Mindfulness Mondays: Actualizing The Power of Intention

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“Every journey begins with the first step of articulating the intention, and then becoming the intention.” ~ Bryant McGill

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I just finished up leading a 30 day program on Setting Intentions & Visioning Your Dreams for  2016.  It was a powerful journey and I was amazed how it really helped me to deepen in my daily practice of mindfulness and meditation as well as the theme of intention setting and visioning.

How does actualizing the power of intention relate to mindfulness?

In mindfulness and other meditative practices, we tend to find something to focus our awareness on.  It may be our breath, our body or the beauty of nature around us.  The possibilities are endless.  We can also focus on our thoughts. This may include noticing the thoughts, worries or concerns that arise in our mind.  And, it may include cultivating positive thoughts or intentions such as gratitude, peace or loving ourselves.

To me, working with intention is a mindful practice. By setting intentions, both in an overall way and on a daily basis, I find I am more able to stay present with myself, to notice when I am aligning with that intention and to also recognize when I am distracted or off center.  In a way, an intention that we’ve created for ourselves is an anchor for our practice and for living mindfully.

I’ve shared several posts on Actualizing The Power of Intention previously on The Heart of Awakening.  For today’s practice, I’d like to share this audio meditation…

 

If you’d like to explore this topic more, I invite you visit my website’s Actualizing The Power of Intention, which includes a free 60 minute teleseminar previously recorded on 2/2/15 and a special offer, too!  Learn more…

Feel free to share you comments, thoughts and reflections on this week’s exploration below!  Or, join our Meditation & Mindfulness in a Rapidly Changing World group on Facebook.

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!


 

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Mindfulness Mondays ~ Walking Meditation

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“In order to have peace and joy, you must succeed in having peace within each of your steps.  Your steps are the most important thing.  They decide everything.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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Last week, we explored Movement with Breath as a way to explore mindful movement.  I thought to continue this week with an exploration of walking meditation.

Walking meditation can be both a formal practice as well as a simple way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. It is one the most powerful ways to cultivate embodied awareness.  It invites you to be present as you walk, to use your steps and movement as a vehicle for mindfulness and for staying present in the moment.  It can also be a way to cultivate peace and calm as we move through our world.

You may wish to work with it on it’s own or incorporate it with a sitting meditation practice.  You may find you are on your way to work and simply choose to walk mindfully for a few blocks or for the whole trip. Be curious. Explore.

Here is video of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh sharing about Walking Meditation…

Walking Meditation Exploration

Standing with your eyes open with a soft gaze on the floor in front of you, simply focus on your breath and begin to step right and then left, with mindful awareness.  If it’s helpful you can label your steps, “stepping right” and “stepping left”.  You can explore synchronizing the breath with each step.  As you stay present with your steps, notice what is arising in body, mind, emotion and spirit.  When you noticed you’ve become distracted or drifted off, simple return your awareness to your next step. 

Walking meditation can be done by walking in a circle or by walking back and forth in straight line, pausing when you get to an end point and really taking time to notice as your turn around.  In practicing walking back and forth, you can pause at each turn to notice how it feels to shift from movement to stillness and to movement once again.  Exploring in this way is something we can inform us so that we might walk and move more mindfully and with greater awareness as we move through our daily lives.

You may wish to incorporate some of what Thich Nhat Hanh shared about taking peaceful steps into your exploration.  During our annual, May is For Metta event here on The Heart of Awakening Blog, we explore combining Walking Meditation with Lovingkindness practice.  Here is last year’s post if you’d like to explore this practice on Walking Metta Meditation.

Feel free to share your experiences and reflections in the comments below.


Come join us on Facebook! Meditation & Mindfulness In A Rapidly Changing World group is a space where I share each week’s practice and additional resources on mindfulness and meditation. Come Explore!

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Movement With Breath

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“In the midst of movement and chaos,

keep stillness inside of you.” 

~ Deepak Chopra

Butterfly BeautyThere are many ways to practice mindfulness meditation.  Beginning to include practices that incorporate movement can be a way to deepen your presence and support you in being more mindful as you move about through your daily life and the world around you.

Anytime that you practice mindful movements, with your attention fully in the activity and with a mindful attitude, you are practicing meditation.  Some activities to explore include walking, eating, cleaning, or doing the dishes. We’ll take time to work with each of the in future Mindfulness Mondays posts.

For this week, I was feeling to share a few simple ways to begin to explore working with mindful movement and the breath.  As I’ve shared before, sometimes due to the subtlety of the breath, it can be hard to focus on it, especially for beginning practitioners.  Also, for people who have experienced trauma or tend to be disconnected from their bodies in some way, bringing together movement and the breath, can be a way to really become more connected within themselves.

Movement With Breath Exploration

You can do these practices either sitting, on a chair or crosslegged/lotus position on the floor or in a standing position.  Sometimes it is good to explore practicing mindfulness in a standing position — if you have not done so, I encourage you to do so with this practice.  There may be times when practicing mindfulness is helpful in your daily life but taking time to sit and practice is not possible.  As you cultivate a standing practice, it will become easier practice mindfulness as you stand on line at the grocery store, walk down the street, etc.

Come to a comfortable position either sitting or standing.  If standing, stand up straight with your feet about hip-width apart. Allow your knees to be slightly bent, not tense. Relax your shoulders back, your chest and your stomach.  Tilt your chin a bit toward your chest so that your head is balanced on your neck and shoulders.

Whether sitting or standing, have a soft gaze on the floor in front of you, about 3 feet forward.  Begin to notice the sensation of your breath.  Become mindful of any areas in your body that feel tense or uncomfortable. Without trying to relax them, simply notice.

3 Ways To Practice Movement With Breath…

1) Floating Arms ~ After a few moments of tuning into to your breath and your body, begin to move your arms upwards in front of you with palms facing the floor.  As you breathe in, letting your arms simple float up to about shoulder height, continuing to rise for the length of the in-breath.  Once at shoulder height, slowly let then move back down as you breath out, returning to the side of your body on as the out-breath completes. Repeat this practice 10 or 15 rounds and notice any physical sensations as you do so.

2) Butterfly HandsHolding your hands in front of your body at a 90 degree angle. Place your palms together, fingers touching and then cross your thumbs one over the other.  As you breathe in, allow the pinky side of your hand to move outwards, spreading your finger and keeping thumbs intertwined so that your hands appear to be a like a butterfly opening it’s wings. As you breathe out, allow your bring your hands back together palms together, fingers touching and thumbs crossed.  Repeat this practice 10 or 15 rounds and notice any physical sensations as you do so.

3) Lotus FlowerHolding your hands in front of your body at a 90 degree angle. Place your palms together with all fingers touching and pointing straight out from your body.  On your in-breath, move the thumb side of your hands outward, allowing all of the fingers but the pink to become open, like a lotus blossoming.  On the out-breath, slowly bring your fingers together one by one from ring finger back to thumb until palms are together once again.  Repeat this practice 10 or 15 rounds and notice any physical sensations as you do so.

Take a few mindful moments to watch this video of a lotus blossom opening and closing.  There is a a rhythmic stillness in this movement which we can bring to our own mindfulness movements.  

After exploring these practices, you may also like to create your own mindful movements.  Be creative.

