Read this article to learn more about how to use mindfulness through nature. Mindfulness in Action I turned the corner at the Iowa Arts Festival, and saw picture after picture of nature: raw, beautiful, and unique. “Oh, look at how cool these are,” I said to my son. “What’s so cool?” asked a voice behind […]
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Many parenting approaches fail to address the parent’s thoughts and feelings. By acknowledging and opening up to these experiences, parenting becomes more effective and meaningful.
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“I should be able to do this better,” thinks April. “I just can’t get this project to go well. My work is so hard!” April, like many people, is feeling frustrated and upset about a task at her workplace. As a result, she blames herself, which likely increases her stress, sadness, and job satisfaction. Some […]
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What is Yoga? Yoga is a series of physical poses that work to unify the mind and body. Also, yoga is an easy and fun for parents and children to do together. Kids benefit from yoga in many ways Yoga increases mindfulness Practicing yoga helps children to quiet their minds and better focus. By quieting […]
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“Your dog is so mindful!” my neighbor yelled across the street. Although my kind neighbor was referring to my dog’s obedience, I smirked at the literal thought of my dog’s mindfulness. Mindfulness happens when we notice everything in the present moment. In doing so, we are often more grateful and more content. Sunshine, my 7-month-old […]
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We are a culture that CONSUMES We are great consumers of food, coffee, alcohol, information, clothes, cars, concerts – if there is a thing, and that thing is good, we consume as much of it as we can. Sometimes, this tendency is harmless; then again, sometimes, it’s a pretty big problem. One of the ways […]
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“Having hope in the face of despair, doesn’t mean we’ve extinguished fear or whatever else we’re feeling. It means that we choose to go on in the face of it; we can feel discomfort while also being in touch with other parts of ourselves and our experiences. We don’t let despair, anger, whatever it is, define our entire world.”
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We all could use some recognition for the things that we contribute, for our hard work, for our time. Get that process started by noticing and recognizing it in others.
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A wise friend once said to me:
“Mollie, you’d never buy a footlong sub and then tell yourself – ‘I better eat this all in one bite.’”
At the time, I had a good laugh. And now, years later, I think of this all the time. Because when you put it that way, it makes so much sense – it’s crazy to set an expectation like that. You’d choke, you’d be sick, and you’d feel really terrible about that sandwich.
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Sometimes, just coming back to the things we can reach out and touch, the things we hear, see, smell, or even taste can be helpful. Other times, it can be helpful to be prepared ahead of time, to keep a few little tokens on hand that are soothing, enjoyable, and use our physical senses.
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My alarm goes off, quietly at first, and then a little louder. I turn it off, and then start my daily practice. What do I hear? I listen. I hear the birds chirping, the dog snoring quietly, the sound of my spouse making coffee downstairs. What do I feel? I notice the cool breeze from my fan, the softness of my blanket, and the comfort of my bed. What do I see? I slowly open one eye to appreciate the soft, dappled light through my window and the blue sky on the other side. What do I smell? The scent of my laundry detergent still lingers on my pillowcase. What am I grateful for? I am grateful for this day, for my life, for meaningful work, for my family. I take 4 deep breaths and I get out of bed. Thus ends my meditation for the day.
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While my generation and younger is thought to be full of selfish, shallow, entitled people (which I do not agree with), what I do think is that a lot of what we’re seeing is not too much self-love, but exactly the opposite. No real self love at all, in fact. Holes filled with insecurities. People who secretly do not feel worthy of the space they take up. People whose only memories of Earth have been of her demise, at the hands of humans. People obsessed with the system’s definition of accomplishment. People who are scared to look deeper, scared of what they’ll find there. People who listen to the voice of short-term happiness, over the deeper voice of long-term joy, because well they don’t trust the deeper one, or they’ve no idea how to hear it.
Looking back, growing up, I can’t think of a single conversation where my friends and I even mentioned the things we liked about ourselves, let alone reasons we loved ourselves. Just typing that makes me feel uncomfortable. The general message (especially as women) was that it’s okay to love things about other people but not ourselves.
As a Midwesterner, I come from the land of humble and hard-working. I value humility like crazy. We’re not big on self-love. But I’m starting to believe that you really do have to possess something first, before you can give it away.
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