With celebrating Independence Day and returning from my women’s retreat, the question of “How do we become truly free?” has been on my mind. While many external circumstances seem to limit our freedom, I am increasingly struck by how much we “Imprison ourselves” through recurring thoughts, feelings and memories which is often called our conditioning. If Viktor Frankl could find meaning and choice in a Jewish concentration camp during the second World War, maybe we can too in spite of what may be happening in our lives.
So today, here’s an excerpt from my friend Paula Sims, whose babies died from her postpartum psychosis, and has been incarcerated in Illinois for the past 25 years. Listen to what she says with an open mind and compassionate heart. See what comes up for you and then practice the mindfulness exercise below if you’d like to explore this further.
“The other day while on a walk at the ‘Yard” I enjoyed the freedom of the great outdoors. I saw the freedom in a robin’s flight. I heard freedom in the rhythm of the rain As I stood under a tree. I felt freedom in the warm wind’s caress. It occurred to me that like the robin, rain and wind, I am also an expression of freedom.
Regardless of my circumstances, I choose to affirm my freedom. I experience freedom with my mind, body and soul. My unlimited spirit can never be bound by outer/inner conditions. One can’t bind peace, joy or love. I express my spiritual gifts with every thought of forgiveness, every moment spent with a friend/family and every word of kindness. As I share my gifts, I experience liberation, I’m free inside right where I am and it’s an awesome feeling…”
Now, here’s a mindfulness exercise about “liberating yourself” by not feeling stuck in negative or unpleasant thoughts, feelings and sensations. Practice it this week and let us know how it goes.
Best to you. Namaste.
I will be in Montana at a women’s retreat “Moon, Yin and Water” with Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen from June 20-27. Before leaving on Saturday, I became aware of how much I need this. While I’ve been thoroughly enjoying life lately, it’s been a little too much “doing” and not enough being. Awareness reminding me it’s time for a break.
On the lighter side, Jean’s newest books “Crones Don’t Whine” is a perfect weekend or night-time read for women 55+ and honestly, it’s fun for all ages. I have read and re-read it many times since my daughter gave it to me last year for my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from it about “Choosing A Path With Heart.”
“To be human, is a body and soul experience unique to each person. On a physical level, no one is the same as anyone else. Each of us has our own unique story, the fulfillment of which has to do with choosing the path with heart. We come into the world with a particular disposition. The predispositions we unpack along the way in response to what we encounter…If we are spiritual beings on a human path, the answers to the questions that shape the journey do not come from outside of us, for the wisdom that knows is within us.”
I am excited and honored to spend the week with Jean and 29 other women on what I know is my soul’s path. Last week we asked you to think about yours with the 3 Soul Questions from Deepak Chopra, “Who am I? What do I really, really want? How my I serve.”
This week, keep asking and dedicate some time for rest and recharging when you feel physically, emotionally or mentally weary. Remember, the universe is here to support you. Take care. Namaste.
A story I was looking for the past two weeks, showed up in my newsfeed over the weekend. I wanted to share it with you because it resonates with me, and what I believe is the truth of our existence. See what you think.
“One evening an elder Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us. One is Fear. It carries anxiety, concern, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision and inaction. The other is Faith. It brings, calm, conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, decisiveness, excitement and action.” The grandson thought about if for a moment and then meekly asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”
Be aware of which wolf you choose to feed more over the next few days. Notice when you feed “Fear” and what motivates you? Likewise, when you feed “Faith,” what are you experiencing? Don’t judge yourself. Just be mindful of what’s going on.
Thanks Leslie Rauk (click here for more info) for posting this last weekend. Namaste.
I was “noticing” my life when I came across a free podcast from Deepak Chopra, one of my mentors, about how to have do less and have more without “struggling for success.” It resonated with me so I wanted to write about it here. Actually, when I got back on my mindfulness path, attending this seminar “in person” was the first thing I’d done. What a co-incidence.
