60 Minutes Explores Mindfulness Meditation

Anderson Cooper shares his personal experience of learning about, and practicing mindfulness meditation for the first time.  Click the link to hear about it yourself…


Improve Your Calm Through Mindfulness

As we enter into one of the more stressful seasons of the year—we may feel pressured with time, and so our ability to tolerate the challenges of life activities, such as traffic/waiting in lines/crowds, might impact us more than than we’d like to admit. I thought this post could be, 1) a good reminder to those that have an established mindfulness practice, 2) an opportunity to learn something new as a way to manage anxiety and frustration and/or 3) proof that your feelings are shared, and you’re not alone.

Below is an excerpt from a recent article in the Washington Post by Katherine Shaver, which explores the common human reaction to the stress of transportation, and the helpful effects of a having a mindfulness practice. Here is the link to the full article if you find it interesting: Washington Post Article- Mindfulness/Transportation.

Tara Brach, founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, said she, too, needs a regular dose of mindfulness…Feeling like we’re not moving when we’re in a hurry, Brach said, taps into a deeper psychic fear of not having enough time.

“We think, ‘If I don’t get there on time, I won’t get things done, and I’m going to fail,’” she said. “It brings up a lot of fear and tension in our bodies. ... We think of commuting like we’re on our way somewhere else, and it’s wasted time — time we didn’t choose. But it’s a big swath of time in our lives. What if we thought of it as time to examine our hearts and minds in a way that calms us and brings more equanimity?”

District resident Glen Harrison, 45, said he realized five years ago during his bike commute that it wasn’t riding in traffic that made him tense. It was the frustration that he brought to it.

Harrison said he began taking in the trees and the feel of the breeze on his face, making him a safer cyclist because he’s more attuned to his surroundings. He said he also reminds himself that he’s sharing the road with others trying to get somewhere, too. That gives him more mental “space” so he doesn’t react as quickly when aggressive drivers cut him off or scream at him.

“Road rage for me became much less personal and a less frustrating experience,” said Harrison, who rides 15 to 40 miles a week as an event coordinator for Brach’s group. “I can navigate situations better with a more compassionate attitude. ... Traffic is just traffic. I bring to my commute what’s inside of me, and I need to be aware of that.”

Ronald Siegel, an author and assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, called his commuting practice “taillight meditation.” Siegel, who teaches mindfulness to health-care professionals, said he focuses on the colors and shapes of the taillights around him to remain relaxed and alert. Observing feelings that arise during a commute, he said, trains the brain to notice and respond more wisely to emotions throughout the day.

“We realize they’re simply thoughts and feelings and not necessarily realities,” Siegel said. “Mindfulness practice trains us to use all the moments of our lives productively, including the commute, rather than seeing the commute as something to get through so we can get to the good stuff.”

If you’re seeking support with your mindfulness practice, or to learn how to create one, please contact me for an appointment.

More on Self-Compassion

Here’s a short story that illustrates the practice of self-compassion. While we may not all have children, we can all relate to being in challenging situations.   I hope this gives you a smile, and perhaps, a hope that you too, can put this practice into use when you’re faced with difficulty.

2 More Aisles 

A man observed a woman in the grocery store with a three-year old girl in her basket. As they passed the cookie section, the little girl asked for cookies and her mother told her no. The little girl immediately began to whine and fuss, and the mother said quietly, “Now Monica, we just have half of the aisles left to go through; don’t be upset. It won’t be long.”

Soon they came to the candy aisle, and the little girl began to shout for candy. And when told she couldn’t have any, began to cry. The mother said, “There, there, Monica, don’t cry–only two more aisles to go, and then we’ll be checking out.”

When they got to the check-out stand, the little girls immediately began to clamor for gum and burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering there’d be no gum purchased. The mother patiently said, “Monica, we’ll be through this check out stand in 5 minutes and then you can go home and have a nice nap.”

The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her. “I couldn’t help noticing how patient you were with little Monica,” he began. Whereupon the mother said, “What are you talking about? I’m Monica . . . . . my little girl’s name is Tammy.”

Author Unknown

The Four Myths of Self-Compassion

I’m posting this article because I think self-compassion is misunderstood. It is not uncommon for me to get resistance from my clients when I suggest thinking about how might their best friend look at a situation they are in—for instance, what might they tell you about your feelings or attitudes?

I get it. It may feel ridiculous, self-centered, or in some way insincere, and the tendency to hold tightly to your strong judgments and self-criticism feels comfortable. However, what if there really is something to this new way of relating to yourself and others? Research has shown that self-compassion is linked to less egocentrism and more emotional balance. The article I posted might shed some light on the topic.

The Four Myths of Self-Compassion

13 Things Mindful People Do Differently Every Day

I found this article to be inspiring and helpful. It discusses ways to bring mindfulness to your everyday life. Check it out! You may find that you are already doing some of these practices, or maybe you’d like to start. See what happens…

13 Things Mindful People Do Differently Every Day