Sharon Salzberg’s Street Loving Kindness


Sharon and her gang of creative, amazing, wise and compassionate friends have been making videos about how to practice compassion wherever you go. I just LOVE them.

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And they make me feel so inspired to make some of my own featuring Chicago places. Lord knows I feel every day like I need more practice in loving kindness too living here. I confess that at first I was like, WOW, those videos of hers are so awesome and also a little jealous or something because I had JUST BEEN THINKING OF MAKING THE EXACT SAME THING! Augh! And so for a time I did nothing.

But I realized after sitting with it all for a while, that there’s no way two creative people will do the exact same thing at all anyway and that even more importantly, I believe we need as many reminders to practice loving kindness as possible. So, stay tuned. I’m making some videos on how to practice “On the Fly” here in the Windy City.

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I’m also offering two new classes that will support your own loving kindness toward your own fine self as well as the rest of the world.

One is a Gentle Tai Chi class, made for all body types and abilities. We’ll meet every Saturday from 3:30-4:40 starting on 11/4. You can sign up via Eventbrite or via Chase QuickPay. (calm chicago at gmail dot com) or email me and we’ll figure out what works best for you! Cash is cool too!

The other thing is Second Sunday Meditation which I co-host with Matt Johnson in our shared space, where he teaches ving tsun kung fu and I do all the things I do, like photography, tai chi, coaching, and all kinds of things which are always growing and evolving. Check out the next one where our theme will be gratitude.

Till then, may all be happy, strong, healthy and at ease.

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Lots of love to you, Hillary

 

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7 Days: B&W No People No Explanation 


Narrow Mind


A narrow mind makes us crazy and angry.

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A wide open mind allows us to be free and happy.  

First I read something about this in a book by Zen Master Seung Sahn.

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Then I came to know this truth directly. When I look I see this lesson literally everywhere.  
It makes my life easier each time I remember it.

Thankfully don’t know mind allows me to rediscover this each and every moment afresh, without judgement.

Remembering is the trick! And if I forget? No problem. Just begin again. We can all do this. 

No judgement. For real. 

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It’s very freeing.

What’s your experience? Please share in the comments below. 

Wishing you all peace and happiness no matter what. 

Make today amazing.

Carpe diem. Carpe pacem.

Hillary 

16 Reasons Meditation is Good For You


Benefits of Meditation: a Short List

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Meditation…

  1. reduces stress
  2. improves focus and concentration
  3. supports healthy living through greater awareness of body and mind
  4. reduces reactivity
  5. increases capacity for flexibility and adaptability
  6. reduces rigidity of thinking
  7. increases creativity across the board
  8. reduces relationship stress by increasing empathy and compassion
  9. increases capacity for emotional regulation
  10. reduces anxiety, depression
  11. increases happiness
  12. makes it easier to deal with inevitable difficulties (acceptance)
  13. slows aging – maintaining great mental sharpness and reducing worry lines
  14. increases heart lung (cardiovascular health) as we reduce stress
  15. supports a strong immune system
  16. improves overall well-being

Not bad for sitting still and attending to the breath! And, unlike many medications, there’s no unpleasant side effects.

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Simplify. Focus on Essentials.


Things have been really crazy around here. It seems like this is a time of intense change, transformation, growth for so many of us. And of course, even changes for the better can be stressful.

Grad school in clinical psych is a TRIP! Wonderful, intense.  It’s really letting me see how much of my own work there is to do in order to best serve you all. I’m feeling really fortunate for all who nurture me on this adventure and look forward to this career change which is both a passion and a genuine beneficial contribution to this world of ours.

The big impulse I’m feeling, or dual impulses really are these:

  1. SIMPLIFY

  2. FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIALS

The urge for simplicity is informing all aspects of my life. My husband and I hoping to move into a new space here in Chicago where we can live and work together. We should know tomorrow or at the latest sometime this week! So, please stay tuned for updates! We’re really excited because this would allow us both to offer so much more for all of you out there, both in terms of on-site classes and offerings via the interweb! My husband, Matt, is a martial artist and teaches ving tsun kung fu (a Chinese martial art great for young and old, men and women) in a very traditional way. The school is so amazing and I’m so proud of what he has been building all these years. So many schools focus on belts and test (all with very high fees) and competition and so-called fighting. We believe that the study of martial arts is not so much about this…

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as it is this:

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and this:

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We in the school (The Ving Tsun Self Defense Academy) really focus on building the martial skills for our own self cultivation, strength, confidence and the be able to come to the aid of those who when in trouble, are unable to  defend themselves. Matt teaches his students to prevail in life. It’s really something. You can also check out the school on Facebook. Matt also finally has an Instagram account! We are feeling really very techy now!

So, under the heading SIMPLIFY, we think this is going to be awesome and simple. Everything in one place.

Also, simplifying technology, like just going to one device, instead of phone, tablet and computer! WHOA! That is Way To Much for me. One thing please.

Also clothing. I tend to wear pretty much a basic uniform. The same all the time. I don’t want to waste time making choices about what to wear and fussing over style. That’s just not really me. I like to look nice and presentable but don’t want to have to think too hard about it. I want to use  my time for way for interesting things like learning, teaching and adventures! So you can totally expect with this move (I am imagining it happening already, even though I actually hate the work of upset/stress associated with moving but the results! Those will be fabulous…) that a lot of clothing and extra coats and just God where did all that stuff come from ANYWAY?, going right out the door for donation.

And as for number two, FOCUS. I have come to feel that Calm Chicago’s website seemed all over the place and needed also a paring down and focusing on offering fewer things in the best way I could possibly offer them. So, look for upcoming changes there too! 

A couple of things I’m looking at are:

  • More focus on classes and workshops that use writing as a tool for inner transformation

  • Very focused and fun, intense workshops/classes and online materials that focus on helping you all clear out those obstacles that get in the way of your own transformation and helping you become your wicked best self. (Yeah, I’m from Boston, so you’ll hear me say that wicked thing a lot. It’s a positive. Not like the wicked witch of the west or anything like that!)

I’d love to hear from you about any of this. What you would like to see and how. Meanwhile, stay tuned for news about the move and cross your fingers for us. And look for great stuff for the rest of the year and 2016!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Wishing you all lots of love, happiness and freedom to be your most authentic self, uniting your passion with helping the world be a better place.

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Namaste, Hillary

KPIs and Mindfulness


KPIs and Mindfulness.

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What Stops You From Mindfulness Practice?


Tell us what get’s in your way, so we can offer services and classes to help you develop your mindfulness meditation practice.

Images of the Buddha can remind us to practice mindfulness meditation