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You Become What You Contemplate!

Do your habitual thoughts lead you to feeling calm, centered, happy…OR

…distressed and anxious?

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Just like with food habits….you BECOME what you think, what you eat, and what you do….

your moment by moment choices shape your world.

Your life is your garden. Over time, what you plant is what you get.

                                                                                          

ASK yourself: What mind am I contemplating?

1. The “I, me, and mine” mind: This is a mind that is always planning, fearful, and obsessed? Maybe anxious? Always concerned with outcomes? Trying to control all things in your life? How do you feel when you are lost in all of those type of thoughts?

2. “Concern for your family and the whole-world” mind: This is a more expansive and broader contemplation, but consider what happens to your mind and emotions when you are watching too much news and seeing directly the distress of the world.  Perhaps your thinking about your family and friends with a caring and open heart? Where does seeing too much suffering, problems, and individual distress lead you? Do you end of feeling discouraged, feeling hopeless, sad, or wanting to run away from it all?

WORLD DAY OF METTA

3. OR, “focus on a VAST” mind: the mind of the still forest or whole Universe: connected, present in the here and now, concentrated, celebrating life! Aware of senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. Practice how to cultivate that vast mind:

Winter Stillness: Talk by Kodo Conover

  • Be aware of the 4 elements in everything: earth, air, fire, and water parts of all life.
  • Let go of the thinking/planning mind whenever possible–come to silence–focus on the great VAST mind–just like the sky with stars in it or clouds in it (all floating by)–all levels of manifestations on earth–constantly arising and instantly manifesting…and then…instantly disappearing.
  • All in the VAST space of awareness (my mind)…everything arises in it…and disappears…
  • Allow all to arise and pass away–without preferences
  • Don’t “judge or label” what happens….allow it to be just as it is in this moment.
  • The VAST Universe, world or planet is ONE continually pulsating, alive organism–all with mysterious intelligence that guides it and brings it to harmony. My apparent “life” is intimately and completely connected with the whole world and Universe–it is NOT separate from it.
  • Allow myself to experience the awe, wonder, and mystery regularly…contemplate it and rejoice!!
  • Accept all as the perfect teacher for what I need at this moment.

LIFE GIVES US WHAT WE NEED TO LEARN

LIFE IS FULL OF BEAUTY. NOTICE IT

DALAI LAMA-INNER PEACE

ACCEPT YOU AS YOU

Considering all of these thoughts can benefit the entire world!

WE ARE ALL TOGETHER-1

Practice Skillful Contemplation and Meditation in Our Lives

WE ALL GET PULLED AND DISTRACTED IN MANY DIRECTIONS 

Last Sunday PM we had a terrific discussion in the Question & Answer session at meditation group, in response to a question:
HOW do we make life meaningful and a practice skillful life choices even after our meditation sessions?

Here us a summary of the excellent discussion:

 GLOBE MEDITATION.

Serenity Prayer

Don’t Worry About It!

 Worry

In 1988 (and again in 2013 and 2015 many similar challenges are coming up) I was going through a time of great transition  (I’m retiring at the end of the year) and was worried about everything: finding a new job (or letting go of a former job), my grandmother’s (or mother-in-law’s) care, many friends’ well-being, a love relationship for myself, money for bills, the world’s chaos, and cleaning my messy house! I was an emotional wreck.

I went out on a walk with my mind completely a jumble of distressing thoughts. I was praying and asking God for a sign—please help me understand. Shortly after I looked over towards a truck that was parked on the street and on the rear wooden bumper were engraved the words: DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! I was astonished! All my thoughts stopped and I smiled. Ah…I could let go of all my concerns. Just trust that things would work out—for me and everyone else. Believe it or not, on that same walk I found a medallion with an inscription on it that said:

 It only takes one person to

change your life….YOU!

 path to happiness

As a postscript—about 20 years later—many things did work out for the best. I didn’t starve, the house did get cleaned, and I did find a wonderful job and a loving companion, and my crazy thinking improved!

