Mindfulness

Week 6/Mindfulness of Deep Listening

Mindful Thought

Oneness is each of you moving in rhythm with one another; yet avoiding the propensity to overlap, block, or trip into each other. We look for the harmony of oneness to belt out of our relationships, wanting it to move us – like a duet in minor key.
 
Oneness, unity, connectedness, cohesion, negotiation, compromise, complementary, community. This “thing” connection is something to work at. You can’t google it. We create it only by digging into each other’s core. This magic takes root when we are curious. When we are quiet. When we are listening to each other.
 

Reflective Journaling

Describe effective and ineffective couples communication. Describe how you tend to communicate when under stress and how it serves (or does not serve) your relationship goals. 

Deep Listening Practice: Listen Lovingly 

This is a guided heart meditation that is great to practice with your partner or a friend. 1. Make a nice, soft space (on a solid surface) with two meditation cushions. Sit comfortably, facing each other. Your distance will be quite near, but without touching each other.

2. To begin to listen lovingly, start centering and settling in.  It is at this point that you may attend to your heart and breath. Your eyes may gaze softly at your partner or remain closed. You may find it helpful to focus on a phrase such as “I am breathing in, I am breathing out” while placing your hands on your heart center. Take as much time as you would like here with your partner.  

3. When ready, open your eyes and look lovingly at your partner. When the both of you have your eyes open, looking lovingly at your partner and ask, “Tell me something that you love?” The respondent will then ask the same question to their partner. An example would be:

Partner 1: Tell me something you love?

Partner 2: Our dog

Partner 2: Tell me something you love?

Partner 1: The beach at sunrise.

Partners will continue a rhythm of communication in this way. 

4. To complete this mediation, you may return attention to your breath and heart. I encourage you to discuss your felt experience with your partner and to share gratitude with your partner for sharing in this experience.

As Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, “…in deep listening, we listen with the sole purpose of helping the other person feel heard and accepted.”  May you continue to open your hearts and listen deeply to those that you cherish.

Clara Bossie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches In collaboration with Sacred Treehouse, Clara has developed a series of lectures, book studies and workshops designed to bring harmony to family life, including the popular True Love book study. When she is not busy creating, Clara also practices and teaches yoga.  

Week Four/The Power of Passage Meditation in Cultivating Self-Awareness

All of us want peace of mind, but many of us search outside of ourselves.  We hope that external circumstances, conditions or even other people will bring us that desired feeling of peace. Instead, I invite you to consider the following passage:

This passage gently points us inwards. I find it reassuring that we do not need to rely on another person’s behavior or wait for ideal conditions to attain peace of mind.  By directing our attention inwards and practicing mindfulness, we develop self- awareness.  This self-awareness helps us discern important truths.  When we look inwards, we are able to see more clearly the inner workings of our mind.  Through this process of self-discovery, we may also notice how we contribute to our own pain and suffering.
 
One way to facilitate this inner journey is by participating in passage meditation.  This specific form of meditation can help quiet the mind and build self-awareness.  The practice is straightforward:
 
(1) Pick an inspirational passage and commit it to memory.  Make sure your passage is positive and uplifting.
 
(2) Find a comfortable position to practice the meditation.  You may sit on a cushion, chair or the floor.
 
(3) Recite the passage – focusing on each word.  When the mind wanders (and it will!) gently bring your focus back to the passage.
 
(4) Repeat the passage for the entirety of the meditation.  Try practicing for 10 minutes each day.


Passage meditation has helped me to pause and notice the habit of finding fault with others. Without judgment, I bring a shared awareness of humanity. There is no you and I, there is just we… and we are all the same.
 
This week, try incorporating passage meditation into your daily life. Take notice of what annoys you or times where you are finding fault with others. Pause and note what it is you are believing or saying in your mind. How do your thoughts influence your state of mind? Be honest and gentle – this human experience is fraught with challenges.

May you look at yourself through eyes of love and compassion.

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches.  Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Week Three/Inviting Body Awareness Into Your Life

Have you made a resolution yet about your body? 

Most people do at the start of a new year.  We have a picture of what we think our bodies should or should not look like.  We then make a decision to push our bodies in that direction.  This course of action is held for a short time and eventually fades away.  We beat ourselves up and feel defeated for not “meeting our goal.” 
 
