Mindfulness

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A Sacred Pause

A Sacred Pause

Holidays are an extra-busy time of year. We have rituals, memories, and expectations associated with whatever holidays we celebrate. Too often, that can set us up for stress, disappointment, anxiety, or depression.

At its core, though, a holiday is a "holy day" - a time dedicated and set apart. It is an opportunity to create a sacred pause, and to appreciate and celebrate all that is most important to us.

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Five Self-care Strategies during Grief - After the Election and Beyond

Five Self-care Strategies during Grief - After the Election and Beyond

This past week has been especially hard on our country. Whether or not you were happy with the results of the election, I think that we can all agree that it has been a time of great emotional turbulence.

For many, it is a time of grief. Indeed, internet searches on the topic "stages of grief" have gone up exponentially in the last few days, as you can see from this graph:

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Three Feelings You Should Not Ignore

Three Feelings You Should Not Ignore

It turns out that we may have been thinking about things backwards.

We all know that we live in a high-stress world, and that stress can harm our health. We've also probably heard about ways that we can manage stressful feelings. If we manage the feelings, conventional wisdom suggests that we can lessen the stress reaction, and reduce the health consequences.

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Four Mindful Practices for Making Peace

Four Mindful Practices for Making Peace

Keep Calm and Carry On.

Often, that is easier said than done.

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Five Surprising Benefits of Drumming

Five Surprising Benefits of Drumming

Rhythm is contagious. It isn't hard to imagine why. Our earliest life experiences are linked to the comforting beat of our mother's hearts.

The word rhythm comes from a Greek word, rhythmos, meaning movement and flow - that which creates order, shape and symmetry to our lives. Every culture has its own way to articulate this flow, and to express it in ways that bring the community together. Drum circles are one ancient tradition that is becoming increasingly popular in our modern world.

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Five Ways that Mindfulness Strengthens Relationships

Five Ways that Mindfulness Strengthens Relationships

If you haven't noticed, mindfulness has hit the mainstream!

Although different versions of the practice have been around for centuries, it is a relative newcomer to the western world. Mindful awareness might have been viewed with some suspicion in its early days, but over time research has proven its physical, mental, and emotional benefits. 

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Cultivating the Art of the Tweak

Cultivating the Art of the Tweak

Change is necessary, but often uncomfortable and unpredictable. Even on journeys of intentional change, it is best to expect the unexpected.

For many of us, the problem is that we have a really hard time with ambiguity and lack of control. We set up our lives to give ourselves predictability and security - or at least the illusion of them.

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Four Ways to Access the Healing Power of Laughter

Four Ways to Access the Healing Power of Laughter

Laughter is the best medicine. You've heard that before, right?

As you may know, this is not just a wise folk saying. While it may not be the best medicine, scientific evidence continues to confirm that humor and laughter are great for our well-being for a number of reasons.

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How to Conquer Your Cravings

How to Conquer Your Cravings

My cat has strange cravings. Elastic hairbands. She just can't get enough of them.

We've seen "evidence" that she has eaten them before, and we've done our best to keep them away from her (I'm convinced she can open drawers!). But this week, her bizarre addiction got her into trouble, and she wound up in surgery to remove twelve - yes, TWELVE - of them from her stomach.

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How Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better

How Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better

It wasn't that long ago that scientists believed that our brains were fixed at about the age of three, and that they didn't alter over time, except to deteriorate.

In the last ten to fifteen years, however, the scientific literature has been exploding with evidence that this idea was completely wrong. The concept of neuroplasticity has emerged as we've learned how our brains change in response to stimuli - both positive and negative.

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Four Ways to Listen Powerfully

Four Ways to Listen Powerfully

Are you a good listener?

Many people would say that they are, but in today's busy world, new communication patterns are giving us fewer opportunities to maintain good listening skills.

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How to Wait on Purpose

How to Wait on Purpose

We live in an impatient culture, known for promoting ease and nearly instant access to what we want - whether that be food, information, transportation or hot water. Even though many of us might say that patience is a virtue, we may roll our eyes (at least internally) at the prospect of having to wait in line for anything.

