Today is what matters most.

Wake up each day and realize this truth, we are truly reborn and filled with new potential and an opportunity to see with fresh eyes what is before us today. In mindfulness training we are encouraged to cultivate the attitude and ability of beginners mind. Beginners mind is a fresh way to see something, especially something so familiar and ordinary.

In formal meditation we practice awareness of the breath by opening to each breath and sensing each one as unique, different than the last 2000 breaths before. In daily life we can open to tasting our morning cup of tea or coffee with beginners mind.This simple practice can be a gateway to step out of automatic habits, challenge our conditioned beliefs, and see what is truly present in this moment. Then by truly seeing what is present and waking up out our habitual habit trance we can act in wisdom and do what matters most.

The present moment is pregnant with possibilities and is the only place to achieve true happiness, joy and contentment. When we are dwelling on the past, or focused on the future, we cannot access these possibilities. There is a time and place to reflect on the past and future, yet being truly awake and fully present is the way to act in wisdom. One of my favorite stories is retold in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book the Miracle of Mindfulness. It is the story of a king who seeks counsel from all the wisest people in his country to  get answers to important questions on how to lead his people and what the most important things he should do first.  Dissatisfied with all the answers he climbs a mountain to meet with a hermit who is believed to be a very wise man. It is there that the answers are revealed to him through his own wise action. The hermit merely recounted to the king how his ability to respond in the present moment to each person and challenge before him led to serving himself and all beings in the highest way possible.

This week I invite you to practice beginners mind by dropping labels and identifications so you can empty the mind of preconceived concepts and labels and simply observe what you see, who you are with, and even apply it to yourself. 

With love and an open heart,

Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty 

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.

Mindfulness of Beliefs

Beliefs hold a great deal of power over our actions, and in many situations our inactions. Bringing mindfulness to our beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world is necessary to live in freedom and truth. It is natural to develop beliefs that are limiting or not true, because we label our experiences in ways that create meaning. Recently, I was sharing my desire and interest in increasing my activity level and just as I said it out loud, I caught my limiting belief that was holding me back. I shared my belief, “I need to exercise in the morning.” There I spotted an old, and recurring limiting belief, that “I have to” exercise in the morning. I was holding a belief that it is better to move in the morning, and that it’s the only time I can do it and therefore I would have to sleep less to add an exercise routine back into my life. Yet that’s not true…
 
Mindfulness practice is a helpful tool to bring awareness to thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. In that moment I became aware that I had fallen into the same old belief that was formed earlier in my life. The truth is I enjoyed exercising in the morning and feeling the effects of being wide awake, alert, and sensing all the motivating neurochemicals flowing through me at work and school. However, I also recalled a time when I challenged this belief and accomplished setting up a routine that fit into my life as it is and how I felt the same benefits and enjoyment, just at a different time of day. This immediately popped the belief bubble that I was holding about exercise and I saw all the possibilities that existed. I could feel a shift and change in my attitude and motivation. 
 
I know this example may sound silly, but I was stuck in a pattern of behavior that was being maintained by an old limiting belief. Despite challenging the belief earlier in my life with great success and satisfaction, I fell back into the doubt again. The first time I overcame the belief was by doing opposite action (with support of others), I still held the belief but did the exercise in the middle of the day with co-workers. Over time this became a routine and yet it still was not enough to solidify or change this belief forever in me. Once the routine changed, I returned back to my strongly held belief that I need to exercise in the morning. 
 
So, what is different now? My hope is that seeing the beliefs that limit my actions around movement and other health-promoting behaviors will prompt me to challenge them and continue to practice opposite action if effective until the behavior turns into a habit and the false belief no longer controls my actions. 
 
How can you identify limiting beliefs?
 
Start by asking yourself a few questions:
 

  1. What am I doing that is not in alignment with my goals and values?
  2. What actions do I need to take to reach my goals or live with greater ease and purpose?
  3. What are my beliefs around these actions?
  4. What might be getting in the way?

