It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

Join Soulspring for conscious insights... ...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

And receive this very special audio recording from Panache Desai on Breaking Bad Habits.

Mindfulness expert and author Julie Potiker is an attorney who began her serious study and investigation of mindfulness after graduating from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of California, San Diego. She went on to become trained to teach Mindful Self-Compassion, and completed the Positive Neuroplasticity...
Mindfulness expert and author Julie Potiker is an attorney who began her serious study and investigation of mindfulness after graduating from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of California, San Diego. She went on to become trained to teach Mindful Self-Compassion, and completed the Positive Neuroplasticity Training Professional Course with Rick Hanson. Now, she shares these and other mindfulness techniques with the world through her Mindful Methods for Life trainings and her new book: “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.” For more information, visit www.MindfulMethodsForLife.com.

Life Falls Apart, But You Don't Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos











More

4 Mindfulness Tips for a Healthy Marriage

JPotikerblog7.21

When we get married (or enter a committed romantic partnership), we hope for peace and love to rule the day, day after day and year after year. Because life presents difficulties, our peace can be shattered and our love may be in danger of dissolving. Just as mindfulness helps us to sit with the challenges of daily life and appreciate what is present, it can help us to appreciate our partners and sit with the hard moments that inevitably arise. Though we can’t avoid the problems, when we practice mindfulness in our relationship, we can handle difficult moments with compassion and love, rather than resentment and anger.


At first, practicing mindfulness in a marriage may feel uncomfortable or unnatural. Eventually, as you plug your practice into your daily routine, it may feel easy and wonderful! Just remember, there is nothing wrong with you if you have challenges in your relationship. When two people come together, there will always be places and moments in which they seem to clash. The objective is not to avoid problems altogether, but to create a practice that allows you to sit with these hard times and manage the difficulties together in compassionate connection, so that you can repair the rupture and move forward together with kindness and love.

Continue reading

Pandemic Parenting 101: Don’t Forget to Prioritize Your Own Wellness

mothermeditation

It has been a long road through this pandemic reality, and even with some very promising corners turned, we are not through it yet. Many parents have been navigating these strange days simply by doing all they can to keep their children’s lives on track — even if that means neglecting their own well-being. If that sounds familiar, this article is for you. Your wellness matters, and putting yourself last all the time isn’t ultimately doing anyone any favors.

We all want our kids to be happy. We want them to thrive, and we want to protect them from undue strife or struggle any way we can. But here’s the thing: If we all lived by that saying, “You’re only as happy as your least happy child,” we’d doom ourselves to a lifetime of limited joy. Until we take our happiness into our own hands and unhook it from our kids, we won’t experience the grounded sense of peace and joyfulness we crave with any consistency.

4 Ways to Set Your Happiness Free with Mindfulness

Continue reading

60 Seconds to Mindfulness Meditation

mindfulmeditation

Most of us wish we had more time in the day for the things that make us feel healthier and happier. It can be challenging to figure out where to squeeze in these things that we treat as “extras” — as wants more than needs. Consider this your official invitation to move anything that makes your experience of life better (aka self-care!) into the “needs” column. And while you ponder how to make that work globally in your life, I have an incredibly simple way for you to get started.

If you have 60 seconds, you have time to squeeze a mindfulness meditation into your day. Practicing mindfulness helps us go through our days with more calm, grounded energy and less reactivity when things get chaotic. It’s a beautiful, simple practice, and here’s the great thing: You can do this anytime, anywhere. 

Being out in nature might be most relaxing — and I highly recommend you make time in your life for that on a regular basis — but you can also do a mindfulness meditation at your desk in the middle of your workday, in traffic on the highway, or while making yourself dinner, just for example. 

Continue reading

Easiest Path to Daily Mindfulness Practice? Add It to Your Morning Routine

bare-feet

We all lead busy lives, even in a pandemic (or for some, especially in a pandemic!). So when it comes to wellness practices we want to add to our lives, it can sometimes feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to add one more thing. Well, I’ve got some good news: Adding mindfulness to your day is much easier than you might imagine. It’s as simple as adding it to your morning routine.

5 Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Your Morning Routine

Mindfulness is a simple, accessible practice that can help you stay calm and grounded throughout the day. The more you practice, the easier it gets to tap into mindfulness instead of reactivity when things get stressful. Here are five ways to build mindfulness into your morning routine without skipping a beat.

Continue reading

5 Ways to Ease Stress with Mindfulness

time-to-unwind

Each April, we acknowledge Stress Awareness Month as an opportunity to reflect on the stress we experience, and the tools we can use to ease it from our lives. One of the simplest, most effective, and most accessible stress reducers at our disposal is mindfulness.