Right now, those of us that celebrate Christmas are in the midst of a countdown of days until that holiday arrives. Many of us are also waiting for the dawn of a new year and all the possibilities that will bring.

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Three Ways to Find Calm in a Busy World

Three Ways to Find Calm in a Busy World

The holiday season is drawing near. Does it feel like your life is speeding up?

There is no doubt that we live in an increasingly busy world. More speeding up is not what most of us need!

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How to Get What You Need

How to Get What You Need

As I sit to write this, I can hear that old Rolling Stones song going through my head — "You can't always get what you want...But if you try sometimes, you just might find — you get what you need."

This week's message was inspired by several friends who, after hearing the story about my ER visit (now eight weeks ago) asked me to share more information about how I was able to advocate for myself in that situation. It's a great question.

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Three Ways to Hang on to Your Power

Three Ways to Hang on to Your Power

Ever since my recent health challenge (aka "Perfect Storm/Paradigm Shift") and my challenging encounters with the healthcare system, I've been thinking a lot about personal power and how to help myself and others to hang on to it.

It is really easy to forget sometimes that we are the stewards of our own lives. We know ourselves better than anyone else on earth. We are the ones that are responsible for getting what we need so that we can live according to our purpose. We are also the only ones who are response-able for our lives — that is, able to respond to life challenges in ways that align with our vision and values (as opposed to reacting out of fear, anger, shame or other strong emotions).

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How to Thrive in a Broken Healthcare System

How to Thrive in a Broken Healthcare System

Wow...

What a week it has been. You may have noticed that I missed my blog post on Wellness Wednesday and I haven't been sharing much on social media (and it is o.k. with me if you didn't notice...)

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Three Ways to Stop Struggling

Three Ways to Stop Struggling

"You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging." ~ Brené Brown

This is one of Brené Brown's most popular quotes. Ever since her first TED talk went viral, it became evident that her research was capturing a key human experience - the belief that we are not enough.

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Three Ways to Cultivate Trust

Three Ways to Cultivate Trust

The most successful film series yet made, Star Wars, began over thirty years ago with the story of Luke Skywalker, a young man in a faraway galaxy who was destined to play a critical role in the story of his people. If you recall the film, you know that Luke had to face a number of challenges, not the least of which was coming to terms with his own self.

Luke trains hard to develop the skills and awareness necessary for his task. When the stakes are high, he must trust that he knows what he needs to know to complete his mission. He must listen to the guidance of the wise voice within himself.

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Three Ways to Cultivate Patience

Three Ways to Cultivate Patience

If you're old enough to remember the mid-1980s, you might recall a popular film from that era called "The Karate Kid". It is a coming of age story in which a young man, Daniel, is tutored in karate by a wise mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Some of Miyagi's educational techniques seem unconventional to Daniel and he must cultivate a lot of patience and self-control during the process to learn the inner art of karate. Of course, these attributes serve him well in the end.

These days, our fast-paced world is wired more for reinforcing immediate gratification than patience. As we go through our days, we encounter urges that we would like to gratify - to get what we want, or to have things go our way. When things don't go as we hope, we may react in ways that aren't helpful or healthy. The reactions that stem from impatience can be significant sources of suffering.

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Three Ways to Cultivate Non-Judgement

Three Ways to Cultivate Non-Judgement

One of the most popular TV sit-coms in the 1970s was "All in the Family" and it featured Archie Bunker, an opinionated New Yorker, who shared his perspective in a straightforward and often hilarious way. Regardless of whether you agreed with his viewpoints, there was something comical about the way he shared them — and his unswerving commitment to his judgements often highlighted their absurdity.

No doubt Archie Bunker appealed to so many people because his judgmental stances were so blatant and so human. The truth is, we all make judgements all the time. It is just part of being human. Even when we try to be "nonjudgmental" we wind up judging our own judgement! The trouble is not that we make judgements. The trouble comes when we adopt a judgmental stance - investing emotionally in our judgements and holding them as TRUTH.

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