Anyway, Deepak spoke about being aligned with our soul’s purpose or dharma and living from the level of the soul. He said that when we are life flows effortlessly like our breath or bodies which keep us alive without us consciously doing anything. He reminded his listeners of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, which he’d written 15 years earlier, and how if we follow these “laws for living” which mimic nature’s unfolding we can live a life of more ease and less struggle. I love this book and especially it’s adaptation in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Dr. David Simon, Chopra Center co-founder and Deepak which I draw upon when teaching.
“Synchrodestiny” as he calls it, is all around us if we tune in with awareness and let go of how we may be “forcing” our lives. Since mindfulness has become my mindset, many wonderful experiences have been unfolding when I’m aware of what’s occurring “in the moment” instead of being occupied with stress and striving. In the past month, I’ve met several like-minded and like-spirited folks who have agreed to partner with me on some of my upcoming projects, like a mindfulness program for parents and pre-schoolers. I’ve also become more closely affiliated with these same kind of folks, in some ongoing efforts to promote community-based projects which will bring more peace of mind and ease of living to themselves and those they serve. Sound too good to be true?
Deepak says that the more you live in the present and follow your soul’s not ego’s calling, this will happen. I’m certainly discovering it does. What about you? Are you following your soul’s path? When you do, do you notice the universe opening doors for you? When you don’t, what happens?
Pay attention this week by asking yourself these 3 soul questions daily. “Who am I?” “What do I really, really want?” “How may I serve?” Then watch and listen.
Have a good week. Namaste.
This has been such a popular post lately, we wanted to re-run it. Let us know what you think.
When we take good care of ourselves, there are multiple benefits to us as well as others. While self-care may seem self-indulgent, it’s not. Just as we’re instructed to put our oxygen mask on first if there’s an emergency on an airplane so we can help others, self-care enables us to help ourselves and others more.
Self-Care Improves Our Health: Self-care tends to improve our
immunity, increase positive thinking and make us less susceptible to stress,
depression, anxiety and other emotional health issues. Taking time out to care for ourselves helps remind us and others that our needs are important, too. Feeling well cared-for leads to feelings of calm and relaxation, and conveys to others that we value ourselves which contributes to long-term feelings of wellbeing.
Self-Care Makes Us a Better Caretaker: People who neglect their own needs and forget to nurture themselves are at danger of deeper levels of unhappiness, low self-esteem and feelings of resentment. Also, sometimes people who spend their time only taking care of others can be at risk for getting burned out on all the giving, which makes it more difficult to care for others or themselves. Taking time regularly for self-care can actually make you a better caretaker for others.
What are you doing for self-care this summer? Have family/social demands eaten into me-time? Do you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? Let us know so together we can support each other on this most important journey. Also, please click here to like Midwest Mind Body Health on FaceBook for more tips about mind-body-spirit health.
In mindfulness practice, we talk about being aware of our lives one moment at a time and to savor the moment we’re in. I had a particularly wonderful opportunity to savor several experiences this week but almost sacrificed them by “doing too much.” Because it alerted me to the self-sabotage that many of us engage in, I wanted to share my story with you.
Tuesday, I discovered that my schedule on Thursday was going to be relatively free. Instead of recharging Wednesday which is “sort of” my day off, I decided to make a backlog of calls which had been bugging me after a fruitful but energy depleting business lunch. Not only did I succeed in exhausting myself Wednesday with all the “work” I created but by the end of the day, felt less excited over the grand opening of The Corner Gates event venue last Thursday which I’d looked forward to all month.
That night my mother reminded me I was “over-doing it again” and while my immediate response was “I’m just energized by everything that’s going on,” the next morning, I knew she was right. Fortunately, I had a slow day Thursday and kept it that way. I had a wonderful time Thursday night at The Corner Gates with Chef Ashley Nanney’s delicious food and hospitality, music from the Whiskey Raccoons, and good company. I felt happy and nourished by my deliberate self-care and the universe rescuing me once again from burn-out.
Why are we always finding and losing our “peace of mind?” What gets in your way? Why do you sacrifice contentment with the need to do more? What do YOU do to get it back,
Here’s an exercise from my new program “Mindfulness in 5 Simple Steps: How to Stress Less and Live Better” on how to “stay in the moment.”
Take time to rest and recharge this week. Namaste.