The Healing Power of the Present MomentJanice Lynne Lundy, Editor
I discovered the power of the present moment only when I’d lost it.
Zen teacher, Reginald Ray, gives voice to my experience. “You develop a level of mindfulness through being sick that ordinary people don’t have and it becomes incredibly refined.”
Illness, for me, was the pathway to the present moment. Feeling, at the time, as if it was a curse to be flattened and energy-less, I learned that my “crash and burn” experience was, indeed, a “doorway to God,” as Rumi confessed.
When you can do nothing else but be fully present to yourself and your experience, breath by anxiety- or exhaustion-filled breath, you are jolted into awareness of what is truly going on in your world. You feel every cell in your body. You notice every mind blip. You feel the cool breeze drift through the room and watch the gossamer curtains dance along the windowsill because you can do nothing else.
And then ... then you become aware of a new kind of power that has taken root in you. The power to notice—to really see—what’s going on around you; to feel what is going in within you and how you respond to everything that enters your experience.
Some would call this “awakening”—and I sense this is true for me, as well as for millions of others whose lives are brought to a dead stop because you just can’t do anything else but be here. No where to go. No place to be. Just here. Just this experience.
And then lying there you begin to see and feel even more. You see how you may have missed moments, days, even years because you were hurrying and living in “Gotta Do” mode. “What’s next?” always trumped “What’s here?” because what needed to be accomplished seemed so much more important than what was. Cleaning a house to perfection took precedence over play. Meeting business deadlines beat beach walking and the experience of warm sand squishing between toes.
You begin to understand what Tara Brach meant when she said, “When I am in a rush my heart isn’t as responsive to myself and my world.” In losing my health, I rediscovered myself and my world. Living in the present moment became "the way," a spiritual path unique unto itself.
The power of the present moment affects each of us differently. Typically, when this way of being opens for us we find ourselves not only more aware, but in touch, grateful; connected to self, nature, soul, to others in intoxicating new ways. The present moment feels like a gift and one to be ever mindful of so that its riches keep revealing themselves.
Our writers this month share a myriad of perspectives on the power of the present moment. We hope you will benefit from their viewpoints and share in their personal stories. Never has it been more important for us to be fully present to life as it is so we can co-create the world of our hopes and dreams!Return to Home Page
Reflections and Invitation -
BEing in the Moment
(Reflections of Baby Alligators in Water in an Aquarium in Green Cay Nature Center in Boynton Beach, FL and one out of the water.)
Once again, thank you, Jan, for inviting me to contribute an article to BUDDHA CHICK LIFE. This month’s theme, “BEing in the moment,” is a subject I write about often.
For me, paying attention to what catches my eye, then using the camera to focus on it, is often a glorious opportunity for “BEing in the moment.” These photos of baby alligators and their reflections are a perfect example of what’s possible in discovery, wonder and joy when BEing present.
As I passed by an aquarium tank in a local Nature Center, I paused to look through the glass. I became captivated by the reflections I saw of the underwater alligator. Rather than the usual upside down image reflection to which I am accustomed in water, here the "reverse" image is above, rather than below, the subject.
I would not even have had the treat of seeing these images, if I hadn’t been taking out-of-town guests to see the Nature Center. Usually I bypassed the building to simply walk on the boardwalk. After all, I thought I “already knew” what was in the building and wouldn’t find anything interesting there.
For that moment, I let this opinion go and went in and looked around with "new" and "open" eyes. The result was quite exciting for me as you can see in the photographs.
Now, I invite you to look around in your world at the places where you usually spend time at work or home. It could be en route to a customary location or even in the supermarket. Pause to find something you've never noticed before or something you can look at in a new way. Then spend a moment or two simply "being" with this.
What is it you are seeing "newly" AND what is the feeling of that experience for you? Describe it to yourself. Perhaps you'd like to share it with another standing near you, or if alone, come back with someone. Or if you’ve taken photographs share those with someone. Wait for them to share their experience of what you saw. Then you may tell your..
