Category: Mindfulness

I am enough

enoughWhere do we start from, most begin with I want, I need, I have…

Rarely I am, I am already ok, I am whole, I am enough…

Why? Why is it so hard to wrap our head around the idea that we are enough?

Most likely because when we are in our heads, we are never enough, never ok, never whole.

Our heads create a constant wave of seeking improvement, seeking the need to excel, seeking the desire to move ahead.

The head cannot accept things as they are, it is in a continuous state of searching for more, and believe it or not it is actually doing its job.

The problem does not lie in the head; it lies in the fact that we have become reliant on the head for it all.

What about the heart, what about the gut, the feet, the hands, legs…?

Yes, what about them?

Below the head there is a vast untapped space and energy, larger than you could ever imagine, it has more intelligence than your brain can offer.

The head, particularly the neocortex, the newest part of the brain, knows very little, though we place such faith in it knowing it all.

It is very much like asking a two-year-old what the meaning of life is; two-year-olds haven’t lived long enough to even understand that question.

Below the head is where the real knowledge is; it is the wisdom of billions of years of being alive.

Though where are most of us, in our heads?

Looking for guidance from a brain that can only receive and regurgitate information that is handed to them, the intelligence that has depth and credence is below the head.

So, when you repeat to yourself, ‘I am enough’, your head rebels against the idea you can possibly be enough because the head fears complacency. If you buy into being enough, the brain, triggers, feelings of discomfort, boredom and dissatisfaction throughout your body.

The head is pushing you to keep moving.

Now step below the head enter into your heart space and your gut, leaving the head alone, your body invites the warmth and love, creating a sense of calm.

Below the head, it knows you are enough because it has it all in hand. It knows who and what you are, it knows of your potential, it knows your strengths and weaknesses and so on.

Below the head, knows and will guide you not to improve upon what you are, but will expose you to who you are already. By removing the voices, which tell you, you are not good enough… not pretty enough…not thin enough… not smart enough…not enough.

Those voices are your head speaking, so you can keep trying harder, keep on keeping on, leaving your head spinning, never feeling ok, never feeling whole… never feeling enough!

When your body speaks, it says, you are enough, look inside and see. You are just right, look inside and see.

Your head is just doing its job to keep you alive, its job is not to bring meaning to your life, or help you find joy…

Your heart, gut, feet, legs, arms… are the ones who will assist you.

Take a look below the head and see.

You will see you are enough.

 

Recipe: I am enough meditation

Closing your eyes or looking towards something with a soft gaze

Take 3 deep breaths, through the nose

Then as you inhale say silently or out loud ‘I am’

Exhale, ‘enough’.

Repeat for 5 minutes or more.

Use this mantra as your focal point when your mind wanders off

As well as the mantra to communicate to your subconscious, that you are enough.

You are enough!

You are the mountain

You are the mountainImagine a mountain in your mind’s eye, the most beautiful mountain, whose roots stretch deep within the earth’s core.

Despite the changing weather and seasons that mountain remains still.

Despite the wind and torrential rain that mountain remains motionless.

Despite the blizzards and frigid temperatures that mountain remains unmoving.

Despite the heat of a hot summer day and drought that mountain remains tranquil.

Despite the movement of people and scurrying of animals that mountain remains silent.

The mountain sits soundlessly as day turns into night, season’s flow to the next, it watches as animals are born, live and die and nurtures seeds to take root in its soil.

It is the mountain that expects nothing, offers no judgments; it sits strong and steadfast through all trials and tribulations.

You too can be the mountain as you sit, tall and strong with your eyes turned inward, observing the ever-changing landscape.

From outward appearances, there is no movement, your face discloses nothing, your body shows not a quiver, despite the battle going on inside your head.

You remain still even while your bodily systems relentlessly conspire to keep you alive and your breath periodically catches your attention.

What a gift, to sit in stillness, not ruffled by life’s events or your inner turmoil.

To be calm and forgiving, allowing things to come and go, watching… seeing things for what they truly are, without the veneer of distortions.

The mountain symbolizes your meditation practice; it is the practice that keeps you still despite the ups and downs, the twists and turns of life.

Your body and breath move through you, though you remain rooted, in unwavering stillness.  As you face life’s storms, your practice keeps you grounded.