Mindfulness is present moment awareness, without judgment. You might notice sadness, anger, or grief arising, and mindfulness allows you a little distance to feel the feelings. Then, you may choose to focus your attention somewhere else in order to ground yourself in a more wholesome state so that you feel less suffering and more ease. You can direct this mindful awareness toward anything! The key is that you are choosing what to focus your mind on, rather than allowing unbridled thoughts and emotions to take over and dominate your attention.

Continue reading

Maxed Out and Exhausted? It Could Be Empathy Fatigue

exhausted

Caretakers the world over are all too familiar with feelings of being stretched too thin from time to time as they nurture, support, and protect those they care for. Many others, though, are experiencing similar feelings for the first time during the pandemic. Whether you’ve been stuck at home caring for children 24/7, caring for an elderly or disabled loved one, or even “caretaking” your colleagues and your business as we all navigate this unusual time, you may have hit a wall of empathy fatigue.

What Is Empathy Fatigue?

Continue reading

Mindfulness for a Happier Relationship

lovingrelationship

Love relationships are one of the most beautiful and complex experiences we can have in this human life. They can bring joy and ignite passion, and they can also challenge us to face ourselves and get clear about who we really want to be.

One tool that is nothing less than indispensable throughout the journey of love is mindfulness. It can help us create more peace and love in our partnerships, as well as more calm and balance within ourselves. Whether you and your partner are just starting out and want to connect more deeply or you’ve been together for years and want to rekindle that connection, call on mindfulness to support your relationship goals. You’ll be glad you did!

5 Mindful Tips to Support Your Partnership

Continue reading

Loving and Losing: The Best Gift of All

chickadee-picture-id523017665

Did I miss something?” asked Martha, her hand raised in the Hollywood Squares of my Zoom mindfulness class.

“What do you mean?” I inquired.

Well, we were having this relaxing and lovely meditation experience and now we are all of a sudden talking about death and dying, so I want to know… did I miss something?”

Wow. I looked at the faces of the human beings that have grown so close these last nine months as I listened to Martha’s question and imagined fear, maybe even anger arising in her. Although I had compassion for her discomfort, I had no problem answering her by saying, “Yes, actually. You missed loving connected presence. You missed the fact that we are here to support each other for whatever comes up.”

Continue reading

Pandemic Holidays Leaving You Lonely? Mindfulness Can Help.

woman-wearing-medical-face-mask-during-yoga-meditation-exercise-picture-id1225452303

Loneliness around the holidays has always been an issue for some of us, but the coronavirus outbreak has widened the reality of this struggle to include more people than ever. Before the pandemic hit, a study reported that more than 60% of Americans grapple with loneliness. After lockdowns and stay-at-home orders were issued, about a third of Americans reported feeling even lonelier than usual.

Now, nine months into the pandemic, with the holiday season in full swing, coronavirus numbers are on the rise — and so are the stay-at-home orders to combat that surge. How can those who already struggled with loneliness in normal times deal with the increased isolation? How can people who usually rely on companionship with loved ones during the holidays cope with this new loneliness-inducing reality?

Continue reading

Not Sure How to Respond to That Upsetting Post? You’re Not Alone.

womanoncomputer We all want to be loved and to give love

I’ve been grappling recently with how to communicate on social media with friends and acquaintances when they share inflammatory posts that are obviously designed to sow discord. You’ve seen them: posts that are premeditatedly conceived to get under the skin of a particular group.

Regardless of whether or not these posts are ultimately meant to jar those with opposing viewpoints into a presumed “wake up call,” as soon as the resulting anger and outrage arise, all critical reasoning stops. It’s simple brain science; we go into fight, flight, or freeze mode and our ability to respond rationally flies right out the window.

Other times, posts are shared that have elements of verifiably blatant lies. In these cases, I try to respectfully share articles that tell the truth, from non-partisan fact-finding sites. My liberal friends tell me not to bother.

In a liberal Facebook group that I love, I copied a post from a pro-Trump acquaintance and asked for help refuting her points, in case anyone already had the information about Trump and veterans’ healthcare. The replies were really interesting. They ranged from “Don’t bother; you can’t fix stupid” to substantive content that was super helpful.

