Archive for February 10th, 2012

Namaste 02/14 by Jennifer R Stevens MA CT | Blog Talk Radio.

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This is a great analogy to what we do on the cushion. Thank you for sharing it with us! Just being with until things change, as they always do!

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Looking for something to listen to while you meditate or to add to your meditation practice?

Take a look at this.  It’s lovely.  Listen to Thich Nhat Hanh chant and pray.


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I wanted to share this here because I think nutrition is often overlooked while we are living with grief. We look for comfort and that often leads us to overly processed, high carb, high fat items. If we aren’t eating anything and we are nauseated and losing weight, getting anything in might be the important thing. But for the rest of us, some of the most compassionate things we can do while we are cargiving and grieving is to do simple things . . . drink enough water, get enough sleep, try to get whole grains, protein, and fruits/veggies in.
We can place a lot of anger, shame, and disgust on ourselves when we are hurting and small attempts self-compassion can be difficult. And there is also no better time to practice being gentle. Take small steps. . . when you are needing something sweet for your aching heart, think about something sweet and good for you.

Daily Health Boost

Today’s Inspiration: Kimberlysnyder.net

“Living healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t eat dessert! It is important to also nourish your mind and give yourself a little treat sometimes, and yes.. it can be healthy! Here are some ideas fot some treats for yourself!”


12 Desserts That Are Actually Good For You

Sometimes you just have to have something sweet. The problem with conventional desserts, however, is they are loaded with sugar and empty calories. Not only that, but favorite desserts like cakes, pies, and cookies are usually made with wheat flour, which contains gluten, while creamy desserts like puddings and ice cream are made from dairy products. Gluten grains and dairy are two extremely difficult substances for the human body to digest, and they can clog you up with toxins and mucus.

People new to a healthier, plant-based way of eating often fear they have to give up dessert…

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Thank you for this post. I agree with you whole heartedly. I don’t want to write a blog where I don’t feel others can feel safe and have now taken measures to make sure that is the case.

Dying mans daily journal

It is my intention that this be a loving, supportive and non-judgedmental space where all are welcome. All are welcome to share their thoughts, feelings or fears, seeking comfort and support in a safe haven. I was upset this morning to read a comment directed not to me but to another commenter. Let’s just say it fell far short of anything I find acceptable. If you disagree with something I say feel free to express your opinions in a respectful way and I will accept it.

What I will not accept are what I feel to be INAPPROPRIATE comments directed specifically to others that have had the courage to share deep and personal thoughts and feelings with us. This type of comment is immediately moved to the trash where it rightfully belongs.


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Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise (Photo credit: *Tom*)

My soul longs to be held

By gentle, cool hands.

Not hands that will hold it

Down and crush its spirit.

Not hands that will punish it

And keep it from growing.

But, sensitive loving hands

That will be there.

Be there to hold me

When I cry and when

I pray for guidance.

Be there to cheer with me

While I laugh.

Hands that will guide

My Soul close to you.

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Blue question mark

Image via Wikipedia

Tonight’s post is our first Meditation Q & A:

Marty wrote, telling us about an uncomfortable experience at a Zen Center where it doesn’t seem like he felt heard.  He also asked about introducing mindfulness to someone who is struggling with PTSD.  I thought this was a great post because mindfulness is being used quite often for people living with chronic illness such as PTSD, migraines, stress-related illnesses, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, etc.

Here is my answer to his question:

First off, I am so sorry that you had the experience that you did at the Zen Center.  I tried to sit with one when I lived out west for a short time and did not find that it was a good fit for me.

When I moved to the Midwest, I found a lovely sangha in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and they were incredibly welcoming.  I think each center/group/sangha will have a different feel and you just have to find the right one.

I think that your post raises some interesting ideas for me… there is a difference, at least for me, between mindfulness as way of life or spiritual practice and the use of mindfulness as a tool for relaxation, helping with mental health issues, etc.

Some would I am sure beg to differ with me.  But as teachers like Jon Kabat-Zinn have shown, you don’t have to have Buddhism in your mindfulness, only mindfulness.

That being said, to answer your question about introducing mindfulness to someone who hasn’t practiced. . . my comment is this, share resources with them.  Share your experience and how it has helped you.  After that, it’s up to that person.  I don’t think everyone has to live a Zen life to practice mindfulness.

If that was the case, there would be a lot of Cognitive Behavioral therapists that would not have practices because they are teaching the technique of mindfulness and not the spiritual practice. . . some people might not practice insight meditation but could benefit from something like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs (see UMASS).

Our good friends at Wikipedia mention this:  “Mindfulness practice, inherited from the Buddhist tradition, is increasingly being employed in Western psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and in the prevention of relapse in depression and drug addiction”.  Notice that they say inherited from rather than the actual practice. . .

There are a lot of books out there on using mindfulness solely for relaxation or helping with things like depression, OCD, anxiety, etc.  Even Jon Kabat-Zinn helped to co-author a book called The Mindful Way through Depression:  Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness with Mark Williams, John Teasdale, and Zindel Segal.

I guess my suggestion to you would be to share resources like this with the person whom you have in mind.  If they are interested, they will pursue it and know that you are a resource person for them.  We can’t make a person find a spiritual way of life.

Look at AA, they have suggested for decades that people seek a higher power but they don’t define what that is and I think if they had insisted on what that might be, the program would have been as successful.

Also, my suggestion would be that this is a good time to practice letting go of outcomes.  Share with your friend and wish the situation well, maybe sending some lovingkindness into the situation.  Let this person find his/her way as it will most likely mean more.  Be patient and remember that we can’t walk another’s path for them.

I hope that helps Marty.  I appreciate your openness and your desire to help others as you share wonderful information about PTSD and how to live with the diagnosis.

Take gentle care,


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Reflections at Dawn

English: Winter sunrise, Llantwit Major

Image via Wikipedia

A clear, crisp dawn gently guided

Me to awareness.

I stepped from my safe haven

To experience the day.

Inhaling, exhaling, I smiled. . .

To myself.

To the dawn.

To the world.

Out in the distance, the most radiant

Sites sprawled out before me.

The trees, standing firm

Where they were born.

Rejoice in the hour.

Ready to face what lay ahead.

How I envied these children

Of the meadow.

How I wish I were thee.

Down the make-shift path,

I walked along peacefully,

Coming to a river bed,

Splashing down below.

I sat and closed my eyes

Listening with an intensity

I have yet to feel since.

I closed my eyes and

Took it all in. . .

The scents.

The breezes.

The sun across my cheek.

The sound of the stream.

The call of the birds.

I listen with my ears,

I hear Nature.

I listen with my eyes,

I hear Peace.

I listen with my heart,

I hear Nothing.

The sight of colorful leaves

Gliding through the azure sky,

Brings me back to myself.

I begin to weep.

Surrounded by the beauty of Nature,

I see the despair and darkness

Within our lives.

I begin to cry out for help.

But who is there?

Who can help?

The trees?

The leaves?

The stream?

Alone – I sit –

An individual –

Trying to make sense of the

Illusions that we find ourselves in.

I breathe in —

I breathe out —

I smile a half buddha smile to myself.

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