Awaken at work 🙏

They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears, and I am most certainly ready and willing to wake up at work. Those close to me know I am a book-a-holic and I purchased AWAKE AT WORK over a year ago, perhaps I was awakening to my need to wake up at work. Truth be told, I deeply desire to be awake in all aspects of daily living: at home, at work, in relationships, and at play. 
 
Work has always been an important part of my life and I place a high value on doing my best and making right living a top priority. No doubt this is why I am where I am today, owner of the Sacred Treehouse and co-owner of the Therapeutic Oasis. Both are committed to compassionate care and inspiring others to live according to their values. 
 
If you have interest in applying mindfulness to YOUR work, whether in a role you serve in a job or career, or one you serve at home, then I highly recommend this book as a guide to waking up to the truth and reality of life, living, and being human in our many roles. I must say it is not for everyone- but if you have a daily meditation practice and are motivated to contemplate on a slogan each day, or week, or even once a month- I believe it can be a tool to serve in awakening in a role that many of us spend a bulk of our waking hours doing for the better part of our life. 
 
Author Michael Carrol sets out teaching four primary slogans that are the basis of the practice of awakening at work and can b practiced and fruitful in and of themselves. 
 
What is a slogan? How can it help?
 
The thirty-five slogans shared by the author are adapted from the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Logong, where practitioners memorize, recite, and place reminders to allow daily events to evoke the wisdom form these slogans to be used as guidance in living more mindfully. Slogans are not instructions, but rather inspiration and an invitation to strengthen our mindfulness practice and remain open and curious to the many ways we resist reality at work and prompt us to see ourselves and our situation more clearly. 
 
There are four main slogans that are as follows:
 

  1. Balance the two efforts
  2. Be authentic
  3. Cultivate li(natural goodness).
  4. Work is a mess.

 
He then continues offering additional slogans to choose at your leisure to practice regularly, even choosing randomly, to look for ways at work it applies to you. Keeping a journal, making notecards, and even memorizing all the slogans and reciting them are ways to allow the slogans to come to you in daily life. 
 
I found the book to be a gift, at a time that I needed inspiration to dive inward at work and bring greater wisdom, compassion, and love to all those I serve and in all that I do.  

 
With Love and Gratitude,
 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
 
Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

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.

Challenge and change are connected😍

 Work is often spoken like a four letter word, as if it implies something bad, difficult, or even something one would be wise to avoid. For years I have marveled at people’s reactions to “working” and wondered how that kind of belief or interpretation was developed or conditioned.

Perhaps it is because our culture displays such a positive image of wealthy, famous people at leisure, or from the abuses suffered by so many factories or farm workers, or maybe both and even more ways I have yet to consider. Additionally, as a psychologist I understand so many people suffer with psychological limitations that get in the way of their desire or ability to work, and for that I am even more sad-yet motivated to assist in helping, inspiring others in overcoming the obstacles that impede them. 
 
Whether you have a positive relationship with work or not, there are always challenges that arise both within the individual, the environment, or the task or job itself. This week I want to offer some things to explore at work that have been incredibly helpful to me recently in examining my many “work” roles.

As the image above reads, “You cannot spell CHAlleNGE without CHANGE and this is both very true and WISE. So, an invitation to look at ways you may be experiencing a challenge at work, in work, or in a project or role. Beware, or BE AWARE that as you examine the challenge you may see the opportunity or the need for CHANGE.
 
Some challenges at work that may show up WITHIN us,
 

  1. Resistance to starting or doing something
  2. Lack of desire or motivation
  3. Lack of clarity or direction
  4. Lack of skill or ability and training
  5. Internal conflicts
  6. Emotions like fear, anger, and shame

Some challenges that may show up in the environment or situation,

  1. Lack of resources or reinforcement
  2. Lack of support
  3. Lack of time or too many demands
  4. Lack of clarity
  5. Conflicts with others
  6. Conflicts with objectives

 
This is by no means an exhaustive list, yet a place to simply start and examine any challenges you have at work, with your work, or in any of your projects that require sustained effort. Just pick one fo this exercise!
 