Lastly, I invite you to look at one or more situations in your life that you have been taking for granted. Is there anything you've learned from the above that you can now transfer to the situation(s)?
©2009-2012 Sheila Finkelstein
Sheila, www.sheilafinkelstein.com, is a photographer, an author, and a relationship coach who works with individuals and groups, teaching them how to use photography as a tool for creating new ways of seeing their world. See www.ThroughandFromtheLens.com to learn more and put you name on a contact list for an upcoming course.As caregiver to her husband, Sam, of 47 years, who was afflicted with Parkinson's Disease for over 12 of those years, Sheila found the camera to be a tremendous aid in restoring her own emotional balance. No matter what, each day ended with "I love you." Sheila now passionately helps her clients find - and experience - wonder and magic in their relationships. The individuals with whom she works, together with their partners, build a treasure chest of actions and memories, so they know they are loving fully (before it's too late). They deepen their communication in areas in which they’ve been avoiding. They experience the loving touching that had been missing. Acts of love occur spontaneously, including giving and receiving unexpected gifts. Acknowledgment abounds. See www.LoveWithNoRegrets.com for more information.
Janice Lynne Lundy
Photo credit: Janice Lynne LundyHow good are you at savoring and living in the present moment? Do you appreciate the many gifts bestowed upon you by a bountiful universe? Do you live each day as if it were your last? If you are truthful in answering these questions, I might hear a long pause, followed by an even longer explanation.
“Well ... you see ..."
No need to make excuses here. I understand. Life happens. Busyness overtakes us. Crises occur. It is easy to make well-intentioned promises to live in the present moment, but so challenging to make it a reality. And why might this be so?
Our physical bodies, it seems, are in the here and now, but our minds are often elsewhere. We are thinking about the past or thinking about the future. The 60,000 thoughts we think each day are centered on what we could have done, just did, or will be doing. Chances are, we are replaying old tapes of conversations in our mind; mentally reliving a past event (and how we should have done it differently); or rehearsing a worry about the future. We are rarely fully present with what is happening “now.”
An example from my personal archives illustrates this tendency to be less than present. My son was 8 years old and not keen on competitive sports. I gave in to pressure from well meaning friends and family and forced him to play softball, for they assured me, "It will be good for him," and “It will build character.” He hated every minute of it and so did I. To sit on the bleachers for two hours when I had so much to do seemed like a waste of time. The innings were interminable (you know how few hits there are in pee-wee softball!), and my thoughts continually wandered to the laundry pile at home, scores of business calls to return, and the huge "To Do" list I carried in my head at all times.
During one game in particular, I was jolted out of my usual mental fog by a loud “Thwack!” and the sight of a white ball rolling rapidly toward the outfield. I saw a little boy standing on first base. I suddenly realized that boy was my son. Due to mental preoccupation, I never saw my son's only hit in softball. Later, when he ran up to the bleachers, my heart sank as he shouted in excitement, "Mom! Did you see my hit?" "Of course!" I lied. "It was great!" But I didn't see it at all. I was not present.
Have you experienced times like this when important moments in life slipped past you because "no one was home"?
I believe it is vitally important for us as women on the “path to awakening” to spend as much time as possible in the present moment. Doing so has multiple benefits, including enhancing our personal well-being. When we are present, our bodies and minds are calm—no rushing, no racing. Stress becomes nonexistent. We are peaceful and at ease. We may even experience a deeper connection to life and its unique events, as I did because of that softball game.
What steps can we take to experience moment-to -moment living? Consider these simple techniques.
•At any any given moment in time, stop yourself, and determine where your attention is placed. Are you reworking yesterday's conversations or fretting over tomorrow's activities? Concentrate. Draw your attention back to right now, to this very moment. Say to yourself, “Be here now,” and purposefully draw your attention back to this very moment.
•Engage in present-centered awareness. When you are engaged in a mundane or repetitive task totally immerse yourself in all of its sensations. Washing dishes? Consciously feel the warm, soapy water moving between your fingers. Mowing the lawn? Smell the sweet fragrance of grass clippings. Visually enjoy the patterns you are making in the grass as you mow. Heighten your senses and appreciate whatever activity you are engaged in.
