Archive for the ‘Meditation’ Category

Are You Using All the Tools in Your Toolbox?

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Recently I’ve become aware that although it is second nature for me to coach others through difficult times, to stop what I am doing and send Reiki to anyone who needs it or to create a hypnosis recording that will help someone through a difficulty; I have not been using these tools to address my own issues.

Okay, so I’m reminded once again that I’m pretty much a normal human being. I have ups and downs just like everybody. And sometimes I forget that I have very useful tools to help me move through these difficulties.

How about you? What do you do when someone reaches out to you with a particular worry or need? What tools or resources do you have that you utilize for their benefit? When the shoe is on the other foot, do you find it easy to call upon these same resources to address your needs? If so, terrific! If not, how can you change that situation?

A very wise woman that I know talks often about establishing a circle of support. This is so very important for all of us. This circle is crucial in times of extreme need, however it’s very valuable to remember that this circle of support is there as time goes on and our needs change. Perhaps the people in your circle change to accommodate the shift in your life, which makes sense to me. Contacting these people, knowing that they will respect my story and treat it as confidential is very powerful for me. They make sharing safe. One tool in my box is this circle of support.

I’ve got other tools that I can utilize; prayer, exercise, laughter, writing, Reiki, hypnosis, coaching, reading, etc.

What tools do you have in your toolbox? Are you remembering to open that box up when you have needs? Perhaps you are more able to utilize a particular tool with the assistance of a friend, clergy member or counselor. If that’s the case, I urge you to pick up the phone and reach out to others, trusting them to embrace you with the same sort of love and compassion that you offer.

I really like the toolbox analogy. Feels constructive, reminds me that I am more powerful that I sometimes remember. I wonder what’s in your toolbox…

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

Fear

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Fear seems to be the topic of many conversations lately. So, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. Feel free to weigh in here with your own thoughts and feelings, you have great wisdom; please share.

In the past few months I have been pondering my place at various gatherings. I was feeling mightily intimidated! Although the truth is that it took me a few months to realize that is what I was truly feeling. Yep, the life coach can be very resistant about recognizing her own stuff.

Now let me be very, very clear about this; my feelings of intimidation had nothing to do with anything that anyone else at these gatherings.  It was all self-generated; surprise! 🙂

I would listen to people I care about, each of whom is very dear to me and I realized that I was measuring myself against their successes. This one generates this sort of money and has a very successful history of being a financial success – that’s not me, I must be a failure. This one is steadily building her business and we all see her success growing day by day as her client base grows – that’s not me, I must be a failure. This one has released that negative person from her life – that’s not me, I must be a failure. This one has gone through this, that or whatever – that’s not me….I think you get my point.

So, after lots of hours pondering my own issues, I realized that I was intimidated. Had to think that through some more. What did that really mean to me? It meant that I was afraid. Ahhhh, there it is – fear! It’s something that all people deal with, but in many different ways.

After having a chat with one of my dearest friends on the phone about fear of success recently, I felt a though it was time to address this issue of fear. For me, and if it resonates with you, then for you as well. 🙂

While I was very busy being intimidated, I was using fear to build that up into something that felt as though I didn’t belong. This gave me the very handy, dandy excuse not to take the time to define success for myself. And if I didn’t define it, then whew, I couldn’t fail. Fear was keeping me from failing, but it was also a very convenient way to avoid measuring my own success. Is it possible that this is true for you? In any aspect of your life?

Here’s the thing, fear – which you realize is no longer in red! Is a very human emotion. Normal and completely reasonable – when it’s kept to its appropriate place. It keeps us from running into traffic and it prevents us from wanting to play with badgers in the wild. I’m pretty sure you’ll all agree that a healthy amount of fear about certain things is appropriate.

First step to dealing with fear is to acknowledge it. So, here goes.

Success – what is your definition? Not how you think any of the rest of will define success, but how do YOU define success? For you and only for you.

– How can you measure that success?