 
As you form answers around these questions, get curious about what beliefs you may be holding about yourself, the actions required, other people, and the world. See if you can identify any limiting beliefs and if so can you challenge those beliefs with acting opposite, AKA, taking action in spite of the beliefs, and repeating the action enough times that you experience how actions can change our thinking and override limiting beliefs.If you need help, seek support through a mindfulness coach, supportive friend, or therapists. 
 
With loving and healthy intentions,

Patty and the The Sacred Treehouse Faculty

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.

Mindfulness in Daily Life

“Constantly watch over the mind as a parent watches over a child. Protect it from its own foolishness, teaching it what is right. It is correct to think that at certain times you do not have the opportunity to mediate. You must constantly make an effort to know yourself; it is as necessary as your breathing, which continues in all situations. If you do not like certain activities…and give up on them like meditation, you will never learn wakefulness.”

                                                                        -Ajahn Chah


Watching over the mind like a parent needs some extra instructions as far as I am concerned; do so as a kind, compassionate, and nonjudgmental parent, more like an ideal parent. Although I certainly know my parents intended to protect me and guide me and steer me in a direction that was “best” for me, it was from their limited perception at the time, no doubt it was filled with their very own strong emotional experiences that colored their beliefs about the world. As a Father’s Day blog post I thought it fitting to reflect on and honor the wisdom my Dad taught me and challenge the myths passed on that continue to limit me. This is mindfulness inaction and in daily life. The ability to see clearly our thoughts, perceptions, and assumptions that permeate our daily life and show up in our actions and behavior is a practice that is just as important and as fruitful as sitting meditation. 

My dad taught us to “work and save” and “never use credit cards” because credit runs faster than a horse. This was wisdom that I witnessed benefited him and our family, unfortunately not all of us followed this wisdom and had to learn the hard way. He also expressed many fears and worries as I wanted to explore the world and viewed the world as a “dangerous place” and viewed places and people that were different more as a threat and something to be conquered, controlled, or avoided. This message I found to be untrue and each time I expand my radius of exploration with places, people, or activities, I always need to challenge these anxieties and fears passed down from him. Sometimes it is difficult to discern what is imparted by him and what is my wise mind. This is my path….to uncover the truth for myself and perhaps you will also find it helpful to take some time to inquire,  and use discernment as you notice the messages left over from childhood.

What messages or teachings did my father, or father figures (stepdads, grandpas, teachers, uncles, or big brothers) share that has guided me in a direction of truth?

What messages did I hear from these figures that were limited, perhaps damaging, and what have I learned that allowed me to see the truth and challenge these myths and how does that serve me?


Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy and contemplative Fathers Day.

With love and respect,

Patty and the Sacred Treehouse faculty

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.

The Contemplative is our Teacher

‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ 


When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.”

                                                               -The Buddha


 
For over 25 years I have been using diaphragmatic breathing to reduce anxiety and release and relieve my own personal stress, so I love to share with my clients.  It has also been a helpful tool for many of my clients in psychotherapy and coaching and yet others have opted out for various reasons. Whether you are someone who already passed on breath work in the past, there is no harm in trying it out again with the attitude of beginners mind. Beginners mind makes no assumptions, holds no preconceived notions, it is a way of testing something in the present moment for its usefulness, Diaphragmatic breathing is a return to our natural belly breathing, where we are expanding our belly on the inbreathe-drawing the breath down deep and then releasing the breath by contracting the belly. This is usually done at a slow pace- in through the nose- and to slow down the exhale you can purse the lips and ….slowly ….release the breath through the mouth.  I love it! A few deep belly breaths can help reset my breathing pattern, release tension, and restore the much needed oxygen to my body.

Later in my life I began my journey to develop a meditation practice and discovered that starting with some deep belly breaths helped to center me and that using my breath as a home base for attention started to feel like a familiar and safe place.  The breath became a place I could return to and rebuild a sense of comfort and calm, even in turbulent times because I practiced deep breathing and established a strong relaxation response with repeated practice. It felt natural for me to use the breath in meditation when ever my mind or body was agitated, anxious, in pain or discomfort, and even sleepy.  The breath became a primary teacher. Now it is a tool I carry with me on the journey of life and here I share one I use in daily life-  A Five-Minute Breathing Space , which can be utilized either at the beginning of formal meditation, as a brief midday meditation, or in a moment of distress. But don’t just believe me, try it yourself and decide!
 
