Mindfulness not Mind Fullness

The term Mindfulness is a newer term.

We used to say consciousness, then awareness.

It’s about being mind-full. Not with thoughts and ideas and intellect.

But a mind full of awareness, presence, Be-ing.

It is about being present in the moment.

About not being caught up in the endless to do list.

About enjoying what we have, and getting off the hamster wheel of do, do, do.

If you are one of so many of us who answer the question “How are you?” with “Good, but busy!” then you might benefit from taking a few moments each day to be still and quiet. Continue reading “Mindfulness not Mind Fullness”

How Prayer Changes Your Brain

Did you know that prayer and meditation can change the physical structure of your brain for the better?

Pretty amazing!

A Well-Worn Path

Our Rev. Edward has given a great analogy about changing a thought or habit: Imagine that you walk through a field of tall grass on your way somewhere every day. There is a well-worn path that you take each time without really thinking about it.
Then one day you decide to go a different way. The tall grass springs right back up behind you as you pass through. But if you keep going that new way every time, eventually you wear a new path clear of grass all the way through the field.
Your brain works the same way. And this isn’t just a metaphor. The way we think affects our brains. When we think a thought or have a habit – good or bad – that we repeat day after day, that’s the well-worn path that takes little thought or effort. That’s a good thing for routine tasks like remembering how to drive, not to mention eat, walk, and so many other things we do every day!

Making a New Path in Your Brain

But when that well-worn path is a bad habit, then reaching for that cookie or cigarette or whatever, happens without our conscious participation. Pretty soon the whole bag of chips is gone and you wonder “How did that happen?” in the same way you sometimes “wake up” while driving and find yourself at your destination.

So changing that bad habit takes effort. You need to think about it, and resolve to choose the new way over and over again until you have worn a new path through the field. I’ve seen video of a new thought being formed where neurons that were connected disconnect and re-wire to other neurons in the brain. Pretty cool! (If I find it, I;ll add the link.)

“Neurons that fire together wire together.” Donald Hebb

This is where affirmative prayer can help.

New studies in neuro-science show that getting into a Delta brain wave state can help reprogram subconscious thoughts. In the relaxed state of prayer, you can slip in under the conscious radar to install new mental software. An affirmative prayer can actually start to wear that new path in the brain’s field. You strengthen the connections in your brain through repeated prayer and meditation.
“You can use the mind to change the brain to change the mind for the better.” Rick Hanson, PhD

How About You?

Do you find that prayer helps you change your mental or physical habits?

If you would like support and guidance in some inner re-wiring, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to discuss whether spiritual coaching/ mentorship is right for you.

Labor Day

It’s Labor Day in the United States.

FreedomTraditionally Labor Day is a day when we honor people who work by giving most people the day off.

Since I’m self-employed these days, I don’t get many days off. And I often don’t notice holidays.

So I am creating a day to free myself from labor in another way- laboring under misconceptions.

Care to join me?

“What misconceptions?” you ask.

Any you that you would love to free yourself of. Continue reading “Labor Day”

Dancing with Chaos

There’s nothing like standing in the middle of a circle of three large men poised to attack as soon as I bow to signal that I am ready to begin. Not that I ever want to do this in real life. That would be dancing with chaos for real.

Dancing with Chaos

Randori can translate as dancing with chaos; it’s a martial art practice of three against one. It was one of my favorite Aikido practices, and although most schools reserve the practice for Black Belts, my teacher let us practice this early in our practice, and it became a requirement for earning our first belt.

It may sound intimidating, but when you learn how to do it, it’s actually more dangerous for the attackers. I never got injured when in the center of the randori, but I broke a finger once as attacker when the person in the center turned the “wrong” way.

Set-Up Practice for Life Off the Mat

I haven’t done Aikido for a very long time. But the lessons I learned apply to life off the mat as well as they do on the mat. Uh, no, I’m not recommending throwing people around or inviting attacks. But stuff happens, and life can sometimes be a dance of chaos.

Dancing with Chaos at the Mall

We used to do randori in short demos at the mall as a promotion for the dojo (school), and being a small woman, I often was the one in the middle with three big burly men. I remember one time in particular when my teacher said, “Get her!” and they really went after me. I tossed them around like dolls, and when I was done my legs were shaking and mush. But it proved to some ancient survival part of my brain that I could do hold my own. And by the way, oh yeah, this stuff really works!

Chaos Off the Mat

Aikido classWe’ve all had to dance with chaos at some point in our lives, even though it doesn’t usually involve three burly men and physical assault.

It’s more common to find chaos in our daily lives. And I haven’t been on the mat in at least a decade, but chaos in life? That’s a much more frequent occurrence.

The concepts are the same on the mat and off:

  1. Stay centered.
  2. Stay in your own rhythm.
  3. Don’t run away or deny what is happening.
  4. Remember who and what you are.
  5. Don’t over-reach.
  6. Use your energy efficiently.
  7. Brute force doesn’t work.
  8. Be present and feel what is.
  9. Learn from what works.
  10. Learn from what doesn’t work.
  11. Stay connected.

How About You?

Have you ever noticed a time when being centered help resolve a conflict? Please leave a comment to share.

Would you like some guidance when you need to dance with Choas?

Read more about Spiritual coaching here or book a free 30-minute consultation with me.