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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

let go and open to the flow

Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become. - Author Unknown


This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to bask in three hours of discussion and practice of mindfulness based stress reduction with the talented Gina Sager. Her words of wisdom have haunted me, in a good way, since Sunday. As a very-vatta-need-some-grounding-doer, I was struck that the simplicity of her statements could be so powerful. I kept raising my hand and asking, "Ok, great tips but how do i practice it now . . . and for how long and how often?" I love prescriptions, five simple steps, or a book that will bring the topic to life and help me embody it now. Unfortunately, this practice is all about, well, practice! 


In our fast-paced society we love quick fixes. Yoga and meditation offer impressive results (as many of us have experienced) but we do have to make the time to practice. Ah, work. Practice may have a negative connotation around it especially if it reminds you of your swimming or ballet days when your coach or parent encouraged you to practice, practice, practice. I'd like us to reframe it in a positive light as an opportunity. Ultimately an opportunity to let go. Surrender. Embrace change. 

Here are my takeaways from the beautiful Sunday morning session in our bamboo studio:

1. Do this work to benefit those who share our lives - a beautiful reminder of our interconnectedness.

2. It matters what you do and how you do it.

3. Mindfulness is moment to moment nonjudgemental awareness.

4. Obstacles are our teachers. Become comfortable with discomfort.

5. Taking time to create space between thought and action allows us to transform how we react.

6. Everything you do and think matters because it affects others. 

7. We sit in meditation to train the mind to become more conscious.

8. Balance effort and surrender.

9. Focus on the exhale = let go.

10. It takes 20 minutes for the mind to settle down.

Wow, sounds so simple, right? Yet is such profound, challenging work. Sit still. Be. Breath. Release thoughts. I encourage you to explore this state of being which is a beautiful complement to doing. Start your day with a few minutes of seated meditation. Take a mid-day break to savor a walking meditation around your office building. End your day with ten minutes of reflection. Todd now offers a Sunday morning 9:30 meditation class at our dupont studio for those who'd like to sit in a group. By taking time to nurture yourself, you are able to be fully present and compassionate toward others. Take five deep breaths and let go. Namaste.

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Sarah said...

Love this post, and it is ironic b/c just as you posted the link on twitter, I was looking up advanced MBSR seminars/trainings for counselors. I love these techniques, but where I struggle (besides doing them myself) is how to explain it well to younger clients (those busy on-the-go college students I work with).

I have a test tonight in stats, and decided before looking over my answers after completion, I will take 2 minutes to just breathe, slow down, and regroup myself.

Kenya, your self-care bon vivant said...

lovely post ... and a "practice" on which i've been focusing for the past few years ... for myself and clients.

lately my mantra has been: seeking balance, finding grace

i love that sweet sweet bit of grace ... when i realize i'm not "practicing," that i'm just doing, going, fast fast and then i take that big, deep breath that brings me back to it.

Ananda said...

Amazing post filled with wisdom.