The Five-Minute Breathing Space (adapted from the Three-Minute Breathing Space found in The Mindful Way Through Depression) is a simple 3-step exercise to help you return to your center.
 
STEP 1. BECOMING AWARE
 
Begin by deliberately adopting an erect and dignified posture, whether you are sitting or standing.  If possible, close your eyes.  Then, brining your awareness to your inner experience, ask: What is my experience right now?

  • What thoughts are going through the mind?  As best you can, acknowledging thoughts as mental events, perhaps putting them into words.
  • What feelings are here? Turning toward any sense of emotional discomfort or unpleasant feelings, acknowledging their presence.
  • What body sensations are here right now? Perhaps quickly scanning the body to pick up any sensations of tightness or bracing.

 
STEP 2. GATHERING
 
Then redirect your attention to focus on the physical sensations of the breath breathing itself.
 
Move in close to the sense of the breath in the belly…feeling the sensations of the belly wall expanding as the breath comes in…and falling back as the breath goes out.
 
Follow the breath all the way in and all the way out, using the breathing to anchor yourself in the present.
 
STEP 3. EXPANDING
 
Now expand the field of your awareness around your breathing so that, in addition to the sensations of the breath, it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression.
 
If you become aware of any sensations of discomfort, tension, or resistance, zero in on them by breathing into them on each in-breath and breathing out from them on each out-breath as you soften and open.  If you want to, you might say to yourself on the out-breath, “It’s okay…whatever it is, it’s already here: let me feel it.”

Try it Out: The Five Minute breathing space on our website.


If you triy this out and have any comments please email me at drpatty@sacredtreehouse.com or respond on the facebook quote post.

May your breath be long, strong, and ever flowing,

Patty and the Sacred Treehouse Faculty

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.

Ahimsa: Do no harm as we act from love and compassion.

There are no words that could capture all the feelings flowing through me now. All week I have turned toward my practice, wisdom texts and beloved teachers to support my understanding and guide my actions. While I feel ill-qualified to write and speak on behalf of those who suffer injustice, it is my duty as a part of the race that has instituted and maintained systemic injustice in our country, to take more action and end my part in every way, shape and form starting here. I am a white, heterosexual, female and although I have suffered some oppression as a woman, it is not comparable in any way to my fellow citizens oppressed or mistreated  differing color, race, gender identity, sexual orientation and religion. Hatred and oppression must end. Those who can must speak up and take action and stop doing harm. Doing and saying nothing (non-action) is action, we can either be a part of the problem or the solution. 

By firmly grasping the flower of a single virtue, a person can lift the entire garland of yama and niyama.  —Swami Kripalu

I love this quote because I truly believe that when we set our intention, our direction, and all our actions toward wise living and following an ethical path we will arrive in a place that will honor all life, equally. Ahimsa,  one of the Yamas (an ethical principle of yoga taught by Pantajali), translates to do no harm.  This same principle can be found in many spiritual teachings that call us to act with NON-VIOLENCE, NON-HARMING, DO NO HARM, and THOU SHALL NOT KILL.  “If we can “firmly grasp” Ahimsa through deep understanding and through embodiment of the principle in our thoughts, words and actions, with ourselves and with all beings, if we hold this virtue as our highest goal, we will naturally be led to follow all the other ethical guidelines.  

My intention is not to preach to anyone about how to behave, rather it is to lead by example, to take responsibility and make amends for any harm or injustice I have caused others, even unintentionally. As I reflected on my own harmful actions this week, I recalled behaving from a place of anger and disgust:  I wanted so much for others to share my perceptions of protests and social activism that I used language that was violent and dividing, rather than loving and connecting. I, like many others, used a “short cut” to express my feelings using language that is harmful and negative, rather than helpful and informative. My pledge is to pause, to no longer speak until I have the self-control to express myself with love and wisdom. 