– How will your life change if you are successful?

Beware; that last one is possibly the trickiest question that I ever use in coaching. I really want to encourage you to think about all the aspects of success.

What is someone is working to become free of alcohol. If she is successful and releases alcohol from her life then she will be expected to take on more responsibilities at home, which already feels overwhelming for her. She wants to release alcohol and being free represents success to her, but there is a very strong; perhaps even compelling reason in her mind to keep drinking. She feels incapable of taking on more at home and it is quite a process for her to open herself up to the possibility that perhaps someone else can step up and take on the other responsibilities at home.

Someone else may be experiencing with poor health. While she is suffering loved ones, family and friends call and check in on her. They let her know frequently how much they care about her, she matters in their life. If she gets well, if she is successful – will they go away? There is strong reason for her to stay sick. Working to make those connections regardless of health is how she is overcoming this very real fear which has stood in the way of good health.

Are there any reasons for you to stay in a less than successful position? When you think about all that will change in your experience if you are successful – as defined by you. Please include those that feel good and those that worry you as well.

Are you ready to embrace success? If so, to what degree? How can I support you in your success?

Now I am completely open together on this process. Either privately or in a group. Ng How about you, are you open to welcoming your success?

Are you ready to face fear, face it head on, look fear in the eye and put it back in proportion to what is healthy in your life? I am and I invite you to do the same.

You deserve to be happy, and I mean silly happy! It’s my most sincere desire for you to know that as well.

Namaste,
Sandy

Meditation

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

When I used to think of meditation, I was absolutely convinced it was totally beyond me. After all, I believed that meditation required a quiet, calm, very disciplined mind. Let me be very honest here, not one of those adjectives would be used to describe my noisy, active sometimes scattered mind.

Imagine how relieved and excited I was when I learned that meditation comes in many varieties, there is no ‘one size fits all’. This led me to re-think the entire meaning and to discern just what meditation is for me.

When I asked myself a couple of questions, it really became quite clear.

* What allows me to become so absorbed that I am both energized and deeply relaxed at the same time?

* How do I feel after engaging in this  activity?

That’s it; there really were only two questions for me. Remember that busy mind I mentioned earlier, well the simple fact is that two questions were quite enough. I was off and running with this idea that I could be a Master Meditator. By the way, there’s no need to look it up, I made up that term. 🙂

I asked myself, what absorbs, relaxes and energizes me? Gardening, being in or on the water, walking my dog. To name a few. How do I feel after any of these activities? I feel refreshed, relaxed and just plain good. I get lost in these activities, loose all sense of time and often have little or no interest in what is happening around me. This my friends is meditation.

These activities allowed my mind to rest, and that is very therapeutic. However, I have found that other forms of meditation serve me in other ways. Listening to guided meditation relaxes me anytime I listen to it. If I’m having a stressful day, I often will simply put on a guided meditation and let it run in the background. Whether I am deliberately focusing on the meditation or not, I notice that my stress level begins to dissipate.

In December of 2010 my 23 year old son took his own life. To say that suicide is traumatic is perhaps one of the greatest understatements of all time. The stress was pretty much off the charts. One of the ways my body and minds responds to stress is insomnia. This has been an issue on and off for me for many years when stressful situations would occur in my life.

I admit that it took quite a while for me to remember after losing my son that I had tools at hand to help myself. However, when I did remember and when I was able to begin using the tools of meditation, I began feeling better. Not fixed, not healed, certainly not over it. But better. And that mattered a great deal.

It’s only been a bit over a year since losing Mike and I readily admit that I frequently need to remind myself that meditation is helpful for me. Sometimes it’s simply too much for me to get out and walk the dog or participate in one of the activities that usually brings on the calm, restful state. However, for me listening to guided meditations helps tremendously. Particularly when I am experiencing insomnia. I use either an mp3 player with headphones or a simple cd player to allow the meditation to play. Sometimes I try to concentrate on the words, other times I simply trust that the meditation will guide me to a relaxed state and a gentle sleep usually follows. If I’m having a particularly difficult time with sleep, I usually put the meditation on repeat and let it play.

