January 2012

Weekly Wisdom #6

by cheryl on January 25, 2012

in Weekly Wisdom

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” – Frederick Koenig

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As parents, how many times have we heard: “I want the new iPod . . .I want the new iTouch . . . I want the new Wii . . .I want the new Xbox . . .?”  Our children are told by the all-powerful television and the all-knowing internet, about the games, devices, toys and new shows that they absolutely must buy or watch in order to make their lives complete.

First, I must confess that I am a huge fan of technology and all things Apple.  Let me also tell you that no one has a more effective marketing strategy than that elegantly simple, plain white silhouette of a fruit.  Yet, there is something inherently disturbing about their underlying message or at least what most of us take away from their marketing strategy.  Can we survive, can we be our very best, can we be happy and complete without the latest and greatest new version of the iWhatever?

Let’s also be honest here, the proverbial apple doesn’t fall from the tree.  It is not just our children who want more, need more and are looking for what will make them truly happy, fulfilled or complete.  As adults, we are continually looking for the next big thing.  What will make us truly happy?

Ah . . .but this is the crux of the problem (and the brilliance of Apple).  We will never find it (happiness, contentment, fulfillment) where they want us to look.  We will continually need to keep looking, keep buying.  Perhaps the marketing team at Apple studied ancient Eastern philosophy?  The human quest for fulfillment has become something like a dog chasing his own tail, always running after that one thing he wants so badly, only to find that the elusive prize is not quite within his reach.

When we look outside ourselves for happiness, we will only identify what we lack.  When we look at what others have, we evaluate ourselves in their light and identify what we don’t have, rather than what we do have.  Deborah Adele said it beautifully in her description of our quest for Contentment:

When we expect the world to meet our needs, we turn outside of ourselves to find sustenance and completion.  We expect our partners to fulfill us, our jobs to meet our needs and success to solve our problems.  And when it doesn’t, we continue to play the “if only” game, looking for that one more thing.  Or we play the “planning” game or the “regretting” game.  We let our contentment be managed by all of these uncontrollable variables.  As long as we think satisfaction comes from an external source, we can never be content.  Looking outside for contentment will always disappoint us and keep contentment one step out of reach. The Yamas and the Niyamas.

So, don’t look to others to make you happy.  Don’t depend upon material things to meet your needs.  That new car, new house, new clothes, new iPhone, will not be the ultimate source of your happiness or the cure-all for whatever it is that you are lacking.  Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to buy things, but try to remember all that you already have.  Everything you need to be happy and complete you already have inside of you.  You just have to reach deep enough and sit quietly enough to find it.

Maybe instead of the iWant Generation, we can teach this lesson to ourselves and to our children, and become the iHave Generation!

 

 

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The Smallest of Gestures

The Smallest of Gestures

by joanna on January 20, 2012

in 2mindfulmoms

It always amazes me how the smallest of gestures can come to mean so much.  It is those moments that I pull myself back to when my day spins out of control.  As a busy parent, sometimes we are caught running between so many things and those small gestures or moments between things can be as anchoring as the breath.  Today, after giving a group of kids a lift somewhere on a very cold day, my daughter turned back to me after she had already left the car and looked me in the eyes and simply said “Thanks so much.”  It was three short words, but the eye contact and the fact that she turned away from her group of friends and turned towards me meant the world to me.  Since I have been working on being more mindful and present, this moment energized me with the beauty that it contained.  How many moments do we miss because we are not mindful and present?  Take notice of the small gestures and moments with your kids and see if you can use them to anchor you when you feel your day or your energy spinning away from you.

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Due to a wonderful response we are pleased to announce an additional session of:

Real Happiness

 

What if you could be more peaceful with yourself,
those around you and your world? What would that life hold for you?

Join us on a journey to “Real Happiness” as we learn about the work of Sharon Salzberg and other leaders in the field of meditation, and design an action based plan to incorporate mindfulness meditation and lovingkindness more fully into our everyday lives.

What is meditation?

Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind, of focusing our attention, to eliminate the many thoughts that are constantly bombarding us. By clearing those thoughts through meditation, we have the ability to achieve an inner calm and stillness, and the ability to experience a profound sense of ease in our everyday lives.

The emotional, psychological and physical benefits of meditation include improved sleep, stress reduction, increased concentration, and increased ability to manage difficult emotions. Scientific studies also suggest that meditation may reduce high blood pressure, increase the immune system, reduce chronic pain and help the body fight a number of diseases.

