Daily Practices: Train your Brain

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Daily Practices: Train your Brain 

Dr. Richard J. Davidson, William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, and Founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison says science confirms that “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”

I believe it is important to “train your brain, be kind to your mind and pay attention to what you think about and how you feel.” Having practices around my brain/mind is comforting. It helps me to have a focus for my mind so I say my morning affirmations. Affirmations are statements that are aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind.  We have between 60,000-80,000 thoughts during the day, so why not focus specifically on what I would like to show up in my life?

Most mornings I start my day with a walk with my Yorki Poo, Lacee. During my walk I am enjoying the sights and listening to nature. I also say my affirmations aloud.  I’ve usually had few minutes (10 or less) in meditation before I start my walk. If I have any questions I want to have my subconscious work on, I think about those questions before I meditate and walk.

Here are some affirmations I say aloud as I’m walking the dog.

Morning affirmations

  • I am calm. I am  safe. I am secure. All is well. I am grounded in life.
  • Today I take time to laugh more and not take myself so seriously.
  • Unexpected income finds me from places I could never recognize. I am grateful.
  • I trust my person guidance system (PGS) and I am always moving in the best direction for me at all times.
  • I love myself at all ages and stages of life. I am divine.
  • I forgive myself. I forgive others. I love myself. I know that forgiveness a key to living a fulfilling life.
  • Today, I stop to breathe and connect with the present moment.
  • Perfect health is my divine birthright. I eat foods that nourish my body by  instinct.
  • I allow myself the time to stop for myself to breath.
  • People love me and want to help me.
  • Things are always working out for me.
  • I have strength, stamina, endurance and flexibility. I trust that the right people and resources present themselves to me and I recognize them immediately. I take time during my day to be stil andget clear so I can make the best decisions.  I believe that no matter how  things appear, things are always working out for my highest and greatest  good.

Affirmations may be spoken, written and thought silently. I also practice using my affirmations during the day. Whenever I’m about to interact with people I like to use the affirmation I heard Louise Hay say, “People love me and always want to help me.” I really find that helps lay a great foundation for conversations with people.

I’d enjoy hearing any affirmations, confirmations, or thoughts on how you train your brain.

 

Know what calms you

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crochet-chain-collage

Know what calms you 

The holiday season is here. No matter how you feel about the holidays, it is crucial for you to know how to stay
calm. I’ve recently returned to one of the things that helps me stay calm, crocheting. Ahhh, when I can grab my
crochet needles and start a project, there is a peace that I can’t describe that comes over me.

I love crochet because I can crochet alone or with others.  This past weekend we went to a Hawks basketball
game and I was able to watch and crochet… I know multitasking but I was calming for me and I had orders
to complete. 😉 I crocheted in the car on the drive to the game and while at the game.  Did you know that
crocheting and knitting are proven to be meditative?

No matter what may happen over the next few weeks, know what calms you. Take time to step away
and center yourself as you need to. And remember that CALM and CHAOS both come from the same
place, your thoughts. Ask yourself if your thoughts are serving you and giving you the peace you deserve.
Connect with the present moment by taking a few conscious breaths.

I’ll continue to share what keeps me calm over the next few weeks. I’d enjoy hearing from you what keeps you
calm.  Share your comments below.

 

Everything IS Okay!

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Everything will be okay

Everything IS Okay.

Yesterday as I was driving over to Hobby Lobby I noticed a random sign, Everything will be okay. It wasn’t a billboard or poster, it was a sign someone had posted large enough for you to see as you turned the corner into the shopping center. The phrase jumped out at me as I  turned. My day had been busy nothing extraordinary had been happening and I was “feeling” pretty good. Even though I felt perfectly fine, I was comforted by seeing these words.

Everything will be okay. When was the last time that thought crossed your mind? Life is so very busy, so many things to do, places to go, people to see or text. :0 Something as simple as a random sign as I drove into a shopping center spurred this post. I have given myself a task to pay attention more. Slowing down is one way I can pay more attention to so many things. Taking a few minutes each day to be present through meditation also helps me pay more attention to what people view as random. Is it really random? There is order to all that happens. This universe is divinely inspired so I know that nothing is truly random. Paying attention more and being present to what is happening requires a major engagement in life. Keeping things simple also help me remember what is in important in my life.

