Monday, September 12, 2016

4 hour mindfulness workshop..

I sat and meditated earlier. I casually sat on the edge of the sofa in the study with my back erect but not stiff and closed my eyes.

It went how it usually goes.. at first my mind is a jumble of thoughts and then slowly they start to calm down and come in easily distinguishable packages. I saw them clearly and kept bringing my focus back to the breath. Over and over again. As each minute passed I got a little bit calmer and then it ended and I felt calm.

Lasted about 10 minutes.

Last week I attended the Cutting Edge Addiction conference and on the final day was a 4-hour mindfulness workshop that I had signed up for. It was great. The lady running it was super smart and calm and lovely.

She talked to us about self-compassion breaks that we can take when we're feeling uncomfortable or realise that we're unhappy, stressed or being hard on ourselves.

Put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands, the gentle pressure of your hands and notice your chest rhythmically rising and falling beneath your hands. Now say to yourself...

This is a moment of suffering
This is a part of life
So may I be kind to myself
And accept myself just as I am

You can change the last two lines to suit yourself so use something like 'may I be safe' or 'may I forgive myself' or 'may I be happy and free from suffering' or 'may I be strong' or some such. My personal favourite is 'may I learn to live with ease and wellbeing'.

She also gave more information than I've ever heard before about why the breath is the anchor in meditation and mindfulness. Not just because it is always there so a handy tool to help ground yourself. It is also a great source of information about how we are (is it shallow? deep? slow? fast?), it is rhythmic like the ocean waves.. so has a soothing element. It can can connect us to the outside world in that we are breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.. (having that knowledge can particularly help us to break up a sense of isolation.. we are of a much bigger world of interconnectedness.

Also - we can think of the breath as being boring, but if you try to imagine not being able to do it then it suddenly becomes far from boring. It's vital!

She also went through a tool called the SOBER breathing space.

S- Stop
O- Observe
B- Breathe
E- Expand
R- Respond don't react

It was great. I'm loving my renewed energies in this direction.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, August 29, 2016

Again..

I sat and meditated just now and I’m not even ashamed to use that word!

That’s what I did.

I sat on the edge of the firm sofa in the study with my back straight but not rigid and my hands resting on my knees and I shut my eyes and meditated.

I focused on my breath and every time a thought hooked me after a while I would notice that I'd been hooked and I would gently without judgement bring my attention back to the breath.

Probably did just 5-7 minutes all up but it was very nice.

A bunch of bicep curls for the brain.

Did it the other day as well. So that's 3 times recently...!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, August 26, 2016

Trying to meditate again....

I decided to meditate yesterday. I've been going back over my process from the start of this mindfulness 'journey' (not sure what to call it!) and realised that right from the very beginning I have been really reluctant to do the formal sit downs.. and when I started hearing experts saying that having an 'informal' practice was ok too, that was like a perfect excuse for me to not do them.

It's true that since I started exploring this mindfulness stuff my life has really changed for the better, I do have a good 'informal' practice in that I am quite good at reminding myself to stop the mind-chatter when it gets out of hand, and to look - really look and focus - on what is happening in the here and now (current moment) regularly.

But I watched this awesome video on YouTube and I just got this nagging feeling again that I am short-changing myself, that my experience.. my LIFE could be even more enhanced if I do meditate regularly. So yesterday I told myself 'I'm just going to shut my eyes and see what's going on inside'. And I did. I lasted about two minutes then gave up. Today I did it again.. just felt like checking on what was happening inside my head. Lasted more like 8-9 minutes.

It's noisy in there and my mind wanders a lot and I bring it back to the breath, then it wanders etc etc..

But Dan Harris in that YouTube video says that is what it's all about. Every time you bring your attention back to the breath it's like a bicep curl for the brain (love that!). And he says 'failure' is actually 'success'.. the whole game is trying, failing, starting again, failing, starting again..

He also says 5-10 minutes a day is all you need to do. Every day.

Back on the train...

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, July 8, 2016

Headspace again

I have just downloaded the Headspace App again. I did this about 2 years ago and signed up to their ten day free audio and did the Day 1 and then never continued! Nice one.

Anyway have just managed to get the App again and I have recommitted to doing the 10-day free trial and I have re-listened to the Day 1 audio again. Nice English man talking me through a 10-minute relaxation, listening to the sounds around, focussing on the breath, quick body scan.

Was nice.

