New Year’s Resolutions: What Do You Want to Heal?

By Debra LeClair Psy.D.

Keeping a New Year’s resolution can be an arduous undertaking, so much so that many people give up at the first sign of a setback. Failure can often be traced to how the resolution is worded. Vague statements such as“ I will be kinder to others,” those that are phrased negatively like, “No more staying up late,” or those that overload, as in, “ I’m going to get healthy by losing 20 pounds and giving up smoking,” drain energy from the best intentions before the calendar even hits the second week of January. In coaching and psychology, it’s the powerful question that best unlocks the momentum towards reaching an aspiration. For this year, how about asking yourself, “What is the one thing I most want to heal?” Record what comes to you in writing, so you can see it on the page.  From there, let it speak its honesty to you, in full. Take a few days to do this if needed. The key is to get down into where your soul and heart join in recognizing your truth.

Once you have it, formulate your goal to be specific, remembering that positively worded statements gear the brain towards what to do and the path to follow. Ultimately, you should feel inspired by what you craft.

Examples:
A) What is the one thing I most want to heal?

1) Feeling stuck in a large body that I just want to disconnect from
2) Aspiration/Goal: Notice how my body reacts to my choosing to eat fruits and vegetables

B) What is the one thing I most want to heal?

1) Not feeling listened to by people that matter to me
2) Aspiration/Goal: Tell my best friend when I need her to put away her cell phone and make eye contact with me.

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Gifts That Speak To The Mind, Body & Spirit: Keeping it local in 2013

The list below is mostly from local small businesses (in honor of Small Business Saturday) that have been tried and true and can offer a chance to journey off the beaten path.

1) Gift subscriptions to our favorite spiritual periodicals:
Spirituality & Health, http://spiritualityhealth.com/magazine
Yoga Journal, http://www.yogajournal.com
Vegetarian Times, http://www.vegetariantimes.com
Shambhala Sun, http://www.shambhalasun.com
Mindful, http://www.mindful.org/mindful-magazine

2) Just Naturals, an array of essential oil based products for a healthy, toxin free lifestyle. Located in Bedford and online.

http://www.justnaturalproducts.com

3) Jenness Farms, handcrafted bath and body products. (We highly recommend the NH Lilac Goat Soap). Located in Nottingham and online.

http://www.jennessfarm.com/online-store/goat-milk-soap.html

4) Jane Gee, Pure ingredients for body, home and the environment.  In Portsmouth and online.   http://www.janegee.com/about-us/

4) WildMind Meditation Supplies, from cushions to DVDs. Located in Newmarket and online.  http://shop.wildmind.org

5) Jeca Yoga offers classes across all levels and ages.  Located in Manchester. www.jecayoga.com                                                                                                                         For a gift card:   https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=36257

6) Holistic services for pets and their owners at Nikoe Natural Therapies located in Dover.  For more info visit www.nikoenaturaltherapies.com and email info@nikoenaturaltherapies for gift card requests.

7) And of course, our own Full Spectrum Wellness Gift Certificates which can be used for any of our classes, including Meditation 101, Mindfulness courses and the upcoming mini-retreat for creativity called Serenity Saturday scheduled for Jan 25th.
Class schedule:  www.fullspectrumwellness.com/classes.html
To order Gift Certificates online: http://www.fullspectrumwellness.com/classes.html#%94gift%94

Holiday Special:  Order $35 or more in Full Spectrum Wellness gift certificates on Nov 30-Dec 2nd and receive a $5 credit towards a class for you. 

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“What’s So Funny About Peace Love & Understanding”: The Connection Between Comedy and Spiritual Growth

By Debra LeClair Psy.D.

What gets chosen for scientific study and what gets expressed through the arts both reflect what at least some human beings are thinking about more deeply. What takes off and goes viral from there shows what is resonating for many and where the shift in perception of how we fit into the Universe is ripe for a transformation.