Our mind, our body and our spirit all need rest and calm if they are to serve us well. Meditation facilitates this rest, healing and rejuvenation. The more one practices, the easier and more effective it is in bringing on that healing rest. However, rest assured that the benefits are there for the casual user and beginner as well.

I strongly encourage meditation for anyone. Particularly for someone who is experiencing illness, trauma or stress, meditation can make all the difference.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

One of my favorite experiences is to listen to guided meditations while drifting off to sleep.

Forgive and Forget – I Don’t Think So!

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

I’m all for the forgiving part, but as for the forgetting – not so much. Let’s walk through this just a little bit and I think you’ll understand my point.

When I forgive a hurt or a wound of some sort, I do it to release myself from further anguish. I forgive for myself, not for anyone else. For me it is often a very deliberate choice. I may decide that I’m tired of being angry, irritated, depressed and defensive. In other words, I’m tired of feeling crummy! When I’ve had my fill of feeding those emotions which I do not enjoy one little bit, I am ready to begin thinking about forgiveness. I know that when I do forgive, that I will be able to release those feelings that are dragging me down and that I’ll experience relief. That relief is healing.

So, I decide that I want to forgive so that I can feel better. The person I’m forgiving may or may not know about my decision and my feelings. Remember, this really is all about me. I want to feel better, so I forgive. I believe that when my energy changes to become lighter and more loving that the offender so to speak, benefits as well, whether they realize it or not. But primarily I am taking this step to forgive someone or something so that I feel better. Me, me, me!  This is taking good care of me and I deserve to feel good just because I am me, a child of God. Whew, that feels better.

The process of forgiving is simple for me and no, that doesn’t mean that it is always easy. But sometimes it is easy and that’s okay too. In fact, it totally rocks. Forgiveness is sometimes a very deliberate process, other times it simply happens a little at a time with little thought or deliberation. Either way it unfolds just about the same – for me. It begins with a decision that I want to feel relief, that I’m ready to stop feeding the pain, irritation and anger, all of that crummy stuff we talked about earlier. That leads me to begin looking for a blessing in the incident. Strange as that may seem, I believe that everything has a lesson and if I can find a lesson I can see it as a blessing. That allows me to begin releasing my pain and embracing the relief. Sort of like a balloon that is not popped, but has a slow leak, as I embrace the blessing I feel the pain ebb. Aaaaaah, that feels really good, and so forgiveness begins.

Now, about this forgetting stuff. That is a whole other kettle of fish my friend. After all, if each experience is a lesson of sorts, how is it helpful for me to completely and entirely forget about it? Makes no sense to me, because once I’ve experienced a specific wound I’m generally pretty much okay with not having another just like it. I’m hopeful that I learn not to put myself in such a situation again and if I forget all about the incident it seems that I’m much more likely to be hurt again and again and again. Now of course, you do what is right for you. As for me, I prefer to learn and move on.

From personal relationships to global tragedies this line of thinking works for me. No matter how small or how large. If we forget what brought about atrocities than we are likely to repeat the experience. If a friend has hurt me, I want to forgive that hurt so that I can move on feeling good, not being eaten up with anger or other general icki-ness. Whether or not I renew that friendship is another thing entirely. If it’s a friendship that I want to continue, I have the ability to learn and decide if it is to my own benefit to put myself in this situation again. The wound may have been unintentional, what can I learn from this? How can I move forward in a healthier manner? Perhaps the relationship has run its course. Forgiveness allows me to bless the time that was spent together and still release the relationship feeling good. But, and this is a great big but – I don’t want to forget the lessons learned.

