Living Agelessly With Intention
Cindy Harpe HivelyI died a mineral and became a plant,I died a plantand rose an animal,I died an animaland I was Man.Why should I fear?When was I less by dying?--- Rumi
I truly didn't think about aging until I experienced several life circumstances. The agony of watching my grandfather die from cancer was so difficult. I remember sitting next to him when he was so ill from cancer, asking him if he wanted me to sing to him. He could not speak or move but I felt an energy within my hand from his that was as powerful as if I had been shocked. I sang hymns that were familiar and found sweet tender relief as did he. He died later that very evening with a peace of consciously knowing his destination. Soon to follow were other experiences I would witness as other loved ones would pass onto another journey.
When I turned 40, another facet of aging surfaced. Oh my gosh, in ten years (I, Me, Myself, Cindy) would be fifty years old. I remember not liking the thought at all. I have a very playful nature and this did not suit me, so I thought. After a few months of being 40, I realized I actually was taking life less seriously, I had matured, let those people and things that once bothered me roll away. I was a truly happy 40-year-old and still had so much of my youth. I was climbing quickly up the career ladder. I had a beautiful daughter on her way to graduating college and landing a great job. I had a stable loving marriage. The one thing I did not have was awareness and consciousness of the life I was living and it caught up with me a few years later.
Currently at the young of age 48, even living with a chronic illness and life difficulties as they may appear, I am living with conscious awareness. I started this journey less than three years ago as I chose to take control of my life and illness. Living with awareness, changing mindsets to compassion and especially self compassion peels back layers and layers so you can see all that is underneath. Awareness is not directly tied to age. Some young people have a high level of awareness and some older than myself seem to be just starting on the path, as did I.
Each of us experience the world differently. Even though we are all together in our vast universe, everyone is not operating at the same level of awareness and consciousness. A group of people observing an event are all exposed to the same things but their individual levels of awareness cause them to experience the event with different levels of clarity and understanding. Since our individual level of awareness dictates how we experience events, there are a few basics we need to understand about awareness itself. Our individual level of awareness is constantly evolving and if we can let it happen on its own and chose to see the physical, spiritual and experiences in the "now" we are indeed living in conscious aging awareness.
We can understand previous levels of awareness because we have experienced them. On the other hand, it is very difficult for us to understand future levels of awareness because we have not experienced them. I know this can cause fear in living and aging with consciousness. Our society and what others perceive what life should be like, sets us up to feel failure or completely live in an unconscious state. What we don't know or see won't hurt us, right? The practices to live with awareness, in the present with mindfulness and not letting the ego run freely within has been key for me.
I looked in the mirror the other day before Christmas company arrived. At the age of 48, I caught myself looking for and finding all the things on the surface that were wrong. I was actually making a mental list: my skin is so red with a butterfly rash due to Lupus, I am starting to see age marks on my hands, my eyelashes were not as long as they used to be, I wish my skin had no scars, I don't have the body I used to have and I can't keep the pace I once could. I was a big ole mess. Then....something amazing happened, instinctively I closed my eyes and internally told my mind to stop thinking. I took a few breaths and reset my mind and this time I silently told my mind to really look at myself in the mirror and see goodness, compassion, beauty— what was there that I love.
When I looked with compassionate eyes, I found much grace and awareness I was happy about. I had few wrinkles because I didn't sunbathe all my life, I had my Dad's blue eyes, I am a true blond (which is rare), I had lost a few pounds over this year, I had planned out decorating and cooking for Christmas and I was thrilled with my accomplishments. I had kept up with my yoga and meditation and listened to my body over the holidays. I felt fairly well. I still smiled at the scar on my left knee from when I was a little girl playing at my Grandma's house.