Comedy is one such expression. What it has to say to us, actually speaks to our soul because something becomes funny when it rings as “so true”. Similarly, the humor that not only brings the most laughs but also stays with us is that which reflects the day to day of the typical person. Think about it, what makes George Carlin so seminal, Louis CK so relatable or Seinfeld, the show about nothing and Modern Family, the show about everything, two of the most successful on television? It’s the ridiculousness that they all expose about our constantly preoccupied minds that make us recognize ourselves and laugh. Having something pointed out through comedy gives us a chance to see it with greater clarity. It can give us grounding in self-awareness informed by compassion, which is the most fertile condition for learning and building both emotional and social intelligence.
If it makes us stop, even once to think about how we treat each other or how we treat ourselves, then this “fun and games” becomes a great teacher.

Want to see what I am talking about, watch a few clips below:

http://www.criticalcommons.org/Members/fsustavros/clips/louis-ck-technology

For more, check out the article, Wise Fools by Rod Meade Sperry in the November 2013 Shamabhala Sun

 

Posted in comedy, Creativity, Health & Wellness, humor, Meditation, Mental Health, Mindfulness, spirituality, Stress Management, Stress Reduction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Under Pressure: Expert Tips To Find Your Focus & Calm at Work

 

On September 10th, New Hampshire had its first Mindfulness in Business Conference and the room was filled close to capacity.  As conference organizers, we intended to connect the number of pockets throughout the state where mindfulness has come into play; either as its already being practiced or in that the buzz about its positive effect on health, productivity and employee engagement had piqued a company’s interest.  Over the course of the morning, we heard about how mindfulness works, the research that validates its impact and how its been integrated it into existing organizational cultures.  We also talked about how the individual employee can realistically bring mindfulness into his/her work life for better focus, calm and engagement.  Below are some tips and strategies:

  1.  It’s better to meditate for two minutes than not at all.   A practical way to bring a mini-meditation into your day is to take a restroom break to disconnect from your computer and to connect into the breath.  Simply notice the sensation of the movement of air filling your lungs and the feeling of the air flowing back out.  If your mind wanders in that two minutes, bring it back.  Every time you catch yourself and shift your focus back to the breath, you are building the “mediation muscle” and your nervous system’s capacity to better calm itself.
  2. Think of an activity you perform regularly and take a few moments to pay attention the way it “feels to do it while you are doing it”. This, by the way, is the essence of mindfulness:  present moment awareness.  For instance, while you are driving to a meeting, notice the feeling of your hands on the steering wheel and become aware of the vibrations of the road.  Another thought is to try this on your coffee break.  There are many sensations you can place your awareness on including: the warmth of the cup, the aroma, the taste that splashes all over your tongue, the feeling of swallowing and following the sensation of the coffee as it moves down your throat.
  3. If multitasking has left you feeling scattered and ineffective, allow yourself to focus on what is just in front of you.  For example, take your next meeting and commit to listening to what is really being said.  If the urge to check your texts comes up, acknowledge it and let it go.  As you continue to keep letting it go and coming back to listening, you’ll find that your focus and comprehension improves as you take in all that is being communicated, both verbally and through body language.  You might also notice that this focus is maintained when moving onto the next task.
  4. Allow the mindful practices to help you down shift.  Slowing down might sound like something you don’t have time for, however doing so allows your brain to process more effectively.  Mistakes, accidents and miscommunications can be avoided while stress levels can be decreased.
Posted in corporate wellness, Creativity, Health & Wellness, Meditation, Mindfulness, Stress Management, Stress Reduction, Workplace wellness, worksite wellness | Leave a comment

Summer Reads for Spiritual Growth 2013

Shift perspectives,  expand your awareness and feed your soul:

Living Beautifully by Pema Chodron

Buddha Standard Time by Lama Surya Das

Less:  Accomplishing More by Doing Less  by Marc Lesser

Commit to Sit:  Tools for Cultivating a Meditation Practice Edited by Joan Duncan Oliver

