I’ll be teaching walking meditation at Hanig’s on North Ave. May 26th. Check it out. Also awesome shoes. You could win a pair in a drawing. Also drawing for deal on individual sessions with me focusing on the area of your choice.
Start Your Week Alive, Empowered
Mindful Metta Mondays
The Heartwood Center in Evanston
with Hillary Johnson
This summer the course will run each month for four weeks on Monday nights
June 6, 13, 20, 27, 2016, 7pm-8pm
July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 2016, 7pm-8pm
August 15, 22, 29, September 5, 2016, 7pm-8pm
HEARTWOOD CENTER, INC.
1818 Dempster Street, Evanston, IL 60202
4-week course $72 ($18/class) or $20 Drop in
When we cultivate our natural capacity for opening the heart and allowing it to blossom, we get closer to the best versions of ourselves. Metta or loving kindness is a powerful transformative practice that deepens recognition of our profound interconnection with all living things, allowing us to experience this sense of connection, even with the difficult people in our lives. Insights are sharpened and equanimity is accessed when we integrated Mindfulness Meditation and Metta with Contemplative Writing, This course will help you develop and deepen your:
- Authentic Happiness
Metta helps us awaken our hearts into a sense of spacious freedom, allowing us to bring greater loving kindness into everyday life, work and love. As we gain greater clarity and insight into our own hearts and minds by bringing attention to how we think, speak and act, we can open to a whole new, more discerning and caring way for engaging with ourselves and others.
As you develop your practice, you’ll see the fruits of greater loving kindness everywhere. This ongoing/repeatable class will help you sustain your practice and nurture the qualities of loving kindness with direction instruction, guided meditation and contemplative writing. There will also be plenty of opportunities for conversation and communal support for your practice.
The more you practice, the greater the gifts. You will:
- Feel your stress and tension dissolve.
- Loosen the grip of tightening fear in the heart and feel it turn into open and spacious caring.
- Experience a sense of ongoing renewal, peace, and confidence arising from your own loving kindness practices
It’s not surprising that many people consider calming the mind through meditation as first step to a more peaceful, less stress-filled life. Yet, compassion and loving kindness have the power of water, a gentle force for courage allied with wisdom. Enjoy the peace of offering the gift of your compassion for others as we hold them quietly in our hearts.
Through cultivating empathy and understanding we expand our capacities for resolving conflicts and strengthen and multiply our possibilities for creatively easing suffering in the world and in our own hearts.
This course is for both new and experienced meditators. Bring a notebook and your favorite writing implement. You may bring a meditation cushion or bench if you like, but we also provide everything you need to be comfortable.
4-week course $72 ($18/class) or $20 Drop in
Register by calling Hillary at 312-714-4563 (Please leave a message if no answer)
Thank you. I look forward to practicing with you soon.
With Metta, Hillary
So excited, humbled, honored to announce that I’ll be teaching at this amazing place, The Heartwood Center,in Evanston.
Mindful Metta Mondays start Monday June 6th, 7-8pm at the Heartwood Center!
Four-week sessions in June, July and August. $72 for the month or $20 drop in. Registration will open in the next day or so. Each session will integrate meditation and writing to help us cultivate Metta or loving kindness for ourselves and each other.
Metta in this Moment
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
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.
(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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Make a beautiful day everyone.
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.
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.
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.
Join me for a free community meditation this Saturday. If it’s nice we’ll practice outside in the lovely garden.
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.