Give from the Heart

Giving material goods is one form of generosity, but one can extend an attitude of generosity into all one’s behavior. Being kind, attentive and honest in dealing with others, offering praise where it is due, giving comfort and advice where they are needed, and simply sharing one’s time with someone – all these are forms of generosity, and they do not require any particular level of material wealth.
                                     
                                      – His Holiness the Dalai Lama



Generosity is one of the core attitudes cultivated through mindfulness training and can be found in many spiritual and ethical teachings. We can practice generosity, just like we train in mindfulness and it can be a conditioned part of being in community or family life. Bringing awareness to others and their needs, even establishing habits of extending your time, patience, attention, effort, and even material goods to benefit others are all ways of extending generosity. For me this was part of the fabric of my family and therefore one of the values and habits planted in early life that I continue to nurture in all aspects of my life. I feel blessed and honored to be a “Wise Triber” and participate in all the programs they have created to build a wiser, more sustainable world. The photo used with the quote above was one of the most exhilarating and joyful days of this pandemic. Lizzie and I set out to volunteer our time and muscles to sort and deliver food to families in need. In the blazing hot sun, we worked with the most amazing volunteers, a handful of fellow wise tribers, who moved about the task as if it was a well-orchestrated musical. In fact as I recall, I felt as if I was in some magical land and I left feeling a high that can only come from the energy of pure love and bliss. This is the feeling I get when I am extending pure generosity.

 In July, the Sacred Treehouse and the Therapeutic Oasis, partnered with Wise Tribe, a community of change makers, who responded to the needs of our community during COVID 19 with a FEED 40 program, to collect food and money to fund the families in need. The response was astounding from from our building neighbors in both locations,  our employees, clients, friends, and families who have all pitched in to extend with generosity what then can afford. Many offered to help deliver and even funded an entire family for a month. We decided to extend  this drive,  as the need for funding continues and we hope that others join us in this effort or simply wake up to offer what you have to people, animals, and the planet.

Just like the hungry, there are many more in our community who need emotional support, to feel loved and connected. There are endless ways to give from the heart, not because you have to, you think it looks good, or you want to please someone, but because you care. I used to thank the program coordinators at an Alzheimers day program every time I left my volunteer shift, because I left with an overflowing feeling of love and joy. True generosity works like that, when you give from the heart you get tenfold in the heart. 

I have also found generosity to be a natural consequence of deepening mindfulness practice With practice, there is a natural process of letting go; releasing selfish desires, cravings, and even fears. With these internal changes, the heart and mind naturally opens and is free to recognize and respond to the needs of others. When one is caught up in their own striving, and fixated on meeting just their own desires, they lack awareness, they do not know that a lack of generosity will become a trap. They are not conscious. They do not know. 

May all beings be safe, healthy, loved and free.
May all being be generous in thoughts, words, and deeds.
May all beings be truly happy. 

Last day to donate food items at Oasis in Boca Thursday August 6th. Last day to lend a hand or donate funds….NEVER!
Become a wise triber…#1000wisetribers

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.

Be present…then you are a gift!

As I struggled to make a decision today to stay home and work on this blog and other work-related tasks or to venture out with my family for a day of boating, I was reminded of this quote by the Buddha:
 
Be where you are, otherwise you will miss your life.
 
Then without dwelling on the tasks, I rallied when the Captain came in to announce the departure. I gathered my towel and water and jumped aboard the already revved up boat with the intention to savor the precious people, the dogs, the breeze, and the sun. Taking it all in with deep gratitude and a dose of forgiveness and self-compassion that the blog would arrive later than usual.

Truth be told- I can be hard on myself and I take my responsibilities seriously, yet today all it took was a moment to remember my intention for this blog is to inspire mindful living and that can only come from living mindfully. The choice to go became a choice to live mindfully and be present with my family, rather than to stay home and write about it. I cherish my time reading, studying, and practicing mindfulness, and it would all be a waste if I missed out on living and embodying it in daily life..

 
Mindfulness practice wakes me back up to impermanence and in a world of infinite choices there is still a limit on my time, my energy, and my attention. Although I continue to struggle with making wise choices, today I can feel a sense of peace and connection and I hope our readers will ponder this quote throughout this week, perhaps write it down, post it in your home, or weave it into your daily meditation practice. Let it remind you to wake up and be present. 
 
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.

SAVOR: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

After maintaining a consistent mindfulness practice,  you may begin to notice what feels like a slowing-down of time. Yes! Like time is actually moving slower! This, in fact, was the first and maybe even the most precious gift I received in my early days of practicing meditation regularly.  What a joy to have more time for things … imagine how much more I could accomplish!
 