A regular meditation practice has helped me to tune in to a lot of things. My mind is very active and if I didn’t meditate it would be even more active.  Imagine your mind like a car driving down a street. If you don’t direct the car, it might end up on a dark, scary street. If you pay attention to where you are going, you choose a street that is bright and easy to navigate. Our minds want to take a trip. If we don’t direct the car (our mind) it might end up somewhere we don’t want it to. Train your brain. Mind your mind. Think about what you think about. I ask myself, “is this thought serving me well?” When I find myself flustered or out of sorts, at some point I slow down, breathe deeply and remind myself that “All is well.” I really liked the reminder from the random sign I saw, I would change it to be, “Everything IS Okay.”

Share in the comments how you are minding your mind. If this was helpful, please share with others.

Morning Walk Affirmations

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Morning Affirmations

Train your brain. Mind your mind. Think about what you think about.

Most mornings I start my day with a walk with my Yorki poo, Lacee. During my walk I have times where I am visually enjoying the sites and listening to nature and I also say my affirmations aloud. It’s important to prime your mind for the day. I’ve usually had few minutes (10 or less) in meditation before I start my walk. If I have any questions I want to have my subconscious work on, I thing about those questions before I meditate. Train your brain. Mind your mind. Think about what you think about.

I’ve recorded my morning walk with the affirmations, they change daily and are usually around the major pillars of life: health, finances, relationships, career, etc.

Morning affirmations

  • I am safe. I am secure. All is well. I am grounded in life.
  • Today I take time to laugh more and not take myself so seriously.
  • Unexpected income finds me from places I could never recognize. I am grateful.
  • I trust my inner guidance system and I am always moving in the best direction for me at all times.
  • I love myself at all ages and stages of life. I am divine.
  • I forgive myself. I forgive others. I love myself. I know that forgiveness a key to living a fulfilling life.
  • Today, I stop to breathe and connect with the present moment.
  • Perfect health is my divine birthright. I eat foods that nourish my body by instinct.
  • I allow myself the time to stop for myself to breath.

Enjoy them and feel free to share. I’d enjoy hearing any affirmations, confirmations, or thoughts on how you train your brain.

Birthdays, Weather and Breathing

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COME ENJOY A COMPLIMENTARY MEDITATION SESSION.

Well, it’s my birthday weekend and the weather is doing its thing. I was reminded by several friends how my birthday weekend can be very interesting. As I was thinking about what I wanted to do, it occurred to me that all I really wanted to was to simply be home and relax. I wanted to Be Still. I had my monthly meditation program, Meditations & Conversations on Sunday, so being home was exactly where I wanted to be. My usual tradition is to take the day off from work so my husband and I prepared to be home for a few days based on the weather reports.  The weather certainly has a way of helping you remember what is important.

I’ve been really paying close attention to things for a few years now. Once the weather reports recommended people stay home on Saturday, I knew where I would be. At home, warm and toasty ready to relax and unwind. Friday evening I pulled out my craft tools and settled in to create. I altered a clipboard and a few journals on Friday night. Saturday I woke up and decided I would follow the suggestions of the weather professionals and stayed  home. I sent a text to my sister-in-law and niece to postpone my birthday lunch. When my husband went outside to get something out of the car, the door was frozen. I smiled at him and said,
“I guess that is confirmation that we should stay home today.”

Bliss clipboardSmile journalAR journals

I have been a planner all my life. It’s funny how we make plans and continue going in that direction no matter what is going on… we made plans, right?  We can’t possibly not do what we “planned” to do.  The more I continue to get still, the less I find myself being able to plan as I have in the past. I am learning to connect with what is most important for me to do and move in that direction. I’m going with the FLOW…Feeling Loving Open Willing to pay attention to what is the next best thing for me to do.