There are tools that I use to support myself in this process. I find that Reiki not only balances my energy but Reiki also enhances my general sense of well being; of course. The flow of Reiki makes it much easier for me to move through these steps. Okay, let’s be very honest here, the Reiki just feels so darned good that I welcome it at any time. Coaching helps too, no doubt about it. Whether I work with another life coach, coach myself through the situation or remind myself of the steps that I use when I work with my life coaching clients. One step at a time, using the appropriate tool for that situation. Hypnosis is also really helpful to me as I work through my own issues. Dovetailing and very nicely complementing  the Reiki and life coaching. You see the life coaching allows me to become aware of what I prefer. The Reiki assists me in releasing negativity that is not serving me well. The hypnosis speaks to my sub-conscious, that incredibly cute but amazingly stubborn 4 year old that lives in my brain. Hypnosis speaks to her and reminds me that I don’t have to do anything that I don’t want to do. Because hypnosis speaks to my thriving subconscious it supports my choice,offering the reinforcement that it is not only okay but my choice to move in this direction. Now all of these tools have not always been available to me, and of course I was able to forgive then as well. But I’ve got to say, I find that having hypnosis,  Reiki and life coaching all in my little tool box assists me in the process. What works for you?

Forgive and forget if it feels right to you. As for me, I’m a project that is still in the works, still in the process of development. I’m still working on forgiving some people and events, but it’s coming along nicely and that offers me lovely relief. As for forgetting, I’m okay with the remembering. After all, once the pain is released the person, incident or event simply becomes a bit of history. Something I have learned from, something that has blessed me. And that makes it all worthwhile.

For this week, I wonder if you are ready to begin forgiving someone or something from your own life. How would it feel to release some of that pain or anger and welcome a bit of relief? It’s up to you of course, but I encourage you to give it a try. C’mon, you can do it. I know you can! When you’re ready.

Namaste,

Sandy

Energy and the Penny Wall

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

What you are looking at – if you are looking at the picture here is a Penny Wall. Well, that’s what I’m calling it anyway.

A few days ago my friend and fellow Serenity Community member, Andrea Lange asked me if I had ever stuck a penny to the wall using only my energy. While I’ve had some interesting experiences in my life I had to admit that up until then I had never thought of sticking pennies to the wall. Have you?

So, I asked her what we were using to adhere these pennies, some shiny, some dull to this wall in the hall between our offices. Her response shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. Energy and Intention. Do you dig that or what!?

Okay, I thought I would give it a try. Picking up a penny, I pressed it against the wall as hard as I could. As soon as I removed my finger the apparently un-energized penny fell to the floor with a quiet but very distinct thud. Oh. Maybe there’s more to this than I had considered. Andrea only chuckled a little bit; she’s a very kind and gentle woman. 🙂 We chatted a bit more. Andrea’s instructions were simple, she asked me to intend that the penny easily stick to the wall. See, feel and believe that my energy was flowing through me, through the penny and into the wall. Know it would stay there if that was my intention.

On the second try, my penny stuck. I was so excited I’m sure many of you heard me shout and perhaps felt the earth shake a bit as I jumped up and down in absolute glee. To say I was absolutely delighted by the energetic penny would be something of an understatement. Andrea stuck her penny to the wall and we both went home.

The next day our pennies were still stuck to the wall. Oh, this was getting even better! So, as I saw clients during the day, I invited them to stick their pennies to the wall. Following the instructions Andrea had shared I encouraged them to use their energy, their intention to feel, see and know the pennies would adhere, easily and totally effortlessly. I should have been taking pictures of the looks in the eyes as one person after another easily placed their penny on the wall.

All of this has a point you know. It’s a visual example of what we can and do accomplish each and every day with our intentions, using our energy. We move through life, thinking one thing and another. Having expectations that are positive or perhaps less than happy. Each of these thoughts, intentions, worries, fears and expectations has an effect on our life. The Penny Wall makes that pretty clear.

I think I’m going to take some fabulous colored pencils into the office and ask clients to sign and date their pennies as they put them on the wall. Just a little reminder that our energy, our thoughts, our intentions create our world.

