parenting

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!

 

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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.

 

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Perfect Parenting

Perfect Parenting

by cheryl on November 13, 2014

in 2mindfulmoms

Let me start by saying there is no such thing as perfect parenting.  Period. Full Stop. Instead, I would say that the only type of parenting is imperfect parenting. I think that we can all agree that we do that quite well.   This is not due to a lack of trying. As parents, we are very busy trying to do the right thing for our children.   We buy parenting books, full of expert advice,  to teach us how to parent better.  I have stacks and stacks of these books lining my bookshelves at home; each offering me loads of advice on how to raise my children. I have attempted to read many of them, but I must admit that I have barely scratched the surface.   I usually get through the first few chapters when I am interrupted by my life — my children asking me for help with a problem, dinner to cook, a carpool to drive, an argument I need to help settle, or the most challenging of all, my very heavy eyelids refusing to remain open after a busy day.

In my long search for answers, I have come across some deeply meaningful ideas that translate into what I consider the keys to parenting. Three qualities of awareness that help me to be less bound to the pages of my parenting books (that I never seem to finish), and free to raise my children from a place of authenticity.  These help me to understand my own values, to do what feels right and to connect to my children in a deep and meaningful way. They are:

(1) Presence. I try very hard to take time to be fully present with my children. I am far from perfect at this, but I am trying.  For example, I have caught myself having breakfast with my precious 9 year-old, unable to recount what I imagine was probably a beautiful story she just told, because I was distracted or too busy in my own head to listen to her.   I have to remind myself to turn off my phone, power down my laptop, clear my thoughts, judgments and analysis, and simply be there, like a sponge, for my child.  It is important to remember that this is not a matter of quantity of time; it is a matter of quality of time. It is about picking your moments and not being afraid to say, “I can’t listen right now, let me finish what I am doing and then I am all yours.” And then doing it. To have a few minutes a day of true listening, paying full attention, is such a gift to you and to your child. No special toys need to be purchased; no elaborate trips need to be taken, just being fully present with your child allows your child to feel felt and to be heard, and gives you the opportunity to connect in a deep and meaningful way.

(2) Understanding. It may seem easy to be present, but to be present with an open mind and an open heart is a much greater challenge. It is acting more like a sponge than a bumper, absorbing and taking in what your child is doing, saying, feeling and thinking, rather than diverting or invalidating their thoughts and feelings. For example, when a child says, “You never listen to me.” It is refraining from saying, “Yes I do. I always listen to you.” And, instead, understanding that your child doesn’t feel listened to. It means seeing things from your child’s point of view, putting yourself in your child’s shoes. In doing this, you not only validate their feelings and experiences, but you can also better understand what your child needs from you and how you can best serve your child.

(3) Acceptance.   Our willingness to recognize and accept our children’s thoughts and feelings enables us to see our children for who they really are, and not who we want them to be. It also allows us as parents to see ourselves the way we really are and not the way we wish to be.   This acceptance fosters self-confidence, safety and comfort in children and in parents. It releases us from the cycle of disappointment after failing to meet unrealistic expectations, and allows us the freedom to embrace what is, who we are and who our children are, and all the possibilities that come from that very real place.

The challenges of parenting are constantly changing. We have to be able to be present for the laughter and joy, and face the fear and uncertainty as they come. The best we can do is parent from a place of love and not fear, and acknowledge that we are doing the best that we can.

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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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Mindful Parenting Exercise:

The lesson that we are enough just as we are is such an important lesson to teach our children and to remind ourselves, as they struggle to figure out who they are and who they want to be.  Adolescence, in particular, is a time when children are constantly judging themselves by comparing themselves to others or their own view of who they think they should be.  We live in an age where children quantify their own worth by how many friends they have on Facebook or how many likes they have on Instagram.  As parents, we need to encourage our children to look inside themselves to discover their own inherent worth and inner strength.  We can do this by praising our children’s acts of love, compassion and kindness, and their willingness to try and take risks, rather than praising only their accomplishments.  In doing so, we teach them to value the strength of their character rather than value only their achievements.

Exercise #1:

Try the following exercise at home with your kids. At dinner, ask each person at the table to take a piece of paper and write down five things that they love about themselves.   Emphasize that these are for their eyes only.   See what happens.   It is interesting to see how easy or how difficult this can be.  Parents should participate as well.  There are no right or wrong answers and there is no need to share.  This is simply an exercise to get people to acknowledge their strengths and foster a positive self-image.  Younger children may find this easy and may ask if they can list more than five things.  It is the teenagers and adults who may have difficulty making this list. Encourage everyone to participate and take pride in the fact that they love things about themselves.  Another variation that might be easier for some, is to make a list of what they did well that day, something(s) they can be proud of.

