You Always Have A Choice

Every day that you wake up you have a choice.

You can choose to stay in bed or greet the day.

You can choose to live your day in anger or in joy.

You can choose to greet people in fear or with compassion.

Do not blame your path based on what some one else did or did not do.

Do not blame your path based on what you did or did not do.

The moment you open your eyes is the moment you have a choice to make. It is based on a single, very simple question, “how do you want to live your day?”

Do you want to live in stress, or in calm? In peace or in fear?

Only after you answer that question can you begin to truly plan your day.

Begin your journey everyday with the acknowledgement that you have a choice. You can choose to stay in bed, or to rise and greet your day. Either way is fine, bold or with baby steps, or even staying beneath the covers, there is no judgment. Just know that you are in control of your life, your day, and how you want to respond to the world around you.

You can greet people with your arms open wide and allow them in, or you can hold your arms tightly against your body, defensively guarding yourself against an attack that rarely ever comes in the contemporary world you are a part of.

Just know that you can always close your arms at any time and retreat back into a isolationist mode, but why? Why not at least give those around you the chance to welcome you and to Love you?

Ask anyone who has hiked, sailed or traveled alone, and I am sure they will agree, it is fun for a few days, but you quickly begin to miss the company of others. You miss that feeling of community and kinship that is the path to Love, intimacy and understanding.

The choice is yours. It will always be yours. The only real question is, which way will you approach your day? Because they way you choose to travel will define how your day will go, every step of the way.

I hope this helps.

 

Be well

 

Threads Of Your Life

Mindful Moment – Threads of Your Life

 

Rarely is life a single thread that is easily followed from where you are to your own private destination. But that is why you are here, isn’t it? To learn and enjoy the journey. Your life and the thread in your hand may start out straight and untangled, but rarely does it stay that way for very long. It quickly becomes tangled and knotted, twisting and turning upon itself as you navigate the distractions and delusions of your path.

You may find yourself rushing along a straight path, only to see that where you are standing lies in the middle of confusion. It only takes a short while before someone’s comment leads you in the wrong direction, chasing after money or fame or that corner office you so covet until you get there. That is the point when you step back to see the threads you once followed without question no longer make sense and land you in a place with no apparent ends in sight.

There are no exits. Even when looking from above all you see is a big mess, a tangle of confusion. You pull on one end and it simply tightens the knot. You pull on another to find it leads nowhere.

The easiest way to get out is to stop trying to get out. Rather than fight the knot, simply loosen it. Work to loosen the threads until the knot is gone. You will soon find that the threads you once fought with are not as important as they once were. That is when it will make more sense to snip the line than to continue untangling the string that is left. You will realize that it was only a five dollar ball of yarn and not really worth your time to untangle the entire ball. It makes far more sense to simply snip the line.

There will be other tangles, so before you become frustrated, find a single thread and follow it. Know that it will not lead to the way out, but it will help you reduce the size of the knot in front of you. Do as much as you can and then let it go.

Change your expectation, and see each thread as a path, not the end. With a different course of action that you can jump from at any point in time, life becomes much easier to handle. Yes the knot may be unapproachable, your initial goal may seem unattainable, but if you revise your strategy and realize the original goal may no longer be relevant it all becomes very simple.

Take a single thread and straighten it out as best you can. When you have reached the end of that thread, wind it into a neat loop. Set it aside with the intention of coming back to it later. Do the same for another thread and make a new loop. Set each loop in its own place and return to the main knot. As you begin to have more loops, the size of your tangle is reduced.

At some point you will see that the strings leading to your loops become longer and longer. The tangle may not straighten itself out, but you will realize you no longer need to get rid of the know. The strings of your new loops are long enough to fit your needs without having to undo the whole knot itself.

That is the point you can snip the string and use it for whatever your project requires without having to untie the entire knotted area.

Keep doing this until you have enough strings to neatly wind them around a bobbin. Did you really need all 100 yards of string? Probably not. That was just your ego telling you it’s either you or the string. Forget about that voice. It is not worth your time or energy to the entire mess when the ten new strings will be more than enough.

Now, place those somewhere safe and throw the knot away.

