Tag Archives: Maryland

Celebrating 20 Years of Zero Balancing!

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Hello Beautiful Beings!

I was sharing a post of a video with Dr. Fritz Smith a couple of weeks ago on my Facebook page when I realized that it’s been 20 years since I began studying and practicing Zero Balancing.  In the video, Fritz shares about how ZB can induce expanded states of consciousness similar to meditation that can lead to healing and a deep sense of well-being. Below, I’ve included this video as well as a post about my journey with Zero Balancing, which in addition to informing my work as a body/energyworker and holistic healer, has also helped me to experience a sense of safety and wholeness I never imagined was possible.

In honor of this anniversary, I am offering a Celebration Special Offer on Zero Balancing Sessions in Annapolis and Energy Balancing Sessions by Phone/Skype now through 8/31 and a free Guided Pyramid Meditation for you to explore.  See below for details on special offer, to access the audio and how my journey with Zero Balancing changed my life!  Plus, be sure to check out Fritz’s video…


My Journey Into Zero Balancing…

I had not even received a Zero Balancing session when I attended my first course but it was highly recommended by my acupuncturist in New York City, Dr. Li.   There was something in his enthusiasm about this that led me to sign up for an upcoming four day course.  We met is a dance studio in Tribeca and were a small class of only 6 people. We started each day with a pyramid meditation and in addition to learning hands on Zero Balancing protocol, we spent a lot of time exploring the concepts of ZB of balancing structure and energy. When I left that studio after the 4th day, I was a different person!

That was just the beginning of my journey with ZB and over the last 20 years Zero Balancing has supported my life in many beautiful ways!  It was a few months later at my 2nd ZB course that I met Dr. Fritz Smith, founder of Zero Balancing.  It was clear from the onset that this was an amazing man to know.  His breadth of knowledge and experience about body and energy work was incredible but even more so was his enthusiasm not just this work but life itself.

I came to see life in new way after that weekend.  This came from all that I learned and experienced but even more so from one short moment when I received a demonstration of a fulcrum from Fritz. We were working on the feet which is a foundational part of ourselves. Our discussion was on how far one needed to go to make a connection and what arose was the understanding that as long as the door is open there is an access point for connecting. The door can be wide open, but it can also be slightly ajar and yet – it is still open.  In the course we were speaking in terms of technique, however this idea is one we can carry into other areas of life!

As Fritz performed this foot fulcrum on me, I felt a tremendous sense of anxiety come over me, almost to the degree of a panic attack. My heart was racing, my palms sweaty.  I suddenly was a child in my room in the middle of the night with my mother, who suffered from schizophrenia, standing over my bed saying she would kill me.  This was a recurring theme that I had experienced as a child and teen.  I’ve shared about this more in my story, Lost & Found: The Birth of a Shaman.  After a few moments of this memory, I was back in my body on the table with Fritz.  I felt a sense of safety and calm that I had never experienced in my life and one that until that point, I had not imagined was possible.

In Shamanic Healing, we speak of a concept called soul loss. This occurs when a part of ourselves leaves our body because it does not feel safe.  Sometimes the part returns on it’s own.  Sometimes support such as a Soul Retrieval process or ongoing healing work is needed.  I know this moment with Fritz wasn’t the end of my healing but it was a moment that informed me on a deep level that safety and calm was possible in a way I had not experienced in my life up until that point. And, that profoundly changed me!

At the time, I was just coming to understand the impact of trauma on my life and my health – physical, mental and emotional. In addition to Fibromyalgia, I had struggled with chronic migraines, anxiety and depression since my teens. I depended on alcohol, substances and process addictions to cope with my pain.  Many of my memories had been repressed and this momentary experience woke me up in many ways.  It might seem that stirring up this traumatic experience would cause more pain, however having these feelings held so deeply within me had been paralyzing me in ways I didn’t understand until this release occurred.  In a flash of awareness, a very deep clearing occurred. I came to understand how much repressed emotion I was holding inside of me and how body-energy therapies such as Zero Balancing could help to transform my pain.

