Tag Archive | purpose

Today Is a New Day

Our country spoke loudly yesterday.

It said to us that there are people who feel angry, left out, disenfranchised, forgotten. It said that people are struggling to feel safe, at peace, secure on a regular basis. It said that people want to be heard, understood, respected.

If those people exist in our country, we have all helped create them and maintain their unhappy existence, even in the midst of our happy one.

So, for those of us who haven’t felt angry, left out, disenfranchised, forgotten, now is the time to reach out, to step out of our comfort zone and lift someone up, lend a hand, notice, listen, love.

For those of us who have felt safe, peaceful, and secure, it is time to spread that peace, to offer safety, and to help secure it for those who haven’t had it.

For those of us with a voice and arbitrary societal respect, it is time to hear the unheard.

Let go of the fear that your clean world is going to hell. We have a family to raise, brothers and sisters whom we have forgotten, ignored, neglected.

Be ready to share. Be ready to give. Be ready to equalize. Be ready to strengthen your insides and help others strengthen theirs.

This is not about now having to protect ourselves. It is about courageous service to humanity.

Love, compassion, action.

lovecompassionaction

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Mindful Myth Busting #2: Observing the Mind Is Not the Hard Part


If you’re watching this video or reading this post, you probably already know about mindfulness, the practice of being aware, in the present moment, without judgment. I’m not going to go into the hows of mindfulness so we can focus on busting a myth about it.

I hear from a lot of people that having even a five minute mindfulness practice — or any kind of meditation practice — is too hard because they don’t like to sit and listen to their minds go wild, that that is hard to watch.

But, that’s the point, right? How can we support ourselves day to day if we don’t know what’s swimming around in our head all the time, guiding our behavior when we’re not looking?

If we break it down, it’s not hard to sit and listen to that chatter; most of us can do that. The hard part is having compassion for ourselves and what we carry around with us all the time–those thoughts and emotions that float through our awareness in that five minute practice! That is the non-judgment piece of mindfulness: compassion.

So how do we stop judging ourselves? We are all so good at it! Most of us are experts at finding what’s wrong with everything about ourselves. Learning how to judge ourselves less and display more self-compassion is a practice in itself.

First we have to be aware that we are judging ourselves. A mindfulness practice is great to help us be aware of that. We sit and notice what thoughts float by, then we notice how quickly we jump in with a judgment about that thought. When we can gently observe the judgment, we let it dissipate instead of adding thought power to it.

In our mindfulness practice, we know that we are to notice even the judgment and let it pass, gently bringing our attention back to our anchor: image, breath, word, mantra, sound, etc.

But if you find that you frequently gt caught up in a negative space of judging yourself throughout the day, you might need a little extra backup for yourself more often as you shift from that judging mindset to a more compassionate one.

When you catch yourself in negative self-talk — putting yourself down, criticizing yourself, and so forth — notice that it’s happening, take a belly breath, and ask yourself, “If I had compassion for myself right now, how would this look?”
Most of the time, even just the fantasy of being gentle and kind to yourself feels so much more relaxed and peaceful than a self-judgmental head space.

The simple question, “ If I had compassion for myself, how would this look?” allows us — our real, solid Selves — to take back a little bit of control from the swirling brain commotion that is happening in that moment.

As you continue or recommence your mindfulness or other meditation practice, remember that compassion is the key for gently and efficiently retraining your mind to be more present, aware and non-judgmental throughout the day.

Thanks for watching!

 

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Mindful Myth Busting #1: A Blank Mind Is Not the Purpose

If you chose to watch this video, you probably already know something about mindfulness, so I’m not going to into that in detail, except to say that it’s the practice of being present, aware, and without judgment.

In the classes, workshops, and retreats that I lead, I work with people to begin a practice of five minutes of daily mindfulness meditation. What often happens is that people soon get discouraged with their practice because they can’t still their minds for five minutes, then give up the practice altogether!

That’s so sad, because the point of mindfulness is not all about achieving a blank mind—it’s to train the mind to not react so quickly and unconsciously to the myriad of thoughts and emotions that pop into our minds and bodies in a given moment. We can have brief moments of a quiet mind, and perhaps after years of practice, our minds are much quieter than they used to be. But that takes a lot of practice, and most of us aren’t there yet. In the meantime, we practice and practice and practice!

