“What do you want to grow in yourself? Dwell there.”

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Taking part in Mindful Living Week by the Awake Network (https://www.theawakenetwork.com/) was one of the most beneficial things I have ever done for myself. This was an online program that I participated in back in May of 2017. Right when I was revving up to start making corrections in my life and start living better than before. The presenters were top notch and just full of useful, practical information and tips that I applied in my life immediately.

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Starting on Day One with Mindfulness, Calm and Happiness, Dr. Rick Hanson talks about how meditation works in your real life. He uses the example of when you work out physically, it makes your muscles stronger. It’s the same with mediation. When you are meditating and return to the breath, you learn control, and that carries over into your real life. I saw this happen in my own life, which I have talked about before. There is a calm that takes over. What a pleasant way to live! It’s fascinating to me that every time you get a little lost in meditation then come back to the breath you are having a “mini-awakening” at that moment, as Dr. Hanson calls it. That’s SO important. The coming back is the brain training. So, it doesn’t matter how many times you get lost, coming back is the exercise. Over time, you actually change and thicken the cortex of your brain. You are making structural change that will impact your life, becoming more empathic and less agitated. This is absolutely true for me. When I heard all of this for the first time I was so excited! It felt like someone let me in on some sort of secret! “Why isn’t everyone doing this?!” I thought. Just the idea that doing something as SIMPLE as meditating could have such an enormous change in my brain and body! Dr. Hanson says “you become what you think about”. If you live in a state of worry, as I did for so many years, the accumulation of wear and tear of stress and anxiety is something you not only experience, it’s what you become. This all made perfect sense to me as I looked back on the previous year or two. My state of mind was so destructive. A “state- to -trait” if you will, as Dr. Hanson says so well. If you want to learn more, watch the following Ted Talk by Dr. Hanson. https://youtu.be/jpuDyGgIeh0 My favorite quote from Dr. Hanson during his presentation was “What do you want to grow in yourself? Dwell there.” Yes, dwell there. SO POWERFUL. We are growing these muscles for life. And I couldn’t wait to get started.

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Dr. Hanson also focused on how we need to note the small moments of joy that occur every day. When those little small doses of joy happen for us we need to savor them. And really absorb them. For me it could be the birds at my bird feeders, sitting in the warm sunshine or spending time with my kitty. There is so much happiness there. Don’t let those moments float by!

Another way to bring joy into our lives is to wish someone else happiness two times a day. This does not need to be said to the other person, just a a personal wish of our own, maybe during meditation or just taking a few minutes a day to think about someone else. Wishing someone else was happy automatically makes you happy, according to Dr. Hanson. I have to say a agree with this. I did a little experiment with this tip and I did find that it brought me more happiness. It brought me out of my own head which is always useful.

This week think about starting a meditation practice if you haven’t already. You could also try the following:

Wish happiness on someone else two times a day!

Notice the small moments during the day, and savor them.

I’d love to hear your feedback! Please comment below! Thank you for being here!


The Wholeness of Time

Day 17/18

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Everything is designed for wholeness. Especially in nature. Deepak says “not to measure your life in bits and pieces. The true nature of yourself is the wholeness of the universe.” Maybe that’s a little woo-woo for you. I believe we are all part of something bigger which in turn makes us feel whole. For me I feel this way clearly when I’m meditating and secondly, when I’m in nature.

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Being in nature is a very new thing for me. I’ve never, ever been outdoorsy. I’ve only camped a handful of times most of which were with the Girl Scouts when I was very young and then once in my twenties. It was not my favorite thing to do. I didn’t enjoy the bugs, the dirt or the discomfort of being outside. I was a city girl. Raised in the city of Pittsburgh until I was 11 then moved to Southern California and from there to Northern Virginia just outside DC. The only thing I did outside was go to the beach. Which I loved but not for the reasons I love being in nature now.

Many studies show the health gains for those in contact with nature. Read more about the studies here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180706102842.htm Which then made me take it more seriously. Later it became part of my goals, vision board and 18 for 18 which I will explain later!! But I can see in my notes from this meditation experience I wrote “I feel whole when at a national park – do more often”. That was the beginning. My first thoughts of getting out in nature with purpose. Which I do regularly now and LOVE! I will have a lot to say on the subject when I talk about my vision board for 2018. But for now, I’ll say that I appreciate being outside more than I ever have before in my life. I feel like I’ve uncovered some sort of secret world in the parks I’ve been visiting! Of course, there is an entire community of people in on this world of nature. I’m just a newbie. I feel like a little kid taking pictures of all the creatures and beauty around me. I notice everything now. I’m being mindful.

How about you? Where do you feel most whole? Try the following:

List experiences that make you feel whole and present. This could be while meditating, hiking, yoga, etc.

Take a look at your list and pick one or two things to bring into your life more often.

Your overall happiness will increase when you begin to start seeing yourself as part of the wholeness of the universe.

Can’t wait to hear your feedback! Please comment below! Thanks for being here!


Meditation

Day 5

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Deepak says “All renewal occurs in the now.” At this point I had learned how important is it to stay present. And that meditation is a form of healing, just as sleep is. The focus for me now was to make it a priority in my life.

The science behind meditation is so clear. The repetitive nature of meditating actually changes the pathways in your brain. Which in turn creates a healthier you! To read more click here. http:// https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/transcendental-meditation#1

My take away here was a reinforcement of what I already knew. Mediation HAD to be a priority. It’s non negotiable. I have seen such changes in my behavior since I started my practice. Things that would send me off, stress me out or make me angry just don’t anymore. I even surprise myself!! I certainly had a moment at my daughter’s dance competition a year or so ago that would have the old me ranting and raving, angry and yelling. But I didn’t. I remember thinking, it will all be fine. I knew it would work out. But would it? The truth was I just wasn’t worried or stressed about the outcome. I was in the flow and completely calm. This startled my mom who was with me. She said she couldn’t believe how calm I was! Because if anyone has seen the old me in all my glory, it’s my mom! The calmness and the retraining of my brain that happens in mediation had carried over into my everyday life. It’s a wonderful thing!

Do you have a mediation practice? Are you seeing results in your everyday life? Again I will suggest picking up a mediation practice if you haven’t already done so!

Download a meditation app such as Insight Timer, Headspace or Calm.

Create a habit of meditating daily for 1 minute to start and build from there.

Please comment below! Thanks for being here!