We all hold feelings, patterns and beliefs from our life experiences. Some are more traumatic or affect us more than others.  They inform us whether we are conscious of them or not.  In ZB, we hold that we are all energetic beings and that as such, bone is the densest form of energy. There is understanding of the relationship that occurs between energy and structure.  Working in this way helps to facilitate the movement of energy on all levels – body, mind, emotion and spirit.   As Fritz shares in the quote above it is these imbalances in our energetic field that can lead to disease if not addressed.  Most simply this is the mind-body connection that we hear so much about today!

Zero Balancing has supported and informed my life and work since 1997.  It’s one of the core modalities utilized in my Integrative Shamanic Healing Sessions as well as on it’s own to support overall balance and well-being.  It’s also been an essential part of Holistic Recovery Pathways, too.

I still today get ZB’s regularly to help me stay healthy, balanced and grounded so that I can support others and live my life to the fullest!

Did you know I currently offer Zero Balancing sessions in my Annapolis, MD?  These sessions are available on their own or as part of an Integrative Shamanic Healing Sessions. I also incorporate some aspects of Zero Balancing into my Energy Balancing Sessions, which can be available in person in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype.

In honor of practicing Zero Balancing for 20 years, I am sharing a Celebration Special Offer now through 8/31/17…

60 Min. Sessions of Zero Balancing or Energy Balancing ~ Regularly $100, now $85.

Packages of 3 Sessions ~ Regularly $270, now $245.

Visit my Discover The Healer Within Website to access this special offer….

Also, if you would like to explore Zero Balancing, one of the most cutting edge body/energy therapies, I encourage to look for a practitioner in your area.  Visit http://www.zerobalancing.com/about/practitioners.

Also, I am excited to share this guided Pyramid Meditaion for your to explore!  I experienced this powerful practice in my first Zero Balancing class and it’s been one of my most beloved practices ever since!


Featured Benefits of Zero Balancing

Zero Balancing offers many powerful benefits to people of all ages. Here are some of the compelling reasons why you should seek Zero Balancing:

Increases feelings of health and well-being
Zero Balancing induces a state of deep rest that allows you to feel truly relaxed, renewed and well. Regular Zero Balancing sessions may help you to feel more vital and alive.

Releases stress and improves the flow of energy in our bodies
Did you know that bones and other connective tissue actually conduct energy? Zero Balancing helps to free the flow of energy in the musculoskeletal system to help relieve stress and boost your body’s natural energy.

Reduces pain and discomfort
Blocks in the body’s energy often lead to imbalance, discomfort and pain. Zero Balancing helps open stuck areas in the body’s natural shock absorbers: the tarsal bones in the arches of the feet, the joints where the ribs meet the spine, the neck, the hips and the sacrum. Once these areas are free, pain can release.

Enhances stability, balance and freedom
Zero Balancing helps to create a wonderful feeling of inner and outer balance, alignment and organization. When your body is clear and balanced and your posture is aligned, you can move with freedom.

Amplifies the sense of connection, peace and happiness
Zero Balancing is deeply satisfying. Often during a session, you experience a sense of expansiveness, peace and contentment.

Releases mental, emotional and physical tension
Zero Balancing works on multiple levels to release tissue-held memory and tension patterns that may be affecting your mental, emotional and physical states.

Supports us through transitions and transformations
A Zero Balancing session supports positive changes in behavior or attitude by giving you the chance to state your personal goals for change – which then become the focus of the session. With the ZB practitioner’s attention and touch, energy is realigned so that old patterns can drop away and resistance to change subsides.

Improves quality of life and increases capacity for enjoyment
Zero Balancing helps us to feel better equipped to handle daily pressures. Many people who receive Zero Balancing on a regular basis find themselves more joyful and satisfied in both personal and work relationships.

Now through 8/31/17…

ZB Celebration Special Offer…

60 Min. Sessions of Zero Balancing or Energy Balancing ~ Regularly $100, now $85.

Packages of 3 Sessions ~ Regularly $270, now $245.

Visit my Discover The Healer Within Website to access this special offer.

I hope you enjoy the guided meditation and will come explore as you feel guided to! 

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7 Ways To Cultivate Love & Compassion For Yourself! Plus, Still Time To Join HOA’s Virtual Compassion Program…

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This week, I started a new virtual program called “Compassion Practices For Challenging Times.” As I was putting together some of the materials, I kept coming back to this post originally written in 2012 on “7 Ways to Cultivate Love & Compassion for Yourself.”  As I share during May Is For Metta each year, it is essential to have a foundation in lovingkindness and compassion for ourselves so that we can then extend it to others and the world.