 Exercise #2:

Another wonderful family dinner exercise is to go around the table and have each person say something that they love about another family member. It can be as simple as loving the way someone laughs, loving the way they are tucked in each night, or loving the silly faces someone makes.  Continue around the table as many times as you want, each time having one person speak about a different person at the table.  This may foster some laughs, some love and some real boosts in self-esteem.  It is also a practice in gratitude by recognizing the little things that others do each day that make us happy.

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Be Where You Are

Be Where You Are

by cheryl on September 2, 2013

in Meditation

A recent  New York Times article  and YouTube video I Forgot My Phone left me wondering, how much of life are we missing out on when we are constantly turning our attention to that little screen?  How often are we truly present where we are?  Our minds are usually taking us elsewhere — wandering back into our past or worrying about the future.   It is a challenge for us to reign in our active minds and be fully present where we are.  Now, with the help of technology, it has become easier and easier to be where we are not.   We don’t need the torrent of our thoughts to take us elsewhere, we have the help of our smartphones to whisk us away.

How often do we feel a slight moment of boredom and immediately jump on our smartphones to avoid that brief moment of mental stillness?  Instead of enjoying a momentary quiet interlude, we immediately look up the latest news stories, check in to see what our friends are doing on Facebook, or reply to our endless stream of emails.   How often do we “leave” the people we are with to chat with, Instagram, or email those who are somewhere else?  I am all for keeping in touch and social media is a wonderful way to stay connected, but I think it is important to remind ourselves and our children that we need to enjoy where we are and who we are with by resisting that ever present temptation to jump into the electronic cyberworld of being elsewhere.

How often have you been in a restaurant and watched a family eating “together” — one child watching a DVD, a teenager texting friends and parents checking their email?  Are they really enjoying each other’s company or merely occupying space next to one another while engaging with someone or something elsewhere?   The average teenager writes over 3,000 texts per month. With the soaring popularity of other forms of social media, their options are vast to live in a virtual world of communicating with a screen instead of with the people next to them.   I wonder if our children are learning the art of conversation or merely mastering the art of internet slang?  Will they learn to use their imagination and creativity in the face of a moment of boredom or merely power on when they want to disengage ?  Do they know how to connect through eye contact or just through Instagram?   Imagine what they could do with all of the time they spend on their smartphones and all that they are missing right in front of them.

As parents, we spend so much time teaching our children how to be “safe” online, and are so preoccupied with checking in on their internet conversations,  that we may be missing the greater lesson of teaching them to simply power off.  When they are unplugged and not constantly distracted,  perhaps we can teach them the importance of making face to face human connections — how to make polite conversation, use eye contact, be a good listener.  These are the elements of creating real human connections that I hope will not be lost on the next generation.  In addition, we all suffer from the affects of our constant multi-tasking — lack of focus, inability to concentrate, uncontrollable mind wandering.  In our distracted and fractured culture, where we are all wired up and constantly interupted by the beeps of our electronic devices, perhaps powering off will be the best lesson of all for our children’s mental and emotional well being.

Do people really need to see the dessert I am eating on vacation or an artistic picture of my shoe or one more “selfie”?   Will the world end if I don’t respond to an email in the middle of a dinner conversation?   Am I really enjoying the concert when I am preoccupied with taking a video of it to show everyone afterwards?

So, let’s try to be where we are and enjoy who we are with.  It is those moments in which we are truly present that are our most precious and most meaningful moments of all.

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Mindful Parenting Group

Mindful Parenting Group

by cheryl on January 10, 2013

in Classes, Events and Classes

Join the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Community Counseling Center and 2bpresent for a

Mindful Parenting Group

for parents of middle school children

Five Sessions on Wednesday evenings

1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/27, and 3/6

7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

at the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Community Counseling Center

234 Stanley Avenue, Mamaroneck, NY

Cost: $250*

What is a Mindful Parenting Group?

The Mindful Parenting Group will combine the benefits of learning to develop a mindfulness practice with parenting support and education.  Led by two experienced meditation and mindfulness practitioners and a psychologist, the goal of this group will be to help you bring calm, clarity, wisdom and joy into your daily life.  It is the practice of using self-awareness to know how to slow down, think, and make decisions that will help both parent and child live with greater ease and happiness.

Benefits of Mindful Parenting:

  • 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 ourselves and our children

 

To register for this group, email us at mindfulparenting123@gmail.com.  Space is limited.

*contact the LMCCC/Dr. Alan Dienstag at (698-7549) to request an adjustment if fee is a barrier to participation

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Teachable Moments in the Eye of the Storm

Teachable Moments in the Eye of the Storm

by cheryl on November 13, 2012

in 2mindfulmoms

Hurricane Sandy was a massive storm that caused great devastation and loss of life along the Northeastern United States.  My prayers go out to all of those who lost so much in the storm.  Having lived through it with my children, and having been incredibly fortunate not to have been severely impacted by its wrath, I now have the opportunity to reflect on the many teachable moments Sandy has provided me and my children.  Here are a few of the things that we were reminded of this past week in the aftermath of a superstorm.

