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. 

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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:

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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.

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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.

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191 Hits

Making the Season of Peace Really Matter

seasonofpeace Making the Season of Peace Really Matter

A world ceaselessly in a state of unrest seems to mock this time of year as a season of peace. Most people are simply grateful that unrest hasn’t touched their lives, and hope fades for the victims of war and strife who will probably never enjoy peace except during brief truces. The link between holidays and holy days may be fragile in these times, but you can be a unit of peace consciousness starting now.

This  happens at the level of intention and attention.

First, intention. Holidays are about gatherings, first of family but also of events that embrace community and nation. It's therefore easy to feel, on the negative side, that you have little or no control over what's happening around you. Swept up in holiday rituals that are simply a given, surrounded by squabbling family members and old tensions, you can easily be overwhelmed.

The way out is by centering yourself and being clear, first on the inside, what you intend your holiday season to be.  A helpful exercise is to sit quietly with eyes closed and say to yourself, I want joy. I want peace. I want grace and love. As you say each phrase, pause and feel joy, peace, love, and grace as  the silence of your Being. Joy, peace, love and grace are your essential nature. It doesn't matter how you settle into this  feeling/knowing. Putting your attention on your heart is often helpful, or seeing a soft light in that region.

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Are you looking for peace in an uncertain world?

peacedoves Are you looking for peace in an uncertain world?

Did you know that forgiveness, peace, love and joy are inextricably linked?

It is only when we’ve experienced true inner peace that we understand there is another world that exists beyond the ego mind’s comprehension.

It’s an awesome world of wonder and the bliss of pure love. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Imagine waking up tomorrow morning… your to do list is full… family is on the way…

The demands of life just keep coming…

and you…

you are completely at peace.

How good would that feel?

As we enter the holiday season, peace is often the gift we most desire. 

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543 Hits

Choosing Joy to De-Condition Our Negativity Bias

young-woman-enjoys-snowy-winter-picture-id1172741222 What You Practice Grows Stronger

Some years back, I was talking with a woman in our community. She was a breast cancer survivor and she told me about a conversation that she had with a friend who also was a survivor. Her friend asked her, “What would it feel like for you to think that something good might happen, rather than something bad?” Her response was, “Totally weird and uncomfortable. “Good,” her friend said. “Try it now.”

From an evolutionary perspective, it really makes sense that we feel uncomfortable when we envision positive things coming our way. Our brains are designed to scan for trouble and fixate on what might go wrong in any given situation. This is described as the negativity bias and it one of our hard wired survival strategies. Of course, it is a very good strategy for avoiding real danger. But, in the absence of a true threat, it limits our capacity for enjoying, and celebrating our moments. We have such a short time on planet earth. When the negativity bias rules, we get very loyal to our anxiety, mistrust and vigilance. We cannot inhabit the fullness of our lives.

In happiness research, a common denominator among those who are deemed “happy” is a sense that they are actually choosing to be happy. They believe that happiness is possible and there is a willingness to turn towards it. Catholic mystic and writer Henri Nouwen writes:

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and then keep choosing it every day.”[1]

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The Paradox of Planning for the Future

futureclock The Paradox of Planning for the Future

When you initially arrive into a new situation, the optimum strategy for dealing with that situation is to quiet down and hear the totality of what’s going on around you. To hear all of the variables and how they are all working together, just in a quiet intuitive way, out of which will come an optimum action. That is, the more fully you are present in that moment of decision making, the more you can expect an optimum response. Optimum in the sense of it being in the deepest harmony on the most planes of reality.


The best practice for being fully present at that moment of choice is to practice being present in this moment.

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A Simple Skill to Amplify Mindfulness in a Heartbeat

Feeling-Heartbeat-1024x52_20191127-140545_1 Feeling Your Heartbeat

Heartfulness is the companion, not the opposite of Mindfulness. Awareness is the result and cause of this beloved union.

“In all Asian languages the word for mind and the word for heart are the same word, so in English when you hear the word mindfulness, if you are not hearing the word heartfulness, you are not understanding it fully.” Jon Kabat Zinn - internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society.

Amazing things happen when you begin with the awareness of your breath in Mindfulness and add awareness of our heartbeat in Heartfulness. The synchronized rhythm of your heart beat, breath and mental focus can greatly amplify the experience of harmony and balance in your daily life.

This heartful state of being supports a lifestyle of energetic buoyancy, where life can flow with more harmony, calm, ease, intuition, confidence, safety, concentration, aliveness, gratitude and generosity. As Heartfulness becomes an effortless habit, you will experience increased relaxed confidence and more effective results in your daily activities.

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297 Hits

6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World

6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World 6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World
Many cultures around the world have deep traditions of mindfulness practices. Learn how mindfulness is practiced all around the world.

If you look at any culture throughout history, you’ll find that their traditions include some form of meditation or mindfulness practice.

Christians and Muslims pray. Catholics recite rosaries. Buddhists meditate. People in India practice yoga. Native Americans perform sweat lodges…

…and so on.

So why do so many different societies evolve some sort of practice dedicated to helping people clear their minds, and access deeper levels of awareness and consciousness?