I’m not speaking specifically about life coaching, Reiki, meditation or any other form of energy work today. In fact I’m talking about all of these things and more. I encourage you to simply take a moment to think about how you would like your life to unfold today. What would make you happy? Allow your thoughts and feelings to flow easily, what feels good to you? Take one more look at the Penny Wall. When I tried to attach my penny using force it fell to the floor. When I gently held it to the wall and asked for it to stay, it did.

No nagging here. The coach is going for another cup of coffee and an apple. I just wanted to share my energy and intention with you. I intend to have a fabulous day; perhaps I’ll put another penny on the wall. If you would like to add yours, come on by. There are plenty for everyone.

Namaste,

Sandy

Meditation Musings – Changes

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

We Sit.
We Sit because it is what we do.
We Sit without thought of goal or gain.
We Sit.

This is the beginning of my morning meditation and has been for longer than I can remember.

This is the Way I was taught, many years ago. Meditation is something I do because I am a meditator. It requires no other justification. I am a meditator for reasons even I don’t understand. I know only that it is a part of me. It is what I do.

However, while this attitude is wonderful and embraces meditation as a pure practice, the fact of the matter is that my Way is not the only Way and many people would like to have a reason, a goal if you will, for doing something on a daily basis. Even if the reason for Sitting is simply to enrich the spiritual aspect of one’s life, many people feel that if they invest several hours a week in a practice they should get something more out of it.

And, yes, even as I speak the words, I understand that if I have no other purpose my meditation completes me and that is a goal and/or gain.

So, let us move from the ideal to the practical.

True meditation, on a regular basis, often brings insight, patience, and balance to one’s life. Just sitting quietly in the Now can cause one to see and feel things in ways that most non-introspective people don’t understand.

When we have made that connection between our conscious and sub-conscious mind by using meditation there are many places we can go and things we can do with this connection.

After the phrases mentioned above my meditation turns to my affirmations, those things I wish to emphasize in my daily life. Experience has taught me that affirmations should typically be short and positive in their wording:

“I live a life of kindness and compassion.”
“I recognize and accept that all creatures wish to experience happiness and avoid suffering.”
“I enjoy making healthy choices.”

Affirmations of this nature can remind you of what you want your life to look like and when you start or end your day with these positive statements they often stay with you as you move out of the zendo and into your world.

When someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of reacting with anger and outrage, your remembrance of the fact that you live a life of kindness and compassion is an antidote for the negative emotions you might otherwise feel.

When faced with the unexplained actions of someone close to you, remembering that all creatures wish to experience happiness and avoid suffering might help you in your search for the true context of the actions that puzzle you.

If, when ordering food in a restaurant, you are reminded that you enjoy making healthy choices, it becomes easy to order a salad rather than a burger. It’s been my experience that if I’m going to argue with myself about such a choice I might just as well make a good choice, and even if I choose the burger I’m doing it mindfully and the next time I will most likely make a good choice simply because I’m aware of what I’m doing and know that making healthy choices is better for me.

And so, after a while, the affirmations become a part of you.

You don’t have to try to live a life of kindness and compassion, it just happens. And when you engage in thoughts or activities that don’t reflect this pattern you recognize it and realize that you are acting in a manner that is not normal for you. This often leads one to contemplate, perhaps in the next meditation session, why you reacted in such a manner and, when coupled with the gentle persistence we use in meditation, could allow you to identify a larger issue or situation that might need to be dealt with.

There are many sources for meditations that use a variety of affirmations. The easiest is your own mind. Decide what your affirmations will be and recite them to yourself on a daily basis during your meditation. If your desired affirmations are common you might be able to find a generic meditation recording that will allow you to absorb them as you listen. If your affirmations are unique to you or your situation you might wish to find someone who can make a recording that is tailored to your specific needs.

