As family and friends begin to gather during the holidays at one point or another may have to face either ourselves or a loved one with addiction. There are really very few people who are not touched by addiction in one way or another. Addiction comes in the form of alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, eating, sugar, and other compulsive behaviors that are an avoidance strategy and eventually cause distress.
When caught up in the cycle of addictive behavior, there is an inability to accept whatever is being felt in the present moment and the mind is constantly wandering onto the next "fix." So it’s safe to conclude that addiction often builds a wall of disconnection and makes it difficult to actually be present for the holidays.Read more »
Winter might be imminent, but the peak of the fall season is still vivid in my mind. While its brilliant colors are striking aesthetically, I also appreciate them as a reminder of impermanence. In our "autopilot existence," it may be easy to miss the springing forth of new green leaves and the warming days of summer, but it seems more difficult, at least for me, to miss the first biting breezes of fall and the colors that seemingly appear overnight—green leaves magically turning into red, yellow and orange. And then they are gone… a seemingly gentle breeze enough to change the landscape yet again.Read more »
A while back, I was guiding a mindful leadership session with a group of experienced leader-meditators. It was late afternoon, the ending of a work day, and we slowly moved from sitting practice to mindful yoga and then to a reflection on the following line written by David Whyte: “There comes a time when you find that you’ve promised yourself to things that are just too small.” Perhaps not surprisingly, this group of people found as many insights from that line as there were people in the room.Read more »
I’ve noticed lately that I often wake up at night with my ankles crossed. That might not seem much of a revelation, but I’m working to pay particular attention to the subtle ways I unconsciously tighten, slump and close off my body from its surroundings. I have a tendency to pull away or wall off from unpleasant events, and this expresses itself physically as well as mentally. I’ve found that I can start to undo this habitual pattern by practicing openness, gentleness and letting go of tension. Such as uncrossing my ankles when I wake up at night...
Our society categorizes conditions like depression and anxiety primarily at a mental level. I used to buy into that, believing that if I could only persuade my thinking mind to behave differently, I would no longer be prey to them. I now look at things rather differently, to the point where I no longer use terms like "mental health problems": words and phrases that emphasise well-being as a "head-based" condition don’t much correspond to my experience. Indeed, by crystallizing them into fixed diagnostic criteria, I suspect that, for me at least, they help make a self-perpetuating story out of temporary, sensory data.Read more »
I recently had the honor of interviewing Susan Kaiser Greenland, who had the courage to leave a well-paying law career to embrace a calling to teach mindfulness meditation to children as young as four years old.
She is author of the upcoming book The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate. She also developed the website Mindfulness Together and the Inner Kids program, designed to teach young kids vital skills toward a more peaceful and compassionate world.
Susan will be speaking at the Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference in San Diego on February 4 – 5, 2012.Read more »