  It is safe to let go and relax.

It is safe to let go of the illusion of control.

There is nothing to fear!

FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

Be happy for this moment--it is your life!

Pay a visit to: Do you experience overwhelming circumstances and can’t achieve a healthier weight?

Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It

What Are We Powerless Over?

Gander at:

Reasons We Eat: Healthful and Harmful

When trying to lose weight, one may feel shame, avoidance, or obsession about eating. As an alternative, it might be helpful to consider a new way of looking at food and eating.

Healthful Reasons to Eat

Let’s explore the REASONS WE EAT:

  1. PHYSICAL HUNGER is an obvious and essential reason to eat. When you are hungry, it is inappropriate to deny yourself food. There is no reason for guilt or shame. The WAY to lose excess weight is to cultivate a healthful style of eating. Eating when you are hungry is like breathing AIR to stay alive. It is necessary for life.

    • When you are physically hungry, every cell in your body sends out signals requesting nutrients. Your cells do not have cravings for specific foods. They want water, vitamins, minerals, amino acids (proteins), fatty acids, and glucose, which can be provided from a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, meats, and calcium-rich foods.

    • Physical hunger builds patiently and gradually over a 2-4 hour period following your last meal. Physical hunger signals a preference that you eat soon, but it does not command you to eat the instant you begin to feel it. Look into: Listen to Your Body. It Will Talk to You: Hunger Scale and How to Fuel-Up Your Body Throughout the Day  to learn about your Body’s Fuel Gauge. Eating regular, small meals is made easier by taking along a variety of food choices WITH you. Go to taste: Bob’s Lunch Bag.

    • It is based in your stomach with a gnawing or rumbling which becomes more painful over time. You may begin to feel lightheaded or a lack of energy if over hungry.

    • When you eat when you are physically hungry, you are aware of the food on your fork, in your mouth, and in the stomach. You choose how much you need to eat to fuel and nourish your body and STOP eating when that is accomplished. A helpful practice to help get in touch with your TRUE hunger signals is to follow Eating Awareness Training. Come to learn about yourself as you explore Factors That Influence How Much We Eat.

State of the Plate-crop

    1. NUTRITION refers to choosing foods containing the specific nutrients you know your body needs. It also means LIMITING FOODS  with too much fat, salt, or sugar. Appreciate: Essential Skills section #5 for ideas about Cultivating a Sustainable, Healthful Plan of Eating–one step at a time.
    2. CONVENIENCE is working around your busy schedule to meet your body’s need to eat in a flexible way. For example, if you are not fully hungry before a meeting, you may bring along a food bag so that you can eat on break, or eat after the meeting. Or perhaps eat a small salad or veggies before you go. Investigate: Essential Skills #6 for ideas about Planning and Preparing Delicious Recipes. Also go to see: Nutritious and Yummy Snacks, and What Does Bob Typically Eat In Any Given Day? for ideas on scrumptious foods for home or on the go.
    3. PLEASURE means that is is important to ENJOY foods (and other lifestyle choices that you make) and eat foods we like. It is important to have MOUTH FUN! Celebrate the pleasures of food. Use all of your senses. You can learn to celebrate a healthful lifestyle! In fact, making FUN your focus will insure that your new patterns naturally become your new way you create your life. Frolic in: CELEBRATE Healthful Eating! Yum! Make It FUN. Make It Colorful!, CELEBRATING The Simple Joys Of Life!, The Power of Fun: Celebrate Enjoyable Ways To Be Active!, An Alphabetical Guide to Zestful Living, and Sprinkle Dollops of Delight and Self-Care Towards Yourself for ideas of how to begin.

     

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole M.S. , R.D. and Elyse Resch M.S., R.D. is an excellent resource on honoring your hunger, enjoying the pleasures of food and feeling your fullness. To explore her 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating and her website.