My personal example of “challenge” right now is a conflict with others, so applying mindfulness and bringing the attitudes of mindful living (listed in last weeks blog) has been a helpful way to examine the conflicts I am having at work, An important part of this process is shining the light within to BE AWARE. So, grab a journal or some paper/ tablet, then write out your challenge and begin this inquiry:
 
Step 1 What am I Believing? Thinking? Assuming? 
 
Step 2 What am I Saying? Doing? Feeling? Or NOT Saying?
 
Step 3 What is the problem I perceive? The threat? The danger? The goal?
 
Step 4 Dig deeper and do the work to explore all the branches that stem from the stated challenge. Take your time and resist jumping to problem solving, fixing, or avoiding. Stay with it and keep exploring with mindfulness, curiosity, and openness.
 
Step 5 Ask yourself, “What do I need to change?”  because not only can we not spell challenge without change, we also cannot overcome it without (INTERNAL) change.
 
Some, not all, the possibilities of things that I can change WITHIN include my attitude, perspective, emotions, behaviors, and even my goal. Thanks to mindfulness I am slowing down and changing my goal. I am choosing to get curious, both within myself and with others, as I approach the challenge that is before me. 
 
I hope this simple, yet powerful approach is as helpful to you as it has been for me, and I would love to hear feedback as you apply any or all of this to your challenges in everyday work/life. Email me at  drpatty@sacredtreehouse.org or join our Facebook group (above) and post your challenges, successes, and struggles in our private group. 

If you want to deepen your mindfulness practice and cultivate the attitudes for daily life, consider joining the next MBSR class starting soon or stay tuned as we continue this month on ways to bring mindfulness to work.
 
May you find peace and meaning in all you do,
 
With Love and Gratitude,
 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
 
Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

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 at work 📠☎⌚

In honor of Labor Day it seems a fitting theme of the Treehouse blog to bring mindfulness to work  this month. Yet keep in mind readers, our focus this month is not limited to the application of mindfulness to a paying job, rather it can be applied to any role you play in daily life that requires some effort, commitment, and accountability.

The definition of mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn is paying nonjudgmental attention, with intention, to the present moment. Unfortunately when it comes to work environments and culture,  many people have demands placed on them to perform in ways that are contrary to mindful attention and are set up to multi-task or have little to no control over interruptions or the pacing of the work. 

With most things it is wise to start with what we have control over and make changes there, rather than focusing on aspects of the work that is out of your control. So I would like to starts this month with a challenge to readers to spend some time examining and exploring your attitudes toward yourself, the tasks, and other people you encounter as you work.

So this means bringing curiosity to ways you may be working at a  task or interacting with others and how you can foster the attitudes of mindfulness, including yet not limited to the following:

Non-judgment
Patience,
Beginners Mind
Acceptance
Letting Go
Trust
Non-striving

Perhaps you can take one each day or one each week to focus all attention on building greater self awareness (without judgment) on your thoughts, emotions, and actions in daily life. 

Let’s use NON-JUDGMENT as an example of one attitude of mindfulness you can begin with this week. Some people they are far more judgmental of self versus others and so the focus may be on your critical self talk around tasks or interactions. Can you notice any judgments arise, like “I’m so stupid, lazy, not good enough” or some flavor of these sentiments when feeling less than in comparison to others? Comparing mind is dangerous and usually sets us up to diminish ourselves or others in some way. Oh and by the way…. judging ourselves or others in a positive light is also a judgment! So noticing when the mind generates a judgment in either direction can be a moment of mindful observing and an opportunity to let go.

So what do we replace judgment with? Just the facts! So let’s just say I did not post the blog on the usual Sunday evening, my mind may have generated judgments such as, I am  lazy, a slacker, a loser, etc., when in fact I was very busy this weekend enjoying time with family, friends, and taking a needed break from the usual daily grind. In fact, most of the blog was written and created, awaiting the final touches of real life mindfulness. The blog article went out 2 days late and my hope is that it will prompt you to shine the light of mindfulness this week at work and cultivate some of the attitudes that support a mindful approach to living, working, and being you!


With Love and Gratitude,
 
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.

