Mindful Munching

Mindfulness is a key attribute to conscious living. One exercise that helps intensify awareness is concentration – like in this food meditation.

The idea is to slow down in order to enjoy and appreciate the food that you eat and the effort that went into creating it. Consider doing a food meditation with, say, honey roasted almonds almonds, or whatever is your favorite. Pick up a nut and really take it in—its feel, the way it smells. Now, think about the journey your morsel took from growing and harvesting and shelling and toasting to get to you at home. Let it touch your lips as you put it in your mouth and then chew it purposefully, taking in its texture and flavor. Isn’t that the best bite you ever ate? Absolute heaven!

Truly, this is food for thought… and thought for food, I guess.

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From Limerence to Love

There is a psychological and physiological state that comes about when “falling in love” called limerence. You know, the initial year or so of a relationship where there is rapture and joy from infatuation.

I remember when I couldn’t eat for the flurry of butterflies, couldn’t sleep for the adrenaline rush through me, couldn’t wait to get past this nascence to the “comfy worn-in-jeans” stage when I could relax into the depth of knowing another. And, there are those times I wish to stay in the agitated state of getting-to-know-you stress.

Be the right person in your relationship—it is as important as finding the right person to be with.

Then there are explorations of power and honesty in relationships. There is a time of balancing demands of intimacy with the need to be our own solitary person. Truthful discourse, which can be very difficult, is critical to making relationships work. It takes constant awareness to reveal oneself, to allow and accept another, and to protect the confidences.

Consider this. You are the most dangerous person to your partner or to your best friend because you are the one with whom there is greatest emotional connection, because you know every vulnerability. Make the choice to protect your significant one and keep them safe. Even if you sever the relationship.

We invest our hearts in significant ones… and we strengthen our ability to love through these relationships—with friends, siblings, parents, spouses, children. Here’s to connecting.

Filling Character Cavities

Sometimes we fall… In the dark moments, we realize the cavities in our character; thus, can root them out and begin the repair. My current focus is on expressing my feelings productively. So that I learn this lesson well, I have been given the pain of betrayal, plus the sting of inequity, and the agony of abandonment. In this, I realize my vulnerability to those I love and my emotional based reactivity.

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. – William Shakespeare, 1564-1616

At times I have allowed pain-filled rage to rule me. This behavior is learned, so can be unlearned. Now to remove the blemish and replace it with strength, wisdom, consistency. I enlist all the senses to make peace with the past and overcome hurt. It is said that through adversity one finds great growth…

The wonderful thing about character is that you can build it. And it is one of the few things in life that no one will ever be able to take away from you. Your choices are your own. Here are the steps I follow to build my ability to respond rather than react—even to the deepest emotional pain.

  1. Understand the reactivity. Look at past choices, observe feelings and actions. Identify triggers.
  2. Determine values that will guide me: Self Control, Respect, Caring, Courage, Responsibility … and Wisdom.
  3. Outline a set of tools to employ when upset. Consider every productive, healthy option. Things like: observe the feeling and respond to it, take a time out, talk with a friend or counselor, journal through the pain, go for a walk, get sleep, go within, cry.
  4. Decide behavior changes to align with my desired self. Be conscious of every decision, however big or small, and how each brings me closer to being the person I wish to become.

Occasionally still, I fall, though each time not so far, not so hard. Thrive.

Manage Monkey Mind

Do your thoughts get in your own way? Those nagging thoughts based in belief or fear can hold you back from achieving your goals. Belittling or bothersome thoughts—often referred to as Monkey Mind—pop up and distract you. They can diminish focus and eat away at confidence. But here’s the thing. You have the power to tame them. Get control of your Monkey Mind in three easy steps.

  1. Recognize when Monkey Mind takes over. Notice when you doubt yourself or allow fear to derail you from pursuing the next step in your journey.
  2. Remove the interference by acknowledging the thoughts and wiping them from your mind.
  3. Reframe your thinking to work for you.

There is a site upon which I stumbled while hiking the internet—called Inner Peace. It offers free self-counseling software for creating personal serenity. Try the Monkey Mind program, even if you don’t have much time. It shows you how your negative thoughts can interfere with your progress. Plus, it shows you how easy it can be to tame your Monkey Mind and stay committed to your goals.

BREATHE AWAY STRESS

If you’re feeling stressed or a bit anxious, or if you just need a pick-me-up, consider trying the following breathing exercise; it can help bring energy and clarity to your mind.

The first time, do it for just 15 seconds, increasing the duration by five seconds every time until you can complete one full minute. Always breathe normally between exercises (and don’t do anything if it doesn’t align with your Doctor’s orders).

  • Sit upright with your back straight, eyes closed, and shoulders relaxed.
  • Place the tip of your tongue against the bony ridge behind and above your upper teeth.
  • Breathe rapidly through your nose, in and out, with your mouth slightly closed.
  • Keep your inhale and exhale short and equal. Your chest should be almost mechanical in its movements—rapid, like air is pumping through it.

Inhale and exhale three times per second, if you can, keeping your breath audible. Ideally, you will feel the muscular effects of this breathing exercise at the base of your neck (just above the collarbone) and at the diaphragm (by your tummy). Put your hands on these areas to get a sense of the movements.

Breathing is the key to releasing stress and re-energizing your body—so out with the bad air, in with the good. Inhale…Exhale…that’s it…

image: blowing kisses by sharpiechick