When I craft a custom meditation for a client I always start with an interview, either in person, by phone, or via email. Questions are asked in order to understand what the client wishes to accomplish with their meditation. I am also searching for phrases, attitudes or experiences that will help me craft the message in a way that makes the most positive connection possible. I explore when and how the client meditates, including what they are usually doing both before and after Sitting.

Once this interview is completed I create a recording that is specific to the information gathered. A custom meditation typically has three components: the affirmations, background sounds, and brain entrainment beats.

Affirmations have been discussed and often the client provides some or all of the affirmations, they need only be tweaked to place them in a short, positive manner. While affirmations can be made sub-audible, or subliminal, recordings provided by my label, Indigo Sangha, usually have audible vocals

Background sounds, usually nature or environmental sounds, are crafted to help the listener relax and connect with themselves in a comfortable manner.

Brain entrainment beats are designed to help the meditator move into a receptive frame of mind, usually leading them to a mental state that helps make the connection between the conscious and sub-conscious mind. If one meditates in the morning, after hearing the affirmations, the mind might then be led to an active, engaged state. If meditation is done at night, before bedtime, the mind might be led, instead, to a sleep or pre-sleep state. Entrainment beats can be audible or sub-audible and their construction is determined by information gathered in the initial interview.

It should be noted that this process only suggests to the brain that it go into these states. It is still necessary that one be receptive to the entrainment and a proper time and place should be provided. Entrainment beat recordings should never be listened to while driving a car or operating machinery.

Whether one uses generic or custom meditation recordings the technology should always be seen as an aid to our Way and not a substitute for proper practice or contemplation. Even with the use of this remarkable technology one should still remember that the process of being mindfully in the Now is what separates meditation from all other activities.

Namaste,
Jim

Open House – Welcome!

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I want to take this moment to invite one and all to our Open House!

Monday, November 15th

3-7pm

13825 West National Avenue

New Berlin, Wi 53151

Your Hosts

Serenity

Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance – WOCA

Café of Life Chiropractic

New Berlin Chamber of Commerce

Also Featured

Mary Kay Cosmetics

Shorewest

ANEW

Insight

Miche Purses

Tupperware

…and more

This will be a great opportunity to sample services, ask questions and learn about wonderful services and products.  Some of the services and products featured will be:

Life Coaching – Reiki – Hypnosis – Animal Reiki – Meditation – Vitalistic Chiropractic Care – Cosmetics & Skin Care    Spiritual Coaching – Biofeedback – De-toxifying Footbaths …and so much more!

Wrap up your holiday shopping with purchase of products or gift certificates.

We look forward to seeing you Monday.

Namaste,

Sandy

Meditation Musing – When is Meditation?

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

The physical benefits we derive from meditating are very impressive but few of us can spend a significant amount of time at this practice and not have it touch our spiritual nature. Stilling our minds, feeling our heart beat and listening to our breathing directly connects us with that most wonderful and complex creation, the human creature that is us. Moving through our lives with a meditative attitude, developing the equanimity that allows us to observe without becoming attached to, or repelled by, our experiences, allows us to marvel at the complexity and depth of the world around us. For many of us the experience can be a connection to whatever we perceive as the Highest Power of our universe.

It is easiest to envision meditation as someone sitting with their legs crossed on a cushion with their hands arranged mystically saying special words. In actuality meditation is a state of mind and not a location or activity. When one understands that all meditation starts with being mindfully in the Now, then the obvious corollary is that any activity that involves being in the Now can be meditation.

The parishoner who kneels at the altar and prays the Rosary is meditating if they are mindfully considering their prayers and actions as they do so.

My friend the gardener, who finds her connection, peace, and tranquility in the soil is meditating when she kneels down, focuses her mind and begins to commune with nature as she plants, weeds, cultivates and encourages her flowers to grow.

The runner who submerges herself in the pace, rhythm, and breathing of her exertions, if she is being mindfully in the Now, is meditating.

