Join Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s Meditation Challenge

Last week, I started the newest Oprah/Chopra meditation challenge with some of my Mindful Mom students and counseling clients. I like this one very much although one of my friends who’s new to meditation, couldn’t quite figure out what to do. So, I suggested she listen to my YouTube video on 5-minute breathing first and then go back to the challenge. If you’re new to meditation, you may find this helpful as well.

Click here for 5-minute breathing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWmHn_YMsp8

If you choose to participate in the challenge (and we hope you will), here are a few other reminders. First, meditation is about having a simple experience. It’s not about reaching nirvana or feeling “relaxed” 100% of the time. It’s learning to direct your attention so that you can create opportunities to let go of stress and step out of the thought stream. Whether it lasts a few seconds, moments or more, committing the time to taking a breath (or two) and being still is health enhancing. It also counts as self-care. Bonus!

Equally important, do not judge how well (or poorly) you’re doing. As with mindfulness, approach this meditation experience with self-compassion. Remind yourself that these practices do not come naturally to those of us in the western world, and that your participation is enough. This is not a test. Whatever happens, you are still wonderful and deserving of lovingkindness. Remember this, always.

Stacey and I will be participating too so if you have any questions or comments while the challenge is in progress, let us know. Please, click on this link to get started: https://chopracentermeditation.com.

Namaste

 

Just Let Me BE

PositiveThought

As I write, it is thundering, lightning and raining heavily outside my window. Days like this make me want to curl up in bed and just BE. Unfortunately, I have not taken much time lately to do that.

I was chatting with Diane on the phone yesterday and we were laughing at how we “Self-Care Gurus” need to practice what we preach! It seems as if she and I are usually on the same “wavelength” and can totally relate to the other. So when I described my dilemma of loving my work vs. Self-Care, she understood.

I realized that I am very blessed to love what I do; however, if I keep up at the pace I am currently running, I WILL burn out, no matter how much I enjoy what I am doing. The thought of NOT loving my work is unacceptable. Even though it takes a lot of discipline, I am getting better at setting alarms to remind me to take breaks, eat and take time to just BE.

In fact, I may take some time to do just that after this post. When is the last time that you just WERE? No technology or other distractions, no other people, no activities…just you and the present moment? Spend some time with yourself and your breath, mantra or thoughts and note the differences in your mind and body when you’re done. It IS like a little vacation!

Your Most Vital Commitment

logo_dailyom

Today’s post comes from one of my favorite daily inspirational sites – DailyOM. Madisyn Taylor is an exquisite writer who really gets to the heart of the matter. She’s recently published a collection of her inspirational posts! Make sure to check it out! Namaste – Stacey

Finding Time for You

Within each of there is a well of energy that must be regularly replenished. When we act as if this well is bottomless, scheduling a long list of activities that fit like puzzle pieces into every minute of every day, it becomes depleted and we feel exhausted, disconnected, and weak. Refilling this well is a matter of finding time to focus on, nurture, and care for ourselves, or “you time.” Most of us are, at different times throughout the day, a spouse, a friend, a relative, an employee, a parent, or a volunteer, which means that down time, however relaxing in nature, is not necessarily “you time.” Though some people will inevitably look upon “you time” as being selfish, it is actually the polar opposite of selfishness. We can only excel where our outer world affairs are concerned when our own spiritual, physical, and intellectual needs are fulfilled.

Recognizing the importance of “you time” is far easier than finding a place for it in an active, multifaceted lifestyle, however. Even if you find a spot for it in your agenda, you may be dismayed to discover that your thoughts continuously stray into worldly territory. To make the most of “you time,” give yourself enough time on either side of the block of time you plan to spend on yourself to ensure that you do not feel rushed. Consider how you would like to pass the time, forgetting for the moment your obligations and embracing the notion of renewal. You may discover that you are energized by creative pursuits, guided meditation, relaxing activities during which your mind can wander, or modes of expression such as writing.

Even if you have achieved a functioning work-life balance, you may still be neglecting the most important part of that equation: you. “You time” prepares you for the next round of daily life, whether you are poised to immerse yourself in a professional project or chores around the home. It also affords you a unique opportunity to learn about yourself, your needs, and your tolerances in a concrete way. As unimportant as “you time” can sometimes seem, it truly is crucial to your well-being because it ensures that you are never left without the energy to give of yourself.

madisyn-press2-200Best-selling author Madisyn Taylor is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the popular inspirational website DailyOM, and she is responsible for all its content. A recognized leader in self-help and New Thought spirituality, she has more than 15 years experience in personal development and alternative-healing methodologies. When not working, Madisyn can be found meditating in her garden and communing with nature.

Self-Care For Higher Self-Esteem

I came across this blog post on HealthyPlace and I thought it was a good follow-up to my post last week. I am doing better with taking breaks and eating lunch, but I’m not quite *there* yet. We are all works in progress, so I’m confident that I’ll reach the right balance for me real soon! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Namaste – Stacey

———————-

By Emily Roberts, MA, LPC

One of the most important things you can do for mind and body is take a break once in a while. That may mean taking time to stop and smell the roses or a more realistic approach–making it a mandatory part of your day. Why wouldn’t you add self-care into your daily routine? Science shows it makes you more productive, reduces the stress that leads to debilitating and fatal illnesses and can make you instantly happier. Purposeful self-care is proven to build awareness to listening to your body and developing a better relationship with your self, which leads to higher self-esteem.

Who Has Time for Self-Care?

You do! In fact, you waste more time thinking about what to do or when to do it, when in fact self-care can take just seconds. It’s the acct of noticing what you need and deserve in the moment, respecting your body and mind, and showing yourself love and kindnesses. Above all else, it’s a mindful reminder that you are important and deserving of a little “me” time. The more you remind yourself of this, the more it will enhance your self-esteem.