Harmful Reasons to Eat

Crisis

Most of the SELF-DESTRUCTIVE reasons to eat have to do with using food to alter your emotions. When you eat to numb feelings, the result may be frustration in out-of-control eating and in the knowledge that your body is receiving extra calories that will be stored as more fat.

© 1999, adapted with permission, The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook by Andrea LoBue and Marsea Marcus, by GÜRZE BOOKS: Eating disorder resource catalogue. www.bulimia.com   Articles on recovery, basic facts about eating disorders, newsletters, self-help books, professional texts, educational videos, internet resources, national organizations, treatment facilities.

ASK: Am I eating to fix painful emotions or situations?

From The Food Fix By Sandra Stoltz.

By choosing NOT TO EAT when you are emotionally hungry, you are creating healthy limits, which can allow you to release and heal your feelings. FOOD will never provide real support when your are anxious, bored, or lonely. Take some time to sort through: The Ovals–Developing and Maintaining a “Personal Plan of Eating”  Discover what are you REALLY hungry for as you learn How to Develop a Loving, Self-Nurturing, Inner Voice For You!

So HOW do you change the HABIT of eating to numb out uncomfortable and distressing emotions and situations?

Learn to be your own fitness coach—use your brain and ask the right questions!

FITNESS COACH_

I can see what I do and I can see how to change it.

Choose to become aware:

  • Acknowledge, accept, and understand, your pain and your pattern

  • Get in touch with what you FEEL

ASK: Will this choice increase my aliveness or decrease it? Free me, or imprison me?

Try several experiments to learn about FEELINGS:

  • Touch your thumb and forefinger together. What do you feel? Pressure? Heat or cold? Now touch a table top with your finger. What do you notice then? Is it colder? Harder?

  • Now pinch yourself on your upper arm, with your forefinger and fingernail– pinching harder and harder. Now what do you feel? Pain? Discomfort? Now let go. What do you notice? Do you notice that the pain subsides? Ah.

  • Remember the feelings that you have had as your BODY lets you know that you have to relieve “liquid or solid wastes” from your body. Have you ever noticed those SIGNALS, but ignored them because you were really busy? What feelings did you notice after awhile? Did it get SO PAINFUL that you HAD to stop what you were doing and attend to your body’s needs? We’ve all had this happen to us.

Use this same AWARENESS AND PROCESS to provide clues to you about your emotional eating PATTERNS.

THE KEY SKILL IS TO DEVELOP A PAUSE BUTTON–TO STOP!

Just like a tape recorder has a PAUSE button.

Don’t immediately go to FOOD to make things momentarily better.

  • So FIRST, Notice your habits. Become your own “gentle observer.” Take time to go inside yourself. Explore your feelings that arise in you. Do You Experience a RAIN of Feelings?

  • What are you hungry for? Rest? Affection? Quite time? What do you really need? Take the time to Shine the light of self-care towards YOU!

  • PRACTICE THE SKILL OF RESPECTFUL SELF-TALK: Nourishing Affirmations and How to Develop a Loving, Self-Nurturing, Inner Voice For You!

  • Investigate: The Horse Of Habit (patterns) story, How to work with food cravings, and  Meditation—Why and How—Cleanse and Train The Mind.

  • It is helpful to notice how your mind works. In Eckhart Tolle’s book, Stillness Speaks, he shares some helpful insights:

    • The mind exists in a state of “not enough” and so is always greedy for more. When you are identified with mind, you get bored and restless very easily. Boredom means the mind is hungry for more stimulus, more food for thought; and its hunger is not being satisfied.

    • When you feel bored, you can satisfy the mind’s hunger by picking up a magazine, making a phone call, switching on the TV, surfing the web, going shopping, or–and this is not uncommon–transferring the mental sense of lack and its need for more to the body and satisfy it briefly by ingesting more food.

    • Or you can stay bored and restless and observe what it feels like to be bored and restless. As you bring awareness to the feeling, there is suddenly some space and stillness around it, as it were. A little at first, but as the sense of inner space grows, the feeling of boredom will begin to diminish in intensity and significance… pages 18 – 19.

