home to the present

Coralville, Iowa
Cessation
by Vicki L. Flaherty

my turbulent mind is tiresome.
my thoughts tedious,
tempting like a train
moving out of the station
into the countryside
and cities and towns of every size.

then, I remember to breathe.
I bring myself home to the present.
without effort the train disappears
and the luring journey ceases.
my suffering gently, rhythmically
comes to an end.

This was my experience mid-way through a meditation program – noticing my mind carrying me to all sorts of places I had no intention of going, and then finding my way to calm spaciousness by bringing myself back into the ground of my body and the movement of my breath.

without believing every word

Martiniscica, Croatia

We tend to bestow our judging mind with unquestioned power and authority, but this risks an inaccurate self-perception. Instead, listen and question, without believing every word. Take back your right to evaluate the credibility of judgments and your own self-worth. By clarifying your relationship to the judging mind, you can reclaim your power to establish a more accurate self-perception and stable sense of well-being. ~Mark Coleman

A monk asked Shito “How does one become free?”. Shito replied, “Who has bound you?” That’s the question, who binds you? Don’t look outside, look into the mind, investigate the opinionated mind. Become familiar with its opinions and judgments; then you won’t be so vulnerable to them. Our effort is to release the mind from its ordinary opinions and see revealed a new universe. Nothing binds us but the habituated mind. ~Katherine  Thanas

I saw these posts on Mindful Balance last month HERE and HERE, and they resonated with me. {Karl Duffy, I hope you know how much I enjoy your blog and all of the wisdom you capture and share there. Thank you!}

With regular practice, I learn to notice the voice that talks to me, that interprets the world for me, that makes judgments about just about everything, and that shares her stories with me. And with regular practice, I learn to discern when her ideas are truly helpful and to choose what I believe and act upon. It is a continual process of exploration and discovery. I catch myself listening to her, wanting to be in control, wanting to reach closure, wanting to be perfect, wanting more when there’s plenty…wanting, wanting, wanting. The small victory comes when I let her needs go and open to a world of possibility that she couldn’t even imagine.

in gratitude

Mex13 193.JPG

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~William Arthur Ward

We just celebrated Thanksgiving here in the United States. I love this holiday – what a beautiful act, to be thankful for all of our blessings and the vast array of ways that abundance shows up in our lives.

How often do you pause during the day to appreciate the beauty around you? Like the color of the sky on a clear day, the architecture of a barren tree, the dove huddled on the fence as the cold wind blows? Like the way your partner laughs out loud, the way your kids run with glee, the way your pet snuggles with you? Like the flow that sometimes comes when your passion and work collide, the opportunities to make a difference for others with something as simple as a smile or kind gesture? Looking for ideas about ways to increase your gratitude – you might want to check out this post featured on IBM’s recruitment blog that I wrote as part of my work in leadership development: The Goodness of Gratitude: More ways to practice mindfulness and cultivate gratitude and appreciation.

What I love most about being grateful is how it makes my heart feel different. What do you notice about how you feel when you pause in appreciation?

 

* I took this photo in San Agustinillo, Mexico.

 

Related posts you might enjoy:

50 Shades of Gratitude

With grace and gratitude

Gratitude