•Focusing on your breath can bring you back to the present moment. Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, author of Peace is Every Step, suggests taking a few minutes each day to pace your breath, saying to yourself:
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.
For many of us, this awareness of the present moment becomes important only when we are faced with a crisis of some sort. I have spoken of this often over the years in my books, of my own health challenges, and how they opened my eyes to a new way of being.
If you have ever suffered a dramatic loss or death, or are dealing with a life-threatening illness, the importance of living in the present makes itself known. We learn very quickly that the past is over and done with; that there is no reason to dwell on the past except to learn and go on. We understand more fully that there are no guarantees of tomorrow; that we, or the people we love, may not even be here one hour from now. So we learn to stay present, to savor, and appreciate the moment at hand.
Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D. says in her book, Real Moments:
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
Today is a gift
That is why we call it the “present.”
The present moment is truly a gift—a gift we can leave unopened, or one we can joyously unwrap to savor its beauty and meaning. The choice is ours.
As we learn to take one day at a time, to revel in its sweetness and, yes, to fully experience its sorrows as well, we move to a place of balance and wholeness in our lives. As we heighten our awareness in this way, we slow the pace of life. Golden moments become golden hours. Golden hours become golden days ... And the moments last and last ...Return to Home Page
is the editor of "Buddha Chick Life." She is passionate about supporting women on their life journeys. Whether it is through online or in-person workshops or retreats, as an Interfaith Spiritual Director in private practice, or writing, her dedication to the spiritual journey is evident. She is the author of four personal/spiritual growth books for women, her newest being, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be
(Sorin Books). For 15 years, Jan was a nationally syndicated columnist for Women's LifeStyle magazine.
She is a student of Vipassana and a teacher of Metta. She calls the peace-filled shores of Lake Michigan home. Her website is AwakenedLiving.Com
. You may enjoy subscribing to her daily "Beads of Wisdom." She is currently working on a new "daily" book for women based on these thoughts, focused on how to live mindfully, with compassion and loving-kindness for ourselves and for all beings.
Bringing Mindfulness into the Present Moment
... by healing from the past to be present through self-discoveryCindy Hively
"Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now; and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?"
The mindset or mindfulness of choosing to live each day fully and consciously brings us to living in the present moment. When the present moment becomes filled with a presence that is all absorbing, completely at peace, and totally satisfying you are in the now. Please journey with me through this month’s topic "The Power of the Present Moment." We will do this through self-discovery, and how we prepare our self to create a much more loving presence by connecting ourselves more deeply to the heart, soul and mind.
Memories from the past can follow us throughout our lives. My husband and I are getting ready to move into a new home in the next week or two. This is the house where my husband grew up and left after graduating college to venture out on his own. As I have been going through closets, drawers, boxes in our current house I was so surprised at some of the memorabilia and items I still kept. Some of these items brought back great joy and happiness and other items had me in emotional turmoil in seconds.
I realized I was still holding onto some of the difficult, negativity that had once been so painful and I still had not let go. This was evident by keeping these items. I very quickly realized my pathway to freedom, trying to live in the present moment was being blocked because I had not let go of those things in the past that no longer serves me. What step must I take to release the past? You got it, toss it out, forgive myself and others with compassion and decide to move on. Keep the good memories from your past; choose to release those that no longer serve you, and begin to create and cultivate the life you desire. Live from the spirit within you, which is pure love.
The value of living in the present moment is easy to understand. But it can be very hard to actually make it happen. This is especially true in the midst of the stress, illness, life difficulties and chaos of our everyday life that dominates so much of our time and saps so much of our energy. Truly opening up our mind and heart to experience "what is present" is the journey we long to live continuously from day to day. It does keep us present to cultivate the emotions and things that keep us in the past and keep us feeling stuck. The reality is we must remember to forgive. The unforgiving mind is full of fear and offers love no room to be itself; no place where it can spread its wings in peace and above the turmoil of the world. The Practice of daily forgiveness is wherein happiness lies, and a brighter illumination of love and light begins. You are able to see much more clearly and, with clarity, we find our wise heart and mind. Our past experiences and how we choose to process them is a powerful teacher that holds us in present time.