Aging with consciousness is neither quick nor easy. It requires that we come back over and over again to our intention to be awake as we age. It requires that we practice compassionate listening and look at the world from a long-term vantage point that transcends our purely personal desires and fears.The beautiful choice we do have is how well we enjoy the physical journey and how consciously awake and aware we become during the process with acceptance and not with self judgement. To manifest conscious aging we must understand and set our own intentions daily. Here are a few intentions I set for myself as needed:
-Focus on what I intend to create rather than waste time thinking about what I don’t want. As a matter of fact, the universe does not hear the words "no" and "not". So, when you say you don't want to be sick, the universe hears you don't want to be sick. It should be said as an affirmation - I want to be healthy or better yet, I am healthy.
-Live in a state of gratitude, appreciation and compassion.
-Resist allowing my well-being to be contingent on anything external to myself.
-Refrain from debating and trying to win others over to my point of view or living to their expectations.
-Be energized, inspired, and unify people around me.
-Attract cooperation and assistance of others in fulfilling my own intentions, especially my teachers and mentors.
-Never know enough, remain inquisitive about life, and attracted to living as well as possible.
-Be an exceptionally kind and loving person who lives with generosity and passion towards others.
As we age and experience life and make this our daily process and practice we will find that there are levels of awareness. Just as we are given life with our first breath, when we pass on we breathe our last breath. All of life has an order and structure. The same is true as we live and age gracefully with awareness and acceptance as a continuous conscious practice. Classically defined, there are seven levels of awareness / consciousness. Here are the basic distinctions from one level to the next. These are taught by Wayne Dyer.7 Levels of Awareness
1. Unconscious Level - The sleep state without dreams.
2. Dream Level - The sleep state with dreams.
3. Physical Level - The state of normal human existence.
4. Awakening Level - The state where we begin to recognize we are Body/Mind/Spirit but do not know that we are really only Spirit.
5. Witnessing State - The state where we experience and know we are only Spirit. In this state we can step out of the body and mind, remain conscious and know the physical universe is a journey of experiences and a creation of our Spirit.
6. Cosmic Consciousness - The state where we experience coming from our own Spirit and we can see the Spirit existing in everything else (but we do not know both are one and the same).
7. Divine Consciousness - The state where as Spirit, we experience we are also the Spirit in everything else, we are one with everything.
It excites me to be on this conscious aging journey and awakenings. If you were to ask me what stage I may be currently experiencing it would be between three and four and almost at five. Quieting the mind, creates space for the soul to be heard. May you embrace with intention, grace and compassion the Spiritual awakening of walking the rest of your steps with conscious aging and be blessed and happy.Return to Home Page
"Awareness is like building a stairway one block at a time. As each new block of awareness is cemented into place, it forms the base for what comes next. The higher the stairway, the higher the level of awareness and the more clearly one can experience and know the world for what it is."
~ Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, PhD. Psychology of Religion
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 now on a new Spiritual journey for healing the mind, body and heart and inviting others to join her along the way as an Awakened Living Mentor. Her study took place under Jan Lundy, founder of Buddha Chick Life and "Awakened Living." Awakened Living for Cindy means living in a constant awareness that you are not your thoughts, patterns, emotions, feelings, likes, dislikes, ideas, or any other concept that the mind can create about you. It is a relaxing into this life, your life, where a growing peacefulness, patience and compassion for all of life is your truest essence. It is a healing journey through Metta meditation, mindfulness practices and self compassion. Cindy heads up the "Mindful Living" department here. She also writes on her "Awakening to Life, Your Truest Essence" FaceBook Page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/AwakeningToLifeYourTruestEssence
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
RUNNING into CONNECTEDNESS
by Jennifer Niedzielski
Picture it if you will…a beautiful, sunny, unseasonably warm, spring day. Any runner’s dream. Perfect conditions for a long, relaxing run.
So there I was, jogging along a great pace, feeling the sun on my face, listening to my favorite songs, letting the stress that accompanies mothering three toddlers melt away, when out of the blue, my iPod died.
Yep. Totally dead. The moment the music stopped, literally so did my feet. As I stood alongside the road frantically pressing buttons, I couldn't stop thinking,“I can’t run without my music! What am I going to do? How will I find the motivation to finish this run without music?!”
Now, it probably helps to know that I never run without music. Never. Ever. The continual stream of music coming through my ear buds is like a constant stream of distraction from my physical discomfort and the negative thoughts that tell me I can’t go another mile.