Wishes Fulfilled:  Mastering the Art of Manifesting by Wayne Dyer

A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Wiliamson

Breathing Under Water:  Spirtuality and the Twielve Steps by Richard Rohr

Earth Magic by Steven Farmer

The Shadow Effect:  Illuminbating the Hidden Power of Your True Self by Debbie Ford, Marianne Wiliamson and Deepak Chopra

 

Posted in Abundance, Animal Meditation, Meditation, Mindfulness, spirituality, Stress Management, Stress Reduction | Leave a comment

Confessions of a Lousy Meditator

By Guest Blogger: Tracy Carlson

I’m a lousy meditator, and probably always will be. But that’s okay—it still works. And last I heard, there is no Meditation Olympics.

Meditation means any number of things and can be done in many different ways. But what I do—or try to do—is pretty classic and probably fits with most Americans’ image of meditation. I sit quietly in a chair with my eyes closed and focus on my breath. The goal is to gain greater equanimity and peacefulness by being fully present in the moment, by cultivating a state of being as a balance to constant doing. This happens by developing the capacity to sit in stillness and to be present with whatever shows up.

Simply said—but far from easy. Virtually every practitioner and book I’ve encountered along my Woo-Woo Land journey has recommended meditation: as a tool for better health, for relaxation, for greater joyfulness, even for getting the goodies I want from life faster. So I tried it, many times, many ways…for several minutes at a time! I got books. I checked out tapes and CDs from the library. I sat down with my headphones on. I tried the sitting-in-silence kind, I tried the chanting kind. Invariably I went stir-crazy from boredom within minutes. Or I fell asleep. I just wasn’t getting it. And I was convinced there was a big it to it.

What was I doing wrong? (Besides getting squirmy and frustrated and building up resistance?) Finally, I had my aha! moment. Meditation has been huge in all the Buddhist-related writings I’ve read (a dozen books and counting), and nearly all the authors mentioned a common element: a teacher. Aha! I needed a teacher! This I could do. So I signed up for a class in Mindfulness Meditation at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.

Do you really need to pay money to sit in a room and have someone tell you how to be quiet? The answer, at least for me, is a resounding, shout-it-from-the-rooftops yes!

I have been meditating, or trying to meditate, for about a year as of this writing. And I am still just awful. But I am making a little progress.

 

Why I Am Truly Terrible at This
To start with, I have the attention span of a gnat. My mind is always zinging off in one direction after another. In Buddhist traditions, this is often called “monkey mind.” I think of it as “rabbit mind,” conjuring up a very specific image of a white rabbit (actually, an arctic hare) bounding across the snow, leaving tracks in one direction, then skittering off in a completely different direction as its little white bunny butt disappears into the arctic sunset, leaving the snow pocked by a mass of tiny paw prints.

So rabbit mind it is. Then, I start wondering…what is the difference between a rabbit and a hare? (I used to know this!) Why an arctic hare, of all things? Hmm…does the sun set earlier or later in the arctic than here? (Do I know anyone who could explain this?) Besides, why can’t I just accept “monkey mind” and get back to focusing on my breath, dammit? And why does the phrase “monkey mind” immediately recall that scene from Disney’s Jungle Book where the wily orangutan leader sings like Louis Armstrong? Okay yes, I admit it. I do have the attention span of a gnat. But who am I to say that gnats have short attention spans? Relative to what? What do I really know about gnats anyway, and why do they always seem to aim for my eyes?

You begin to see the dilemma. I am not alone in this.

The next obstacle to meditation for me is that I’m supposed to focus on my breath. Or rather “the breath.” The word the comes up a lot in talking about meditation: the breath, the mind, the body. (Depersonalization conveys greater universality and a sense of unity with others.) The basic problem is that my breath is just not all that riveting. I breathe in, I breathe out. What’s the big hairy deal? Where’s the hook to focus on? How can a subtle thing like my breath begin to compete with the stampede of goony thoughts in my runaway brain?

Well it can’t, at first.

