February 2014

Weekly Wisdom #32

Weekly Wisdom #32

by cheryl on February 24, 2014

in Weekly Wisdom

“When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down, ‘happy’.  They told me that I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

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Mindfulness of the Body – The Body Scan

by cheryl on February 13, 2014

in Uncategorized

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3 Minute Meditation on the Breath

by cheryl on February 13, 2014

in Uncategorized

 

 

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I am truly enjoying watching the 2014 Winter Olympics, as I marvel at the athleticism, mental toughness and bravery of the Olympic athletes.  They seem to be able to do things with their bodies that would be impossible to most mere mortals, while facing both physical and mental challenges with such incredible courage and composure.  Their secret is out, however, and all evidence points not only to incredibly disciplined physical conditioning, but also to training their brains to conquer their fears and mental roadblocks which could  keep them from performing  at their highest level.  Using techniques such as guided visualizations to imagine themselves achieving their Olympic goals, daily meditation practices to stay calm and focused, and mindfulness exercises to learn to handle their negative thoughts that serve as roadblocks to optimal performance, Olympians are including their brains as a key part of their daily conditioning.  Brain-Training Secrets of Olympic Athletes

And, how about those Seattle Seahawks?  I must admit that I did not have a favorite team going in to this year’s Super Bowl, nor did I pick a team to root for once the game began. (I was more interested in selecting the best Superbowl commercial.)  I was, however, blown away by the sheer force, focus and seemingly unstoppable performance of the Seahawks, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, on Super Bowl Sunday.  It was no surprise that I later learned of the incredible Seahawk training regimen that includes daily yoga, meditation and mindfulness training.  Lotus Pose on Two

What was once the purview of Buddhist monks and yogis, yoga, meditation and mindfulness training is now becoming an important part of melding physical and mental conditioning to optimize an athlete’s performance.   Trainers, coaches and athletes alike are seeing that one of the most important parts of the body to train is the brain.

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Weekly Wisdom #31

by cheryl on February 11, 2014

in Weekly Wisdom

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil – It is anger, fear, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

– Cherokee Legend

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Which wolf do you feed?

Which Wolf Do You Feed?

by cheryl on February 11, 2014

in 2mindfulmoms

Thoughts from Week 2 of the Real Happiness – 28 Day Meditation Challenge . . .

 

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. 

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil – It is anger, fear, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

This Native American Cherokee story was told to me three times in one week, by three different people, in completely unrelated situations.  A message from the Universe, heard loud and clear. I love this story because it  relates so beautifully to the practice of meditation and mindfulness.  We are motivated either  by love or by fear.  The amazing part of a meditation practice is that we can begin to observe our patterns of behavior, thoughts and emotions, to see them for what they really are — fear based acts or acts of unconditional love.   Once we become more aware and see ourselves more clearly,  we can decide how we choose to act — an amazingly powerful process.  The other incredible benefit from a meditation practice is that we can cultivate a different attitude or lens through which we see the world.   We can choose to act from love rather than from fear, and practice creating positive neural pathways (the scientifically researched approach) or practice lovingkindness (the 2500 year-old Buddhist meditation approach).   However one chooses to explain the process, we can choose to act from love rather than from fear.  In doing so, the world becomes a different place (kinder, gentler, more loving), and we begin to move in it with greater joy and greater ease.  So, this week, as I continue Week 2 of my Meditation Challenge, I look deeper at which wolf I feed, and continue to choose love.

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Day 3 – Snow Day!

For those of you in the New York area, today, Day 3 of the 28 Day Meditation Challenge is a day where 6 to 10 inches of beautiful, puffy white snow is falling.   Most schools and activities have been cancelled for my kids, and the day has transformed from a busy one full of things to do and places to be, to a day to stay home and relax, to read, play and enjoy being together.   Just yesterday, I wrote about how I was getting ready for a very busy week ahead.  I was strategizing how to use my meditation practice to remain calm and focused while working through my long “to do” list on Monday morning.  How I love the unpredictability of life  . . .   a snow day . . . . and I didn’t even know snow was in the forecast.

The upside of a snow day . . . . it allows me and my children the opportunity to hit the PAUSE button.  Snow days are the perfect time for them to stop, breathe and abandon their all-too-busy schedules for a day to play in the snow, to read a book, to cook with mom, to sleep in, and to just be.

The challenge of a snow day  . . . as all of you parents home with your kids know, snow days do not come without their own challenges (chaos in the kitchen, teenagers glued to their technology and kids begging to make plans with their friends).  We always want to clear our children’s schedules, and once we do, we often recognize that routine and schedules can be a very good thing.  The real goal, as always, is to be fully present – not planning for tomorrow or using this time to add to my list of things to do — but to enjoy this wave of downtime, of togetherness and to take a moment or two throughout the day to watch the beautiful, white snow falling outside my window, which is always a powerful reminder of the beauty around us and the importance of being fully present to enjoy it while it lasts.

The snow day really helps me to recognize again exactly what mindfulness and meditation can help us with most.  It helps us to ride the waves, the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, the unexpected change of plans, and the full range of emotions we experience along the way. We learn to enjoy what is right before us, not think about what was supposed to be, or could have been or what will never be, but accept what is.   We tap in to our inner “OK-ness,” the amazing ability to recognize that we are going to be OK, whatever the situation, connecting to our inner strength and inner peace to face whatever life brings our way each day.

Happy Snow Day!!

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Weekly Wisdom #30

by cheryl on February 2, 2014

in Weekly Wisdom

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”  – Dalai Lama XIV

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