August 29, 2021

I am home today … taking an online course, sitting at the dining table with my daughter as she draws pictures of strawberries and frogs. I may make a cup of tea, and if the weather holds up I might head outside to do some gardening. Sunshine, quiet connection … this is what self-care looks like for me today. 
Self-care hasn’t always looked this way, though some similar themes run through my self-care routines like a thread. As a child I was a voracious reader, and loved to play games with friends (Yahtzee!). In college I was a bit more social, and filled my bucket spending time with friends listening to music, taking road trips, and going to concerts and Florida Gator football games. In my young adulthood I discovered cooking and writing, and even wrote a small cookbook for friends and family one holiday season (which I realize now was an exercise in self-care during my very stressful dissertation process). And as I settled into my career and became a mom, activities that tend towards quiet and solitude have nourished me — quiet walks in nature, yoga, meditation and midafternoon catnaps. I believe that as we evolve, our self-care needs do too. Maybe our life circumstances, our available resources, or our physical or emotional needs change. When I hurt my shoulder a few years ago I was forced to adapt my self-care routine to accommodate for my physical pain. When I began working intensively with trauma clients, my self-care routine also evolved to stave off compassion fatigue. And when I had kids, I noticed I craved alone time in a way I hadn’t before. The last letter of our self-care mnemonic this month, the “E” in CARE, represents how important it is that we allow our self-care efforts to evolve and adapt to our ever-changing lives. By practicing mindfulness we can stay abreast of our needs as they shift, and with that awareness we can modify our self-care strategies as we see fit. It is said that change is inevitable, but growth is optional. I say take the reins of life in hand and steer towards health and ease by bringing intentional attention and curiosity to your needs regularly. And as the road of life twists and turns, maybe you need to downshift or refuel or take a different route. Allow for this flexibility in how you care for YOU, knowing that the journey IS the destination. And that with each leg of life’s trip you may need a different type of pit stop. Maybe take a moment right now and ask yourself, what nourishes me in my life today? How is that different from what used to fill my tank, and how can I make room in my day-to-day life for this new type of self-care? And let us know what you notice!
With steadfast while ever-evolving love,

Nikki and the rest of the Treehouse faculty

Click here to learn more about our upcoming classes!

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

August 22, 2021

Hello beloveds. Happy Sunday to all! And even if it is a difficult or not particularly happy Sunday, thank you for showing up for me, and for you, as hard as it may be to do. The showing up part, I mean. Showing up can be hard, even when we know it is good for us, and even when we know that it is what our hearts and minds are calling us to do. So again, thank you for showing up … for reading this … no matter what kind of day it is for you. 
  That is what I want to chat about today (as these written discourses often feel like a conversation between me and you when I write them) … how to practice self care when the going gets tough. When your body hurts. When your heart aches. When that inner critic says you don’t have the need or the time or the worthiness to slow down and make room for something that soothes you. Because no matter how clear we are on what works to fill our buckets, and no matter how much we genuinely want to hold our own hearts with loving kindness, there will be obstacles for all of us in cultivating consistent self-care practices. What are those obstacles for you?


Emotions or beliefs about the value of this activity (“I have to earn it ” or “it may not help”), about the obstacle itself (”I have to do it” or “something bad will happen if I don’t do it”) or a belief about yourself (“I don’t deserve this”). Maybe think about another option for self care that you would also like to do more of. What do you notice here, too? Do you see a pattern in the things that block you from taking care of you? 
  For example, I know I am not alone in having a belief that I don’t have the time to implement my self care strategies. I have hemmed and hawed off and on for years about not having time to exercise, practice yoga, walk in nature, and on and on. “I have to work,” I have often said. “I need to support my kids and show up for my clients … If only I had another day each week I would have the time.” The belief that I didn’t have time (short of dreaming of an eight day week, which inevitably I would probably fill with more to-do’s and lets for-me’s anyway) is actually just that — a limiting belief. Once I realized this belief wasn’t a TRUTH and was simply an OBSTACLE that I needed to remove (Hence the “R” in “CARE” — removing obstacles), I felt empowered to make some different choices about my schedule. Shifting my mindset from seeing the impossible as possible helped me to consider alternatives, ask for help and make room for the  exercise and movement my body and heart were craving. 
  In his book The Art of Being: 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life, author and speaker Dennis Merritt Jones says “In Zen, there is an old saying: The obstacle is the path. Know that a whole and happy life is not free of obstacles. Quite the contrary, a whole and happy life is riddled with obstacles-they simply become the very stepping-stones that help lift us to a new perspective. It is not what happens to us in this life that shapes us, it is how we choose to respond to what happens to us.” To his point, acknowledging that obstacles that may appear to be getting in the way of our self care are actually choice points for us to rethink, rework or reassess our current situations or beliefs into ones that work better for us. So this week, take a moment or two to reflect upon what obstacles you see as getting in the way of your self-care practices, and allow them to guide your way towards a healthier, happier and more fulfilled YOU. 
  Yours — Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
Click here to learn more about our upcoming classes!