Start off the year with#selfcare and Recharge. Replenish. Reconnect. If you are in Atlanta please be my guest at my Meditations & Conversations at Juiceez Etc. at 2:00 PM.  The details are in the attached flyer, I hope to see you there.

I’d love to hear how you are FLOWING and connecting with life. Please share your comments below.

 

M&C 1.24.16

Be Grateful

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MAKES

How do you start your day? Before I even open my eyes I raise my arms up to the skies and say, ” thank you, God” for another day. I breathe in the clean air and say, “thank you, God” for another day to be alive and to be of service while I am here. I just lie in bed for few moments and allow that blessing to envelop me like a warm blanket.

There are people that woke up this morning and found someone in their home who was not breathing. There are people who woke up this morning and received news that a loved one had transitioned.  There are some people who did not have a bed to sleep in. Be grateful.

When I am at home, my husband, TD, and I usually both say a morning prayer while we are still in bed to guide and direct our day. Yes, for those who did not know, I married Td Robinson in December 2014. What a blessing he is, and that’s another blog post.I am very grateful. Be grateful.

This morning, in Albany Georgia as I was dictating this blog post, my Yorki Poo, (my mother’s dog) Lacee  just snuggled up to me. At home Lacee has been sleeping on the pillow next to the bed. This was new after years of sleeping in the bed. I am pretty sure she was grateful to be
in the bed sleeping with me. Be grateful.

Thank you God, for waking me up this morning with my physical body intact. Thank you for my sight, taste, touch, hearing, smell and intuition. Thank you for all of the blessings that I receive and the abundance of my life. I am here to serve. Help me know the right words
to say at the right time to the right people. Allow your grace to help me discern the places I need to go today and allow me to be connected with my personal guidance system (PGS) for all of my decisions this day and every day.

I do a series of stretches while in bed to show appreciation to my body since I’ve been sleeping. I take another deep breath in and exhale. I rise out of bed, stand and do a few calf raises with my arms raised and say thank you again. I sometimes do additional stretches while standing. And by this time Lacee is looking at me as if to say, ” can you let a dog out?”  If I move too slowly, Lacee will snort. I let Lacee out and say ” thank you, God”  for Lacee because I know we will be walking soon.  I am grateful to have Lacee to walk. Walking Lacee gives me a way to start my day with exercise and that is a form of meditation, a walking meditation. On my morning walks with Lacee I usually walk in silence and listen and get great ideas. That’s another blog post.

Thank you God. I say “thank you, God” constantly throughout the day. “Thank you, God” is my moment to moment mantra, a simple phrase that expresses a powerful thought. When I’m faced with something that seems painful, sad, upsetting, I take a deep breath and say thank you, God. In all things, give thanks.

A special thanks to my girlfriend, Regenna London, who inspires me with her 40 Day Plan. Regenna is doing a blog post every day for 40 days, along with other amazing things, she is a life coach and certified personal trainer as well, check her out at Tuninguplife.com. If the people around you don’t inspire you, find some new people to be around. It really is that simple.

Don’t forget to take time to be still, get clear, and choose well. “Thank you, God” for the ability  and interest in writing again.

This is part of how I start my morning. I’d love to know how you begin your day. Share your thoughts with me below and hopefully we can share ideas, insights, and offer an inspiration to someone today.

Meditation Moments: Take a Break (2:22)

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Greetings,

Do you jump out of bed and start your day in a hurry?  Do you look up and realize that 3/4 of your day has passed and you don’t know what happened? Did you stop at any point in your day to just savor a moment? You are not alone.
Many of us (myself included) are off and running from the time we get up until we retire at night.

Enjoy this short (2:22) break during your day, come back often or save for future reference…and of course, please share with others.

Click below and enjoy!

 

Be Still: We DID THAT!

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Meditation in process

Posted on the conference room doors at the office 🙂

Be still, we did that! I am so thrilled that the first Meditations and Conversations session on April 26 had six participants who accepted the invitation to recharge, replenish and reconnect using meditation and breath work as a foundation. A few of the comments shared by the attendees are below.