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Live Life Richly, Deeply, 100%

Deep meditation is a wonderful way to remove the stress, anger, negative thoughts, and distractions that can so easily undermine our lives. We all know by now that meditation is a way to calm ourselves so that we, you, can turn dreams into ideas and ideas into actions, free from the delusions that all too often undermine the higher purpose to which we are trying to arrive.

But who ever said that is what the human experience is really all about? Having an issue to resolve is rewarding at times. It can give us meaning and a sense of fulfillment. We have all followed the fast rising celebrity who, at the height of having it “all”, suddenly lost track of what makes life worth living and tumbled a long, slow path back to humanity.

Perhaps that was their lesson to learn in the human experience we are all here to live through.

I recently told a student of mine, do not create issues that do not exist just so that you can solve them. There are more than enough issues out there for you. Just open your eyes and look ahead. They are out there, in all their miserable glory. Take the time to contemplate those issues as you develop a resolution based on your observations.

If you jump to a solution too quickly, you may end up resolving the delusions you created, not the underlying issue at the root of the problem. In time the core issue will resurface and you will be left to once again scratch your head, wondering how similar your current issue is to the one you had a week, a month, or a year ago as you once again jump to resolve the problem that seems to surface again and again and again. Each time failing to look any deeper than is needed.

When a thought interrupts your meditation, do not simply ignore it or let it go. Take a breath, take a moment to examine it. Hold it in your hands and contemplate it as you turn, to see it from a different perspective. Ask yourself if it is a thought that is worth further examination, or one you should simply release back into the ether.

Use this same approach for all the issues you stumble upon in the “real world”. Do not jump to a solution too quickly. Take the time to examine the issue. Take time to explore whatever obstacle lies in front of you. Take a breath to look at it from a new perspective. Some obstacles you think are there may not even be relevant, they are things you can avoid by simply side stepping, adjusting your direction, until you have passed it.

Do you really have to bump into that person walking toward you on the sidewalk, or can you simply drop your shoulder to avoid them altogether? Do you really have to wait for that car to drift into your lane? Or can you be fully present when you slow down to avoid them with little or no interruption in your journey. In some instances you may need to stop or step off your path, but is that really all that bad? Considering all the regret in your life from blundering forward, will that really make a difference to your future?

There are many ways to avoid an issue or an obstacle without confronting it. Simply give yourself enough time to plan an appropriate response and you will be surprised by how many seemingly insurmountable issues fade away before you even arrive at them. Take a meditative approach to your life, so that you can live your life without changing your life. Simply bend with the winds and currents of life, rather than obstinately standing up to them. Trust me, no matter how tough or strong you are, no matter how cunning you think you are, life will eventually throw a wave or a wind in your path that will knock you down, as long as you look ahead to see it coming.

I know many meditation “masters” say to be present, to remain in the here and now if you want to be happy. But who said happiness is all that life is about? There is something far better in looking ahead to make sure your path is a safe one. You do not have to live an either/or existence. Perhaps you can spend 80% of your time in the here and now while spending the other 20% looking just far enough ahead so to see the obstacles that may block your path in the future. Perhaps you need to take a break and be 100% present, know that tomorrow or next week you can look up to make sure your path is clear, or if there is even a path at all to continue on.

This is the difference between living a meditative life in the here and now, in the 21st Century world we all live in rather than the world of 2,500 years ago when meditation as we know it came to be. If happiness was the goal of life, rather than learning the lessons you were meant to live, then the Buddha would have never ventured outside the walls of his father’s compound.

Being aware is more important than being happy, if you want your life to unfold as it was meant to be.

I know it is not always easy, but for better or worse, that is not what this life is about. It is about awakening, enlightenment, and learning the lesson you are here to learn.

I hope this helps.

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Where Are You – Modern Meditation

Where are you right now? Not just the physical location, but emotionally, in your own head? There is more to feeling peace than your location. There is more to your location than the address where you are, what you can see, hear or smell, because there is more to your world than just the space you fill.

Take a moment to look around. Take a moment to look within. Ask yourself what you are feeling right now, right where you are. Are you feeling anger, anxiety, comfort, ease? Are you relaxed or tense? Those are just as much an indicator of where you are than the longitude and latitude of your location – even more so in many cases.