On my run that day, I learned it keeps me distracted from so much more.
There I stood, less than halfway home, music-less, aim-less, defeated on the side of a busy street. I had no choice in that moment but to change my thinking. Seriously, all the stressing and self-defeating talk wasn’t going to magically recharge my iPod. So, I made the only choice that I could-- stop obsessing, accept the moment for exactly what it was, and just start running.
As I reluctantly stepped up my pace from a walk to a slow jog, something happened. Something magical. I heard something. I heard….birds. I heard the sound of my feet hitting the pavement in a rhythmic cadence. I heard my breath. Almost instantaneously, I was connected to myself in a new way. Even more, I wasn’t just connected to myself, I was connected to nature. I was connected to my surroundings. And to my surprise, this connection energized me more than any music ever had.
LESSONS in CONNECTEDNESS Learned on the Run
The moment that I became unified with myself and my surroundings, running transformed from a monotonous activity into a meditative one. I noticed when I focused on my breath and the rhythm of my step, my mind became still. While in this state, I couldn’t help but focus on the beauty all around me. I saw the flowers blooming, and I heard kids playing and laughing. Most surprising of all, I found beauty in myself. In this meditative zone, I thought about how incredible it was to have such strong legs, how amazing it was to have a beating heart (rapidly beating, that is!), and how appreciative I was that my body allowed me to do whatever I put my mind to. Disconnecting from the noise on my iPod allowed me to connect to gratitude.
What I learned that day was that the continual stream of music in my ears actually served the purpose I intended. It distracted me. But it distracted me from more than I realized. It disconnected me from my source and from my natural surroundings-- two places that always serve to inspire me and help me feel unified to something larger than myself.
It was on that run, that day, that I had a transformational “aha” moment. I realized that the continual stream of music blaring in my ears from my iPod was just like the continual stream of incessant thinking that runs through my mind on a daily basis. They both serve to disconnect and distract me from being truly unified and connected to my source. And when I am continually distracted from connecting to this source, in effect, I become more disconnected to my children, my husband, my friends, my life, and, most importantly, myself.
Who would have known that a dead iPod could be such a transformational teacher? But it was. Just as I can choose to disconnect from the distraction of my iPod, I can choose to disconnect from the distraction in my mind. And when I do, a deeper connection awaits.Return to Home Page
is a teacher, writer, mother of three young daughters, and the co-founder of Mindful Moms Network™.
After teaching in the traditional classroom setting for over 12 years, she is transcending classroom walls to inspire and teach women how to reclaim their calm and take exquisite care of their mind, body, and inner-selves amidst the chaos of mothering. Through Mindful Moms,
it is her intention to create a nurturing and supportive community for moms that encourages Inward Development through the Art of Mothering.
To find out more about how to be a mindful mama, please visit Mindful Moms Network™
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1275432069#!/MindfulMoms
and Mindful Moms Network™
blog, Intentionally Inspiring Mamas
Awakening to Holiday Expectations
by Cindy (Harpe) Hively
Whether you are dealing with depression, grief or a medical condition during the holidays, it always comes down to stress in one form or another. Here is my holiday information list. I hope it can help you have a happier holiday no matter what is causing you stress. Women often feel the most pressure to plan, shop, cook, decorate, and coordinate seasonal rituals, gifts, mailings and parties. We try to do too much for too many people in too little time. The holidays may also remind us of losses of loved ones, friends, homes, marriages, health and jobs that stir sad feelings.
No wonder some of us start the season aglow with anticipatory joy only to end up weeks later feeling awful. Exhaustion, depression, sleeplessness, poor appetite, overeating, illness and irritability are all signs of stress. When do we know how to stop? Yikes! Yet, stress doesn't have to be part of your holidays. Taking positive actions now to plan the upcoming season will reduce pressures and increase your enjoyment of what can be a lovely time of year. What's more, you can arm yourself with quick practices to remove stress when you're in the midst of the most hectic days. "How?" I am so glad you asked.