The next problem is bigger and more subtle still: it’s a fundamental clash of values. I’ve always thought that having a lively mind is A Good Thing. Having a brain that moves nimbly in different directions means that I’m intelligent, creative, and imaginative, right? Besides, if I (and the culture I’ve marinated in) have exalted thinking as A Good Thing, doing absolutely tops the List of Good Things. Doing is king: the more you do, the better you are. Besides, the opposite of doing is not doing, right? Not doing is lazy and indolent, and No Way Am I That! I have always been terrific at doing, and I’ve cultivated it on a grand scale: I’ve been the consummate multi-tasker, my motor always revving. I am a thinker, a doer. A dynamic, productive person whose greatest assets in any situation are an active mind, a can-do spirit and boundless energy for action. All Good Things, by gum!

Not quite. As always, there’s another side to the story.

I am also impulsive, reactive and occasionally volatile and frantic. Ready to burst in with opinions. Poised to spring into a frenzy of compulsive problem-solving. A talker, not a listener. Or rather I listen…just long enough to hear my cue: for a particularly pithy bit of wisdom, a well-rehearsed story, or the chance to set off on a spasm of brainstorming or analysis. At any give moment I’ll be utterly lost in thoughts. Caught in the past: revisiting old, often depressing ideas or spouting old speeches to myself. Or I’ll be off in the future: planning, strategizing, reacting preemptively to imagined scenarios. Absorbed in my own stuff, somewhere. I’ll be anywhere but here, now, breathing in and breathing out.

These were things I began to learn as classes progressed, and they were not especially flattering.

And It Works Anyway
It is not easy to sit and be quiet. Ask any kindergartener, or any newbie meditator. As soon as I closed my eyes and settled in, my face would start to itch. I found the clock incredibly loud. In my first few classes, I lived for the moments of discussion, and I’d always have plenty to say. Then, during the next bit of in-class meditation I’d think about what I said, what others had said, and I’d plunge into a rip-roaring spate of analysis and judgment.

My teacher’s voice would quietly remind us to come back to our breath or to direct our awareness to the sensations in our hands.

Gradually, it got easier. I began to take baby steps. I began to notice that I was thinking, rather than simply getting hijacked by the thoughts themselves. I began to experience my inner chatter as precisely that: a cacophony of blather that wasn’t especially bright or clever or even interesting—just noisy and distracting. I began to recognize patterns to my inner chatter: voices I could label as the Judge, the Scorekeeper, the Conceptualizer, the Victim, the Planner, the Color Commentator, and so on. And I began to identify storylines: prefabricated interpretations I’d apply to new thoughts or situations reflexively, whether they fit or not.

Sometimes I would find the zipping thoughts annoying, like my daughter’s habit of switching radio stations in the car every few seconds. Sometimes I found them amusing, in a there-goes-rabbit-mind-again kind of way. Along the way, however, I began to treasure the fractional moments when the chatter would subside a little. Those in-between times of momentary stillness were remarkably refreshing. They had a calming quality to them. No wonder: I got to take a frigging break from myself. And I wanted more.

We tried walking meditation, pacing slowly around the room in total silence (and looking mighty bizarre to anyone peeking in through the glass panel in the door, might I add). This, too, was hard: I’m a fast walker and could scarcely balance at a snail’s pace. Nor could I easily coordinate my breathing with my steps, as suggested. But that was okay, too. Eventually I found what worked for me, and I grew to love those quiet moments when I had nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other slowly, silently.

Keeping my eyes closed as much as possible, I opened them only to prevent collision with walls, chairs or fellow students. And when I did, I saw nothing more than the carpet and the heel of the person ahead of me—yet even that felt like a nearly overwhelming onslaught of stimuli compared with the relative peace I’d arrived at. And I realized that we are truly assaulted by things throughout our day. Whether these things are internal or external, pleasant or unpleasant, wanted or unwanted, our minds, hearts and nervous systems are constantly under attack: for attention, for processing, for sense-making.

