Real Happiness

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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The Dalai Lama’s Laugh

The Dalai Lama’s Laugh

by cheryl on November 24, 2014

in Meditation

It is Thanksgiving time again.   Time to gather with friends and family to celebrate and give thanks for all that we have.  This time of year, however, is also full of stress and anxiety for many who are rushing around preparing for the holiday season.  Time with family and friends, and holiday travel, also bring challenging situations, annoyance and for many a feeling of sadness.    Although this is a time for giving thanks for all that we have, it is sometimes difficult to feel grateful in the midst of the stressful holiday season.

So what does all of this have to do with the Dalai Lama’s laugh, you may ask?  I recently had the great pleasure of spending two days with the Dalai Lama in New York City. I sat in a crowded theater with hundreds of others listening to him speak. When I first arrived, I was surprised to hear protesters outside the theater chanting loudly that he was the “false Dalai Lama.”  As we were ushered into the crowded theater, we were searched for dangerous objects before being allowed into the room.   This was all a strange and disturbing beginning to a day with the the winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace.  When I finally arrived at my seat, excited to be in the presence of such an important historical figure, the Dalai Lama began his lesson in Tibetan.  For the first 20 minutes, and throughout the two days, he spoke in a language I could not begin to understand.    Then, when his interpreter began to speak in English to translate his words, it seemed that even English was not going to help me truly understand the complicated teachings of Dependent Origination and Intrinsic Existence.  As I struggled to understand his existential teachings, I found myself captivated by one thing – the Dalai Lama’s laughter.

Many of us shared the same experience that day.  There was something about his deep, joyful belly laugh that seemed to exude happiness.  This is a man who has lost his country, who bears the burden of continuing the Tibetan culture and its spiritual teachings, who, at 79 years old, lives in exile and travels the world sharing these teachings to hundreds of thousands of people, and who has the fate of an entire culture in his hands.  And yet, despite the tremendous burden he carries, he manages to sit happily, with a radiating smile, filling the large theater with his laughter.  This alone was worth the price of admission.

Back to our own Thanksgiving tables.  The Dalai Lama’s laugh is a great example of how our own happiness need not be defined by our circumstances.  Despite our suffering, our challenges or our difficult circumstances,  we too can choose to find happiness and laughter.  As the Dalai Lama says, “Happiness is a choice.”   There are simple ways to find joy in each moment.  For example, we can simply take a deep breath and enjoy the fact the we can take a  breath.  I often think back to when my mother was ill and I found tremendous joy on mornings when she could simply breathe with ease.  This simple act of gratitude is easily forgotten when life gets busy.  But the ability to take a slow, deep breath is something to be very thankful for.

Another way to bring gratitude to Thanksgiving is to look at the food on our table and think about everyone who has contributed in some way to our meal — the famers in the field, the animals in the farm, the food company employees who produce and package our food, the truck drivers, the grocery store clerks, the cashiers, the caregivers and cooks who prepare it, and those who worked to make money so the food could be purchased.  Each and every person played a part in getting this food on the table for us to enjoy.  This brings a great sense of interconnectedness, interdependence and a feeling of appreciation and gratitude to our hearts.   Try thinking about all the people who contributed in some way to your Thanksgiving meal, from its very beginning in a field somewhere in the world to your plate.

On to a more challenging gratitude practice – dealing with difficult people.  Even the difficult people in our lives can help us find gratitude and happiness.  Pay attention to the person in your life who causes you discomfort or unease, and try to find something that person has done for you, directly or indirectly, that brings you joy.  They may have brought someone into your life who you love very much, or perhaps they make someone you love very happy.  Whatever it is, recognize it and be thankful for it.   It is also helpful to recognize that even the people who are most challenging for us are also just searching for their own happiness, and are often struggling in their own way to find it.  Opening the door to compassion for them, will also help us find our own peace and happiness.

Bah Humbug!  Why even try?  All this effort to cultivate gratitude can actually pay off.   Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and author of Hardwiring Happiness, has spent years studying the brain and has found that we can actually change our brains and create more happiness in our lives with practice.   We can cause our neural machinery to cultivate positive states of mind.  This is known as “self-directed neuroplasticity.”  Neuroplasticity refers to the malleable nature of the brain.  Dr. Hanson has found that we can change our brains to be happier by deliberately training the mind to appreciate the good that is all around us.  What better time to start practicing happiness and hardwiring your brain for positivity than Thanksgiving.

So, this Thanksgiving, practice laughing out loud like the Dalai Lama and take the time to look around or inside yourself and notice a few things that you can be truly grateful for.  Whether it is your breath, your health, your children, the food in front of you, the sun rising, or the person sitting next to you, simply take the time to notice how fortunate you are and give thanks for that good fortune.

 

 

 

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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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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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Mindful Living: An Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation

In this course, we will explore meditation and mindfulness practices that can be used everyday to help reduce stress, increase a sense of calm, clarity, and connection, and create greater contentment in our lives.  Each class will consist of a discussion of mindfulness tools and the developing research on the neuroscience of mindfulness, as well as group mindfulness practices.

