Monthly Archives: May 2016

Letting Go of Judgment


Self-Observation Without Judgment  

by Danna Faulds

Release the harsh and pointed inner
voice. it’s just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.

Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.

Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet. Shift
out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.

I can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.

What’s needed here isn’t more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy – seeing clearly, and
embracing what I see.


Unconditional ( by Jennifer Paine Welwood)

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is purest delight –
To honor its form, true devotion.

Little Mind and Big Mind: It’s All ONE

Shunryu Suzuki uses a metaphor of waves and water to talk about “big mind, little mind” excerpt from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind:

(source: Traverse City Sangha: )

waves“That everything is included within your mind is the essence of mind. To experience this is to have a religious feeling. Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure; it is just like clear water with a few waves.  .  .  . To speak of waves as apart from water or water apart from waves is a delusion. Water and waves are one. Big mind and small mind are one.  When you understand your mind in this way, you have some security in your feeling. As your mind does not expect anything from the outside, it is always filled. A mind with waves in it is not a disturbed mind, but actually a simplified one. Whatever you experience is an expression of big mind.”

Take a Moment for Gratitude Each Morning


Gratitude is a simple but essential way of being in the world. Given our media saturated live it is all too easy to become numbed out to the suffering of others. Gratitude can be a powerful antidote to the cynicism or hopelessness we may experience. This simple practice was created by Mayo Clinic professor of medicine Amit Sood M.D.
Dr. Sood states that “gratitude is an acknowledgment and appreciation for things, experiences or people.” When we extend gratitude to those beings most supportive to us it can help reduce our sense of helplessness, anxiety, loneliness, alienation and even depression.
You can use the practice anytime, however doing it upon waking or going to bed can be particularly healing. Begin by taking three deep breaths, feeling into the chest and heart area and invite the body to soften and relax. Now bring into your awareness each being one at a time you wish to extend gratitude to. You can even silently say their name as you send gratitude and appreciation, do this for 5-10 seconds, you can even invite an inner smile into your awareness. Send gratitude one at a time to 5 or more beings and end the practice by sending gratitude yourself. That’s it. Enjoy and pass on the gratitude one appreciation at a time.
I extend gratitude and give thanks to:
loved ones……….
people who have died…………
inspiring people…

Thoughts are Not Facts Practice

thoughts not factsWhen we get caught in strong opinions, preconceptions, memories and expectations, based on past experiences, we filter out a lot of important information that is available and emerging in the present moment. This way of perceiving is a product of our evolution and socialization, helping us to create a world of experience that is somewhat stable and predictable, but it comes at a cost.

When we ONLY perceive the world through the lens of past memory and experience we miss the uniqueness of what is emerging in the present moment. By suspending for just a few moments our judgements, commentary and decision making mind, we create space for novelty and fresh possibilities to be seen.

Practice: Thoughts are Not Fact

When difficult thoughts arise in the mind, about ourselves or others, notice how the thought is influencing your mood and how you are react to yourself and others. Next ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Is it true? – often the answer is, Well Yes.  This is the brain initially reacting – the habitual autopilot you live with and believe is you.
  2. Is it absolutely true? – is this thought 100% accurate? Can you see the thought in a different way?
  3. How does this thought make me feel? – Notice any storylines you’re holding onto, and name your feelings: sad, angry, jealous, hurt.
  4. What would things be like if I didn’t hold this belief? – Imagine possible benefits to your relationships, energy levels and motivations.

Adapted from Uncovering Happiness by Elisha Goldstein and Love What Is by Byron Katie.

Mindful Exercising


mindful runningWe all know that exercise done 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week makes a huge difference in your emotional and physical health.  And the same goes for mindfulness practice. So how do we find time to do both? While exercising mindfully is not a complete substitute for formal sitting practice it does augment formal practice and improve your capacity to be mindful throughout your day.

How to Practice Mindful Exercise

Working out is a golden opportunity to practice mindfulness of the body.  Being mindful of the body is the foundational practice taught by all mindfulness programs, so exercise is the perfect opportunity to practice.

When you begin your exercise program we ask that you bring your full attention to every moment of your physical experience. So set aside the distractions like music or screen activities if you are in a gym.  Instead take the opportunity to observe the physical sensations of the body before, during and after your workout.

Begin your exercise with 8-10 full breaths, experience the physical sensation of breathing and you can even invite the body to let go of tension as you exhale, feeling the body soften and relax.

Next as you begin exercising notice your very first intention to move as you begin. Bring you full attention to simply watching the body as it moves from a perspective that is non-judgmental and accepting of whatever arises related to thoughts, emotions or physical sensations.

Just as in formal mindfulness sitting practice when the mind wanders from our object of attention and in this case body sensations, we simply notice the distraction, relate to the distraction with acceptance, non-judgment and kindness and gently return our attention back to the sensations in the body that is most prominent  in each moment i.e., breathing, tightening and relaxing of muscles, physical contact of exercise with hands, feet, buttock etc., noticing sweating, hot parts of the body, cool parts of body, noticing air or water on the skin, etc.  Also notice when you move toward your edge of physical capability and become aware of when to slow down and when to speed up, maintaining a  proper balance.

At the end of your workout do a two-minute mindfulness practice by noticing your thoughts, emotions and body sensations, and spend a minute noticing the physical sensation of the breath in the chest and expand your sense of breathing as though the whole body is breathing, feeling oxygen flowing to every cell.

So, I encourage you to experiment with mindful exercise and notice the impact it has on both your mind and body.