Letting Go of Thoughts: Guided Meditation

Letting Go of Thoughts: Guided Meditation

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This mindfulness practice is to train your brain to pay attention to something, whether it’s your breath, a sound, something you see, or anything else perceived by one of your five senses. Its goal is to help you notice when your attention drifts off from the object of your attention, be able to let go of those thoughts and bring back your attention to the present moment.
Source: Turrell & Bell (2016). ACT for Adolescents.

Island of the Sleeping Ponies: Meditation Helping Children Go to Sleep

Island of the Sleeping Ponies: Meditation Helping Children Go to Sleep

 

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This visualization is narrated by my daughter (11 years old). It will help your child settle down so they can fall asleep peacefully. Have them become quiet and you may do a whole-body relaxation beforehand. Source: The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids (Shapiro & Sprague, 2009)

⏰ Do you feel like time is passing you by?

⏰ Do you feel like time is passing you by?

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I get it. In this day and age of instant gratification, everything moving at the speed of light and the pressure from peers and society to be highly productive, you might be wondering…

”Where does the time go?”

For me, I get caught up in the busy-ness of being a mom and my career. I can easily get distracted with a pile of chores and obligations and an endless to-do list.

We compare ourselves to others and feel we need to keep up, leaving us energetically drained, overwhelmed and possibly feeling as though life is passing you by. 

Am I striking a chord?

If I am, I want you to know there IS a better way! Let me explain…

The first step is to stop the spin cycle and start making YOU the priority in your life again.

Admittedly, life was simpler 100 years ago. With no technology, things moved much slower. Not that people didn’t work hard, it was more about fewer things distracting us and filling our mind on a 24/ 7 basis.

For example, what’s the first thing you do when you lay down to rest after work?

Maybe close your eyes for a minute – and most likely pick up your phone/ tablet to check messages and surf the net…am I right?

Here’s the thing…just like a hundred years ago, we still only have 24 hours in a day. Yet we try to cram in more than is humanly healthy or even possible.

We spend more time up in our heads than we do in our hearts – no wonder you might be spinning all the time.

If you haven’t unplugged and taken the time to just BE present, there’s no way to access what’s truly in your heart.

How do you do that? Well, let me tell you how.

Take time to “smell the roses”. Stop and actually notice what is right in front of you and take it in. I mean it, truly take it in!

Savour that coffee and taste it. Sip it slowly. Smell its aroma. Pause. Close your eyes and really taste and smell it. Don’t multitask.

Take a moment to notice your beautiful space, that smile on your child’s face, your partner lying next to you. Be in that moment fully. Be truly present.

This simple daily ritual will make you feel more grounded and connected to the people around you. If you do this throughout your day, your stress levels will go down.

The next step is to carve out 15-30 minutes just for you first thing in the morning. If you have to, get up before everyone else. Don’t grab your phone as soon as you open your eyes.

Before you dial into production mode, create a morning ritual as a gift to yourself. Doing things just for you. Be in the receiving mode.

You’ll notice the benefits add up over time.  It will set the tone for the day. You will feel energized and you will take better care of yourself.

As the last step, a few times a day, start noticing what you are thinking about and how you are feeling. 

Half the time we are not present and we are lost in our thoughts. Worrying, planning, ruminating, replaying. You name it.

Stop the time travelling and bring yourself back to this moment in time. Just immerse yourself fully into what you are doing without allowing your mind to wander elsewhere.

 The easiest way to do that is to place your focus on the information inputted by your five senses. Right now

Stay there a while. You’ll see. In that place, there is no struggle or resistance.

See your relationships improve. Life has more meaning. You will be happier.

Try these steps out and keep me posted on the results you notice.

P.S.: Don’t miss my bi-weekly podcast episodes and submit questions or topics of interest

With gratitude  🌿

🌋 Reduce the overwhelm taking over your life !

🌋 Reduce the overwhelm taking over your life !

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🌿 You barely woke up and you’re overwhelmed before the day even started. 

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you wake up in the morning? You can be guaranteed that it will set the mood for the day ahead.

Mindset is everything! 

Our mindset impacts our mood, our behaviours and the choices we make.

When we consciously make an effort in the morning to keep our mindset in check, it will start your day on the right foot. And it makes all the difference.

Our mind in an incessant chatterbox. It never stops and it’s wired to pay attention to the negative

Did you ever notice that?

Did you know that we have between 60 to 80 thousand thoughts a day? Imagine if most of your thoughts are negative. It can weight down on your mood and your energy pretty quickly.

You’ll hear me say this over and over… pay attention to the present moment. It’s the only moment that really exists.