My reflection this week also showed me that I am NOT doing enough to repair and heal the injustices white people have inflicted directly on Native Americans and African Americans and the countless others who differ in any way from the people in power. I believe in equality, but what am I doing to create it and demand it? How can I keep it in the forefront of my mind without watching the news? How can I continue to nurture the seeds of love and compassion for ALL human beings, even the ignorant, so I can act from that place when confronted by inequality and injustice?

My answer, for now, arose in my practice as I contemplated the anger, the sadness, the fear, and yes, even the guilt for not doing enough. Through my daily meditation practice, I will continue to send loving kindness and compassion to all beings, and will make nonviolence – in thoughts, words and deeds – my deepest desire.

It is not my intention to divide or separate anyone, it is to unify and connect through planting seeds of love and compassion. We are open to dialogue with the community on how the Sacred Treehouse can take a more active role in ending oppression and injustice. Email me at drpatty@scaredtreehouse.org.

May you water the seeds of love for all beings,

Patty and the faculty at the Sacred Treehouse

PS: Through my quest to find ways to educate myself and act from wisdom, I came across two important articles, one is an amazing list of What white people can do for racial justice, from my teacher Jack Kornfield and another,  What white people can do with privilege, by Ruth King at IMCW. 

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.

You + Earth = BFFS: Being Mindful of Our One & Only Planet

” When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of LIFE itself.” – Eckhart Tolle


It starts with the little things… a cliche phrase used to express appreciation of life, “it’s the little things”, but it’s true in many aspects that these little things cascade to create a life much bigger than all the little things combined. Your everyday actions and mindset has a ripple effect on the people in your community and across the globe, along with the planet.

I believe my journey started as a little girl with a deep love for animals; I loved dogs and horses and big cats! I would have been happy to give up my normal human life to go live in the wild alongside such beautiful creatures. I believe most kids have an innate understanding to care for the planet and it’s creatures, but we get detached from nature as we grow older and are taught to prioritize other things. That doesn’t mean the connection is lost forever.

Now we are young adults, parents, brothers, sisters, community leaders and we have the ability to build the life we want through small actions and mindset shifts that are crucial for this journey.

“But, Lizzie I don’t know where to start!?”

I would say it’s different for everyone, based on where you are at on your journey and how passionate you are towards creating your best life. But I can give some suggestions based on my experience. 

Start with these:

  • Commit to using a Reusable Water Bottle
  • Put more plants than animal products on your plate #MeatlessMonday
  • Care for a few potted plants (basil, rosemary, mint are easy) this is truly a mindfulness practice
  • Read one of these books
  • Eat a meal outside without technology

If you feel called to explore deeper, play with these:

  • Build a compost, use it for a garden or potted plants
  • Eat one plant-based meal a day
  • Incorporate mindfulness into daily life: remain in the present moment while cooking, cleaning, eating or showering 
  • Find movement that you love: weights, yoga, kickboxing, dance, surfing etc.

As you start to care for your health, your body and mind will crave more of the stuff that nourishes you. When you think about what you’re consuming (food & media) you are being mindful and this awareness allows you to have greater control over your life. You choose what you consume, how empowering is that!! 

I am a huge proponent of connecting the mind, body, & spirit because when they are aligned with what you love you become unshakeable, even amongst the chaos and grief that life brings, you understand that it is just part of life.

Some final thoughts on where to start:

  • Invest in Yourself: whether that’s committing to a 6 month coaching program to help yourself or your business grow, buying only organic produce, planning a healing vacation, signing up for a retreat, etc.
  • Join a like-minded Community whether it be virtual or in person or both, community is an essential part of the human experience
  • Dedicate 5-15 minutes a day to just Breathe with yourself, feel all the feelings and allow any emotions to arise
  • Take a Leap of Faith: quit your job, move to another state, tell that someone I Love You, you’ll know best what your leap is
  • Share your journey on social media, your voice is so powerful, inspire others by tagging @unlitter #unlitteryour___

These are all ideas, take them as you will to create your own amazing fulfilling life! They may be biased by my own experiences, yet I believe everyone can take away something. Whether you take the message, “daily actions culminate into more than just your life story but affect the people and planet you interact with”, or you decide to try out an action I described above like composting!  