As my interest in spirituality grew into a passionate drive, I began to research spiritual and cultural traditions around the world. Answers revealed themselves in the ancient wisdom that is a common thread throughout all of the spiritual paths. This is where I realized the connection where Eastern practices meet Western practices. As I cultivated my own Spiritual beliefs, every moment became precious. I noticed thousands of things that before had gone unnoticed. “Why was I always in such a hurry, why did I have such a competitive drive at all costs, why was being recognized as a top performer in my career so important?” I wondered. As the days, months and now several years pass in my newfound life, I realize that my diagnoses of several chronic illnesses have shifted me into fully living in the present moment. I see this daily as I watch my three boys (furry family members) who instinctively live in the moment. This example reminds me that this is the natural way of being. All of nature has this instinct. Think of the four seasons, the cycle of plant life, the flow of nature. We are surrounded by what should be in every given moment. The thing that amazes me most is that we have this ability too. We have always had it; it has been with us since birth. We have to uncover what has been placed on top.
This discovery has created a new practice for daily living. I have found that if I focused on what I was experiencing through my physical senses, I could easily stay in the power of the present moment. This has allowed for healing from daily pain, living with illness. I have freedom from forgiving myself and others. I am living so tenderly with compassion for myself and all beings. I embrace and receive with gratitude each moment as a gift.
Let me share with you my lists of a few of my favorite delights for each of the senses. They look like this:
Sight- sparkling eyes, forests, mountains, beaches, flowers, ancient structures, candlelight, artwork, simple luxuries, children, people from many cultures, animals in the wild, elephants, dolphins, smiles on faces, the face of a loved one, my daughter's face, the Tea Tavern
Sound- laughter, silence, world music, drumming circles, singing, the clap of thunder, sheets blowing in the wind, baby sounds, rushing water, wonderful voices, chimes, angel whispers, wind in the trees, barking of my boys, meows from the cat, the bah of a fawn
Touch- hugs, kisses, making love, crystals, stones, velvet, silk, lace, polished wood, flower petals, massages, polished marble, soft skin, material quilted, windows, soft linen, beads, soft cotton, trees bark, grass under my naked feet
Taste- pure spring water, coffee with almond or coconut milk, chai with cinnamon, sea salt, fresh fruit, almonds, dates, washed fresh vegetables, salt from my lover's skin
Smell- wild flowers, fresh rain, jasmine, clove, lilac, cinnamon, gardenia, sandalwood, aromatherapy essential oils, wood burning fire, freshly baked bread, spicy chai, aromatic coffee, bleached linens, linens hung to dry in a warm breeze
If you notice, all of these senses lead to what I call a sixth sense. When you read the delights from the different senses, how did they make you feel? What bubbled up for you? Did you think about what would be on your different lists? The uncovering and finding of the sixth sense for me I call our “essence.” Here are a few delights that would be on my sense of essence list.
Essence- goose bumps, butterfly tummy, tingling, a slow warming, pins and needles, excitement, warm fuzzies, skin crawling, contentment, relaxation, soothness, sigh of relief, safeness, compassion, juiciness, goddess
Find a pen and piece of paper or journal and play with creating a list for you using the six senses. What are your favorite things to experience? This is where I hope you will take the opportunity to use the comment section to share with us your journey of discoveries for this issue. Now that you’ve started your list, you can bring your favorite delights into your daily experience. Go on a playful hunt for treasures to bring into your home, heart and life. Soon, you will find that your life on earth is full of treasures, blissful moments and wonderful memories. How can we live a satisfying life in the midst of rapid change? Think of your list; use your senses to stay focused on your experience in the present moment. Feel your connection and oneness with the infinite field of Consciousness and Unconditional Love. It is important with self-discovery and this practice to be your truest self. As you practice this, you will sense the unchanging essence of your spirit and live a life filled with power to do whatever is before you. Your unfolding creation in present moments will be a transformational life full of compassion, healing and peace.