Now is a time that it is easy to look outside ourselves; and to focus on others and what needs to change in the world.  I encourage you to slow down and to begin to choose compassion by fostering within yourself. Then, with open-heartedness and compassion, choose what changes you can best support in the world. As Gandhi says so beautifully, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I invite you to explore the 7 Ways to Cultivate Love & Compassion for Yourself and if you’d like to explore this and go a bit deeper, come join me for Compassion Practices For Challenging Times 18-Day Virtual Program. We started on Monday but are just getting going and registration will remain open through Saturday.  It’s a program you can do on your own timing and at your own pace. This virtual program is offered on a donation basis to support us in these challenging times. 30% of proceeds will go to a charity of the groups choice.  Come explore!

Learn more or register at https://compassionpracticesforchalleningtimes.eventbrite.com.


 7 Ways to Cultivate Love & Compassion for Yourself

Perhaps one of the hardest and most healing things we can do for both for ourselves and for the world is to cultivate love and compassion for ourselves.  In the Buddhist practice of Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, it is taught that in order to have love and compassion for others and the world, we must begin with offering those energies to ourselves. In the practice, we begin by generating the feelings and qualities of love and compassion and then repeating phrases like these:  

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

It is understood that without a strong foundation of compassion for ourselves, we will not have the ability to truly embody those qualities in the world and extend them to other beings.  For many of us, who have grown up in western culture, it goes against our grain to love ourselves first.  This can be seen as selfish and self-centered.  At this time in our personal lives and in our collective experience, loving ourselves is a key part of the new paradigm which allows for greater love and compassion for all beings and for our world.

There are many ways to cultivate love and compassion for oneself.  The key is that it is a process, it takes time and it requires some commitment to ourselves.  In addition to Metta practice, which we will explore more fully in future posts, here are 7 Ways to Cultivate Love and Compassion for Yourself:

1. Be Still.  Connecting with the heart, with the deeper aspects of oneself requires slowing down and going within.  Just as the turtle pulls into it’s shell when it needs to feels safe, we need to go within to begin to create a different relationship with our self.  Taking time each day to slow down and to be still allows us to connect more fully with the heart and to access the parts of ourselves that need love and healing.  Find a comfortable position either sitting or lying down.  Place one or both of your hands on your heart and focus your breathing in the center of your chest, your heart center.  Allow yourself to feel your heart and be open to being present with what is arising.  No where to go, nothing to do, just being there in the heart.  Start with 5 minutes per day.  Ideally, this practice is done for 10 to 30 minutes per day, especially when working actively on connecting with the energy of the heart.

2. Journaling.  Writing is a way to connect with the deeper aspects of ourselves and particularly to track what comes up in still time or as we are working to cultivate self-love.  It is a way to begin to work with the beliefs and feelings that keep us from loving ourselves more fully.  Create a list of your positive qualities or nice things that others say about you.  Create a list of the negative messages or voices you uncover as you begin to be more present.  One of the other important aspects of journaling or writing things down is that it concretizes your experience – it can make it more real for us, which is one of the reasons it can be difficult to do.

3. Affirmations.  I know you are familiar with the phrase, “fake it till you make it”.  This is true with loving ourselves as well.  We may not feel it right away, it may bring up a lot of difficult feelings, but by beginning to express love and compassion openly we can create a change in how we respond to ourselves.  Affirmations are one of the best ways to bring in a positive energy.  They work on two levels.  1. Affirmations help to bring in the energy or feeling we wish to cultivate.  2. What arises when we work with affirmations shows us the beliefs and feelings, which are keeping us stuck and in this case, keep us from loving ourselves.  Some ways to work with affirmations include:

  • Write affirmations repetitively. Post them in various places so you will see them throughout the day such as on  your mirror or on the dashboard of your car.
  • Mirror Work  – sit in front of the mirror and repeat affirmations as you gaze at your own self.  This is a very powerful technique that Louise Hay has taught a lot about.
  • Create a recording so that you can listen to the affirmations over and over in your own voice. Add this to your mirror work.
  • Some suggested affirmations include:  I love myself.  I love and approve of myself.  I love myself completely as I am.  I am beautiful and lovable however I am feeling.  Also, create your own affirmation that feel right for you.