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

August 15 – 52 Weeks of Mindfulness

“And did you get what
you wanted from this life even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.” 

-Raymond Carver  

Do you have a voice in your mind, that may or may not sound like your own, that is criticizing, judgmental and even mean? That sees the worst in your actions and your attributes? Yeah, me too. I am sure that I am not the first person to point out that that voice in our heads is meaner to us than we would ever, EVER be to someone else. Sad, but very likely true. My self-care practice of kindness and nurturing towards myself is definitely a work in progress. I am up against decades of perfectionism and self-blame, both of which are issues I have tackled in my own therapy and personal reflection exercises for many years. Because my inner critic, like yours, in reality has fundamentally good intentions (to keep us safe), and because her messages of harsh disdain and judgment I believed would help motivate me to stay on the path of success and accomplishment (lots of reinforcement for that one), encouraging her to quiet down or at least soften has been a difficult practice to cultivate. This week, as I invite you all to contemplate the “A” in CARE — which stands for affection or affectionate — maybe try something that works for me even when my harsh inner voice is powerful and strong. It was one of my first self-compassion practices, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Here’s the gist — when you realize you are you are in pain — physical, emotional, spiritual — notice that you are suffering and say quietly to yourself, or even silently in your mind “Okay … it’s okay.” Use a gentle tone, even imagine talking to yourself like you would to someone you love. You can do this combined with a physical gesture (sometimes referred to as a soothing touch) like patting or gently rubbing yourself on the heart space, or clasping your hands together. Yes it is that simple, and actually works, by responding to our own pain with attention, acceptance and affection. In his seminal book The Mindful Path to Self Compassion, Chris Germer talks about freeing ourselves from destructive thoughts and feelings, and cultivating ways to meet difficult emotions from a place of kindness and love. He has created a guidebook to self-compassion that is accessible and effective. If you like the simple practice above, and want to learn more about self-compassion, check out his book or join us at Sacred Treehouse for our next MSC course this fall. With love — Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
Click here to learn more about our upcoming classes!
Click here for The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance

August 8, 2021

“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.” Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

I can’t count the number of times I was asked by friends and loved ones what I needed when my father passed away several years ago. I didn’t know … What did I need? At that time in my life I wasn’t even sure I knew how to find out what I needed, let alone ask for or receive help. I had not yet discovered the power of mindfulness … I didn’t yet know that there is a fundamental wisdom within me, ready and waiting to be heard and heeded. 

I have had several other deeply felt losses since then … my beloved maternal grandmother, my favorite uncle … and mindfulness helped me access a deep knowing within me of how to care for myself and others during these times of grief. This knowing has also been with me during happier times, and serves as my ever-present lighthouse — piercing through the fog of busy-ness of the mind and chatter from external pressures, and illuminating the way to equanimity, acceptance and even ease. 

Patty and I, and the rest of our Sacred Treehouse faculty, often say that the practice of mindfulness is pretty simple. Easy — not so much. But with commitment and consistency you too can access your own lighthouse of wisdom, so that you can effectively care for yourself during both joyful AND challenging times. The first of the letters of our mnemonic this month, the “C” in CARE refers to “clarity”, which we cultivate through the practice of exercising the mental muscle of intentional attention. As our sixth sense of awareness sharpens we begin to see more clearly what our bodies and hearts need to function effectively in our day-to-day world. We can also more easily access the little joys that speckle the landscapes of our lives. 

Want to learn more about how to practice mindfulness and find that clarity of mind and heart? Join me in September (in person!) for our fall offering of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an evidenced-based course on the fundamentals of cultivating a mindfulness practice. You won’t regret it! In the meantime, try the below brief practice that is adapted from a Dialectical Behavior Therapy skill called “Wise Mind.” And tune into the wisdom, that lighthouse, that is already within YOU.

