Nothing Exciting to Share – Now That’s Exciting!

I have been picking my brain to send you something funny and exciting to start the New Year. Then I dawned on me, there really wasn’t anything profound to tell you.
I did take a family vacation in early December to the west coast.socks 2

It is a rare occasion that my children and their significant others can get together. Nothing earth shattering occurred. We hiked, ate, swam, and basically chilled out. A wonderful time was had by all.

After returning home, the holidays came and went and though much of it, I had a bad cold. My work was at a standstill was the Cancer Support Community closes the last two weeks of December and clients are busy.

I dealt with insurance companies for hours on end (no excitement does not equal frustration!) Went to a few doctors, I watched mindless TV (love the Price is Right), slept late, waked the dog, meditated, read, saw my daughter, and hung out with Robert (in our new fireside socks) and the dog.

As I write about this, it makes me re-examine excitement. I relaxed and slowed down. For a person who loves to feel productive, and be socia
l, it took a lot of unwinding.

I would venture to say many of us thrive on “doing” for many underlying reasons, probably the greatest being society’s value on success and productivity.

Now that it is mid- January, I am finally writing a newsletter. I am sleeping a little later and taking more me time, letting go of trying to make something happen. Every so often my mind kicks in and tells me I am a lazy bones. It is good I know when my mind is messing with me. When that happens I acknowledge the feeling and do a few moments of breathing or meditation to reset my thoughts.

So there you have it. Looking at what I wrote, I would say it is totally awesome just to be me not doing much. The best part is giving myself permission that it is okay.

Not so easy, but quite exciting!

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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Viva La Difference!

Throughout the spring season I watch the changes in foliage.  The azaleas in Atlanta bloomed early and it was exquisite to see the colors, shades and textures.  A week later the flowers had died off and new flowers are emerging.

The changes of spring remind me of the importance of internal transformation as well.I invite you to look within at where you still need new growth.  Some people do not tolerate difference, many of us accept difference, but how many of value difference?

Our world is full of diversity– different races, shapes, sexuality, social standings, religions and ethnicities but we are challenged to explore and embrace those that are beyond our understanding and comfort zone. 

We read news stories about bullying, shootings and other conflicts and it fear underlies our prejudice.  It seems threatening to many and is worth examining in yourself. 

Any prejudice not only impacts others, but it disturbs the state of your body and mind. 

Can you make a shift in perspective to value the differences?  Let me know in the comments below.

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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Relax- What is That?

My husband and I went on a weekend retreat at a Bed and Breakfast in the country.  It was a cozy, beautiful facility with great food, a massage and other activities that I could choose to do if I liked.

A single woman showed up late the first evening, looking quite harried and stressed.  She had gotten a late start and drove through the rain.  As the weekend progressed, she began to unwind and get so relaxed that she did not know how to deal with her state of mind.  She had never taken a full weekend to be pampered while letting go of her responsibilities of being a single mom and full time employee.  It was as if her mind shut down.  Physically she felt relief from a chronic medical condition.

It was a pleasure to watch her smile, taking her time and really enjoy the easy, quite pace. If we don’t take breaks in our week for relaxation, then our well-being is compromised.

In our busy world of autopilot, we need to learn and experience what it really feels like to relax.

What does relaxation feel like to you?  Let me know in the comments below.

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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Valentines Day: Cultivate Loving Kindness

Loving Kindness is something that is easy for those we deeply care for, but more challenging for difficult relationships.  Our feelings toward others have an impact on our state of mind and how we perceive and react to the world around us.  There are times when a loved one is ill and we need a way to get some relief from worry and fear.

Whatever the situation, Loving Kindness is the antidote for all relationships, good or bad.

It needs to be cultivated and the practice of Metta is one powerful practice to help.  Metta means friend and gentle, and the practice embodies them both.

It is a meditation that consists of repeating a series of simple phrases with as much presence as possible.  There are many phrases that can be used.  The key is that you begin with yourself.  It is hard to wish for others what you do not want for yourself.

