February 2012

Weekly Wisdom #11

by cheryl on February 29, 2012

in Weekly Wisdom

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

– Dr. Seuss

 

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Lessons From My Cushion

Lessons From My Cushion

by cheryl on February 29, 2012

in Meditation

As we come to the close of Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness 28 Day Meditation Challenge, we have been thinking about all of the lessons that we have learned from Real Happiness, and there are many.  Here are a few of the things we learned  . . .

(1) Meditation, like life, is challenging.  Some days are easier than others, some days are very difficult.  There are moments of bliss and pure joy, and there are moments of pain and sadness.  Each day is full of new challenges.  You can always begin again.  And, in the end, it is all worth it.

(2) We are all in this together with the common goal of finding our own happiness.  It is wonderful to look around at people during the day, people we know intimately, acquaintances and total strangers, and recognize that we all experience the ups and downs of life, each one of us incredibly special and unique, yet each part of a much larger, intricately connected whole.

(3) Compassion and kindness are the keys to happiness.  Anger, resentment, hostility, and judgment will not lead us down the path to happiness. It is through compassion and lovingkindness that we can find our own true happiness and beauty in the world around us.

(4) The magic is in each breath we take, each individual moment we have.  The goal is to find the time and discipline to be present in each moment and to cherish those moments as they come.

It has been a pleasure learning from all of those who participated in this 28 day meditation challenge.  While the meditation challenge is over, we will continue to learn through our daily meditation practices.  Thank you Sharon for guiding us so beautifully through this experience.  We wish you all real happiness today and everyday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Wisdom #10

by cheryl on February 20, 2012

in Uncategorized, Weekly Wisdom

Life is too short to wake up each morning with regrets.  So, love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason.  If you get a chance, take it.  If it changes your life, let it.  Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

-Unknown

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Your Greatest Legacy

Your Greatest Legacy

by cheryl on February 20, 2012

in 2mindfulmoms, Uncategorized

If you want your children to succeed,

show them how to fail.

If you want them to be happy,

show them how to be sad.

If you want them to be healthy,

show them how to be sick.

If you want them to have much,

show them how to enjoy little.

Parents who hide failure, deny loss,

and berate themselves for weakness,

have nothing to teach their children.

But parents who reveal themselves,

in all of their humanness,

become heroes.

For children look to these parents

and learn to love themselves.

 

Parenting need not be a burden,

and one more thing you have to do

and don’t do well enough.

Instead consider your failures,

your sorrows,

your illnesses,

and your difficulties

as your primary teaching opportunities.

 

The Parent’s Tao Te Ching

 

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Our children’s lives are filled with “firsts” – their first day of school, their first soccer game, their first time riding a bike, their first exam, their first date, their first time away from home.   They would probably not classify all of these as exciting experiences, some might be considered terrifying experiences.  Yet, I admire how they march on each day into a world that is full of new adventures and personal challenges.

As parents, it is often tempting to want to protect our children from this scary world.  We want them to succeed so badly that we often feel the need to set them up in situations that will only offer them the possibility of success.  This is where one of the greatest challenges of parenting lies – allowing our children to experience failure and disappointment.  Through these experiences they build their inner resilience, their ability to bounce back from whatever life throws their way.  They learn that their self worth is not defined by their successes, but by their willingness to try and to rebound from whatever the outcome.

I love Michael Jordan’s quote on the true meaning of success.  He said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Unlike our children who face many great challenges as they grow, as we get older, it is easy to become accustomed to our routine and to what we feel comfortable doing.  When I turned 40, I realized that I missed that thrill of putting myself outside of my comfort zone and learning what it feels like to try something new.  So, at the ripe old age of 40, I decided to attempt an Olympic triathlon.  I always wanted to complete a marathon or a triathlon.  Each year I would come up with a million reasons why I would not be able to do it.   This time I was determined to push myself forward and accept this personal challenge.

