All posts filed under: Mindful Living

Mindful Hiking

Practicing Mindfulness and Awareness in Nature

By Kay Peterson // A passing rainstorm doesn’t have to ruin a hike if we remember to bring a raincoat or don’t mind temporarily getting a little wet! The clouds are certain to pass and we may even be left feeling stronger and more rejuvenated than we expected. Our emotional landscape is much like the weather – we may not be able to control it, but we do have power over our reactions to it. As human beings, we have a tendency to gravitate toward pleasurable experiences and to avoid potentially painful ones. One could argue that some of that tendency is a by-product of important survival instincts. We need to be able to identify and act when we encounter potentially life-threatening situations. However, this “instinct” can also run amok – especially these days when we rarely find ourselves being chased by dinosaurs 😉 Sometimes that part of the brain that alerts us to potential danger has been trained to be reactive – to be especially sensitive – often due to some kind of trauma …

MBSR

28,762 days

By Janet Solyntjes // This is the number of days that make up the average life expectancy of a person born in the United States. How many of these days will US citizens spend appreciating life? How will you spend this one? We are a time-conscious society. Productivity, connectivity, pressured to beat the clock—how often do we look at our iPhone or laptop to see what time it is? Do we understand what time is telling us? The clock and the calendar are both saying that we won’t be here forever. They reveal one simple truth: time only runs in one direction. An aspen tree doesn’t look at a clock to see when it is time to turn golden. The northern lake doesn’t need a timeline or deadline to tell it when to freeze or thaw. As humans, we often experience time-related stress. Rather than seeing the passing of time as a source of pressure or a reason to feel that we are too lazy, too crazy, or that we are losing our grip on …

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 …

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, …

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.