self growth

STOP Before You Jump Into 2016

STOP Before You Jump Into 2016

For many of us, this was the first week back to work-school-life-as-usual after the holidays as well as the first week of the New Year. Happy New Year!

Maybe you’re like me, and want to eagerly jump back into life.

But before you leap back into the craziness and chaos of your wonderful life, do yourself a favor and stop.

Stop and get clear about where you want to go this year, what you want to accomplish and how you plan on doing that.

The Power of Presence: Daily Mindfulness

The Power of Presence: Daily Mindfulness

We hear a lot about being mindful not just within spiritual circles but more and more in the work place.

What exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness stated simply is awareness of the present or the ability to be present in all aspects of our lives.

It’s a honing of the mind to focus on what is happening right now.

Since the 1970s, there’s been a growing recognition and movement towards embracing mindfulness.

This is due in large part to the many Buddhists teachers who have come to the United States over the past few decades as well as the American practitioner, Jon Kabat-Zinn, who began teaching mindfulness courses in 1979.

The first time I recognized mindfulness occurring in my life was shortly after I met my first husband. He’s from Bali and since he's Hindu, learned meditation at a young age.

Part of what had attracted me to him in the first place was his calm demeanor and indefatigable kindness. 

The day I noticed his mindfulness in action, we were in Indonesia visiting his family.

Gratitude – the Antidote to More

Gratitude – the Antidote to More

As an American, I’m pretty good at being a consumer. In fact, I think most of us are. Americans are constantly encouraged to buy. It’s how we fuel our economy. But the underbelly of our consumer economy is the never-ending quest for more.

More manifests itself obviously with technology since technology changes so rapidly.

I suddenly find myself convinced that I need the iPhone 6 even when my current phone works fine. Or I immediately want the Apple watch when I don’t even like wearing watches. And although I just bought a new MacBook, I now must have the lighter than Air model.

But it isn’t just with technology, it’s with everything partly because we strive to keep up with others around us. I need a pair of LeBrons or Timberland boots. I have to get some new Beats by Dre headphones. This April, I simply must have a purse for spring.

Sure enough, buying that new hobo handbag does make me feel happy and satisfied but only briefly because soon my pastel blue purse is passé and I’m hankering for a black one for fall…

This craving for more is a never-ending cycle. It’s a treadmill we get on of wanting more or better - a bigger house, a newer car- and on and on.

What’s the solution? Gratitude

THE Shortcut to Happiness = Gratitude

THE Shortcut to Happiness  = Gratitude

This is the week of giving, when we pause in our busy lives to be with family and friends, to honor them and to reflect on what we are thankful for.

This year, my older daughter will not be with us since she is in France (lucky her.) But as I write this and contemplate gratitude, I find myself thinking about something she said to me at the beginning of the year, in January.

She’d returned home from the store with a box of cards and walked into the kitchen where she announced that she was going to send thank you cards to everyone before she returned to school.