Let me assure you that I am not a hardcore athlete.  I have always been committed to staying fit with moderate exercise as part of my weekly routine, but I was not a runner, biker or swimmer at the onset of this personal challenge.  Yet, after many months of training, I became a swimmer, runner and biker.   Look at that – a new definition of me at age 40!  I had already accomplished something.

After many months of training, the time had come to attempt my first Olympic triathlon.  This involved a .9 mile swim in the chilly waters of the Long Island Sound, a 25 mile bike ride up and down the hills of Westchester County, and a 6.2 mile run to complete the race.  Despite my rigorous training, the night before the triathlon I was terrified.  I am not a huge fan of fear and anxiety, but I am a huge fan of what happened next.  I found myself involved in quite an amazing self-coaching exercise.  I began to tell myself that I was prepared, that I had done everything that I could do to prepare for this day, that I would put my safety first throughout the race and if I ever felt that I could get hurt, I could always simply stop.  I reminded myself that it was just a race, and finish or not, I was going to try.  My family would love me just the same whether I came in first, last or didn’t finish at all.   They were proud of me for simply trying.  Most importantly, I was incredibly proud of myself.

On the morning of the race, as the sun was rising over the beach where we would start our swim, I watched the physically challenged athletes enter the water first.  Many of these individuals were without an arm or leg, or both.  I was in awe of their courage and the incredible stories of hard work, determination and sheer will power that got them to this moment.  Those brave individuals inspired me to get into that cold water and do my best.  I spent the next three hours taking it literally one stroke, one push of the pedal and one stride at a time, focusing on my breath the whole way and telling myself that I could do this.  At the top of the highest climb on my bicycle, I was brought to tears by an incredible feeling of accomplishment.  I realized that I could actually do this.

Much to my great relief and amazement, I finished!   I did not finish at the front of the pack, but I finished.  My family was there at the finish line to cheer me on and give me big hugs when I was done.  But it wasn’t their praise that I felt most, it was the incredible feeling that at the age of 40 I had done something that I never thought I could do.  I had experienced another “first” in my life.  I persevered, pushed myself and overcame my fears.   I was left with a strong sense that the human mind and body is capable of incredible things through sheer will and determination.  In many ways, I felt like a child again, experiencing the thrill of stepping outside of my comfort zone, and the pride that I gave it a try.   Just like in life, I thought, we have to have faith in ourselves, face our fears, and take each moment as they come, one step at a time, by simply putting one foot in front of the other each step of the way.

I am not suggesting that everyone should run out and sign up for a triathlon.  I am suggesting that there is great value in stepping outside of your comfort zone and encouraging your children to do the same.  It can be as a simple as trying a sport that you have always wanted to try, planning a trip that you have always dreamed of taking, or signing up for a class that has always peaked your interest.  Whatever it is, there is so much to be gained from putting yourself out there.  The only way to fail is by never giving it a try.

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The 2mindfulmoms hope that you can join us at a very special event that is taking place in our community on Tuesday, March 13th.  All of the PTA’s in the Mamaroneck Union Free School District have worked together to bring a inspirational, motivational speaker named Spencer West to our community.
Spencer encourages youth to overcome their daily challenges, believe in themselves as active change-makers, and find personal strength to fight for the issues they are passionate about. His words have encouraged millions of young people to become more socially involved in their communities and the world.
While the event is an extension of the Building Bridges program, it is an evening not to be missed for the entire community.

Please join us for a unique family experience (BRING YOUR KIDS) and See What Students are Learning in the Mamaroneck Schools

“Overcoming Challenges in Life”

Featuring Special Guest and Motivational Speaker: Spencer West
Intro by Dr. Shaps and an MHS student

Tuesday, March 13th

7:00-8:30 pm

Hommocks Auditorium

130 Hommocks Road
Larchmont, NY

FREE to the PUBLIC

Bring your kids grade 3 and up.

Spencer Will talk candidly about the struggles he overcame in life after losing his legs.  He speaks about overcoming bullying and stereotypes and about overcoming personal obstacles

Here is a link to Spencer’s Website.  http://www.metowe.com/speakers/spencer-west/  where people talk about Spencer’s talk inspired them.