Small acts of self-care, some take less then a minute, can raise your self-esteem and make you happier. Try these self-care techniques for higher self-esteem.

Use these ideas for some simple self-care that takes just a few minutes:

S – snuggle with a furry friend or human – being close to someone who provides affection (licks from Fido count) increase oxytocin, the love hormone.

E – eat foods that you nourish you – notice what foods fuel your body and mind.

L -look at something beautiful – a picture or an image that makes you smile or inspires you, mindfully, for a minute.

F – funny clips, GIF’s or images – laughing and smiling produce happy endorphins making it more likely you’ll be in nicer to yourself and those around you.

Small acts of self-care, some take less then a minute, can raise your self-esteem and make you happier. Try these self-care techniques for higher self-esteem.

 

C – create confident thoughts with affirmations – take a moment to look for inspiring and loving quotes or phrases, read them to yourself, and put them into your phone or place on your mirror.

A – allow yourself a little luxury – the towels you reserve for guests, use them for you, buy the nice bath salt, get a foot massage (more men are in spas than ever before) and treat your body with some love.

R – read a blog or book that inspires you or that you look forward to.

E – enjoy a warm beverage, a cup of tea or coffee – become mindful of little things throughout the day that feel good.

These little, loving acts thought the day can really make an improvement in your self-esteem. Making time, even a few minutes, shows your body and mind that you are worth it. What acts of self-care do you try to do daily? Please share your ideas and let us know what your favorite ideas are.

Take Good Care.

You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Google+and Twitter.

The Need to Achieve: Making Peace with Doing Less

Just finished reading Stacey’s post about staying in flow but not getting too carried away that you forget to take care of yourself. Funny, how even positive choices can become too much. In general though, it’s our never-ending to-do-lists that enslave us.

I’m still struck by how many women I know and counsel who feel that they can’t take time to sit and eat their lunch without multi-tasking or stay up late at night doing laundry and straightening the house. The “need to achieve” is so strong that whether we’re in flow doing something we enjoy or trying to get caught up at work or home, we can’t seem to stop. We’ve  convinced ourselves that a steady diet of going without meals, sleep,or time to recharge, is what’s necessary. We think we’ll rest easier when “everything’s done,” and instead end up feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

Three weeks ago after my vacation where I actually “did” very little, I jumped back into over-doing mode. I put in extra time at work and home “getting things done”. The only area I shorted was spending time with friends.  Although I practiced self-care, it doesn’t work as well when I’m already tired and worn out.

So, noticing this, I’m choosing to do less the next few days. Yes, I won’t feel as “accomplished,” but I know I’ll feel better.

This week, how can you put the brakes on? Make peace with doing less? Re-fuel with sleep, meals, and taking breaks?

We’ll be practicing too.

Namaste

 

Staying in the Flow, Yet Taking Time for You

hazy clouds duskAs I move from clinical practice into my new venture, I get into the “flow” much more often. This flow is the state of being so involved and immersed in what I’m doing that time doesn’t matter. I’ll look up at the clock after what feels like 10 minutes and realize that 3 hours have passed! This state is one of being constantly present.

It’s not like I don’t notice things around me – I do. But when I’m in this immersed state, it is easier to ignore things that would have side-tracked me before. I know that those things will still be around when I’m done with my current project.

The problem is that I get so immersed that I end up “working” sometimes over 12 hours a day! I put working in quotation marks because for the most part, I am enjoying what I am doing, so it doesn’t feel like work, even though I may get paid for doing what I am doing. However, working that much means that I am not taking time for self-care! That’s a no-no!

About 2 weeks ago, I was looking at my calendar and calculating just how much time per day I was spending doing work projects. That’s when I realized that I was working too much! It didn’t feel like I was, but whether or not I am enjoying myself, it’s essential that I take time out for renewal and recharging. I know that eventually, working that many hours will lead to burn-out.

Now, I set the alarm on my phone to alert me at various intervals to stop and stretch, eat (yes, I have to remind myself to eat!), and check in with the rest of the world. I also now have an alarm that goes off at 5pm, which means that I have to find a stopping point and actually stop for the day. It’s hard sometimes, but I find that when I do make myself stop, I end up doing things for myself and end the day feeling relaxed and accomplished.

Whether you like your work or not, it’s very important to keep regular hours and to include self-care in every day!

Namaste’.

Persephone’s Journey: How Everything We Touch Changes

daffodil-1920x1200

With the arrival of spring, I am always reminded of Persephone’s story and the lessons to be learned from the daughter of Demeter, mother earth, and her journey.

I was introduced to Persephone’s story a few years ago at a women’s retreat.  In Roman mythology, Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, Mother Earth, who leaves “the world above” to become Queen of the Underworld. Although some versions say she was abducted by Hades and taken against her will, I prefer to believe that she left because she had outgrown living as a child in her mother’s garden and wanted to fulfill her unique destiny.

While she is still in the Underworld, she brings healing and hope to the spirits of the dead. Wherever she walks, “a line of bright daffodils sprout in her wake. By her simple presence and passing, she brings color and life” to the darkness below. However, she might not have noticed these changes at all if Hades had not asked her to turn her head and notice the changes she’s brought to a path that for her was “already in the past.”

So, here are some questions for you to consider this week. “What flowers, what color, what brightness have you left in your wake? Often without noticing it? Can you take a moment to turn, to notice? Can you take in the power, and responsibility, of this reality-that you too change everything you touch?

When you look over your shoulder, what do you see? And how does that feel? What might this noticing change?”

Enjoy your week. Namaste.

Note: Quotes are taken from 2010 Mystery School Workbook, Diana’s Grove