I want to tell you that it doesn’t matter where you are starting from or how much time you decide to dedicate, it only matters that You Believe In Yourself Enough To START!

What inspires you?

What do you love doing?

How can you care for yourself?

Sharing your commitment is a way to keep yourself accountable (don’t we all need that haha) so tell a friend, journal about it, make a social media post, do whatever you feel will push you and support you on this journey.  Starting MBSR this week at the Treehouse to deepen my mindfulness practice and continue the journey! May we meet along the way……

With love,

Lizzie Shutt 

@livewliz
www.Lizzieshutt.com

Follow my blog “Consciously Connecting” for travel stories, lessons from nature’s wisdom, and plant-based recipes. 

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Shutt is a student at the University of Florida.  She is passionate about all things green and currently participates in many forms of environmental advocacy, including the #Unlitter movement.  When she isn’t hitting the books, she enjoys cooking plant-based cuisine, composting, and surfing

The Path and Practice That Leads to Freedom

This excerpt from the Dhammapada, a collection of direct teachings from the Buddha, encourages us to train our minds to be free from likes and dislikes.  Why does the Buddha recommend that we consciously practice non-attachment to personal preferences?
 
By reducing attachments, we set ourselves free.  This path of freedom leads to a deep feelings of peace.  Just like with any training program, there is great effort and sacrifice, along with some pain and discomfort.  This path requires daily practice, often starting with small steps to build confidence and strength. We can start with simple things that bring us pleasure, committing to limiting or eliminating their presence in our daily life.  A few examples are:

  • TV
  • Social Media or other forms of electronic entertainment
  • Alcohol
  • Shopping
  • Ice cream 

Remember to do this with the spirit of training the mind, rather than deprivation or punishment.  When we follow this practice, we begin to reduce the craving/wanting aspect of our minds. Likewise, this can also be done with tasks that are unpleasant and that we choose to avoid. In this case, we move toward those things and bare the discomfort that is often short lived. Again, it is recommended that we start small:

  • Picking up the phone when a difficult person is calling or making a difficult call
  • Doing the dishes before going to bed
  • Folding the laundry and putting it away
  • Budgeting or paying bills

This practice requires the spirit of care and wisdom.  It is important to choose things that are helpful, not harmful.  By working on transcending our likes and dislikes, we set an intention to build our own inner strength and wisdom. As the Buddha teaches, “all fetters will fade away”, helping to empower and build confidence when we face the unpleasant aspects of life head on.

Warning: do not use this as a way to control eating for the purpose of “dieting,” as that just becomes another attachment or desire. The purpose of training the mind and detachment  is to cultivate acting with “true freedom” without craving or aversion. When it comes to food, as well as other substances it can be an extreme challenge, so start small and build awareness around the cravings or aversions. You do not take up mountain climbing and one week later climb Mount Everest, right? I certainly hope not and just like Everest, when it comes to training the mind around BIG cravings and aversion, it is wise to have a trusted guide. 

During this pandemic you may have seen yourself return to habits that have offered immediate soothing or comfort and have now taken ahold of you. Under extreme stress we can often seek out things that offer immediate relief, however they quickly can take ahold of you and lead to more craving and eventually you fall under its control. If this sound familiar, simply take this guide as a first STEP.

S   Step back (meaning pause) 

T.   Take notice without judgment of the behavior around cravings or aversions.

E.   Enlist help from others or return to your previous training, tools and practices that work. 

P.    Proceed with confidence that you are not alone and that even when the path is rocky, unstable, and even treacherous, that the inner resources your practice has cultivated will be there to support you (and we will too!) 


Need Training? or some brushing up on skills? Join Dr. Davis and Dr. Shutt next month for virtual MBSR. Register here online!

With encouragement and unending support,

Patty and the Treehouse Faculty (aka Guides)

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.

