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.

 

Be Still: Why do that? Updated

grateful_0648.jpg

 

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.

Tap Into Your Grooveline with Meditation

Tap into your Grooveline with Music

We are so busy most of the time these days. Between commuting, traveling, work, school, children, family, friends, and life in general it can feel overwhelming. I was on my way, somewhere the other day and a song came on that took me back to my high school homecoming dance. Okay, I am about to date myself.  “Grooveline” by Heatwave came on and I was in the car singing, moving my head, shaking my shoulders and having a good run down memory lane. Why is that?

Did you know that music changes your brain chemistry? Have you ever heard a song from your past and you were flooded with memories? Music is a form of meditation and can be very healing.  The combination of words, music and images transports us to where we were at that time. The body is absolutely amazing. Did you know that your body will remember and recall your feelings and emotions from a specific experience?  Those feelings and emotions are stored your physical cells.  Awesome, right? It is so important to remember that your body has a memory and we want to manage our experiences to be positive, loving and nourishing so the recall of our memories are good.

We all experience stress on some level, stress is a natural part of being alive and human. Using music to manage stress is one way to help us through our daily experiences and hopefully lighten the stress load.  I am sitting here now listening to my Beautiful Calm audio by Ananga Siyver, a wonderful artist I met online a few years ago when I was doing online research. The first sound of the morning meditation took me to a place of peace.  The sound and the tone of that chord transported me to when I first sat down to listen to the audio program.

I am excited to announce that I will be facilitating my stress management program, Why Struggle? Managing Stress with Meditation, see the details below:

Stress Management Program
Saturday, September 17, 2011
12 – 1:00 pm
Covington Highway Branch
3500 Covington Highway
Decatur, GA 30032-1850
(404) 508-7180

You will practice meditating and learn helpful tools, tips and techniques that are portable and may be used any time. There is no charge for the program so please share the information with others.

Let me know what music moved you lately and what’s on your current play list. Leave your comments below.

Opening the door

Opening the door to being still

Opening the door to being still

Five Ways to find time to “Be Still”

Greetings,
Okay, here’s the deal.  I have so many people tell me they can’t find the time to Be Still so they can Get Clear…and then Choose well.  Here are a few ways to add this essential practice into your life.  Some of these may be a bit amusing, but they have been proven to work.

1.  When driving in the car – don’t turn on music or radio or talk…simply
drive and pay attention to what’s around you.
2.   When in the bathroom – at home or work – take an extra few minutes
and  close your eyes and breathe in and out for a few moments.
3.   When you take a lunch break – go to a room or outside and sit and take
in a few conscious breaths.
4.   If you have children, I’ve been told going into the closet is a great place
to hide out for a few minutes.
5.  When you get to work or your destination…sit in the car for a few
minutes and breathe in and out.

Remember, taking the time to Be Still and connecting with your breath plants you into the PRESENT moment.  Focusing on breathing takes away your emphasis on thinking and puts you in a state of BEING.

Let me know if any of these work, or if you any thoughts you would like to share.

Be Accountable: Do You have AP’s ™?

Have you ever needed to do something and lacked the motivation? I have struggled with this in the past and often in the present. I would start a project and in the middle of it I would find something more interesting to do and move on to it before I finished. My I (idea) to I (implementation) ratio was very low.  It was around 5:1. I needed help. I had to find a way to increase my I:I. I came up with the idea of having an AP™.

An AP™ is an accountability partner. The AP is who you report to about the status of your project, idea or task to be sure that you are held accountable.  Here’s my example: I needed to recreate my script for my meditation cd before I could record it in the studio. My AP for this project was Wendy Y. She is one of my regular AP’s so I called her and told her what I needed to do and by when. The role of the AP is simple and specific.

The AP needs to know two things; 1. What needs to be done and 2. When it needs to be done. When I started using an AP™ my ratio was much better, it was 2:1.

Why did I need an AP? I needed to be held accountable. I knew that I couldn’t depend on motivation and inspiration to get me through, I needed discipline and commitment.  Knowing I had to call Wendy Y on April 29th kept me focused and I was determined to call her and say, “Wendy Y, I finished my cd script early.”  And I did. I often complete things faster when I have an AP involved.Why does this strategy work? Often time we are more accountable to someone else than we are to themselves. The AP approach works very well for me and I encourage you to try it.

There are three easy steps, here’s what you do:
1.  Who – decide who will be your AP™.
2.  What – decide what you need to get done.
3.  When – tell your AP when you need to have your project/task completed- be realistic.

