September 2014

How many times a day do we meet a friend or acquaintance, trade polite greetings and ask, “How are you?” The response is almost always, “I’m fine.”  No more is said, no more is asked.  We exchange pleasantries and go about our busy days.   I can’t help but ask, are we all really fine?  If we are not fine, do we really want to lay out our list of problems when we are asked or take the time to listen to the honest response of others?

An important reality of life is that everyone is not fine — just like me.   Everyone has problems, everyone struggles.  Yet, so often we are unable or unwilling to share our struggles.   We put up walls, not letting others in, keeping a “safe” distance so as not to appear weak or vulnerable.  We use the excuse that we don’t want to burden people with our troubles.   We hold back, fearing they will judge us.   Instead of sharing our real fears, worries and challenges, we opt to put on a happy face, a strong front, and tell ourselves and those around us that everything is “fine.”   But living in a sea of “fine” can leave us feeling lonely and isolated.

I am not proposing that we disclose a litany of woes every time someone asks us how we are doing.  I am suggesting that it is a true gift to ourselves and to the people in our lives to allow them in.   Asking for help, leaning on friends in times of need, and sharing our true selves, with all of our imperfections, takes great strength and courage.  It is only by opening ourselves up to those around us that we can truly know each other, and feel comforted by the fact that we are not alone.

I am grateful for the people in my life with whom I can share my joys and my struggles, and who trust me to listen to theirs.  Together, we have faced the death of loved ones, the rewards and challenges of parenting, the pain of family conflict, the heart-wrenching battles with disease and illness, and so much more.   We allow ourselves to be deeply seen and known.   In doing so, we strengthen our connection built on respect, trust, kindness and love.   It is comforting to know that we can sit together and simply be ourselves, knowing there is no judgment, only open hearts and open minds.   That is the true foundation of friendship.  So, thank you to those people in my life who let me know that everything is not always fine and thank you for listening.

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Not Everyone Will Like You

Not Everyone Will Like You

by cheryl on September 28, 2014

in Healthy Living

Wonderful thoughts from the  the Daily Om . . .

Not Everyone Will Like You.

It is not necessarily a pleasant experience, but there will be times in our lives when we come across people who do not like us. As we know, like attracts like, so usually when they don’t like us it is because they are not like us. Rather than taking it personally, we can let them be who they are, accepting that each of us is allowed to have different perspectives and opinions. When we give others that freedom, we claim it for ourselves as well, releasing ourselves from the need for their approval so we can devote our energy toward more rewarding pursuits.

While approval from others is a nice feeling, when we come to depend on it we may lose our way on our own path. There are those who will not like us no matter what we do, but that doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with us. Each of us has our own filters built from our experiences over time. They may see in us something that is merely a projection of their understanding, but we have no control over the interpretations of others. The best we can do is to hope that the role we play in the script of their lives is helpful to them, and follow our own inner guidance with integrity.

As we reap the benefits of walking our perfect paths, we grow to appreciate the feeling of fully being ourselves. The need to have everyone like us will be replaced by the exhilaration of discovering that we are attracting like-minded individuals into our lives—people who like us because they understand and appreciate the truth of who we are. We free ourselves from trying to twist into shapes that will fit the spaces provided by others’ limited understanding and gain a new sense of freedom, allowing us to expand into becoming exactly who we’re meant to be. And in doing what we know to be right for us, we show others that they can do it too. Cocreating our lives with the universe and its energy of pure potential, we transcend limitations and empower ourselves to shine our unique light, fully and freely.

Go to The Daily Om for more great thoughts.

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Weekly Wisdom #39

by cheryl on September 28, 2014

in Weekly Wisdom

“Forever is composed of nows.”  – Emily Dickinson

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Come in from the cold, and sit for a while . . . 

There are many mindfulness tools and awareness practices we can use everyday to help us lower our levels of stress, stay focused and calm, and live with a greater sense of ease and happiness.   Join us on Wednesday mornings to learn and to practice tools to unwind, to stay calm and focused, and to increase our inner peace and happiness.  It’s a great start to the day and a wonderful mid-week opportunity to stay centered during your busy week.

This course is designed for those with some meditation experience who are looking to gain a deeper understanding of mindfulness practices and philosophies, as well as those looking to meet with a group to practice together each week. The class will consist of a 15-20 minute discussion each week, followed by 20-25 minute guided meditation.

Class Dates & Times: This class will meet on  Wednesday mornings from January 14th through February 4th from 9:00 am to 9:45 am.

