Ditching Evaluation


What if- just for a little while today we gave up all that constant evaluation of everything, most of all, our own sweet selves.

Evaluation, while it does have an eventual place under certain conditions, is generally just a form of death in which we give up our choice.

Because if we decide ahead of time whether something is either “good, bad, friendly or mean,” we eliminated all choice and are basically saying I’m not actually here and have no reason to be because I already “know” how it’s going to turn out. And we write off others in their truth and so much possibility!

But part of the juice and excitement in life IS making choices as we step moment by moment into the beautiful wild uncertainty of life.

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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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The Problem with Anger


Anger. A hard emotion to work with.

When we are high jacked by anger we can’t think clearly.   
Underneath anger is fear. 

Our little lizard brain, the amygdala, freaks out. 

The list of possible fears is endless. Loss of control, confidence, worthiness. Not enough of whatever or under attack from someone or something or other.

We may wonder, why doesn’t the world roll out the red carpet for us? Why don’t we get our way? Can you hear your inner tantrum child? I sure can! 

  

The problem is that when anger takes over we don’t think, see, speak or act clearly. This means we are more prone to making really poor choices. 

With practice, mindfulness can help us work with anger and fear. The simple act of observing the emotions can create conditions for allowing them to settle. The fire can only burn so long if we don’t add energy to it by resisting, pushing down, or running away. 

In this calmer space we can figure out what to do with the eye of the heart seeing more clearly what the situation really needs. 

  

Then we can proceed. 

  
Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to share your experiences and adventures here in the comments.

May all find peace.

  

Your Focus (and your beliefs) Really Do Determine Your Reality


And in case you’re feeling skeptical…here’s some psych and neuroscience to back it up.

  • Very often, what we believe to be true can be more powerful than anything
  • What we believe changes not only our minds but our bodies too

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So, for example, if we believe something will be hard or dangerous or stressful or just plain suck…Guess what? If will be hard, dangerous, stressful and sucky…but possibly, only to us. What we believe acts like a filter, or  a pair of glasses if you will, that colors, forms, shapes our experiences.

Another example.

If we believe our experience will be overwhelming; that we’re not up for it; if we lack courage or the heart for what’s coming – we’ll suffer emotionally, mentally and physically.

BUT…

If we believe that we are capable of handling what’s coming, that we are up for it’ that we have the courage and the heart to deal with whatever is going on – then we flourish, we thrive: our bodies and our minds deal are fine. Stresses are there but it’s okay. They are there but we’re not suffering.

IN FACT…

We die less.

AND…

When we intentionally set out to do things to help others, maybe through a simple reaching out; a call, email, social media shout out; maybe just a simple smile and a wave, a compliment to a stranger; a random act of kindness; getting up and giving your seat to someone on the train or bus because they have bags or look tired and could use a break; actually going and intentionally helping others – maybe with a little volunteering or perhaps in the choice of our careers (you see how this covers the full spectrum of our possible experiences) – when we help others, we find that not only is that warm fuzzy feeling its own reward,..

BUT

We die less.

Still not sure? Check out this amazing short TED Talk, by health psychologist Kelly McGonigal.

And remember, your focus and your beliefs change your reality. What will you choose to believe today?Be like the lotus flower, no matter how challenging is the environment, it spread its fragrance and non of mud water can attach on the leaves.

Applied Practical Mindfulness and Successful Business


Stress Kills Creativity and Happiness at Work

We all want to succeed in our business. And, we want to be happy at work and feel a sense of balance between work and our personal lives. (After all, we do spend more time at work, then just about anywhere! It can kind of take over, if we’re not careful.) Sometimes we may do a lot of running around, feeling very busy but maybe not being so productive. Feeling fragmented mentally, emotionally can lead to feeling quite stressed. When we feel stressed, we can’t think straight, or be creative, happy or balanced.

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Good News: Our Stress Has an Off Switch

Anderson Cooper of 60 Minutes discovered that he was incredibly stressed but that through learning various forms of mindfulness practice he could learn to focus his mind and relax the grip all that tension and pressure had on him. He actually went without his cell phone or internet connection for an entire weekend and didn’t die. What he discovered changed his life! What I love best of all about this, is that he went in totally skeptical. He thought it sounded crazy to have all this silence! Eating, sitting and walking silently? Oh yes.

Feeling skeptical yourself? No problem.

Listen to what he had to say about the experience.

We just learn to pay attention, on purpose, to the present moment without any judgement. And that, as Robert Frost would have it, “has made all the difference.” And this kind of training can make all the difference for you at work and at home.

Talk to Your HR Department or Learning and Development People

We can help your team, your whole company, create more presence, balance and happiness with proven methods of applied practical mindfulness that will leave every feeling better and your company performing better.

Contact us for an informational interview today.

And thanks for stopping by.

Tai Chi News Flash!


I’m very excited to announce that Calm Chicago will be teaching tai chi at the American Rhythm Center again. The link for registration will be available soon, but you can pencil in your class times now. 

My tai chi classes are perfect for beginners and tai chi players of all levels. I emphasize the use of tai chi as a tool for relaxation, personal growth and stress management. Shift happens but suffering is optional! I hope you’ll join us. 

The American Rhythm Center is in the gorgeous, landmark Fine Arts Building at 410 South Michigan Ave. easily accessible for public transit and parking.

Classes start June 8 and run through August 16.

My offering in Yang 24 Form tai chi will be:

  • Tuesday evenings 5:30-6:30
  • Friday lunchtime 12-1

Drop in classes are $15 and a ten class pack is just $125!

Please share this with friends and colleagues.

Let the fourth be with you! Happy World Star Wars Day!

18-Form Qigong Video


It’s nice to practice in the garden!

Relax, focusing on sinking and spiraling. Observe your body in motion and at rest. How does it expand – contract?

Hope this can help your practice.