Mindfulness Feed

Confessions of an Imperfect Meditator: Or, From Zafu to Snafu!



I am seated comfortably in a slightly darkened and quiet space – spine easily erect, eyes peacefully closed, perhaps my palms are facing up.  I am using my breath as an anchor for awareness, gently returning there after each pesky wayward thought. Aah… meditation. Aah… mindfulness. I am accepting each moment as it is with no judgment, no attachment, and no aversion. Focusing on the breath. Inhale … Exhale … Aah… I love mindfulness. Time seems to have vanished. I feel relaxed and composed; all is right with the world. I surrender to this peaceful moment, and accept what is. All body tension is released. What a lovely and pleasant practice. Aah … meditation. Aah … mindfulness. Life is good.


“Mindfulness is the awareness that arises through

paying attention,

on purpose,

in the present moment,


                                            Jon Kabat-Zinn


Spirituality for the Other Six Days of the Week

And then, there is the real world. What about Mindfulness while Life is happening?  What about mindfulness when you are not sitting on that fancy $80. round pillow (Zafu) and instead, you are sitting in the dentist chair, exposed by that bright light, those sterile sights and sounds, the too cold AC, and the promise of physical pain any minute? And after a loud CRACK! the dentist reluctantly stares down at the floor and stammers the clearly bad news, “I’m so sorry, we broke off your front tooth while trying to remove the temporary crown.” Teeth - Missing Front Tooth

“WHAT!?!?!” The ballistic racing thoughts are propelled in all directions simultaneously. “What do I do now? How much is this going to cost? How did this happen? What do we do now? How am I going to pay for this? You better be planning to pay for this. I can’t afford this. What will I look like without a front tooth? I can’t go out in the world without a front tooth! Thank God I don’t have to stand in front of a classroom tomorrow. Now what!? Shit!” “Uh oh, do people who meditate say shit?”


And then, “Oh, yeah, mindfulness. OK, wait, how do I do this mindfully? What am I feeling? What is happening in this present moment? What are my thoughts? Don’t think of your thoughts, just focus on your breath. What am I feeling? I’m feeling scared and angry. Where am I feeling this in my body? “How am I going to pay for this?” Woops…  Accept this situation for what it is. No judgments. Wait. How can a broken off front tooth NOT be a bad thing? No aversion. Seriously? Yes, seriously. OK, I’m in this moment, blessing this moment for what it is. Yeah, right. This moment sucks. Do I get credit for being in this moment even though I am judging it as being a sucky moment?  Clearly, I am not that evolved yet. OK, breathe… “- The dentist says she will pay all the costs for the new implant. She will send me to the best Oral Surgeon in town and pick up the entire tab. “OK, whew…”   


Exhale… And then, “What’s an implant? What does that involve? Bone graft!? Three months!? Screw in my gums and then another four months!? And then the final implant after about a total eight-month process!?  What!?!?”


“OK, back to mindfulness. What am I feeling? Get back in this moment. Focus on the inhale, then focus on the --- hey, wait, I haven’t exhaled at all in the last 10 minutes! Quick, exhale! Oh, and focus on it! This moment sucks. Stop judging this moment. That last moment is already gone, so get back into this one. Well, this one sucks, too. It’s all ok; in the great cosmic scheme of things, this is just another thing, another life experience. Accept what is. No aversion. OK, but now I am averse to being in aversion. I can’t win.”


“What about Mindful Self-Compassion?” – “Oh, yeah. OK, What was that four step process that Kristin Neff talks about? Oh, yeah –

                                                                “1) This is a moment of "freaking out".

                                                                 2) "Freaking out" is part of life.

                                                                 3) May I be kind to myself.

                                                                 4) May I give myself the compassion I need.  


Whew… breathe… and remember to exhale this time.  And focus on it, damnit!  Uh oh, do people who meditate say damnit?  Oh, geez, back to my $80. round pillow.