    • Stillness Speaks, (2003), by Eckhart Tolle, Namaste Publishing and New World Library. From the Introduction: “The only function of a spiritual teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth of who you already are and what you already know in the depth of your being.” Enjoy discovering your inner being! See also Practicing The Power of Now, (1999), by Eckhart Tolle.
      • Namaste Publishing promotes Eckhart’s books and other materials. Their mission is: “To make available publications that acknowledge, celebrate, and encourage others to express their true essence and thereby come to remember Who They Really Are.” Find them at:  www.namastepublishing.com/  
      • Namasté means, “I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace, when you are in that place in you and I’m in that place in me, we are one.”
  • Check out: the Emotional Eating section to notice which emotions are TRIGGERS for you. Keep track in your diary. Notice the PAIN or DISCOMFORT that comes to visit you. Just notice. Try not to use food to mask your uncomfortable feelings.

  • Scrutinize: Which Puzzle Pieces Contribute to Your Overweight? to figure out your lifestyle DANGER ZONES–WHAT people, places and things influence your choices.

  • Explore: Bingeing: Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight to develop the SKILL of self-awareness and becoming a self-manager. A note: many people abandon record keeping when they have problems. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO WRITE DOWN WHATEVER HAPPENS. When you do this, you will begin to see your patterns and begin to FIND YOUR SOLUTIONS to transform and manage your DANGER ZONES. Practice regularly: the Daily Check-In section.

  • Turn your attention to:  Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It and On The Spot Stress Managers to learn new ways to cope.

  • For some FUN, if all else fails, you might try out If All Else Fails: A Refrigerator Air Bag! and Additional Support!

  • You may find that you can’t sort through things on your own and would benefit from the advice, insights, or support of a trained listener. Consider: Do you experience overwhelming circumstances and can’t lose weight? , Thoughts on Healing and Helping, and Therapeutic Help for the Journey for ideas.

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Mental Nutrients: What To Say When You Talk To Your Self

If you continue to think what you’ve always thought,

you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got!

Our mind is the garden, the thoughts are the seeds, the harvest will be either flowers or weeds.

Inevitably so, inevitably so! Mel Veldon.

The quality of our thoughts influence the quality of our lives. Our minds can make us sick OR we can use our minds to improve our health.

If you have found that your mental habits and life experiences have led to your feeling discouraged, disconnected, and drooped–believe it or not–those patterns of thoughts and emotional reactions CAN be changed!

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You can open yourself up to positive and powerful habits of thought and more balanced emotional reactions. You can learn to celebrate yourself and life!

When my mind gets into fear, disappointment, feeling alone and unloved…I acknowledge it, and then I take time to consider different kinds of thoughts and images. Since at least at one level, I’m creating my “feeling tone” of my experience by my interpretation of it.

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I had to learn about my thinking habits, to accept the fact that “what I think becomes me.”  Whatever I put my focus on…EXPANDS: fears or trust, misery or happiness and joy. When I constantly think discouraging thoughts about myself and others, I end up feeling very discouraged about everything. I tried it. It works! But when I put encouraging, loving thoughts into my mind about others and myself, I have a great time! I tried it. It works! The choice is yours—and mine.

A healthy body is built by practicing sound nutrition choices

and living an active lifestyle.

 A HEALTHY MIND is developed through developing effective MENTAL HABITS.

Plant the Mental Garden of Your Life With Seeds of Well-Being!

Delight In Exploring!


Imagine Your Ideal Day
, consider Harmony, Abundance, Equality, and Commitment

 How to Develop a Loving, Self-Nurturing, Inner Voice For You!

Nourishing AffirmationsSeeing your uniquenessCreating a vision for your new life,

Letting go of all your old self-destructive or restrictive personal identities,

GIVING YOURSELF all of the love you want from others,

and Stretching yourself towards new dimensions of well-being!

