Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Justified Anger and Breathing

So what would happen if, instead of acting on that impulse to call him another 14 times, you took a deep breath!  How would it feel if you did NOT respond to that awful emotional pain?

The real idea is that sometimes it is appropriate to get angry - when you see an injustice, it is appropriate to respond to your anger in a constructive way.  But if you anger is not justified, if you are angry at your ex's new partner because she has a partner and you don't, that's not a reason to stalk your ex.

Anger can be constructive.  Anger can help you focus and clearly reach that goal.  Sometimes the anger is so intense that there is no clarity in thinking.  That's when the breathing comes in.  It's important to remember you always have that very effective tool to help lower the intensity of those excruciating emotions.

Breath.  Think about not acting on that emotion.  Think about the steps you can take to sit with the anger until the intensity lowers enough so that you don't act on the impulse you're chewing on.

Monday, October 7, 2013

observing v. sensing

Being present with the experience requires understanding the difference between observing which implies standing outside of the event and being fully within what is happening by sensing.  So the instruction is better if it is stated: "sense your breath, not observe."

The difference is that if you are simply observing an activity in which you are participating, you are not fully in that event; however, if you are sensing the breath you are aware of the  impact of the activity to the extent that you are fully within the experience.  When this feeling occurs, you are completely inside what is happening to your body without judging.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Another Weekend with the "gurus" of MIndfulness

At the current Jack Kornfeld, Daniel Siegel mindfulness brainwashing - not really it's just that this topic has become so popular that it almost feels like the McDonald's of "good thinking".  Isn't it more important to maintain awareness of self and others in a neutral fashion? 

As I attempt to express my skepticism about the popularism of the mindful "movement" I find that each word I attempt to use is one more reflection of what I know about mindfulness - to maintain awareness without judgment and there I go again using those words which are fundamental to holding a "mindful" state of mind.

So even in my desire to be skeptical and rejecting of this honest, caring manner of communicating and connecting I am so immersed in the whole body of mindful thinking that I cannot discuss my own personal mindset without using the fundamental terms: non-judgmental, staying present - one mindfully in the moment.

Monday, September 9, 2013

the New Year!

At sundown on September 5 a New Year began.  The thoughts of renewal and rememberance bring me both relief at the luxury of starting with a fresh palate - new paints and new choices and some sadness.  I will not dwell on the ending but look to the newness.

Sometimes these opportunities to begin afresh are frightening.  Will I make wise choices?  Will I take advantage of the resources I have and take a few risks?  Am I ready to expand my horizons in this new year?

I just read this wonderful quote that I must share:  "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

It was this thought from that very wise humorist that brought thoughts of taking advantage of the new challenges this year will bring.  In addition to the above message, I must remind myself: step out and take those chances that are before me.

And breathe.

L'shona tova.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's Over

Well, summer.  Labor Day and those "free days" of summer are gone for this year.

Sometimes the idea of returning to that daily grind or the same issues we left back in May when we celebrated Memorial Day can be pretty disheartening.  More of the same old, same old.

Or maybe not.  Maybe this Fall we are willing to see this end of summer as a new beginning.  A time when we might actually look at those old issues lurking behind that door as not an obstacle but a challenge.

Sometimes it really is a matter of simply changing the way we define the condition.  If we can call that frustrating situation a challenge, as an opportunity to repair rather than ignore, we can look at the issue with new eyes.

What resources do we need to change the way we have been approaching this situation?  What skills do we bring to this old problem that we did not use previously?

Breaking out of a rut doesn't mean letting go of everything we've been doing but doing it in a different way, looking at a solution we never tried before.

Think about changing the way in which you view the challenge.  Perhaps  you have always looked at it from North and South.  Now you are willing to view it from East and West as well as from North and South.

Keep breathing.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

sometimes the sunniest days are the worst

I know.  The worst days are the ones where the weather is perfect, where there is no pressure to make that telephone call or finish that project.  Because you are at risk, because you can only think of doing something, anything, to stop the pain, start with this simple action:  STOP.
Take a deep breath.
Observe (even if observing is painful, observe and continue to gently breathe)
Now you are a bit closer to allowing yourself to recognize that you do have choices.  You have the choice of acknowledging that there are some things in your life you wish you could change, or forget AND you have the choice to recognize something as simple as the sun is shining and you can feel the breeze on your face.
STOP.  Stop now and be kind to yourself.  Let yourself feel sad and know that your health and welfare matter to a lot more people than you realize.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Time for me!

What a concept?!

My schedule has been so jammed, I have been so busy, I have had to remind myself to take that break for something to eat, or to wash my face, but mostly to stop and breathe.

After a few weeks like this one, I have been very mindful of the need for "me time."  While I haven't taken the wonderful mini vacation to the Korean spa, I am taking those brief yoga and sitting breaks.

It does make a difference.  When I don't take that break for me, I don't feel competent.  I don't feel able to take care of myself or anyone else.

Find something that gives you your own "Me time" and then do it.  Do it every day, even if it is just drinking that cup of tea without interrupting yourself to answer the phone or send another text.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Lying: to ourselves

If I'm late, I'll just tell them traffic held me up. That's logical in LA. On the other hand, what if t you're late because you didn't want to go. What would happen if you admitted these feelings to yourself?

Asking a big question: "How would my life be different if I was really honest with myself?" means allowing yourself to really look at who you are.

Questions of this sort are incredibly hard to ask and the answers we give, WHEN we allow ourselves to be honest can actually make us feel better.

Admitting that we don't want to be with certain people can help us learn more about what we need in a relationship. Answering this question can help us create satisfying friendships. By examining our wants and desires in relationships we develop a meaningful support system.

Learning what we want in friendships does not mean getting rid of people in our lives. This information can make our current acquaintances even more meaningful. We look to companions for  how we feel with them. We turn the friendship around so we appreciate the connection with all of their quirks.  We have friends we enjoy.

Finally, I'm Baaack

What an amazing few months

Academic challenges for me personally and very satisfying teaching experiences.

Let this brief post be just a notice that I am back and thinking about supporting readers who may be going through the pain of "is it all worth it?".

Been there, done that and you get points for hanging in. . .

It is worth hanging in just for today.  It is worth it to stay in this moment of breathing without thinking about tomorrow.  Things look bleak when we are unable to narrow our perspective to one simple idea.  Look out the window and observe the way the light falls on that tree or on that dirty car or how the shadows create an unexpected pattern.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to simply breathe and observe without judgement?

I'll keep writing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Catching up

A new season, daylight savings time and another moment of surprise at this constantly changing resource I am offering.  Let's just say this essay after so many months of quiet is to say "hello, I am back and want to provide support to anyone reading this blog."

The primary reason my for silence is that I was finishing my novel!  It is now making the rounds of agents.  Meanwhile, a chapter is available at my other website: and the opening of the novel is posted on its own facebook page!  Read it!  Like it! Comfort Food, opening!

I am thinking of the craziness of those unpredictable events that we handle every day.  Some days there are the bills that appear out of no where, other days there is the dog with skin allergies whose scratching is creating a black fur rug on top of my white carpet.  Mostly I can report that simple distractions like S-T-O-P keep me going from one obstacle to next challenge.