Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Lotus: Another Amazing Blog

In my series of posts about blogs I love, the next one I would have to talk about is happylotus.com. I do not remember how I came across this blog but am so happy that I did. The blogger is Nadia and she is one of the most genuine bloggers you will find in the genre of "self-improvement" blogging. However, her blog is so much more than "self-improvement". She is more about self evolution at every level. Every time I read her blog, I feel stronger and wiser. What's amazing about her blog is that although she has a huge following, there is something very personal in her writing style so that each reader feels a connection with her. In her original blog, Nadia would reply to every person that left a comment. I am not talking one word replies; I mean thought-out, sometimes lengthy replies as if she really cared about what you said and wanted to acknowledge it in a deep way. She even responded thoughtfully to negative comments, not taking offense and not getting defensive. She has recently started a new project that includes blog posts but many other services that I have not yet explored fully. Her posts, more than any others, stuck with me long after I logged off the computer. In this blog, I will probably write posts that are reactions to her posts just because her posts are really inspiring to me.

For more discussion on other blogs I like, check out:
the wonderful world of being in the moment

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moment of Synchronicity

As I was reading the post about corporations on mnmlist.com "Across the Universe" was playing on my mp3 player.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Wonderful World of Being in the Moment


When I look at what some people have accomplished and what they know in the realm of mindfulness, I realize that it is going to take me several years to even begin to know what I want to know on the subject. In the field of mindfulness, I am truly a novice; however, I am passionate about it and eager to know more. My interest in the subject began over twenty years ago, in my teens; however, since that time, my life has taken many twists and turns so that I did not pursue it with the gusto that I desired. Now, I have come back to the world of mindfulness and want to dive in full force. One of my inspirations for returning to this concept is the blogosphere. There are some amazing people out there who are blogging about mindfulness and related concepts. Some may wonder why I follow so many blogs about the same subject. The reason is that I get something different from each one. Each person has their own unique "flavor" in tone of writing as well as perception and definition of mindfulness. Each blogger adds their own spice to the wonderful world of being in the moment.


Because of the vast amount of value I have gotten from these beautiful bloggers, I want to take the time to really give them credit for how much they have taught and inspired me so I am going to do a post on each of them. I guess I should start with the first blogger who inspired me, Leo Babuta. He is a blogging legend at this point and has many followers and fans. The reason for this is multi-faceted. What I like about him is he is a good writer and comes across as genuine. I also like him because his writing to me is crisp and fresh, like a cool sip of lemon/lime soda. There is something clear and pure about his way of presenting things. He also comes across as very human in his writing. I first started reading his blog at zenhabits.com. Now, my favorite blog of his is mnmlist.com. What is brilliant about his blog on minimaism is the ideas are so simple yet we need reminding. It is about being mindful of what we need versus what we want. In a world of compulsive consumption, Leo writes about bare essentials and the beauty of bare essentials. I also love reading this blog because he does not act like he has perfected the art of minimalism. He talks about his struggles with it and how he has tried to adapt this philosophy to his life. He addresses not just excess in terms of material goods but excess of actions like spending so much time on the internet or watching television. He also challenges social and cultural norms of what a person "needs" to be happy. It reminds me to question why I hold on to things I do not really need and to start to let go of excess. I feel very lucky to be able to read his blogs!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Personal Gospel



Part of being mindful is knowing yourself; paying attention to yourself. Part of paying attention to yourself is noting what attracts you. One aspect of how we know ourselves is by the music we like. I call this a personal gospel by which I mean songs that express an individual's point of view or personal life philosophy. The personal gospel is more than that, though. It is the moment when I feel completely in tune with a song where the sound connects with me and the lyrics express something that resonates deeply with me. Some songs that I consider in this "genre" are:




U2's "One"

Sting's "All This Time"

John Lennon's "Instant Karma"



I'd love to know what other people include in their "gospels".

