A New Year’s Pause

Happy New Year

Sometimes things aren’t as clear as we’d like them to be. They aren’t always neatly defined and life can be downright confusing. Rather than reacting to the discomfort of the unknown by making New Year’s Resolutions to try to change things, maybe we should just hit the pause button.

Maybe we’re right where we need to be.

The weather has been unseasonably and gloriously mild and I recently noticed that the bright green summer grass was poking through an early dusting of snow. I even saw remnants of autumn as a few leaves blew around.

Yet I don’t think the deer that ran through this area was confused or uncomfortable at all. She was right where she needed to be as she made her way through to her favorite apples on the ground in my yard.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a place that may seem confusing, or we may feel like we’re not moving forward fast enough on our journey of self growth. Perhaps we’ve worked really hard and just need to catch our breath. Or maybe we’re unsure of our next move. We may even know what our next move needs to be but we’re trying to conjure up the courage or put together the means to move forward.

I’ve often found that it’s in this space that some of my best self-work happens, for it’s in the pause that I’m able to hear and really listen to the quiet revelations that may have otherwise been lost in all the doing.

So as uncomfortable as we might be with not knowing our next move, I think this space is an important part of our journey. Just like the deer making her way through some confusing weather to get to her favorite apples, I think we need to find meaning and comfort in the uncomfortable parts of our journey, since it’s in this space and beyond that we may find the tastiest fruits of our labor.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
-Neale Donald Walsch

Rather than the typical New Year’s Resolutions this year,  we might just need A New Year’s Pause. Let’s start a new tradition!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you Peace, Love, Presence and Pause in 2016!

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Presence

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been off my game lately. Rather than being focused on enjoying The Christmas Present, I find myself dwelling on The Christmas Past and fretting about The Christmas Future.

I get a little sad when I think about the big family gatherings we used to have, and how different they are today. I feel stressed out thinking about what still has to be done before December 25.

Although I’m tempted to fall into my old routines of mindless eating, watching TV and endless hours on Facebook, my phone or the internet, I’ve come to realize that it’s especially important to be mindful during the holiday season.

After a particularly busy day at work recently, I finished off a partially eaten bag of potato chips and was headed to the living room to watch The Kardashians I had DVR’d.  It dawned on me that I was on autopilot.  I was mindlessly doing these things to shift my focus from missing loved ones and buying the perfect gifts.

When I allowed myself to be present in that moment, I was able to get my bearings and I became aware of what I was experiencing and why. Then I came up with a better alternative (yoga) to make myself feel better at that moment and beyond. The breathing and stretching felt great!

I realize things aren’t always going to be the same from year to year, and I look forward to developing new traditions and making new memories.  I also know that I’ll get the things that really matter done by December 25.

I’m not saying that I won’t be eating chips or watching reality TV, but with an increased understanding of how the busyness of the season can impact me, I plan to be extra mindful so I can enjoy The Christmas Present.

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Peace, Love and Lots of Christmas Presence to You! XOX

 

 

 

Grateful Longing

Can we feel gratitude and longing at the same time?

I had a mix of emotions this morning. As I walked through my home I was feeling extremely grateful. I’ve paired down what I have so that my most favorite things are clearly on display. Pictures of people I cherish, cards from loved ones, items that represent past family vacations and several things that belonged to past generations. These things bring me such joy!

I’m so grateful for the deep love that I share with family and friends and the meaningful life that I have.

I carried this feeling outside with me as I walked my dog (SO grateful that he’s healthy at 17 1/2) into the crisp autumn air. Thinking about my intention this winter to get outside more despite really disliking the cold, even the cold didn’t deter my grateful feelings.

Funny how a simple sound could bring on a wave of sadness. As a dove fluttered from branch to branch I instantly thought of my dad and my mom. I really miss them.

My dad raised homing pigeons and I was around the sights, sounds (and smells) of them my entire life. Doves are white pigeons and so hearing them squeak as they flew from branch to branch brought back a wave of memories and emotions.

I looked up into the trees so grateful for all the years I had with my parents, yet longed to spend time with them this Thanksgiving. As the tears rolled down my cheeks and I glanced down at my dog, I noticed a tiny feather floating down from above. As I caught it in my hand, I smiled, grateful once again. Thanks dad!

Grateful Longing

May you all feel grateful even as you long for your loved ones this Thanksgiving.