Here are some phrases you can begin with or you can find others that you like better.

  • May I (he, she or they) be happy.
  • May I (he, she or they) know peace.
  • May I (he, she or they) be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
  • May I (he, she or they) be free from suffering.

Try this every day for a few minutes and let me know in the comments below how it works.


Posted in: Technique of the Week

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Mindfulness Practices Improves Stress Symptoms

Article:  Annals of Behavioral Medicine- 2010

Authors:  Branstrom, Kvillemo, Brandberg & Moskowitz

Background:  Increasing recognition of mindfulness and mindfulness training as a way to decrease stress and increase psychological functioning.

Objectives:  Examine the effects of mindfulness stress reduction training on perceived stress and psychological well-being.   

Methods:  Seventy one with previous cancer diagnosis were randomized into a control group and an intervention group that participated in an 8-week mindfulness training course.

Results:  Those who participated in the intervention reported significant positive effects on perceived stress, posttraumatic avoidance symptoms, and positive states of mind.

Conclusions:  Improvements in psychological well-being resulting from mindfulness stress reduction training are measurable, which is important for future research.

Custom Calm employs the same practices as researched in this and other studies.  The ease of implementation into daily life makes the integration of techniques manageable, directly improving daily living.

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Are You the Problem or Solution?

There is a saying in Twelve Step Recovery Programs:

If I am not the problem, there is no solution.  In other words, the only one you can change is YOU.

That simple sentence is very freeing.  It takes others out of the equation and puts the responsibility for your state of mind in your hands.

Even if someone has wronged you, it is up to you to keep your side of the street clean- it might be as simple as a change in attitude. This shifts the power others have over you and places it in your hands. 

There is great empowerment in living this way. You will have less stress and pain.  You have a choice of what you want to focus on-the problem or the solution.

When you choose to live in the solution, you will have more stamina and clarity to enjoy and participate in your life each moment.  

Do you live in the problem or solution?

Let me know in the comments below how you have shifted into the solution.  If you are struggling in the problem, what do you think is getting in the way?

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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5 Ways to Spice up Mundane Tasks

Many times the items on our to-do list are done mindlessly on auto-pilot.  We try to get our errands out of the way so we can enjoy the rest of the day.

We rush away part of our day and we weren’t even present for it.  How much time do we spend on a daily basis getting our errands or tasks over with?

When we live this way we close the door on opportunities to enjoy ourselves.

The mundane day to day living is just as much as a part of life as the sports, luncheon or vacation you are participating in.   

Try this the next time you are in the supermarket:

  1. Go to the produce isle.
  2. Stand and look around taking in the total scope of what is in front of you.
  3. Walk around and focus on the colors, textures, shapes and smells.
  4. While going down the other aisles, continue to focus on the displays, colors, shapes, people you pass and whatever else comes into view. 
  5. When checking out, look at your items as you put them on the counter.

Notice your state of mind after you finish.

Let me know in the comments below what your experience of shopping was.   Was it different from usual?  Did you notice anything new?  If it was a challenge, tell me what happened.

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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Sigh, Swing and De-Stress


Today’s technique relieves stress in nearly any situation and can be used at any time.

Sit in a comfortable position, somewhere that your spine can sit upright.

Take a moment and check in on how you are feeling.

You are going to sigh – a total of three times.  You want to start by inhaling and exhaling the first breath with an audible sound.  After the first sigh, momentarily stay with the pause at the end.

You are not holding your breath; you are simply noticing the space at the end of the sigh.

Think of a swing. After it goes up, there is a moment of stillness before it comes back down. That is your breath – and you observing it.

Do this a total of three times, each time staying with the pause a few moments longer, without straining.  Check in on your state and let me know what you noticed.

You can use this simple tool anytime you feel stressed.

After doing so, please report back and let me know how it went in the comments below. Did it help with your stress level in the moment? If not, why do you think that was? If you have any questions, please ask.


Posted in: Technique of the Week

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