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Art of Art


above photo taken by me
 In my creative expressions, I am seeking a way to capture the energy of a moment. With photography, it may just be the way a tree curves against the sky or the way the light hits a certain object. To me, the most successul art is when the artist manages to express something intensely personal that is also universal. When something from deep inside the artist touches something deep inside the audience, it unites us in our humanity. This very aspect of art which makes it worthwhile and miraculous is exactly what makes it difficult to master.  That is art's connection to mindfulness--real art is the ultmate expression of mindfulness--being completely in the flow of  a moment.




Therefore, when I try to create something, I am striving for representing my true self in as genuine a way as possible hoping that others will "recognize" it in themselves. This process is long and never-ending; a constantly evolving mission to know my true self and then express it. It is also why I love so many genres of art and am a fan of so many artists who do a wonderful job of creating something genuine and universal. 


I recently read a very thoughtful post about art from Pat Burn's blog (I am a fan of her art): the secret message in art
I would love to know other people's opinions on this topic!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Unwinding

As I described in my first post, which you can read here, my goal is to become an expert in mindfulness. I know this will take me years of reading, going to workshops, and practicing the techniques. With this much investment of time and energy, some may ask what is so worthwhile about mindfulness. While there is no way to really quantify all of the many ways that it is beneficial, I can share a personal experience to show some practical benefits. One night, after a twelve hour work day, I was exhausted. When I finally got in bed, though, I could not sleep. My mind was whirring like a wind turbine and each thought was like another gust setting the whole thing in motion again. I said to John, my fiance', "I can't sleep; I am wide awake!" He said, "That's because you keep thinking! Stop thinking!" In saying that, he reminded me that I was caught up in things that I could do nothing about at that moment and all I was doing was costing myself precious minutes of sleep. With that reminder, I took deep three deep breaths, and began focusing on my breathing. Every time my mind drifted, I gently brought my awareness back to my breath; within minutes I was asleep. This technique worked so well because it is something I have been doing for years; it takes practice and does not always work perfectly. However, honing this type of skill is priceless to those of us who sometimes have trouble slowing our turbines.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Do You Guru

In my quest to be a mindfulness expert, I have many books, blogs, articles, etc. to read.  Of course, I want to read those of the current experts in the field.  One of the "gurus" of the field is Jon Kabat-Zinn.  He has many books on mindfulness and has been in the field for many years.  All of his books are on my "to read" list.  Anyone interested in cultivating mindfulness would be smart to check him out.  So far, I have read:
This book was one of the first books I ever read on the topic and it had a huge impact on how I existed in the world.  It was years ago that I read it and I am planning on a re-read.  Also, for more of the "gurus" of the field and some free mindfulness meditations, I go to http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22.   I recently

saw that they are offering a certification in mindfulness instruction. If I didn't live a million miles from CA and had the money, I would totally go!  Talk about a "guru fest" of mindfulness!  Seriously, though, I have done the five minute meditation that is free and not only does it promote mindfulness, it is instantly relaxing.  So, take five and check it out.  I'd love to know what you think about it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mindfulness and Chocolate

One way to be mindful is with eating. So many people today, including me, eat while doing other things like watching television, surfing the internet, reading the back of the cereal box. Sometimes, I'll eat and then feel like "what did I just have?" One way to combat this "mindlessness" is to plan to be mindful during a meal. I am on Weight Watchers and also love chocolate. So, I like to make the most out of a small portion of chocolate. Being mindful with chocolate is quite enjoyable. With a piece of chocolate, I'll start by really noticing the rich aroma of the chocolate. Then, I will put a small piece in my mouth, feeling the texture on my tongue, the sweetness, the richness, the deliciousness of the taste. I'll let it melt on my tongue, really feeling it flatten itself smoothly on my tongue. I'll also really pay attention to all the sensations throughout my mouth. This exercise is best done with distractions limited--it should be all about the chocolate. Of course, this can be done with any food and I find that I am much more satisfied when I am more mindful about what I am eating.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My New Direction: Mindfulness



I have decided that I want to become an expert in mindfulness. I know it will take years and I am willing to spend years to attain this goal. I have also decided to blog about my journey to become an expert, sharing my pitfalls and successes along the way along with my favorite resources. In this journey, I would love to engage with others on their experience with mindfulness. So, I will respond to comments in the comment section (hopefully, I will get comments!).