Also forgot to blog about the Mindfulness Impact Group I have signed up for which is an extension of the 3-day Introduction to Mindfulness course that I did in my neighbourhood. I really like the lady who takes it and so I went along to this extra session and we sat in a little studio at the back of her house and had a wee chat as a group and then she led us in a relaxation exercise. It didn't seem like much but I think it was good, being in a room talking about our mental states etc with other women and then working together to calm our minds. Can only be a good thing, right? Will go to another one or two before I decide if I'll continue for longer.

Still trying here to be a zen human being!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How to cultivate a life of contentment..

(and who wouldn't want that??!!)..

This was episode 2 of 'The Biggest Obstacle to Mindful Living' from Melli O'Brien of the Mindfulness Summit fame.

Just a little 11 minute audio Melli shared. The link is here.

It was more on this constant craving (wishing things were different, striving, comparing etc etc) that us humans experience and how it deprives us of pure contentment.

Aaaahhhh contentment. That absolutely is my goal in life. That word conjures up such wonderful things... peace, calm, ease of being.

Stopping and appreciating the life right in front of us is the key and according to Melli in this talk one way to really work on doing this is by embracing gratitude. Appreciate what we have.

The first way to do this is to catch ourselves in any moment of dissatisfaction or discontent and just pausing for a moment, taking a breath and find something in that very moment that you really appreciate or are grateful for.

The second way to cultivate a life of gratitude and contentment.. when you go to bed at night make a point of thinking of just one thing you have been grateful for in the day. Could be very simple like the warmth of your blanket, the comfort of a companionship with an animal or human, your breath, whatever... just having that sense of gratitude and appreciating will help lead us to contentment.

There is another audio coming out soon apparently on this same topic where Melli will interview another mindfulness expert. Looking forward to it!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Melli is back!

Melli O'Brien (a.k.a Mrs Mindfulness) is the wonderful Australian woman who organised the Mindfulness Summit that I took part in last October (which was like an incredible immersion course in mindfulness and really cemented the fundamentals of the practice in my mind).

She has just started emailing fresh links to little audios on the topic once again. Hooray! I love her manner (sweet and soft) and she is really understatedly clever and on-point. 

Anyway the first email she sent out was about 2 weeks ago called 'The Biggest Obstacle to Mindful Living'.

I've only just listened to it and it is lovely. She says the greatest obstacle to mindful living is attachment to craving.  This reoccurring thought 'I need something more'. Always striving for the next thing that will make us happy. Hoping that the 'next thing' will fill us up.  Mindfulness is about learning to identify those cravings (thoughts) but not hook to them.. and as always using nice long slow deep breaths to bring us back to the now.

Recommended listening anyway. Part two has just arrived so I will listen to that this week as well.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tommy Rosen...

I think this will be my last Hay House talk and the only one from the 4th and final bunch of talks that they release that I will listen to. Yes I have slowed right down (maybe I was put off by dragons and unicorns see my last post!).

Anyway I managed to listen to Tommy Rosen an addiction-recovery expert because of course he is right up my alley! And I know him from his own online conference (like this Hay House one) called 'Recovery 2.0' which I listened to a while back and really enjoyed (and actually paid to buy the talks some of which I still haven't listened to). Anyway I'm a fan of Tommy and it was good to listen to him in this context.

He talks about addiction being a problem of the human race right now where we are constantly trying to distract ourselves from the present moment.. in a way that 'demotes our being'.  He said we are all addicted to looking away. This could be obvious ways like booze or painkillers or gambling or pot or food issues or porn, but it could also be workaholism, shopping, or engaging addictively with technology.”

Beyond the addictions in our lives that distract us from the present moment, Tommy explains the four aggravations we face and how we can be stuck within them. These are behaviours that we continue to do despite the fact they brings negative consequences to our lives. There's a gap in our awareness when it comes to these more subtle forms of addiction but they're very, very important.

* Negative thinking (saps us of our energy)
* Self doubt (negative thinking turned towards you)
* Procrastination
* Resentment

He told his own big long story about  his using (sounded FULL ON from the age of 13 - 24) and the massive turnaround he has had in recovery.

He says "there is not a human being alive on the planet today that can't shift onto the path of recovery... that can't become a wholehearted healed human being. There is no such thing as hopeless. there is only are you willing to ask for help and try?"

It was a great talk, he has an excellent way of breaking down the psychology of addiction and recovery. I heartily recommend him (he has books out).

Love, Mrs D xxx