It’s because the wisest people in every culture understand the same profound truth: that the quality of our thoughts create the quality of our reality.

So if you want to experience a more peaceful, joyful and fulfilling reality, you must learn to raise your consciousness and access a higher level of thoughts.

But not all mindfulness practices are tied to religion or take the form of prayer or meditation.

Today I’d like to share some of the other interesting ways people around the world cultivate mindfulness to maximize their happiness and fulfillment in life.

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Finding Balance Between Mind and Heart on the Path to Liberation

flowerbuddha Finding Balance Between Mind and Heart on the Path to Liberation

There are many tools that all serve the process of awakening or liberation, and when you listen inward you can feel – or situations present themselves to show you that your energies are out of whack, or that your heart is too closed off.

Your mind can be full of high wisdom, but that’s in your head. There are times when I listen to somebody, and I can hear with my body. I hear in a certain way in which I’ll feel pressure in my head, or I’ll feel tightness in my chest.


There are two theories about how you do this: One is that you go for broke with whatever you do. For example, if you focus on quieting the mind, and the mind gets quiet enough, at the latest stages the heart will automatically aline and the energies will aline. The first strategy is to find your method and just keep doing it, and wait for the others to all fall into place behind it. There will be tremendous imbalance until very late in the game. The other is where you keep correcting the inner process along the way. I don’t really know that one is better than the other – you have to intuit which way to go.

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Mindfully Manifest a New Beginning

mindfulmeditation Mindfully Manifest a New Beginning

Most of you know, if you’ve been following my blogs, that we lost my husband’s father recently. If anything forces you to stay in the now, it’s this kind of loss. Everything stands still as you take stock after the shock, even before the arrangements, etc. there is this sense of being suspended in time. For me, as I have lost both my parents and now my second dad, I know it’s a precious moment that is filled with gratitude and heartbreaking love, breaking open to appreciation and reverence for all life and for the Spirit that is inherent in all things. You don’t have to lose anything to find that spot, you can enter it through mindfulness meditation and then by choosing to be aware and awake to both inner and outer conditions. 

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Spirit Doesn’t Need a Mobile Phone

meditationbylake Spirit Doesn’t Need a Mobile Phone

Are you tired of always rushing around? How are you handling your digitally driven life? I’ve noticed that everywhere I go, everyone has their eyes on their cell phones. We’re living in a new world where our digital devices are speeding up and maybe even taking control of our lives.

I remember the days before email, before Facebook, and even before everyone, including young children, had mobile phones. My older friends remember having to handwrite letters and drop them in a mailbox to correspond with their family and friends. Then there was the dial-up landline telephone followed by the novelty of sending a fax. Now it’s the explosion of all things digital.

The net affect of all this instant communication is that we’re always rushing. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. We’ve become more impatient, more intolerant and more about results than the journey getting there! These days, we want things done yesterday and expect things to just materialize or happen when we want them to.

I see how dependant we’ve become to our phones, especially when I’m at the movie theater. Seconds before the film starts, everyone takes one last glance before turning them off. The glow around the cinema says it all.

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Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

morning-yoga-childs-pose-picture-id515675096 Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

If there was one thing that could make you more successful, prevent depression, and allow you to maintain healthy weight, would you do it? What if I told you it had nothing to do with working out or eating right?

We all know that maintaining a consistent physical practice as well as healthy eating habits positively affects our physical, emotional and mental well-being. However, there is something more than simply maintaining a dedicated routine that brings even greater benefits to our lives.

More important than the routines, is who we are when we do them.

When we go about our daily routines, we do have to maintain consistency, but we must do it in a vibrational frequency that is closer to the truth of who we are.  Our vibrational frequency has everything to do with who we perceive ourselves to be which plays a role in the state of our choices, disposition, orientation in the world, sense of self and our ability to maintain clarity and consistency in our lives.

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The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

balancedmind The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

Now that meditation has caught on widely, it’s time to understand why it works. The physical findings measured by neuroscience gives intriguing hints about changes in brain wave activity, but that’s an effect, not a cause. The same holds true for physiological changes outside the brain, such as lowered heart rate and blood pressure. The how and why of meditation must be sought “in here,” in the meditator’s subjective experience.

This isn’t a mysterious route to take. Pain studies are based on how much pain a subject feels; there is no objective way to measure this. In the case of meditation, I believe the correct model is that the mind in meditation is rebalancing itself. Medical studies have known for a long time that the body tends toward a state of dynamic balance known as homeostasis. If you push your body out of balance by shoveling snow off the driveway or running a marathon, as soon as you stop that activity, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen use in the muscles, and even digestion and the immune system return to homeostatic balance.

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288 Hits

Make The Most of This Day (Mindfulness)

mindfulness Make The Most of This Day (Mindfulness)

Being mindful, understanding and keeping track of your thoughts and emotions is critical in being able to change your state.

This simple but powerful tool will raise your awareness of exactly how you’re feeling at any given moment and can help you change the way you feel from one moment to the next.

Practice this technique and make a habit of using it.

Answer the questions truthfully and spontaneously. Stay focused on the answer to question number four for as long as you can.

Use your own words and the wisdom of your own heart to answer the questions.