What accompanied this sense of slowing-down, though, were an insatiable curiosity, a desire for stillness, and an overall sense of peace.  I found that while I felt time moving more slowly, I didn’t want to fold more laundry or organize more of my garage … rather, I wanted to see, hear, smell and feel the world around me in 3-D technicolor … I wanted to immerse myself in the beauty of others, nature and of all of life itself. I began to allow myself to drink in the freckled cheeks of my children and to linger in the scent of my lover’s freshly shaven face. Rather than devouring my meals in front of the TV, I began to deconstruct the complex flavors I’d spun together and reveled in the multi-sensory experience of my food. This desire to savor my daily experiences has led me to discovering so much extraordinary in the ordinary. And even more, I have begun to see opportunity where there seemed only roadblocks, connection where conflict might have been, and calm where there may once have been storm.
 
Savoring allows us to not just be fully present in the moment-to-moment experiences of life, but encourages us to lean into these experiences in order to encode memories for later retrieval. Additionally, research shows that humans tend to adapt to positive experiences really quickly, leading to the well-known “honeymoon” effect of intense joy about a joyful or positive event that quickly wears off.  When we attend intently and mindfully to these moments, science says we can extend these honeymoon phases of life, leading to more joy. It is the attention-grabbing nature of savoring what is pleasant that increases contentment and gratitude. And with our powerful tendency towards remembering and creating stories around negative experiences (aka the negativity bias) it is all the more valuable for us to take that extra few moments to wrap ourselves up in the beauty that is right now.
 
I encourage you to take the time to savor in your day-to-day life too, whether you practice mindfulness regularly or not.  Use this mnemonic to help you:
 

SAVOR 

Slow Down — intentionally move more slowly through your day when you can, allowing for the opportunity to notice more of what you encounter.
 
Attend — bring your awareness and attention to whatever you are doing or observing.  Use your senses to explore the experience fully.
 
Value — acknowledge the extraordinary in the experience and how your being present for it brings value to your life.
 
Open — allow for a sense of openness and willingness to see things from a new perspective or vantage point.
 
Reflect — once the experience has passed or ended, take an opportunity to call to mind what you experienced and see if you notice similar emotions arise.

Nicole Davis is a licensed clinical psychologist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches  Dr. Davis has received extensive training in mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, and maintains her own personal practice in these as well.  At Sacred Treehouse, she facilitates group mindfulness courses, including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention, and other mindfulness-based seminars and workshops. She also offers meditation & yoga classes at Sacred Treehouse.

Eternal Longing: May you be free.

May you know the eternal longing that lives at the heart of time.
                                             John O’Donohue

 This quote comes from the poem, For Belonging, by John O’Donohue and speaks deeply to my heart and soul. I shared this poem in MBSR Full day retreat today after guiding the class in a lovingkindness practice and I am sending it out the wider community to contemplate (meditate on each line) on what resonates with you. This quote comes from the poem, For Belonging, by John O’Donohue and speaks deeply to my heart and soul. I shared this poem in MBSR Full day retreat today after guiding the class in a lovingkindness practice and I am sending it out the wider community to contemplate (meditate on each line) on what resonates with you. 
If you would like, go ahead and imagine me or another loved one sending these wishes out to you as you read the poem. Read and listen to your body to sense what arises and feel free to jot a word or two about each line, or just the ones that speak to you. Do not be alarmed if some of the lines prompt negative emotions, as all emotions and reactions are messages that arise and can be held in mindful awareness. You can lean in with curiosity and nonjudgment, asking what am I believing, what is my experience around this, what am I feeling, and can I stay curious about this? For instance, the first line “May you listen to your longing to be free” can activate anger, fear, or shutting down, if you are in a situation where you lack freedom or feel trapped. This quote comes from the poem, For Belonging, by John O’Donohue and speaks deeply to my heart and soul. I shared this poem in MBSR Full day retreat today after guiding the class in a lovingkindness practice and I am sending it out the wider community to contemplate (meditate on each line) on what resonates with you. 

We all want to be FREE and this desire lives deep within us. People who are relatively FREE also have areas of constriction or restriction, simply arising from living out of conditioning and habits. Each line of this poem offers a chance to explore your reactions, your wishes, needs, and desires and allows an opportunity gain deeper self-awareness. It also offers the opportunity to extend the wishes to a loved one or all beings during Metta.

For Belonging by John O’Donohue

May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be generous enough for your dreams.
My you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart.
May you find a harmony between your soul and your life.
May the sanctuary of your soul never become haunted.
May you know the eternal longing that lives at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you, and embrace you in belonging.

I would love to hear about your practice, your reactions to the poem. Please share on Treehouse facebook or email me directly at drpatty@sacredtreehouse.com.

May you be free and know that you are loved,

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.

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