“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”

― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation include:

  • Increased attention, focus and concentration
  • Decreased levels of stress
  • Increased sense of calm, balance and equanimity
  • Improved mood
  • Greater ability to regulate emotions
  • Improved sleep patterns and overall sense of  wellbeing

Class Dates & Times:  Four week session begins February 26th.  Classes will  meet from 8 pm to 9:30 pm on Wednesdays, February 26, March 5, 12 and 19. Snow date will be March 26th.

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

To Register click here.

 

 

 

 

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Top Ten Mindfulness Tips for 2013 for Living a More Peaceful Life

Top Ten Mindfulness Tips from 2012

by cheryl on January 10, 2013

in Meditation

In 2012, we explored many ways to bring calm and joy into our lives.  Here is a recap of some of our favorite tools to help us lead a more stress-free, joy-filled and meaningful life.

 1. Breathe Deeply

That’s our story and we are sticking to it – one of the simplest and most effective ways to calm down is through simple mindful breathing exercises.  The simple act of taking a few long, deep breaths can work wonders on your body and your mind. Research has shown that the simple act of breathing deeply and fully can stop the release of stress hormones in the body and allow physical and neurological function to be restored to a normal state.  Breathing deeply and mindfully helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which triggers this relaxation response.  By focusing your attention on your breath, you will also slow down the tornado of thoughts spinning around in your mind.   So, try to stop for a minute or two each day, close your eyes and breathe deeply, inhaling fully through your nose and filling your lungs and belly as you inhale.  Then, empty your chest and abdomen completely as you exhale.  Repeat for a few minutes in the morning or throughout the day to find a bit of space, calm and relaxation wherever you are.  Try it with your children and you will be teaching them a valuable way to calm themselves down in any stressful situation.  It even helps at night to relax and unwind before bedtime, and get a better night sleep. So, in 2013, keep breathing deeply!

2. Do An Act of Kindness

Little acts of kindness not only brighten other people’s days, but can go a long way in increasing your own happiness. The new and emerging science of positive psychology, the study of happiness, shows that we can increase our own sense of wellbeing by making other people happy.  So, share a smile with a stranger, help someone open a door, offer a helping hand to someone in need, and you will feel a wonderful sense of connection and joy.

3. Practice Mindful Listening

Often when we lend an ear to a child or a friend, we are in problem solving mode.  We are analyzing, judging, or trying to fix something most of the time we are listening.  The truth is that people just want to be heard and feel listened to.  So, try some mindful listening by saying little, by looking into the other person’s eyes and  by giving them your full attention  – no texting, e-mailing or other distractions allowed.  We all know that frustrating feeling when we are speaking and we can actually feel that the other person is not really listening to us.  Rather, be a compassionate and fully present listener.  What a wonderful gift to give a child, parent or friend.  In doing so, you are also modeling mindful listening and may reap the benefits of that person learning to give you their full attention in return.

4. Think of Something You Did Well Each Day

At the end of each day, we often go through a list of all that we failed to accomplish and all that we did not do well.  Instead, at the end of each day, make a list of all that you did right.  We need to take the time to recognize and appreciate all that we accomplish each day, big or small.  Whether it is taking some much needed time for ourself, making sure our children are clothed and fed, calling a friend that we haven’t spoken to in a while, or completing a project at work, we need to appreciate our efforts and recognize our worth.   We may feel we are in a “thankless” job or situation, but the truth is there is great value in thanking ourselves on a job well done.  So, each night make sure to think about something you did well each day – you deserve it!

5. Take Time for Yourself

As we mentioned in one of our first blogs, it is so important to put your own oxygen mask on first.  We cannot find peace and calm in the world around us if we are not peaceful and calm ourselves.  We cannot expect our children to be relaxed and joyful if we don’t model that behavior.   So, it is essential to take a time out and make time for yourself.  In the end, it is not only a wonderful opportunity to connect with yourself, but it will pay off many times over in how you interact with the world around you.

6. Keep a Gratitude Journal

We often get stuck in the monotony of our daily schedules and forget to take note of the extraordinary gifts we have in our lives.  One way to get out of this rut, is to buy a small notebook and create a Gratitude Journal.   This can be a personal journal or you can create a family gratitude journal, in which each member of the family can jot done one thing he or she is grateful for each day.  You can also make this a family routine during dinner, with each person reflecting on something good that happened that day.  Research has shown that by simply recalling a positive experience our bodies release pleasure hormones, which can give us an increased overall feeling of wellbeing.