Honoring the feminine in all beings 🌺

Coming into contact with the Mother is coming into contact with a force of passionate and active compassion in every area and dimension of life, a force that longs to be invoked by us to help transform all the existing conditions of life on earth so that they can mirror ever more clearly and accurately her law, her justice, and her love.
 

By Andrew Harvey
 
 
If only you could hear Andrew Harvey speak about the return of the sacred feminine and the awakening of the fierce feminine (AKA FIERCE COMPASSION) that he and others believe holds the key to the transformation in humanity. I found it fitting with Mother’s Day today, to honor the Sacred Feminine, in all beings (male or female) even within ourselves. There are many gifts that come from connecting to the sacred feminine and one that can be uncovered and nurtured through mindfulness. It is deeply needed in our world, namely “discernment”, the ability to hear different points of view and act from a place of wisdom, rather than defensiveness. Discernment is desperately needed today, to find solutions to epic crises, both within and across nations that are grounded in fear and violence among people, nations, and the earth itself. Discernment reminds me of Wise Mind, and I think Harvey postulates that this discernment also lies deep within and must be awakened. In DBT we teach that Wise Mind exists in each one of us, but often is covered up or clouded by judgments, strong emotions, and cultural and familial conditioning. This ability to know TRUTH, speak TRUTH, and live in TRUTH can be witnessed when the Fierce Compassion of the Feminine, combined with the power of the masculine, is awakened and liberates us to be our authentic self. Sounds amazing and inspiring when Harvey speaks, yet in everyday life can be scary and threatening because of the embedded social conditioning of males and females to live according to the belief that a male or female should think, believe, and act from a gender specific stereotyped way. 
 
This conditioning starts as soon as a baby is identified as male or female in our culture. We experience both the subtle and overt shaping of stereotypical norms via reinforcement of expected behaviors and punishment of anything displayed that conflicts with anything that does not align with the social, cultural, and religious expectations. Yet within all beings there are both feminine and masculine qualities and energies that when fostered and combined lead to acting from a deeply wise place and result in the kind of discernment necessary for transforming us from a world of fear and separation to a world of love and connection. Revolutionary? – Hell yes! Please note this awakening is just as important for men as it is for women. It is equally imperative for men to awaken the feminine that has been disallowed and left men imbalanced with only aggression and power as their source of strength as it is for women to honor their feminine and awaken their masculine energies.
 
This week loin us in honoring the feminine in all beings, including ourselves.
 
Sit quiet for a few minutes in meditation, long enough to settle the mind and body or use a moving meditation to settle and then rest in awareness of your breath.
 
When you feel centered, connect with the place you sense your wisdom or truth arising from (some find the heart/chest, and others find the belly) a space you can sense the truth. 
 
Placing a hand on that part of the body, take a few moments to honor the sacred feminine that lives within. Connecting with the aspects of your nature that are nurturing, loving, passionate, and playful. The softer part of you, the part that feels a desire to help the crying baby, an injured animal, or a group of people suffering devastating loss. Perhaps recalling when you were loved and cared for by another being, perhaps a mother or father, a caregiver, a grandparent, a friend, or even a spiritual teacher or therapist. Honoring the feminine qualities of love, nurturing, and compassion transmitted toward you and if you can sense and feel the sensation of being cared about, allowing some time to savor and appreciate it. 
 
Practice patience and understanding if this feeling does not arise, if instead there is pain, loss, or sadness that arises. This is perfectly natural and simply reveals the part of you that longs to receive the love and nurturing or is missing a loved one who has passed or is far away. Take some time to offer self-compassion and care toward yourself via a self-compassion break. This will awaken the feminine that lives with in you.
 
If instead you experience anger, fear or judgment, no worries- this is perfectly normal as well and represents the masculine part of you awakening to protect from any potential painful emotions and unmet needs that still exists deep inside. Practice patience and understanding that it can be scary and threatening to open up to any painful, hidden emotions or unmet needs. Take a moment to name what you are experiencing, take a few deep cleansing breaths, and then move on to another activity for now. 
 
Overcoming the conditioning in our culture is not easy, and certainly is not attained quickly. This may be one of the essential tasks in life, to uncover the lost parts of our self and become whole. All of our offerings at the Sacred Treehouse cultivate wise mind living, through practices of mindfulness and self compassion. Keep following us on FACEBOOK.
 