DITCH THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS
The biggest stress is expectations, those that others have placed on us and those we impose upon ourselves. We focus on buying more presents, baking more cookies, going to more concerts or parties. Our schedules fill up and our pocketbooks empty. Expectations of how the holidays should be may keep us from enjoying a period of simpler, more meaningful joys. There is such a simple solution to the holiday blues: Just say no and give yourself the gift of compassion. Let someone else do a project, let the bakery do the cookies, have someone wrap your gifts and have a party when decorating the tree. The more the merrier. Plan now and kick back and enjoy some eggnog.
TEN WAYS TO REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS
1. Get enough sleep. You may wonder how this fits especially when you have a long list of things to do for the holidays. However, this truly is a key step to a stress-free holiday. Lack of sleep leads to fatigue, which in turn reduces your ability to cope with the holiday demands. If this goes on, eventually you will attain the stress that you so want to avoid.
2. Find time to exercise, even if it's only for a few minutes. Exercise helps to increase your energy level and reduce stress.
3. Nourish yourself. In other words, take time to eat properly. In the rush to accomplish all the things planned for the holidays, you may tend to skip meals in order to get more done. You need fuel to perform.
4. Plan ahead so that you are prepared for what's coming up. The last thing you need is unscheduled interruptions to your busy day. If something unplanned comes up that can wait until later, do not be ashamed to politely refuse or reschedule.
5. Set and stick to a holiday budget for things that are on your lists to do and buy. It's easy to overspend over the holidays which can lead to stress. Once you set your budget, your decision making will be easy and less stressful when it comes time to make your holiday purchases.
6. Shop early to avoid the holiday crowd. Try shopping over the Internet and skip the hassle of crowded shopping malls, parking and the frustration of standing in line.
7. Prioritize what you want to accomplish over the holidays. Stick with the most important first and you'll get the things that are most important to you done.
8. Simplify your life. If you can make things easier for yourself, do so. It saves you from stress and it works. A lot of things don't have to be elaborate, especially with decorations and food preparation.
9. Reduce your expectations. High expectations usually equate to higher probability of stress when things don't work out. Don't try to do too many things or expect too much from others; take the holiday time to relax. Find little self soothers to pamper yourself throughout your day.
10. Plan to give service and think of someone's needs instead of your own. This charitable spirit will help you be more appreciative of what you already have and remember what the holiday is really about. Having compassion for others softens our spirit and lends its way to awakening your heart within.
END OF YEAR
Daylight, my friend seldom seen
Your absence tells which season’s close
Time to reflect on months gone by, but not yet
Christmas nears, no time to think.
Passing smiles caught through busy streets
Indoors we flee in front of fires
Glasses clink, we toast the year’s end
You catch my eye, next year we’ll meet.
One last farewell, down family roads we head
It’s late now, a window candle is lit
One more drink poured, the last stories shared
Another year, things change, the same warmth’s felt.
-Author unknownReturn to Home Page
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.
Read more of Cindy Hively here:
1. Awakening The Woman Within with Goffstown Today, www.Goffstowntoday.com
2. Simple Steps Real Change, FB page http://www.simplestepsrealchange.com
3. Psychological Health of Roanoke, VA, www.PsychHealthRoanoke.blogspot.com
4. Cindy (Harpe) Hively FB page, http://facebook.com/cindyhivelybc
Delighting in Thai
by Cindy Hively
One of my new favorites for "Healthy Eating" is Thai food. My daughter who lives in the DC area has turned me on to trying new ethnic foods. My last visit with her included a night out at a small yet authentically and intimate Thai restaurant. The smells, the freshness of the food and the health benefits made me fall in love with appreciation of healthy eating. I started doing research on Thai food and the immune-boosting and simplistic ease of making Thai dishes started my new adventure of "Cooking Thai."
