Letting go doesn’t mean loving less

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At times, it feels like our journey through this one life is fraught with trials and setbacks more so than smooth sailing. Times when we could use an encouraging word, a hug or a shoulder on which to cry. A friend of mine is going through such a time and, earlier this week—despite my attempt to practice mindfulness (see ‘A month of mindfulness…’)—I allowed frustration over a situation out of my control to instead control my tongue. Unfortunately, this resulted in words spouted off between us, words that stung, words that could not be retracted. And, ultimately, a falling out. Although I tried to right it, the damage had been done and I realized the only thing I could do was to let go. To give my friend space. It doesn’t mean I love any less; it means I love enough to allow someone else to take my place. To pick up where I left off.

How do you know when it’s time to let go?

Photo courtesy of usamedeniz at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A lesson in irony: in memory of Rob

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Life can prove ironic in the simple, the mundane. And in the crushing blows, the fracture between hope and fate. This week, I discovered that Marlene, a cashier at my neighborhood grocery store, had been writing letters to Rob—a cashier who was diagnosed in 2015 with stage 3 lung cancer. I haven’t seen Rob since we spoke in August 2016, right before his birthday trip to Hawaii, and then, upon his return from the tropical getaway, he took an extended leave from his job to tackle one of more significance: the fight for his life. Just the other day, I wrote a letter and brought it to the market the next morning for Marlene to include in her envelope. As I concluded my shopping, another cashier greeted me and I knew, without words, that Rob’s fight was over. Read more about Rob:  ‘Slow down, listen more…,’ ‘How (not) to be miserable…’ and ‘Borrowed time…’ And don’t wait for Someday.

How is irony at work in your life?

7 tips to incorporate mindfulness into your day

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If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
live in the moment, live in the breath. ~ Amit Ray

In my post, “A month of mindfulness…,” I share how I’ve begun to practice mindfulness—the act of consciously directing my awareness, without judgment—moment by moment. I also include a few examples of where I’ve begun to pay attention on purpose. Here are seven tips on how you might incorporate mindfulness into your everyday routine: 1) Choose a better-for-you beverage or snack option. 2) Focus on your breath when you’re uncomfortable, scared or upset. 3) Give other speakers 100 percent of your attention. 4) Notice if you exhibit behaviors like jumping to conclusions or overreacting, interrupting or responding with rudeness. 5) Look for ways to extend compassion and kindness to those around you. 6) Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations—before you “think aloud.” 7) Pause before you speak/email/text. Bonus: Always remember it’s a practice. Then watch the changes start to unfold.

How do you practice mindfulness?

Photo courtesy of David Castillo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A month of mindfulness: one moment at a time

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Recently I followed a movement in my Facebook feed about a 30-day minimalist challenge: remove one thing (from your life) on the first day that no longer serves you, two the second and so on. At first I was ready to jump on this spring-cleaning twist; however, rather than minimize, I’ve chosen to practice a month of mindfulness. The simple definition: to pay attention on purpose; a conscious direction of our awareness. First, I began to apply this attention to my food choices. Soon it eked into my yoga, the way I interact with my colleagues in the work place, my little family on the home front and my other relationships; how I choose to spend my time. Although it’s only a week into June, I see tangible results from my efforts. And, because mindfulness also involves approaching each moment without judgment, as I become more skilled at the practice, I can better recognize when judgment rears its ugly head. One moment at a time.

How mindful are you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Dealing with loss: a new way to approach closed doors

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Open doors are often viewed as gateways to fresh opportunities. Conversely, we might assume a closed door denotes an end. However, I read an article recently that describes doors in an expanded light: closed doors can also signify new beginnings. When a metaphorical door is closed in our lives, and we accept it as our new reality, we grant ourselves permission to grow in other areas. Perhaps you’ve experienced a closed door through the loss of a friendship, hope or health. Rather than mourn the end, I believe it’s healthier to carve out space to reconnect with or rediscover the spark of your truest self. This may be revealed in your sacred place—through a creative outlet or a commune with nature, meditation or a mini-getaway. Allow the door to your heart to remain open. Resume living. And trust that, although your path might look different than you’d imaged, it can lead to a new beginning if you allow it.

What door has recently closed in your life?

Photo courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

You are stronger than you think you are: kick your obstacles to the curb

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If I plan to do what I’m doing for a long time (see What’s ‘in’ this season…), then I must quit talking about modifying my lifestyle and do it. If I hope to hike, work out, practice yoga and maintain a youthful spirit, these changes need to stick rather than serve as sporadic patches until the seams unravel. My mortality hit home the other night while I watched an eye-opening documentary about sugar, and its adverse effects on our bodies and minds, and realized my addiction to the sweet stuff will either set me up for an early grave or problems I’ve already begun to experience in small doses. I have a plan, however: to become healthier and stronger during the next 17 months, and to reverse any negative effects of poor lifestyle choices. If I am willing to sacrifice my time and effort for others, then I should believe in myself enough to make sacrifices for a greater me.

What is an obstacle you seek to overcome?

What’s ‘in’ this season: new outlook, new you

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This past weekend, I joined another hiker for a six-mile trek through new-to-me desert terrain. As the two of us navigated the dusty trails, we discovered common interests and beliefs despite the decade that separates our birthdays. Recently, my friend quit her job because it interfered with her hikes, her yoga. Her sanity. Although she resides in a different season of her life than me—where her plans lean toward retirement—the outlook she embraces is one I strive for daily. My friend lives and breathes the old adage that there are seven days in a week and Someday isn’t one of them; that we need to do what we can [enjoy] now, so we can do it for years to come. I knew I couldn’t move the mountains ahead of me, but I could kick aside the bad habits and negative chatter that clutters my path and replace them with stepping stones—small, manageable changes—toward success. Regardless of the season.

What does your makeover look like?

 

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