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Desire: A Current of Homecoming

breakingfree Desire: A Current of Homecoming

Desire is intrinsic to our aliveness, yet when we have unmet needs, it can possess us. This talk explores how to relax open the grip of wanting and heal the suffering of addiction. You will learn how to bring mindfulness and compassion to the roots of desire, and be carried home to open loving presence (a favorite from the archives).

For us addicts, recovery is more than just taking a pill or maybe getting a shot. Recovery is also about the spirit, about dealing with that hole in the soul.
~ William Moyers

You might also enjoy Tara’s online course, curated from this talk, plus several of her others: Freeing Ourselves with Mindfulness: Using mindfulness and meditation to heal harmful habits, attachments, and addictions. Register at any time. Link includes discounted price.

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How to Stay Mindful in the Age of Digital Distractions

phonedistraction How to Stay Mindful in the Age of Digital Distractions

People have loved practicing mindfulness and meditation for centuries – and for good reason. Studies have found that this time-honored tradition has huge mental and physical benefits. Research attributes mindfulness to increased focus and working memory as well as increased quality of life. Also attributed are reductions in anxiety and stress, so with all these reasons to be mindful what's stopping us?

In this new age of technology, distraction is just a click away. Tiny pocket-sized devices provide hours of entertainment with a few taps of a finger. This daily intake of likes, notifications and messages does come at a cost. Technology has brought with it many great conveniences but not without consequence. Overuse of technology has been linked to depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues that are currently on the rise. Developing mindfulness can help to prevent and even repair these negative impacts of technology.

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Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

buddha-in-meditation-picture-id488655799 Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

Mahasati hand meditation is a practice that can be particularly useful during times of excessive stress or emotional upheaval, or when our minds just won’t shut the f__k up no matter how much yogic breathing or how many rounds of mantras we’ve done. And yeah, I speak from experience.

I learned this practice at my most rock bottom of rock bottoms. I was at a rehab facility, three days into a seven-day stay in detox from alcohol. My body was still squeamish, my brain still racing, my hope nonexistent, and my self-loathing at an all-time high. As I lay in bed aware of the physical battle going on between withdrawal and the benzodiazepines I’d been given to help relax me and keep me from having a seizure, my thoughts raced—I’d just lost my job, my car was about to be repossessed, I had a court date and jail time awaiting me, and last but (definitely) not least, I was going to miss my brother’s wedding, the one where I was supposed to be his best man. Yeah, I was in rough shape.

Later that morning I stumbled into our group session, where a young, prayer-bead-wearing, bald-headed man announced we were going to practice meditation. Grunts and grumbles filled the room, and the corner I’d staked out as my own was no exception. I’d been meditating for several years already and knew that I was in no place mentally or emotionally to sit quietly and let my mind cause me even more trouble than it already was.

In all fairness, yes, those are often the times when meditation can be extremely beneficial. I’m all about gently and compassionately leaning into the pain and allowing it to teach us what it can, but I also believe that there are times in life when the pain is too great and it’s counterproductive to lean into it. There’s no such thing as a spiritual superhero; no trophies are awarded to those who can endure the heaviest shit, so please, honor what you can and can’t do in the moment and go from there. Only you can know for sure, so be honest with yourself.

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1537 Hits

Can Mindfulness Help You Be Healthier?

happy-smiling-woman-rides-a-bicycle-on-the-country-road-under-blossom-picture-id1131658795 Can Mindfulness Help You Be Healthier?

Raise your hand if you’ve met all your health goals and are in perfect shape. Anybody? Okay, how about those of you who are never self-critical and love the way you look every time you look in the mirror. Any takers?

Let’s get serious for a moment: most people have long since abandoned their New Year’s health goals, and a whopping 79 percent of Americans feel at least occasionally unhappy with how their body looks. Rather than being stifled by unmet goals or struggling with our reflection though, what if there were a gentle and effective way to encourage healthier behaviors? Let’s take a closer look at how mindfulness practice can help us improve our physical, mental, and emotional health.

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Higher Consciousness in Less than a Minute

elderly-hawaii-woman-practicing-yoga-picture-id884298208 Higher Consciousness in Less than a Minute

There are very old, rich traditions of higher consciousness around the world, and diverse as they are, they seem to have one thing in common: Arriving at higher consciousness takes time, perhaps a lifetime. Along with this idea comes other, closely related ones. Higher consciousness is exceptional. It requires intense inner work. Only a select few ever reach the goal.

The overall effect of these ideas is to discourage the average person from even considering that higher consciousness is within reach. For all practical purposes, society sets those apart who have become enlightened, saintly, or spiritually advanced. In an age of faith such figures were revered; today they are more likely to be viewed as beyond normal life, to be admired, shrugged off, or forgotten.

Much of this is a holdover from the merger of religion, spirituality, and consciousness. For centuries there was no separating the three. Most traditional societies developed a priestly class to guard the sanctity—and privileged status—of reaching near to God. But these trappings are now outdated and even work against the truth, which is that higher consciousness is as natural and effortless as consciousness itself. If you are aware, you can become more aware. There is nothing to higher consciousness than this logical conclusion.

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