With Metta — Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
Listen to Wise Mind Practice Here
Click here to learn more about MBSR

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

Practice Self-Care 💛💙💜💚

I breathe in, and I know I am breathing in. I breathe out, and I know I am breathing out. Breathing … and allowing this breath … and this one … to soothe me from the inside. Noticing the rhythm of the body breathing. Nurturing, nourishing, rocking myself like a child in my own arms. Turning towards myself with tenderness, the breath softening the rough edges of stress, anxiety and pain, like water washing over stones. Finding stillness, even if just for right now, and welcoming myself back to myself. Breathing, and then asking silently in my mind: “what do you need, Nikki? What do you need right now, in this moment?” 

This is my practice. 

It has taken me a long time to cultivate this simple practice of self care — one of several I’ve added to my repertoire over the last few years. It has taken even longer to put down what I thought self care was “supposed” to be, or beliefs about what it wasn’t supposed to be I have learned that taking care of myself is simply that — taking an opportunity to show myself care. Caring for me by meeting my own needs. By listening in to the wisdom of my body and emotions. By honoring my limits. By even loving myself, if I dare. That last one took especially long to lean into, loving myself, and even still is hard when a torrent of self doubt and judgment storm though my heart. 

At retreat this past week, one of my teachers described each of us as buckets … buckets that we must keep full of love and nourishment in order to experience our lives with presence and connection.  She invited us to consider that only once our own bucket is full can we effectively care for others from the overflow. Sometimes I feel like my bucket has a hole … or several … that I am constantly plugging up in haste as I run from one task to the other. Self care can fill the holes … the holes being the things in my life that are unnecessary drains on my energy (for example for me that means saying yes when I want to say no). And self care can also fill our bucket once the holes are plugged … filling us up with love and goodness to the point that our bucket runneth over. 

This month, as the long dog days of summer are upon us, I invite you to redefine what self care means to you. Put more SELF into self care … finding the ways unique to you that fill your bucket. Here is a fun mnemonic that we will be reviewing each week this month that outlines four simple steps to discovering your own self care practice. 

C — Clarity, or the process of becoming aware of our needs based on what is in the present 
A — Affection, or tending to the garden of our hearts, minds and bodies from a place of love
R — Removing Obstacles, including filling the holes like I mentioned above or removing what may be in the way of practicing effective self care on the regular
E — and Evolve, or allowing our self care practices to be in an ongoing state of evolution as our needs change


With Metta — Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty

Walk Slowly 
by Danna Faulds

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still,
and just like that, something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection.
The harsh voice of judgment drops to a whisper and
I remember again that life isn’t a relay race; that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.
As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice to stop,
to breathe, and be,
and walk slowly into the mystery
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Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

Be still 🌳

This month I have set an intention on slowing down, to breathe, to wake up, to feel, and to just be present with all the beings around me. Everything is changing, and yet it is familiar. As. I sat outside by the pool, ALONE, it struck me how so much has changed, as our eldest daughter departed for her new adventure of creating a life in Hawaii and our youngest is heading back to college treading her own path. Being alone by the pool felt so familiar, just 23 years ago I sat there- same pool, same intention, and so much has happened and I see how things have come full circle. 

Slowing down this month has been prompted by a tiny voice inside that started to yell a bit louder in recent months. There is not enough time or energy to do all the things my mind creates and it’s OK. Although I love the ideas I have and have fun sometimes imagining them, I am acutely aware that they have become distractions or more like weights. Some of my dear ones around me will be glad I am slowing down this idea factory, or at least not chasing each one like a cat chasing a mouse. 

Many students in our Treehouse community know that Nikki and I are going on silent retreat this week and when you read this we will be several days into slowing down, cultivating stillness-not just for the purpose or intention of slowing down and nourishing our mind, body and spirit, but also for making space to wake up out of conditioning. It is in stillness, quiet, and times of retreat that I can return to the very important work of releasing the conditioning that was formed, not just in childhood but generations before. The Buddha’s teaching of the third noble truth, that we can be FREE from the suffering, means the suffering that our human experiences bring can be released It is this reason I choose to practice and make space so I can think, move, act, and become my true self. Again, those close to me are cheering me on…hoping for me to return liberated from all my shortcomings. I too wish it were that easy, yet I trust that the easy way is not THE WAY.