“I felt refreshed, lighter and brighter.” Yolanda

“ I felt relaxed, happy and could just be. “ Surayya

“ I learned how to have quiet time to make myself relax.” Antoinette

“ I felt relieved.” Tracy

I was so excited after the program on Sunday I invited a few co-workers to “take a 10 minute break” at 3:00 pm on Wednesday.  Five people, in person, and two people via phone gathered quietly in the conference room and allowed themselves to sit, breathe and “just be.”  Feeling relaxed, focused, rejuvenated were some of the feeling expressed from the 10 minute session. After our meditation several people asked when we would do that again. I honestly just followed my instinct and I hadn’t thought about doing it again… or had I?

Later that day I remembered I had an idea for an Office Meditation Group (OMG) several months ago and I blew it off. I had even talked about it with one of my Toastmasters members.  I’m learning daily that certain ideas must be implemented and not remain idle. I’m also learning to listen, obey and act on the insights and ideas I receive. I have learned that it is “because of the silence” and not “in the silence” that I am able to gain clarity and make better choices.

On Friday at 3:00 pm, six of us gathered for 10 minutes to stop, breathe and focus. When I opened my eyes and saw the look of relaxation on the faces of my co-workers, I smiled and sent a thank you to the universe. I’ll be scheduling regular 10 minutes sessions based on popular demand.

Meditation is so many things. Mental focus. A muscle. A tool.  It’s like trying a food you have never tried, you just don’t know if you will like it until you take a bite or a few bites. And there are times you try a food and don’t like it, at a different time you try the same food and enjoy it. I encourage you to take a bite and give meditation a try. The next Meditations and Conversations session will be on 5/24 @ 2:00 pm.

My audio program, Be Still: Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day is available on ITunes, CD baby, Amazon and other online locations.  Be Still has been designed with 10 minute meditations to ease you into the practice of meditation. There are tons of apps and sites now for guided meditations, meditationoasis.com (site and app) and
anxietyslayer.com–  (site and app). I also enjoy listening to Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace by Susie Mantell to help me relax into a restful sleep.

If you are local to Atlanta please visit Juiceez & Etc.  20 Jackson Street SE Atlanta, GA 30312 on
Sundays @ 2:00 pm and Wednesdays@ 6:30 pm for Guided Meditation and Sound Vibration Therapy with Surayya Abuldmateen. You can also check out Yogahive.org for meditation, yoga and more.

Please share your thoughts below in the comments.

Meditations & Conversations

Meditations & Conversations is an opportunity for all levels of meditators to gather in community to be in practice together.

Join us for an hour of relaxation using breath work, meditations & conversations designed to help you recharge, replenish and reconnect with your spirit.

No experience required, just your open mind and willingness.

Agenda
Registration 2:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Oracle cards 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Meditations 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Conversations 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Investment: $15.00

Location: Juiceez Etc – 20 Jackson Street Atlanta 30312 Phone:(404) 688-3812
Juiceez & Etc. is located off Edgewood Avenue @ the corner of Jackson & Chamberlain—on street parking

Bring yourself, a friend, a blanket and/or pillow. Yoga mats are available or feel free to bring your own.
RSVP to confirm your attendance. Please pay upon arrival
#selfcarematters
#whystruggle?
#bestill

The Power of the Present Moment

Practicing being present

 

The Power of the Present Moment

In March this year I completed a four week long Mindfulness Based Stress Resilience class that also included a day long silent retreat. Prior to taking the class I had an issue with my back and right knee that definitely made me “mindful” about how I was able to move, the pain was a constant reminder. Pain can be a gentle or strong reminder of how we are living our life. I struggled for several days and finally I was in so much pain that I had to take a few days off from work. The decision to take a few days off of work was big for me, I don’t remember the last time I have taken time off due to illness.

I also missed the second class due to the extreme pain.  In the bed on my back with my ice pack I was definitely finely tuned in with each present moment. I practiced breathing and meditating a lot over those days. Being forced to “be still” made me even more present once I was able to move more fluidly a few days later. I gingerly walked the dog and took my time getting in the car. I was forced to practice mindfulness in a way you can only experience when in pain.