Lesson Number One: Less is More

In the hours before the storm hit, my family and I rushed to remove all the items from our basement to protect them from being destroyed by the expected ten to fifteen foot tidal surge that would soon sweep through our community.  Living only minutes from the Long Island Sound, and having a tidal estuary in our backyard, we had good reason to fear that our property might be inundated by the salty waters that Sandy would send our way.

As my family raced to bring all of our belongings from our basement up the stairs to areas we hoped would be spared, I took a moment to evaluate the situation.  What was all this “stuff” that we were moving around?  If the waves rolled in and completely ruined all of these items, would my life be greatly impacted?  I realized then, that none of this “stuff” really mattered.  All that really mattered was the safety of the people helping to move all that stuff upstairs.  As long as they were safe, the rest was all either replaceable or simply unnecessary.  So the first teachable moment for me was the opportunity to take a good look at all the things that we have, to recognize how unimportant most of those things really are, and to focus on what really matters.

We spend so much of our time, working so hard to accumulate things – new clothes, a new car, new furniture, new toys, a bigger house.  Do those things really improve our quality of life?  Is all of that stuff really so important?  Is it important enough to justify  the amount of time we spend trying to get more of it?   Perhaps constantly adding to our  “stuff” diminishes the value of each item and teaches our children the wrong message, that each item is only valuable and useful until we are able to find its newer, and more exciting replacement.

As I was hauling all this “stuff” up the stairs, I  was struck with the realization that if everything were to get flooded in that space, it is not the items that I would miss most.  It is the space itself that provided us the opportunity  to have fun, to learn, to be together and to create great memories, that is what we do in our homes (no matter how big or small, full or empty),  and those experiences cannot be destroyed even by a superstorm.

The tidal surge came and went and the flood waters filled our street.  We returned to our home the next day to assess the damage.   As we approached the lowest elevation point on our street, we had to walk knee deep through the cold salty water to get to our home.  The water was slowly receding, and as we approached our home, we realized that we were incredibly lucky.   The water had reached our garage but did not find its way into our home.  Many of our neighbors were not as lucky.

As I looked at the piles of “stuff” now upstairs untouched by the flood, I decided to pack much of it up, along with many other items from around the house, and put everything in boxes to donate.  Perhaps someone else, someone who lost so much in the storm, or others who had so little before the storm would be happy to have some.

Lesson Number Two: We are all in this together.

After realizing the great devastation and loss that many are experiencing after the storm,  people are mobilizing in great numbers to help those in need.  This sense of connection, kindness and compassion was also palpable in the days and hours before and during the storm.   There seemed to be a feeling in the air that we were all in this together, whatever may come.

This strong sense of interconnection was in stark contrast to how we live our normal, busy everyday lives.  Usually, we are so focused on meeting our own needs and the needs of our families, that we forget how wonderful it is to connect to those around us.  This incredible weather event connected so many people in so many ways.  It was not just the opportunity to donate to the hurricane relief efforts after the storm, it was also the numerous phone calls from friends and family in other parts of the country reaching out to check in to see if we were safe.  It was the caring conversations with total strangers in the grocery line in the hours before the storm, reassuring one another that it would be OK and making suggestions on what we might need in the days to come.  It was the endless e-mails from friends and neighbors asking who lost power, who needed a warm place to stay, who needed food, and following up with offers to help.

This was such a wonderful reminder that we all face challenges in our lives and we can get through those challenges with greater ease if we show kindness and compassion to one another.  Although we live in a western world in which we are often focused on “me” and “mine,” it was so nice to see that in times of great need, people were focused on “you” and “yours” or on “us.”  We saw first hand how much richer life is when everyone cares a bit more for one another.

Lesson Number Three – If Given the Choice to Laugh or to Cry, Choose to Laugh!

The night of the storm, we decided to leave our house out of concern for our safety and spend the night in a home nearby with 25 friends and family members.  In the midst of the storm we gathered.  We played cards, listened to the news and laughed a bit at the situation we were in.  At the time, I was fascinated by the storm and the potentially devastating impact that it would have on people’s lives.  So, the laughter that night at first seemed a bit inappropriate.  However, I soon realized that there was nothing any of us could do at the time, other than what we were doing.  We had a choice.  We could tremble with fear and worry in anticipation of what might be, or we could chose to sit tight, recognize that we were safe and make the best of our current situation.  This is so often our choice in life when circumstances arise that are beyond our control.  When given the choice to laugh or to cry when life gets challenging, always chose to laugh, and that is what we did.