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Weekly Wisdom #9

by cheryl on February 14, 2012

in Weekly Wisdom

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou

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Reset

Reset

by cheryl on February 14, 2012

in Meditation

Yesterday, my computer stopped working.  I was sitting with many different screens open all at one time — writing, researching, and communicating.   Suddenly, the computer screen completely froze.   The mouse wouId not budge and my heart slowly sank.  I began to panic.  Would I lose all of my work? Were all of my documents, pictures and what feels like the archives of my life gone forever?  I was desperate to save it all, and with no other ideas in mind to resolve the problem, I did what I try not to do at all costs – I called the computer help line.  I usually try to steer clear of calling for help because I so often get even more frustrated by the long waiting times before I can actually speak to a human being on the other end of the line, and because I fear that after a long ordeal on the phone they will conclude that they cannot help me.

I decided that I had no other option.  So, I picked up the phone, dialed and was pleasantly surprised to find a very kind and helpful voice on the other end of the line after a not so terribly long wait.  He so gently assured me that he would do his best to help me figure this out.   I thought about how wonderful it was that there was some stranger out there who patiently and happily was willing to help me with my problem.  After going through a myriad of exercises to get my computer out of this frozen mess with no success, the kind gentleman on the other end of the line had one last suggestion.  He asked me to simply unplug my machine and let it rest quietly for a few minutes.  After all that we had tried, and the potentially devastating possibility that my computer was unfixable, was he really serious that the solution could be so simple?  I then remembered a few months back when my cell phone was doing very strange things and I was also told to simply turn the power off for a few minutes – let is rest.  In that case, and I soon found out in this case as well, that five minutes of quiet for my incredibly overloaded and overworked machine did just the trick.  It revved back up after a much needed respite and started up again, good as new.

Just like our laptops, desktops, cell phones, and smartphones, sometimes we just need to reset.  We get overloaded with information, overcome by the demands on our time, confused by the conflicting feelings and emotions running through our brains and overrun by exhaustion and the physical toll that all of this takes on our bodies.  We need to unplug, to reset, to spend a few minutes in quiet and stillness.  Sometimes just focusing on our breath, on how the simple, natural breath feels in our bodies, is just the reset we need to recalibrate.  In doing simple breathing meditations, we find our calm center and peace of mind and body that will help us restart and continue on our path.

It is so important to pay attention to our physical clues as well, which are often less obvious than the complete shut down of a frozen computer screen.  Our bodies have a way of telling us that we need a reset.  Whether it is tension, muscle ache, pain, stomach upset or fatigue, often our bodies are telling us that we are overloaded and that we need a break in our circuitry, a reset.

It amazed me how my computer, which is so complex and has so much power in helping me to create, to communicate and to learn, could benefit from a simple reset.  Just like our bodies and our minds, which are so incredibly complex, and which hold the ultimate power in creativity, learning and love, we all need a little reset once in while to reconnect with ourselves and that inner calmness that we all have inside.  We just need to unplug from the external stimuli for a bit, take a break from the internal chatter of our minds, and reconnect to that calm, peaceful stillness that is deep inside us all.

The man on the other end of the line suggested that I turn my computer off periodically to prevent this overload from happening again.  I am taking his advice.  Great advice for my computer and myself.  So, just turn it all off for a minute or two, or twenty each day.  Avoid the frozen screen and reset.  Simply breathe.   It is amazing what this can do for us all.

 

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Weekly Wisdom #8

February 8, 2012

“When you lose touch with your inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself.  When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.” -Eckhart Tolle   Tweet

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How Full Is Your Glass?

How Full Is Your Glass? February 4, 2012

Have you ever noticed how many choices we make everyday?  Most of us are incredibly fortunate to live in a world full of choices.  We choose everything from what to eat for breakfast each morning or what clothes we want to wear each day, to what we want to do when we grow up or […]

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