The cook, who mindfully prepares food for his household is meditating if he is in the Now and paying attention to the moment as he handles his ingredients, considers the tastes and flavors he is combining and creates something more than nutrition by putting a significant portion of himself into his preparations.

By extension one could argue that the line worker in the factory would be meditating if he is in the Now and being mindful when he attaches the widget to the gizmo as it comes down the production line.

Watching a sunset with the right attitude is definitely meditation.

One of the most traditional Ways makes extensive use of walking meditation. The technique consists of being mindfully aware of yourself and your environment as you perform that most basic of activities, walking.

So, if meditating brings us closer to our Highest Power then it makes sense that carrying our meditative attitude outside the zendo helps us connect our daily world with that Highest Power.

On a recent beautiful fall day here in Wisconsin I chose to remove myself from the urban area I live in and spend the day in a not too distant forest. After a few hours of walking through the brilliantly colored trees and fields that are autumn here I felt drawn to sit for a few moments and experience the Now. As I listened to the sounds, smelled the aromas and felt the wind and sun on my face I composed myself, took three slow deep breaths and opened my eyes to look at the forest.

I felt a surge of energy and was filled with a wonderful sense of peace and serenity. I remember thinking to myself “This is my connection to my God and my Universe”. I was Meditating.

Namaste
Jim

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When I Grow Up I Want To Be More Like My Dog

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I’ve decided that my dog knows quite a bit about living life to the fullest. When he’s tired, he simply heads to his favorite spot in the sun and takes a nap. When he wants his belly rubbed he comes and makes it clear just what he wants. When Indy’s hungry there is no doubt that he would like a meal. You know when Indy’s in the mood to play because he simply starts playing. Smart guy!

Because Indy is so clear about what he wants he is seldom disappointed. Indy is a brilliant life coach! He’s teaching me lessons every day and I’m doing my best to learn from him.

When I work with clients, whether life coaching, Reiki or meditation, I am always encouraging them to practice excellent self-care. While I may forget to practice this myself from time to time, my buddy Indy offers gentle reminders. If I’m a bit too serious, he reminds me that life is to be enjoyed by showing my just how much fun there is to be had in a short wrestling match.

One of the life coaching lessons I continually strive to learn better is to embrace and express certain emotions. While laughter and joy are very easy for me to share other thoughts and emotions are more difficult for me to express. Fear, anger and grief are very difficult for me to share with others or to simply release. In the past I have found that I had a tendency to stuff or simply deny these feelings. Here’s the thing, although I may prefer to deny these emotions they do still exist. The body, mind and spirit has a full range of emotions, and whether I like it or not, my body, mind and spirit will find a way to express these emotions. They are not intended to be denied, bottled up or stuffed. They are there for a reason! A full range of emotions keeps us healthy and it’s vital that we each find a non-destructive way to express these emotions.

What do you do? For me, writing is therapeutic; digging in the dirt, walking and of course being with my buddy Indiana is extremely helpful. When Indy’s sad or upset he doesn’t hesitate to come to me and indicate that he simply wants my company. Sometimes it’s enough for him to just hang out with me, other times he needs some real exercise. I have a lot to learn from my dog.

I am learning, though to be honest I am sometimes a slow learner. 🙂 At the very young age of 49, I am slowly becoming more comfortable sharing feelings, thoughts and emotions that I have always accepted in others easily. Life coaching, Reiki and meditation have all helped me to understand that being sad or angry is no more destructive or negative when present in my life than they are in anyone else.

This is a good time to acknowledge and appreciate not just my resident life coach Indy, but also dear friends and family. These folks not only allow, but at times even gently prod me to share as much as I feel comfortable. I’m so grateful for that. Equally as important, they do not demand that I share; they simply hold the safe space and remind me that all emotions, thoughts and feelings are welcome and safe. That’s powerful stuff and I can’t say how grateful I am.

Indy reminds me every single day that it’s okay to have a full range of emotions and to share those emotions with others. You will have absolutely no doubt when my buddy is happy, that nub of a tail wags so hard that I’ve often thought how remarkable it is that it’s still attached.