May all beings everywhere honor Mother Earth, and the feminine life-giving nature that lives within all of us. 
 
Happy Mother’s Day! With love,
 
Patty and the Sacred Treehouse Faculty

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.

Accepting what is, we find it is perfect.

Lizzie:

I wanted to create my own retreat day at home and invited my mom to join, although many things emerged that challenged myintention. 

I awoke and practiced yoga outside, but I could hear my dad talking inside. The atmosphere was not the most peaceful. I decided to put on some music, that helped. Then my puppy Riley wanted to join, I accepted her love and loved her back and she went on her way. Sometimes you just need to give a little attention to an issue to resolve it.

As I started to enjoy breakfast and ginger tea, the modern pop music Big Bootie Mix started blaring from the outside speaker while my sister Tori practiced her Kickboxing… not a silent meal. Yet, I could still make it mindful by accepting my state of being and noticing what feelings and thoughts came up. By not remaining “attached” to my ideal “retreat day,”  it unfolded into a fun, relaxing, and wholesome day that included my family, along with tanning, reading, gardening, an@expandedpodcastDRE, and an overall sense of admiration for this beautiful world and all it’s beings. 

During my yoga practice, the flower used for the quote was opening, and each time I looked at it, it opened more #natureisamazing. I noticed the obstacles and turned them into a practice. The very  reason I practice mindfulness, meditation, and self reflection is to observe my reactions when I am interacting in the world, in order to remain in that state of BEING regardless of whatever life throws at me. I could have attached to the obstacles and become upset, frustrated or had given up,  but I chose to see a far bigger lesson, one of  ACCEPTANCE. 

Insta: @livewithliz or subscribe to Lizzieshutt.com 

Patty:

I was looking forward to spending a full day on retreat with Lizzie, so when our plans changed and the wish did not manifest, I let go completely until Lizzie invited me to join her on a half day home retreat. I really needed to give myself permission to do “NOTHING,” meaning nothing around the house or work related. I needed to check out and check in to regain my center. I decided to let go and allow myself to be inspired by Lizzie and led intuitively by what felt right in each moment. 

Just like Lizzie, I was confronted with the interruption of dogs barking, the doorbell ringing, and Tori playing her big booty mix while splashing in the pool. We repeatedly invited Tori to join – she lasted all of 20 minutes and left rolling her eyes at us. We both continued on… silently moving through the day. In the end, we sat reflecting with one another and sharing our experience and insights.  We both discovered that we  made a definitive choice to stay in the practice and allow whatever to arise – letting life be our practice. 

By allowing and not giving up or running away to a quieter place, we were truly able to take refuge in the moment, in awareness itself. Both of us discovered the sense of freedom and joy that was available to us right here, right now. 

First I allowed myself the time and space, and gave permission to put aside the to do list. Then, as the obstacles to the peaceful retreat emerged, an opportunity arose to detach and let go of the PLAN, which allowed us toaccept what unfolded. It was by far the loudest retreat I have ever experienced, packed full of opportunities to let go- let go- let go. In the end all that was left was LOVE, GRATITUDE, and JOY. 

Lizzie and I both hope to inspire others to let go, allow, accept and detach, because we trust that what you will discover in the end is an INNER PEACE of LOVE. 

With love and gratitude,

Lizzie and Patty and all  the Sacred Treehouse faculty

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.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Shutt is a student at the University of Florida.  She is passionate about all things green and currently participates in many forms of environmental advocacy, including summer intern and volunteer with WiseTribe and the #Unlitter movement.  When she isn’t hitting the books, she enjoys cooking plant-based cuisine, composting, and surfing.

Silver lining confessions from an introvert.

Confessions of an Introvert: The Gifts of Coronavirus

“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
― Richard Attenborough

 
 
So… I must stay home??  
 