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Cindy calls the Roanoke Valley in Virginia her home. She is surrounded by beautiful mountains that inspire and heal her everyday. Having worked twenty five years in the retail industry, she moved up quickly and loved her career, but had to quit work due to chronic illness. She is on a healing journey through Metta meditation, mindfulness practices and self compassion. Cindy's heads up the "Mindful Living" department here. She also writes here:
"Awakening The Woman Within" with Goffstown Today, www.Goffstowntoday.com Simple Steps Real Change, FB page http://www.simplestepsrealchange.com Psychological Health of Roanoke, VA, www.PsychHealthRoanoke.blogspot.com Cindy (Harpe) Hively FB page, http://facebook.com/cindyhivelybc
Married to this Moment
I want to be present for everything this morning-
the crinkling of the bread wrapper as toast is made,
my husband’s stubbly and soft kiss,
even my six year old’s grumpiness in waking
up early Monday morning for school.
Fear is nothing more than phantom thoughts
kidnapping me into the future.
Regret is like a million shards of shattered glass-
bits of an ideal me I’m still trying
to reconstruct with crazy glue.
I don’t want to miss my mother’s voice
while she’s still alive,
or the way the ocean and sky can wear
seven shades of blue depending on the
interplay between light and shadow.
I want to be here
in sickness and in health
till death do us part,
married to this moment always
with divorce an unviable option.
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has been on a quest to find answers, not through religious texts, any particular person or popular dogma,but through her own experiences. She lives with her wonderful family in northern California where she practices medicine, meditation, parenting, yoga, writing, and patience. Kaveri's column here focuses on "Living Poetry." Her first book of poetry, An Invitation,
is available on Amazon. She can be reached at: email@example.com
i seek wild
in moments watered by teary
history growing bitter leggy
vines soured habit wrapped
‘round rows of primrose
i seek wild
to taste what
bold dandelions scattered scarring
browning green lawns manicured
to precisely two inches of life
oh their audacious yellow
i seek wild
to see what
distant echoes pulling
pulsing pushing empty
i seek wild
to hear what
inhaling momentary truth
beautiful messy suchness
exhale dying was could be
time stills yielding sweet
i seek wild
opening to sorrow joy equally
tenacious tender lovely weeds
spread across the expanse of
heart-mind earth stars rooted
i seek wild
to feel what
presence transcendent threshold
connecting soul & Source
contentment right here
grace-- this abundant
i seek wild
to what simply
isReturn to Home Page
is a lover of life with an artist’s soul, living on the edge of the woods in New Hampshire, USA. No longer able to work outside her home as a teacher due to Multiple Sclerosis, she stays engaged with the world, sharing her poetry, prose, essays, photography and a meditation tele-circle with podcasts on her blog, Shine the Divine: Creativity IS a Spiritual Practice.
She also offers private Spiritual Direction, Creativity Coaching and Lev b'Lev SoulCollage® through her website, www.shinethedivine.com
. Several of Laura's poem's will be included in a soon to be released anthology titled Beyond the Dark Room. Her work focuses on the strength and beauty found in fragility, recognizing that the words “broken” and “whole” are not in conflict. Laura emphasizes gratitude for ordinary sacred moments continuously revealed through the eyes of her heart.
Haiku – Harnessing the Here and Now
The present moment, we are often told by those in the know, is all we have. Yet it generally feels like that’s the one thing I don’t have…I have tried to capture this elusive present in meditation, in my yoga practice, on shamanic healing retreats and in chanting circles, only of course to realise that as soon as you try to hold on to it…poof it’s gone. I have had to admit to myself that that blissful sense of timelessness, that here, now; free from ruminating over the past or worrying about the future is more easily accessible to me lying in a bubble bath with a glass of red wine after the children have finally gone to bed, that it has ever been on my meditation cushion.