At the end of your practice, take some time to reflect, explore and journal about the following questions:

  • On a scale of 1 – 10, how mindful did you feel as you began?
  • On a scale of 1 – 10, how mindful did you feel as you finished your practice?
  • What did you notice about your bodily sensations?  Was one movement more beneficial for you than another?
  • What thoughts arose while you were practicing?
  • What emotions arose for you while your were practicing?
  • How did it feel to incorporate movement with the breath? How might you continue to work with this type of practice?

I hope you’ll take some time to explore mindful movements this week. 

Tashi Deleh (I honor the greatness with you!)

Beth

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Labeling Thoughts

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Whether one is new to meditation and mindfulness practice or a more experienced practitioner, there will be days that are more challenging than others, when we simply find the mind is busier.  Also, there many be times when we are really struggling with certain thoughts such as worries, concerns, judgements that can really take us out of the present moment.  

Practicing mindfulness is in a sense like any other exercise practice one might develop.  It takes time to build our muscles when we start lifting weights and it takes time to build our “mindfulness” muscles when we begin to practice.  Working with noticing and labeling our thoughts is a way to begin to grow in our ability to be more mindful. 

Oftentimes, there are so many thoughts circling round and round in our minds that we cannot even identify them.  Or, if we stop to notice a thought, we can’t imagine how we even got there.  Practicing mindfulness helps us to de-clutter our mind and allows us to be more awake and alive in the present moment.  As we can notice some of our habitual thoughts and patterns, we can begin to acknowledging and accepting them and let them go. 

The practice of Labeling thoughts helps can help to raise awareness about the specific types of thoughts you may have and it is also a way to engage your mind during practice.  In a sense noticing and acknowledging our thoughts can become and anchor in the same way the breath may be used as an anchor.  As we notice our thoughts, we don’t judge or analyze them, we simply notice and let them go as best we can.  The labeling is a way to begin to let go.

Labeling Thoughts Practice

This practice can be done formally as a part of a sitting practice and informally, as on the spot practice, throughout your day.  I do often suggest to begin to work with a practice as part of a sitting practice, even if it’s for 5 or 10 minutes, to begin to get familiar with the practice. Then, begin to bring it into your daily life.  

Find a comfortable position sitting on a chair with feet flat on the floor, spine straight but not tense, shoulders and stomach relaxed, hands on your knees or lap. Or, sit comfortably on the floor cross-legged with a cushion to support your body. 

Gently close your eyes or have a soft gaze on the floor in a few feet front of you if that’s more comfortable.

Take a few moments to connect with you breath without changing or depending it.  Just begin to notice the breath as it flows into and out of your body.  Notice how it feels to slow down and center yourself.  Continue to be present with your breath. 

Begin to notice any thoughts that may arise.  You may notice a flurry of thoughts right away.  You may be thinking about your To Do list, grocery shopping, worrying about a family member, etc.  You just begin to notice your thoughts.  If there are many, try to notice just one thought and as you do, begin to label it, “Thinking”.  Then, come back to your next breath – breathing in and breathing out.  When you notice another thought, label it “Thinking”.  And, once again simply come back to your next breath.

At times, you many be “Thinking, Thinking, Thinking, Thinking…” and at other times you may begin to notice some spaciousness as you are present with your breath.  Either way, you are simply noticing what is arising in your mind and in your practice. 

This is a simple way to practice Labeling Thoughts.  Sometimes it is helpful to label types of thoughts and we will explore that in future posts, however, by using “Thinking” as the label it is actually helping us to detach from our thoughts or the type of thoughts we may be having, e.g. worry, judgement, etc.  Building a habit of not identifying with a certain thought can begin a powerful process of letting go.  We are just being with whatever is arising in our minds, noticing it, labeling it “Thinking” and letting it go. 

I hope you’ll take some time to explore Labeling Thoughts this week.  As always, feel free to share your reflections in the comments below.

Namaste.

Beth

Mindfulness Mondays ~ 7 Ways To Practice Mindfulness

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I thought to wrap up the last Mindfulness Mondays post of 2015 with a summary of practices we explored recently and added a post on Gratitude practice, too!  I am planning to continue this weekly series in 2016 to offer a virtual space for you to explore mindfulness and meditation practices.

If you’d like to connect with a virtual mindfulness meditation community, I invite you to join my Facebook group, Meditation & Mindfulness In A Rapidly Changing World.  Each week, I share our practice plus some additional resources and information.  There’s an opportunity to connect and explore together; and I am planning to offer some teleseminar gatherings in the new year, too!

As always I love to hear your reflections, so feel free to drop a note in the comments below if there is something you’ve enjoyed, benefitted from or would like to see more of in 2016! 

  1. Parallel Breaths

  2. Urge Surfing

  3. Take Your Mindfulness To Work

  4. Noticing Feelings & Emotions

  5. Coherence Breathing

  6. Practicing STOP

  7. Make A Gratitude List


Upcoming Events

January 1 – 30 ~ Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams 30 Day Writing Program (Virtual)
1st Sundays ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Telelcass (Virtual)
2016 Dates TBA ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Process Group in Annapolis, MD (Local)
May 1 – 31 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: 31 Days of Loving-kindness Meditaton & Practice (Virtual)
June 2016 ~ Discover The Healer Within 4-Session Program (Virtual)
For details and registration information on events, visit http://www.bethterrence.com/Events.html or Sign Up my for Discover The Healer Within E-News to get updates on events, articles and special offers.

Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams 30 Day Writing Program Starts January 1st! Come Explore A Whole New You!

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I am thrilled to be collaborating once again with my colleague and good friend, Andrea Hylen, the founder of Heal My Voice, to lead you in a journey of self-discovery through the art of writing and reflection.  Our theme for January is “Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams for 2016”.  

I’ve never been one who does well with New Year’s Resolutions.  They seem to end up begin short-lived or forgotten by Spring.  In recent years, I have chosen a word for the year (I am working on that for 2016, so stay tuned!) and have found that focusing on a specific energy has been beneficial.  But, it always seems kind of funny to me to try and be out of the starting gate with big changes right after New Year’s.  I think this has to do with the busy of the holiday season and just beginning to really recalibrate as we move in January.  And, in order to really create change and setting intentions, I find a need to tune in more deeply and reflect on where I am and where I would like to be.

Winter is clearly a time of stillness and self-reflection.  Nature goes within during this time of year and in many traditional cultures, it is seen as a time to connect with our own inner wisdom.  So, Andrea and I thought, why not take the whole month of January to explore our intentions and visions for 2016.  This journey will be an inner vision quest through self-reflection and writing.  In invite you to read more about it below and come explore!


New 30 Day Writing Program:

Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams for 2016

A HEAL MY VOICE PROGRAM
(WITH TELESEMINAR SUPPORT)
LEADERSHIP TEAM: ANDREA HYLEN & BETH TERRENCE
JANUARY 1 – 30, 2016

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“In the universe there is an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.”

~ Carlos Castaneda


Joining a Heal My Voice program is a bit like embarking on a vision quest.  It is a journey into the core of one’s being.  In traditional cultures, this is done through time alone in nature; in Heal My Voice our vehicle is writing.  The focus of the January 30-Day Program is Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams for 2016.  This program will create a space for exploring your intentions and dreams with writing as the vehicle for self-discovery, transformation and embodying your soul purpose in the world.

