Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mindfulness Practice : Let Life Flow Through You

So many different emotions flow through me and every day is filled with different experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc. One thing that helps me live in the moment is when I catch myself resisting what is happening in life or clinging to an experience because I don't want it to end. This catching myself is called awareness and this moment of awareness presents an opportunity to wake up and arrive right here in this moment.

It is when you arrive in the moment, when you become aware that you are resisting by making up stories, catastrophising, judging, etc that you can truly live in the moment. This is the practice of mindfulness...

I love this poem because it truly captures the essence of mindfulness and how it applies to life. It's an invitation to allow all experience to flow through you and open to life.

The Guest House
By Rumi

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

May you be well...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Are you stressed out? Learn healing ways to deal with stress...

Are you overwhelmed, worried or stressed out? Do you find yourself feeling anxious much of the day? Do you want to relax but just don't know how?

There is a saying that our thoughts create our reality. There are days that we experience as stressful and other days that are calm or even boring. I have experienced stress on the days that I'm hooked into negative thoughts, predicting, catastrophzing or worrying. Some days it doesn't take much to trigger a stress avalanche and before I know it I'm caught in the whirlwind of negative thoughts and stories. In the midst of this storm it isn't just my mind that goes for a ride it's my body, emotions and heart. I've learned to help myself by checking in periodically and practicing what Mindfulness Meditation Teacher and Psychotherapist Tara Brach calls the Sacred Pause.

What is a Sacred Pause?

A sacred pause is the action of stopping all activity, closing your eyes, tuning in your breath and beginning to notice what you are holding in your mind, body and heart. It's called a sacred pause because the practice requires us to set aside judgment, opinions, shoulds, and just notice how you are reacting to what is happening. So the problem is not what is happening on the outside (although it may truly be a stressful event) it is what we are telling ourselves about the event and how we are reacting to it. This is what causes suffering/stress. Below are two videos I've attached to help you deal with stress. One is Tara Brach's video where she guides you in the practice of the Sacred Pause and the other one is calming music that can help you take a break to help you relax and unwind.

Here is a calming and beautiful video with relaxing music. Take a moment to pause, close your eyes and allow your body to relax in response to the music. Even practicing this for a five minutes can have a healing and soothing effect.

Take time throughout the day to check in. The most common places we accumulate stress is in the neck, shoulders and lower back. Learn to listen to your body, notice where you tend to carry stress and take a sacred pause or just listen to relaxing music.

May you be well!