But of course the whole point of mindfulness is to live in the present, not capture it like a photograph – which then becomes a memory. It’s a paradox that left me despairing of ever discovering this power of the present moment until I discovered the Japanese art of writing haiku – three line, seventeen syllable poems that perfectly preserve a single moment without somehow diminishing it, so that when you read them you are again suspended in that single, elusive moment. I devoured haiku collections with no real intention of attempting to write them myself until I found words pooping into my head unbidden during – of all times – the rushed morning school run.
Always on the horizon
Like watchtower, or parent
Ice crushing underfoot
Does not sparkle as bright
As my daughters eyes
I have often been able to lose myself in writing, to feel that sense of flow that is perhaps what we really mean when we talk about living in the present – that expansive feeling of part of a creative process where our notions of beginning and end slip away. Until of course the phone rings or the doorbell chimes or we remember that pets or kids or spouses (delete as appropriate) and ourselves need feeding.
Haiku to me sums up that expansive feeling – whether it describes a sudden flash of inspiration, or a single moment that might otherwise go unnoticed, a smell, a taste, a look, a routine part of our day suddenly seen for the gift it is.
Blow out the candle flame
On the window sill
Yet the fragrance remains
Rain caresses the streets
Reminds me of your hands
On me this morning
Haiku is also grounding. When going through difficult times, where the past is a burden and the future seems bleak, it can keep you firmly anchored in the present, reminding us to take it one step at a time, not just day by day, but minute by minute.
I do not believe faith
But it makes them easier to climb
Life is a series of these moments. The mundane and the magical, the odd and the ordinary, the painful and the poetic. I need a spirituality that is practical, relevant and grounded, and haiku helps me achieve this.
Each moment is brief
Yet contains within it
The entire universe.
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Kelly Bird: I'm a 31 year old English teacher, practicing Buddhist and aspiring writer. I'm divorced single parent of two adorable children who run me ragged, and also landlady to two white mice, three ginger cats, a german shepherd and a rescued bird with one wing. I live in Amber Valley in the Derbyshire Dales, England, where the beautiful landscape constantly inspires me.
The Wisdom of Your Body
Image: "Maluhia" by Mara Friedman”It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now…with its aches and its pleasures…is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” - Pema Chodron
The theme this month at Buddha Chick Life is ‘The Power of the Present Moment’, which I love because there is really nothing more powerful. Being in the moment is really about being fully present for our own lives – what could be more powerful than that? We spend so much of our time regurgitating the past, planning the future, or judging the present. Even when we are in an experience that would seem to fully engage us, we are often mentally comparing and contrasting it to past experiences, or our expectations.
The most common question I receive in meditation classes is ‘How do I shut this off? How do I shut off this ceaseless tumult that is my mind?’ How indeed? Asking ‘how’ can be a trap though, because it keeps us thinking in mental terms. We tend to think of mindfulness and ‘being in the moment’ as matters of the mind. We talk in terms of ‘quieting our mind’, ‘stilling our thoughts’, or ‘inquiring into the nature of mind.’ What often gets lost in all of this talk is our body.
Our body provides us with an infinite number of sensations in any given moment. Within every second our physical nerves are receiving and processing hundreds of different stimuli from both inside and outside our bodies. In addition, our subtle or energy body is interacting with our surroundings and our physical body, also receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of different energetic stimuli. We become conscious of only a very few of these sensations. In fact, screening out sensations is a very important part of our brain’s functioning, and individuals whose brains do not effectively prioritize and screen sensory information are often considered to have attention disorders.
But in our busy, mentally over-stimulated culture, many of us often swing too far to the other extreme, blocking out so many of our body’s sensations that we miss important information it has to share with us. Our body talks to us. It tells us things about our health, our surroundings, and our needs. Most of the time, we cannot hear it, because we have learned to disengage from our bodies. At best they are something to strengthen, to tone, to use, but not something we listen to.