7. Unplug

It is increasingly apparent that we are becoming a society addicted to our electronic devices, unable to go for 60 seconds without checking our e-mails, voicemails or texts.  In 2013, challenge yourself to “unplug” for at least 30 minutes each the day, and during mealtimes.  Make “screen free” time in which you turn off your devices, phones and computers.  Although these are valuable tools in our modern world, they are also a source of distraction, increased stress, and huge energy zappers because they take us away from where we are and who we are with.  Checking our messages while engaged in a conversation with someone sends a strong message to those we are with that they are not important or worthy of our attention.  We must be mindful as well of the example we are setting for our children as we constantly check our devices while we are at a stoplight, while they are talking to us or during mealtime.  We can’t ask them to unplug if we are not willing to do the same.  So, take time each day to power off, so you can tune in and be fully present in the moment, before those moments pass you by.

8. Look into their Eyes

We have all heard that the Eyes are the Windows to the Soul.  Try it out and see for yourself.  Make a point of looking into the eyes of the person you are with.  When saying “Good Morning” or “Thank you” to people throughout the day, look into their eyes and see if you notice a difference in how it feels.  You can establish a much greater connection to the people around you by taking the time to stop and notice them by looking into their eyes.  So often these days we are so busy doing other things, that we don’t take a few seconds to truly acknowledge the people around us.  Try it and you will see that you can enrich your everyday experiences with your children, your colleagues and even total strangers by simply taking a brief moment to truly notice them.

9.  Take a Walk in Nature

Enjoying nature is a great way to take a much-needed break in our busy, hectic lives.  It offers us the opportunity to slow down, breathe deeply and clear our minds.  When taking a walk, running, hiking, or walking the dog, try to be fully present where you are, rather than solve problems, make mental lists or think about your busy schedule, which takes you somewhere else.  Use this time to clear your thoughts, appreciate where you are at that moment, and connect to the beautiful world around you.

10. Practice Acceptance

In 2012, we wrote about Letting Go of Expectations.  The flip side of that lesson is to practice acceptance.  Life is a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs, great joys and great disappointments.  If we can learn to accept that life is not perfect, we are not perfect, those around us are not perfect and we embrace those imperfections and accept people and situations as they are, life becomes much easier.  We can learn to accept ourselves and the people in our lives for who they are, not who we want them to be.  In doing so we learn to embrace and appreciate ourselves and others with an open heart and mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to Reality

Back to Reality

by joanna on August 8, 2012

in Meditation

It’s been a glorious summer for us at 2bpresent.  We took time from the normal school year schedule and lived weeks in a very unstructured unscheduled manner.  As we are now in August, we have been struck by the reality of returning to a school and life schedule that is drastically different from the way we have lived for several weeks now.  In pondering this shift that is going to have to take place the following lyrics from En Vogue seemed apropos to share with all of you.

Back to life, back to reality.  Back to the here and now, yeah.  Show me how, decide what you want from me.  Tell me maybe I could be there for you.
However do you want me? However do you need me?  How, however do you want me?  However do you need me?
Back to life,  back to the present time.  Back from a fantasy, yeah. Tell me now, take the initiative. I’ll leave it in your hands until you’re ready…

Summer is a break from the reality of the hectic schedules that we have during the school year.  People asking of us and us pouring ourselves out to those we love and the causes that we support.  We are wanted and needed and needed and wanted 24/7.  By breaking from that for summer we are able to refuel and come back recharged.  The transitions from one to another are not without anxiety for us or for our children.  For our children they have shifted from school schedules to summer (camp or unstructured chill time) and now what they focused on so much is coming to a close and the hectic school schedules that they have are approaching them once again.   Can we incorporate the best of what they love from the summer into their normal school year schedule?  Can we put a little less on all of our plates this year and have more time to just be together as a family?  Will they miss something if they aren’t as busy?  Will we?

September also coincides with a climatic shift as the sweltering warm days start to turn cooler.  We go from shedding clothes to adding layers to stay warn.  As we look toward this transition, can we add mindfulness and meditation into the layers we wrap ourselves in?  Incorporating a mindful practice into the way we interact with those we love the most and those who we just barely touch.  Mindfulness can make those shifts be they seasonal or from summer back to school smoother and easier for ourselves and our families.

If you are interested in learning more about beginning a practice of mindfulness and meditation, please join us as we once again journey to find Real Happiness following the work of Sharon Salzberg and other experts in this field.  Click here for more information on this upcoming course and on our event hosting Sharon Salzberg in our community.

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Weekly Wisdom #15

by cheryl on August 2, 2012

in Weekly Wisdom

” . . .the true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life…”
William Morris

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Sharon Salzberg Joins 2bpresent for a night on Real Happiness

Sharon Salzberg Joins 2bpresent for a night on Real Happiness July 23, 2012

Join 2bpresent for an evening with Sharon Salzberg Wednesday, October 10, 2012 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sharon is one of America’s leading spiritual teachers and authors.  She is cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts.  She has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West. The ancient […]

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Loving Lovingkindness

Loving Lovingkindness April 3, 2012

Lovingkindness meditation (maitri in Sanskrit and metta in Pali) is a very powerful type of meditation in which we focus our attention on ourselves and on others with a sense of interest, caring and compassion.  The traditional practice of lovingkindness meditation is done by repeating to yourself:  May I Be safe, May I Be happy, May I Be […]

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