It is a brave act to face the day. Is it any wonder we take such delight in simple things like a child’s face, a good cup of coffee, the glimpse of sunlight on water? And sometimes, even, simply breathing in and breathing out.

Our teacher had enormous patience, grace and humor. She had been meditating seriously since the 1970s. She knew and/or had studied with most of the famous teachers and authors in the field, but this never came across as name-dropping. She had tremendous respect for them, and for us. She treated each observation with careful and delighted attention. She was joyous and humble. She was radiant. Clearly, she was onto something—something I wanted, too. We all wanted it. And it had nothing to do with being clever or on-the-go. She had an inner tranquility and a limitless sense of wonder, born not of naïveté, but of an excited engagement with the world.

Our discussions took on a new dimension, too. With the exception of one or two all-me-all-the-time students, people spoke thoughtfully, honestly—and sparingly. We enjoyed the silences together. There was a peaceful intimacy that, no exaggeration, bordered on the sacred.

Tricky Bits…
Several things confound me in meditation, starting with the core terminology. We are aiming for awareness, we are told, for mindfulness. Yet to me those words are bound up with some of the very things I am trying to flee, namely a kind of mental hyper-vigilance and self-consciousness that represent a genuine barrier between me and my own experience of the world. Who the hell needs more awareness or mindfulness if that’s what’s meant? (It isn’t, but words are full of baggage.) Others words seem to work much better, such as attention, immersion and openness.

When we are really paying attention to something—full attention, turning off the play-by-play in our heads—the results can be magical. For those of us who are parents, the closest we may have come to this experience is watching an infant sleep, perhaps especially our firstborn. Has anything ever been as spellbinding as watching our baby sleep during those first few days or weeks? What a miracle! Yes, breathing can be riveting in this context. We want no more than what we have, and we are fully absorbed in the moment. Another experience, for some, may be the “like wow, man” experience of, say, simply staring at our hand while stoned. (“My hand, man, what an amazing freaking thing, huh?”) Mind you, I haven’t tried recreational drugs since the Carter Administration, but the memory remains: of looking with new eyes in wonder at something ordinary, fully engaged in the experience. Every now and again, it will happen: I will be looking at the car ahead of me as I’m driving, for example, and actually seeing it. It’s as if a transparent film has been peeled away, revealing everything in sharper focus and brighter colors.

Another tricky aspect of meditation for me is its focus on the appreciation of simple things. To concentrate our attention on breathing and walking, our teacher often spoke of these in the context of people for whom such activities are difficult or impossible. To make a breath seem more precious, for example, she would ask us to imagine those suffering from emphysema. Similarly, during slow walking meditation, she would ask us to imagine we were walking for those who couldn’t, such as the wheelchair-bound. Now I’m a big fan of simplicity and I’m relatively tender-hearted toward the suffering, but…This particular approach instantly triggered a complex of unhelpful associations and familiar voices intoning things like:
“Count your blessings!”
“Don’t you realize how lucky you are?”
“Think, for once, about those who don’t have it nearly good as you, little lady.”

Any of these sound familiar? I’m sure I’m not alone here. For many of us, there is a very thin line separating a sincere appreciation of the power and beauty of simple things from a voice which chides us mercilessly to trim our aspirations and stop being greedy, ungrateful little buggers. When this nasty voice kicks in, I have to forget about the respiratorially and ambulatorially-challenged, because their presence in my thoughts invites in an unruly crowd of psychological reflections and clamoring distractions, none of which helps simplify my experience. Sorry guys, but you gotta go for now.

At other times, stressing the simplicity of the task works: I’m able to dive in and appreciate the purity of breathing and the unimaginable wonder of walking without worrying about cleaning my plate for the starving millions in China. Ultimately, the test for me is how the thoughts feel and where they are coming from. If thoughts about simplicity feel good and are coming from the heart, bingo: I’m in the zone. If they feel bad and come from the head: time for the hook. Time, too, for one of my little secrets.