Join us for contemplation, meditation, group discussions, and action-based exercises. This course will run for five weeks and will meet for an hour and a half on Tuesday mornings. Course dates are: 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27 (please save 4/3 as a snow make up day)

We will meet at Applause, 114 West Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, second floor, from 9:30 am to 11:00 am.

The discussions will be facilitated by Joanna Wolff and Cheryl Brause of 2bpresent.

Investment: $195 per person.
A minimum of 8 people are needed to run the course.

Click Here to Register as space is limited

 

 

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We are pleased to announce that we will be joining Westchester Jewish Center (WJC) and Dr. Daniel Matt for Kabbalah: Illuminating the Sabbath on the weekend on January 27th.  2bpresent will be leading the guided meditation on January 28th as part of the Havdalah program.  We are thrilled to be able to partner with WJC and Dr Daniel Matt.  For more information about this event please click here

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Description:

Practical Applications of the Yoga Sutras – A course for experienced meditators (for graduates of Foundations of Meditation or other relevant course work).

Course Description:

In this course we will explore the Yoga Sutras – the most comprehensive exposition of the ancient philosophy of yoga.  How we can use this ancient text to influence our modern lives?   We will explore what the Sutra’s say about attachment and aversion, discuss the 8 Limbs of Yoga, discuss the Yama and Niyama’s, and  the concept of Samadhi and dharma. Each class will have a lecture and a twenty minute meditation.

For more information and to register for this course, click here.

 

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Weekly Wisdom #5

by cheryl on January 11, 2012

in Weekly Wisdom

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

– Steve Jobs

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Simple Step #3 – Slow Down

Simple Step #3 – Slow Down

by cheryl on January 11, 2012

in Healthy Living, Simple Steps

“Slow down, you move too fast, you’ve got to make this moment last.”  Simon and Garfunkel, Feeling Groovy.

After a very special celebration that took months and months of busy preparation, a good friend of mine complained, “I can’t believe it is over so fast!  How do I make time stand still so I can enjoy these important moments?”  I can’t make time stand still, but I do think that the key to making those moments last is to slow down.

In our modern world, we often equate being busy with being important.  If our days are not loaded with constant demands on our time, then we feel we are doing something wrong.  There is a subtle, unspoken pride, a bragging right, in discussing how incredibly busy we are.  We often pack our days and our children’s days with activities, meetings, playdates, after school clubs, tutoring, sports, dinner plans, book clubs, and more.  No time to relax, take a walk, or even talk to each other without being distracted by doing at least one other activity (or more).  We try to jam as much as we can into our daily lives to live a fuller, more meaningful life.  But what if we have it all wrong?  What if the most meaningful moments, the connections, the important stuff is found in those quiet moments, the ones we don’t schedule into our day, the ones that we too often don’t have time for?

I think that the best way to slow down time is to simply slow down.  Clear your busy schedule a bit.  Are you or your children really benefiting from so much activity?   We want to have balanced, joyful, well-adjusted children, yet we don’t give them time to be balanced, joyful or well-adjusted.  We want to be calm, peaceful parents, but we are too busy to be calm or peaceful.

Ask your children what their favorite memories are and they will often mention some little, quiet moment they had that meant the most to them, not the jam packed days filled with endless activities, not the days spent rushing around.  Ask yourself the same question.  What are your most precious moments?   A recent, treasured moment for me was a hike in the woods that I took with my husband and children.  We enjoyed being outside in nature, talking and listening, and not rushing to go anywhere – just finding great pleasure in being where we were.

So, turn off your TVs, cell phones, video games and MP3 players.  Cancel some of those after school activities and meetings.   Make time in your schedule for more time to just be – no plans, nowhere to go.  Instead, go for a walk, read a book, tell your children a story or listen to theirs.  Even in the midst of a hectic, busy day or a special, joyful occasion, take the time to be present in the moment.  Don’t think about what was or what is to come next.  In fact, don’t think at all.  Just feel the energy of right now in your whole body.  Take a pause, a breath, a moment or two.  Slow down and make those moments last.  Those will be the moments that will mean the most.

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What is going on in that crazy head of mine?

What is going on in that crazy head of mine? January 11, 2012

The most common response I get when I ask someone to join me in a meditation class is, “I could never sit still for 20 minutes to meditate.  My mind never stops racing!”   I completely understand that feeling because I used to feel the same way.   Not long ago, before I began on this journey […]

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A Poem for Reflection – Quiet The Mind

A Poem for Reflection – Quiet The Mind January 3, 2012

Quiet The Mind William Martin Our bodies produce the bodies of our children. Our noisy minds produce the fears of our children. But the Tao produces the spirit of our children Still the body Quiet the mind Discover the spirit. Tweet

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