What if this year you actually turned towards your body? 
 
Imagine making a decision to treat your body with more respect, care and appreciation. What if you gave up the belief that it works to make negative comments about your body?  Can you see that moving towards the body helps you create a relationship with the body? Our bodies are not the enemy. Each body is unique.  The shape, size and condition are all reflections of a variety of factors: genetics, age, circumstances and care.  No relationship works if one half constantly criticizes the other.  This year, I invite you to try a different resolution:

 I want a positive relationship with my body.
Anni Johnston, LMHC-S, BC-D/MT, CEDS, CYT works at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Movement Therapist.  In addition to her therapy work, Anni offers weekly Beginner and Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse.  She also offers book studies and special workshops throughout the year.

Week Two/Discover the Pleasures of Mindful Eating

“Whether you eat alone or with other people, eating is a time to connect with your body and nourish it, especially through regular meals.”
 
Intuitive Eating Workbook, Evelyn Tribole and & Elyse Resch

 
Eating is a sacred practice. By incorporating mindfulness and creating time and space, the daily habit of eating can be transformed into a spiritual practice. The benefits of mindful eating are numerous.  When we lovingly bring attention to when, what, and how much we eat, we are able to experience true nourishment.  Mindful eating leads to a greater enjoyment of food and a deeper connection to the universe.
 
Here are some tips for how to incorporate mindful eating into your life:

  • Dine in an uncluttered space.  Use a beautiful place setting and sit down to eat.
  • Before starting your meal, take a few cleansing breathes, intentionally bringing mindfulness to the meal or snack.
  • You may also pause to bring gratitude for the food, recognizing all of the effort required to grow and prepare the food included in your meal.
  • Take time to smell, taste, and feel each bite of food. Pause in-between bites by placing utensils or hand held food down, taking a deep breath.
  • You may note any changes in feelings or energy at the conclusion of the meal.
  • Clean your space and pause again in gratitude before moving on with your day.

Recommended Reading:

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating Workbook

Body Kindness

How to Eat

Week One/Be The Change: Using Mindfulness to Create Positive Change

Gandhi demonstrated through his own loving actions that it is possible to BE THE CHANGE, although it requires great effort, sacrifice, dedication and unyielding faith. Last year was filled with constant worry, negativity and complaining.  Compounded with global and environmental concerns, it is abundantly clear that we have a collective responsibility to resist negativity and take actions to create positive change – the change which Gandhi himself created and inspired in others through love and peace.
 
The New Year is a time where we often find ourselves setting goals and resolutions – often outwardly focused, financial or materialistic.  The reality is that we live in a world that desperately needs positive change.  Use the following mindfulness exercise to initiate change in your own world:

  1. Consider Gandhi’s quote, taking the time to reflect on each word.  Notice anything that arises that is deeply important to you.
  2. Write down the things that are important to you, or areas where change is necessary or beneficial.  Are these identified areas of in alignment with your own values?
  3. Get clear!  If you find yourself motivated to “be the change”, find ways to incorporate your own personal values with the changes you wish to see.  It might be helpful to set an intention.  Be clear about how you would like the world to look, feel, and function.
  4. How do you live each day?  What small steps can you take to initiate change in a mindful and compassionate way?
  5. Change is contagious.  Humans experience behaviors as infectious and can rarely resist being infected when consistently exposed to a new belief or action.  Spread goodness everywhere you go!

It is natural to find ourselves more compassionate and kind to those that are easy to love.  It takes discipline and mindfulness to notice our reactions to individuals who possess different values, temperament or even physical abilities.  By bringing awareness to our own judgments and thoughts, we acknowledge the human condition and choose to turn toward positive change in alignment with our own values.
 
I have included links to help you identify your own values.  Remember, setting an intention is like planting a seed: it requires daily attention for it to grow.  Through meditation, reflection, and loving action, you will soon “be the change”.

Sacred Treehouse Introduces “52 Weeks of Mindfulness”

A successful and meaningful life starts with self-awareness, a commitment to living according to your values, and a consistent practice of setting intentions in multiple areas of your life.

Beginning in 2019, Sacred Treehouse will deliver 52 weeks of weekly inspiration –straight to your inbox -every Sunday evening.  Each week will include mindful living inspiration in these seven areas of daily life:

We encourage you to reflect on each week’s message, setting an intention that is in alignment with your goals and ultimately deepening self-awareness.

