bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: mind & body

no more worries

This an AWESOME exercise in mindfulness for kids – or anyone! 

Invite your child to write down her biggest worry. Teach her that worry is not real, it’s just a habit, and it can be broken. Give your child a special bracelet and instruct her to wear it daily (a rubber bracelet or bright hair elastic will do). Each time she notices herself worrying, she should switch the bracelet to the other wrist. Tell her not to condemn herself when she switches. There’s no need to tally the worries. Just notice they’re happening. 

Once she gets the hang of it, help her come up with an easy affirmation that can neutralize the worry. Each time she switches the bracelet, she can say the affirmation in her head.

So let’s say your child worries she’s going to fail math. Every time she stresses, she should switch the bracelet and think, “Learning comes easily for me.” 

This can also be used to break other habits, for example gossiping. Each time the child (or parent!) notices herself engaging in caddy conversation, switch that bracelet and think, “I am kind to others.”

Check out my little friend in the photo, using this simple bracelet trick to kick her worries to the curb. We should all be so adorable while we practice mindfulness!

Learn more about mindful parenting and meditation for families atwww.vanessagobes.com.

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try this

homeland

As I mentioned last week, my son recently came down with strep and I spent the weekend at home alone with him.  When I wasn’t taking care of him or de-cluttering my home, I was watching Homeland…  12 hours of Homeland to be exact.  I started at 7pm each night saying after each conclusion, “Just one more episode.  This is the last for sure,”  Yup.  2am snuck up on me quickly.  Both nights.

As you can imagine, Brody and Carrie guest-starred in most of my dreams that weekend.  All that TV made me feel pretty kooky.  On Sunday night I was lying in bed and couldn’t press the mental pause button on an intense torture scene, so I started experimenting with different meditations I’d learned – hoping to change the channel.  Nothing was working.

So I tried something new and began to systematically focus on each part of my body, in hopes to connect back to the here and now.  I started with my skin, allowing small sections of my outer shell to tingle, my focus moving from limb to limb, head to toe.

Then I thought about my bones, my organs.  I mentally peeled my skin back and concentrated so hard that I could see and feel, really feel, my bones.  I felt my blood pulse through my heart.  I focused on my kidneys, liver, stomach, connecting intimately with each organ and acknowledging the work they perform for me each day.  They weren’t just a jumbled mess of mysterious globs taking up space under my skin.  I offered gratitude to them.

Last stop on the organ train was my brain.  I used everything I had to penetrate it.  I dug through my third eye and imagined the two big lobes of grey macaroni-like substance, filling the top portion of my skull completely, pulsing with blood and ideas and power, creating pressure on the underside of my scalp.  Though the brain is contained, its thoughts are limitless.  With that acknowledgment, the pressure dissipated as the energy pulsing under my skull released into the world.

The intense and intentional connection to my body fostered the now moment and allowed me to let go of the previous 6 hours of television programming.

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh….  zzzzzzzzzzz…….

It’s funny, while sitting here writing, I’m conjuring those sensations all over again.  It’s very grounding.  Nothing else can be happening when we’re channeling all of our focus into our bodies.  All the bullshit disappears.  It’s liberating.

Next time you’re trapped in an episode of Homeland, or more likely an episode of your life, try turning your attention inward, literally.  Tell me what happens.  Or please share what you do to clean your clock.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  Please share this meditation experiment with friends and family you think might find it helpful.  Or with anyone watching Homeland.  🙂

this is my happy place

So often I find myself chasing someone else’s version of success.  It creeps up in all forms – jealousy, envy, anxiety, impatience.  When I find myself experiencing these types of thoughts and feelings, I find the best thing to do, is meditate.  By isolating myself and getting quiet, I can take the time I need to release myself from the stream of voices in my head and gain my composure.

I spent a couple of weeks relatively isolated in the mountains over the holidays.  A quiet retreat.  One morning, I stared at a stone wall in my living room for 3 hours (pictured below).  Just stared quietly, blankly.  I can’t remember feeling so content.  This happy place had nothing to do with work or relationships, travel or money, success or stuff.  It had everything to do with peace and simplicity.

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Not everyone would feel content to look at a stone wall.  But I’m not everyone.  I’m me.

Thinking about being me reminded me of a recent experience.  Last fall I saw the The Dalai Lama in Boston.  He shared a stage with Brother David Steindl-Rast.  I was totally taken by Brother David, as was much of the audience, and wrote about him on this blog.  While I was surfing around his website, gratefulness.org, I was shocked to see my very own words staring back at me.  His web editor found my recap of his appearance and published it on the site.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was so humbled to think that Brother David may have read my words and appreciated my perspective.  And it made me really happy.

Now, I am probably, no definitely, the only person in my circle of peers who would be elated to see her work displayed on Brother David’s website.  For me it was simply terrific.  For someone else, the simply terrific involves another set of circumstances.  It’s important for us to know what our simply terrific is, so when we experience it, we recognize it.  And so we don’t get mixed up in chasing after another person’s simply terrific.

Finding the terrific is easier for some than it is for others.  Some folks are tuned into the good stuff, attracting it easily.  Others need to work at it.  I think I’m one of the types who needs to work at it.  And when I do, the work pays off.

By working at it, I mean mindfully surrendering to spirit.  I mean connecting to the beautifully divine light within and shining it on everyone, knowing that we are all fighting the same inner battles and we all need to be shown compassion and love.  The best thing that we can do to find peaceful achievement for ourselves is to support one another.

When we, especially we women, share our love and our gratitude for others’ successes, we open ourselves to receiving it, too.  Love begets love.  That’s all there is to it.  Though offering love can feel awkward at first, especially if we are not wired to give it freely, once we begin a steady diet of giving, the act will become normal.  It’s amazing how quickly and naturally a new normal can settle in.

It all starts with a smile in the grocery store.  A pat on the back for the guy in the next cubicle.  A compliment for a friend, or a stranger if that’s easier.  A “like” on a Facebook post.  A compassionate word when our first inclination is a punch in the teeth.  Let’s give it up.  Let the pride and the ego and the judgment melt away.  Be happy for someone else.

Make a tiny, mindful effort once a day for 3 weeks.  What we give will come back to us tenfold.  And we will also discover that the giving feels much better than the receiving.

Tell me all about it!  I’ll be your biggest cheerleader.  Really, I will.  When you’re happy and successful, you are making the earth a more vibrant planet.  And while you’re doing what you need to do, I’ll be working on my own goals.  Which some of the time means just sitting here, staring at the wall.  And I’ll be happy, too.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  Please share this if it speaks to you.  THANK YOU!!!!

playing the victim = giving away power

When we’re tied down to the train tracks, we cannot use our power to live our best lives.

I did so well striking out the “ummms” on the first half of this video…  fell off the wagon on the latter portion.  Working on it.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa