Two Step Walking Meditation


Metta in this Moment
Metta

Though we tend to tumble headfirst into the next moment out of sheer force of habit, we can train ourselves to pause in the midst of our busy days. We can ground ourselves in the midst of stressful situations by bringing awareness down to our feet, feeling the earth supporting us. Grounding ourselves this way, we’re more able to handle whatever difficulties arise with more grace and increased empathy and compassion for ourselves and others.

Mindfulness Practice with the Feet
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Bring your awareness to your feet. Feel them in your shoes. See if you can feel each toe on its own without wiggling them. It’s okay if you can’t. We’re not seeking any special experience. We just want to see what’s going on right here and now.

Now – Feel the shoes gently holding your feet. Next allow yourself to feel that the sole purpose of the earth, it’s only job, is to hold you up. Rest in that awareness.

2012_0506_images_10a_berry_conversation_wendell_portrait(The great Wendell Berry)

Simple Walking Meditation

Walking requires a constant shifting of our weight from foot to foot, an act we rarely pay much attention to. As we shift the weight, it’s as if we fill one leg and empty the other, of weight, of energy, however you like to think of it. This occurs as we place first one foot down in front of us to step forward and then the next. Let’s slow this process down for a few steps to attend mindfully to the many sensations of walking.

  1. As you step forward, place your foot down ever so softly, feeling that initial contact with the ground or floor. Slowly begin to shift your weight into your forward foot, feeling it supporting you as you fill the leg up.
  2. Be aware at the same time, of your rear foot and leg. Feel how the rear leg gets emptier and emptier; the foot releasing contact with the ground.

Repeat for a few steps, up to ten.

Walking is actually a wondrous act. Let’s enjoy it together. Let’s be grateful for our capacity to walk. Let’s take a moment of gratitude for our feet and legs.

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Pausing is Possible Anytime

You can practice this simple walking meditation any time. It’s a very good practice before any stressful events like meetings, difficult conversations etc. Try pausing next time you’re heading somewhere. The simple act remembering that you can pause and doing it, even for a moment or a few steps, is incredibly powerful.

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Loving kindness 


  

Simple Guided Meditation 


I’ve noticed in the past few years, that many times when speaking with people who are new to meditation, that they have a lot of ideas about how one must practice that are not quite accurate. The sad thing is, that these ideas then serve as barriers to them giving meditation a fair try.

  
In fact the practice of meditation is fundamentally quite simple. John Kabat- Zinn says that really all we are trying to do is to pay attention, right here and now, in a particular way, that is nonjudgmentally.

Formal meditation practice just means that we’re doing this practice of paying attention to our moment to moment experience, bringing our awareness to what’s going on right here and now, on purpose. We are intentionally bringing our mind into the moment instead of all the places that usually goes. ( Worrying about the pat and future…sometimes quite endlessly.)

  This activity does not necessarily require any special posture or extraordinary flexibility. Our goal is to be alert so that we can wake up to reality. I think this is where some of the misunderstandings about posture come from. Simply we want our body to be in a position which is going to promote our awakening. This means if we were slumped over, the signal that we’re sending to the brain is that it’s time to nap not wake up.

  You can meditate sitting or standing. You can also meditate when walking or doing other activities but I’ll address that another time. For now let’s focus on sitting meditation.

You can meditate sitting on a special cushion, a meditation bench, or whatever chair you happen to have at home.

I hope that you will try this short guided meditation that will help you get into a comfortable, upright and alert posture that will best support your meditation practice for today.

Please know that there is no right or wrong way to do this. By which I mean to say, that of course your mind is going to wander. That is the nature of mind. The mind is like a puppy it wants to run around and investigate everything. We would never holler at a little puppy for doing what comes naturally. When the puppy of the mind wanders off, your only job is to do your best to notice, recognize, acknowledge and gently return to the breath. No matter how many times you need to do this, each time meeting your mind wandering with tenderness and compassion.

 Basic guided 15 minute meditation  

Free First Saturday Meditation


Join me for a free community meditation this Saturday. If it’s nice we’ll practice outside in the lovely garden.