What do you do to express yourself? Do you dance? Perhaps you retreat to a private place with your thoughts…maybe writing is your thing. There are so many ways to express yourself, talk to a loved one, call a friend, laugh and or cry at a movie. Exercise or take a bath, read a book and let your emotions pour themselves out. I don’t know what’s right for you and you may not know at this moment either. If you can’t figure it out by yourself, give me a call and I’ll be happy to help you figure it out.

I’m going to keep studying and allowing my own personal life coach to assist me in this growth, Indy’s really quite good at this whole process. I encourage you to find discover what allows you to express yourself. In the meantime, I will continue to strive to live life more like my dog. In the moment and expressing all emotions to the fullness that is appropriate this very moment.

Namaste,

Sandy

Meditation Musing – Posture

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

There are many thoughts about the posture one should take when meditating with many Ways presuming that their Way is the only correct method. For many of us most of these “correct” ways are not practical or possible but we still meditate and we still derive benefit from our meditation.

Why does it matter?

Unless one sees meditation as a form of penance or punishment a primary aspect of our posture and position is to be comfortable. Most of us find it difficult to Sit for long periods of time if we are not comfortable. Trying to hold an uncomfortable posture can certainly be a distraction if our purpose is to remain in the Now. Most of us find little benefit if our meditations center around “I hurt Now”. Few of us would find it a beneficial mantra.

The Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, generally credited with bringing Zen to America and the author of the seminal book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, tells us that we Sit with our legs crossed as a way of minimizing the duality of our body. When we stand or sit as in our normal manner we have a left side and a right side. When we sit with our legs crossed we have the right foot on the left leg and the left foot on the right leg. This is intended to merge the right and left sides of our bodies, facilitate the connection between the right and left sides of our brain, and remove or minimize our dualistic perceptions of ourselves. When we sit in a crossed leg position we are also creating a tripod stance, generally thought of as the epitome of stability. This stability of posture is thought to help provide us with a stability of mind.

Most Ways tell us that we should Sit with a straight back or spine, generally as a way to encourage or facilitate the movement of our energy (ki or chi). This emphasis on posture and head positioning can serve other purposes for the student of meditation. One purpose is to provide a focus for the mind, that is, to occupy the mind with the task of monitoring posture in order to keep the mind in the present moment. Another purpose is to allow the Master to see if and when his students allow their posture to change, usually indicating a loss of concentration or wandering from the Now. At this point the Master corrects the student in whatever manner he uses, returning the student to the Now.

For our purposes, let’s move from the ideal to the practical.

Meditating in any posture is much better than not meditating at all. Most of the meditators I know sit in a chair and many of them derive great benefits from their Sitting.

Keeping the back straight does allow energy to flow through the body efficiently but it is also the optimal position for the use of our lungs. By sitting up straight we allow ourselves to take maximum advantage of the benefits of abdominal breathing which provides maximum blood and organ oxygenation and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, activating a “relaxation response” in the body. Probably just as important is that our bodies have developed the way they have for a reason and when the human spine is properly positioned we actually use gravity to help support us.

The position that we use when we Sit can often become a part of our practice and arranging ourselves in a particular way at a particular time can be a signal to our body and brain that we are about to meditate. When I Sit at home I sit with my legs crossed in a large cushioned chair. When I Sit in the zendo I sit with my legs crossed on a meditation cushion. This is the Way I have learned over many years. More importantly, to me, is that I do many things when I sit down. I do only one thing when I sit with my legs crossed. I Sit.

Serenity is our zendo and we are located at 13825 W. National Ave. Suite 100,
New Berlin WI 53151. If you are in the Milwaukee area and would like information about our Meditation Groups or are interested in our New Meditator workshops, or would like one-on-one meditation coaching please contact me at jbarrett10@wi.rr.com. We also appreciate constructive comments or subject suggestions for this blog.

Namaste,
Jim