As with the mountain, you sit and observe all the comings and goings of life’s events, your emotions sweeping over you like clouds…  moments of disappointment and exhilaration, similar to the sun shining after a rain burst.

Take a seat and sit in stillness:

You are the mountain.

 

Recipe: I Am the Mountain Meditation

Sitting in a quiet place, preferably on the floor, if not sit in a comfortable chair

Sit tall, with hands on your knees, elbows soft, close your eyes

Take several deep breaths until you are settled and calm

Imagine that you are a beautiful mountain, this is your mountain; create it according to your wishes.

Spend some time looking at the mountain, then take a deep breath in and inhale that mountain into your body.

The mountain is now you

Imagine the snow, rain, sun, heat, wind, green, brown… travel through seasons, clouds, fog… watching observing all the comings and goings on your mountain.

Sit still, breathe, feel the breath embody you, keep you grounded and still despite the fluctuations of the events outside and inside you.

Breathe in – I am

Breathe out – the mountain

Breathe in – I am

Breathe out – still

Repeat several times out loud or silently to yourself.

After 10 minutes, open your eyes, sit quietly for a few more moments.

A letter to my Head

a letter to my headDear Head,

I need to speak with you.

After all these years you have taken up way too much space, telling me what and how I should live and feel. That I am not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough…never enough.

How many opportunities have been lost because of what you have been telling me? I believed you, I trusted you, you were the fountain of all wisdom. You ranted on about how I should feel, be, become. And I listened.

Your words made me fearful, self-conscious, unloved, hurt, unworthy. It angers me to know I had let you dictate how I should live my life, who I could be friends with, what achievements I was capable of. Yet, again I trusted you. You were all I knew.

I had no idea that deep inside me there was another voice, a kinder, more loving voice, that speaks to me in whispers, so quietly I could barely hear it above the cacophonous words you kept lobbing at me.

I am ready to take ownership of you! You are not in charge anymore! I am in charge! I choose!

You are here to help me, to assist, not to dictate. That quiet voice deep in my soul will be given a space to speak and to be heard.

Head, I love you, but you are not to take control anymore. We are a team, you come out when I need you to make some decisions or help me solve a problem. But you are not to define me or place me in a box where I am stifled and scared. We both want to be happy, let’s embrace one another and let the other parts of us in.

Thanks for your hard work, but it is now time to take a step back and sit in the peripheral.

I will let you know when I need you.

Remember, I am the one in charge!

 

Recipe: I Am That (So’ham) Meditation

A meditation to help control the fluctuations of the mind, calm the body and feel this interconnectedness with all beings.

This meditation is a practice uses a mantra as the object of attention – ‘ I am that’ or So Hum.

‘I am that’ or Sanskrit version, So’ham (pronounced ‘So Hum’)

‘I am’ is your conscious self – ‘that’ is the universal connectedness

As you inhale you say silently or out loud ‘I am’ or ‘So’ breathing in the universe

As you exhale say ‘that’ or ‘Hum’ – exhale your inner self to the universe.

Sitting on the floor with your spine straight and eyes closed or open if you choose to keep your eyes open look with soft gaze just above the periphery of your vision. If you are unable to sit on the floor, use a chair. Be comfortable. Take a moment and prepare yourself.

Place your palms on your thighs – face down for calmness of mind or face up with the forefinger and thumb touching to open your awareness – choose what is needed at this moment

Allow the body to relax scanning your body and releasing any residual tension

Begin to deepen your breath – as you inhale feel the rise of the chest and as you exhale as your chest falls.

With your next inhale, silently say to yourself ” I am” or ‘So’

Next, you exhale say silently “that” or ‘Hum’

Repeat for 5 -10 minutes

Once finished taking a few moments to absorb your experience, by sitting in stillness and then when ready move on with your day.

Remember you are the one who is in charge!

Let them be – feelings

FeelingsLet what be?

Feelings!

When unhappy or sad we look to our mind for answers.

Asking:

“How can I feel better?”

“How can I make this go away?”

Using the mind to cure unhappiness is completely insane, if not an impossible feat.

Yet, we do it all the time. When faced with an upset, we look to our mind to sort it out.

The sorting out feelings entails regurgitating stories, opinions and nonsense from the past, which hold no grounding in fact, serving only to intensify the emotions.

So why do we resort to this method?