Every sight, every smell, every breath of wind you feel is processed by your brain in micro-seconds. Your brain takes 13 milliseconds to attach memories to the scents and sounds you experience. Those are what tell you to beware or to relax. It even goes deeper than that. It dictates how to respond.

We have all walked into a room or a party and gotten a sense that it will either be a dud or a great time. We have all walked into a meeting and instantly knew we were either going to kill it or it was just going to be 60 minutes of living hell. Those sensations quickly begin to shape your world, creating a better or worse situation for yourself to live in.

I bring this up for a very simple reason, all of those memories and expectations, as well as the memories yet to be experienced are attachments your brain layers onto a location. They are what shape your life. They are just as important to your well-being as the location you have traveled to. They are what make you comfortable or uncomfortable no matter where you are. They are what make you happy or sad, excited or bored, laying out the scene you will have to live through.

What does this look like in the real world? If you find yourself staring out the window while breathing in the sun and the sky outside, perhaps being cooped up in a floor of cubicles is not the job for you. I know you’re working hard for the windows of that corner office, but maybe the pleasure of having a corner office will wear off quickly as you once again start to feel trapped no matter how hard you worked for it, because it will never give you the escape you associate with living. Don’t worry. It’s not for everyone.

Some people are not comfortable in the great outdoors. They feel anxiety because to them, behind every tree and rock their your brain sees danger, creating stress with every step they take. Some people take to the ocean immediately. Others prefer the hardness of land beneath their feet.

There is a simple reason for this. Everyone is different. Everyone’s genetic makeup is unique, as is their upbringing. It is why it is so important to be aware of the places you are most at peace.

When you find yourself in a new location, take a step back and assess your feelings without judgment or comment. Breathe in slowly to bring yourself to a place of calm.

Begin to find the threads that connect those places to the happiness or the stress in your mind. Find out for yourself what makes you feel at ease or stressed, then use those threads as a way to weave your life into one you will love day in and day out.

That is how to use modern meditation as a tool to create a life of well being for yourself, no matter where others may find it.

Be well, and I hope this helps.

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Awaken from Delusions

There will always be days, weeks, even months when you feel as if the delusions of your life are over-running your life. It’s okay, we all get them. This is when it is time to wake up to the real world, not the one you think you are living in, but to the real world that is all around you. It may feel like you need a boost or a shot of caffeine.  More than likely you are simply feeling tired of living your life in delusion. Stop thinking in terms of success and failure, winning or losing, think in terms of delusions.

I know it is not easy, but these tips may help get you back on your path and overcome you own nature – to truly Awaken to your own Simple Truth.
Here are a few ways to jumpstart your engine to keep you moving in the right direction. After all, it is your life and now is the time to start living it your way, only this time with a meditative twist:

  1. Ask yourself when was the last time you got 8 hours of sleep? When was the last time you sat down to a healthy meal? When was the last time you sat down with a friend and listened, really listened? What you hear may surprise you.
  2. Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, and smile. With every inhalation feel the relaxing strength of each breath flow from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes. Begin with your scalp, feel each relaxing breath flow up to your scalp, then down to your eyebrows, your eyes, your cheeks, your lips and your jaw line. Feel that relaxing strength pass down your neck, your shoulders, your arms and your fingers. Feel each breath flow down to your hips, your legs and your toes. Relax and feel the ebb and flow of that energy as it flows through you, lifting you, giving you the Focused Calm to move forward.
  3. Reach out and help someone. It does not have to be earth shattering. It can start with a smile, holding the door for someone, being fully present as you listen to them without judgment. Make someone else feel good about themselves without seeking anything in return. Then smile to yourself for doing so.
  4. Touch the earth. Even if that is the side of a building or the pavement, a sidewalk or an office floor. Remind yourself that they are connected to the earth in some way. Tune yourself into that connection and smile as you follow that connection no matter how thin it may be. Remember energy travels though the thinnest wire to illuminate a lamp from the tiniest of batteries. Do the same as you re-energize.
  5. Write down five things that you are proud of. Put that list in your pocket or handbag. Remind yourself that you have done great things in your life and will do many more in the future.
  6. Stand in front of a mirror, raise your hands above your head in a power pose and stare at your smile in your reflection. Think of the great things you have achieved in your life. When your mind turns to dark thoughts return your gaze to your smile and say to yourself, “I am smiling through my delusions.”
  7. Acknowledge what is happening in your life. Label the instances where you think things went wrong. Then acknowledge that you still have fingers and toes to feel the world with, you have eyes to see the world with, you have ears to hear with, you have a mouth to taste with, and if all those senses are gone, you still have a heart and your spirit to steer your moral compass by.
  8. Stop picking up your mobile phone, stay off of social media [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram]. Pick up a book, sit back, and read instead.
  9. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not someone else, they are not you. Just know that they are just as insecure as you are. Now, laugh at yourself for being foolish and only seeing the curated life they want you to see.
  10. Do not allow negative thoughts in. Every time you feel one bubbling up, call it out, label it, and return to the very real world that you are in. Scroll through your five senses as you look around, listen, touch and smile until you find one teeny, tiny bit of beauty in your world. Trust me, it is there. Feel that bit of beauty expand until it fills your world, the real world you are in, free from delusions.

