Mini Meditation Video with Stephanie
Take 5–10 minutes out of your day to practice some deep breathing.
You don’t have to choose any particular meditation practice. You can go for a short uninterrupted walk, sit in a quiet place, or simply focus on a candle flame.
The point of this exercise is to still your mind, release the tension from the day, and focus on the present moment.
This practice, done even for just a few minutes a day, can help slow down your mind, allowing you to better manage your thoughts and decisions.
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The Reality of Suffering by Stephanie
Last week I wrote about being in control. I talked about taking more responsibility for what we can control (our actions/behavior) and not worrying so much about the thoughts and emotions that arise, which are beyond our control.
What are you noticing?
This week I write about the reality of suffering.
Suffering is one of our greatest teachers. Much of our suffering comes from living in fear / wanting to control.
More suffering happens as we continue to resist what is.
This topic is broad. I will try and keep it simple by asking you to consider 2 questions over the next week as you live your daily life.
Remember, living life is a practice and can be the most powerful portal for spiritual awakening, growth ...and freedom.
1. Is this suffering I am experiencing self made?
2. Is this suffering I am experiencing part of life?
How will you know?
For question #1, self made suffering is a result of our thoughts and emotions and the inner narrative/story we replay over and over. Thoughts feeds emotion and emotion feeds thought and before we know it, this cycle of suffering becomes a way of life. This inner narrative, often a part of our dysfunctional mental conditioning over years, keeps us regretting the past and worried about the future.
The result? We remain stuck in the present, which is in direct opposition to "how life works" and quite frankly why we were born. Life only takes place in the present. Life itself requires us to keep moving. We can choose to move, or life will move us on its own terms.
Please note: I am not saying to discard the lessons of the past. Nor am I saying to leave the future open to some woo woo practice of intention setting without action.
What I am saying...is what I always say...take responsibility for your life. Your choices. Where you are. Where you want to go. And by all means, take small daily actions to move you along.
For question #2, part of life's inevitable suffering is the pain we feel from loss of a loved one, an illness, tragedy, etc.
If this writing resonates, perhaps you will keep a journal and at the end of each day, spend a few minutes reflecting the 2 questions.
I am with you my friends.
Being In Control by Stephanie
Last week I wrote about fear. I talked about why there is so much fear and focused on what "to do" about it. The Doing. Action.
This leads me to writing this week, about control, which is connected to fear.
Here's what I will offer you to chew on, 2 things:
1. Thoughts and Emotions that arise in us aren't (are not) in our control.
A few examples. If we are going through challenging times, our thoughts and emotions will be engaged.
If someone hurts us, we will think about it and feel it. This thought feeling thought feeling loop is dangerous. Truth.
What's wrong with having thoughts and emotions? Nothing. We are human.
We don't have to "like" it. Certainly, we can find ways to manage the thoughts and emotions.
Yet, we can't control them.
One of the reasons wisdom traditions speak of "acceptance" is because once we accept our experience, we free up the necessary energy to take action. So, instead of wasting energy on resisting what is- the experience and corresponding thoughts and emotions, we focus on what we need to do about it. Make sense? There's a formula I use for this to be shared at my upcoming retreat. Stay tuned.
2. What we do,our behavior about thoughts and emotions that arise in us is (is) in our control.
An example...someone hurts us, betrays us, and we feel angry, devastated, etc. Our mind is racing about how unfair it is, etc, etc. Our heart hurts. It's painful! we are human.
Once we allow the emotions and thoughts to be, we have a choice to make.
What will we do? Many options here.
Will we spend years living with anger, pain, etc and acting it out in our life? Maybe we decide not to have relationships, or go after our dreams? Maybe we live in fear? Will we repress the feelings and thoughts and exhaust ourselves.
Will we accept that thoughts and feelings are in fact not in our control (nor are the actions of others, especially teenagers). Once accepting this (even if we don't like it) the only thing we can control is your behavior...your actions.
A wise person once said, we need to focus less on feeling bad about our thoughts and emotions and get busy taking responsibility for our actions.
So, the burning question, in any given moment becomes, what will we do now? And now? And now?
Paraphrasing a story I heard recently--- when you are running up the mountain, go ahead and quit as often as you like just keep moving your feet.
Life is a process of small steps done consistently over time. We gain mastery by commitment over time...the practice (action).
I invite you to explore this. Especially if you are feeling "stuck".