10 Ways to Pick Yourself Up

There will always be days, weeks, even months when you feel as if the delusions in your life are running your life. It’s okay, we all get them. It’s just a signal that it is time to wake up to the real world that is all around you, not the one you think you live in, but to the real world that is actually all around you.

It may feel like you need a shot of caffeine or a cocktail, but it’s not. You just need a bit of sleep, some healthy food, to slow down and to reach out to your community of friends and family, or as Bruce Banter says, “to do o everything you know to do, then stand still.”

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 the delusions you created for yourself.

I know it is not easy, but these tips will help get you back on your path to stop tripping over your own nature and truly awaken to your own Simple Truth.

Here are a few ways to get you back on your path and to keep you moving in the right direction – your direction. After all, it is your life, and now is the time to live it your way, only with a meditative twist this time:

  1. 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 to them? If you do not take care of yourself nobody else will. Remember what the airline stewards say before every flight, put your own mask on, before trying to help the person next to you, and yes, listening mindfully is a way to take care of yourself. So get some sleep, eat a healthy meal, listen to a friend, do a body scan and then see how you feel.
  2. Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, and smile. Every time you inhale feel the relaxing strength flow from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes. Begin with your scalp, feel each breath flow down from your scalp and relax your eyebrows, your eyes, your cheeks, your lips and your jaw. Feel your tongue drop from the roof of your mouth, relaxing you as it passes 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. Just smile at someone, hold the door for someone, be fully present as you listen to them without judgment. Make someone else feel good about themself without seeking anything in return. Then smile at yourself for doing so.
  4. Touch the earth. It can just be the side of a building or the pavement, a sidewalk or an office floor. Remind yourself that you are connected to the earth in some way. Tune yourself in to that connection and smile as you follow that connection no matter how thin it may be. Remember electricity travels though the thinnest wire to illuminate a lamp from the tiniest of batteries. Do the same as you touch the earth to re-energize yourself.
  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 days to come.
  6. Acknowledge the good and the bad in your life. Label the moments where you think things went wrong and acknowledge them. Then recognize what happened after them, and where things went right. Let your brain know that those are just moments in your life, that those were just moments in your life and that everything will be okay.
  7. Stop picking up your mobile phone, stay off of social media [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram]. Pick up a book, sit back, and read instead. Who cares what others think. It’s your life, to be lived by no one but you.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not someone else, they are not you. 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.
  9. Stop watching the news. Today’s news is just a rehash of yesterday’s events, played over and over again so they can make their budgets. It does not change from day-to-day. So take a break and enjoy life instead. CNN will not mind, it will not even know, but you will.
  10. Train yourself to quit the negative and focus on the positive. Start today. Know that everyone is programmed to see the rain more than the sun. It is human nature instilled in us from the time when we were hunter-gatherers, but it does not have to be your nature today.  So smile, start at “1” and continue down the list until you arrive at “10”. Wash, rinse, repeat…

 

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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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Pick Yourself Up

There will always be days, weeks, even months when you feel as if the delusions of your life are overrunning your life. It’s okay, we all get them. It’s just a signal that 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 shot of caffeine or a cocktail, but it’s not. You just need a bit of sleep, some healthy food, to slow down and to reach out to your community of friends and family. 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 will help get you back on your path to stop tripping over your own nature, to truly Awaken to your own Simple Truth.

Here are a few ways to get you back on your path and keep you moving in the right direction. After all, it is your life and now is the time to live it your way 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 to them? What you hear may surprise you. If you do not take care of yourself nobody else will. Remember what the airline steward , and you need to take care of yourself or you will fall apart. So get some sleep, eat a healthy meal, talk to a friend and then see how you feel.
  2. Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, and smile. Every time you inhale 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 breath flow down from your scalp to your eyebrows, your eyes, your cheeks, your lips and your jaw. Feel your tongue drop from the roof of your mouth, relaxing you as it passes 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 just be 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 you are connected to the earth in some way. Tune yourself in to that connection and smile as you follow that connection no matter how thin it may be. Remember electricity travels though the thinnest wire to illuminate a lamp from the tiniest of batteries. Do the same as you touch the earth to 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. Acknowledge what is happening in your life. Label the moments where you think things went wrong and acknowledge them. Let your brain know that those are just moment in your life and that everything will be okay.
  7. Stop picking up your mobile phone, stay off of social media [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram]. Pick up a book, sit back, and read instead.
  8. 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.
  9. Stop watching the news. Today’s news is pretty much a rehash of yesterday’s events. It does not change from day-to-day. So take a break and enjoy life instead. CNN will not mind, it will not even know, but you will.
  10. Train yourself to quit the negative and focus on the positive. Start today. Know that we are programmed to see the rain more than the sun. It is human nature from the time when we were hunter-gatherers, but it does not have to be your nature today.