There were many opportunities to make the best of a bad situation in the days that followed.  When we returned home, large hundred-year-old trees had fallen in our yard.  We were in awe of their grandeur and of the massive root systems that towered over us as they lay sadly on their sides, permanently uprooted.  As children so often do, my children saw the fun and found the joy in this new situation and decided to climb up on the now horizontal trunks and delighted in the giant bridges the trees now made across our yard.  They played in the enormous holes in the ground left behind by the now uprooted giants.  They splashed through the waters that flooded our streets and explored their new surroundings with awe and with laughter.

We saw first hand, on television, in the news and in our own community, the devastation that this storm brought to so many people’s lives, but in the midst of those struggles that often cause tears, it was so wonderful to be able to laugh a bit at the absurdity of it all and find great joy in the fact that we are here, that we all came together to face the storm, and that we are incredibly grateful for all that we have, most of which a storm could never take away.

 

 

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Children’s Body Scan Meditation

by cheryl on November 8, 2012

in Guided Meditation

Let’s begin by lying down in a comfortable position on the floor, with your arms resting gently on the ground, and your eyes closed.  Feel the weight of your body as it rests on the earth.  Feel the earth supporting you. Feel your feet resting firmly on the ground.  Pretend that you are an ice cream cone on a hot summer day and simply melt into the ground.  Rest your attention only on the sound of my voice.  Let all of the other sounds in the room fade away.

 

I am going to lead you on a scan of your body as a way of getting centered and relaxed – a reminder that you can be at home and at peace in your own body.

 

Start by settling your attention on your feet.  Feel the weight of your feet as they rest on the earth.  Notice the position of your feet, the sensations inside the feet, travel along the bottom and tops of your feet to your toes.  Just notice what you feel there. . . . Notice each toe and move your attention from toe to toe noticing how they feel.  Notice the space between the toes.

 

Now bring your attention to the tops of your feet and then to your ankles.  Bring your attention up your shins and around to your calves.  Notice how the backs of your legs feel.  Now, bring your attention to your knees, the front of your knees and the back of your knees.  Notice how they feel.

 

Bring your attention to your thighs, the front of your thighs and the back of your thighs.  Now move your attention up to your hips and see what sensations you feel there.  Notice how your lower back is resting on the earth.

Move your attention to the back body, to the lower back, to the mid back, to your shoulder blades. You may feel stiffness or tension, whatever you encounter, simply notice it.

 

Keep moving your attention around to the front of your body, to your abdomen and rib cage.  Notice how that feels as you inhale and exhale.  Slowly move your awareness to your chest, noticing any sensations you find there. Notice the lungs themselves, as you breathe . . . Does the breath reach into all areas of the lungs?  Notice the heart itself, and the sensations and movements within the heart.  Notice how it feels.  .  .

 

Move your attention back to the tops of your shoulders.  Slowly move your awareness down the upper arms, feeling your elbows, your forearms. Let your attention rest for a moment on your hands – the palms of your hands . . . the backs of your hands. See if you can feel each separate finger, each fingertip. . . .

 

Slowly move your attention back up to the top of the hands, back up the arms to your shoulders and neck.  Notice your neck and your throat.  Notice any tension or tightness . . . notice the feeling of breath as it passes in and out with ease.

 

Bring your awareness slowly up to the front of your face. Be aware of what you encounter. Tightness, relaxation, pressure. Turn your attention to your eyes as they gaze inward, and feel the weight of your eyelids as they rest over your eyes  . . . Move your attention to your nose.  Notice the feeling of air as it passes through your nostrils.  Is it warm or cool?  Feel your cheeks and your jaw.  Is your jaw clenched or loose? Just notice what you are feeling and continue to breath through these sensations. . . .Feel your mouth, your teeth, your lips, the light pressure of skin on skin, softness, coolness.

Bring your attention to the back of the head, over the curve of your skull, notice your ears as they buffer the sounds of the room.  Now, bring your attention to the top of your head and simply feel whatever sensations are there—tingling, pulsing or the absence of sensation.

Now bring your body as a whole into your awareness, and take a moment to scan through your entire body.  Allow your breath to become more full, taking a few deep breaths.  . .

 

As you end the meditation see if you can continue to feel the world of sensations and all of its changes, moment by moment, as you move into the activities of your day.

 

Gently and gradually regain awareness of your surroundings.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.

 

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Guided Meditation – Going Somewhere Peaceful

November 8, 2012

We are going to go on a little trip right now.  Like tele-transporting us to another place and another time.   Gently close your eyes.  Relax your body.  Take a few deep breaths.  Breath in for 5 slowly, then out for 5 slowly.   Now, think of your favorite place to be in the whole […]

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Children’s Core Breathing Meditation

November 8, 2012

Find a comfortable position either sitting or lying down.  If you are sitting, sit with your spine straight, your shoulders relaxed, your feet resting gently on the ground and your hands resting comfortably on your lap.  If you are lying down, feel the weight of your body resting gently on the earth and melt into […]

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