The other night I read on the back of a friend's T-shirt the following list of guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA)'s latest heart-healthy lifestyle campaign, called "Life's Simple 7":
manage blood pressure
reduce blood sugar
From my medical training, I recognized each of these 7 items as addressing the major risk factors for coronary artery disease and therefore heart attacks and strokes.
However, from my journey of learning about the connection between mind and body, and especially the ways in which our mind dictates the feelings, behaviors, and results we see in our lives, I noticed that these "Simple 7" are not so simple at all.
Four of the seven guidelines involve behavioral changes. Three of the seven can be addressed with pharmaceutical drugs but are also dependent on these behavioral changes in order to have maximum impact. These areas of behavior change - exercise, diet, weight loss, and smoking cessation - are typically the most challenging and frustrating for both patients and doctors in a preventive setting. Continue reading →
"My most relaxing time is when I'm sitting on the couch watching TV. What's YOUR most relaxing time?", asked 11-year-old Aaron.
I paused, then said, "Well, I meditate every morning. So that's my most relaxing time." I was a little hesitant to say it because I didn't know how an 11-year-old boy would react to the word "meditate".
"How do you meditate?" he asked.
"Oh you're too young, you don't need to learn how to meditate yet." I waved my hand and smiled, thinking he would want to move on to other "cooler" subjects.
"You know what I heard? If you meditate 15 minutes a day, it'll change your life," he said, his eyes widening a little. "Did it change YOUR life?"
"Yes, it did. It completely changed my life." I smiled and nodded. Now I recognized that I was speaking with a fellow human spirit, and that I had incorrectly assumed that because of his age, and being a boy, he wouldn't be interested in the same human subjects I'm interested in. I also caught myself doing something that I had always found annoying as a child - whenever an adult waved off my question with the phrase, Oh don't worry about it, you're too young to need to know. The reality, I saw, is that this fellow human spirit was full of curiosity, playfulness, and desire to know the truth, just like I was. Continue reading →
Making sound with breath and voice is the ultimate union of mind, body, and spirit.
In this 3-week series, we will discuss the use of sound in meditation, self-care, and creativity, and practice the healing sounds of the five warrior seed syllables from the Tibetan Bon tradition.
I am excited to explore my deepening understanding of the power of sound healing with you.
gain a basic understanding of the use of sound in meditation,
experience how making sound can clear and quiet the mind,
explore the application of healing sounds in creating balance and harmony in your daily life.
Upon completing the series, you will have the foundational tools to begin your own home practice using healing sounds.
The first 30 minutes of each class will be spent discussing the seed syllable and the philosophy as described by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. We will then move into a 15-20 minute sounding practice, and conclude with a 15 minute guided reflection/journaling time where you can consider the application of this practice in your daily life.
There will be emphasis on the practice of sound healing in removing blocks and barriers in the mind, deepening your access to the positive qualities already within you, and uncovering your innate creativity and wisdom.
This series is based on the teachings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, author of "Tibetan Sound Healing" (available on Amazon, includes CD).
It is highly recommended, but not required, that you read Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's book before and/or during this series.
The workshop will be led by Dr. Lisa Chu. Read more about Dr. Lisa Chu here.
When: Tuesdays at 7:00pm -8:15pmNovember 2, 9, & 16, 2010Where: The Cradle of Manifestation, 2483 Old Middlefield Way, Suite 150, Mountain View, CA 94043Fees: $75 for 3-class series, $30 for single classFor more information: (650) 325-2194 or contact me by email
This morning, as I was driving to the grocery store, there were these thoughts running through my head:
"What if I could just relax into ACCEPTANCE of myself, exactly as I am right now?"
"What if I could treat myself as if right now, exactly as everything is, it IS all exactly as it should be?"
I was trying to examine my recent thought patterns which were centered around "concern" for a variety of things in my life: was I spending enough time doing the right things, was I doing enough yoga, was I eating enough fruit and vegetables, was I working hard enough on the right things for my business, was I spending too much time on "non-productive" activities....
