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Mindfulness

(A mindfulness meditation exercise. Get comfortable, and begin).

Shh! Close your eyes again, and now wake up slowly. Imagine.

It is the hour before the dawn. There are a few birds chirping.

You hear a car drive by, but only one, and its very quiet, as if it is trying not to wake you.

Someone has brewed coffee. You smile, knowing it will still be hot when you get up.

But not yet. 

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anger and forgiveness

Tbird is the guest author of this post about anger and forgiveness. She recently completed her conversion to Judaism after years of study. Originally from New York, she now lives outside Denver Colorado and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She has also been my friend for many years and is a constant inspiration to me. I hope you find her as inspiring as I do. 

Many belief systems call on us to seek out one another’s humanity, even in the darkness of people. We are asked to find a spark in the people who would hurt us or others.

The Quaker belief is that every life has value.

Universal Unitarianism holds the principle of “affirming and upholding the inherent worth and dignity of every person” at the top of their list.

As humans in the West, we are constantly told to be good, be polite, be kind to strangers, know compassion, let go of anger, and forgive. This is hard to reconcile when we know there is evil in the world; there are people who hurt children, murder neighbors, or think it’s a good idea to barbecue live kittens. How are we supposed to be nice, to affirm the inherent worth of such people?

In Judaism, the good and the bad both have a place. There is room for both anger and forgiveness.

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The Essential Thanksgiving

 

Turkey, despite all rumors to the contrary, is not essential to Thanksgiving, even in the US. Blasphemy, right? Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, and of course the fruits of harvest are important to the festival, but it is more than that. The essential Thanksgiving doesn’t require particular foods or table settings, but these ideals. 

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FOR YOU LOVE PEACE .......... MAMITA SUFFER PA...

.. (Photo credit: LUZ-2011)

Happiness Results from Full Participation in Life

How many of us have groaned or sighed when some happiness guru or another has said ‘just think positive’? How many of us have growled at the speaker or the book and thrown the remote or the book across the room in anger?

Do you know why you get so angry? That kind of deep anger covering up an even deeper injury? It’s because you’re being asked to take half (more or less) of reality and pretend its not real. It doesn’t work, because ‘think positive’ is only a bit of the answer, and the wrong bit, at that.

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Visualizing mindfulness (366/194 July 12, 2012)

Visualizing mindfulness (366/194 July 12, 2012) (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

What is ‘everyday mindfulness’ and why do it?

Mindfulness is the state of simply being, in the present, with all of your attention in the present.  It is compatible with any spiritual or religious belief, or lack thereof. It’s both simple and difficult, and it has been found by numerous studies to be useful in a variety of situations, including easing chronic pain, depression and anxiety. It doesn’t (necessarily) involve any special equipment, can be done (nearly) anywhere. 

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Nuni, Chloe and Maureen at Renfest

Nuni, on the left, was a pirate princess that year. The headless wench is me. On the right is Chloe, who is not nearly as fond of dressing up and thus isn’t ‘asked to.

This has been a year of many losses for me, of two legged friends and four, and I always, on  or about Halloween, which is Samhain in the Celtic calendar, and the day before the Day of the Dead celebrate the lives of those I have lost. Remembering that shared pain is lessened, I recall them.

Some I cannot name. Confidentiality does not end with death, so the two therapy participants or family members of participants cannot be named, but I do honor them.

In addition, my husband’s grandfather, David Martin, a bomber pilot in WWII and lifelong curmudgeon extraordinaire, died this summer at the age of 95, having outlived his beloved wife ‘Bertie’ by nearly a decade. 

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Posing with ‘Tommy’ at the Kansas City Zoo

Every now and again I’m startled when I’m out in public with one of my sons, who quite naturally (in my eyes) are polite and thoughtful and show interest in and respect for other people. When whichever son I’m with is out of hearing, suddenly a clerk or a fellow shopper or someone else at the event approaches me and asks how I did it.

How I did what?

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