1069133_10201524100762513_1867891335_n1-300x198We will be harmonizing with the energy of the Winter season, which is seen as a potent time for stillness and self-reflection in many cultures around the world. It is a time to connect with our own inner wisdom. Through our willingness to tune in and listen, we are able to deepen our understanding of soul purpose, our life direction and our values. We do this by slowing down, taking time to reflect on the previous year and inviting our inner voice to emerge as the pathway for seeding our intentions and dreams for 2106.

Rather than taking just short time over the holidays or at the New Year to set goals and then jump into our “to do lists” on the 1st, we will be taking the whole month of January to dive deeply into our essential selves and birth our intentions and dreams for the coming year and beyond. This is a wonderful time to plant the seeds of our hearts longing.

It is said that a seed that will be incubated during the winter will quietly gain it’s power and strength until it’s time to germinate and to push out into the world when the light returns.

During this time, you will have an opportunity to:

  • explore your intentions, dreams and visions for 2016
  • discover and uncover new desires for your life and your work
  • receive daily prompts for your writing and self-reflection for 30 days
  • connect with a community of authentic women on a journey of self-exploration
  • participate in an on-line community and community phone calls
  • release and alchemize old patterns, feelings and beliefs
  • create new action steps to actualize your emerging intentions and your dreams
  • connect with the Heal My Voice Community of International Writers

“Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power.” ~ Deepak Chopra

This 30-Day program with teleseminar support offers an opportunity to get to know yourself on a deeper level through the Heal My Voice process of Tuning In, Listening, Discovering and Exploring.

As you take this time to reflect on your desires, words, and set intentions for the year, Heal My Voice facilitators Andrea Hylen and Beth Terrence will support you in uncovering and identifying experiences and stories that wish to be expressed through self-reflection, writing and community sharing. This program creates a container for you to go within, get to the deeper layers and gain insight into your life experiences and access the gifts that emerge as we shine a light on setting our intentions for 2016.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The January 30-Day Writing Program includes:

  • Four Weekly Teleclasses with exploration and discussion on setting your intentions.
  • 30-Days of prompts to inspire and jumpstart your writing
  • A Secret Facebook Group for sharing and discussion
  • BONUS CALL Audio: Tips on How to Write a Book (or E-book)
  • 30 days of writing January

Four Teleseminars. All Teleseminars are recorded.

Location: Accessible by Phone or Online Listening; Audio replay will be available

Cost: $97.00 for full 30-Day Program

Facebook Group Opens on December 29, 2015.

REGISTER OR LEARN MORE…

See you then!

“Leave the door open to the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.” ~ Rebecca Solnit

 

Then, there will be 4 LIVE teleseminars with information sharing, meditations and community sharing. The calls will be recorded and available to everyone who is registered for the 30 days of writing.

  • Teleclass 1: Tuning In: Wednesday, January 6, 2016; 7pm Eastern time
  • Teleclass 2: Listening: Wednesday, January 13, 2016; 4pm Eastern time
  • Teleclass 3: Discovering: Wednesday, January 20, 2016; 7pm Eastern time
  • Teleclass 4: Exploring: Wednesday, January 27, 2016; 4pm Eastern time

Mark your calendars for LIVE listening. We will post the call info in the Secret FB group when it opens on December 29.

Optional Level:

  • Would you benefit from some individual support around grief, loss and change?
  • Do you need some coaching on your writing or specific areas of your life
  • Would you like to use this 30-Day Program to connect with soul purpose or life direction in a deeper way?  Sign up for the 30-Day Program plus…

One Intensive Coaching Session on SKYPE or Phone with Beth and Andrea

Cost: $197.00

30 day writing and coaching ~ $197

REGISTER OR LEARN MORE…

If you have questions or would like additional information about the January 30 Days of Writing Program, contact beth@bethterrence.com.

 

Winter Solstice Meditation & Message

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For those of you on my email list, I shared a Winter Solstice Message & Meditation yesterday.  And, tonight I led a Solstice Ceremony & Meditation in Annapolis.  This is one of my favorite times of year and as we approach the Solstice at 11:49 PM ET here, I wanted to share this message with the Heart of Awakening community, too!

Many blessings to you for love, light and peace on this Solstice!

Beth


 

The Solstice is a powerful time of transformation ~ one in which we can connect more deeply our natural world and to the true essence of who we are.  I am sharing with you an audio meditation and message for this Winter Solstice time. You might like to listen to it at the time of Solstice or sometime in the day before or after.  Click here to lookup what time the Solstice is in your area.

Listen to Beth’s Winter Solstice Message & Meditation…

I hope you will take some time to tune and celebrate the Solstice energy wherever you are.  I often share that I believe that one of the greatest diseases of our time is DISCONNECTION.  As we take time to harmonize with the energies of nature and with our own deeper essence, we are able to experience connection and harmony in our lives, our relationships and our world.  This may be something you wish to do on your own or in community.  You can use this meditation or there are many ways to create your own ceremony or ritual – it’s good to be creative and explore what resonates with you.

Read my post on Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual to get some ideas for creating your own Solstice Ceremony or other ways to incorporate ceremony and ritual into your daily life.

Upcoming Events

January 1 – 30 ~ Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams 30 Day Writing Program (Virtual)
1st Sundays ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Telelcass (Virtual)
2016 Dates TBA ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Process Group in Annapolis, MD (Local)
May 1 – 31 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: 31 Days of Loving-kindness Meditaton & Practice (Virtual)

June 2016 ~ Discover The Healer Within 4-Session Virtual Program

For details and registration information on events, visit http://www.bethterrence.com/Events.html 
or Sign Up my for Discover The Healer Within E-News to get updates on events, articles and special offers.

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Parallel Breaths

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One of the things I notice that happens this time of year is that there is a tendency to feel a sense of chaos or overwhelm that goes beyond our personal experience.  My sense is it has to do with the contraction of energy that is happening as we approach Winter and the Solstice, particularly for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.  Whether it is seasonal or not, at various times in our lives we can experience a sense of chaos or disorder.  Meditation and Mindfulness offer a space for us to ground, center and open ourselves more fully in the present moment.

The Parallel Breath practice is one that I use daily and have shared with my clients and in classes for many years.  I initially learned it from Fritz Smith, the creator of Zero Balancing, a cutting edge body/energy therapy that I utilize in my holistic healing practice.  In Zero Balancing classes, we begin each day with this practice and it is easy to see the difference it can create in your state of being with just a few minutes of practice.

A few months ago, around the time of the Autumn Equinox, I shared a short audio of this practice and I think it’s even more beneficial at this time.  If you’d like you can simply listen to the practice or see the overview below…

Guided Parallel Breath Practice

 


 

Here is an overview of the practice:

Close your eyes and begin by just observing your breath as it is.  For a few moments, deepen the breath a bit and try to establish an even rhythm, breathing in for a count of five and out for a count of five. 

Then, begin to imagine that as you breath in you draw energy in from above and down through the top of your head.  As the in breath continues, draw this energy to down toward the base of your spine and exhale out into the earth.  On the next inhale, draw the breath up from the earth into the root center at the base of your spine, allowing to flow upwards exhaling back out the top of your head.  Continue in this way breathing from earth to heaven and heave to earth.  

You may wish to image the breath flowing like a wave of energy or even a waterfall cascading up and down through your body.  If you are feeling tension in a physical area or are having a challenging emotion, you can imagine that as the breath moves up and down it is loosening or moving your tension away. 

This practice support grounding in that we are connecting with earth and we are also connecting with spirit or source, however we define that for ourselves.  The parallel nature of the breaths helps us to feel more stable energetically and this helps with any sense of chaos or disorder we may be feeling. 

