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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Guided Meditations


People have all kinds of ideas about guided meditations and this blog will hardy be an authoritative response to all the ideas out there. That would be not only impossible but a waste of everyone’s time.

I can tell you this however. For the beginner, guided meditations can be extremely helpful. Because meditating alone in your room can feel like jumping into the deep end of a very choppy, stormy ocean without any support, a life jacket at least, a little raft.

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It can feel this way for the experienced meditator as well. Maybe life’s been handing you a particularly rough patch and though you’ve been meditating for years, you’re just not feeling it.

Maybe you’ve been sitting with your father who’s dying, maybe you’ve lost your job or are in the midst of a huge paradigm shift in your career, which you thought would last forever, and now it feels like you’ve got nothing to stand on.

Maybe you’re dealing with a terrible disease, acute or chronic and you’re just not even sure who you are anymore.

Maybe you’re just like the rest of us poor slobs wondering why and how it is that even the most joy-filled moments of heart splitting wonder seem to have this little nugget of sadness embedded in them. Maybe you’re one of those folks who feels you’re always waiting for the other shoe to fall.

On top of that you may be thinking, I should get a grip, I’ve been meditating for (insert number of months, years meditating here) I should be able to settle my mind down. I’m a terrible meditator. 

Or, maybe you’re a meditation teacher and you’re in that place where even the coach needs a little extra support and love and you think crap, who can I ask for help? This is SO embarrassing!  Nonsense darlings! Now and then all of us need some help, a little extra support, for all kinds of thing, including our own self care. In fact, research shows that actually asking for help is a sign of STRENGTH. So there’s that.

Let me tell you dear ones, you’re not a terrible meditator. You’re just feeling overwhelmed. There’s no shame in getting a little assistance.

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So, no matter who you are and how long you’ve been sitting and meditating, it is okay. If you feel like you need a permission slip – here it is.

Go ahead and use guided meditations when you want to. Sometimes it’s just nice to let someone else drive the bus, right?

When you feel ready to sit in silence, on your own, you’ll know.

Lots of people, all over the globe practice alone but they may also sit with a group from time to time, some weekly. Many folks also make regular check-ins with a meditation teacher. To that end, I strongly encourage you to find a teacher somewhere and study with them. It’s highly beneficial to have someone whose been down the road ahead of you to whom you may turn to ask questions and talk things over.

In support of all that, I’ve made a new page on the site offering some free guided meditations which I’m recording. You’ll also find links to the sites of several wonderful meditation teachers out there who offer audio, readings, books, retreats and so forth. Please check it all out. Explore. Find what works for you.

Please share the link to this page with friends, colleagues, loved ones. Anyone who might benefit from a little friendly mediation support.

Sail on friends. Sail on. Life’s just a series of tacking points. No direct line. Let’s enjoy the journey together.

Namaste,

Hillary

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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  

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


  
From #StephenCope “The Great Work of Your Life” Merton here catches exactly the spirit of Thoreau and Anthony and Tubman — and all the others. These great exemplars of dharma each took a craftmanlike view toward life: Do your daily duty, and let the rest go. Polk away systematically at your little calling. Tend the garden a little bit every day. You do not have to exhaust yourself with great acts. Show up for your duty, for your dharma. Then let it go.” 
What is your little calling? 

What makes you feel on fire with purpose?

What is your gift to the world?

What actions do you need to take to make it all real?

Saturday Meditation Happy Hour


Feeling stressed?

Do you sometimes wonder how you got here, when driving, taking the El, or walking from one room to another because you realize you have no idea where you’ve been?

Do you want to feel more inner happiness and peace?

Do you want to feel better able to deal with life’s many difficulties and challenges?

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If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Most of us spend between 50-95% of our days lost in mind-wandering. Meditation can help.

Jack Kornfield advises us that each aspect of our meditation will open in its own time, like a flower.

Join us to discover what he means. In this gentle class, you will learn to simple and profound methods for living a life of greater presence and happiness.

You’ll also:

  • increase focus and concentration
  • adapt better to change
  • learn to deal with difficult emotions
  • increase compassion for your self and others
  • see the bigger picture
  • and much more

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WHEN: Saturdays 9-10am
WHERE: 1839 S Halsted
TUITION: $80/month or Drop in tuition $25/class
REGISTER HERE!

And please, bring friends!

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Thanks. May all find peace, Hillary