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Be well,

 

 

Jeff

 

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.

 

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love, as versus conditional love, is so rare. Conditional Love is easy. I give you Love when you do something for me that I want you to do. You do the dishes, I kiss your cheek. I hold the door for you and you smile at me. You do something in the bedroom I enjoy. I return the favor. It is a give and take. At times I give more than I take. At others I receive more than I give.

But it is not give freely. There is a cost, a condition, to this kind of Love. Compliance. You will do what is expected of you if you are to receive the Love and attention you desire.

With unconditional Love there is no compliance. It is the act of simply giving. It is so rare, simply giving again and again and again. Not expecting anything in return, not asking for anything with one’s eyes or hands or heart – simply giving.

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Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone simply gave without expecting anything in return? It would be a world filled with Jesus’, Buddhas, Mohammads and Abrahams.

I have experienced unconditional Love on occasion. At my bedside, when my mother fed me ice chips when I could not sip from a cup. When my wife lifted me up when I toppled over in rehab, neither asking if I wanted it, each simply offering, helping and assisting without expecting anything in return. On the rare occasion that I turned it down, they simply accepted that without a word, and smiled with more Love for me.

It is the Love a mother gives to her child when going through labor or when nursing. It is Loving through the pain. It is the Love a father gives to his child when explaining why the world is the way it is, free from feeling his own pain or regret, or acknowledging if his own needs are being met. Simply being present to the needs of the growing consciousness that is before them.

Unconditional Love is about caring for someone else’s happiness without a thought to the needs of the self. It is about being fully awake and aware, being fully present to the world around you, the person in front of you, to yourself.

It is not an excuse to stay in a bad marriage or relationship. It is saying I love you no matter what happens to us, not I love you no matter what you do to me.

I will love you when the sun is shining or the skies are grey.

I will love you even when I have a horrible day.

I will love you even if you do not return my love.

I will not look for love elsewhere even if you do.

For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health.

No matter what happens to us, I will Love you.

Because when I love you, I also love me.

I Love you no matter what conditions occur around us is unconditional Love.

Do not bother looking for it.

It will find you when you are ready to accept it.

If you want to feel unconditional Love simply open yourself up to it. It is all around you. It is within you.

Give it to yourself first. Hold yourself in your own heart unconditionally. Respect yourself, Love yourself, free yourself from those undermining comments you allow to fester within you. Free yourself from the self-loathing, the self-bashing you waste so much time on. All of that does nothing but distract you from the Love that is within you.

Once you see the Love within, you will begin to see the same unconditional Love within those around you. When you can feel the Love pass through you as you send it out unconditionally.

Try it.

You will be amazed at what will transpire.

Not just with others, but within yourself.

Unconditionally.

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.

Slow Down – Do More

To some people life is all about faster, quicker, sooner. Faster downloads, quicker processing, and sooner, same-day delivery. For those that think they are not performing fast enough, or falling behind in their studies, there’s always Adderall.

For some reason we think by running, running, running we will get more done. The problem is the faster you run, the more details you miss, and that is how you fall behind. It is those details that catch you in the end. Sooner or later you will have to go back and edit whatever it is you are doing. After all it is in those details that you truly live.

It is far better to attend to the details of your life the first time around than having to go back and edit them later. So why not slow down and enjoy the process the first time around? Why not pay attention to the details of your life so that you do not have to spend time re-aligning yourself with the work at hand and the inevitable edit that comes after?

In the end, slowing down and paying attention to the details of your life will save you hours and years in the end.

When you first pass by a painting or a photograph, you may think “Oh, that’s a pretty painting”, or “that’s a stunning photograph.” But it is not until you take a closer look that you notice the details. Those are what turn an artist’s perspective into a thing of beauty. How is it framed, how are the light and shadows dealt with? The subtle nuances are what make the difference.