One of the most valuable ways we can deepen our awareness of our present moment is to attune ourselves to our bodies. This sounds simple, but it’s not always. There are many layers of our bodies, and our subtle bodies – and when I say ‘body’ I am also referring to our subtle body, because our physical body and our subtle body can’t be separated. We experience both physical and energetic stimulation as vibration – in fact they are just different emanations on the same spectrum of energy.
The entire premise of mind-body medicine is that often we have past emotions, traumas, or karmic patterns trapped in our subtle bodies and by extension in the tissues of our body. As we learn to tune into our bodies, we often discover not only the myriad of physical sensations streaming through us, but also these trapped energies and emotions. Through tuning into our body, we can begin to work with these, healing and releasing them.
So to this question of ‘how’, how to begin to live in the moment, I think a wonderful answer is ‘listen to your body.’ Really listen. Here’s some questions you can ask yourself to get started:
· Tune into your senses, one at a time. What do you see? Really see? What are the colors, the shapes, apart from your conception of the objects you perceive? What do you hear? Can you feel the sounds as vibrations on your eardrums, apart from their meaning? Try the same thing with touch, smell, and taste.
· Now turn your awareness to your body. Scan yourself from your feet to your head. What do you feel in each part of your body? Any aches or pains you hadn’t felt before? Any other sensations – tingles, warmth, coldness, or numbness? What parts of your body feel the most energized, the most alive? What parts feel the least? What parts of your body are easy for you to focus on, and which are more difficult? Which parts feel the tensest, and which the most relaxed?
· If you have a particular pain or health problem that has been plaguing you, take some time to go into it with your awareness. Just try and focus on that part of your body, and breathe into it. What sensations arise? If you are in pain, can you feel the pain as an energy? What other thoughts or emotions are triggered as you focus on this part of your body? Can you sit with them, and just breathe into them? How does that feel?
Often spending time with your body like this provides a wealth of information. Perhaps you didn’t realize how much tension you were holding in your stomach, or your jaw. Perhaps you discover that whenever you focus on that pain in your back, you think of that unfinished project at work, or your mother that you haven’t talked to in awhile. Perhaps you simply discover the joys of noticing your surroundings – the colors, the textures, the light.
Whatever you discover, it is in the moment, the right now of your life and your experience. Our body is always in the now. It is our mind that too often moves us away from this. Tune into your body, and discover its wisdom. As Pema Chodron prompts in the quote opening this article, in your body discover what it is to be “fully human, fully awake, fully alive.”Return to Home Page
Join Editor, Jan Lundy, and Columnist, Lisa Erickson, for a rousing conversation, "So, You Say You Can't Meditate?" on the "Awakened Living" radio show on the Inspire Broadcasting Network. Listen here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/within-radio/2012/07/17/awakened-living
is a meditation teacher, energy worker, writer, and mom to three. She loves helping people heal and explore the unseen aspects of themselves through chakra (energy center) meditation and related energy body work. She specializes in women's energetics - the distinct characteristics and phases of women's subtle bodies, and the special spiritual doorways available to women through their feminine divinity. In her work she draws on many diverse traditions, including Vajrayana Buddhism, Tantra, Zen, gnostic Christianity, shamanism, yoga, astrology, and several energy healing systems, most particularly the work of Cyndi Dale. She writes on all these subjects at her blog Mommy Mystic (http://www.MommyMystic.com
), as well as writing regularly on Buddhism for Bellaonline (http://buddhism.bellaonline.com/Site.asp
), where she is the Buddhism site editor. She offers classes, workshops and personal sessions through The Maat Institute (http://www.themaatinstitute.com.
) Lisa's column here is entitled, "Women's Energetics."
Courting the Beloved
Lord of my heart,
Some days I catch myself
in a great rush and hurry,
as if I am running out of time.
I clean the stove in haste,
afraid I'll be unready to meet You
when You arrive at my kitchen door.
Then I turn from my whirling and find,
(how did I not see this?)
You have already let yourself in.
You are watching me, holding me,
reaching through my hands
to help me scrub the burners clean.
Realizing this, how I open!
How my heart fills!