You can register for the 4 Classes below.

 

Location: Groove, 108 Chatsworth Avenue, Larchmont, New York.

To Register, click here.

About the Instructor:

Cheryl Brause is the Co-Founder of 2bpresent. She has practiced meditation and mindfulness for many years, and has worked in the field of teaching mindfulness meditation for the past four years to adults, teens and children. Cheryl has studied meditation and mindfulness under with many leaders in the field. She has completed her Level I and II Meditation Teacher Training from Om Yoga. She is trained in Learning to BREATHE – a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents, and completed her K-12 Mindful Schools Curriculum Training. Cheryl teaches mindfulness and meditation privately to children, teens and adults. She has also created and taught programs in our community to train teachers and students in stress reduction techniques and mindfulness tools to help them thrive.

What people are saying about 2bpresent workshops and classes:

“Every now and then you come across a class or a person who helps you to be a better person. Cheryl offers just that. I am a better person because of all the things that I have learned- I am a better spouse, a better mother, a better friend, a better co-worker, and actually even more compassionate with myself. And what’s the best part? That I got all this by simply learning how to slow down and calm down. I will be forever grateful!

Taking the beginning meditation class is the single most important thing I have done for myself in the last decade. I can honestly say that my family and I are all happier because of my taking this one step to learn how to be calmer and more mindful.” – Psychologist, mother and participant in Real Happiness and Mindful Living

“Cheryl’s class taught me not only how to meditate, but how to incorporate mindfulness into everything that I do. Cheryl is extremely knowledgable about the practice of mindfulness and has a teaching style that is very easy to understand and accessible. It was a truly life changing experience. I can’t wait for my next class!” – MBA, mother, participant in Mindful Living

“I took Cheryl’s mindfulness class last spring and the effects have stayed with me. The tools and techniques she showed the class were fun and easy to use and the discussion really brought everything down to a real level that can be applied. Cheryl has a unique way of speaking about mindfulness that is very insightful and practical. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and would highly recommend it!” – Organizational Development Consultant, mother, participant in Mindful Living

 

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Weekly Wisdom #38

by cheryl on September 23, 2014

in Weekly Wisdom

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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What if you could be more peaceful with yourself, those around you and your world?

Join us on a journey to finding real happiness as we explore meditation and mindfulness, and learn how to incorporate them into our everyday lives. Mindfulness can help you lower your levels of stress, stay focused and calm, and live your life with a greater sense of ease and happiness.

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of mindfulness and meditation, and will help you gain a deeper understanding of these practices.

Join us for contemplation, meditation and action-based exercises. This is a five week class. We will meet for one hour each week.

Evening Class Dates & Time: 10/8, 10/15, 10/22, 10/29 and 11/5 from 7 pm to 8 pm.

Investment: $195

Location: Groove, 108 Chatsworth Avenue, Larchmont, New York.

 

THIS CLASS IS NO LONGER ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS

 

About the Instructor . . .

Cheryl Brause is the Co-Founder of 2bpresent. She has practiced meditation and mindfulness for many years, and has worked in the field of teaching mindfulness meditation for the past four years to adults, teens and children. Cheryl has studied meditation and mindfulness under with many leaders in the field. She has completed her Level I and II Meditation Teacher Training from Om Yoga. She is trained in Learning to BREATHE – a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents, and completed her K-12 Mindful Schools Curriculum Training. Cheryl teaches mindfulness and meditation privately to children, teens and adults. She has also created and taught programs in our community to train teachers and students in stress reduction techniques and mindfulness tools to help them thrive.

What people are saying about 2bpresent classes and workshops. . .

“Every now and then you come across a class or a person who helps you to be a better person. Cheryl offers just that. I am a better person because of all the things that I have learned- I am a better spouse, a better mother, a better friend, a better co-worker, and actually even more compassionate with myself. And what’s the best part? That I got all this by simply learning how to slow down and calm down. I will be forever grateful!

Taking the beginning meditation class is the single most important thing I have done for myself in the last decade. I can honestly say that my family and I are all happier because of my taking this one step to learn how to be calmer and more mindful.” – Psychologist, mother and participant in Real Happiness and Mindful Living

“Cheryl’s class taught me not only how to meditate, but how to incorporate mindfulness into everything that I do. Cheryl is extremely knowledgable about the practice of mindfulness and has a teaching style that is very easy to understand and accessible. It was a truly life changing experience. I can’t wait for my next class!” – MBA, mother, participant in Mindful Living

“I took Cheryl’s mindfulness class last spring and the effects have stayed with me. The tools and techniques she showed the class were fun and easy to use and the discussion really brought everything down to a real level that can be applied. Cheryl has a unique way of speaking about mindfulness that is very insightful and practical. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and would highly recommend it!” – Organizational Development Consultant, mother, participant in Mindful Living

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Ahh, the joys of heading back to school!  It’s a time for new beginnings, reuniting with old friends and new adventures in learning and personal growth.