[BONUS] Train yourself to quit the negative and focus on the positive.  Start today. Know that we are trained at birth to see the rain more than the sun. It is human nature, but it does not have to be your nature.

 

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Stop Shopping Delusions

Consumer Psychologists spend a lot of time following people around stores, both online and off. It is not what they buy that interests them. It is the why behind the what people buy that they are interested in.

Not only do consumer psychologists find an incredible assortment of products in people’s closets, they find products that have never been worn before, and never will be worn. It is an amazing phenomenon that is shared by people from all walks of life who purchase things they never wear and, most surprisingly, never return.

The old explanation for this is that it was a well intentioned mistake the consumer made. However, after probing a little deeper consumer psychologists have uncovered a consistent pattern going on. At first consumers make excuses for themselves like, “I saw a really amazing item and I just couldn’t let it go.” Or, “after I purchased it, I found a little flaw, but I got it at such a great sale that it not worth returning.” They tell themselves this until it is no longer possible to return the item and have to keep it – thus being out of their control.

It is such a common phenomena that psychologists have put a name to it. They call it cognitive bias. It is the way in which we ignore information that doesn’t support our perceived needs, enabling us to remain in a world of delusion, that is simply not real.

It is now a completely unfit person can win an election by delivering unreal promises with absolutely no intention of keeping them, but knows that is not what the voter, or consumer, wants to hear.

 

Buy Reality, Not Delusions

Everyone lives in a world of delusion to some degree. Perhaps you see clothing and rather than step back to consider if they will work with what is already in your closet, you begin to dream of all the places you could see yourself wearing whatever it is that you want to buy. Perhaps it’s a car that you picture yourself in, driving up to the valet at some chic restaurant or through the rough terrain of the desert or jungle. If it’s an apartment you think of the fascinating people you might entertain at all the fabulous dinners you never have. If it’s a gift for someone it may be to see the smile on their face once they open it.

At some point you forget that these scenarios are just fantasies you created for yourself. This is the moment sales people wait for. That point when they swoop in to confirm your dreams and help you complete your purchase. The problem is, these scenarios are delusions. They are not real, and when they don’t happen, you see that you have left the door to depression and suffering wide open. That is the moment when you leave the world of delusion and see reality in all its cold truth before you. Rarely is this a pleasant sight to see, so off you go again, daydreaming about your next purchase.

No, this does not mean you should not dream, or that you should not “fake it till you make it.” Just the opposite. It means you should dream. That your dreams are a wonderful and very real part of your necessary psyche. You can wish for more or better. You can and should push yourself to grow. Just do not lose yourself to the dream world you want so badly to be a part of your very real life. Fake it till you make it? Yes, just keep one foot firmly planted in reality so that you never lose sight of where you are.

 

Shopping is Not An Escape

One of the top reasons so many people love to shop is that they can escape their lives for a while. You can allow your imagination to run wild as you wander through a store or sales room. Just do not forget that at the end of the day, you will have to return to the world you are in, with or without the credit card bill you have acquired, and is that bill worth the dreaming you just enjoyed?

If only you stop for a moment before you put your credit card down. Or voted, or did anything. You could have enjoyed your dream without having to wake up to the real world that is all around you.

