Tag Archives: meditation

The key to meditation: START

How many of you read my posts and think “I should meditate” yet, you never take the first step?   Like any practice or habit, meditation is a commitment on your part.  You only have to commit 15 minutes to start.  Once you become accustomed to it, you can expand as you wish or as time permits.

I know several people who seem to have a problem getting past what I call ‘the monkey chatter’ in our heads.  Oh, believe me, I still deal with monkey chatter every day myself!  The key is to dismiss it.  And yes, that sounds far easier than it really is to do.

In my experience, the best way to start a meditation practice is with a simple guided meditation.  Guided meditations redirect your focus from your own chatter to the voice in the audio track. Once you become accustomed to that meditation, then you can begin to design your own meditations to achieve the goals you wish to achieve, and to expand into areas that are important to you  What was interesting to me as I began this practice, is that the basic meditations led me to identify areas that I wished to address with my practice.

I’m so convinced that your life will change for the better if you begin meditation in any form whatsoever, that I’ve done some of the research work for you.

I sampled a few mindfulness meditations on iTunes, as a starting point for those who wish to move forward using mindfulness and meditation to add peace to your lives.

The first one is a very simple mindfulness meditation from an album calledMindfulnessMeditationForBeginners “Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners” and offers short, guided meditations for 6 minute, 10 minute, 15 minute and 20 minute sessions.  I listened to this and it should be a comfortable, simple way to get into meditation. The voice is a very soothing female voice.  There are also a couple of musical tracks on this album that you can use as you move further into meditation.

ON Apple Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners $9.99

ON Amazon Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners $6.93

 

This album “Meditation Oasis” caught my attention simply because of the lotus, which I view as a symbol for Meditation Oasis Albummy own growth and regeneration.    This lovely album includes 4 simple meditations from 12 to 19 minutes long, with relaxing music and a female voice.  The tracks are:

Breath Awareness Meditation

Effortless Meditation

Emotional Ease Meditation

Letting Go Meditation.

ON iTunes: Meditation Oasis $9.99

On Amazon: Meditation Oasis $3.96

If you wish to move forward with your meditations, you can check out “Guided Meditations Guided Meditation Life Goalsfor Achieving Life Goals”.   This has a simple background consisting of ocean waves and piano. The voice is female.   I’m amazed at the difference in pricing on these!

ON iTunes: Guided Meditation for Achieving Goals $9.99

ON Amazon: Guided Meditation for Achieving Goals $2.67

 

Shop around for the right guided meditation album(s) to kick-start your meditation practice.  On iTunes, just use ‘Guided Mediation’ as your search word in the iTunes Store search box.   On Amazon, it is easiest if you navigate to the area for Digital Music and search within that area.

Please feel free to ask questions or ask for recommendations below in the comments sections!  I’m happy to help.  I want everyone to experience the growth that I’ve experienced through meditation.

 

 

Signs

In my journey into meditation and into mindfulness, I have come to be aware of signs in my life.  Daily little synchronicities, coincidences and signs are everywhere and I feel they are our guides’ way of pointing us in the right direction, or even simply letting us know that they’re there for us.

ButterfliesI have come to pay attention to a wayward butterfly crossing my path, or a dragonfly darting around me when there are no others.  I notice cloud formations that have meaning to me.  And I notice little things in my life that tell me those I love who are on the other side, are reminding me that they’re with me.

Humans become far too involved in day-to-day living, to the point of ignoring what is truly important on this planet.  We begin to base our lives, our hearts, our direction and our decisions on unimportant minutia.  I mean, seriously, do you really want to stay angry at the inane customer service agent on the phone to the point it stops you from experiencing something beautiful, or from experiencing messages and direction from your angels and guides.  You know, your anger or grief will do that.  dove cloudAnd our angels, guides and loved ones on the other side cannot help us unless we ask for their help and unless we listen for them.