If you cannot get away for 7 day retreat, make your own. Start small with just one full day. Here are some tips to help you. 

10 tips form Nikki on creating a retreat at home

1.Plan in advance — give yourself time to put your retreat together and to make sure you can go into this time feeling like your to-do list isn’t going to be looming.

2.Carve out the time — put it on your calendar and do not make any other commitments.

3.Ask for help — I know this is a hard one! If you have others (humans, pets, plants) that you are responsible for, see if you can ask someone else to take the helm for the duration of your retreat. 

4.Tell the people close to you (the ones most likely to be your distractions!) — that way the will have a heads up that you won’t be available for that period of time.

5.Ask yourself what foods will be most nourishing and shop beforehand. Maybe even make a tentative menu, of course with the flexibility to make choices about what your body NEEDS and heart desires as the moment arises. 

6.Make a commitment to eliminate electronics. This isn’t a hard and fast rule — if you have children or others that you are responsible for and need to have the phone nearby for emergencies, it makes sense to check it from time to time or to have the ringer on. An intention of retreat is often ease, and if having a hard and fast rule of no electronics will add additional stress then mindfully make choices around them. That said, movies, television social media, and the like might be distractions from the reason you have decided to take retreat.

7.To that end, set an intention for your retreat and return to it again and again throughout the retreat. Use your intention as a filter through which you make decisions from moment to moment. 

8.Remember, you can’t make a mistake. If you choose silence and find yourself speaking to a neighbor on your sense and savor walk, notice it with nonjudgment and simply begin again. 

9. Select a sort of playlist on insight timer, youtube or other apps like CALM to use as you move through the day. MBSR graduates can click here: Sacred Practices that are on our website and may help you return or deepen your practice. 

10. Make a schedule that allows for sitting, movement, eating, and end the day with a gratitude practice for giving yourself the gift of presence. 

With Love and Gratitude,

Patty and Nikki The Sacred Treehouse Faculty

 Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org

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.

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm BeachesDr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

Balanced Living 👍

The theme of this month is using mindfulness to create greater balance. Originally it was going to focus on another topic all month, yet all around me I kept hearing from loved ones to slow down and I kept receiving  messages from the universe to slow down or else! I heard the warnings, and I even felt some- yet I did not head them So as nature would have it, I  piled up a bunch of consequences as I just pushed on ignoring the signs, the signals and the pleas of loved ones. 

Today when I sat in meditation I asked a simple question, “what have I been ignoring?” What arose was the instant replay of the messages I have been getting and ignoring….SLOW DOWN! 

Restoring balance to my life, my relationships, my bank account all require me to slow down. So I want to share the decision that I made today because I trust the wisdom of balance and know in my wise mind that I am far from my middle path. I gave myself permission to move through the day like a turtle, starting first with my choice of morning beverage, continuing with my breakfast, my walk, the choice of activities and so on. By mid day I had finally slowed down enough to relax fully into a day of being slow, on purpose, to reset my mind, my body, and my soul. 

You are receiving this email much later than usual because I chose to slow down and rebalance my energy today. My intention is to take a few more turtle days until I can revamp my schedule and reassign some responsibilities and redesign a life of balance.

A few questions to ponder…..

1. Am I moving to fast through my life?
2. Do I cram too much into my days?
3. Am I adding more to my to do list than I am taking off?
4. Am I occupying myself all day with busy work?

Perhaps….

1. Am I laying in bed all day convinced there is nothing worth doing?
2. Do I avoid my tasks until it is five alarm fire?
3. Do I attempt to get others to do things while I lay listlessly on the couch?
4. Do I put off living waiting to have teh energy to move?

Maybe….

You are living balanced, moving fast when you need to catch teh garbage man or slow when you empty the boiling pot. The wisdom in action of moving and living in balance can grow from our meditation practice and also requires incorporating supportive daily habits. For me, slowing down has been a lifetime of work, and I am pleased to support others in doing some inquiry this month about your current state of balance and how you can restore if needed. 

Join our facebook group and share what you discover and do not hesitate to reach out if you need support getting back to the middle. 

With love and gratitude for all those who keep nudging me,

Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
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Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm BeachesDr. 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.