And little cheats…
Throughout meditation classes our teacher has given us helpful hints to make the process easier. To concentrate our attention on our breath, for example, she has us focus on different things during the in-breath vs. the out-breath. For my money, the in-breath is a bore: it just happens, and it’s hard to tart it up and make it interesting. Feeling the cool feeling on the in-breath does not light my fire, nor does focusing on the gentle rising of my abdomen or chest. The out-breath, however, now that is where the action is. That’s where we’re encouraged to let go: of thoughts, preoccupations, tension, boredom, whatever. And I’ve always got plenty to let go of. For me, the out-breath is a glorious opportunity for releasing whatever’s been colonizing my mind. I find myself palpably relaxing, to the point where I often experience a sensation of falling. It’s uncanny, but not really scary, and I’ve grown to appreciate it as a welcome sign that I can deliberately relinquish some of the (illusory) control my mind would like to think it has over me.

Some thoughts are too tenacious to wash out with the tide of the out-breath. The persistent ones can be simply absurd, like 3-am-style thoughts about whether I signed the check for the telephone bill I just mailed, or they can be pretty disturbing and revealing, like those count-your-blessings-little-lady-who-do-you-think-you-are thoughts. At these times, I choose a special mantra to clear my mind. It has no wondrous imagery or noble Sanskrit heritage, but darned if it doesn’t work. On every out-breath, I repeat inwardly: “I don’t have to think about this…I don’t have to think about this.”

A thought arises? I don’t have to think about this. Seven more arise? I don’t have to think about these, either. It’s astonishing how soothing it can be to just say “no” to thinking, sounding like a broken record in the process. At other times, more traditional mantras can work, like “calm” on the in-breath and “ease” on the out-breath. Real meditators and teachers have plenty of wonderfully wise mantras to offer (or the leaders of Transcendental Meditation will be happy to sell you one). But for you, my fellow rabbit-minders, sometimes the blunt colloquial approach can be the ticket. I don’t have to think about this. Neither do you. Really.

Although one of the goals of meditation is to create a space of silence, I find it infinitely easier to do this with headphones on and a little tape spooling. Not just any tape, either. A tape of my teacher: 17 minutes on one side, 22 on the other. Her familiar, friendly voice says the same things every blessed time, and I know everything by heart, from the pacing of the pauses to the place where I can hear her stomach gurgle in the white-noise silence toward the end of side B. This tape is my blankie, my Goodnight, Moon before I go to bed but hey, it works. If I didn’t have it, I know I would not sit down in the armchair, back straight, hands resting comfortably in my lap and start by taking a few deep cleansing breaths. Not that I do this every day, though I mean to. But having the tape reminds me that I can do this, and it’s only a few minutes. It’s not a blank page of silence for me to create from scratch—it’s a familiar walk with an old friend.

All for a good cause
So here I am, a lousy meditator, clinging for life to my little cassette tape, and happy to be doing it. At its best, I emerge from a session feeling refreshed, buoyant and joyful, my mind scrubbed of dingy residue, my energy humming, my heart full of love for humanity. No, this doesn’t happen every time—or even often. But at a minimum, any time I make the effort to meditate I feel better than I did when I started. Less snarly, less fragmented. Calmer and more open-minded.

The goal is not bliss, or even a reduction in snarliness. The goal is simply to show up, to create a little expectation-free zone in my life where for 17 or 22 minutes I sit still and breathe and am okay with whatever shows up. At the beginning of a session, my mind starts off like a bad home page: like AOL at its late-1990’s worst, a cheesy carnival with lots of tawdry flashing bits. But it eventually progresses to the calmer slate of Google: a place, nonetheless, that can still take me a zillion places in a heartbeat.

So if you are tempted to try it, find yourself a teacher—and a tape. Be gentle with yourself when you sit for meditation, and when you don’t. Remember that when you rise from the chair or cushion, tomorrow’s troubles will still be there. Trust me. So will the tug of memory and the clamor of the thousand competing claims on your attention and energy. But just for now, your only task is to sit and breathe. That is plenty, and it is far from easy. If ol’ rabbit-mind can do it, so can you. And if you try it, some of those thoughts will fade and be more bearable, and afterwards life will sometimes be bathed in brighter colors. But right now, you don’t have to think about that.