Some of the best times to listen are when you surrender yourself totally to nature. Sitting in nature, breathing in fresh air and enjoying all that is around you is not only calming but it allows you to connect with the planet and thus, connect with the help and love that surrounds you.  When you’re angry, when you’re not in the moment, you miss a lot of the beauty that is your gift from earth.

Signs generally have meaning only to you. The image in this post of the clouds is an example.  I’ve recently lost someone who I loved dearly, who was like a second mother to me.  My heart has been hurting since her passing in May.  In two visits to her home in SW Florida, I have seen a few signs that tell me she’s with  me in spirit.  On the trip home the first time, I was feeling particularly lost and then I saw this cloud which to me, is an amazing bird. I knew that I was not alone in my feelings.

On another trip, I realized that she was sending me iris!  I came upon a cup that I was compelled to buy and now I know why.  Iris cupShe loved Iris!

And then I saw iris in many other places (note the bedspread below).

So, my message today is to not ever let these special moments go unnoticed.  They are there for your benefit and to help you with whatever you’re struggling with, be it grief, loss, love or any of the myriad of other of life’s struggles.

And then there are numbers.  But that’s for another post another day.

Iris

 

And In Other News: Free e-book today and tomorrow

This is reminder #1.  And yes, you’ll see reminder #2 tomorrow.  🙂

I’m running a free promotion for my book today and tomorrow (Saturday), October 2 and 3.  This allows you to download and own the e-Book for free. Of course, the printed copy is available for purchase on Amazon as well, and you can find it in three different local outlets – Book proof front

Date & Thyme

1130 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 587-7475

Key West Island Bookstore

Address: 513 Fleming St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 294-2904
917 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 292-0043

I’d really appreciate reviews!

It’s not a long difficult slog.  It’s about a two hour read.  You can download here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012E7M2VG  .  I hope you pick up a few tips that will help you with your wellness, weight loss and life goals.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, here in the comment sections below my posts, and of course, I invite you to share your experiences, recipes and ideas as well.

Free E-Book Friday and Saturday!

I’m running a free promotion for my book Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3.  This allows you to download and own the e-Book for free. Of course, the printed copy is available for purchase on Amazon as well, and you can find it in three different local outlets – Book proof front

Date & Thyme

1130 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 587-7475

Key West Island Bookstore

Address: 513 Fleming St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 294-2904
917 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 292-0043

I’d really appreciate reviews!

It’s not a long difficult slog.  It’s about a two hour read.  You can download here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012E7M2VG  .  I hope you pick up a few tips that will help you with your wellness, weight loss and life goals.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, here in the comment sections below my posts, and of course, I invite you to share your experiences, recipes and ideas as well.

Mother Nature at her best

I feel so blessed to have spent a week by the sea.  It was perfect to wake every morning to dolphins in front of the beach front house, to turtles lazing in the early afternoon on the surface of the water briefly before diving again, to manatees drifting along at their own pace, to the first of the pelicans from up north, feasting on the small bait fish close to shore, to the ospreys showing off their freshly caught fish, and to the heartbeat of the sea in the form of steady, gentle surf action.Simple Peace

Left is a still and here is a small video sample (hopefully the link will work): 30 Seconds of Peace   No, there is nothing ‘about to happen’.  It is just this and nothing else.

This is renewal for me.  It brings me closer to nature and reminds me that we all need this planet, and the planet needs help.

This week has emphasized the importance of spending more time connected to nature. My priorities become clearer.  My meditations become far more meaningful and far more emotional.  I feel re-dedicated to my personal goals, which involve helping this planet and those who need the most help – the animals.

I feel very humble and amazingly blessed.

 

 

 

 

It pays to invest in wellness

My husband will turn 65 the end of November, and thus I’ve been forced to look at Medicare in detail.  Let me tell you, it’s ugly!  The many myths I’ve believed have now been shattered.  Medicare is not a panacea.  MedicareAs a matter of fact, my husband’s Medicare will cost us more for basic annual services such as blood work and checkups than our existing ACA coverage does.  (Affordable Care Act)  AND he’ll pay $104 monthly which is higher than current premiums, with far, far higher potential financial exposure than the current coverage offers.