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Open to all regardless of experience. Perfect for you folks out there who have thought about meditation but wonder what it is, if you can even do it (hint: YOU CAN!) All you need is your body, heart and mind and the determination to come with an sense of open curiosity. Also for experienced practitioners. Guided vipassana or insight mediation, which uses the breathe as a guide into our present moment experience.

I recommend bringing a notebook or your favorite journal with you. We do a little writing after we sit to check in with ourselves, noticing small changes, bringing awareness into consciousness.

We have some meditation benches and cushions but if you have your own, please bring it with you.

May all find and know peace.

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Today’s Lesson


Get out of your own way.

It’s the first day of spring. A good time to plant new seeds in your life. (And by your, I mean as well, my.)

  
I think a common problem we all may have from time to time, is getting in our own way. 

Maybe we get scared, over think things, aim too high-too low, whatever. Self-sabotage? Yes. It’s a thing.

Let’s take this moment together then, right now, and pause a minute or a few, however long you need, and contemplate.

Where are you feeling stuck in some way? Like you’re not making forward progress?

When we can feel our way into those spaces, and sit quietly with them, we can begin to see when and where they started. Meditation is great for this. 

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When we still ourselves enough, the heart and mind can begin to settle, the emotional waters still so we can all the way to the bottom, down there in the mud and muck. 

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Then we can see which roots are lotus roots (wisdom) and which ones are some invasive weed (noise/suffering).

This takes some time and patient practice. And self-compassion. But it works. 

So today, on this first day of spring, won’t you join me? Together let’s pause and examine so we can build together lives of greater happiness by planting something really wonderful and rooting out a few weeds. 

Let’s get out of our own way. 

I wish you well. And I’d love to hear how it goes if you feel like sharing. 

Namaste,

Hillary IMG_0141

Spring Mini-Retreats


Mindfulness Meditation, Movement and Writing!
MINI-RETREAT SPRING DATES:
4/21 (6-8pm)
5/15 (12-2pm)
6/16 (6-8pm)

$30 each
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Let’s start spring with a spiritual clean out. After a long winter it’s good to cleanse not only the body but the heart and mind too. Get ready to move closer to finding your own unique gifts and the capacity to share them with the world.

Discover how you can compassionately transform your heart and mind for greater peace and happiness.
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You will learn:

  • to cultivate gentle yet sharp and clear awareness of the body and mind
  • how to apply the lessons of your newly developing awareness from formal practice to your every day life 
  • how to hold yourself with greater compassion and acceptance
  • how to work with “negative” emotions
  • how to create greater sense of flow in your life
  • how to find your own happiness right here and now

The best attitude to come to the class with is this: simply open curiosity to see what will happen. I can’t tell you what will change for you, but I can promise you that if you come, something will indeed change.
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Sound good? Sign up now!
Registration and payment required  to reserve your spot.

What to bring:

  • wear soft, comfy clothes- layers are good
  • journal or notebook
  • something to write with
  • yoga mat

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Other Details:

Where: 1839 S Halsted St (just south of 18th St.)
When: 4/21 (6-8pm), 5/15 (12-2pm), 6/16 (6-8pm)
Tuition: $30 per session

Sign up now. Shoot me a line and I’ll be glad to help you out.

WE ARE EASILY ACCESSED VIA PUBLIC TRANSIT
FREE STREET PARKING IS AVAILABLE

How will you feel…?


 …if you don’t do it?

 
Whatever it is.

You know. 

That thing that makes you feel like you’re on fire with the same passion and energy that lights the stars. 

  

If you’re anything like me, not following that path to passion (and we’re talking positive stuff, nothing that’s going to harm you,) makes you feel somewhere on the shit spectrum. Depending on the day this might be merely a mild disgruntled feeling or on another, like death itself. 

So how about it folks. Can we just agree to NOT do that?  

 Because what would be the point? Mary Oliver asks us in her poem what we are going to do with our one wild precious life… It’s an important question.

Here is what Elizabeth Gilbert has to say about it. 

So dear ones…go for it. Seize the day. Leave no stone unturned. Write your story. Invent that thing. Collect stamps. Do yoga. Whatever!  

Be creative in the way which reflects your most honest, vulnerable and authentic you. 

Unleash that good shit on the world.

  
Now go get it happening. Love to hear from you how it goes.

May the road rise up to meet you.