4. Recognize Critical Self-Messages.  Whether it is through your work with affirmations or as you go about your day, begin to notice the negative or critical voices.  Many of them were learned as children, but they have grown in harshness and power over the years.  Sometimes they are so powerful that we don’t even know they are there.  Now, we are choosing to listen, to see the voices and messages that are driving us.  It is these same voices that keep us from loving ourselves by perpetuating the cycle of harshness and sometimes, abuse in our lives.  By uncovering these messages, we can begin to change our habitual patterns.  Keep a list in your journal of these critical voices.  Begin to cultivate loving messages in response to these voices.  When you hear them, ask “is that so?  How do you know that?”  Bring in positive affirmations to create new patterns when these voices arise.

5. Learn to Feel More Fully and Express Emotions Constructively.  For many of us, we learned to stuff or suppress our feelings from a young age.  As adults, we continue to follow the unhealthy patterns we learned as children.  Learning to experience and express our feelings is one of the most loving acts we can do for ourselves.  This can also be a very uncomfortable place.   For many people, it is a place where we become numb.  Our thoughts move faster than our emotions and unless we are willing to slow down and be present with what we are feeling, it can be difficult to access.  Give yourself the time and space to begin to experience your feelings.

6. Consistency.  In building any relationship, it takes time and it requires consistency to feel safe and loved.  In cultivating a more loving relationship with oneself, it is important to be consistent.  Find some time daily, or as often as you can, even if it’s only a few moments, to slow down and connect with yourself.  Showing up for yourself in a regular way is a very loving thing to do for yourself.  Embrace this and create a structure for cultivating love and compassion in your life that you can commit to.

7. Be Gentle and Loving with Yourself.  Many of us have experienced harshness and severe criticism in our lives.  Our messages about love are very mixed up.  It is vital to approach ourselves with gentleness and kindness.  This includes accepting who we are and where we are in our life’s journey.  By moving from a place of acceptance, with gentleness, we can begin to create new ways of being and we can create a loving relationship with ourselves.  As you go about your day, notice when you are being harsh or self-critical, begin to give yourself a break and practice cultivating loving-kindess as a way to be gentle with yourself.

I encourage you to take some time to explore loving yourself more fully and consciously.  This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself, to others and to the world.  It’s an essential practice for our times!

Inquiry As A Tool For Transformation

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ForestLightIt’s been a combination of different things that have come up over the last couple of weeks that have reminded me of how powerful Inquiry is a Transformational Tool

One was a call from my shaman to open up and deepen into my inquiry of “What I am called to do in the world?”.  There are times when I feel clear on the answer to this question and at others more uncertain.  I view Life not as a linear path but more of an upward spiral. I find that as I grow and change, the answer to this questions shifts. Perhaps I am still moving toward to the deeper truth of “Who I am?”.  

One thing I have learned is that it is in being open and willing to the practice of asking questions and deep listening that our inner wisdom and guidance emerges.

Knowing oneself is a key to transformation and healing.

Using a process of inquiry is seen in many spiritual traditions and cultures around the globe as a way access a deeper truth.  There are many ways we can work with this. Some questions may be ones that we have answers to – that can help us to know ourselves more deeply and inform our healing process.  Others may be quintessential questions that we may never have the answers to; and yet, by being willing to practice asking and listening, we allow ourselves to enter into the unknown, to perhaps expand into a bigger truth than our rational mind allows and to open to possibilities that we have not yet imagined.

Many shaman or indigenous healers begin with a process of questions when someone comes for healing.  In my practice, I often use a combination of questions. Some come from the Bach Flower Essence System of Healing and others are more traditional questions that I’ve learned from my shamanic teachers.

I first learned the following four questions from one of my favorite teachers – anthropologist and author, Angeles Arrien.  (Check out this wonderful TedxTalk featuring Angeles Arrien from August 2013… The questions she shared, which she found were universal questions used in indigenous cultures around the world as part of a journey of healing include the following:

  1. When did you stop singing?
  2. When did you stop dancing?
  3. When did you stop being enchanted by story?
  4. When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?