Allow yourself your fantasies and your dreams, they are a very healthy escape in the world we all live in. Just never lose sight of the real world that is all around you. Your landing will be so much easier when you do – free from the delusions that are so easy to get lost in.

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Much Love

 

 

j.

 

Learn To Communicate Again

When I was recovering from one of my many surgeries, I remember waking up in a hospital room all alone. The next day the nurse pulled the privacy curtain closed before she wheeled in another patient.

I could not see him, but I could hear him. In the first few hours I lay there staring at the ceiling, unsure of what to do.

It got to be too much for me. I waited to hear the sound of him stirring and took a deep breath. “My name’s Jeff,” I said. I waited, I waited, I waited, until a voice came through the curtain.

“Hello Jeff,” it said, “I am Haru.” The man on the next bed, just a few feet from me, was Japanese. He spoke broken English. I then said the only word I knew in Japanese “arigato,” or thank you.

I could hear a cough and a laugh. “For what?” He asked.

“For not closing down.”

I could hear the kind of sound that would accompany a nod, and in turn I sounded my nod back. We could not see each other, but we were communicating.

Over the next few weeks the two of us truly learned that 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. Body language and facial expressions make up about 55 percent of communication. Tone makes up just under 40 percent. Even though we could not see each other, we both made an effort to attach a sound to whatever body motion we could.

It is crazy to think that today’s media junkies cannot do the same. Those who rely on emails, texts and social media to communicate believe they are communicating, but even the best emoji is not match for the sight of a human smiling or frowning.

It is no wonder that someone can completely misread your intention, literally and figuratively, from an email you sent.

On the day Haru was discharged he came around the curtain with his wife. They both bowed deeply to me. His wife paused as he left. She took my hand and smiled. She said one word – “Arigato”.

As a human, we are deeply tribal and in constant search for a community to be a part of. Our need for kinship and connection has always been one of the evolutionary advantages we have had over other species.

It set us apart from other creatures far better equipped for survival than us. We did not have sharp claws or powerful jaws, what we did have was the ability to work with others so that we could overcome our natural weaknesses by creating the weapons we needed to compete.

The main problem is that we never stopped.

Over the millennia that we have roamed the earth it has always been our ability to communicate with others that has brought us to where we are today – for better and for worse.

If we are to stay alive, it will be our ability to communicate that will us to do so.

Even the Buddha returned to civilization after finding that a solitary life in the wild was not the path to enlightenment. Yes, you may start meditating alone, but only until you grow comfortable with your abilities. Then you seek out the company of others. You seek out a master to guide you. You join a sangha, or community, of like minded people. You talk and connect and find your path – the right path for you.

There is such a wonderful evolution from solitary to community, within your journey. It is always personal, which is the beauty of the human experience.

It is why I am so surprised that at a time of such technical advances, we are turning our backs on the very ability that bought us here – that is our ability to communicate with each other on a deeper level than we once thought imaginable.

Yes, we can reach around the world to meet new people and connect with different cultures, but how much of the personal nuances do we lose in doing so?

Information-overload has grown to disastrous proportions. The fact that most people have a better connection with the screen in front of them is scary. Scarier still is that most of these connections live on their mobile devices than with a person just inches away. A recent study found that one of the greatest fears of the coming generation is not climate change or world war, but the idea of having to say hello to a stranger.

You must, we all must, make a conscious decision to address the growing disconnect between humans. We must learn to commit to an authentic and intimate relationship with those around us and around the world. And no, intimacy is not the same thing as sex. It is simply the ability to communicate on a more personal level.

If we cannot do that, then the human experiment is doomed to fail. Not from some cataclysmic disaster, but from within, from ourselves.

 

When you communicate through electronic devices you push the nuances and innuendos  aside. You open the door for misunderstanding, miscommunication and manipulation. According to a recent CNN story, Americans check into their social media accounts at least 17 times a day. That is once every hour if not more. On average you probably also spend a staggering 4.7 hours a day on our mobile devices.

When was the last time you made eye contact with someone else?

What can you do? 

 

Turn your devices off.

It is no wonder that you have such a problem developing a committed relationship with someone, let alone yourself. It is really not that hard. All you have to do is unplug from time to time. Try it for an hour every day. Dedicate just one day on the weekend to disconnect. Be aware of your responses to the boredom and the need for distraction that comes.