Continue reading

Mindfulness as Self-Care: 5 Soothing Tips

hawaiian-woman-doing-yoga-pose-outside-picture-id804802520

Ups and downs are a natural part of life, but the roller coaster of emotional realities we’ve been riding lately calls for us to pay special attention to our well-being. If you don’t have a self-care routine in place, or you’re looking to refine or refresh the one you’ve got, allow me to recommend the simple yet powerful practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness can help us offer ourselves some much-needed love, compassion, and peace of mind as we continue to navigate the realities of the ongoing pandemic. Here are five ways you can use mindfulness to comfort yourself, even amidst chaos.

Continue reading

6 Tips for Using Mindfulness to Navigate Grief

festive-candles-picture-id597644104 6 Tips for Using Mindfulness to Navigate Grief

The world is struggling under the weight of grief right now; there’s no denying it. With the renewed fight to end racial injustice and the lingering realities of the coronavirus pandemic and all its implications, we all have a lot on our emotional plates.  

As of this writing, around 119,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States alone, and numbers continue to rise. People are grieving loved ones lost to the pandemic, lives destroyed by racial violence, and dreams crushed by cancelled graduations and weddings. Grief takes many forms, and it happens when we are in mourning for someone or something lost to us that has a huge impact on our lives.

If you are grieving, you are not alone — and you don’t need to suffer in silence. Mindfulness is a gentle and effective tool any of us can use to lessen the weight of grief as we navigate it. Give yourself a little present, right here and now, and try one or more of these mindfulness tips. As the saying goes: pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

Continue reading

Transform Pandemic Panic With These 7 Mindfulness Tips

motivated-to-earn-picture-id173621540 Transform Pandemic Panic With These 7 Mindfulness Tips

Negative thought patterns we experience in life can occur for countless reasons — and let’s be real: the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic can be straight-up panic inducing sometimes! But we don’t have to just suffer through this upsetting mental state. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool that allows us to tap into a calmer way of thinking and feeling. It is the opposite of rumination, and we can call on it anytime we need to shift out of unhelpful thought patterns.

Here are seven mindfulness tips you can use right now, today, to transform your thoughts and create more peace and calm in your life — even when life feels chaotic.

Continue reading

Coping with the Pandemic: 7 Steps to Mindfulness Meditation — Tonglen

mindfulmeditation Coping with the Pandemic: 7 Steps to Mindfulness Meditation — Tonglen

Mindfulness and meditation are both great tools that can help us cultivate calm amidst chaos. For those who are new to mindfulness practice, it is not uncommon to mistake mindfulness for a form of meditation. If fact, it is a different practice altogether. Mindfulness is the practice of honing your focused attention and choosing what you wish to focus attentively on. Meditation takes many forms, from movement meditations to seated or even laying down meditations using the anchor of attention on the breath, a word, a phrase or a visualization. Some formal meditations have no anchor of attention, inviting you to notice your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and then practice noticing what comes up without judgement, allowing yourself to let the thoughts drift past without attaching to any story lines. This form is called open awareness meditation.

Continue reading

Breakfast with a Bent Fork (and Other Musings from a Silent Retreat)

bentfork Breakfast with a Bent Fork (and Other Musings from a Silent Retreat)

Gently and quietly, I place my plate, silverware, and mug on the table. Lowering myself into the chair, I settle my feet on the floor and lift my gaze out the window. There is a man outside, holding a mug in his right hand. I chuckle inside my head, “That man is outstanding in his field!”

The man I am seeing is the same one who has his meditation seat right in front of me in the meditation hall. This guy is nice looking and sturdy; he is wearing the kind of pants made for outdoor activities. They are stone colored, Columbia brand, the kind where you can zip off the legs if you want to wade into a stream. His fleece jacket is a medium blue color, not navy, maybe royal blue. He has a Nordic style beanie covering his head. The grasses he is standing in are tall, about knee high, beige and wispy. It’s windy, so the grasses are swaying around his legs.

Continue reading

Triggered by News and Social Media? Try Mindfulness

holding-newspaper-with-breaking-news-picture-id495817319 Triggered by News and Social Media? Try Mindfulness

We live in the age of the 24-hour news cycle. It even leeches into our social media feeds if we’re not careful; we may crave peace-loving memes and photos of our friends’ four-legged companions, but every time we take the bait and click through to read a heartbreaking news story or the latest political fodder, the algorithm gods take note and feed us more of the same. Being tapped into the digital world can become downright overwhelming for many of us — but we don’t have to just brace ourselves and take it.

Take a moment to answer these questions for yourself:

  •  How are your physical, mental, and emotional states faring when you are constantly tethered to news and social media feeds?
  •  Do you notice yourself feeling tense or angry — not just when you see or read an upsetting news story or social media thread, but throughout the day as you’re thinking about it?

