All posts filed under: Mindful Living

The Path of Grief, Joy, and Awakening

By David Chernikoff // I was a little surprised when I arrived at Maria’s room and found out that I needed to put on a gown and gloves because she was at high risk for infection. I understood what compromised immunity was. Still, I felt awkward and silly whenever I put that stuff on. The discharge planner had spoken to Maria about our hospice program and Maria agreed that hospice care was an appropriate next step. Still, Maria wanted to meet one of our staff people and I was happy to put a human face on our organization. She didn’t have any real questions that she couldn’t answer for herself. What she really wanted was to share the story of her life, and to prepare for the end of what she called, “my life in this world.” This was the kind of listening that I savored, a peak into another person’s soul that left me with a felt sense of what the Sufis mean when they talk about “the privilege of being human.” That night, …

With Nature as Our Guide

By Kay Peterson // These days I’ve been contemplating how hard it can sometimes be for us to come together to meet the challenges of today’s world with wisdom, compassion, and skillful action. In the wake of dramatic events that stir fear and uncertainty, it can be so easy to get lost in the split of right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, or us vs. them. There’s a seductive illusion (or delusion) that choosing a side will bring safety and security, yet this actually narrows our view and a collective uneasiness remains. Somehow, I think we instinctively know that it’s not so simple, and being with nature reminds us of the delicate balance that is the web of life. There are so many causes and conditions that contribute to this life unfolding as it does. We may find ourselves often reacting to challenging situations with our habitual versions of fight, flight or freeze. While we can appreciate these coping strategies for how they may have helped protect us at one time, we also know that …

Katharine Kaufman

The Good Vehicle

By Katharine Kaufman // My father taught me how to move with wind and water. He taught me to read the direction of the wind by turning my cheek, appreciate the lines of the sail and cleats and tiller. He said, watch out, you’re luffing. Luffing is when the sail is not taught; there is bagginess in the bottom triangle of the sail. If the wind was steady, and sea calm, and if it wasn’t too cold, and the current didn’t drag the boat; that was the best thing. Sometimes we’d sing about the drunken sailor as we bailed water with a cut out clorox bottle, watched out for buoys, looked ahead for reefs, shallow places, looked at the sails, horizon, water, my family’s barefeet. ~ When I first learned about Yoga and Mediation I thought when teachers said return to what is happening now, that it was their present moment I should have. That the present was more magical, fancy, mysterious then what my present had to offer. I wanted Richard Freeman’s present moment, …

5 Things To Know About Meditating for a Whole Week

By Ryan Stagg // At the end of a recent week-long meditation retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center another participant remarked about how difficult it would be to explain her experience back home. “We sat a lot, walked in circles, and didn’t talk much,” she said with a laugh. And yet somehow after a week of performing this simple routine, often in complete silence, we all had smiles on our faces and a clear appreciation for the journey we had just completed. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what, but some transformation had undoubtedly occurred. The atmosphere in the room was simply lighter and more spacious. There is something very radical about choosing to go on a meditation retreat. In many ways it stands in contrast to the speediness and excitement of our everyday lives. It also creates a fundamental shift in our perspective—rather than seeking fulfillment externally, we resolve to sit and look inside, at our own bodies, hearts, and minds. The effects of embracing this contemplative perspective have long been promoted by practitioners and …

How a Meditation Retreat Can Change Everything

By Daniel Hessey // Acharya Bill McKeever and I led a dathün a few years ago, and at the beginning of the month–long retreat, he filled a glass of water and stirred some mud into it. It became murky and funky. You could not see through the glass, and you wouldn’t want to drink it. Even when the the water stopped swirling, the dirt remained suspended and the water opaque. Bill put the glass on the shrine, where it sat untouched for four weeks. The first week, it didn’t seem to change all that much, but on the second week you could see some sediment accumulating at the bottom—though the water was not clear. The third week, you could see through the water much better, though it was still a little brown. Then, in the fourth week, Bill picked up the glass and drank from the clear water above all the mud that had settled to the bottom. Daily meditation practice changes everything. We learn we can make friends with ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, and …