Practice for as long as you feel to.  5 or 10 minutes is a good amount of time to explore and as you work with this practice, you may find that just a few breaths in this way can help you to recalibrate and move more fully into the present moment. 

I hope you’ll take some time this week to explore!

Namaste.

Beth

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Urge Surfing

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Urge surfing is a term coined by Alan Marlatt as part of a program of Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention that his research project helped to develop as an alternative resource for people recovering from addictions to alcohol and other drugs.  Urge surfing can actually be used to help with any addictive behavior or pattern such as emotional eating, smoking, compulsive shopping, etc.  It can also be applicable overall as a tool for staying focused from all of the distractions that arise in our lives that may keep us from being more fully present with ourselves.

Through research, what Marlatt found was that urges for substance use rarely last for very long. In fact, they almost never last for longer than about 30 minutes, if there is no opportunity to actually use a substance.  Research found that people admitted to a detoxification center where there was no access to their drug of choice often found it remarkable how little craving they actually experienced and/or how their cravings would move through in a short time. 

This is fascinating!  It is this internal struggle that feeds the cravings and attachments.  Marlatt likened trying to fight cravings to trying to block a waterfall from flowing.  We end up being flooded.  Urge Surfing invites us to use mindfulness to step aside and allow our cravings, impulses & urges to simply flow right past us.

Urge Surfing Exercise (adapted from Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention)

  • Find a comfortable position sitting on a chair or the floor
  • Begin with a few mindful breaths
  • Observe yourself  for any sensations of discomfort such as restlessness, an itch or body pain such as a headache, back pain or knee pain
  • Notice you natural response to rub, scratch, or move as a way to resist your discomfort as it arises
  • Notice any thoughts that may arise such as “I wish this itch would go away”, “This itch is driving me crazy”, or “I would love to scratch this itch”…
  • Remember that these thoughts are just that – simply thoughts; you may wish to label it, “it’s just a thought”.
  • Whenever you notice thoughts arising, gently and lovingly bring your attention back to your next breath and awareness of your bodily sensations
  • Begin to notice how the position, shape and quality of your discomfort shifts over time.  Continue to feel it as best you can, noticing how the intensity and shape changes with each cycle of the breath. You might inquire, “Is it stronger during the in breath or during the out breath?”
  • If you find your thoughts going onto other matters, such as your to do list, a situation at work, your plans for the weekend, etc., remember that these are “just thoughts”.  Gently and lovingly bring your attention back to your breath and body sensations.  And, notice how these sensations may have changed.

In this exercise, you have begun to observe the changing nature and impermanence of urges.  When you notice the physical sensations with interest, you are directly facing the urges rather than feeding them through resisting them.  As we try to eliminate our urges by distraction or talking ourselves out of them, we often just intensify those urges.  Research has shown that trying to suppress a thought, feeling or sensation, including pain, rather than decreasing it, actually increases it.

In Mindfulness, rather than avoiding our thoughts, feelings or urges, we simply notice them.  If we can simply let an urge be – non-judgmentally – without feeding it or resisting it, we will soon notice that it begins to rise, subside and finally drift away, just like an ocean wave.  It may come back again but as you become able to stay present with it, you will notice that these feelings will become less powerful and less frequent, too.

As an additional resource, visit the Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention website which offers lots of resources including a series of audios on mindfulness practices.

I hope you’ll take some time this week to explore Urge Surfing and Mindfulness practice!  As always, feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments below.

And, if you’d like to join a virtual community exploring mindfulness and meditation, come join my Facebook group, Meditation & Mindfulness In A Rapidly Changing World

Namaste.

Beth

 

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Take Your Mindfulness To Work

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“Meditation is a way of being, not a technique. Meditation is not about trying to get anywhere else. It is about allowing yourself to be exactly where you are and as you are, and the world to be exactly as it is in this moment.”

 ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Last January, I had the pleasure of joining hosts Carolyn Owens and Mark Thorn on their Blog Talk Radio Show, Let’s Coach With Mark & Carolyn.  Our topic was “Take Your Mindfulness Meditation To Work”.  For this week’s Mindfulness Mondays post, I wanted to share some of what we discussed as well as a link to the show for you to explore.   One of the benefits of mindfulness practice is being able to bring it out beyond the meditation cushion and into our daily lives and relationships including the world of work.  Listen Here…

The relationship between our personal lives and our work lives has often been one of disconnection or separation.  When we go to work, we put on our work persona.  When we come home, we take it off.  Even when organizations and individuals desire to be more open, authentic and heart-centered, the transition is difficult.

It is such a fascinating time when we see science is getting on board with what spirituality has long know – meditation is a powerful tool for both consciousness and well-being.  I am amazed to see each week new information being shared about a variety of practices and one that seems to be in the forefront is mindfulness meditation.  Here is a brief summary of recent research from Dan Seigel, co-director of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center:

• University of New Mexico researchers found that participation in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course decreased anxiety and binge eating.

• Office workers who practiced MBSR for twenty minutes a day reported an average 11% reduction in perceived stress.  

• Eight weeks of MBSR resulted in an improvement in the immune profiles of people with breast or prostate cancer, which corresponded with decreased depressive symptoms.

• A prison offering Vipassana meditation training for inmates found that those who completed the course showed lower levels of drug use, greater optimism, and better self-control, which could reduce recidivism.

• Fifth-grade girls who did a ten-week program of yoga and other mindfulness practices were more satisfied with their bodies and less preoccupied with weight.

• A mix of cancer patients who tried MBSR showed significant improvement in mood and reduced stress. These results were maintained at a checkup six months later.

• The likelihood of recurrence for patients who had experienced three or more bouts of depression was reduced by half through Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, an offshoot of MBSR.

• After fifteen weeks of practicing MBSR, counseling students reported improved physical and emotional well-being, and a positive effect on their counseling skills and therapeutic relationships. (Source: The Science Of Mindfulness)

So, what is mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, defines mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.

Mindfulness is a not just a practice, but a state of being in attention to the present moment.  When you’re practicing mindfulness, you are observing your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judgement, comparison or the need to understand.  It is a way to be present to life as it unfolds.  It’s simply practicing moment to moment awareness.

Here are some of the overall benefits of mindfulness practice:

  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Improved self-awareness
  • Boosts to working memory 
  • Clarity and Focus 
  • Less emotional reactivity 
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Improved immune functioning
  • Sense of well-being
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Increased empathy and compassion

How can this support our us in the world of work?

As Dan Seigel mentioned in his overview of scientific research, mindfulness meditation has been shown to benefit people at work as well as in their personal lives.  Mindfulness supports greater clarity, clearer focus, improved wellness, reduced stress, increased productivity, stronger resiliency and even enhanced creativity – these are all things that can benefit us in the world of work, whether we work in a large corporation or are a self-employed entrepreneur.

For an individual, mindfulness meditation offers a way to stay present, focused and bring more of our authentic self to our work.  For organizations, mindfulness meditation offers an opportunity to cultivate a culture of clarity, focus and employee engagement.  For both, it also supports a new paradigm for leadership development that is based on authenticity, self-awareness and openness.

Basically, bringing mindfulness meditation practice to work is a win-win situation.  So, whether you are an individual wanting to bring your personal practice more fully into your daily life or an organization wanting create change, bringing mindfulness practice to work offers a powerful tool for transformation.  We can see this happening at companies like Google, Apple, Proctor and Gamble, General Mills, Harpo Studios and The Huffington Post.