If you automatically say, “But what if someone from my office needs me,” or “what if my partner or children are in trouble,” that is okay. It is expected. Simply make some rules around your disconnection. You may even try to talk to your family, friends and workmates to discuss the difference between call times and no-call times. You may even be surprised at how they will respect them.

Make it a rule to turn off electronic devices at meal time, or to not eat in front of the television. You may be surprised at the change it will make within your family.

 

See. 

Yes I know, you amaze yourself with your ability to multi-task. You can walk down the street while talking and texting while dodging other pedestrians. Have you ever looked up and seen the glare in their eyes because of the way you weave while walking, taking up the entire sidewalk as others leap out of your way?

Aside from the fact that it is impossible to multi-task, and yes you can Google that, but is that text so important that you cannot simply be present in your walk? Can it not wait until you arrive at your destination? Do you not see that your lack of attention and presence is exactly what your body and mind are calling for to reset yourself?

And no, I am not even going to begin to discuss texting and driving…

Instead of trying to fit one more task into your already busy day, try and observe the people you pass by. You do not need to invite anyone into your personal space, just feel the desperation in their faces and their energy at the thought of someone reaching out to them. Feel the air and the sun as you connect with others through the world you are in. It is palpable.

 

Truly Listen. 

Hearing is the first sense babies are aware of. It is how they connect with their parents. Hearing is also the last sense to leave you when you pass away.

In between those two moments allow your ears to grow aware of the world around you. Listen for the subtle tones in the way people speak. Be aware to the tones within the phrases and words people use when they want to connect or disconnect. Listen to your own voice and your own tones. You may be surprised how the tones supersede the language, and the language barriers, that may or may not exist.

Be truly awake and present when with another person and take the time to explore how you communicate with them and those around you. Do not steal the conversation and kill the chance for a relationship to develop. Those are the first steps in building a real relationship with another human being.

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Last Walking Meditation Along The Hudson – 2016

It is almost the Autumnal Equinox. The point where the sun sets at the same time and in the same place that it did when we began our Walking Meditation Along The Hudson.

The sun did not fail to astound us with a farewell explosion of color, just as it did when we both began our aligned journey back on March 20th.

When we began the sun set just after our walk at 7:30. Over the summer we watched as the sun set later and later, and further and further North. We not only enjoyed our walks and our meditations, but we were able to witness the giant cogs that forever spin all around us.

We all noticed the air warm and then cool. We noticed the ebb and flow of people in the park. But most important we learned, as one person noticed, “to the West is you could feel the wind and the river, to the right you could see the lights of the city. And there we were balanced in the middle of it all simply breathing.”

Enjoy the colors of Autumn and the clean white of winter.

 

Until next year, be well.

 

j.

Labor Day Meditation

Happy Labor Day.

Just remember this is more than a day to celebrate the end of summer. It is more than a day to celebrate the workers of the world, or to buy a new car. It is a day to reflect and renew your commitment to the self-labor you require, because when September rolls around it will all get a lot more complicated.

With the elections in the U.S. and everything else going on in the world, it is, as they say, ABOUT TO GET REAL.

So this Labor Day, let go. And when I say let go, I mean truly LET GO.

No that does not mean losing yourself in whatever drugs or alcohol they’re using at whatever party you crashed. I mean leave all the angst and anxiety of the summer behind.

Do you still hate you’re the way you look after seeing yourself in a bathing suit all summer? Let It Go. Everybody wonders about the way they look, but you can change it.

Do you still think you’re on the edge of losing your relationship? Let It Go – Everybody thinks they’re on the verge of a breakup, all the time, but you can change it.

Do you think the direction you are heading is not where you want to go? Let It Go – everybody wonders if they are going in the right direction, but you can change it

Labor Day was created “to pay tribute to the American workers for all of their contributions and achievements.” It was created by the labor movement at the end of the 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. The world was a very different place back then. So were you.

At some point, Labor Day became the day that marked the end of summer, the last day you could wear summer whites, and the day you could pick up a great deal on mattresses, appliances, and that car you’ve had your eye on. And that is where the similarity to some kind of “labor appreciation” ends.

