Calm that Monkey Mind!

There are countless studies these days that laud the benefits of meditation. From medical (lowering your blood pressure), to educational (increasing your ability to focus), meditation is now being acknowledged and recommended by experts in various fields.

When I first started meditating, one of the most significant differences that I noticed was the fact that I was finally able to calm my “monkey mind” and fall asleep at night in under an hour! That had been a serious issue for me for as along as I can remember (even as a child!). I was a night owl, not because I found myself to have an incredibly sharp mind in the late hours, but rather because I couldn’t seem to gain control over my thoughts! A night owl by default, I guess you would say. However, with continued practice, that hour became forty-five minutes, then thirty minutes, and down and down. These days, unless I have a pressing issue on my mind, I am usually asleep within ten minutes of hitting the pillow.

As if this wasn’t enough of a reason, I also have experimented with using meditation or conscious calming of my mind, to lower my blood pressure. Always one for conducting a good experiment, I have tested the “meditation can lower your blood pressure” theory in 2 ways. The first was at the doctor’s office. I can’t say that I love going to the doctor, so when I go, I must admit that I am not my most peaceful/best self. I get nervous and my blood pressure has been elevated on occasion during the initial exam. After having one questionable reading, I used a few breathing and centering techniques that are a part of my meditation practice. When they took my blood pressure a second time (yes, it was alarmingly high the first and warranted another reading), they were shocked to see how different the second reading was! To the point where the nurse asked if I had been nervous when I first came in 🙂 Ummmm, yes. The other method that I used to try quite often, was to go to the pharmacy area and use their armband to test myself. I would sit down, not nervous, just a regular person, take my blood pressure and then take it again while using centering and breathing. Even a slight decrease was consistent. Try it! It’s actually quite amazing.

As far as increasing focus and other benefits of teaching children mindfulness techniques goes, I personally haven’t done much research on this, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not out there! Check out some of these links and see how schools have integrated “mindfulness” or meditation into their school days.

http://www.edutopia.org/stw-student-stress-meditation

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/should-schools-teach-kids-to-meditate/283229/   (this one is long and does talk about meditation/mindfulness in conjunction with yoga, but it has some great insights).

Research on Mindfulness

So I guess the point of this entire post is that meditation/mindfulness, whether it’s 3 breaths a day or 30 minutes a day, can be beneficial to you no matter your age. I would love to hear from others who have had positive outcomes. How has meditation been beneficial in your life?

 

 

Body Maintenance…keeping your engine running at its optimal level

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A common theme in our house this past week has been one of “taking care of your body”. I believe society as a whole can agree that food fuels your body. After all, the old saying “you are what you eat” definitely derived from a known truth. However, what many still don’t realize is that your body is also an energetic vessel. One that requires similar attention and maintenance as say, a car. Go with me here. Just as we use gas to fill up our car and keep it running at its peak level, we use energy to keep our bodies and organs running at their peak level. Yoga, acupuncture, energy work (such as reiki) keep your body from blockages and build up. They keep the gas moving through the engine, so that your vehicle can continue to run at its optimal level. But what happens when you have run yourself ragged and have not found ways to “refuel”? We all know that no matter how hard we try, we cannot keep going if that gas light is on for too long. Eventually, your car will stop…hopefully near a gas station. But here’s another thing. I’m not a mechanic, but I have heard that if you drive your car and don’t keep up with maintainance–running out of gas on a regular basis, not changing the oil, rotating tires, etc–then you will most certainly have some bigger, more expensive, problems on your hands. At the very least, the life of your car will be greatly diminished. Do you see the parallel here? If you don’t do things to regularly maintain this “vehicle” that we’ve been given, then you yourself are responsible for diminishing the life of this vehicle! That’s a big responsibility. But the truth is, it’s not that hard to maintain. Feed it well…every now and again, fill it with a higher octane. Rest. Get to know your own body. Listen to it. When your body gives you signs that you need a break, take it! After all, you don’t go from full to empty that quickly. Pay attention. Learn to recognize when your body is giving you signs. For example, last night my son said, “I feel weird. I feel almost…empty.” I complimented him on recognizing that feeling and asked if he would like an energy treatment. He said yes because, if nothing else, my kids recognize the value of refilling when they are feeling low. When I was giving him energy, I saw that he was completely in balance (that will have to be a future post), but that he was very depleted throughout. In other words, his gas tank was on empty. I filled him back up and this morning he came downstairs feeling back to normal/full.