Our responses to these questions can be indicators of when we lost our voices, disconnected from our ourselves and/or may have experienced soul loss in some way.

Exploring them can also be a way to come back to ourselves!  

Asking questions also helps to bring us more fully into the present moment and opens a doorway for expanding our conscious awareness of who we are and how we are experiencing life.

Be curious! Ask, explore and listen for your inner wisdom to emerge!


Discover The Healer Within

 

If you feel you’d like some personal support in exploring Inquiry as a Tool for Transformation or in your Journey of Healing, I am available for one-on-one Integrative Shamanic Healing sessions by Phone/Skype or at my office in Annapolis, MD.  

Schedule a complimentary phone or Skype consultation today to explore what’s possible. Schedule Now…

Now is the perfect time to honor our ancestors and ourselves!

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There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, 
which through the summer is not heard or seen, 
as if it could not be, as if it had not been! 
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Each season moves us through a period of transformation.  It is always beneficial to harmonize with the energy of nature and the season. And, as autumn and spring tend to be the times of more intense change, it can be especially beneficial to take time to connect. Traditionally, autumn is celebrated as the harvest season.  It is the time to allow our bodies to harvest and gather energy for the colder months ahead. As the yang/outer energy of summer gives into the growing yin/inner energy of the approaching winter, there is strong contraction of energy occurring.

In Chinese Medicine, the organs most active in this season are those of the Metal element – Lung and Large Intestine, both of which have strong functions of absorption and elimination.  With the Lungs this has to do with respiration and with the Large Intestines it has to do with digestion.  It is a natural time for gathering and letting go. Also, it is a time for us to nurture ourselves.

The emotions associated with this season are grief and loss and it is not uncommon to experience a lot of sadness bubbling up this time of year. By moving into harmony with what is natural arising in our being and nurturing these parts of ourselves, we can support ourselves in creating greater balance, joy and ease of well-being.  We can also create a strong foundation for moving into the stillness of winter – one that can support body, mind, emotional and spirit.

In many cultures around the world, Autumn is seen as a time when our thoughts turn to those who have left us; we think about our ancestors and their legacy – what has been left behind.  It said that the “veils” are thinner this time of year and that our ancestors often come home to visit their loved ones or “kin”.  This may come through memories, dreams or other surprise visits, too.   Often this “remembrance” arises naturally as our feelings of sadness, loss and grief come to the surface.

Autumn offers us a powerful time to honor our ancestors through ceremony & ritual. This can be for the gifts we have received and also for what we might like to let go of. It is a good time to allow ourselves to release feelings of loss and grief, limiting beliefs and/or patterns that are no longer serving us.  Sometimes we have a need to come to greater completion with our ancestors or loved ones or even to honor our own life experiences. Perhaps there are ancestral patterns such as addiction, abuse, shame or isolation that it’s time for us to let go of for ourselves and future generations.

Ceremony and ritual can be a potent vehicle for finding connection, honoring transitions and letting go.  It is something that is part of many cultures and that is a bit lost in our modern culture today unless we choose to create space for it in our lives, our families and our communities.  Learn more about Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual…

Suggestions for this season:

  • Take some time to think of your ancestors. Are there any memories surfacing or visitors in your dreams?
  • Is there someone who has passed that you need to work with to move to a place of greater peace in your life?  
  • Are there are feelings of loss or grief that you need to share or honor that are unresolved?  
  • Is there is a pattern or limiting belief that you have become aware of in your ancestral lineage that it might be time to work toward transforming?  
  • What might you do to honor your ancestors and yourself this autumn?
Now it the perfect time to do this type of soul work. Take some time to reflect. Simply connecting and asking your ancestors for help is a place to begin. And, consider taking some time to create your own ceremony or ritual to honor your both ancestors and yourself!

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Come Explore!

If you would like to explore this type of sacred soul work in community, I invite you to join me on Saturday, October 29th in Annapolis, Maryland for Letting Go, Embodying Life: Honoring Our Ancestors & Ourselves ~ A Shamanic Journey Workshop for Autumn. It’s going to be a day full of rich exploration and connection.  Learn more or register at https://lettinggoembodyinglifeworkshopoct2016.eventbrite.com.

