No matter what the weather is where you are–cold, rainy, foggy, hot, muggy, or picture-perfect–get outside today!
Get outside ESPECIALLY to meditate-sit in silence-pray-contemplate.
There is something very simple, very peaceful, and very profound about sitting outside. Many studies have proven the health and well-being benefits of getting outside and reconnecting with Mother Nature.
You don’t have to do anything big or spectacular to get the benefits. No need to move to the country so you can live off the land. You can still get the benefits by sitting on your fire escape in the middle of the city and noticing and absorbing the birds and other animals, the sky, the weather conditions that day.
Make this a regular part of your week, and, if possible, figure out a way to spend a few minutes every day outside contemplating natural world around you.
Life can be scary, especially when we let our imaginations go and conjure all sorts of disasters waiting to befall us. Or, our imaginations can be more petrifying by not dishing up anything specific but yet terrorizing us with the Nebulous Unknown.
I hope one or all of these selections can help you feel grounded and safe when you’re in the throes of fear and anxiety:
The Cradle Song composed by Brahms
Ave Maria composed by Franz Schubert
Ave Maria composed by Bach/Gounod
Canon in D Major composed by Pachelbel
Clair de Lune composed by Debussey
Let it Be composed and sung by The Beatles
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star sung by Jewel
Over the Rainbow as sung by Judy Garland
Angel Standing By as sung by Jewel
If you have favorite songs that help you feel calm and safe, please share in the comments below. Thanks!
As we touched on in yesterday’s post, forgiving people who aren’t sorry is difficult. When we find ourselves in this type of circumstance, it’s important to step back and take a deeper look at the situation to gain a better understanding of what’s going on below the surface.
The next step after doing this non-judgmental thinking is to take care of ourselves. It’s important to be compassionate and kind toward ourselves. Here are a few quotes to remind us of this:
Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness. – Deborah Day
Nothing external to you has any power over you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life. – Jill Bolte Taylor
Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.– Christopher Germer
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.– William James
When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. – Jean Shinoda Bolen
Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves. – Nathaniel Branden
Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it.– Thaddeus Golas
It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. – Mandy Hale
Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior. — Mark Victor Hansen
When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving. ~ Kim McMilllen
If one of these quotes resonated strongly with you, jot it down and keep it handy. Refer to it whenever you need a boost.
When we think of meditating, the image that comes to mind is someone sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion, back straight, eyes closed, and hands with palms up resting on the knees.
That’s only one way to meditate or to sit in silence.
If sitting like this doesn’t work for you, try a reclining position on a bed or couch. For instance, sometimes I will sit in my recliner. There’s a certain angle that’s impossible for me to achieve when sitting upright that, when I’m leaning back in the recliner at that particular angle, my lower back seems to instantly relax, which then allows me to meditate deeper.
Perhaps a walking meditation would suit you better, especially if it’s in a lovely garden or lightly wooded park. You may find that being near moving water works for you, such as walking along a beach or sitting beside a burbling brook. Or maybe it’s still water that does the trick for you. A serene and calm lake or pond with its mirror-like surface may inspire you to release, let go, and to become calm and unruffled like the tranquil waters.
I came across this website that lists and explains 23 types of meditation. Try a few of the methods. Perhaps you’ll find that by combining a few and tweaking them a bit, it’ll be the perfect vehicle for your daily silent mediation practice.
Give it a try!
Let me know which of the meditation styles you like. And, please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!
Here’s a wonderful essay from Earl Nightingale (who would have been 96 tomorrow) on the importance of reading. Enjoy!
How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it’s so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics…I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That’s dangerous. It’s extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent.
In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes.
You do not read a book for the book’s sake, but for your own.
You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind.
You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life.
You may read because you did go to college.
You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too.
You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people.
Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise.
Books are a source of pleasure – the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight.
Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it.
Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: “Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.”
― Earl Nightingale
Make time in your week to read. You’ll be glad you did!
These quotes are powerful and speak for themselves:
Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it. –Judy Blume
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones. –Thich Nhat Hanh
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. –Theodore Roosevelt
First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines… There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. ~ Bill Gates
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. ~ Anne Frank
I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. ~ J. K. Rowling
Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy. ~ Denis Waitley
Remember that you are a teacher; you are helping people, making them feel safer, taking them from fear to love, from ignorance to knowledge. ~ Stuart Wilde
Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears. ― Rudyard Kipling
I have loved the stars too fondly to be afraid of the dark. – Galileo Galilei
Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop. ― Usman B. Asif
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. ― Joseph Campbell
The key to change…is to let go of fear. ~Rosanne Cash
Do not let your fears choose your destiny. ~Unknown
I hope a few of these quotes rang true to you. Keep them handy and refer to them often.
This is the last weekend in February. We’re heading into March, which is the last month of the first quarter of 2017.
How are you doing on your goals and resolutions for 2017?
Whether you abandoned them after the first few days of January, or if you find yourself going in another direction, it’s never too late to pause, re-evaluate, and begin anew.
If you aren’t pursuing your goals and resolutions, is it because “you’re eyes are bigger than your stomach” –you’ve bitten off more than you can chew? If so, is this because you haven’t broken the steps into small enough baby steps so that they can easily fit into your busy schedule?
Do you need to be more realistic and to choose one primary goal and, perhaps, one or two lesser goals for the year? Do you need to slow down and take the steps at a more reasonable pace?
Have you abandoned your goals because either they are someone else’s goals you’re trying to achieve or you’ve watered your goals down so as not to offend or upset others, but now you’re left with goals and “dreams” that you couldn’t care less about?
Are you too intimidated by your goals and resolutions? Will they cause you re-evaluate how you view yourself, requiring you to update your narrative about yourself, and you find this terrifying?
What are other reasons that are stopping you from moving toward your goals and dreams in baby steps?
Let me know in the comments below and we’ll talk about it. We’ll brainstorm and come up with strategies, tips, and techniques that we all can use to help ourselves.