It really is tempting to stay connected to the world’s ever-evolving storylines and dramas, but if they are compromising your sense of wellness and inner peace (and they really are for many of us), it may be time to consider a change.

Continue reading

Beat the Valentine’s Day Blues with Mindfulness

lifestyle-woman-with-a-french-bulldog-relaxing-in-living-room-picture-id1061363412 Beat the Valentine’s Day Blues with Mindfulness

Have you been dreading Valentine’s Day this year? If so, you’re not alone. This holiday that celebrates romantic love can feel like a thorn in the side of those who have loved and lost, or those who feel sad and stressed about being single.

Scientific researchers have documented the reality of emotional struggle around the holidays, with the Mayo Clinic noting that holidays often exacerbate stress and depression. Many people simply struggle to receive the meaningful social interaction they crave, and the resulting loneliness can be especially intense around holidays.

You don’t have to suffer in silence, though. There are many tools available to help you shift out of sadness or loneliness this Valentine’s Day, and mindfulness is a particularly valuable and effective one. Here are seven mindfulness tips anyone who feels sad or lonely this Valentine’s Day can try:

Continue reading

2020: Your Year of Mindful Self-Compassion

2020 2020: Your Year of Mindful Self-Compassion

Just for a moment, forget about all your standard New Year’s resolutions. It goes without saying that most of us want to be healthier, wealthier, and wiser – but what if we’re going about it all wrong? Have we ever really stopped to wonder whether it’s possible to shame and “should” ourselves into going to the gym more or eating better?

Luckily, there’s another solution. Allow me to introduce you to a lovely practice called Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Mindfulness is the foundation of MSC. Why? Because we need to become aware of and acknowledge our suffering in order to respond to our discomfort with kindness. Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself as you would act towards a dear friend when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself.

Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “tough it out” mentality, you can stop to tell yourself, “This is really difficult right now. How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?” Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, you are kind and understanding towards yourself when confronted with personal failings. After all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

You may try to change in ways that allow you to be healthier and happier, but when you are mindfully showing yourself compassion, you change because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means you honor and accept your humanness.

Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, and losses will occur; you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, and fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.

Continue reading

Using Mindfulness to Let Go of Stressful Triggers

Using Mindfulness to Let Go of Stressful Triggers Using Mindfulness to Let Go of Stressful Triggers

A wise person once said, “Hell is other people!” That being true, what’s a being to do? We have little to no control over the actions or reactions of someone else. The good news, however, is that if we develop the tools, we potentially have 100 percent control over our reaction to a given situation. It doesn’t mean we won’t experience difficult emotions; it means that we can manage those emotions before they eat our heart out.

Mindfulness, present moment awareness, allows us to notice emotions arising. If you find yourself stressed out at family events, for example, slow down and notice what is coming up for you: “Oh, that’s anger in my chest,” or “that’s anxiety in my stomach.” Labeling the emotion puts more space between you and the situation, allowing you to observe what is occurring instead of being hijacked by the emotion. Once you label the emotion, your brain calms down. Then, you can soothe yourself by placing your hand wherever you identified feelings constriction and consciously sending yourself softening and soothing thoughts. Imagine placing a warm compress or warm oil on the hurt.

The next step is to acknowledge that it’s difficult to feel this way, and give yourself love and encouragement by way of an affirmation like, “This too shall pass.” Everything really does change; the good changes and the bad changes.

Continue reading

Keep Calm and Carry On

meditationhome Keep Calm and Carry On

Honey, are you keeping up your meditation practice?” my husband gently inquired. “This is such a stressful time. I really think you should try to exercise and do some good meditations.”

Yeah, well, I’m using Insight Timer and doing a meditation for going to sleep every night,” I replied.

“I don’t think that’s enough,” he lovingly suggested.

I’ve been sleeping on the couch at my Dad’s apartment, hanging out with my sisters as we watch and wait for this beloved, elegant, and generous man to transition from this world. Today I realized that I was out of contact lenses. I drove home (a blessed 10 minutes) to replenish my supply.

Once home, I wrestled with the choice to either burrow under my covers in my cozy bed or get my butt on the elliptical trainer machine. Go down, ahh… Go up, ugh… Hearing my husband’s whisper in my head, from miles away out at sea, I stepped up on the elliptical trainer, put Donna Summer radio on my Pandora App, and let my feet follow the beat. I am so fricking out of shape; I stayed between level one and level three, working up a sweat for 20 minutes. Then I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes. After stretching and doing a little yoga, I chose a 20-minute guided meditation from Insight Timer called “Coping with Grief’s Difficult Emotions,” led by Heather Stang.

Continue reading