As an introvert, I can’t figure out how this could be bad. I’m fortunate to have a career that allows working from home, but always felt a twinge of guilt executing the option.  Should I be at the office, networking, socializing – like everyone else?  Introverts are energized by solitude and now, suddenly the world wants me to be alone!  Do I have enough yoga pants? Will my book list get some attention?  What will happen to my voice after 48 hours without conversation?
 
While I initially looked forward to the “New Normal”, something entirely different has manifested. This was not the introvert paradise I imagined.  After 30 days of social distancing, I recognized a profound change. Little gifts appeared daily. Here are some silver linings I have discovered:
 

  • Gratitude for the Moment
    Death is inevitable. To die alone is terrifying. Is a stealthy virus hiding in the smiling faces of people you know? Yikes! My parents and significant other are vulnerable. Will our next kiss kill my boyfriend? I fear for what tomorrow brings; yet, here we are, safe in this moment. I am healthy and my important people are safe and healthy, too. I am thankful.
     
  • Change = Opportunity
    Opportunities to change can only happen where we make the space for it.  For months I’ve struggled to add some healthier habits into my daily life, yet I was entrenched in a rut reinforced by decades of indifference.  Suddenly my old routine is irrelevant.  Everything is new, and adding in a positive change is just as easy as trying to retrofit a bad habit.  
     
  • Family doesn’t just happen. 
    Family relationships are under the spotlight. I wanted to believe being at home with my children would bring us closer together, but it did not.  Time was not keeping us apart, it was effort. My children are introverts, so their natural routine includes more alone time.  Having time available did not mean they were ready to jump out of their rooms and play Scrabble with me.  I needed to make the move for us to connect. My effort is the key.  
     
  • Everyone in our community is ‘Essential’.
    Introverts often exercise the “I don’t need anyone” option. Now I have a better view of our “interconnectedness.”  Medical professionals are taking huge risks to help others live.  Closed restaurants are feeding the unemployed and teenagers are bringing groceries to their elderly neighbors. From the delivery driver to the warehouse worker to the people who make toilet paper, every person is important and their contributions are all essential to our community.
     
  • Time is a measurement, not an authority figure.  
    Last month, my life was dictated by the clock.  It’s time to wake up, time to go to work, time to make dinner. In the New Normal, time no longer wardens me. I can still have a schedule, but now it’s based on “what” I need to do and not “when” it needs to be done. I wake when I’m rested, work when inspired, and eat when hungry (or when my children “remind” me for the third time!)  Adjusting my schedule to my natural energy levels has made me much more productive. 
     
  • United, we are strong.
    Nothing unites us like a common enemy. Covid-19 has no political preference, nor is it partial to any one nation.  It is the disease versus all humanity.  We are all in this together, and we must join together to survive.   
     
  • really do like people.  
    There, I said it. Introverts do have friends and after 30 days apart, I miss being with them. Not just communicating, but actually experiencing them.  I miss their energy, warmth and touch.  I have a deeper appreciation for all my relationships.

 
Coronavirus did not bring these gifts into my life, they always existed. The pandemic pushed me to open my eyes to find my way along this new path and as a result I can see all that is before me.  Sometimes fear narrows our focus so that we only see the tragedy.  But the light is always there.  When we can bring all into perspective, our suffering will ease ever so slightly, and our happiness will be that much more precious. 
 
May you and your loved ones be as healthy as possible, and may you be open to the many gifts hidden in this struggle.
 
 Lisa Ladomer, A Founding Treehugger at Sacred Treehouse
She put the Sacred in Sacred Treehouse and still does!

Lisa Ladomer has been Dr. Shutt’s right hand during the creation of the Sacred Treehouse and has guided her through the many changes and challenges over the past 11 years. Lisa is a small business strategist who specializes in operating strategies, accounting, technology integration, budgeting, communication, and streamlining business operations.  In 2013 she joined Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches, where she currently serves as the Practice Manager.  Lisa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Professional Accounting from the University of Michigan and studied Public Communication at Florida Atlantic University.  She is also a founding board member for HEArt (Healing Through Expressive Arts).

When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her three children and hitting the pickleball court.  A self-proclaimed cat aficionado, she can be found snuggling with her Nebelung cat.