So why not use it as a day to let go of the insecurities you built up for yourself and to start your life anew? There will always be goals you want to reach and ambitions you want to accomplish. There are the things that will make you happy and things that do not, so why deny them? Just make sure they are your things, not the result of some guilt trip social media has put you on.

If you feel your anxiety building because summer is drawing to a close, simply stop, breathe, and smile to yourself as you contemplate where that anxiousness comes from. Was it driven from within? Or was it driven from without?

If you want to make more money in a career you love so you can move your family to whatever your idea of a sanctuary is, then that is a good thing. It you want to make more money in a career that is laden with stress and anxiety simply so that you can brag to your friends about the size of your office or your title – then it may be time to rethink your priorities. If you want to trim down to create a healthier you, then that is a good thing. If you want to diet so you can look good in that sexy outfit you saw in a window – then it may be time to rethink your priorities.

If you are in doubt about whether what you want is actually what you want, simply step back from it all. Take a break. Take a few slow and deep breaths. You can even meditate to re-center yourself in the here and now. Once the swirl in your head has stopped and you have settled, ask yourself where is this coming from?

If that is too difficult to tell, then step forward and ask yourself where this need taking you?

If your desire to lose or gain weight is nestled in your need to show off your body or to fit into someone else’s idea of what is attractive, then it probably comes from the wrong place. If it is driven by the desire to show someone up, or to fit into some social norm, then it is probably sending you in the wrong direction.

However, if your desire is the byproduct of wanting be healthier, then it is probably coming from a good place. If you want to swim faster or hike further than you did before, then it is probably sending you in the right direction.

Labor Day should be reserved for this sort of self-examination. Not in a bitter or cruel way, but in a healthy manner. An ebb and flow that gently swings from meditation and mindful breathing to a gentle self examination.

When you feel your thoughts begin to drift from a place of Loving Kindness to a place of bitterness and anger, it is time to take a break, to breathe and meditate until you have brought yourself back to your center.

In any type of contemplation there is a rhythm, a healthy back and forth, that pendulums you to and from your center. Let go and allow yourself to follow this pattern. Embrace it with a knowing smile as you watch your mind distract itself in fits and starts, before finding your balance and your center. See yourself in a warm place of calm before beginning again.

Let this be your Labor Day be a new beginning as you say goodbye to summer and hello to Fall.

If you want to receive gentle reminders like this every week, simply click on the Waking Buddha Breath form at the upper-right corner of this page. We can add you to our list and send you a gift to settle your day before it even starts.

More important – remember to Love yourself as you smile, and be well,

 

 

Jeff

Meditation & Mindful Consumption

In our media-rich world, be careful of what you ingest. It may not always agree with the life you live or aspire to life. I am not only writing in terms of food and drink, but in terms of what you watch and listen to, what you read and even write.

Everything you bring into your life effects your outlook and world view. The violence you see on television or in the theater, will resonate in how your treat those you love. The podcasts you listen to and the blogs your read online all their opinions which sooner or later end up in the way you speak and think. When you hear candidates berate and undercut each other, their words affect relationship to the world around you – whether you agree with them or not.

So just stop. The residue each of these leave behind will weigh on you and drag you down into that dark world of anger and depression. It’s okay to take a break from the news, to let go of slasher films, to put down the gossip magazines and simply be who you aspire to be.

It is called Mindful Consumption – the art of placing your breath and your awareness on the things that you are bringing into your space physically, mentally and even spiritually. If, as you eat, drink, watch or listen, feel yourself sinking into self doubt or anything that resembles the darker side of yourself then simply stop and change the channel.

If you find this difficult, stand up and take a deep breath. Put your hands on your hips and curl your lips into a smile. Feel that smile spread across your cheeks and down into your lungs as you attach your smile onto your breath.

If you need to gather your inner strength, assume a power pose by standing up straight and putting your hands on your hips, or reaching your arms above your head in a big V. Give yourself the gift of a clean spirit as you shed the residue that the world wants to weigh you down with.

Mindful Consumption is easier than you may think, especially if you build it on top of a foundation of meditation.

Either way, just be careful with what you ingest. You know who you are. Don’t let them bring you down to their level. Rise above and smile into the sun that always shines above.

Be well, and I hope this helps.

Learn more about Mindful Eating and Consumption by clicking here.

 

 

 

Jeff