Tracy Carlson is a consultant, writer, speaker and founder of Right Brain Brands. For more info on Tracy go to www.rightbrainbrands.com

Posted in Creativity, Health & Wellness, Meditation, Mindfulness, Stress Management, Stress Reduction | Leave a comment

Summer Soiree/Mindfulness Mixer and Mindfulness in the Workplace Conference

NH Professional Mindfulness Community’s Summer Soiree
Tuesday July 9 5:30 – 8:30 pm, Free
At the Center for Health Promotion, 49 S. Main St., Suite 201, Concord NH

This is our first annual friend-raiser, offered for free to all those interested in gathering with mindfulness colleagues from around the state. We’ll be doing this event potluck-style, meaning, we’ll welcome what we each bring! You’re invited to offer a potluck dish for the buffet, your favorite poem to read at some point in the evening, and/or a mini mindfulness practice to share with friends. After we’ve visited, eaten and enjoyed some time together, we’ll turn to a favorite Center for Health Promotion teacher for a window of artful quiet.

Diane Lachance, Certified Zentangle Teacher, will be guiding us in a meditation using the method of mindful drawing known as Zentangle. For professionals in the field of mindfulness, this will be an opportunity to experience firsthand how this art form can awaken one’s ability, nourish new awareness and find joy whether one has any ability to draw or not. Join us and see what creativity lies, unaware, within you!

Pre-registration is requested by calling 230-7300.

Mindfulness in Business Conference
The What, How and Why of Being Present

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:45 am – 12:30 pm, $69
Event coordinated by:
8 Limbs Holistic Health, Concord
Center for Health Promotion at Concord Hospital
Full Spectrum Wellness, Manchester and Bedford
Conference Location: Center for Health Promotion, 49 S. Main St., Suite 201, Concord NH

In whatever way you bring your work into the world, it’s likely that you and your colleagues are experiencing the challenges of our evolving work culture: productivity pressures, difficulty focusing, emotional reactivity, communications barriers. More and more, we’re hearing about organizations that are adopting mindfulness as a valuable means for fostering calm, resiliency, confidence, clear communication and creativity at work. Come learn from experienced professionals about the benefits and challenges of bringing mindfulness to business, and hear from NH organizations who are doing just that. We’ll be joined by Tara Healey, Director for Mindfulness-Based Learning at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Patton Hyman, Executive Director of Applied Mindfulness Training, Inc., as well as a panel of NH leaders who are tapping into the potential for mindfulness in their own organizations.

Register early, there is limited seating and we do expect this to sell out.
To register:
Call (603) 230-7300
or online at http://www.concordhospital.org/wellness-resources/center-for-health-promotion/, choosing “Current Offerings and Register Online, and then scrolling down to the 9/10 date. Co-Sponsored by the Center for Health Promotion, 8 Limbs Holistic Health and Full Spectrum Wellness

Posted in corporate wellness, Health & Wellness, Meditation, Mindfulness, Stress Management, Stress Reduction, Workplace wellness, worksite wellness | Leave a comment

*Free Event* The Places You Will Go: Cultivating the Mind-Body Connection to Transform Performance and Personal Leadership

With Debra LeClair Psy.D.
Full Spectrum Wellness, LLC and Sojourn Partners

Supported by brain science, innovative business models are tapping into the transformative power of the mind-body connection. Join us for an overview of how and why practices like mindfulness can help you elevate your skills and abilities at work while lowering stress and drain on your energy.