It’s discouraging to think that our government pushes those at age 65 into a program that really isn’t the best thing for anyone.  Luckily for us, we do everything in our power to stay away from the standard Western medical community by remaining well.  Unfortunately accidents do happen and my husband was hospitalized because of an accident in 2010.  He was also hospitalized because he ate some bad stuff in 2012.  In looking at our coverages, it appears that we would pay far, far more using Medicare than we’d have paid with our previous insurances.

So, it’s become increasingly clear that we MUST keep ourselves healthy.  This country is not like France nor is it like Canada, where quality health care is available for all at a minimal cost, if any cost at all.  In the US it’s every man for himself.   Thank goodness for the wellness-minded providers!  At least you are getting quality for what you pay where with the standard medical community, your results are always questionable and quality is long gone.

I invite you all to contribute to a list that we can all share, of health-minded providers, natural healers and alternative healers in the comment section below.  You can include health food stores, wellness providers, integrated medicine providers and any other alternative provider that you deem worthy.

I should also add that the same holds true for our beloved furry and feathered family members.  The same lack of respect towards wellness, the same cut ‘n’ drug thinking applies to veterinarians.

And if you have been reading this blog, you know that I am a strong believer that reading labels, organic eating, healthy choices and meditation will go a long way towards healing.

I’ll start the list here, but urge everyone to please, please add to the list!

Mitzi Schardt, MSN, NP – Fort Myers / Cape Coral, FL

Robert Murdock, NaturalFamilyPhysicians.com / Fort Myers and Cape Coral, FL

Whole Foods nationwide

Natural Pet Care LLC – Metarie, Louisiana  (They do phone consultations)

A Healthy Brain … AND our weekly winner!

Deborah Mccottry won our weekly drawing this week.  For those who wish to become part of our community and be part of the fun, you can sign up here:  Free weekly drawings

Now, today I’d like to pass on some information about brain health.  In case you are not paying attention, it’s a growing problem.  Dementia and other brain disorders are on the rise.  BrainDisordersThe Alzheimers Association states that the US will see a 44% increase in individuals with Alzheimers by 2025.     Utah, Alaska and Colorado are projected to have the biggest increase – around 126%, with significant growth in states with the largest populations:  Texas (74%), Florida (64%) and California (50%).

One doesn’t have to look too far to see friends and family members who have been touched by this disease.  If you’ve seen it, you have most certainly felt the impact.

I have read Dr. David Permutter’s book “Grain Brain:The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers” and I highly recommend it.   His approach is complex but then this is a complex issue.  It has everything to do with your immune system and keeping it healthy.  There are no ‘quick fixes’ but there are things you can do right now to help keep your brain healthy.  His book goes into nutritional issues as well as issues of toxicity from our foods and environment.  He makes a definitive link between colon health and brain health.

Just to give you a quick run-down on important supplements, Dr. Perlmutter recommends:

*Alpha Lipoic Acid – 600 mg daily

*Coconut Oil – 1 TBS daily (taken straight is recommended but you can use it in cooking)

*DHA – 1,000 mg daily  (combined with EPA.  He recommends a fish oil supplement but since I have a problem with the mercury in our fish oil supplements, I opt for a DHA derived from marine algae.)

*Probiotics – 1 capsule on an empty stomach up to 3 times daily.  Look for a probioitic that contains at least ten billion active cultures, from at least ten different strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium.  For probiotics, I take one that has 150 billion active cultures –  Renew Life brand Ultimate Flora Mega Potent.  With a history of colon issues and gluten sensitivity, this works best for me.

*Resveratrol  100 mg twice daily

*Turmeric   350 mg twice daily

*Vitamin D3 5,000 IU daily

These are all easily obtainable from Amazon or other sources.  If you would like some recommendations, please comment below and I’ll give you links and details.

No, the above is NOT all you need for a healthy brain.  You also have to clean out your kitchen and cabinets.  Get rid of the junk – glutens, sugars, processed foods, anything containing non-fermented soy, anything that says ‘fat free’ or ‘low fat’, margarines and most oils that are processed in any manner whatsoever.