If you are not local to the MD/DC/VA area and would like to explore Letting Go, Embodying Life: Honoring Our Ancestors & Ourselves this season, I am available to support you in exploring your own sacred soul work and creating your own ceremony and ritual through One-on-One Shamanic Healing Sessions via Phone or Skype. Visit http://www.bethterrence.com to learn more or schedule a complimentary consultation today.

Join Me Tomorrow for the “Raise Stress-Proof Kids” Telesummit!

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I am so thrilled to be one of the featured experts on Sree Meleth’s Raise Stress-Proof Kids Telesummit happening this month.  Sree and I had a wonderful chat last week and she will be sharing this teleseminar via email tomorrow along with a free gift from me – a special report on “Easing the Ups & Downs of Childhood with the Bach Flower Remedies”.   There are also lots of other great presentations on topics such as EFT, Mindfulness, Nutrition and more for you to explore.  The resources focus primarily on supporting children; however, it became clear that during many of the interviews that having adults who take care of themselves and work to have less stress are a key to raising stress-proof kids – so there are lots of tools for everyone on this Telesummit!

Many of you know by now that Bach Flower Remedies are one of my favorite topics to share on.  These gentle remedies are one of the safest, natural and effective holistic tools that I have worked with both personally and professionally over the last 20 years. Although the majority of my clients are adults, I have had the honor and privilege of supporting many children, teens, babies (even those “in utero” beings via their pregnant moms) throughout my many years of practicing holistic healing.  I am excited to share more about this through tomorrow’s teleseminar with Sree Meleth.

My friend and colleague, Dr. Sree Meleth, has put together this amazing interview series that is focused on raising stress-proof kids.  As a parent and grandparent, Sree has learned that the biggest gift we can give our children is confidence in their own inner resources. She has gathered a group of experts who have spent decades helping children and parents deal with the issues of stress and anxiety in natural wholesome ways. She is passionate about working to raise a generation of stress-proofed kids.

  • Do you worry about the level of stress and anxiety that current events expose our children to?
  • Are you concerned that they are not equipped to deal with the normal stresses and strains that are a part of regular life, let alone the excessive almost unavoidable stimulation that digital media provides?
  • Do you worry about the fact that they are constantly “on” and have no time to turn “off”?
  • Do you wish you had access to non-pharma tools and techniques to help your child learn to switch off and calm down?

“Raise Stress-Proof Kids” will share lots of resources and tools that are safe, natural and non-pharma!

  • Do you have a child who is an introvert and prone to stress and anxiety?
  • Would you like to learn how storytelling can help you help the young ones in your life acknowledge and move through big emotions?
  • Would you love to learn quick, easy, practical techniques to help you and your child de-escalate a stressful situation?
  • Would you like to learn more about neuro-linguistic programming, and how it can be a part of you helping your child to be stress free?

This telesummit will be available for a limited time and is already happening.  Be sure to check it out!  There are lots of great resources to explore!

Sign Up Now for “Raise Stress-Proof Kids” Telesummit

And, if you enjoy my interview or have questions about Bach Flower Remedies for Children feel free to post note in the comments below!


 

Beth is available for Bach Flower Remedy consultations in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype.  To learn more about the Bach Flower Remedies and how they can support you and your children in achieving greater balance, joy and ease of well-being, visit Beth’s Bach Flower Remedy Page or contact her today for a complimentary 20 minute consultation

 

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out Virtual Writing Retreat Part II Starts on 4/18!

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Spring has appeared to begin with fits and starts this year here in Maryland.  We just had a bit of snow this past weekend! Now, it’s beautiful and sunny in the 50’s and we’re headed to 70 deg. on Sunday.  I’m not sure if that’s why the Virtual Writing Retreat also had some fits and starts; initially, it was my intention to go straight through but it turns out, we’ve have had a Part I and now it’s time to explore Part II.

I actually found that taking the time to tune in and reflect on Part I’s explorations, looking at body, mind, emotion and spirit, helped me to create a foundation for some of things I have a deep desire to plant seeds for in my life and begin to cultivate this Spring.  And, it took a few weeks of exploration in that way for me to feel the call for a full on “Spring Cleaning”.  I’m in the process of doing that now and it feels good to focus on my physical space as well as personal space.  There is such a powerful interrelationship with our inner and outer spaces.  We’ll take some time to explore this in Part II of this series, which will run from April 18th to 21st.  Stay tuned!