Some general guidelines to follow when using the weekly tips:

  • Read each quote or passage and pause, allowing the words and images to give rise to any personal meaning.
  • Consider keeping a companion mindfulness journal.  Journal with simple bullet points or a complete journal entry after you take time to pause and reflect. 
  • If a particular quote or prompt is unwise or conflicts with your personal goals, simply note it and return to a previous week for further practice and reflection. 

It is also helpful to note that the definition for mindful living means moment to moment awareness without judgment, noting what is wise and supportive of living according to your core values.  You may find it helpful to explore some core values to use as guidepost for weekly practice.

We hope you enjoy this mindfulness journey. If you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback, feel free to email us.

We wish you a happy, healthy, and mindful New Year!

Meet Kathy Ornish, C-IAYT

Yoga Therapist & Teacher Kathy Ornish, c-IAYT
Pairs With Sacred Treehouse to Offer Meditation Workshop

Sacred Treehouse is pleased to announce that guest moderator Kathy Ornish, c-IAYT, will host “Introduction to Meditation”, beginning in late November.  This workshop is ideal for those curious about meditation or for anyone looking to strengthen their practice.  Through this dynamic and interactive workshop, participants will learn how to create a comfortable seated pose; practice systemic relaxation to focus and relax the mind; discover the five basic steps of meditation; learn how to use a mantra; and develop an understanding of our relationship to silence.

Classes will be held on Mondays, 10:00-11:30 a.m., starting November 27th and Wednesdays, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., beginning November 29th.  More information is available at sacredtreehouse.org.

About Kathy Ornish, c-IAYT:

 

Kathy Ornish is a certified yoga therapist and teacher through the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI), where she is a faculty member for the Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching and Yoga Therapy.  She is also a certified ParaYoga teacher, as well as a consultant at the Preventative Medicine Research Institute in California.  K.O. is Owner and Director at Good Space Yoga in East Lansing, Michigan, where she has a yoga therapy practice and teaches group classes.  Her primary emphasis is on teaching the breadth of the yoga tradition using the appropriate application of its many tools to help people realize their highest potential.  She is excited to share her passion for mindfulness with the Sacred Treehouse community.

Post-Election Thoughts: Refraining from Judgment

Contributor: Madelyn D.

The U.S. presidential election is over, and now we find ourselves reflecting on the process our nation has endured this year. It can be tempting to form judgments about people whose political views are different from ours. Whether our candidate won or lost, we may be feeling disillusioned about our fellow Americans after this contentious ordeal.

I was born and raised in a kind of political bubble, surrounded by people who mostly agreed on a set of accepted views. Then I moved away from my hometown, and I found myself in a place that was culturally different from what I’d known. Eventually, I married a man whose family believed– and voted– in ways that were polar opposites to my own choices.

Yet, my in-laws have accepted, loved, and supported me for two decades. They welcomed me into the family with open arms, even though I am so different from them. Religiously, politically, and personally, it would seem we have nothing in common. But if I were to focus only on these differences, I would miss the deeper similarities we share.

My in-laws and I share an important set of core values. When I look deeply into their reasons for voting and believing as they do, I see these values operating. They care about protecting their families and innocent children. They care about the safety and freedom of our country. They want to see economic prosperity for Americans, and they hope to live in a kinder world. They believe in charity and lending help to those around them.

I may not agree that their voting choices will support the values we share. I have my own opinions about what policies would best serve our common goals. Still, I have respect for the people I’ve come to love so well.

Amid all the name-calling and shaming, it can be nearly impossible to have a productive conversation between people with different views. My relatives are not racists or misogynists, and they are deeply offended when people apply those ugly labels. How can they hear anyone’s opinions when they’re being belittled that way? How can any of us keep an open mind, when we’re being judged and attacked?

If I spend my energy judging others, I create suffering for myself. I choose to focus, instead, on the common values most of us share, deep down. We all want to be free, happy, safe, and prosperous. If we remember this truth, we can disagree respectfully and hear each other more clearly, We can use our power and our voices to make things better.

Because I’ve learned from loving people who think so differently, I choose to trust in the basic goodness of my neighbor. I believe that’s the way forward for all of us.