I know it sounds complicated but isn’t this better than sitting in a vegetative state among your loved ones as their hearts break for you?

I highly recommend Dr. Perlmutter’s book.  In reading it, you may find many surprising links to your own health challenges.

And predictably, I come back to meditation.  😉  Meditation seems to keep dementia at bay!  There are hundreds of articles, but this one sums it up nicely:   Prevention Magazine: Meditation staves off dementia 

I know the last thing I want to happen to me is to have one part of my body go before the rest.  It works both ways – I want my mind to be present and for my body to function right up to the very end.  It’s an important goal for us all to embrace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness

Last night, I watched an excellent piece on 60 Minutes by Anderson Cooper about Mindfulness.

MindfulnessMindfulness meditation is just another of the many forms of meditation.  I prefer to think of it as the ultimate goal of my meditations.

I enter into my daily meditations usually with a specific intention or two, in mind.  I set the intention for the meditation – what I wish to examine or accomplish or what I wish to embed in my psyche.  But after I’ve gone through the steps of my meditation for weight loss, wellness, blessings and healing for others, abundance in health, love and finance, the real joy of my meditation is the final step for me – the mindfulness period.   During this time, you’re not trying to get from point A to point B.  You just are.

For me, it is a blissful state, where I am able to just ‘be’ with no pressure, no agenda, no worries.  I finish my daily meditation refreshed and eager to move forward with my day.  Since I’ve been meditating daily, without fail, I rarely get angry in traffic as I once did, I am not as frustrated with humans.  Note I said ‘as frustrated’.  I’m still frustrated.  I just don’t get to the point that I allow it to ruin my whole day.

And while the political atmosphere in this country is rancid right now, with racism, hate, ignorance and greed fighting for daily attention, I am not quite as angry about  ‘them’ as I once was.  As a peaceful person, it is difficult for me to ignore those who harm others with their political acts, their hate-filled speech and actions and their financially driven need to poison our population with toxic foods.  The truth is, we all create our own consequences in life and those who harm others will themselves suffer the effects of their hate-drive or greedy choices.  It’s just a shame that others have to suffer as well. For that reason, we are adamant about making informed choices for our lives, our pets, our food and our home.

Mindfulness has become part of my center now.  I think more clearly and come up with inventive and creative ideas more readily.  I am able to connect to my pets and my husband on a more spiritual level and feel I am far more compassionate about others.

It doesn’t take a lot of time.  You can do this in a matter of 15 minutes or can go on for hours.  I urge you all to give it a try!

 

Cats Love to Meditate

You need not meditate alone.  My cats love to meditate with me.  My older, recently transitioned cats Mei Mei and Maggie really enjoyed meditating with me, even though it was not a daily event then.

SleepingCatBuddhaOur fur-girls are age 6 months and 2 yrs 3 months.   I’d actually assumed that they would be too rambunctious to enjoy it but they’ve surprised me.  What is especially surprising is that Mhysa, the 6 month old, is the one that loves it most.  She has become adamant that she be with me when I meditate.  Mei Li still comes and goes and is taking it all in.

With her current issue involving the ovarian remnant from the veterinarian’s surgical mistake, I have concentrated very strongly on Mhysa’s healing in my daily meditations.  She appears to understand and even digs in deeply by my side, trying to touch both my body and my upturned left palm.

If you share your life and home with these amazing creatures, you probably know how intuitive they are.  They can easily access your meditations and understand what you’re doing. But did you know that you can also communicate to them using pictures, without saying a word?  I’ve been doing it for years.  Yes, I talk to them all day long anyway, but they can grasp the pictures you send very easily and they understand.  It is, of course, important to send positive, loving pictures, or just factual pictures.  Please don’t freak them out with negative pictures or scenarios!

Before we moved over a year and a half ago, I’d been sending our girls pictures of the new home.  When they arrived, with boxes everywhere, they were very cool, calm and matter of fact since they knew what to expect.