Thai cuisine is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. In fact, several Thai dishes, such as Tom Yum Soup, are currently under scientific study for their incredible health benefits. Of course, it's already known that many of the fresh herbs and spices used in Thai cooking, such as turmeric, galangal, coriander, lemongrass, and fresh chillies, have immune-boosting and disease-fighting power. Find out more about these and other ingredients that contribute to making Thai food one of the healthiest you can eat. I suggest a Goggle search, you will find so much information and many recipes.
Thai food is one the most followed food trends across the world. Thai food is adored and savored for the perfect aroma and smack of its various dishes. Thai food is a perfect blend of its neighboring regions like India and China, which also satisfies the Western palate. No wonder why it is so popular! Similar to various types of Asian cuisine, Thai food mainly includes rice and noodles. Apart from rice, it also includes numerous savory fish recipes, vegetables, herbs and spices, that bring a salty, saucy and sour flavor to this irresistible Eastern delight. However, many health conscious people are inquisitive asking a basic question, "Is Thai food healthy?" Frankly speaking, health benefits of Thai food entirely depend on the kind of Thai recipes that you consume. (Source: Important Food Facts by Rutuja Jathar)
Harmony of taste is the basic principle of Thai food, which you can easily find in all the Thai recipes that you make or order. Hence, remember that Thai food recipes like Tom Yum soup, chili hot chicken, fish cakes and Phad ka Prao are all made with utmost balance of ingredients and flavor. Before finding the answer to the question, "Is Thai food healthy?", we need to understand that Thai food doesn't contain big meat chunks and large animals. The meat that is included in the Thai food is fortified and shredded with various herbs and healthy vegetables. This fact makes the Thai food all the more healthy and tempting.
Secondly, authentic Thai food recipes are prepared with some of the best cooking methods like stewing, grilling and baking, that include least amount of oil and hence they preserve food's nutrition to the fullest. It also means that other cooking methods like frying, deep frying and stir frying were introduced to them by foreign countries like China and Japan. Thai food is also hugely influenced by Dutch, French and Portuguese cuisine and other nearby Asian regions like Vietnam, Burma, Malaysia and Laos.
Whether healthy eating healthy is Thai food or something else, the objective is to feed your body, mind, spirit and soul with nutrition and nurturing meals that are good for you. This will lead to better health. (Also a huge help to those who suffer with chronic disorders and dis-ease.) Many blessings as you eat healthier and enjoy the change it will bring to the table. With a heart of health and best eating wishes and practices to everyone. Here are some of my favorite Thai recipes, courtesy of FoodNetwork.com.Return to Home Page
Asian-Style 3 Bean Salad Ingredients
- 1 pound string beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen shelled edamame (green soy beans)
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup 100 percent fruit apricot preserves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 scallions, sliced
Put the string beans and frozen edamame into a steamer basket and steam them for 4 minutes. Transfer the beans to a large bowl and put them into the refrigerator to cool for 15 minutes or longer.
In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, apricot preserves, sugar and ginger. Add the black beans and scallions to the other beans, drizzle with dressing, and toss to coat. Season with salt, to taste.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons Thai seasoning
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/2 (8-ounce) package fresh sliced white mushrooms
- 1 (16-ounce) package frozen cut green beans, thawed (recommended: Birds Eye)
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth chicken stock
- 1 (14-ounce) can lite coconut milk (recommended: A Taste of Thai)
- 1 lemon, zested
- Freshly chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
Directions Season chicken breast pieces with Thai seasoning; set aside. Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil cooking spray
and heat over medium-high heat. Add seasoned chicken, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until chicken is just cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the green beans, chicken stock
, coconut milk and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are cooked al dente, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot garnished with cilantro.