Sound familiar?

How about a dose of reality? Back to school is back to stress for many parents and children.  It is an abrupt end to the stress-free, schedule-free, carpool-free, long summer days and a harsh entry into new situations, busy schedules, carpools, homework, and rising levels of anxiety.

This fall, my family added one more challenge to our already hectic start to the school year – we adopted a new puppy.  I knew that this would be a big addition to my already full load.   So, in anticipation of adding one more living being to care for,  I decided to put my best foot forward and embrace the “present momentness” of being a new dog owner.   As I was dealing with all of the back to school chaos,  I also found myself rushing home throughout the day to walk the dog, clean up his occasional “messes” around the house, and make sure he too was fed and cared for.   I admit that I felt “my cup runneth over,” and not in such a good way.  Then, this happened . . .

 

I was outside in my backyard with the puppy in between drop offs and pick ups, phone calls and work meetings, feeling rushed and harried, when all of a sudden I heard a loud thump right behind me.  I thought I had nearly missed being hit in the head by a branch falling from high above as I ducked down to avoid injury.  When I uncovered my head and turned around, I realized it was not a branch at all, I was shocked to see a very large and very alive ten-inch fish that had literally fallen from the sky just a few inches from where I was standing.  It was alive, bloody and still flopping.  I immediately thought of the ten plagues and I asked myself,  “What’s next  – – frogs or locusts raining down on me?”    Once I wrestled my brain away from biblical gloom and doom, I thought perhaps someone was playing a sick joke on me.   I then thought, how lucky I was that the fish did not fall directly on my head.  If it had hit me, I would surely not be writing this right now and would instead be lying on a couch in a psychiatrist’s office.

Not knowing what to do next, I noticed our little pup licking his chops and running towards the squirming fish.  I quickly grabbed him and took him inside the house, a near miss of yet another messy and disgusting clean up.   I then took a deep breath and tried to figure out how to get rid of this unwanted addition to my backyard, still in disbelief that I was nearly assaulted by a fish.   I realized that I was now very late to meet a friend for a lunch date – – – at a SUSHi restaurant. Gazing at this little fish making his last few efforts to stay alive, I felt paralyzed, not knowing what to do next.  As much as I would have loved to heroically saved its life, I was feeling overwhelmed, disgusted and still in a bit of shock.  So, I called my friend, apologized for running late, and told her that I could not possibly eat sushi for lunch.    Upset and bewildered, I left the fish to the wildlife in my backyard, hoping never to cross its path again.

I came home several hours later and quickly returned to my backyard to see how this story would unfold, hoping that no evidence would remain of this bizarre incident.  But, OH NO,  no such luck.  It was still there, now dead and covered with bees.  My nine year old was a real trooper and agreed to help me get rid of the fish and send it back into the sea (actually into a tiny river in my backyard) for a proper burial.  I asked her to go inside to get my phone to document the event while I armed myself with gloves and a giant snow shovel.  As most 9 year olds with good intentions do, she was eager to help but forget to close the door when she went inside.  With the door wide open, my little puppy came running outside and, before we knew what had happened, he had the ten-inch fish hanging out of his mouth.  With gloves, an iPhone and a shovel in hand, we ran furiously after him trying to catch him and remove the dead fish from his mouth.   For some reason we were also screaming at the top of our lungs.    We must have looked ridiculous!  In fact, the dog was so shocked by our behavior that he dropped the fish and simply ran from us.  We quickly grabbed him and returned him to the house and finally we could scoop the fish up and return him to the sea.

This bizarre incident was an undeniable reminder that sometimes in the midst of the chaos and stress of life, we have a choice of whether to laugh or to cry, to become overwhelmed or to recognize that “this too shall pass.”    Sometimes the utter ridiculousness of our circumstances can be overwhelming, even paralyzing.  Instead of falling into a deep abyss of panic or anxiety, it is helpful to simply take a step back, let go of the notion that we actually have control of the situation and just laugh.  This was my reminder during this hectic time of year to laugh, take a deep breath and to watch out for fish falling from the sky.

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