A Golf Analogy

I wish I could say that this scenario description is an exaggeration. Well, maybe a little. But mostly, I lived this exact situation. I was just pleased that I had the presence of mind to at least try to be mindful in the middle of this mini-crisis. After more experience with meditation, I have no doubt that I won’t have to “try” to be mindful. It will become my default way of being. It already has become part of my daily comings and goings – at least the ones that don’t involve sudden and major hardship!                                          

                                                                                              Golfer Driving Range

I think that meditation is to mindfulness as the driving range is to playing a game of golf. On the driving range, I pay attention to every little detail: how I address the ball, my grip, my back swing, my upper body, keeping my left arm straight, my hips leading, contact with the ball, my follow through. Every ball in that bucket is about focused concentration on the micro movements of my golf swing. Then, when I am all done, I can go about the joy and the challenge of simply playing a game of golf. I pay rudimentary attention to my club selection, grip, and stance. But beyond that, I trust that all that focused attention on the driving range will come to the fore (no pun intended) and reveal itself naturally with little conscious effort.


I trust that, in time, I will reap the benefits of my meditation practice. I will more naturally and mindfully take things in stride without having to consciously direct my responses. When experienced meditators are asked how they have benefited from their meditation practice, the most common response is this: “I feel like there is a bigger space of time between stimulus and response. I have just that much more opportunity to choose my response instead of just reacting.”


In the meantime, my meditation practice will continue with a lighthearted nod to good intentions and generous self-forgiveness for when I don't get it just right. Mindfulness is a quality that I have invited into my life, a daily intention to live my life with awareness - even when what I am aware of is the shock of a missing front tooth!


Be sure to join us at the 4th Annual New Mexico Leaders in Mindfulness Conference on Saturday, April 21.

The Conference will be held at the First Unitarian Church in Albuquerque at 3701 Carlisle, NE 87110

9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Registration is only $75.




Make this easy for yourself! Let me come to you!

It's FREE!

When you become a Subscriber, you will get an e-mail from me when I occasionally publish a new post. The link will bring you right back here with one click. Just fill in your e-mail address over there >>> on the right side bar where it says, "Subscribe."


Mindful Self-Compassion: A Guided Meditation Script

Rocks with Leaf 2

I Am My Own Beloved

Pause to take several conscious breaths, bringing yourself into this moment. Read the following slowly, quietly, gently, allowing for several pauses to stop and take the words in.

Now find yourself in this moment and gently rest your hand on your heart.

"My beloved, I adore you. Yes, I love you just as you are. Sometimes, you lose your way and forget the Truth of who you are. And that is why we are meeting here today. Yes. Do you think this is a mere chance meeting that we are connecting here today – today at this very moment? I have whispered in your ear and conspired with the Universe that you would make clear the path to arrive here now, at this very moment. Consider the thousands of other choices placed in your path and yet, here you are by divine appointment. You are here to be reminded.


You are loved. You are lovable. You are loved. Yes, you. Say it silently with me now. “I am loved. I am lovable. I am loved. I am my own beloved, I am my own beloved. I am my own beloved.”


Yes, breathe this in . . .  and breathe this out . . .  I love me. The “I” that IS love, loves the “I” that is loved. The “I” that IS love, loves the “I” that is loved. I am love. Where I move, love moves. Where I sit, love sits. Where I walk, love walks. Where I am, there love is, because there I am.


Alright, let me speak – briefly – lovingly, to the One Who Forgets. Let me quiet your protestations. You say you don’t deserve, that you are flawed, you act with hate towards others and even yourself. So, therefore, you are not lovable. Well, of course, you act with hate. We all do. We all act with hate when we are fearful. And we are fearful when we forget – when we forget the Truth of who we are. The Truth is we are love and we are connected with all the Universe. So, if you want to stop hating, stop forgetting who you are. It is indeed, that simple. How do you remember the Truth of who you are? Meditate. Pray. Meditate. Pray. Meditate with a smile. Simple.


Now, let us remember once more. Yes, breathe this in . . .  and breathe this out . . .  I love me. The “I” that IS love, loves the “I” that is loved. The “I” that IS love, loves the “I” that is loved. I am love. Where I move, love moves. Where I sit, love sits. Where I walk, love walks. Where I am, there love is, because there I am. I am my own beloved.

Yes, breathe this in . . . and breathe this out . . .

Love . . . Love . . . Love . . .