How I am falling
From my book of Mystic Love Poems, Moonlight and Remembrance
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Ingrid is a poet, artist, writer and an anthologist with gratitude to a long lineage of mystics, teachers, theologians, skeptics and saints from all ages and around the globe who have lived in awareness of oneness and of joy. For more than twenty years, Ingrid has shared her love for spiritual inquiry, poetry, beauty, and the wisdom traditions of the world through her books, cards, retreats, e-offerings and gifts. It gives Ingrid deep pleasure to help others feel more whole, more spacious, centered, and more intimate with their own lives. Her books include The Joy Book, The Honey Sutras, Good Mother Welcome, What Holds Us, Moonlight and Remembrance, Simple Graces for Every Meal, The Abundance of Grace, and many quote anthologies. Ingrid lives with her husband and two daughters on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. She may be found online at www.TendingJoy.com
Yipee! Yahoo! Hooray! It’s Today!
Explaining time to my children right now is near impossible. Yesterday means last year, tomorrow means 12 years from now and bed time is the end of the world. So I have dropped trying to teach my 6-year-old the concept of time for now. Instead I am focusing on helping her understand the importance of what she does with her "nows" that add up to her life. I’m constantly reminding my children (and myself) to choose love, choose gentle, choose calm, choose health and choose to smile in every moment we possibly can. Our nows add up to our days, which add up to our weeks, months, years and lives. I know when I think of the future anxiety sneaks in and overwhelm becomes the name of the game so for now we are focusing on the nows. It feels better. I and we can deal with now. Now we are good. Now we can choose to love and now we can choose to be grateful. Each morning intentions are set and love is the underlying goal behind each objective. Love is what we want to give, get and see in the nows of today, tomorrow and every day. We just have to take a deep breath and establish that each day (sometimes two, three or thirty times a day is in order). Taking control of our nows gives us freedom later and now. Since my daughter gets confused by what now, today, tomorrow and next year means I have been using feelings to fill up her days. Today we are going to fill up our healthy and full belly, love and play with your brother, laugh and sing at story time and share love and smiles with the kids at the park. Children need to know that their happiness is what makes the world go round today, everyday and NOW!
Yipee! Yahoo! Hooray! It’s Today!
Do you know what today is?
It’s the first time it’s ever been today!
Get excited! Be delighted! Shout out a big Hooray!
Deep breaths, big smiles, and your big and beautiful heart is all you’ll need to start!
We haven’t a moment to spare!
Let us show this world TODAY just how much we care!
Our love, laughter, and kindness can be the focus of our daily matters.
Frowns can be turned upside down and eyes can begin to beam with sparks of joy
If every girl and every boy can realize that unconditional love for all is not a make believe story
But something we decide we will put into action at the beginning of every morning.
Special, perfect, amazing, unique, precious, monumental and outstanding are all ways to describe the miracle of today.
They are also ways to describe you and the contribution you can make!
How lavish it is to know the importance of today and who you are.
How priceless it is for you to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate the magnificence of the sun, moon and the stars.
You will be so thrilled as you rest peacefully later tonight
knowing you captured the spirit of today with God as your guiding light.
It may be rainy, sunny, snowy, gloomy, cheery, cloudy, bright, blue or anything in between
But remember your gratitude for the glorious gift of today is what will make it the best you’ve yet to see!
Yipee! Yahoo! Hooray! It’s Today!
Let us love, appreciate, and smile each step of the way!Return to Home PageRead more of August's articles by clicking the arrow below!
Danielle, in her own words: I am a young woman seeking out ways to help and heal my life. I am releasing my fears and worries to enlighten and lift my being in order to better myself, my children and the world around me. I am learning to be responsible for my energy and my contribution. I live in tiny town in the middle of Illinois on 2 beautiful sandy lakes surrounded by family. I have 14 beautiful healthy nieces and nephews and 2 amazingly bright children that help me to live life on the silly side. Children are so pure and free to be. They inspire me to let loose and live optimistically. Danielle writes the column "Buddha Babies."