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


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.


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



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




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!

Puppies Are Good For Health & Happiness

Do you smile and melt when someone posts a cute puppy or kitty video on Social Media? I do! If you are like me, you watch them because you want to feel good, laugh, and, for a moment, allow whatever doesn’t feel good fade into the background.

So, this last weekend I decided to rescue one of those cute puppies and bring more love into my world (and have a dog who barks when someone comes to visit). Of course, as you can imagine, I have had several nights of less than restful nights! My days have shifted from my quiet rhythm with an aging deaf dog and an older cat.

I would like to share with you my list of the benefits (as I know them) of a puppy in the house. It is a reminder when I am not so enthralled by the antics of this little being in my home who is a bundle of nonstop motion and energy.

The Benefits of a Puppy at Home:

1. Rescuing a puppy from a shelter expands your heart.
2. A puppy who is in the process of house-training means lots of outdoor time and fresh air.
3. A puppy who is learning how to walk on a leash with another dog means I am improving my flexibility as the leash or puppy gets tangled around my legs (add ice and it is even more exciting).
4. I am practicing my mindfulness (or actively noticing) by learning pee and pooping cues.
5. My carpets are getting an early Spring cleaning even if it is one small spot at a time.
6. I love being appreciated and what better appreciation than a puppy excited to see me when I get home from work or get up in the morning.
7. Exercising my memory to be certain my pockets are full of training treats and poop bags before heading outdoors.
8. I have increased my physical contact through petting and massaging another dog in my household.
9. I am getting to learn what is important and what to let go of. For example, a new puppy explores so books are sent flying off of my coffee table and my gloves and hats are fair game on the table by the door. I may even learn that some furniture is no longer necessary as she wants to taste and chew everything. I don’t really need so much stuff anyway!
10. I get to practice my rapid response skills — getting up & dressed in the morning (including boots, coat, mittens, and a hat) to get outside first thing for puppy pee & pooping.
11. Her playfulness is a delightful refocus from the dire news I might otherwise be checking.
12. My vocabulary has simplified tremendously — ‘Come’; ‘Sit’; and ‘Good girl’ says so much and what fun to see her desire to please (or maybe it’s for the treat I reach for in my pocket).
13. Lots of Oxytocin release (the feel good hormone) when I sit to receive endless kisses and love.
14. A reminder that play is an important part of every day!
15. Research shows that people with pets live longer and enjoy improved health! I’m on board with that!

These are just some of the benefits I’ve experienced this week with a new puppy on board. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the other animals in my house are not so enthralled. My cat has hidden on the top shelf in a closet, coming out only at mealtime and at night when the puppy is safely in her crate or eating her own meal. And, my aging dog (who is getting more exercise trying to escape puppy play) looks up at me with eyes that seem to say, “Really??”

My little bundle of joy, whose name is Willow, is a rescue from Kentucky. I have enormous respect for the many people who take on rescuing, foster caring, and finding homes for dogs and cats — their passion is their love of animals. In the process of having Willow join my household I’ve learned that most of the shelters down south are ‘kill’ shelters. I like that I have just saved a precious life!


Bringing My Best Forward

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My best self is who I wish to bring to the table when preparing for my day, project, or success path. In my last post, I spoke about how I wish to show up in 2018. In this post I want to expand showing up into a broader context known as Best Self exploration and practice.

Who am I when I show up as my best self? Who are you at your best?

In every situation I bring myself. Sometimes I am present as my best — mindful, soulful, listening, open, and firmly rooted in my strengths. Other times I am not my best self and I bring my crankiness, judgement, impatience, and less than present self. When I am not at my best, I shortchange my experience and leave others confused and/or empty from our shared experience. At my best, I move in slower motion because full presence requires pausing and settling fully into my most positive self.

In 2001, Laura King, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, conducted a study on Best Self practice using writing over a period of several days. Her work showed that when we explore our best self in reference to a future time or goal, we are happier. Best self practice has also been written about in Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, “The How of Happiness.” Lyubomirsky says that imagining a best possible future helped participants build their best possible self today that can lead to their future vision coming true. Through writing, they were able to recognize what they could transform in themselves in order to work toward their goals. Writing leads to better understanding of “your priorities, your emotions, and your motives, your identity, who you really are and what’s in your heart.” Writing allows us to see a bigger picture of our goals, see what’s possible, and work toward our imagined future with more purpose and well being.

I am sharing this writing exercise for you to begin to identify and explore your best self so you can bring more of you into your year, your project, and your daily life. I, personally, like to write with pen and paper so I involve more of my senses and bring more focus to the practice. You might find that using a computer works just as well for you. Either way, prepare to write for 15 – 20 minutes daily for the next 4 days. By identifying your Best Possible Self in detail, you will be more present with positive results.

Taking the time to imagine your best possible future and who you are at your best allows you to more clearly integrate all of you into your present and your future. You will also increase the likelihood of success. Going for the detail is what stands this apart from New Year’s resolutions or a list of goals & intentions you wish to realize this year. When I write and add to this exercise during each day of writing into my imagined positive future and my best self, I refine and prioritize my lists.

This exercise asks us to imagine our life once our goal is accomplished whether a week from now, a year, or longer. What will you be doing? How would you be living? How will you feel? How will your life change for the better? By writing daily you can move beyond the initial goal – the to do list and on to a positive imagined future (as if it has already happened).

Identifying & imagining how I will feel, do, and be in my life is clarifying who I am at my best. Through my writing I explore and play with how my life could be better by being more of my best self. This practice can be done in all areas of life: professional, romantic, social, physical, spiritual, or any area you wish to focus on. Choose one goal or area for the exercise.

Exercise #1: Best Self Exercise. Choose a goal or intention you have for the next year (or any time line).

1. Sit quietly and imagine that you have already accomplished your goal and that everything has gone as well as possible. For a moment, settle into the feeling of accomplishment. Imagine the details of your life as you stand in your future — look around you. What is different? How do you feel? How are you different? How does your daily life look?

2. Now, spend the next 20 minutes (I like to set a timer so I don’t need to look at the clock) writing about your accomplishment in the future you imagined. Describe in as much detail as possible your completed tasks. Describe who you have been in order to bring this task to fruition. How is your life different? Better? More fulfilling? How do you feel as you look around you? Where do you feel in your body? What did you let go of?

3. For the next four days, repeat the exercise. You can begin again or continue writing & expanding the detail from the day before.

4. Now look back at what you wrote. How did you participate in creating your imagined positive future? What strengths did you exhibit or use? Who did you need to BE in order to accomplish your imagined future?

[Note: I’ve added a second exercise to fill in gaps in our perceptions of ourselves.]

Exercise #2: Reflected Best Self. This exercise asks you to reach out to family, friends, and/or coworkers. It is a different approach called the Reflected Best Self — especially useful because others see us differently than we see ourselves.

1. Ask several people you know (family, friends, coworkers) to tell you or write to you about how they see you accomplishing tasks. Can they provide some detail of strengths they see and who they see when you are at your best? Ask each to provide one or two specific examples of how they see you at your best.

2. Compare what others think with what you think. You may find that you can expand who you are when you are your Best Self.

Have fun with these and let me know who you are at your best!

Note: In a future post I’ll explore how to mine your experience — both past accomplishments and your imagined future — and identify greatness, magnificence, strengths, thoughts, and actions that inform you on who you want and need to be in order to live life more fully at your best, both now and in your imagined future. Stay tuned!