Be Happy and Contented! and Various Meditations

Peace! and Kiss The Earth and Walk as You Touch Peace in Every Moment!

Happiness Project Toolbox

The Happiness Project Toolbox supplies eight tools to help you construct your “happiness project.” Everyone’s project will be different, and there’s no right or wrong way. You can use all eight tools, or you can pick one tool that appeals to you. Just jump in and start now. http://happinessprojecttoolbox.com/

 

Daily Strength Website: Discover many Popular Support Groups. Also find health blogs, expert treatments, and other ways to be empowered. http://www.dailystrength.org/

 

Zen Habits: Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness. http://zenhabits.net/ and About Zen Habits: http://zenhabits.net/about/

Along your journey of change, be gentle with yourself!

Be respectful towards yourself:

Don't Shout

“Don’t shout at the apple and demand that it ripen!

It won’t ripen any faster and all you’ll get is a sore throat!!!”

—Advice given to me by my counselor

Affirmations: Suggestions & Methods for their use

See Bob’s story Mental Skills — whatever you FOCUS ON, expands!

Also check out Bob’s story The Emotional area.

Visit Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child.

Explore  When Helping You Is Hurting Me.

Discover Re-evaluation Counseling.

Consider the Dieting Versus Non-Dieting Approaches.

Contemplate the Out of hell, into freedom thoughts and lastly,

Transform your thinking, visit Make your mind an ocean and Meditations

 

Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It

stress

Stress can harm your health by impairing your immune system and promoting disease. A stressor becomes harmful when an individual lacks an effective way of controlling it. Stress is also a common reason given for overeating or emotional eating. Some individuals tend to avoid physical activity when they are stressed out, too. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the signs of stress and find ways to manage stress to promote fitness.

  1. What is stress? Any mental or physical stimulus that disrupts the body’s equilibrium—it can be positive or negative. Any change that you must adjust to. It can be:
  2. Environmental (noise, weather, traffic, time pressures, job performance standards)
  3. Physiological (illness, lack of sleep, poor diet, aging)
  4. Thoughts (worry, negative self-talk, fear)

Stress and How It Affects Your Mind and Body:

5. Stress is revealed through physical and emotional symptoms:

Physical                                                                      Emotional

 

Fatigue Irritability
Tension headaches Frustration
Upset stomach Feeling helpless
Difficulty sleeping Loss of self-esteem
Tense muscles Loss of concentration
Shortness of breath Withdrawal
Change in appetite Anxiety

What are the signs you use to recognize stress? Use mindfulness (practice being aware of stress symptoms since they often become unconscious)

Some Methods for Reducing Stress.  You Are Your Wisest Counselor!

Body Scan

Predict it with awareness Nutrition
Assertiveness Rest or Sleep
Look at self-talk Physical activity
Emotional expression/Sharing Relax/Deep breathing
Look at past experiences Find support
Diversion/Recreation Humor
Preparation/Organization Writing
Allow enough time Counseling
Mindfulness Prioritize
Anger management Hobbies
Set realistic goals Music
Set healthy limits Massage
Correct thinking distortions Nurturing
Enjoy the beauty of nature Pet an animal
Manage triggers: alter, avoid, accept Balance time alone, with others, work, rest, and fun

© 2004, adapted with permission, Kaiser Permanente Northwest Health Education Services, Cultivating Health ™ Weight Management Kit

 Self Hug-CAROL

Lavish nourishing restorative techniques on yourself as you explore On-the-spot stress management techniques.

When we remind ourselves of the benefits for changing, it can help us get back on track. Note the benefits for physical activity. Physical activity can lessen stress, control blood pressure, decrease resting heart rate, etc. But it also helps to deal with stressful situations be increasing your mental sharpness, concentration, problem solving skills, and creativity. Shifting our attitudes will also help us overcome our resistance to doing exercise.