The list went on and on, and nothing seemed to be "clicking" or "flowing" during the past few weeks until the rare moments when I just let go and did the ONE thing right in front of me.
This morning, I was thinking about the feeling and energy around doing JUST THIS, RIGHT NOW. What is it about that thought which creates flow? It's certainly not a state of heightened anxiety and pushing and grasping. It's not an energy of worrying.
It's exactly the opposite. It's LETTING GO of all the worrying and relaxing the mind completely. Continue reading →
How many times have you witnessed the sun setting?
Now that I live near the California coast, that number has gone from "zero" to "so many times I've lost count".
I never get tired of it, even though it's usually so cold at the ocean that I'm not completely relaxed as I'm watching. I'm usually huddled under blankets, or in a car, woefully underdressed for the plummeting temperatures.
Last night, though, we were blessed with "Indian summer" weather and a warm enough evening at the coast that we didn't even need to wear our jackets. I had nowhere to be, nothing to do, except to behold the sun folding in, the waves ever-present in their rolling motion against the smooth sandy beach, and the earth turning away from the sun's reach, notch by notch.
I managed to catch the very last 52 seconds of the sunset on video. Watching the playback, I saw a perfect soundtrack and image to accompany this affirmation (which I am practicing to replace one of my habitual thoughts, "There will never be enough."):
"I am complete, as I am, in this very moment."
Saying this out loud, or even reading it silently to yourself for the duration of the video, can be a powerful practice in shifting energy and attention. Notice the rhythm of the waves, and the silent power of the sun as it gradually disappears below the horizon.
I don't know about you, but I'm finding that I'm easily hooked by the idea that I need expert advice in order to do something "right", and that I need a formula to follow in order to be successful.
With all of my inner work over the past year and a half, you'd think I'd be over it. You'd think I'd have found Nirvana, bliss, equanimity, access to Buddha nature.
Yeah, I thought so too.
What I'm really finding is that life keeps challenging me to keep a sense of humor as I learn to trust myself. I veer off the path (or am I merely on a twisty part of it?) and find myself enrolled in another program, following dutifully along like the great student I've always been. But then I look at the pile of assignments I've given myself, and I wonder, "What test am I studying for? Whose grade am I trying to earn here?" Continue reading →
I tried a brand new hike last week, and it reminded me of my path of trying new modes of expression lately.
I continue to observe that whenever we test the boundaries in our minds, and take actions that are outside our current comfort zones, there is the excitement of discovery and the strength of learning that come along with it.
In this case, I first had to take the new path, not knowing what was in store for me. Would it be sunny or shady? Hilly or flat? How long would I be walking? Whom would I meet along the way?
What I discovered later on in the hike was such a gift of rejuvenation and restoration that I felt a much deeper sense of gratitude for having taken the path of Not Knowing. Turns out, what I didn't know was much better than anything I could have planned out myself!
Enjoy these two video clips from my hike, and see what I discovered along the way...
In this video blog, I share some observations of first being with and then transforming my own self-criticism.
I'm learning to accept myself in all situations, tuning into not only how I react when I'm accomplishing things, but also how I react when I experience an energy low or less productive moment.
Ever think about what happens as soon as you open your eyes each morning? What thoughts go through your head? What do you do as the first thing each morning?
When I switched my first-thing-in-the-morning ritual from a REACTIVE one (playing snooze tag with my two alarm clocks and checking my email on my Blackberry), to a PROACTIVE one (creating a series of personal practices gathered from my various teachers), my energy completely changed, and my life started to change perceptibly also.
A few thoughts from my balcony this morning (including all the "and"s and "um"s of an unrehearsed, unedited vlog!):
And here's the clip from a group improvisation, created about 35 minutes into the workshop session. We had prepared ourselves through a series of listening meditations, breath improvisations, body work, and open sounding exercises.
The sacred space created from these collective activities is what enabled the pure freedom of sound you witness here. I post this with so much gratitude to the seven beautiful women who participated, and to my volunteer videographer!