It was a valuable lesson. I am proud of myself for taking care of me and listening to what my body was saying. Stop. Slow down. Take care of yourself. I am slowing down more, taking my time and savoring more of the day to day experiences like walking the dog and taking in the sights and sounds. Life’s simple pleasures like watching a child discover something new, feeling the sun on your face or hearing a wind chime are a few ways to connect with the power of the present moment.

My back and knee are much better. I am so grateful for the blessing of moving better and being in less pain. When I find myself walking very fast, I take a breath and remind myself to slow down and be more present by taking in all my senses. I remember how an older person walks, very deliberately and that helps me to moderate my pace.

The present moment is called so because it is a gift. I’d love to hear how you have learned to be more present. Share your thoughts below and share with others.

Be Still: Why do that? Updated

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Meditation-Om. The sound of the word can create images of monks sitting crossed legged chanting words you don’t understand.  Or maybe people in flowing robes espousing words of universal love.  Forget your preconceived ideas of what you may think meditation is and focus on the results of regular practice. Take a moment to imagine a day that starts out peaceful and clear and well executed. Silence is a way to add to your spiritual bank account. Peace of mind, clarity and focus are some of the results of regular meditation.

Meditation is the process of letting go of the thoughts in your mind so you can release and recharge. Meditation for me is the process of going inside to reconnect with myself. It allows me to let go. I have become more clear and focused and that allows me to make better choices.When meditation was first suggested to me it didn’t make sense.  Being still?  Are you kidding? What could I learn from silence? I was a talker. Who would I talk to? I enjoyed thought provoking conversations.  I didn’t get it at all. My connection with my inner spirit was probably there but it was temporarily disconnected due to lack of funds.  At 30 I had not learned that the currency required for my spiritual bank account was in the form of being still. I was being proactive by seeking out information from sources like people, books and classes.  I was not interested at all in being still.  Stillness didn’t seem like a way to learn anything.

In 1995 I started dabbling with meditation a few times a week.  I didn’t want to commit to the practice.  I was afraid to be still. I was afraid of what I might find out about myself. Quiet Barbara scared me. I started meditating very slowly and with hesitation. I was still not convinced I would really benefit from silence. It took several years before I decided to create a daily spiritual practice that included some form of meditation.  I used a guided cassette daily in the morning and learned to be still.  When I decided to embrace meditation as a natural process for growth and development I began to understand the power of silence. I saw myself grow like a newly watered flower.

Now, I won’t leave my house without my meditation time. If I am running late, I will be 5 minutes later.  Meditation recharges my internal batteries. Every day I sit and I close my eyes,
I breathe in and out and I sit in complete silence. In the stillness I have a reverence and an appreciation for my life.  I give thanks to The Creator for all people and experiences I have had and the ones I will create.  In the five to ten minutes of complete silence I allow my thoughts to do what they will, sometimes they tell me what I need to do, sometimes not. I allow my meditation time to develop as it will. It is because of the silence and not always in the silence I gain clarity.

My daily meditation practice reminds me that I have a lot more to learn about myself and life.  I have learned that I need to be still to get clear so I can choose well. After meditating my spiritual bank account is full and I am ready to create the day I want. Be Still: Yes, I must do that.

If you’ve ever wanted to try to be still or meditate, come enjoy an hour of breath work, meditations, and conversations designed to help you relax, recharge and replenish your spirit. I will be leading a meditation group at Juiceez & Etc.  20 Jackson Street SE Atlanta, GA 30312

Meditations & Conversations

Dates: 4/26, 5/24, 6/28, 7/26, 8/23, 9/27, 10/25, 11/22

Time: 2:00 pm – 2:15 pm  Registration
2:15 pm – 3:15pm  Meditation
3:15 pm – 4:00 pm Conversations

Cost:  $10

Click here for my audio program, Be Still: Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day.

Share your thoughts below in the comments.