October 2015

Choose Happiness

Choose Happiness

by cheryl on October 16, 2015

in Meditation

So many things affect our ability to be happy.  Or do they?  Once we recognize that happiness is a choice, and not a result of what happens to us, our ability to find happiness becomes much easier.

What can make us unhappy, and how we can choose to respond . . . 

People – We cannot control how other people act, but we can choose how we allow them to make us feel.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Ultimately, we can choose to limit the time we are around people who do not bring happiness and positivity into our lives.

Circumstances – Giving up the illusion that we have control over many aspects of our lives is the first step.   Once we accept that, a great burden is lifted from our shoulders (ahhh. . . .), and we can focus instead on how we want to respond to those circumstances. 

Stress – When it comes to all of that stress in our lives, it is not the stressor itself, but how we perceive it and then how we choose to respond to it that will determine whether or not it will lead to stress at all.

Worry – Worrying does nothing to help the situation.  As a worrier myself, I know this to be true.  Once we recognize that our worrying is not serving us, we can take action, or take a deep breath, and stop worrying so much.

Money –  The “If only” syndrome  . . .”If only I had [fill in the blank].   I would be happy. ”   One look at the news and you will see examples of wealthy people, who have enough money to buy whatever material goods they want, and you see so much suffering.  Enough said.  Happiness is an inside job, as Sylvia Boorstein says, and not a result of external circumstances.

How we walk through our lives is all about choice, and how we choose to see things.  Yet, we are often so busy running on automatic pilot, acting from a place of habitual response and routine patterns of thought and behavior, that we don’t even realize we have a choice.  As Viktor Frankl put it best, in Man’s Search for Meaning, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

Easier said than done, you say?  It’s easier than you think.

Below is a reposting of a favorite Weekly Wisdom from Tal Ben Shahar, author of Happier, reminding us that we have the power to choose . . .

Choice is creation.

To choose is to create.

Through your choices you create your reality.
At every moment in your life you have a choice.

We can choose…
to focus on faults OR to be a benefit finder.

We can choose…
to look at what is not working or to look at what is working.

We can choose   . . .to take things for granted OR to appreciate the good.

We can choose   . . .
to perceive failure as a catastrophe OR as a learning opportunity. We don’t have a choice whether we fail at times, but we do have a choice of what we do with that failure. 

We can choose   . . .
to run away from challenges OR to courageously face challenges.

We can choose   . . .
to be cynical and sarcastic OR to be open and sincere.

We can choose   . . .
to overlook the potential OR to see the potential and cultivate it.

We can choose   . . .
to reject emotions OR to accept emotions.

We can choose   . . .
to be mean and dismissive OR to be nice and kind.

We can choose   . . .
to overlook life’s treasures inside and all around us OR to be mindful of the wonder and the miracle unfolding within and around us.

At every moment in your life you have a choice.
All these moments add up to a lifetime; choices add up to a life – – – your life.

What kind of life do you want for yourself? For those around you? 

To live the life you want you must first become mindful that you have a choice.

 

{ 0 comments }

Weekly Wisdom #48

by cheryl on October 16, 2015

in Weekly Wisdom

“The grass is always greener where you water it.”  – Unknown

{ 0 comments }

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

by cheryl on October 7, 2015

in 2mindfulmoms, Mindful Parenting

Our children experience growing pains as their bodies undergo the incredible transformation from child to adult.   As parents, we also experience growing pains, those aches and pains of the heart that we feel while watching our children grow from babies to fully formed adults.  Just as our children must learn to deal with their sporadic aches and pains of growth, we must also learn to deal with  the joys and the pains of our journey through parenthood.

With newborns, I was often sleep deprived and exhausted from the physical demands and the daunting responsibility of nurturing a tiny being that depended on me for its very survival.  I don’t miss my diaper bag or the large circles under my eyes, but I do miss listening to that unbridled laughter, and holding that tiny ball of warm flesh curled up, fast asleep in my arms.  Next came toddlerhood and temper tantrums, the refusal to be buckled into a car seat until I practically had to sit on him, and the beginning signs of finicky eating.   It also brought those precious first words and hilarious sentences as he attempted to express his thoughts and feelings, watching his pure joy in simple playtime, and soaking up the smell of his freshly bathed skin wrapped up in cute little pajamas sitting on my lap, captivated by a bedtime story.