Here is a summary of the posts from Part I if you are just joining in or if you’d like to re-explore them:

Day 1 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Body

Day 2 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Mind

Day 3 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Emotions

Day 4 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Spiritual

If you have any reflections from Part I, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Looking forward to exploring more starting on Monday, April 18th!


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Spring Cleaning Inside & Out Virtual Writing Retreat Day 4 ~ Spiritual

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We’ve been looking at Spring Cleaning through a holistic framework – one that addresses body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Today, we’ll focus on the spiritual aspects of ourselves to see what we might like to shift or change as we harmonize with the energy of Spring.  Spring is a particularly good time to harmonize with the natural world.  With the warmer weather and longer days, it often seems like we are more easily drawn outdoors and with so many things beginning to bud and bloom, it is natural that our attention is on the natural world that we are a part of.

Let’s take a look at what an imbalance in the Wood element might look like on the spiritual level:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for life
  • Feeling disconnected from Nature
  • Lack of sense of spiritual connection
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Missing a sense of soul purpose

I feel like this really represents something I consider to be one of the greatest diseases of our time – DISCONNECTION.  From the shamanic viewpoint and other spiritual traditions, it is understood that everything is interconnected through what we call the “web of life”.  As humans, we often tend to see or feel ourselves as separate.  This often starts with the natural world, but continue with our sense of connection to spirit, to community and ultimately to our own selves.

Spring can be a wonderful time to tune in and reconnect.   I hope you’ll take some time to explore how you can create greater connection in all areas of your life.  Here are some questions to write and reflect on for today:

  • Do you feel connected to your own inner voice?
  • Do you spend quiet time just “being”?
  • Are you able to feel a sense of oneness?
  • Do you feel a connection to Spiritual Source? God? Spiritual Community? Nature?
  • Do you know what Spirituality means for you?  
  • Is there something that your need to resolve or let go of that affects your ability to connect on a spiritual level?
  • Do you have a sense of your soul purpose?  Make a list of things you love most and explore what that might be.

Make a list of 3 – 5 things you can do to support yourself spiritually.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Find a spiritual practice that suits you (be curious and explore!)  
  • Attend a spiritual service or community.  
  • Connect with nature.  
  • Create time and space to meditate.  
  • Find a creative activity that allows you to express yourself more freely.  
  • Awaken your inner self – explore what ignites your own inner spark.

Happy explorations!

See you tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat Day 3 ~ Emotions

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Day 3

So far in our Spring Cleaning Virtual Writing Retreat, we’ve explored body and mind. Today we’re going to take some time to explore our emotional body and how we can support it at this time of year and beyond.

We’ve been exploring the Wood Element, which according to Chinese Medicine is most active in Spring.  Let’s look at the some of the indicators of a Wood imbalance on the emotional level:

  • Anger
  • Shouting
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • “Stuffing” feelings
  • Control issues
  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Sense of separateness

Take some time today to write and reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you in touch with your emotions?
  • Are you able to express your feelings appropriately?
  • Do you allow your self to experience a full range of feelings – anger and sorrow, love and happiness, etc?
  • Are you able to develop close and intimate relationships? 
  • Are there feelings your holding onto that it might be time to let go or work on releasing?

List 3 – 5 things that you can do to support emotional well-being.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Keep a daily journal list of your feelings
  • Share you feelings with a good friend or family member whom you feel safe with
  • Seek out a therapist, counselor, shaman or other guide if you need support in getting in touch with your feelings
  • Join a support group – there are many kinds available and sometimes it helps to connect with others dealing with similar challenges as you are
  • Move your body – dance, exercise, etc. are great ways to allow your emotions space to move through (talking in not the only way!)
  • Make a list in your journal of ways you can connect with and express your emotions and keep adding to it.

Have a  beautiful day!

See you tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat Day 1 ~ Body

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As each season arrives, we move through a period of change and transition.  This can be seen easily in  changes of the natural world all around us but it is also something that is going within us on many levels.  By taking some time to harmonize with the energy of each season, we gain an opportunity to look at the patterns in our own lives with a deeper perspective and insight.  And, we can be supported by the energies that are most active during the current time of year.