Some ways to incorporate mindfulness into your work:

Ways to incorporate mindfulness into your work:

  • Practice the “just one breath meditation”.  Simply take a mindful breath, noticing the sensations of the breath, where you feel it in your body, the rhythm of the breath and/or labeling it “breathing in and breathing out.
  • Count your next five breaths.
  • Give yourself a break – get up, stretch, step a way for just a moment.
  • Go for a mindful walk around the office or go outside and get some fresh air.
  • Feel your feet on the floor. Feel the support of the earth beneath you.
  • Give some attention to you body.  Notice where you feel might feel tension or discomfort.  Bring the breath to that area for just a moment.
  • Pause and notice all of the sounds around you, just listen and notice.
  • Get a mindfulness app or set a timer to remind you to pause several times during the day. 

Feel free to comment or share on how you bring mindfulness or other meditation practices to your world of work! 

Stay Connected!

Learn more about Integrative Holistic Healing Programs For Individuals, Groups and Organizations. Sign up to for my Discover The Healer Within Monthly E-news.

Website: www.bethterrence.com

Blog: The Heart Of Awakening: Searching For A New Paradigm

Twitter: @BethTerrence

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Mindfulness Mondays ~ Noticing Feelings & Emotions

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Take a few mindful breaths.

Allow yourself now to notice any emotions or feelings you are experiencing right now,          in this moment… 

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Often, we relate with our emotions or feelings in one of two ways.  We may tend to ignore our feelings and emotions to push through our experiences; or, we dive into them and cling to them in a way that defines who we are.   We may view our feelings as good or bad, positive or negative.  In Mindfulness practice, our feelings are viewed as neither good nor bad, they just are what they are. Feelings may be uncomfortable or difficult; or, they may be comfortable or easy.  But, regardless, none of them are viewed as wrong or something we want to get rid of, they just simply are!

This week’s practice is simply Noticing Feeling & Emotions that you are experiencing in the moment you are feeling them, with gentle, non-judgemental awareness, loving acceptance and gentle curiosity.

You can do this practice in two ways.  First, as formal practice, which means taking time to sit, be present and work with the practice for a period of time (5 or 1o minutes is a great start).  Secondly, you can practice it as an “on the spot meditation” – when you notice a feeling or emotion arise, you simply take a few moments to tune in and work with practice.

One of the things than can begin to happen as we work with this type of mindfulness practice is that we come to see our feelings and emotions as fluid.  Rather than attaching to them as we humans tend to do, we can come to see that our feelings and emotions come and go just as waves crashing upon the shore come in and go out – some are bigger, some are smaller, some are stronger, some are weaker but, none of them stay the same all the time!  This awareness can create a sense of freedom and spaciousness. 

  • Begin with a few mindful breaths.  If it’s helpful, label the breaths “breathing in and breathing out”.
  • Then, allow yourself now to notice any emotions or feelings you are experiencing. You may be able to name the emotion or it may just be a vague sort of feeling, either way is okay.
  • Begin to notice where the feeling or emotion is located in your body – your head, throat, chest, stomach, abdomen, gut? Notice if the physical sensation moves or shifts as you bring awareness to it.
  • Notice any sensations connected to the feeling or emotion – heat or cold, anxiousness or calm, contraction or expansion…
  • Allow yourself to be present and observe any shifts or changes in your feelings and emotions and/or any physical sensations in your body connect to them as you continue noticing feelings and emotions for as long as you feel to practice.
  • Finally, bring your awareness back to your breath for a couple of minutes.

“Think you’re destined to respond the same way emotionally to the same old triggers? Not necessarily so, says Sharon Begley. With a little mind training, you can chart new pathways “

Learn more about mindfulness, neuroplasticity and changing how we respond emotionally in Rewiring Your Emotions.

I hope you’ll take some time this week to explore Noticing Feelings & Emotions.

As always, feel free to drop a note about your experience in the comments below or join my Meditation & Mindfulness In A Rapidly Changing World group on Facebook to stay connected throughout the week.

Namaste.

Beth

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Coherence Breathing

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Breathe in slowly for a count of 5.
Breathe out slowly for a count of 5. 
Continue for 5 or 6 cycles of breath or as long as you feel to practice.

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One who has gradually practiced, 
Developed and brought to perfection 
Mindfulness of the in-and-out breath 
As taught by the Enlightened One, 
Illuminates the entire world 
Like the moon when freed from clouds. 
Developing a relationship with our breath is at the heart of many mindfulness and meditation practices.  Although some feel that altering our breath, may not fall under the realm of mindfulness, I have found that a practice of coherence breathing is highly beneficial in cultivating our relationship with the breath and is particularly helpful in becoming present with the in and out breaths.  Counting in and of itself, without changing or deepening the breath, is another good practice, which we will explore in another post. 
 
In the book, “The Healing Power of the Breath”, authors Richard Brown, MD and Patricia L. Gerber, MD, share:
“Breathing can alleviate negative feelings, such as fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, depression, self-blame, confusion, restlessness, and physical discomforts. With regular practice over time breathwork can bring improvements in physical health, physical endurance, and resilience. But breathing is not just a treatment for life’s ills,; it can also enhance pleasurable and creative activities such as musical performance, writing, team sports, or just being with nature. Breath practices nurture positive emotions, loving feelings, compassion, our sense of connection with what is meaningful in life, and our sense of bonding with others.”
Coherence Breathing is a simple way to work with your breath by synchronizing the in and out breaths for a count of five on both the in and out breaths; this can be varied from four to six counts depending on your comfort and breath patterns. This type of breathing can have a profound impact on your body, mind, emotions and spirit.  
Meditation teacher Tara Brach refers to this technique as a “heart breath”.  In a sense it is training your system to have deeper, slower breaths, which supports greater calm, balance and well-being.   Often, our natural tendency is to have shorter, shallower breaths. Coherence Breathing also supports your ability to become more mindful as you practice; and as you cultivate a deeper relationship you also deepen  your awareness of your whole being.

Scientists have found that there is an ideal breath rate for each person, somewhere between 4 and 6 breaths per minute using equal timing for breathing in and breathing out.  This patterning helps to increase our heart-rate variability and balance our stress response systems. Also, the electronic rhythms of the heart, lungs, and brain become synchronized, which is known as a resonant rate amongst researchers.  Although the research is new, this pattern of breathing has been known amongst meditation practitioners and traditions for centuries.  

Here is a chart of some of the benefits of Coherence Breathing vs. Shallow Breathing:

For this week’s exploration, practice Coherence Breathing by working with breathing in for a count of five and out for a count of five.  You may need to vary the in and out between a count of four and six depending on what feels comfortable for you.  Ideally, practicing for 5 – 10 minutes is good start, but even one minute can be beneficial.

Namaste.

Beth

 

 

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Practicing STOP…

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Stop!
Take A Few Deep Breaths.
Observe Your Experience.
Proceed With Awareness…

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

 ~ Viktor E. Frankl
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I am excited to announce the return of Mindfulness Mondays.  Each week I will be sharing a mindfulness practice or tool for you to explore.  And, I will be also sharing a bit of research and a related article on some of the many benefits of mindfulness meditation.  I invite you to explore the information and practice as a weekly tool.  If you’d like explore more, I invite you to join my Meditation & Mindfulness In A Rapidly Changing World Group on Facebook –  you can request to join here.  As always, feel free to share your experience and insights in the comments below!