Ayurveda

Shifts in Seasonal Eating: Late Winter Insights

By Kate O’Donnell // I usually travel out to India in the winters, but there were a few years recently where I wintered through in Boston to see what its all about. The main thing I noticed, in regards to general seasonal changes and Ayurvedic routines, I would like to share with you: When it is very cold, the fires recede into the core of the body, the digestion actually gets stronger, and heavier foods are craved, and needed, then digested well. I got on an enjoyable program of enjoying more oat bars and whole grain cookies and spiced milk. But here’s the thing. It was in March – and perhaps even late February for those of you who live in warmer climates – that my cravings for the cookies began to subside. BUT, I kept eating the cookies. Because it’s still not nice out, it’s still relatively cold (thought not freezing), I’m still wearing big jackets and boots- man- don’t take my cookies!? While the spring cleanse doesn’t happen until April, March proved to …

Shambhala Mountain Center

Insights From Four Days With Twenty Leaders Who Decided To Do Nothing

By Rob Dube // The first donothing Leadership Silent Retreat was an unprecedented success. Last week I returned from hosting twenty leaders at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains to share silence together. Against conventional wisdom, this group did not come to this “conference” to learn about the latest trends in business or their industry but instead, to learn about themselves. And they did it in silence together. When I discuss the idea of being in silence for an extended period, I often start to notice people’s eyes glaze over, and if that’s you, please stay with me! Why would a busy leader take time out of their week and make the financial investment to come together to sit in silence and donothing? To do so takes a willingness to think differently about life and business. These leaders are different; they are working on one of our most challenging skills—complete awareness and full presence in life. They realized, whether through nudging or curiosity, that for each of them, …

Susan PIver

Susan Piver on Meditation

By Susan Piver // When you can honestly say I am comfortable in myself, the world opens up in a way you could not imagine.  You take care of your home as a gesture of self-respect. You love your body and feed it with joy and ease. Good relationships grow stronger and difficult relationships become more workable. You trust your instincts. You laugh more. You also cry more. The world of emotion is revealed as a source of richness. You go out into the world to do your work, your service, your part with confidence and resilience.  You become a source of strength for others. The path to an open-hearted life begins with the practice of meditation. In the Open Heart Project, meditation is not a life-hack. It is not practiced for self-help  or self-improvement. It is the practice of self-kindness, the very foundation of compassion, wisdom, and power.  Though there are many places you can go to learn meditation, most of them present the practice as a scientifically proven method for achieving excellence. That is great because it …

Paul Spiegelman

Go On A Silent Retreat? You’ve Got To Be Kidding!

By Paul Spiegelman // Like most of you, the thought of going to some remote spot and not talking to anyone for several days was not at all appealing.  Neither was the idea that I would need to turn off my phone and completely disconnect. So you could imagine the anxiety as I took the two-hour drive from the Denver airport to the Shambhala Mountain Retreat in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado last Monday. I had been invited, along with about 15 other business leaders, to attend a “transformative experience” by Rob Dube, author of donothing: The Most Rewarding Leadership Challenge You’ll Ever Take.  Rob is a long-time member of the Small Giants Community, a devotee of meditation, and a good friend.  Though I have to admit I never would have agreed to do something like this, I wanted to support Rob.  When we got to the retreat and went around the room, I found that most of the attendees were nervous participants as well.  But here we were. In the weeks leading up to the event, I wasn’t too concerned about …

MBSR Vacation

The Paradox of Pleasure

There’s a natural sacredness in the world – in the blue sky, muddy earth, the sound of leaves fluttering, faces of children at play, the feeling of muscles exerting, the change of season. We need not pursue pleasure, it’s present when were willing to experience the world directly. It’s as if our eyes have grown scales making it hard to see. When we relax the scales fall away.