided meditations throughout the week. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!