Because our feelings are programmed from childhood, adults hate to see us hurting, so they advise us how to get rid of them, by:

Stuffing them away

Resisting them

Making them go away

Adults convince us that all will be fine, or look at what you have.

Though these approaches may appear to be helpful at the time, the feelings sneak back in, often times stronger.

They will keep reemerging until you let them stick around for a while.

Our feelings are signposts that something is out of balance, an event in your life has triggered these emotions, such as: a loss of loved one, not getting that job, grieving a life change…

Unless you allow these feelings to exist as they are at that time, they will keep reappearing in different situations, usually out of the blue, until you give them permission to stick around.

This method taught to us as children to quell feelings, prevents us from experiencing our feelings fully.

 

My recipe for today:

Give your feelings permission to remain in their true form as they emerge.

Let them be

Be prepared to feel lousy at first, maybe for a while, though with resolute patience your feelings will eventually disappear, magically evaporating.

Let them be

You will begin to heal, left with a sense of calm.

Let them be

Give it a try, what is the worst that could happen?

Nothing, you may actually start to feel better.

Are you hungry?

Are you hungry?Hunger means you are starving, empty, deprived, malnourished and ravenous.

Satisfying this craving is essential to thriving and surviving.

This Hunger is not about food; it is about hunger to make a change, move forward or get out of a rut.

When you are hungry and in a place of starvation, you are preoccupied with finding a solution, feeling satiated.

Distractions lack appeal in such a time, you become driven and are on a quest to get what you need.

Hunger is rare these days, unless you live in a third world country.

Things are much too easy for many, it is way too easy to get caught in a vicious cycle of complacency, where things are okay, not perfect, but okay.

This lack of hunger can be considered one of the sources of unhappiness, without hunger; there is a stifled urge to move things on.

You are overcome with the feeling of being stuck, driving in first gear or sailing without a rudder.

How to you provoke hunger in your lives and others?

It might be that you don’t want it, hunger comes at a price: hard work, loss, and unknowns.

The choice is to let things ride, satisfy yourself with scraps of life’s offerings, in other words, existing.

Are you hungry?

So hungry that you fill yourself up to the brim with life’s joys, resulting from patience, hard work and yes, hunger.

Your choice is to exist or to thrive.

You choose.

Recipe: 5-Minute Creating Hunger Meditation

Start by taking a few moments to think of a time you were highly motivated (hungry) for something.  Whether it was to do well on an exam, get a particular job, win over a lover, move out of your parents house, get into a university… whatever comes to mind.

Close your eyes and reminisce about how that hunger felt to you – invigorated, excited, focused, energized, powerful, fearless, driven…

Feel it, as if it were happening now.

Remain with these feelings, bringing your focus towards your breath. Note how the rhythm of your breath fluctuates, increases, becomes erratic…

Note where in your body you feel those emotions, in your heart, around your belly, in your head…

Sit quietly and then after 5 minutes drop you chin to your chest and slowly open your eyes. Remain quiet for another minute or so with your eyes open.

You may need to repeat this meditation multiple times.

If you do not know what it is you are hungering after, time will tell. Once you become comfortable with the bodily sensations when hungry you will be less intimidated about stepping forth into an unknown space.

Happy Hungering

Don’t look away

Dont1Look in front of you

Not to the side, or above, or below, or beneath, or ahead, or behind you

Look in front of you.

Look at what you have, what is there, what is glaring at you.

The thing that tugs at your shirt for attention, announcing its presence.

See me, I am here, right in front of you.

Though you look away or see through me, seeking something of which I am not sure you even know what it is.

Why is it you cannot, or choose not to see me?

Am I not significant, are you indifferent, bored of me?

What must I do to be seen?

You keep looking away, though I know I am what you need.

I cannot scream or shake you; you have to slow down to see who I am, and what I mean to you.

Your head is in the clouds, as if that place will complete you.

You keep searching, though I am here, I have not stepped away.

Me is enough, you do not need to seek further; look at me and I will show you what it is that you want.

Pause, look, and you will see what it is you have already.

It is the human quandary that our minds look away from what we have, and seek out the things we want.

This wanting and grasping is a bottomless pit, as it is never satiated.

Because it never gets fulfilled the mind will create more longings.

The dilemma is natural, though the result is relentless suffering, and can destroy the very thing you want most.