Refreshments & Networking
Part of the Business Bootcamp Series
at the East Point Executive Center
264 South River Road
Bedford, NH 03110
Call 644-4554 to RSVP

Posted in corporate wellness, Improving Communication, Managing Change, Meditation, Mindfulness, Stress Management, Stress Reduction, Workplace wellness, worksite wellness | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Loving Kindness Meditation

 Note: This meditation is thousands of years old and is Buddhist in origin, although secular in practice.  It also has various forms.  The one below is similar to the one we practice in class on Monday mornings and Thursday nights.  Some of the descriptions of each part have been adapted from Sharon Salzberg.

You can begin by moving into a comfortable position, closing your eyes.  It’s common practice to sit upright without being strained or overarched, allowing your  shoulders to relax down your back.  Take a few deep breaths to release tension in your body and mind.  Feel your energy settle into your body and into the moment.

 1) Think about what you wish and intend for yourself:  See if certain phrases emerge from your heart that express what you wish and intend most deeply for yourself.  Phrases that have meaning for you in the moment that you are meditating, are the most powerful.   A few example phrases are, “May I live in safety. May I be loving. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live with ease.”  You can gently repeat these phrases over and over again and have your mind rest in the phrases.  Whenever you find your attention has wandered, just bring yourself back.

2) Think about what you wish and intend for somebody that you love –a good friend, a family member, someone who’s helped you in your life or who inspires you. You can also include someone who has passed on, a pet or any sentient being.  You can visualize them, say their name to yourself. Get a feeling for their presence, and then direct the phrases of loving kindness to them.

3) Think about what you wish and intend for someone who plays a neutral role in your life–someone you don’t know very well, that you don’t have particularly strong feelings about, positive or negative.  For example, think of the checkout clerk at the supermarket, your mail delivery person or somebody that you noticed waiting at a traffic light that day.  Now, imagine them sitting in front of you, and offer these same phrases of loving kindness to them, “May you live in safety. May you live in peace. Be happy. Be healthy, live with ease.”  As we connect into these phrases, aiming the heart in this way, we’re opening ourselves to the possibility of caring, rather than being indifferent. Observe your heart space when doing this part of meditation and note what happens when you become conscious of meaningfully wishing someone you don’t really know, positivity for their life.

4) Think about what you wish and intend for someone you are having some difficulty with or are in conflict.  Focus on what you can genuinely wish—start as small as you need to and if you find yourself moving into the negative, breathe and bring yourself back to thoughts of loving kindness.  If you can only authentically intend for that person a good night’s sleep, so be it.

5) Think about what you wish and intend for all in your presence right now, and all beings in the Universe.  ”May all beings live in safety, be happy, and be healthy, live with ease. May all people, all animals, all creatures, all those in existence, near and far, known to us and unknown to us, all beings on the earth, in the air, in the water–may all beings everywhere live in safety, be peaceful, be joyful and live with ease.”  When you feel ready, you can open your eyes and see if you can bring this energy with you throughout the day.

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The Science of Making A Successful Life Change

By Debra LeClair Psy.D.

What does the cross-section of neuroscience, spirituality and psychology offer in regard to making life changes—otherwise known as the new year’s resolution?

Our ability to change—a habit, a behavior, an attitude begins with being able to truly connect to that person we want to be.  To do that, involve your senses.   How would it feel to put your hands around your waist and be 5 pounds lighter?   How will you look when you see yourself fitting into clothes that are 2 sizes smaller?  Research has shown that when a person is unable to relate to a future imagined self—when that future self is experienced as being so different that they might as well be someone else, motivation is lost and the old ways of doing and thinking about things returns.

“Feeling will get you closer to the truth of who you are than thinking”-Eckhart Tolle

So be honest with yourself, if going for a goal of starting a company that will be in the Fortune 100 feels like science fiction, go with what does resonate with who you are now and could envision yourself becoming—a entrepreneur who launched a small company that is moving into the black.  Still too big?  How about seeing yourself as a small business owner that is working with it’s first client?  The big idea here is to synch up with that picture of your life that feels real enough to touch and  amply inspirational to cause you to move in its direction now, and over time.

 “Every circumstance is a chance for you to practice being the person you truly want to be”  Marianne Williamson

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