STOP is a simple mindfulness technique that you can use to create space in the day, calm down from a worried mind and shift back into the present moment. It has been found to be enormously helpful in mitigating the negative effects of our response to stress. As we drop into the present moment, we’re more likely to gain perspective and see that we have the power to regulate our response to the pressures we are experiencing. Here is how to practice STOP:

 

S – Stop what you are doing.  Wherever you are, just pause.  You may wish to sit, slow down, and just be still for a moment.

T – Take a few deep breaths.  Begin with some deeper breaths and then if you like you can continue to follow the natural rhythm of your breath for a few moments, labeling it “breathing in” and “breathing out”. 

O – Observe your experience. Noticing what is happening by looking at your thoughts, feelings and emotions.  
Also, notice your body, your posture, any pain or sensations you may be experiencing.  
Take a few moments to reflect on what is arising for you.  You might like to name your thoughts and emotions – research shows that naming what we are feeling can slow down the fear circuit in our brain and help to calm us down.  

P – Proceed with awareness.  Have paused and tuned in, move back into your day knowing what might best support you at this time. Perhaps it would be good to go for a walk, call a friend, have a cup of tea or stretch your neck and shoulders before returning to the next thing on your list!  Even if you can’t take that time right now, you can tune in and know what will be helpful to do later in the day.

There is a growing amount of research on the benefits on meditation and mindfulness practices.  Just this past week, Time Magazine share an article entitled,

Meditation Reduces Emotional Pain by 44%: Study

Many studies now show that mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety and our overall response to stress. The exciting new is that “Mindfulness changes our brains!”.  Studies reviewing MRI’s of Mindfulness practitioners show the following changes:

  • Increases in the density of gray matter in the Pre-frontal Cortex, an area connected to awareness, concentration and decision-making.
  • Increases in the cortical thickness in the Hippocampus, an area which governs learning and memory.
  • Decreases in the volume of cells in the Amygdala, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, helping to reduce fear, anxiety and the response to stress.
  • The connection between the amygdala and the rest of the brain gets weaker, while the connections between areas associated with attention and concentration get stronger.

And, some of the overall benefits of practicing mindfulness include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Decreasing anxiety and depression
  • Improving self-awareness
  • Boosting working memory 
  • Enhancing clarity and focus 
  • Reducing emotional reactivity 
  • Fostering relationship satisfaction
  • Enhancing feelings of well-being
  • Cultivating a positive attitude
  • Increasing empathy and compassion for others and self!

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it! 

I invite you to take some time this week to explore working with the STOP practice.  And, check back next week for another Mindfulness Monday post!

Namaste!

Beth

New Mastering Anxiety & Stress Teleseminar Program Starts 11/11! Come Explore!

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Mastering Anxiety & Stress

A Holistic Approach

4-Session Teleseminar Program

Wednesdays, 11/11 – 12/9
7:00 – 8:00 PM ET

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I am excited to be offering my Mastering Anxiety & Stress: A Holistic Approach Program for only the second time virtually.  This unique program has developed out of my work with both private clients, and in wellness centers and addiction treatment programs over the last 8 years.  It offers a holistic approach to changing our patterns around anxiety and stress.  I have seen amazing results occur in just 30 days and clients often report that the tools they acquire create a foundation for them going forward that they can continue to work with and develop on their own. That’s my goal – to help you discover the healer within and cultivate your own ongoing healing process! You can do this program anytime, anywhere!  The teleseminar calls are open to be on live or an audio replay will be available to listen when it works for you.  I’ve included a description below to learn more and if you have questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact me.  I invite you to come explore!

• Are you struggling with feelings of anxiety? 
• Is stress affecting your quality of life?
• Do you experience restlessness and an inability to relax?
• Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because you can’t quiet your mind?
• Do you have chronic worrisome thoughts that are difficult to turn off?

• Do you suffer from muscular tension, headaches, stomach problems or lack of energy due to worry or anxiety?

Being able to deal with anxiety and stress effectively is an important component in experiencing a joyful and balanced life.  Anxiety and the effects of stress can keep you from being able to focus and be present.  It can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, which can interfere significantly with work, family and enjoying every day life. And, if not addressed, it can be a contributor to physical disease such as heart disease and digestive problems. 

Recent research has shown that there are a variety of alternative and holistic treatment options for relieving anxiety and stress.  Come and explore natural and effective methods for mastering anxiety and stress.

In the 4-Week Series, you will:

  • Learn 5 Steps to Mastering Anxiety & Stress
  • Understand and recognize how you experience anxiety and stress
  • Learn tools and techniques to support balance and ease of well-being
  • Build a personal holistic resource toolbox
  • Develop a new self-care plan
  • Participate in a supportive group environment 

This 4-Week Series will be both educational and experiential. Through a series of explorations, discussions and practices, participants will be able to explore how they experience anxiety and stress, know their triggers and begin to develop a toolbox to support them in optimal living.  This program will be offered via teleseminar and will have an optional Facebook private group.  Attendance on the live weekly calls is encouraged, however, audio replays will be available for all participants to listen to or download. 

Cost: 

  • Basic Program including 4-Week Series, Private FB Group & Weekly Email Check Ins~ $127
  • Extended Program including above plus One 90 Minute Individual Integrative Holistic Healing Session with Beth Terrence In Person, by Phone or Skype ~ $242

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What folks say about this program:
 
“I couldn’t believe my life could change so much in just 30 days.  After struggling with anxiety for so long, I thought I would never find the relief I was longing for.  Beth’s program helped me to understand how anxiety was showing up in all areas of my life.  The intensive support helped me to change habits that weren’t working for me and to acquire techniques that help me to manage stress and feel less anxious.  I really feel this program has given me a new beginning!” ~ R.J., Annapolis, MD
 
“I was having trouble sleeping, finding myself frustrated with my children, and unable to focus at work.  Stress was ruling my life.  A friend recommended I try Beth’s program and at first I was skeptical but through this 30 day process, I found a new lease on life.  I am sleeping better, enjoying life and able to get more done with less stress. Creating a holistic toolbox that is unique for me was a key part of this change as well as building a self-care plan to carry me forward.  The personalized aspect of this program was key for my success in creating change in my life.” ~ M.F., Baltimore, MD
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Writing To Heal 30 Day Online Writing Program Starts Today! Plus 7 Day Challenge Index…

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HealMyVoice

Thanks again to those who joined The Heart of Awakening Blog community for the 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge focused on Cultivating Self-Compassion.  I hope you enjoyed the exploration and plan to bring this format back with other themes in mind.  Just in case you missed it, here is an index of the daily posts for you to explore or come back to in the future:

The next session of Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss and Change 30 Day Online Program, which I co-faciliate with Andrea Hylen of Heal My Voice is beginning today with a special Autumn Equinox Ceremony & Telegathering at 3 PM ET.  This call will open the group energy and space to bring in our intentions for the 30 days of writing.  Daily prompts begin on Wednesday, 9/23 and our time will include 3 additional teleclasses and a private Facebook group for community sharing.  If you are feeling called to dive more deeply into a process of Writing To Heal, I invite you to join us!  See below for details…


 

Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss and Change

A Heal My Voice 30-Day Writing Program

(With Teleseminar Support)

September 21 – October 22, 2015

REGISTER NOW

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” ~ Rumi

Joining a Heal My Voice program is a bit like embarking on a vision quest.  It is a journey into the core of our being.  In traditional cultures, this is done through time alone in nature; in Heal My Voice our vehicle is writing.  The intention of the Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30-Day Program is to create a space for exploring writing as a vehicle for transforming and healing.  During this time, you will have an opportunity to:

  • receive daily support for your writing for 30 days
  • explore your own life and uncover a story that wants to emerge
  • connect with a community of authentic women and men on a journey of self-exploration
  • get to know yourself more deeply to reclaim personal power
  • discover your inner gifts
  • alchemize your pain into remembrance, honoring and joy; and
  • explore or reconnect with the Heal My Voice program to see if our upcoming 9-month book program is a right for you!