 WORLD DAY OF METTA

Stress is also a common reason given for overeating or emotional eating. Two out of three people eat more under stress. Plus, we don’t usually overeat vegetables when we’re stressed (Did you notice that “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards?) You can make small changes over time to improve your eating habits. Do your best tochoose foods rich in nutrients when you are under stress–vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, fat-free dairy, and healthy fats in moderation. Limit sugar, unhealthy fat, caffeine, and alcohol.

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 Exercise is like “mental floss”. It cleans out the stress that is stuck in your brain!

What do you find helps manage stress for you?

Resources:The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, by Martha Davis and Mathew McKay, © 2002, New Harbinger Publication, Inc. Check out New Harbinger Publishers

  •  www.teachhealth.com gives the medical basis of stress, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and drug use—explained in a fun, easy-to-read format. It’s really excellent!
  • http://www.mindtools.com/smpage.html Learn 48 essential leadership skills at mindtools.com. Also visit links at:  http://www.mindtools.com/links/Links.html
  • www.stress.about.com articles and tips for reducing stress
  • www.mindfulplace.com MBSR: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction by Denice Gour. Find recorded meditations here: www.mindfulplace.com/id13.htm

  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness (Paperback) by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    This book is also a terrific introduction for anyone who has considered meditating but was afraid it would be too difficult or would include religious practices they found foreign. Kabat-Zinn focuses on “mindfulness,” a concept that involves living in the moment, paying attention, and simply “being” rather than “doing.” While you can practice anything “mindfully,” from taking a walk to cleaning your house, Kabat-Zinn presents several meditation techniques that focus the attention most clearly, whether it’s on a simple phrase, your breathing, or various parts of your body. The book goes into detail about how hospital patients have either improved their health or simply come to feel better despite their illness by using these techniques, but these meditations can help anyone deal with stress and gain a calmer outlook on life.

Freedom-FLOATING IN STARS CALMNESS

Explore also: 

If you find that you are experiencing CHRONIC STRESS PATTERNS, that is a sign that your life is out of balance. Perhaps consider: Do you experience overwhelming circumstances and can’t achieve a healthier weight?

Go Within FOR ANSWERS

Winter Stillness: Talk by Kodo Conover

A few points…

Winter Stillness

 WINTER STILLNESS

All is subject to arising and ceasing—the Four Noble Truths

STILL LAKE

Visualization: see myself as the still water of a pristine lake that is in the forest.

 CALM LAKE

See myself as still water. Be the still water. Still the body, quiet the mind.

 

In the state of calm and stillness…I then reflect things as they are.

I do not distort things as I observe them.

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When I am NOT calm, I distort things and I cannot receive things as they are or see the truth of situations, or experience truth from other beings.

 

Remember I am the still lake—(a calm mind)…

woman meditating on rock

If calm, I will “reflect truth.”

 If the lake is choppy, then I won’t reflect the truth. I will perceive in distorted ways.

 CHOPPY LAKE

If I’m still, then my perception will be correct.

Then I will understand what people reflect to me.

I will receive the truth from them and the cosmos or the Universe.

 MEDITATING DOG

So practice meditation. Sit quietly. Breathe…

 Benefits of meditation

Be still and let life happen.

 

P1040518It is in stillness that I will assist and transform the whole world. P1040518

EARTH 

See that the earth rests in the yearly cycle…about 4 months…

similar to the human being that rests about 8 hours/day or 1/3 of its life.

SLEEP

This cycle is essential for lasting well being and life.

 

Though simple living comes control of desires and calmness and stillness is restored.

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Body still. Mind quiet.

Take Time 

When mind is at peace, then the mind is still.

 I SAY YES TO MY LIFE

 Train the Mind: Explore Spiritual Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness

Cultivate Daily Quiet and Introspection Time

LOOK INSIDE

Meditation—Why and How—Cleanse and Train The Mind

 Cultivate Your Spiritual Well-Being!

Make Your Mind an Ocean: Become Your Own Therapist!

Explore Various Meditations

Four Foundations of Mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and all phenomena

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