 

Recipe: Don’t Look Away Meditation

Find a comfortable place to sit, where there are few distractions.

Close your eyes and take 3 deep conscious breaths.

Now name the experience you are having, “wanting”, “craving”, “desiring” “longing”, “yearning”.

Notice where in your body you feel this experience. Does it come in a form of tension?

Which emotions are being felt, “anger”, “sadness”, “hopelessness”, “agitation”?

Notice if your impulse is to, “run”, “grasp”, “eat”, “sleep”, “drink”, “pick up your phone”.

Take a pause and keep naming the experience, see if with time the wanting changes shape and diminishes.

This meditation will help you to glimpse what it is you already have.

Despair

Despair“Whatever happens to you, don’t fall in despair. Even if all the doors are closed, a secret path will be there for you that no one knows. You can’t see it yet but so many paradises are at the end of this path. Be grateful!”

~ Shams Tabrizi

One of my favorite childhood stories, “The Secret Garden” speaks about despair and then triumph found beyond a garden gate.

Despair weighs heavily on our hearts, leaving impressions and scars of all the despairs that came before.

To look at oneself you see a fallen stance, with your heart encased in a concave cage, well protected from past and future pains.

Despair can come in dribbles, though the ones known best are torrential onslaughts.

Don’t fall into despair, we are told.

How to not, is the difficulty.

To be able to summon up the strength to trust that there is a secret path beyond the garden gate. All you need to do is seek and wait.

Not so easy, don’t we all want to know, now?

The truth is, that if you are to heal and grow, you have to believe ‘what is’, is beyond the garden gate.

The despair is what guides you toward that path; it grabs hold of you with such ferocity that you have to open the gate; to remain behind is not an option.

Once on the other side, you see ahead, a new and different path.

A path that might be muddy, windy, filled with obstacles, but that path is yours… your secret… your life, only yours.

You can despair; though only for a short while, then begin to look beyond the garden gate, not back at the world you have always known, but to the world beyond.

It is too easy to stay put, allow your despair to escort you to where you are meant to be,

Beyond the garden gate

 

Recipe: Finding Your Way Through Despair Meditation

Sitting with your eyes closed

Take 3 deep breaths

Now take your despair and place it down.

Visualize yourself walking towards a garden gate, open it up, you can look back for a moment, but then continue on closing the gate behind you.

Take a moment before moving forward and absorb what you see in front of you, a path.

What does your path look like? – Is it made of grass? rocks? heather? steps? rungs? Whatever you see, it is your path.

As you walk, you can stop and pause for a moment, look around you. What do you see?

Flowers, bramble, trees, sun, darkness, is the path narrow or wide? Windy, steep, straight or vertical?

What is on the path?

Can you see far ahead or is your vision limited?

Whatever you see, it is your path.

Along the way you might see a clearing, if so, what is on the clearing? A building, a person, something you are doing?

Maybe there is no clearing.

Allow yourself to be in the moment with your despair safely beyond the garden gate and you wandering freely, without restriction.

You may need to keep coming back, the path may change shape, and seasons may come and go.

Let whatever happens, happen.

Take a moment and slowly open your eyes.

Repeat this often!

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What if

What ifWhat if I fail?

What if things don’t go the way I want them to?

What if things fall apart?

What if I screwed up?

What if he/she stops loving me?

What if my hopes and dreams remain just that hopes and dreams?

What if I get sick or my loved one becomes ill?

What if I don’t like my choice/s?

What if I lose my job, home or those I love?

What if I don’t get that job, home or ever fall in love?

What if?

“What ifs” creep sneakily about, when you least expect them, some “what ifs” are relentless chatter and other times they wake you up in the middle of the night.

“What ifs” turn your stomach; create havoc on your nervous system

“What ifs” block the flow of creative energy.

“What ifs” do nothing more than convince you of all the opportunities that may not be.

“What ifs” sap your zest for life and happiness.

Now, what if you reframe your “what ifs “ to:

“Let me see”

“I have done all I can”

“Let it be”

“It will be okay”

When you rephrase the “what if” you will notice a sense of calm and presence with letting things occur naturally.

“Let us see” does not try and control

“I have done all I can” is loving and non-judgmental

“Let it be” holds no grudges or stifles our right to happiness.