What happens if you don’t get your project/task done by the timeframe you desired? Let your AP know the new timeframe, if you are still interested in completed the project/task.If things have changed, you can always find another project/task. There is always something to be done.Your AP can be different people based on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are on a team with people, you may choose to pick someone involved on that team. An AP is a great way to develop and enhance discipline around specific projects and get things done more timely.

Let me your thoughts by clicking on the comments and leaving me your thoughts.

Barbara in Barbados – Days 2 & 3

Isn't this beautiful!

 

Day 2 – We all went to the gym and worked out.  It felt great to be back working out again.  My ankle strain has left me with very limited workouts, except SALSA.   We went to Brown’s beach for the afternoon and watched the sunset.  There were many families on the beach and Warren, Regenna and I enjoyed the weather and chilling in the water floats and the overall beach scene. The picture on the header is from Brown’s Beach in Barbados. 

Day 3- This was the most unexpected day.  We got up to go to a 6am hike at Hackertons Cliff. Regenna and Warren London and I got up and took our snacks ( trail mix, grapes, apples, water, and a few Little Debbie Oatmeal pies for Warren).  It all started out so well, we got there right on time as they were explaining the different hikes.  We opted for the Stop and Stare.  We figured it would be a nice easy hike, we could STOP and Stare and take some pictures along the way.  It was listed as a 3 hour hike.  It started out very nicely, we walked through some wooded areas that were very beautiful. Then we walked past some houses and moved to where the fun really started.  We entered a very wooded area that didn’t seem that different from the other area we just left.  About an hour into the Barbados forest we all started to wonder what was happening.  This was no ordinary hike.  We were climbing up what seemed to be mini cliffs.  Not what we had in mind.  Well, there were several times we all were stopped and joked that the guide must be lost.  We were right.  We were lost in the Barbados forest for about 3 hours.
                Working out in a gym doesn’t quite prepare you for climbing up rocks, grabbing vines and maneuvering around trees with ants and slugs. I felt about as close to Survivor or Lost as I would ever be.  The other 39 people on the hike were just as befuddled as I was about why we were lost.  Were there markers we should have seen?  Of course there were.  I don’t hike. I mean I walk trails sometimes but really hike, no.  I really didn’t know what to expect or know what to look for. I thought that was why we had a guide.
                About 3 hours after realizing that we were indeed lost we made it to what looked like the top of a pit.  Regenna’s husband Warren was a life saver for the hike.  He made sure that we had assistance and helped us in the steep areas.  I was pulling on a stick several times  that he held out to me to be sure I made it up some of the steep paths. Did I mention I don’t hike? Well, we made it to the pit and one of the guys helping the guide tried to convince me it was easy to get out and to the top. At that point I would have done just about anything to get out of that hole.  It was beautiful in the forest, woods, it wasn’t quite a jungle but it was as close to a jungle I would see. But I definitely wanted out.  He helped us all out with a smile and in the typical Bajan accent, “Wasn’t that easy.”  Hell no.  It wasn’t easy…it was a trip.
                When I came up out of the hole we walked over to an area to rest atop of a beautiful cliff.  It was breathtaking. But that was not even close to the end of the hike. We still had another hour to go.
My body was aching; we were now back in the 80+ degree weather of Barbados and still clueless about how to get to the car.  We all bombarded a local store owner for water, Powerade and Banks Beer (a local favorite) to help us on the next hour leg of our trip.
                At one point when we were nestled quietly in the forest waiting to find out which way we were going, I was standing very still and quiet with my eyes closed.  Regenna asked me if I was okay.  I told her I was praying.  She asked if I was worried.  I told her no, I was simply praying my prayers of affirmation.  I thanked God for the safety of all the hikers. I thanked God for the wisdom of the guide. I thanked God for keeping the hikers calm. I had a few more prayers for God. I am continuing to pray at all times, prayers of gratitude help me remember that am at all times a blessed child of God.                Regenna and I discussed what could be the lesson in being Lost in Barbados. I don’t know for sure but I am sure that being in the moment and knowing that I would be divinely protected had to be somewhere among the things I learned and experienced on my three hour hike that was six hours while I was visiting Barbados.
                After our hike we were all EXHAUSTED.  We came home, showered and slept the afternoon away. We woke up and Geno cooked flying fish, rice and peas, mashed potatoes and salad.  Yummy.  Flying fish is native to the island and it was DELICIOUS! We just lazied (real word?) around the house all afternoon.  My feet and body are so sore.  See some of the pictures.

We made it back to the top!