Keep mindfully floating, no matter what

The journey of this little boat is such an inspiring metaphor for remaining unattached to what happens to us in life — good or bad.  Life IS change. Observe, experience, and keep going. Enjoy watching the story of this mindful little boat.

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”  ― James Baldwin

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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Why I didn’t take pictures at Christmas

Throeau quote

I love to take pictures and write, especially in nature.  As I writer, I try to capture thoughts or feelings that strike me as powerful. As a photographer, I want to get the shot that no one else can get or zoom in and snap a photo of a bird that would otherwise be too far away. But, I’ve recently decided to change my focus (literally), and try to take life in through all five senses, mindfully.

Every year, for the past 4 years or so, I have taken my niece to Build-a-Bear workshop for Christmas.  This year was no different, it’s our thing. We either get breakfast or dinner and then head to the place where dreams come true for many an un-stuffed animal. She’s allowed to pick whatever animal she wants and dress it however she likes (fashion tastes aside).

Until this year, I spent each visit diligently recording my niece picking out her new friend, selecting a sound for it, stuffing it, putting in a heart, and ‘bathing’ it so it’s ready to go home.  The pictures are still great to go back and look at when I miss her.  I’ve realized, though, when looking at them, that I wasn’t truly present for the experience — not as much as I could have been.

I spent more time concerned with how I’d capture the moment for posterity and memory than I did on witnessing it in the moment. So, this year, we did our thing but rather than watch the event through an iPhone screen, I was as in the moment as I could be.  We had a great time, and whether or not she was able to pick up on the nuance of my presence, I did. Pictures can get lost or destroyed (unfortunately), but moments can’t truly be recaptured, they have to be lived when they are happening.

Changing my focus at Christmas and beyond has been extremely rewarding.  There are many more flavors in each bite of food and something as simple as seeing a beam of sunlight on the bark of a tree is more pleasurable than you’d think.

How are you living more mindfully?

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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Does meditation have a dark side?

light in dark meditation

I love this conversation between Michael Stone (yoga teacher, Buddhist teacher, psychotherapist) and  neuroscientist Willoughby Britton about the other side of meditation.

We often (myself included) extol the benefits of meditation, but sometimes meditation can be challenging and bring up feelings like anxiety, guilt and judgement.

I know that there have been times when a specific type of meditation (the one I was taught, actually) seems to exacerbate my racing thoughts, so those days I switch to a guided meditation or walking meditation.  In other words, for me, one size doesn’t fit all.

Enjoy the conversation

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Robert Nash)

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Go ahead and ‘What if?’

What i

Most of us spend the majority of our time living in either the past or the future.  Neither of these states actually exist, nor can we control them.  This lack of control of something we CAN’T leads to a cycle of suffering marked by anxiety, guilt, fear, or self-judgement.

Phrases like ‘I should have’ or ‘I shouldn’t have’ indicate we’re reliving something that has passed and yet, we can’t let go. If you let the mind keep up this pace, you’ll end up shoulding all over yourself.

And, the ‘What ifs?’ can quite literally paralyze us from moving forward in life for fear that something bad will happen.

So, what happens when we answer ourselves with the opposite or confirm that the decision we have made is already done?  We find a little peace.

The next time you find yourself feeling guilty about something, find the ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ statement at the heart of the suffering, and simply answer ‘Oh well, I didn’t’ or ‘Oh well, I did,’ and sit with it.  No need for self-flagellation, just acknowledgement and taking responsibility.  Then let it go.

If you find yourself feeling worry or fear, find the ‘what if’ and throw in the opposite just for kicks.  ‘What if I ask her and she rejects me?’

‘What if she doesn’t?’

‘What if I fail?’

‘What if you succeed?’

‘What if I die alone?’

‘What if you don’t?’

I’m not suggesting that you get caught up in another future state wormhole in which you pontificate scenarios that don’t yet exist, but rather, offer up your ego both sides of the argument it’s making when it tries to take you down.

Living in the present takes effort and discipline.  Don’t let your mind run over you like a spoiled child.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: MrWallpaper)

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10 tips for a mindful home

tips for a mindful home

 

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

Related post: The simplicity of mindfulness

(Photo: Pinterest)