Screen shot 2012-04-06 at 7.40.51 PMThis 30-Day program with teleseminar support offers an opportunity to get to know yourself on a deeper level through the Heal My Voice process of Listening, Discovering and Exploring.  As you take this time to reflect on grief, loss and change in your life, Heal My Voice facilitators Andrea Hylen and Beth Terrence will support you in uncovering and identifying experiences and stories that wish to be expressed through self-reflection, writing and community sharing.  This program creates a container for you to go within, gain insight into your life experiences and access the gifts that emerge as we shine a light on our tender places.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

This 30-Day Program includes:

  • Three Weekly Teleclasses with exploration and discussion on grief, loss and change and transformation
  • HMV’s Sacred Sanctuary Writing Space (Audio recordings of inspiration and silence for writing)
  • 30-Days of prompts to inspire and jumpstart your writing
  • A Secret Facebook Group for sharing and discussion
  • BONUS CALL Audio: Tips on How to Write a Book (or E-book)
  • BONUS Fall Equinox Ceremony on the Phone. Live Call and Recorded. September 21: 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern/9pm Europe

Three Teleseminars. All Teleseminars are recorded.

Wednesdays, 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern/9pm Europe (September 30, October 7, October 14)

Location: Accessible by Phone or Online Listening; Audio replay will be available

Cost: $97.00 for full 30-Day Program

REGISTER NOW

Payment automatically Registers Your Email Address.

Facebook Group Opens on September 21.

7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge! Cultivating Self-Compassion ~ Day 7

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7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge!

Cultivating Self-Compassion

Day 7

Gratitude Heart

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life is “Thank You”, that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart

No exploration of Writing To Heal would be complete without some focus on Gratitude practice or journaling.  Gratitude practice has been one of my core healing practices for many, many years now.  Sometimes I keep a special Gratitude journal. At other times, I just include a list in my daily reflection and I also practice on the spot Gratitude writing when I need to focus on the positive and shift my perspective.

I’d like to share some words on Gratitude by one of my most beloved teachers, Angeles Arrien, whose book Living In Gratitude is one I come back to again and again.

“The practice of gratitude bestows many benefits… Anger, arrogance, and jealousy melt in its embrace.  Fear and defensiveness dissolve.  Gratitude diminishes barriers to love and evokes happiness, keeping alive what has meaning for us.”

I’d also like to share some words by Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. Yes, there is scientific evidence that practicing Gratitude is a healing tool!  Emmons explains that gratitude has two key components (Source: Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”)

“First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. In the second part of gratitude, he explains,“we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

Emmons’ findings, along with a number of other researchers, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:

  • take better care of themselves physically and mentally
  • cope better with overall stress and specific challenges
  • feel happier and more optimistic 
  • have stronger immune systems
  • have healthier behaviors and better health maintenance
  • get more regular exercise
  • eat healthier foods
  • have improved mental alertness
  • maintain a brighter view of the future
  • feel a greater sense of connection to self, others and the world

And, writing offers a powerful way to practice Gratitude and cultivate a grateful attitude in an ongoing way…

Daily Prompt

As today is the last day of this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge, I am going to suggest that you take this last prompt and utilize for an additional 7 days. The practice is to simply write a Gratitude List.  List everything you are grateful for today.  This may include the people in your life, successes and celebrations, things you love to do, things that inspire you, things in nature that you love, etc.  It’s up to you and it can be as short or as long as you like.  Especially for this first list or as a returning practice, I suggest writing stream of consciousness and taking some time to list everything and anything you feel grateful for. 

Then, for the next 7 days, write a daily Gratitude List.  You may wish to designate a special notebook or journal just for your gratitude practice.  Some folks like to write 3 or 7 or 10 things they’re grateful for everyday or just keep going.  I have been in some wonderful groups where we share our gratitudes in an online group and we’d start with 1 on the 1st of the month and add one for each day of the month finishing with 30 or 31.  Be creative! Create your own Gratitude practice and see what emerges!

I hope you have enjoyed this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge.  I plan to do some more throughout the year with different themes.  You may wish to take some time today to reflect on your writings and how taking this time has supported you in cultivating greater self-compassion.  Sometimes just giving ourselves the time and space to be open and present with ourselves is all that is needed!  I encourage you to continue to explore what has arisen here for you and most of all, I honor you for be willing to connect with and explore YOU on a deeper level!

If you are interested in continuing to explore, tomorrow is the opening of Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30 Day Online Writing Program Co-Facilitated with Andrea Hylen.  This time of year, as we enter Autumn, is one that is very connected to the feelings of loss and grief as well as transformation.  We can see that with the leaves turning and falling, the cooler days coming and the shorter amount of daylight each day. In many traditions, this is a time to connect with and honor our ancestors and lineages.

I am excited to be diving into this container with the Autumn Equinox and our program begins with an Autumn Equinox Ceremony and Telegathering tomorrow, 9/21, at 3 PM Eastern Time.  This will give us some time to invite in an intention for the 30 days of Writing To Heal and daily prompts will begin on 9/23.  There will be 3 Teleclasses to support the journey as well as a private Facebook community group for sharing.  I’d love for you to join me as you feel called to!

To learn more or register, visit http://healmyvoice.org/30-day-writing-program/.  Registration remains open through 9/28 prior to our first official Teleclass. And, feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more.

Once again, thank you for taking this journey with me to discover the healer within through self-reflection and writing!  It is a joy to have you as part of  The Heart Of Awakening Blog Community.

Love & light,

Beth Shekinah

 

 

 

7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge! Cultivating Self-Compassion ~ Day 6

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7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge!

Cultivating Self-Compassion

Day 6

HeartBeing

“To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
Because it blooms up above.” 
― Fernando PessoaPoems of Fernando Pessoa

As we’re moving into our last 2 days of this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge, I feel like it’s important to include a post that explores writing as a support for self-care and wellness.  We live in a busy, chaotic world.  It’s often much easier to get lost in that then stay in touch with ourselves or others.  This needs to be a choice that we make. Writing is a way we can connect with what is arising for us, what we are struggling with and what we are celebrating – it offers a way to stay present with ourselves.  In a sense it can be a bit like a meditation or certainly a contemplative practice. 

As human beings, our life consists of four basic levels: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical.  In order to create a healthy, balanced way of living, we need to give attention to each of these aspects of ourselves.  As we do so, we become able to heal the specific parts of ourselves that are in need in any given moment and we begin to create a greater sense of wholeness by attending to all aspects of ourselves.  Life is always changing and so are we, but as we deepen in our experience of ourselves, all aspects of ourselves, we begin to create a foundation for living a more joyful and balanced life.