Miso Soup with Vegetable Stock and Tofu Ingredients
Directions To make the "dashi" soup stock, in a large saucepan, combine the konbu and vegetable stock and heat over medium-low heat almost to the boiling point. Remove the konbu just before the mixture comes to a boil and discard. Remove from the heat and skim any foam that rises to the surface. Let stand for 2 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Keep warm over low heat. Add the mushrooms and soy sauce to the dashi and steep until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and when cool enough to handle, slice thinly. Return to the liquid. Add the miso pastes and cook over low heat, stirring to dissolve. Add the scallions and tofu and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
- 1/3 ounce konbu (kelp), about 2 or 3 squares
- 4 cups vegetable stock, recipe follows
- 3 large dry wood ear mushrooms, wiped clean
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
- 1 tablespoon brown miso paste
- 1/4 cup finely sliced scallions
- 4 ounces tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Understanding Your Feminine Energy Body
By Lisa Erickson
Do you feel you absorb the moods and energies of people around you? Do you find yourself mirroring other people’s emotions or opinions back to them, often without realizing it until you are out of a situation? Do you sense that you energetically anchor your family and friends, and does that sometimes become overwhelming?
These are all common experiences for many women. Our social conditioning encourages us to structure our identities around our relationships, and our role in others’ lives. But there is more at work in these experiences than simple emotional sensitivity. There are also energetic principles at work – qualities of our feminine energy bodies that impact how we experience and interact in all aspects of our lives.
What do I mean by ‘energy body’? I think of our energy body as the intermediary between our physical body and our spirit. We both receive and transmit energetic ‘data’ through our energy body. Others’ emotions and thoughts, vibrations from our physical surroundings, and messages or insights from spiritual levels of being, pass through our energy body into our physical self. Our own moods, thoughts, physical and spiritual vibrations are transmitted outward, also through our energy body. Our energy body is our energetic antenna.
Just as we have a physical anatomy, so we also have an energetic, or subtle, anatomy. Many cultures around the world have developed energy body mappings, some as part of energy healing traditions, and others as part of spiritual traditions. The most common health-based mapping is the meridian system - the basis for acupuncture, and several other alternative healing modalities. The most common spiritually-derived mappings are chakra systems, used in yoga and meditation traditions as gateways to spiritual growth and experience.
What is most helpful for women to understand is that our energy bodies differ from men’s - just as our physical bodies differ. In fact, many of our energy body differences mirror the physical differences; and just as the physical differences – particularly in our hormonal levels and patterns - influence every aspect of our health, so our energetic differences influence many areas of our lives.
The three main characteristics of women’s energy bodies are:
1) Women’s energy bodies are centripetal. Although everyone’s energy bodies both attract and emanate energy, women’s in general are more absorbent, and receptive, pulling energy in from around them. This energy may be in the form of other’s emotions and thoughts, in the form of vibrations from physical surroundings, or in the form of etheric and spiritual input. Depending on how we learn to handle this influx of energetic ‘data’, we might be exceptionally intuitive, suggestible, or just overwhelmed (many of us swing between these!)
2) Women’s energy bodies run in cycles and phases. Just as our physical bodies experience a hormonal cycle every month in our pre-menopausal years, so our energy body also flows in cycles. Our energy bodies are more centripetal, more absorbent of energy from the outside, in the days leading up to menstruation. We are more creatively oriented – expressing outwards both energetically and personally – closer to ovulation. Peri-menopause is often a time of extreme energetic swings between these two phases, as our cycle becomes less regular. Although often challenging, peri-menopause offers an opportunity for us to be reborn as wise women, with full access to both our intuitive and creative aspects.
3) Women’s energy bodies offer a unique spiritual gateway. Just as our womb is the doorway for new physical life, so the corresponding energy center – our second or sacral chakra – is a unique spiritual gateway, into Source itself. While the traditional model for spiritual enlightenment is often one based on solitary prayer and meditation, leading to a metaphysical union with Source/God, feminine spiritual traditions of all faiths have put forth an alternative, uniquely feminine path. This path is based on embodiment, and integration with all aspects of life, rooted in our connection to creation, nature, and relationship.
These energetic differences have far-ranging implications for our lives, and for our spiritual journeys, all of which I hope to explore in more detail in this column going forward. In the meantime, here is a simple meditation you can experiment with, to help you begin to connect with your feminine energy body. It is a meditation on the three ‘yin’, or receptive/feminine chakras, the 2nd (womb), 4th (heart), and 6th (third eye) centers:
• Sit quietly and center yourself with a few deep breaths.