I want you to focus on what happens in your inner world and your outer world, at this precise moment. Yes, right now, as you read this.

You might not realize it but one harsh thought can lead to a storm of more negative harsh thoughts. Next thing you know you are sad, angry, resentful, frustrated because of the ongoing monologue going on in your head. 

Remember that you hold the key to changing what happens in the privacy of your own mind. You can’t control people or external events but you can control how you choose to react to them. 

On the path to a better life, we need two things: self-awareness and being kinder to ourselves.

How do I do that? You wonder.

The first thing I recommend is to live, as best you can, in the present moment.

When we are truly present, we pay more attention to what happens inside of us and outside. We are not lost in our minds. The by-product will be increased self-awareness. 

The sooner you can incorporate living mindfully, the sooner you will calm the monkey brain. The less stress you will experience.

Mindfulness is not another fad technique, it is a way of living. You can’t change your mindset if you are not self-aware.

The second thing you need to do is to let go of judgment of yourself and others. Positive AND negative.

Judgment is a mind trap. Replace those judgments with self-compassion or just let them go. Try to resist the urge to judge.

Then shift your attention back to the present moment. Even if it is a difficult moment.

Just see and feel things as they are. Right now. Don’t resist, don’t label. Just observe what IS.

When you start doing that your mood will improve, your overall mindset will be more positive and you will be more productive. Overwhelm will be reduced drastically!

So, try this out for the next week. Combining noticing your mindset in the present moment and dropping all judgments. 

Use certain cues to remind you to do this several times a day.

Until it becomes a habit, you can set an alarm on your phone a few times a day to start, or you can use walking through doorways as a reminder.

Pay attention to how you feel after a while. Chances are, the struggle will have gone.

P.S.: Don’t miss my bi-weekly podcast episodes and episode 3 is about letting go of judgment!

With gratitude,  🌿

Is Religion Responsible for Violence?

Is Religion Responsible for Violence?

Many fundamentalists have fought and killed in the name of religion. I find this topic fascinating and intellectually stimulating. It is fraught with so much emotion, which I believe is often grounded in ignorance and false beliefs.

Throughout history, and to this day, there have been witch hunts against heretics of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.  In ALL religions, people deemed heretical have been subjected not only to punishments, mass persecution, but in extreme cases death and mass executions (e.g., think of suicide bombers).

Sadly today, many Muslims are feared, even hated, because of the actions of few (i.e. terrorists compose the minority of the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world), or due to political propaganda (i.e. think Trump). The same can be said of the prejudice against Catholics, whose celibate priests have harmed little children through their sexual actions. Many men of different faiths still believe that women are inferior and should abide by a different set of rules and standards. It is not that long ago that women could not vote, and there is still inequality of pay. Strong women are still considered “pushy” when a man with the same qualities would be considered “driven”. All these inequalities, injustices, judgments, I believe, are not a matter of religion.

Historically, think of the Crusades, the Inquisition, and fights against the heretics in the Middle Ages. Many people were harmed and killed for the sake of religion, whether it was Catholicism’s witch hunts, or the Muslims who referred to heretics or those who antagonized Islam as “zindiqs”. Think of the violence between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. Think of Catholic priests molesting little boys. Think of people in any religion who violate women or ostracise them, or treat them as inferior (even in our modern day Western world), and to this day the violence in the Middle East, the Shiite-Sunni Split (a 1400 year old conflict still very much alive). Not to mention all the private wars we see between families members (who claim to be religious) who fight, argue, expel, in the name of religion and politics…

To this day, in some modern day nations and regions, heresy is still considered an offense punishable by death. All done in the name of God. When you think about it… “man” kills in the name of God, which is such arrogance. Because that means they are acting as God, and thus think they are equal to God. Such a contradiction when their scriptures say “that only God can Judge”.

In the end, all this violence is made in the name of religion, but really it is about power (which is motivated by fear) and money (e.g., oil). It is pure arrogance. When people kill and hurt in the name of God, they are going against the “word of God” that they claim to follow. Whether the holy book is the Qu’ran, the Torah, or the Bible… these documents do not condone killing, yet humans will kill or inflict pain in the name of religion. It is not a question of religion, it is a matter of power and the nature of the human race, and the weakness of the ego. The ego’s search for power is being driven by instinct and NOT by holy scripture or a higher power.

My belief, and that of many, is that to reach transcendence is to move beyond the instincts of the ego. The ego is obsessed with greed, power, fear and jealousy, and we will  ultimately find peace in this world if we can aim to transcend worldly instincts and find the ability to be one with all, live in peace, gratitude, and harmony by looking beyond what the eyes can see….

 

Dr. Gina Madrigrano © , 20180710