How quickly they grow!  Before you know it, that cute little toddler was off to school.  As I reluctantly released his tiny little hand from mine, and watched him take his first steps toward independence,  I felt a small pit in my stomach and an ache in my heart, fully aware that this was just first of many steps I would take in letting him go.

I have been told by many friends and family members whose children are grown about the great joy I will experience watching my children become fully independent adults.   And, I have been warned of the tremendous hole their departure will leave in my heart.   They look longingly at me (usually when I am complaining to them about the eighth carpool I have driven that day) and say, “Enjoy these days. The time goes so fast and before you know it, they will be gone.”  So, I continue to do my best to be present and enjoy each phase of our lives together, and meet the demands of where I am now, which happens to be parenting teenagers.

Yes,  I am on the rollercoaster of parenting teenagers, which certainly has some unique growing pains for everyone involved.  As parents of teens know well, some days teenagers are the kind, sweet children who look at you and just need a hug, some advice and a warm meal.  Other days it seems whatever we say is wrong and not worth their time. Or, a simple look or question like, “How was your day?” Brings an annoyed response like, “Why do you always ask me that? ” Leaving me dumbfounded as to how my attempt at simple conversation became an annoying intrusion into their lives, and wondering where that warm little mound of flesh that sat so sweetly on my lap has gone?

I have learned that being the parent of an adolescent requires a tremendous amount of patience and understanding, and lots of deep breathing.  I have also learned that I am not alone, and there is great strength in  sharing and connecting with other parents who are experiencing similar growing pains.  It is also helpful to remember how I felt as a teenager when I too thought my parents were clueless and annoying (sorry mom and dad).   It’s just hard to believe that I am now that “clueless” and “annoying” parent. I somehow thought that through proper parenting I could avoid such interactions. I now know, however, that this teenage behavior is an essential part of growing up.   Not only a rite of passage, but also a necessary, developmentally appropriate step toward independence.

Gretchen Schmelzer’s  Letter Your Teenager Can’t Write You is a beautiful reminder to parents of what our teenagers are experiencing. It helps to hear their voice, even if they cannot or will not formulate these words themselves.   It expresses what they need from us, and how we can be there for them through this difficult time in their lives.

THE LETTER YOUR TEENAGER CAN’T WRITE YOU. . .

Gretchen Schmelzer, June 23, 2015

Dear Parent:

This is the letter I wish I could write. 

writing with pencil isolated against white background

This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. But I need this fight. Badly. I need to hate you right now and I need you to survive it. I need you to survive my hating you and you hating me. I need this fight even though I hate it too. It doesn’t matter what this fight is even about: curfew, homework, laundry, my messy room, going out, staying in, leaving, not leaving, boyfriend, girlfriend, no friends, bad friends. It doesn’t matter. I need to fight you on it and I need you to fight me back.

 

I desperately need you to hold the other end of the rope. To hang on tightly while I thrash on the other end—while I find the handholds and footholds in this new world I feel like I am in. I used to know who I was, who you were, who we were. But right now I don’t. Right now I am looking for my edges and I can sometimes only find them when I am pulling on you. When I push everything I used to know to its edge. Then I feel like I exist and for a minute I can breathe. I know you long for the sweeter kid that I was. I know this because I long for that kid too, and some of that longing is what is so painful for me right now.

 

I need this fight and I need to see that no matter how bad or big my feelings are—they won’t destroy you or me. I need you to love me even at my worst, even when it looks like I don’t love you. I need you to love yourself and me for the both of us right now. I know it sucks to be disliked and labeled the bad guy. I feel the same way on the inside, but I need you to tolerate it and get other grownups to help you. Because I can’t right now. If you want to get all of your grown up friends together and have a ‘surviving-your-teenager-support-group-rage-fest’ that’s fine with me. Or talk about me behind my back–I don’t care. Just don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on this fight. I need it.

 

This is the fight that will teach me that my shadow is not bigger than my light. This is the fight that will teach me that bad feelings don’t mean the end of a relationship. This is the fight that will teach me how to listen to myself, even when it might disappoint others. 

And this particular fight will end. Like any storm, it will blow over. And I will forget and you will forget. And then it will come back. And I will need you to hang on to the rope again. I will need this over and over for years.