• Place your hands gently on your pelvic area, 4-5 inches below your navel. Take a few deep breaths into your hands, imagining the air filling your pelvic area. If you like, close your eyes and visualize a beautiful light encompassing this area of your body.
• Now move your hands up to the center of your chest, right where your breastbone begins to curve. Take a few deep breaths into your chest cavity, filling it with air. Close your eyes and visualize light filling your chest.
• Move your hands to your forehead, pressing one finger a little above the midpoint of your eyebrows. Breathe into this area, and visualize a radiant light filling the entire frontal lobe of your brain.
• Repeat as many times as you like. Finish by re-centering yourself and gently opening your eyes.
You can combine this with any other meditation or devotional practice you may have. Over time, it will help you become aware of your feminine energy centers, and your overall feminine energy body. In future columns I will talk about ways to protect your energy body, clear it, work with the intuitive data that flows into you through it, and access the spiritual, creative doorway available to you.
Return to Home Page
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
Buddha Babiesby Danielle Rutledge Being carried away by the swiftness of today has been our way of moving through the days. We can cleanse away the clutter and the grime in our minds with careful attention, love, and time while bouncing around to a ditty or rhyme during our days or at story time. We can nurture and nourish and help our little ones flourish with faith and with courage. We can establish being fabulous, helpful, and insightful beginning day one of life, or any day after if you'd like. Simply being creative and clever during our daily endeavors helps to melt away obstacles like a delicious strawberry popsicle. May we learn to steer with less worry and fear while adding reasons to feel more love, laughter, and cheer. May we help our children through their concerns with gentle ways, faith, gratitude, and an optimistic attitude.
Buddha your baby, toddler or self. Buddha your lives to live healthy and well. Delve into creation with your words and your mind to brighten your family’s future and live through the divine. Buddha is of light and enlightening love. Buddha is the peace we all seek. Buddha is of pure compassion and purpose. Buddha wants you to shine no matter who you worship. Slowing our step and taking calmer breaths will help us to enjoy life in great depth. This column, "Buddha Babies," is for moms and dads who think that just maybe a little more playing, praying, and silly sayings can be valuable and life changing. May we have more days inspired by fun as we live our lives on the run! Blessings - Danielle The Sun is Up! The sun is up and so are we. Wake up my love there’s a beautiful day to see.
First we wiggle and we giggle, reach high to the sky then down low to our toes.
Take a deep breath in and a slow breath out. Puff those belly buttons out like a fluffy cloud. Now do it again! Let that pure fresh air in.
Shall we say a prayer to ask for love and care? Let’s ask our angels to bless our day with love and laughter from here on after. Let’s ask our Lord Jesus to lead us in light and help us do right. We can even ask Buddha to allow us to shine our purest divine. Don’t forget Sweet Mother Mary, ask her to guide thee to find peace and feel free. We can ask them all to bless our day. Please loving beings lead the way.
Let us say thank you to the sun, the trees, the clouds, the rocks and the breeze. Thank you for this day and every being and thing that will help it flow with ease. Whatever today brings I am thankful it’s here and that love is always near.
It’s time to fill our bellies. Would you like some oatmeal or toast with jelly? Whatever it may be, may it bless my body with loving energy!
Now let’s get ready! Slow and steady! Brush our teeth and hair with love and care. Look in the mirror and say I love you my dear. Let’s wear something that helps us feel confident and comfy for we have a busy day filled with smiling, running and jumping.
Fresh clean air, teeth and hair, a healthy full belly, this I must tell thee is quite the blessing. So you may be thankful for this amazing day and all of its amazing ways.
Remember to pray and to play. Remember to love, laugh, and learn at every beautiful and precious turn. Remember to give and to share because you are special and you care. Remember this day is here for you to help you to shine and help you to find fresh new ways to make life kind.
Grab your smile my lovely child! This beautiful day is worth your while and this beautiful day needs your smile!Return to Home Page
Danielle Rutledge: 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.