As Spring sets in, the days begin to get longer giving us more light.  We can begin to observe new growth in the natural world ~ shoots break through the previously frozen ground and buds pop up on plants and trees almost miraculously, all in preparation for the big Spring Bloom.  Spring is the truly a season of new growth and transformation. With all this happening, we may feel our own energy is expanding, flowing and blossoming with new ideas, too!

This makes Spring a wonderful time to reflect, refresh and renew.  It is a time for new beginnings and offers us a time to tune into our whole self – body, mind, emotion and spirit.  It’s also a great time to review and update our self-care plans as well as explore what might support our well-being during this transitional time and beyond.

I am excited to be sharing this Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat with the HOA community.  I’ve started to offer a number of virtual writing retreats throughout the year as a way to tune in through writing and reflection; and to support transformation and healing in ourselves, our relationships and our world.  I invite you take some time to explore as you feel called to.  It’s not always easy to take time off for a retreat, however it is something we can always create for ourselves in our own way.

I just finished my early Spring Cleanse last, a nine day fast of juicing and master cleanser, which I find helps me to detoxify and recalibrate my system.  It may seem like a fast is focused on the physical, but it is actually a way to clear ourselves on many levels.  I was amazed out how much more spaciousness I found in my mind and how many emotions were moving through during that time.  We often tend to think of spring cleaning in terms of the physical – our bodies, our houses, etc.  However, this is a perfect time to really look as all aspects of ourselves inside and out.

Each day for the next seven days, I’ll be offering a reflection and a prompt for you to explore how you can work with the energy of Spring to support transformation and healing in all areas of your life.  We’ll be looking at body, mind, emotion, spirit and space – inner, outer and sacred.  Come Explore!


 

Day 1

Spring is a great time to look at your life and make a new self-care plan.  Take some time this Spring to look at how you care for yourself, consider where you may be out of balance and where you need to give greater attention to support your overall health and well-being.  Consider what you may need to let go of and what you might like to create in your life – this is what Spring Cleaning Inside and Out is all about!

According to Chinese Medicine, Spring is the season of the Wood Element.  The organs most active are Liver and Gall Bladder.  The color is Green.  So, this makes Spring an ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation of our overall health and well-being.

A person with a balanced Wood Element would experience much of the following:

  • Sense of Connectedness to Nature
  • Clarity
  • Organization
  • Energized
  • Ability & Capacity for Control
  • Spiritual Connection
  • Enthusiasm
  • Healthy Expression of Emotions, especially Anger,
  • Mentally Relaxed
  • Creative

Wood element imbalances may be experienced in a variety of ways.  Let’s take a look at the physical today.  These many include:

  • Spinal Problems
  • Poor Flexibility
  • Headaches
  • Poor Resistance to Illness
  • Allergic Sensitivities
  • Skin Problems
  • Irritated, watery eyes
  • Muscle Fatigue and weakness

Whether or not you notice that you have some type of Wood imbalance or not, now is a good time to reflect on your physical well-being.  Take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you physically healthy and active?
  • Do you feel comfortable in you body?  
  • Do you have health issues that limit your life?
  • Are you eating a diet that supports you where you are and where you want to be?
  • Are there certain things it might be time to let go of from your diet that you are aware aren’t healthy for your body?

Take some time to write and to explore how you might change this area of your life.

Here are some suggestions to explore:

  • Begin to develop your own program to keep you body fit and healthy (this may involve trying different things to see what works – be creative!)
  • Take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes daily.  
  • Try a yoga or tai chi class.  
  • Eat a balanced diet (explore and discover what diet best supports you today!)
  • Listen to the messages that your body is sending to you.  
  • Go for a massage.  
  • Drink plenty of water.  
  • Fast or cleanse to detoxify and rejuvenate your body.  
  • See appropriate health care practitioners or get supports as needed.

Make a list of 3 – 5 things you can do to support your physical well-being.  And, keep adding to this list as you learn more about yourself.

I hope you’ll take some time today to write, reflect and explore a whole new you!

As always, you are welcome to share reflections and thoughts in the comments below.

See you tomorrow!

 

 

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 ~ 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.

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! 

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