So you might ask, what if I don’t know someone who can give me energy? My answer? Well, it’s kind of mixed. I do believe that you can do things to fill yourself back up. Rest, spend time out in nature, find time to do the things that you love…that fill your heart, meditate (or deep, focused prayer), listen to your favorite music, have a good meal that has plenty of “live foods” (this is fruits and vegetables…things that grow from the earth). Slowly, these things will help fill you back up. If you are already full, then these are the things that will keep you full! These are your natural ways to maintain your vehicle. If you feel so low that you don’t feel much relief from trying the above, then seek out someone who can give you energy. Get a massage, acupuncture, yoga…do something to get things unblocked and moving again. There are many avenues and methods to attain your optimal level. Try some out and then go with what feels best and works for you personally.

And remember, if energy work interests you, but you don’t know where to start, you can always come back here and set up a distance appointment with me (if you aren’t local). I would love to help!

As for me, tonight I am trying something new. I just signed up for a Sound Healing Meditation class and I am excited to experience something that I haven’t done before. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

Happy 2016!

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Honoring the self. Nurturing the self. This is that time of the year when we begin looking at what we are dissatisfied with–parts of our lives and our bodies–and begin making “resolutions” that are intended to change the things that we don’t like.
What if we were to shift our thinking ever so slightly, and instead make a promise to nurture the parts of us that we do like but that often go neglected because of other priorities or obligations.
If you enjoy running, promise yourself to make more time to run. If you enjoy meditating, carve out 10 minutes (something doable but fulfilling) a day to focus on meditation. If you love art, promise yourself to take a class…do better,  seek it out and book it!
I was recently given the message, “action is required”. Show that you are willing to take the steps and open the doors to all the possibilities!
Happy 2016 to all of you!

What You Focus On, Grows

I do energy sessions for people. This mostly consists of channeling energy and interpreting information about balance and depletion for my clients. However, the majority of the time, I also receive messages for them during our sessions.  Sometimes these messages are very specific for what they need in that moment, but I have found that the message almost always resonates with me as well.
When I asked spirit about why this always seems to happen, the answer was clear. “Foolish is the being who believes that they have learned all that they need to know. When the messages stop resonating with you, then it is time to look more closely at your life and your journey.”
With this in mind, I began to think, without jeopardizing the confidentiality of my clients, maybe I am meant to share some of these messages. After all, if they resonate with me, isn’t it possible that others could benefit from them as well?
So today we focus on gratitude. What if we made an effort to state gratitude starting with the simplest of things. At first, it would seem silly.
“Today I’m grateful that I remembered that I had these curtains from our old house. I just got them out and they fit perfectly on the doors to my office.”
It seems silly to state it, but the more you notice and state gratitude for the seemingly mundane, the more blessings you will begin to notice in your life.
Focusing on criticism–whether toward self or toward others–will only bring about more opportunities for criticism.
I believe it’s time to shift our focus to gratitude!

Where Have You Been???

I will admit that I am a relatively private person. I know a lot of people, but if I truly take stock in my life, I can honestly say that I have only about a dozen people in my life that know me, truly know me, through and through. Lately, that number has been growing. I have been “coming out” of this shell that I have built and opening myself up to more and more people. I had created this safe little cocoon, a protective layer, hoping that I could let those around me only see the parts that I was ready and willing to share. Well, slowly, I’ve been breaking down that layer…busting out of my cocoon. Why? I’m frankly tired of not being true to myself and worrying about what other people might think. As I head toward 40, I realize that I really don’t know what I’m waiting for. When will I be confident enough to stand up and say, this is who I am. If you like it, great! If you don’t, oh well. So I’m taking another step today.

I realize that I haven’t been writing much over the past few months, and truly there’s a good reason. I get really busy in the winter months with my hobby/teeny tiny business. I feel forever blessed that I am able to use my hands to create and have been able to do so on such a large scale over the past few years. It is a constant reminder of how far I’ve come.

So here’s what I’ve been up to over the last few months. I actually haven’t had much time to even do entries on my other page, but I have managed to do more there than here 🙂 http://joyfulmamadesigns.wordpress.com

Enjoy! And here’s to taking another huge step in my life (insert pat on back emoticon).

Maria

 

Just had a conversation about this with a dear friend this morning…I’m being overwhelmed with reminders today and so thankful for each and every one!

Goss Coaching

Wellness Tip of the Day:If you want to create—and maintain—a beautiful body, the real key may be to begin by shifting your thoughts about your body.

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