Discover Your Personal Eating Styleby Jan Lundy“Mindful Eating,” is more than a current buzzword. It’s one of the hottest topics in the weight loss industry, with many new books on the topic, and classes teaching it springing up around the country. The notion of eating “mindfully” —eating with awareness and attention to what and how we consume food —has great appeal, much more than its implied opposite, mind-less eating.
I know from experience that mindful eating works as a sensible way to lose weight. It also invites us to shift our relationship with food itself. After reviewing current titles on the topic. I have found my favorite: Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen-Bays, M.D. (The book comes with a very helpful CD, too.)
Dr. Bays proposes that there are seven “eating styles,” and when you uncover yours you can forge a healthy, new relationship with you! She writes, “There are different types of hunger. All of these types are actual experiences. They occur as sensations, thoughts, and even emotions with our bodies, minds, and hearts.” With mindful eating, the challenge becomes how to untangle and separate our different experiences of hunger. “Then,” she says, “we can respond to each one in an appropriate and wholesome way.”
Here is her list of the seven kinds of hunger—and the real reasons behind each. As you read, consider if one or more might be yours.
1. Eye hunger: “I see it. I want it.” The mix of colors and shapes is appealing, so we are drawn in. This reveals our unconscious desire for beauty.
2. Nose hunger: “I smell pizza! Let’s have some pizza!” the mind yells. Smells exert a primitive effect upon the mind and draw us in more easily to eat.
3. Mouth hunger: The mouth’s desire for pleasurable sensations, though this varies from person to person. Some like it “hot”, crunchy, chewy, soft, creamy, and so on.
4. Stomach hunger: The body’s response to “emptiness,” again varies with each person: aching, nausea, constriction, any uncomfortable feeling that wants to be relieved.
5. Cellular hunger: An instinctive knowing that our body might actually need a certain type of food to come back into balance (greens, salt, or sugar, for example)
6. Mind hunger: Based upon thoughts like, “I should eat more fish.” “I deserve a sweet treat.” Based on good food vs. bad food notions; programming about food, including familial or media-sourced messages about food.
7. Heart hunger: A longing, loving connection to food suffused with positive memories, “the good old days,” home cooking, food eaten or prepared with love. Indicates our desire to feel that love again.
As I read through this list, I found myself confused as to which category I fell into it. It seemed that I could say yes to each, at one time or another. This, I learned, is precisely how many of us feel, and it points to the wisdom of Dr. Bays’ suggestions for cultivating mindfulness: “We can sit down and do a quick assessment before eating. On a scale of one to ten, what is my level of eye hunger? Of mouth hunger? Of cellular hunger? Once we know this, we can eat appropriately and satisfy all the parts of us that are hungry. We can thoroughly enjoy eating.”
Knowing this, I went back through the list and got a bit more real with myself. I “told the truth” about my eating “attractions” and this is what I found. I most often experience stomach hunger. I don’t like it when my stomach feels uncomfortable, so I do something to change that by filling it. And mind hunger is significant too, telling myself I have worked hard and I deserve a treat, or because I am borderline hypoglycemic, that I need protein.
No matter which type is yours, the author supplies plenty of hands-on exercises to work with and transform each into a more “healthy” form of hunger.
Dr. Bays also advises us to be aware that three of the seven hungers can be quite problematic. They are mouth hunger, heart hunger, and mind hunger. These three cause us to overeat more than the others. “But only when we remain unaware of them and of how to go about satisfying them,” she says.
And we can and should satisfy our hungers—through mindful eating. To learn more about how to create a mindful eating practice for yourself is simple. Books abound, as do web resources. The Center for Mindful Eating (http://www.tcme.org) is an excellent place to begin.
All that is required for us to transform our relationship with food is the passion to make it happen. True, mindful eating does help us lose weight, but the greatest benefit of all may be learning to love ourselves more. We honor ourselves in wonderful new ways by making healthy choices—one bite at a time. Return to Home Page
Janice Lynne Lundy
is the editor of "Buddha Chick Life" and the creatrix behind all things "Buddha Chick.™" 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. You can learn more about her at AwakenedLiving.com