As Mies Van De Rohe said, “God lives in the details.” Apparently so does the Devil – depending on your perspective. It is in the details that you can lose yourself and burn a lifetime or find yourself and turn an average life into a thing of beauty.

How many times have you passed a view completely unaware that it was there? How many times have you read a book, completely forgetting the words just pages before, or turned a project in with typos and misspellings? It takes a special person to slow down and see the world for what it is. It takes someone who is truly awake and present to notice something that others never see.

Why not take the time to notice the details on your first pass? Those details are what hold the scents hidden behind a photographer’s image, the tastes beneath a painter’s brush, or the essence of a band. Those same details will bring joy into your life and make your days, work or play, worth living.

Learn to slow down and notice the details. It will save you a lot of time in the end. It will also bring your life to life in a more vibrant way. Slow down, be aware of the world around you and find a balance between noticing the details without losing yourself to them. That is what will make the difference in everything you do.

You can lose yourself in the details, which is how they become the Devil, or you can use them to bring out the beauty of a project, no matter what it is. The choice is yours.

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Enjoy

 

 

 

j.

 

 

Choose To Be Mindful

Being mindful is not an endeavor confined to a specific time or space. It is a practice that should be woven into every action you take and every reaction you make. Mindfulness is a choice. It is an orientation in the world that you choose to make or to avoid in your everyday acts. When practiced on a consistent basis being mindful will form the foundation upon which you build the habits that will lead you or from unconscious auto-responses to conscious acts, and over time toward enlightenment.

Simply drawing a breath, down deep into your lungs, slowly and fully, is a choice you make. It is no different than slowing down at a meal and chewing each bite mindfully. Each can be supportive for yourself and for the betterment of the world if done with Love. The difference? That you choose to take your breath or chew your food in a mindful manner. The alternative? To simply fill your lungs or gulp your meals down automatically and live life as you always have.

The same can be said for all of your habits. Eating, if done mindfully, will enhance your life one mindful bite at a time – they will nourish your mind, body and spirit with the Love of the Universe.

Even eliminating waste from your body can be a mindful act. No longer an act of revulsion, but a thing to be embraced as a natural part of the digestive cycle. The same can be said of intimacy and even of dying. Each, if approached as a mindful act, can be an act of Love. The passing of the spirit to wherever your belief system leads it, will become an act of Love and light, rather than of mourning.

To make any moment a mindful moment, simply apply your breath to your actions and smile as you choose where you want your life to go.

It really is that simple.

The first step to making an action a mindful action is to consciously choose to do so.

Studies show that roughly 40 percent of your activities are performed out of habit. These habits emerge through what is known as associative learning. That is, “X” happens, and in response, you do “Y”, “X” happens, you do “Y”, “X” happens, and you do “Y”.

You are programmed to repeat what works until behavioral patters emerge. It is a survival instinct that almost every animal follows. After all, if it worked yesterday and I survived, I simply have to do the same thing and I will, once again, survive.

That kind of mechanism worked wonderfully for hundreds of thousands of years, but in today’s world those same life-saving habits will wear you down. The subtle nuances of something as simple as a random social situation creates the stress and anxiety that you find yourself feeling – and this is not a good thing. It may support the growth of a stable society, but it does so at the cost of you, the individual.

That is because you will eventually feel as if you are failing because you will find yourself falling far short of your potential. A classic example of this involves the Take 5 program that was started years ago.

The “Take 5” program simply stated that we should all have 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. When the “Take 5” media campaign was rolled out 35 percent of people polled came away believing they should eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day. It was deemed a success.

However, when looking at what people actually ate, only 11 percent of people actually met this goal. It made people feel inadequate and stressed that they were not eating as healthily as they should. The Take 5 program changed people’s intentions, but failed to change their habits.

So what is one thing you can do to change your habits? Take ownership of your actions.

When you open a door, say “I CHOOSE to open this door.”

When you go shopping for dinner or order from a menu, say to yourself “I CHOOSE to buy something healthy.”

Be mindful of your options, be mindful of your decision, and then OWN IT.

Oh yes, and then reinforce your decision to be mindful. Lock it in place. Congratulate yourself, embrace yourself, smile to yourself for making the right decision.

Now, Go and Do Good. And, Smile With Love in Your Heart As You Do.

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Most important – Love yourself and be well,