“It will be okay” embraces you and soothes your fears.

There are no guarantees, other than, “what ifs” create pain and insecurity.

All it takes is a simple reframing of words and a sitting with any and all possibilities that may happen.

Some outcomes will hurt and others will bring great joy, either way it is okay.

It is okay to feel disappointed, sad and hurt

It is okay that you may need to rethink what is next

It is okay that things will happen, as they supposed to.

You will be okay, no matter what.

 

Recipe: Reframing “What If’s”

Sitting quietly with your eyes closed

Take 3 deep breaths – inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 4 counts

Bring your awareness to the “What if” you are dwelling on

Notice how you feel – maybe anxious, scared, angry, frustrated…

Take another breath – inhale and exhale

Now reframe your “What if” statement to “let me see” “I have done all I can” “let it be” or “it will be okay”.

Notice, now how you feel once you reframe the words – do you feel more relaxed, less fearful, more a peace, accepting…

Keep practicing until the “What if’s” are replaced by more loving and self-accepting words.

Remember the 3 P’s:

Pause, Patience and Persistence

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Gateways

GatewaysThe hands and the feet are our gateway to the world.

Our core, from our pelvis to our neck, is the entryway into our inner world.

Neither one is more significant than the other; they both depend each other.

Our legs and feet are our movement forward, or backwards. They root us to the earth, grounding us and providing our stability.

Our hands reach and manipulate what it is that we are creating; the hands are our opportunities. They take the ideas and dreams and make them reality.

Without our feet and hands, our capacity to thrive and grow is restricted.

Our core is where our intuition lays, the seeds of ideas and dreams develop, and the space we know without a doubt who we are, and what we want.

Our head bridges the two, it problem solves, strategizes and form opinions.

Through training, the head can allow your inner intelligence to flourish.

We are either too much hands and feet or too much core.

If you are too much feet and hands, you will miss your deepest yearnings and exist on what the external world prescribes.

If you are too much core, you cannot take that idea, that inspiration and turn it into a work of art.

You need both to work harmoniously, switching leads as in a fine tuned dance.

It is the mind that will take you away from the core, until you teach it how to dance between the two – stilling the mind’s chatter, turning inward, visiting that delicious space within and then taking the new ideas and passing them into your hands to mold and shape.

Dance between the two and see your dreams come true.

 

Recipe: Creating My life Meditation

Sit down in a quiet place and take 3 deep breaths

Inhale float the arms up to the sky and exhale the arms back down – repeat x3.

Take a moment and feel into your hands as they rest on your thighs and your legs and feet as they touch the ground.

Say silently to yourself, “I am grateful, for these gifts which help me create my life”.

Take another 3 breaths and bring your attention to your pelvis, belly, ribs and chest. Feel the movement of your breath as it moves through your core.

Say silently, “I am grateful for this gift which helps me create my life”.

Sit in silence for a few more minutes feeling in to the miracle of your body’s capacity to extend outward and turn inward.

 

Flexibility

FlexiblityWhat is flexiblity?

How flexible are you?

In your Mind? Body?

It’s so easy to say ‘I am not flexible” or “My body is stiff”

Yet flexibility transcends the physical, it is a state of mind, as we attempt to make sense of our thoughts.

As our bodies tighten up over time, joints become stiff and movement limited, so does our mental or emotional flexibility. We become entrenched in our ways.

Our mind and body are inextricably linked like it or not.

Children are naturally fluid, unimaginably stretchy, tend to be curious, open minded, able to go with the flow, as their mind develops and grows.

Us adults, with our fully formed brain, become rigid in our mind and body.

Often stuck in the rail tracks of life, reducing our capacity to be flexible.

As our bodies stiffen with age, so do our minds willingness to take risks and accept things as they are.

If this is the consequence of aging, then what can you do?

I suggest you:

Start with the body, it’s easier to work with than the mind.

Take a good stretch, hold your body in positions long enough to work out the kinks,

Stretching hydrates the joints, loosens the tight spots; your body will then move with greater ease and allows the mind to follow suit.

Releasing the body’s tension through stretching enables the mind to relax and soften, providing opportunities for curiosity and flexibility to emerge.

Take time to stretch your body daily, give it the gift of a good stretch.

Your mind will be much more flexible.

RJMindbody

RJMindbody