Another instance involves long-distance communication:  Our kitten, Mhysa, came from California but we couldn’t bring her home with us because she was too young.  So she flew by herself on what ended up being a relatively short, easy flight with only one change in equipment.  You would expect her to be freaked out, right?  I mean, she was only 12 1/2 weeks old at that point.  For many weeks, I’d been sending her pictures of her new home in my meditations, I’d sent her pictures of her new sisters (at that time, Maggie was still with us).  I’d sent her images of us, of the sounds of the house and of the many kitty beds and her dining area.  And then, when I knew she was on the way to the airport, I started ‘sending’ her a gentle, calming heartbeat soundtrack that I’d found on iTunes, to keep her company with all of the frightening noises, sights and smells that go with travel. I listened when meditating and sent the energy to her.  If only I had such a calming influence when I travel!!!   I hate flying these days!  It isn’t what it used to be.

When she arrived at our local airport, we expected a frightened little girl.  Instead, we found a calm little one, very happy to see us.  When we got home and opened her carrier, she marched right out, looked around as if to say “Yes!  This is what I expected.”  She immediately made herself at home.

36 years ago, in 1979, I’d seen an animal communicator on late night TV, who explained the visualization process for communicating with our pets.  I was lying in bed with my then-4 yr old sleeping toy poodle, Brigitte.  She loved more than anything to ‘go out’ to play in our fenced yard.  All I had to do was just mouth the words “do you want to go out?” and she would be beside herself.  This was long past her last ‘out’ trip at that time.  I just concentrated on seeing us get up, walk down the hall, through the foyer, the dining room, the kitchen to the back door and opening it.  I only had to do it once.  She lept up out of a sound sleep, and went racing down the hall in a frenzy to go out.

There are many ways to communicate with our furry and feathered family members, and this is but one option.  We work with an animal communicator if we feel that there are conflicts between them, if there are behavioral issues, if there are health issues or if someone just can’t seem to follow the rules.  It’s wonderful to have that resource available for us, because after all, this IS our family.

I will write more on that subject soon, along with contact information should anyone wish to find out more about it themselves.  Should you have a need now or need a referral, please feel free to comment below and ask any questions you might have.

In the meantime, I strongly recommend including your cats, dogs, birds and other pets in your meditation rituals.  They feel it, they understand it, and they love it.  We all benefit.

Visualizations – with a dose of reality.

Recently, someone who had read the book asked me about the visualizations I use in my meditations for weight loss.   She asked me if I visualize exactly how my body will look.

I don’t do that and here is my reasoning.   First, I’m 60 years old so to visualize myself in a 24 year old body would lead to frustration.  I think it’s important to be realistic in our expectations when we are setting our goals.  In my case, I’ve set a weight for my body and with my daily meditations, I continue to reinforce that thinking.  I figure that my mind and my body will find the right ‘shape’ that goes with the weight goal I’ve set.

Also, in being realistic, I may always have a bit of a tummy (though it is flattening a bit every pound I lose), and may always have the extra skin that now is a reminder of the departed fat.  FlabbyArmDownload(And NO that’s not me on the left!) At a certain age, the skin just won’t tighten like it once did.  Oh, you can bet I am working on it, but a dose of reality is important to keep me from being disappointed.

When setting my goals, I set them in stages.  In the initial stage of my daily meditation, I use a positive affirmation:  “I am a healthy, pain-free ___ pounds with a vibrant and disease free mind, body, heart and spirit.”  This is my ultimate goal.  BathScalesDownloadHowever, I also set the intention of intermediate goals.  In my case, the first goal was to have a NORMAL BMI, which of course I attained almost 4 months ago.  Once I reached that, I keep the next goal in sight, usually in 5 pound increments.

With my initial positive affirmation, my brain and my body are now on board with the ultimate goal and they are making it happen.  When I hit plateaus, as we all do, then I change things up a bit with my food and hydration.

So, yes!  Visualization is powerful.  But realize that your body is only capable of so much.

 

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