When go through life transitions, we tend to lose the structure of caring for ourselves or we may have never even had one.  Also, when we are desiring to create a certain change in our lives,  a new structure is needed and in the transition, we are lacking a foundation to support that change.   This is a natural part of the change process.   Although there may be discomfort with the  uncertainty and instability that accompanies  change, there is an opening for a new way of being to emerge.  By being willing to look at where we are, what we have experienced and what changes we wish to bring forth in our lives, we have a great opportunity to delve deeper into ourselves and to create a new structure for living life in a more loving and conscious way.

One of the ways that I utilize writing personally and as a recommended tool for my clients is as part of building and rebuilding a holistic self-care tool box.  I believe this is a essential for living a happy, healthy and balanced life.  One specific writing technique is to do a holistic self-care review.  I recommend doing this at least monthly but some folks like to do it weekly.  If you are going through a challenging time or transition, that may be helpful for you as you work to recenter and recalibrate.  I am offer a suggested practice here, but feel free to explore and create your own holistic self-care review, too!

Daily Prompt

Caring for our whole self- body, mind, emotion and spirit, is all equally important in order to live a balanced and healthy life.  We need to focus time and attention on each part of us and our whole self.  Most of us tend to develop certain parts more than others depending on our life experiences.   We may also have been supported or discouraged from developing certain parts.  At certain times in our lives, we may need to focus attention on a specific area to assist us in where we are and what we are experiencing or in healing traumas and wounds from the past that may exist on any level.  There is no right way to heal or change.  We can proceed by developing one area or working on all at once.  Allowing our lives to guide us by being present with where we are and accepting who we are is a major part of the process.  We cannot change where we have been, but by being gentle, loving and present with ourselves in the now, we can create positive changes in our lives.  And it is this moment, which creates the next.

Take a few moments to answer these questions.  The intention of looking at each of the four levels of existence is to see how you are experiencing these aspects in your life at this time.  Notice any areas that may need attention and notice those areas that feel developed and balanced.  Also, be open to noticing and exploring any resistance that may come up about any of the levels.  Write down any ideas you have about how you can create more balance in any specific area or overall.  Also, write down anything you have done in the past, particularly before recent transitions, which may have supported you in any of these areas.

Spiritual:    Do you feel a sense of connection to your spiritual source?  Do you have a relationship with your own inner wisdom or intuitive guidance?  Do you feel you are a part of a greater whole?  Do you spend time alone just “being”? Do you have a spiritual practice, which supports you being?  Begin a list of things you can do to nurture your spirit…

Mental:  Are you satisfied with your intellect?  Can you think and express yourself clearly?   Do you have a belief system that supports you and works for you?  Are you open to new ideas without being overly impressionable?  Do you have clarity?  Are you able to stay focused? Begin a list of things you can do to strengthen you mentally…

Emotional:  Are you in touch with your feelings and able to express them appropriately?  Do you allow yourself to experience a full range of emotions or do you find you shut down certain emotions if they arise? (E.g. fear, sadness, anger, joy, love)  Are you able to set appropriate boundaries with others?   Are you able to be open and honest with others and your self about your feelings?  Can you relate to others in a close, intimate way? Begin a list of things you can do to balance and support your emotions…

Physical:  Are you physically healthy and active?  Do you feel comfortable in your body?  Do you like your body?   Do you eat a healthy, balanced diet?  Are you comfortable in the material world?  Are you practical and down to earth?  Are you financially stable?  Do you enjoy your sexuality? Begin a list of things you can do to nourish your body…

Also, consider what it is that may help your with integrating all parts of yourself.  For some people this comes from rest and relaxation, meditation, time in nature, talking with a counselor, shamanic healing, body or energy work, etc. Create a list of things that help you integrate body, mind, emotion and spirit, too!

This review can be useful in the process of creating changes in your life.  It can also be used regularly as part of a holistic self-care plan.  It is a great way to do a check-in or review of where you are in the change process.  I tend to use it monthly just to touch base with the various aspects of myself and to see where I may have moved out of balance or need to give more attention based on what is arising in my life.  It is also great to see the progress and how I have grown in certain areas as well. Begin a list of things you can do to nourish your body…

As always, please feel free to share you thoughts, feelings and reflections.

Until tomorrow.

Love & light,

Beth Shekinah


If you are enjoying this exploration of Writing To Heal, I invite you to join me and my Writing To Heal partner, Andrea Hylen for…

Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change

A Heal My Voice 30-Day Writing Program (With Teleseminar Support)

September 21 – October 22, 2015

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” ~ Rumi

Joining a Heal My Voice program is a bit like embarking on a vision quest.  It is a journey into the core of our being.  In traditional cultures, this is done through time alone in nature; in Heal My Voice our vehicle is writing.  The intention of the Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30-Day Program is to create a space for exploring writing as a vehicle for transforming and healing.  During this time, you will have an opportunity to:

  • receive daily support for your writing for 30 days
  • explore your own life and uncover a story that wants to emerge
  • connect with a community of authentic women and men on a journey of self-exploration
  • get to know yourself more deeply to reclaim personal power
  • discover your inner gifts
  • alchemize your pain into remembrance, honoring and joy; and
  • explore or reconnect with the Heal My Voice program to see if our upcoming 9-month book program is a right for you!

Screen shot 2012-04-06 at 7.40.51 PMThis 30-Day program with teleseminar support offers an opportunity to get to know yourself on a deeper level through the Heal My Voice process of Listening, Discovering and Exploring.  As you take this time to reflect on grief, loss and change in your life, Heal My Voice facilitators Andrea Hylen and Beth Terrence will support you in uncovering and identifying experiences and stories that wish to be expressed through self-reflection, writing and community sharing.  This program creates a container for you to go within, gain insight into your life experiences and access the gifts that emerge as we shine a light on our tender places.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

This 30-Day Program includes:

  • Three Weekly Teleclasses with exploration and discussion on grief, loss and change and transformation
  • HMV’s Sacred Sanctuary Writing Space (Audio recordings of inspiration and silence for writing)
  • 30-Days of prompts to inspire and jumpstart your writing
  • A Secret Facebook Group for sharing and discussion
  • BONUS CALL Audio: Tips on How to Write a Book (or E-book)
  • BONUS Fall Equinox Ceremony on the Phone. Live Call and Recorded. September 21: 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern/9pm Europe

Three Teleseminars. All Teleseminars are recorded.

Wednesdays, 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern/9pm Europe (September 30, October 7, October 14)

Location: Accessible by Phone or Online Listening; Audio replay will be available

Cost: $97.00 for full 30-Day Program

Payment automatically Registers Your Email Address.

Facebook Group Opens on September 21.

See you then!

REGISTER NOW!

We will begin the program on Sept 21 by opening the doors to the secret Facebook group and by offering a Fall Equinox ceremony on the Instant Teleseminar Line. Come LIVE or listen to the recording.

Then, there will be 3 LIVE teleseminars with information sharing, meditations and community sharing. The calls will be recorded and available to everyone who is registered for the 30 days of writing.

Teleclass One: Listening: Wed, Sept 30 noon Pacific/3pm Eastern/ 21.00 Central European Time

Teleclass Two: Discovering: Wed, Oct 7 noon Pacific/3pm Eastern/ 21.00 Central European Time

Teleclass Three: Exploring: Wed, Oct 14 noon Pacific/3pm Eastern/ 21.00 Central European Time