Sit Back, Close Your Eyes and Hit Play. Guided Meditation

I was so happy to hear people interested in doing loving kindness meditation. I have committed to doing this everyday for 2016. I haven't been successful at 45 minutes of meditation each day. However, on busy days I can always find 15 minutes to say loving kindness phrases. 

May I be happy

May I be healthy

May I be free from unnecessary stress

May I live with ease

Today, treat yourself to 15 minutes of fostering love and happiness. Sit back, close your eyes and hit play.

As we ease into working with loving kindness, we will expand our practice from self, good friend or supporter, neutral person to eventually include a difficult or challenging person. I offer this guided meditation first since it is often easier to practice loving kindness towards self, good friend and a neutral person.

Some people also find it challenging to send loving kindness to the self. We don't live in a culture that supports that practice. We often can be very judgmental and critical of ourselves. It may be helpful to imagine yourself as a young child or a time when you were going through a difficulty. Continue to work with the phrases and feel free to change the words to suit you. If the practice becomes too challenging, shift the attention of your phrases to someone you feel unconditional love for or focus on your breath until the strong emotions pass.

Feel free to email me or comment about any questions or experiences you have during your practice. I will be away on a silent meditation retreat for the week but will be sure to respond on my return.

BE YOUR OWN FRIEND THIS CHRISTMAS WEEK

With the Christmas holiday this week, many people will be spending time with extended family and friends to celebrate. For some of us it is a time of warmth and love. For others, the holidays can be quite challenging and lonely. Most of us have at least one family member who knows how to push our buttons. It is up to us to manage how we relate to them so we can support and nurture ourselves.

Stress is a part of life and it is often a part of the holiday season, whether it is due to personality conflict, weather, travel, or lack of time to get it everything done.

The San Francisco sky was lit up with a soft beautiful pink hue yesterday morning when I went to work. By 4pm it was dark, cold and wet – a welcome site for local skiers. The sky has a variety of clouds moving through it, some pink and light while others are dark and threatening. Our minds have the capacity to hold joy and peace one moment and grief or stress in the next. Just as the clouds do not affect the sky, we can allow our emotions to have a minimal impact on the state of our mind if we allow them to float by and not identify with them.

So this week, know how to be your own friend. Do what you need to in order to take care of yourself. If you have a tendency to be hard on yourself, find some time alone, close your eyes, and reflect on something you have done or said in which you were kind, generous, caring or contributed to someone’s well-being.

You may also find it helpful to say these phrases to yourself:

May I be happy

May I be peaceful

May I be safe

May I be free from stress

 

I’d love to hear your strategy to take care of yourself this week!

Sharon Salzberg guides us through a hectic day in 2 minutes

We are busy, aren’t we? Me too! I take full accountability for my busyness, as it’s 100% self-created full of all things I love. I just wrapped up my season of leading active vacations in Yellowstone and The Tetons, visited family in New York, attended a mindfulness retreat and hopped back into the hospital with my first patient admitted at 9 centimeters, wanting an epidural! 

I’m preparing to do one of my favorite things, teach the 8 week mindfulness based stress reduction course which will start when I return from a European adventure to Croatia and Italy. We can lose perspective in the hustle and bustle of everything, even when it is self-created and fun. I recently read an article in which journalists reported on the inconvenience for patients that a physician had committed suicide. Here is the article. Yes, we lose perspective every once in awhile. I do too. So, I’ve recruited some help from the compassion expert, Sharon Salzberg. She spends a lot of time in the hustle and bustle of New York City. If she can find a way to be at peace, I bet you can too.

Watch this incredible 2-minute video and see how you can tailor this practice to the people in your day.