 

I know there is nothing inherently satisfying in this job for you. I know I will likely never thank you for it or even acknowledge your side of it. In fact I will probably criticize you for all this hard work. It will seem like nothing you do will be enough. And yet, I am relying entirely on your ability to stay in this fight. No matter how much I argue. No matter how much I sulk. No matter how silent I get.

 

Please hang on to the other end of the rope. And know that you are doing the most important job that anyone could possibly be doing for me right now.

 

Love,

Your Teenager

© 2015 Gretchen L Schmelzer PhD- reprinted with permission

So, I continue to remind myself how difficult it is not only to be the parent of a teenager, but to be a teenager.  I continue to take lots of deep breaths, send them my love, my understanding and my forgiveness, try not to react from a place of anger but with compassion, and offer them my presence for the joys and the growing pains of adolescence.

 

 

 

 

{ 2 comments }

“My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I try not to go there alone.”   – Annie Lamott   

Join 2bpresent for an exploration of Mindfulness Meditation.

Whether this is your first introduction to mindfulness and meditation, or you want to reboot your practice, come and join the group!  We will learn practical and accessible mindfulness tools that you can use everyday to help you lower your levels of stress, increase your focus and attention, and find more joy in each day.

This course is appropriate for those new to mindfulness meditation, as well as those who wish to continue their meditation practice with others each week.  We will review the foundations of mindfulness meditation, discuss how to introduce mindfulness into your day, explore the latest scientific research on mindfulness and its health benefits, and practice together each week.

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation:
  • Lower Stress
  • Improve Sleep
  • Increase Focus and Attention
  • Boost Your Immune System
  • Increase Happiness

 

For more on the Benefits of Mindfulness, click here.

Since many of us are busy parents, we will also have many Mindfulness Tips for Parenting, like

  • Understanding our own stress reactions
  • Increasing calm and stability in ourselves and our children
  • Fostering a greater connection between parent and child
  • Increasing attention, focus and concentration
  • Enriched appreciation of the ordinary moments of life
  • Learning to listen with kindness to yourself and to your child

Class Dates & Times: New Classes now forming.  To be added to the waitlist, please contact cheryl@2bpresent.com

Location:  Larchmont, New York.

Registration currently full.

About the Instructor . . .  Cheryl Vigder 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 five years.  Cheryl teaches adults, teens and children practical and accessible ways to introduce mindfulness into everyday life.  She has studied meditation and mindfulness with many leaders in the field.   She has completed her Level I and Level II Meditation Teacher Training from Om Yoga.  She is trained in Learning to BREATHE – a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents, completed her K-12 Mindful Schools Curriculum Training, and is certified in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Teens.  She has also trained in Search Inside Yourself Leadership Training, Google’s Mindfulness Training, and teaches Mindfulness at Work to corporations, organizations and business leaders.  She is thrilled to be sharing her journey with you.

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

 

{ 0 comments }

Introducing – 2bp TV!

Introducing – 2bp TV!

by cheryl on October 1, 2015

in Healthy Living


Check Out 2bp’s New YouTube Channel

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 8.58.41 AM

We are thrilled to announce our new YouTube Channel!  In the coming months, we will continue to add new video shorts explaining the science of mindfulness, the “How To’s” of integrating mindfulness into your life, more on mindfulness for children, and lots of new guided meditations and instructional videos to help you lower stress, improve your focus and concentration, overcome test anxiety, get a better night’s sleep, prepare for that big game, create more meaningful family time, and so much more!  Be sure to sign on to our newsletter to get updates on what’s new and subscribe to 2bp TV.

{ 0 comments }

All New 2bp TV !

by cheryl on October 1, 2015

in 2bp TV, Classes, Events, Events and Classes

Announcing 2bpresent’s All New You Tube Channel!

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 8.58.41 AM

We are thrilled to announce our new You Tube Channel!  In the coming months, we will continue to add new videos explaining the science of mindfulness, the “How To’s” of integrating mindfulness into your life, Mindfulness for Children, and lots of new Guided Meditations and Videos to help you lower stress, improve your focus and concentration, overcome test anxiety, get a better night’s sleep, prepare for that big game, and so much more!  Be sure to sign on to our newsletter to get updates on what’s new and subscribe to 2bp TV.

 

{ 0 comments }