Peace, Love and Presence,

Jeanne

A Lesson in Perspective From a Veggie Wrap

I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective lately. I was recently in a new (to me) little place nearby that served a variety of veggie wraps (and had almond milk for coffee), so I was super excited! A few minutes after placing my order, I heard four very sobering words: “I have bad news.”

Since I had been daydreaming while I was waiting, and not thinking about my lunch order, these words caught my attention and I thought the worst. I’ve heard “bad news” before and, quite frankly, I didn’t want any. My panic turned to relief, once I heard, “We are all out of arugula,” and I was quickly brought back to my happy little lunch experience. I replied with, “No worries, the arugula mix is fine,” and added, “THAT’S not bad news.

But this got me thinking about how much our perspectives influence our lives.

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.
I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”

-George Carlin

As we all wade into the waters of the human experience, let us not forget that we ARE all human with very different experiences, and therefore, perspectives. To the person making my wrap, at that moment in time, and from his experience working with people in a food service industry, not having what someone ordered WAS bad news. To me, it was no big deal, since, at that moment, bad news conjured up some really dark times in my life.

I wrote about Don Miguel’s Four Agreements in my last post, which you can find here: https://beallthere.net/2015/09/13/love-light-and-positivity-mostly/

Agreement Number Three states, “Don’t make assumptions.” Practicing this agreement has really helped me stay balanced, confident and present, and has avoided a few trips to  Funkytown (https://beallthere.net/2015/08/22/funkytown-just-passing-through/).

With the added understanding that we all have our own unique perspectives, this really rings true! How can we begin to understand how someone feels about themselves or us, unless we ask or clarify?

Moreover, perspective cannot only influence how we relate to others, it can also impact our emotional well-being. As you may know, I have made a few lifestyle changes which have helped my mild depression and anxiety. You can read more about these changes in detail here:

https://beallthere.net/2015/06/20/be-all-there/

https://beallthere.net/2015/07/08/minimalism-101/

https://beallthere.net/2015/08/03/easy-guided-meditation/

A very big trigger for me, and others, which can distract me from being present is the cooler weather and WINTER.

I’ve been dreading it for several weeks now, fighting the current, not wanting to get pulled down by negative thought patterns. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today and want to be able to feel good year round.

So I’ve decided to use the power of perspective to change my thought patterns this year! Instead of the cold, the shorter days, and the decreased time I can spend outside (and the lions and tigers and bears, eek, I didn’t say this was going to be easy), what if I looked for the opportunity and beauty of the season? What if I focused on what experiences I can have now that I’m not able to have on an 80 degree sunny day?

The dried hydrangeas I brought inside and the spectacular fall colors are looking pretty good. Who doesn’t like to sit by a good fire? Maybe this will be the year that I try out snowshoeing or cross county skiing?

perspective

To say that I’m EXCITED about winter would be an overstatement, however, I’m hopeful that this year will be different, and it’s all thanks to a veggie wrap!

I hope you are able to gain a new perspective this year, as well.

xox

Jeanne

Easy Guided Meditation

Meditation

Meditation is part of my self-care routine and I try to do it every day. I find that it’s very calming and centering and it also helps me to be present at other times during the day. Over time I’ve been able to put some space between my thoughts and reactions, so I’m much less impulsive and more clear-headed.

There are definitely days when I fall short of my daily meditation goal, but a change in environment doesn’t deter me, since meditation can be done anywhere. I have a favorite spot at home, but I’ve also meditated in a parked car and on vacation! All that’s needed is about 10-15 minutes and a comfortable, quiet space. I use the timer on my phone to signal when I’m done so I don’t have to worry about watching a clock or wondering how long it’s been.
When I first started about a year ago, I really had no idea what I was doing or if it would make me less anxious and more focused. I listened to a recording someone shared with me of her voice talking me through the 5 minute process. It was quite difficult for me to sit still and focus on my breath for any length of time, at first. I started with about 5 minutes and, with practice, I’m up to 10 minutes now of pretty peaceful meditation.
If you’d like to give it a try, I’ve recorded a short audio piece to guide you through a simple meditation.  I hope you find it helpful!
Find a quiet comfortable spot in a chair or on the floor where you can sit with your hands at your sides. I’ve seen people sit with their palms facing up, but I don’t think it really matters. When you’re seated and comfortable, listen to this recording: