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Instructions for your first guided meditation

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Wherever You Are, You Are Somewhere Else

I was floating in the pool when it happened. I took a breath. It’s not that I had stopped breathing, of course. Luckily for me, my body knew what to do and it was doing its job whether I was there or not. I wondered how many things like this I had missed. The faint smell of pool chemicals blended with the natural fragrance of the outdoors. The cool, though ever-so-gentle, breeze touched my skin and rustled through the palm trees. The water was warm at 90 degrees, yet my “being” intermittently felt its cool contrast to the hot sun. It was both a refreshing feeling and one that I welcomed, once I realized it was occurring. Yet where was I? I had been in the pool over 30 minutes and outside for at least an additional 30. Despite my time there, this was the first breath I felt, the one I first noticed, the first I truly experienced.

How much of our time do we spend thinking about other experiences, places, or people? How often do our minds travel to the future that we look forward to, fear, try to plan for or in some way wonder about. How often do we look behind us recalling things that have happened to us, whether long ago or simply hours before. Who has not had the experience of words someone spoke, or perhaps we wished we had said, lingering in our mind long after we would like them to stick so vividly. Alternately, when do we daydream about the way we wish our lives would be…if only this or that would occur? As a meditator I am well aware that these habits keep us from living fully present lives. As a human being, and one that can readily veer toward an analytical left brained world, I’ll admit that I still catch myself being somewhere else, occasionally. Ok, lots! During this particular moment, I am not even sure where I was, other than realizing that I was not fully there. Sure I was aware I was entering the pool and aware that I was floating in water, but my attention was somehow split. To make matters worse, my distraction must not have been too important for me not to even remember it. It was in that moment that I realized that it did not have to be this way. I could be fully present in all that is, in this moment, right now. In soaking up the experience around me, I could more fully enjoy it. I believe, that it is in these moments that the full repertoire of possibilities open up in our lives, revealing options for living with greater fullness, and with greater intent in our choices.

So now, as I sit outside writing this post, I glance up to see a couple ride by on their bicycles. I take an extra moment to observe their pink silhouettes peddling so gracefully that the image seems like a rhythmic symphony. It is then, as I retract my gaze back toward my pen and paper, that I catch the glimpse of a circular formation across the water. The ripple spreads until it disperses, followed by a cascade of other, small and large, overlapping raindrops and ripples. Each one was quickly followed by an ever-so changing symphony of droplets with variegated sounds dependent on the composition of the material they were bouncing off of.

I put my pen down and just watch and listen. After a while, I compromise my attention briefly to capture a small component of the experience on film. Knowing that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts I quickly return to experiencing rather than creating. As I stay with the experience, I learn that the rain, sun, and wind ebb and flow in a pattern uniquely reserved for nature. The size and shape of the droplets vary, as do their resonant frequency. The sun comes and goes intermittently, whether the rain pounds or trickles. This Kaleidoscopic dance is like some unrehearsed, yet powerfully native tango innately choreographed and played out by the sky. Then, as I discover a smile develop over my entire being, I take a breath, fully experiencing being right there.

I challenge you to enjoy it, with curiosity, this the being where you are, wherever you go.

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Bringing Compassionate Love Into Our Communities

compassion meditation loving kindness wendy saunders

“A void of loving relationships and feelings of connectedness in our

Communities is jeopardizing our personal well-being and the well-being

of everyone around us.”

In a recent journal article, Wendy Saunders poses that our entire culture is shifting to become more individualistic and less connected.  In her role as the executive director of a large metropolitan YMCA, she is in a prime position to observe the consequences of this growing trend.  In fact, Saunders challenges us to consider that the resulting detachment is jeopardizing not only our personal well-being but also the larger well-being of our communities, organizations, and businesses.  She notes that the phenomenon appears to be getting worse as people, often overwhelmed themselves, in turn, are giving less of themselves to others.  Many believe civility is needed to reverse the progression.  Wendy goes a step further, Continue reading

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Morning has Broken- Like the first Morning

 

Mindful meditation with sharon salzberg loving kindness birdsWaking this morning to the sound of birds, I had an immediate awareness that the last day of the 28- day meditation challenge had passed.  It’s not like the last few days have alluded my awareness.  On the contrary.   In fact, this week I have found myself quite conscious of the impending end of the commitment.  On one hand, this has prompted a greater appreciation for each day, each meditation, and each moment of mindfulness.  On the other hand, the ticking clock allowed my mind to wander to the future to what would be “the end.” Continue reading

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Meditation Challenge Day 1: The Journey

Mindful Snow MeditationThe Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

The first time you have to do anything, it is new to you. I find that it really doesn’t matter if you have done something like it, or spent time thinking about it. There is just a process you go through when something is new. Continue reading

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Commit to Sit: 28 Day Meditation Challenge with Sharon Salzberg

Dr Urszula Klich with Sharon Salzberg: 28 Day Meditation ChallengeFor the month of February, the My Mindful Way of Life community is invited to follow along with Sharon Salzberg’s annual online meditation group.  We will be blogging and learning from each other.  We will commit to sit for 28 days.  No matter how long, or short, or exactly what format, we will all practice together.  We will grow together.

We want to hear about your practice, your challenges, your setbacks, your profound  insights, and small amusements.  In short, we want to hear from you as we invite you to participate.

The challenge officially starts on February 1st, but don’t worry if you are just learning about it.  Have a seat with us!  But before you do, please visit Sharon Salzberg’s website http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/realhappiness/pledge and add your name to the list of those participating in the challenge. That is just another way to help you be accountable by proclaiming your intent. Then, come on back here and let us know that you are in and how you plan to start.

Many of you have My Mindful Way of Life meditation CD’s (http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/DrUrszulaKlich) and we are happy to guide your use of them.  For those who are able, we encourage following along with Sharon’s meditations and books “Real Happiness” and “Real Happiness” in the workplace.  In fact, a free chapter and 3 short meditations can be found at http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/books-audio/7947

So, you commit and we do the rest by supporting you.  Deal?

Check back often for continued updates and tips…

In this together,

Dr. K

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Real Happiness at Work: An Interview with Sharon Salzberg

Walking through the mountains, we heard the entrancing melodies of kirtan sung by Krishna Das and friends echoing intensely over the sound of our footsteps on the gravel trails. We were at Menla mountain retreat for the Power of a Loving Heart seminar. Menla is a special spiritual place, located in the Catskill Mountains of New York and affiliated with Tibet House. The land had been donated for the purpose of such retreats and has been deemed by many, including the Dalai Lama, during one of his stays, as having great spiritual power. Continue reading

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Where Did the Magic Go?

It was such a beautiful time, and now you just want to pull the covers over your head, or worse yet, bite someone’s head off!  How do you tell if you are just tired or having post-holiday blues?  It’s normal to turn toward a more introspective place as company leaves, holiday parties die down, and visions of sugarplums are replaced by the daily commute and the realities of everyday life.  Continue reading

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How to Avoid Holiday Stress: Tips From A Busy Doctor – Mom

Holiday Stress

-by Debbie Reagan, A Better Times Magazine

The stresses we feel during holiday times are universal, regardless of the religious holidays or celebrations we embrace. Most of the busyness of the holidays falls on mothers, many of whom work full time and/or shoulder a great deal of the family caretaking responsibility. Continue reading

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