Tag Archive | Mindfulness

Stop!

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Victor Frankl 

Haven’t there been times when you just needed to stop what you were doing and get some “breathing space”?

With the holidays fast approaching, it seemed like a good time to stop and share a breathing exercise to help retain or regain our equilibrium. 

The practice below comes from Dave Potter who is a certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction instructor, who received his training through the University of Massachusetts Medical School where Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Center for Mindfulness.

He provides a great way to step out of automatic pilot mode and move into the present moment to reconnect with our natural resilience and wisdom.

We are simply tuning in to what is happening right now, without expectation of any particular result.

If you remember nothing else, just remember the word “STOP”.

S – Stop and take Stock / Checking in to Head/Heart/Body

Bring yourself into the present moment by deliberately asking, “What is my experience right now”?

What are you saying to yourself, and what images are coming to mind?

What are you feeling and what sensations are being experienced?

Acknowledge and register your experience, even if it is uncomfortable.

T – “Take” a Breath / Directing awareness to Breathing

Gently direct full attention to breathing, to each in breath and to each outbreath as they follow, one after the other.

Your breath can function as an anchor to bring you into the present and help you tune into a state of awareness and stillness.

O – Open and Observe / Expanding awareness outward

Expand the field of your awareness around and beyond your breathing, so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression, then further outward to what is happening around you: sights, sounds, smells, etc.

As best you can, bring this expanded awareness to the next moments.

P – Proceed / new Possibilities Continuing without expectation

Let your attention now move into the world around you, sensing how things are right now.

Rather than react habitually/mechanically, you can be curious/open, responding naturally. You may even be surprised by what happens next after having created this pause.

What practice helps you to avoid unconsciously reacting, and choosing a better response as a result?

What positive  words would you use for S.T.O.P? I like Serenity, Tranquility, Optimism and Power.

 

 

 

 

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Let it R.A.I.N

Where I live on the West Coast it doesn’t rain very much. Fortunately, it is sunny most every day, which is a pleasure to experience.

However, it is inevitable that sooner or later the rain does fall both literally in nature, and figuratively by our life experiences as well.

Though on the surface life’s storms are inconvenient and unwelcome in our daily lives, they are necessary to our personal growth and help us emotionally blossom as a result.

Below is a brief mindfulness process that helps bring awareness to our present state of mind when we are feeling drenched with concerns, or experiencing unpleasant feelings to help us move beyond them:

RRecognize how you are feeling in a non-judgmental way.

AAccept and allow that it’s ok to feel the way you do in the present moment.

I= Investigate what the feeling is trying to tell you, or what self-care behaviors are being neglected such as sleep.

NNon-Identification by separating your emotional state from your character by not judging or labeling yourself as an angry person when you feel anger.

Trying to find the lesson in anything we experience can help us to grow from them and not just suffer through them.

What helps you stay centered through life’s storms?

Retain Your Joy

keep calmMany situations can tempt us to allow our joy to be taken from us, such as an unkind comment or betrayal in a friendship.

Certainly, these scenarios can be confusing, and upsetting, which takes some time to process. However, what adds to the pain is feeling bad about ourselves or blaming ourselves for why others are acting in certain ways.

While no one is perfect, and we can unintentionally exacerbate a perplexing situation, we are not the cause of another persons choice in behavior. We all have a choice on how we respond to life, and in our relationships.

This includes the choice to not believe any negative thoughts we have about ourselves which can steal our joy as well.

Often, it is a blessing when challenges or discomfort occurs because it lets us know it may be time to move on, or stand up for ourselves or learn how to handle emotions in a less personally damaging way.

Staying positive preserves our happy spirit, contains our personal power, and boosts our energy needed to take the necessary actions we need to take.

We are stronger than we think, and have a bigger impact than we know. If we become discouraged or frustrated for too long, than we won’t make the positive impact we are called to make both individually, and in our world.

So, keeping our joy is not about denying that pain exists or being inauthentic in our responses. It is about not allowing ourselves to lose hope, or pleasure, and keeping focused on what is good and possible.

What helps you keep your joy?

 

 

 

Make the Shift

 

In a beautifully inspiring and uplifting film entitled The Shift, best-selling author Wayne Dyer, along with actress Portia de Rossi and others, explores the journey to finding meaning and purpose in our lives.

This powerful movie, and the book by the same name, discusses a shifting away from the dictates of our ego which focuses on achievement and accumulation; to focusing more on serving and giving back.

This process is effectively illustrated throughout the course of the film, as we observe the following scenarios:

  1. An overachieving businessman who has forgotten what love means.
  2. A mother of two young children nurturing everyone but herself.
  3. A film director trying to make a name for himself that will make him worthy in his own eyes.

Through their struggles, we witness a turning point in each of their lives, which ultimately leads them to experiencing a deep sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

They experience a shift in their thinking and priorities about what really matters in life, and teaches us how to find the path to our greatest joy as well.

Action Step:

Watch this movie when you get a chance. In the meantime, enjoy the scenery and soundtrack from the film shown above.