Every moment, thoughts and feelings are coming and going in our minds. When we’re unaware of them, they inevitably drag us in one direction or another. If I’m working at my desk and suddenly start thinking about the doughnut s in the kitchenette down the hall, I can notice that thought—be aware of it—and remind myself that doughnut s are not the kind of food I want in my body; and besides, I don’t even like doughnut s!

If I’m not present with those doughnut  thoughts, they will dance in and out of my head for a few minutes before I feel compelled to go have a doughnut  that I don’t even like!

Our actions and attitudes follow our thinking!

Whatever spends time in our heads guides the rest of us!

When we do our mindfulness practice—or any type of meditation practice—we are doing just that: Practicing. We are practicing observing our thoughts as they come and go. We have our anchor or focal point that we bring our attention back to gently, noticing our minds wandering, then bring our minds back again.

It’s like lifting weights. We don’t go to the gym, lift one repletion, then think we’re done and now should be able to lift 500 pounds! We repeat those exercises a couple dozen times, several times a week, slowly building those muscles.

Mindfulness builds the muscle of the mind so that our conscious awareness is more in charge of us than our unconscious thoughts and emotions that pop in and out of our minds all the time.

Maybe you already have a meditation practice, or maybe you’ve come in and out of one. Either way, remember that while a quiet mind is wonderful, the practice of observing the busy mind and bringing it back to your anchor is how your mind’s focus and attention muscle is built!

In a five minute daily practice, if you have to gently redirect your mind 1,000 times, that is success!

Waiting on God? Use Your ‘God Mind’!

As a child, when I wasn’t making smart choices, my mom would say to me, “Lynn, use your God Mind!” My God Mind? What is that? It took me a while to realize that this is my inherent Divine Intelligence. Wow! I have the ability to think things through, to discern what is right from wrong, to handle myself with wisdom–no excuses!

You’ve probably heard people say, “I’m waiting for God to tell me what to do”, then sit around without doing a single thing to support themselves. At these times, my college roommate and dear friend used to quote her mother’s favorite motto: “The Lord helps those who help themselves!” That was her mom’s way of saying, “Use your God Mind!”

Of course there are times when we wait, when it’s not time to take action. But it is important to discern between waiting for the appropriate time to act and being afraid to act. The difference is that when we are waiting for right timing, we feel calm and trust the flow. Fear of acting, on the other hand, can stem from feeling anxious about an outcome, stepping outside of our comfort zone, or not wanting to change.

Once I was traveling by airplane alone with my young daughter. I was used to relying on my travel-adept husband to guide the way. On this occasion, the first leg of our trip brought us to the airport an hour late, and we needed to catch the second leg of our flight in less than 20 minutes–on the other side of the airport! During our necessary stop to the restroom, I felt paralyzed. What are we going to do? This is bad! Now we’ll be stuck here!

This stinkin’ thinkin’ was interrupted by a strong inner voice telling me, “Use your God Mind!” I stopped and realized that I could either sit here in fear with my child, or…make a run for it! So we ran! And we made our next flight, and somehow our luggage did, too!

Practicing using our God Mind reminds me of St. Francis’ Prayer for Peace that begins, “Make me an instrument of Your Peace.” St. Francis is asking to be a channel for divine qualities of hope, light, love, and joy. Why not also ask to be a channel for Divine Wisdom? While we are waiting for God to tell us what to do, God may be waiting for us to use our “God Mind”, to take intelligent action, to do what is in front of us to do!

Here’s an updated prayer (if I may be so bold) to help awaken that God Mind–that innate Infinite Intelligence–in you:

10468459_4649134643373_3786408435342997086_oMake me an instrument of Your Mind.
Where there is doubt, let me have faith.
When I feel fear, don’t let me stay stuck!
Where there are questions, I will seek answers!
When I want to hide because circumstances feel too hard or too scary,
Remind me that You are in me,
Along with Your eyes, wisdom, and solutions.
Help me trust my own Divine Self,
That I may never feel lost, nor stagnant, nor abandoned.
I acknowledge and awaken to
Infinite Wisdom, Infinite Love, Infinite Will,
Guiding my open and listening heart.

Try this (or any method of quieting your thoughts) when you feel stuck or afraid, and see how getting still and opening to your inherent Infinite Wisdom–your God Mind–can support your next right action!