This is the Mindful Self-Compassion Guided Meditation script written for the Third Annual New Mexico Leaders in Mindfulness Conference, April 22, 2017 in Albuquerque, NM. Please share freely while giving credit to the author.


Make this easy for yourself! Let me come to you!

It's FREE!

When you become a Subscriber, you will get an e-mail from me when I occasionally publish a new post. The link will bring you right back here with one click. Just fill in your e-mail address over there >>> on the right side bar where it says, "Subscribe."


Do You Suffer from pTSD? "pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder"

 Do You Suffer from pTSD? There is a new diagnostic category called pre Traumatic Stress Disorder. It refers to the experience of anxiety caused by events that are imagined and have not yet happened. This disorder is characterized by intrusive catastrophic thoughts of the world coming to an end and the persistent belief that your entire self-worth depends on your stellar performance in everything that you do. Most notable are the Inner Critic voices running amok in your head, screaming negative thoughts of failure, doom, and disaster.

Physical symptoms include increased heart rate, sweaty palms, tightness in the chest, stiff neck and shoulders, and shallow breathing. Because it is true that thoughts are chemicals, these thoughts produce a gush of cortisol inside your body which contributes to inflammation (read that premature aging) and depressed immune function. Physical sickness, accident proneness, irritability, depression, and strained relationships are not far behind.

Get a grip on your thoughts. Get back into today, where you belong. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, whatever the present moment is. – good, bad or indifferent.


Note: Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a spoof diagnosis. It is intended to bring awareness to the futility and stress caused by worrying about what we don't have control over in the future. It in no way is meant to minimize the very real challenges of living with the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Make this easy for yourself! Let me come to you!

It's FREE!

When you become a Subscriber, you will get an e-mail from me when I occasionally publish a new post. The link will bring you right back here with one click. Just fill in your e-mail address over there >>> on the right side bar where it says, "Subscribe."


If You Are Grateful, You Are Not Fearful

Spirituality Blessings Rock
My best friend, Mary and I have decided that the feeling of gratitude is our favorite feeling. When I feel grateful, I am aware that I feel humble, which makes me think of Grace. And Grace is beyond words. So I won't even try.


I appreciated the quote from the TED Talk speaker, David Steindl-Rast, "If you are grateful, you are not fearful." I totally get that. In fact, I realize that random acts of kindness are gratitude... expressed. Expressing gratitude is usually thought to be expressed with a verbal, "thank you," or some expression using words - which is a fine and good thing.  I think acts of kindness are my behavioral expressions of gratitude.


When I was writing my workshop presentation about how to use Mindful Self-Compassion to Reduce Test Anxiety, Worried Male Test Taker it seemed intuitively wise to suggest that the test anxious student plan to perform a random act of kindness on the day of the test, preferably before the test. I was aware that the state of anxiety is a very self centered space to be in, that energy is contracted, assuming a posture of self-protection and defensiveness.


It seemed to me that that is probably not the best energetic space for peak mental performance - fear based self-protection. So, I wanted the student to behave in a way that tells the brain that the heart chakra is open, that we feel safe enough to come out of ourselves and give to another.


Now, what is coming into focus for me is that this act of kindness is really an expression of gratitude - even unconsciously - and "if you are grateful, you are not fearful." Hence, your test anxiety might just get the memo that the body/mind - the "self" is in a state of gratitude, and therefore, cannot possibly be anxious. Remember, "love is letting go of fear." We are in a state of either love - or fear - at any given moment.



May I accept things as they are.

May I be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.

May I have ease of well-being.

May I be protected and safe.

May I be happy.


Mindful Self-Compassion

This is why I think Self-Compassion is the perfect antidote for fear or any kind of performance anxiety. Love yourself through your fear. You can't be in both states at the same time. Pick love. And then take the test. Take the test with an attitude of love for yourself, and even love for the test. Say Metta for the test. "May the test accept things as they are. May the test be free of suffering and the cause of suffering..." Re-frame the adversarial attitude toward the test. Befriend the enemy and lo, there are only friends in your midst.


BandAidThe same principle applies when I say, "What is learned at an emotional level cannot be unlearned at a cognitive level." You can't just throw flowery affirmations at a deeply wounded soul and expect it to just bounce back as if it was all just an unfortunate misunderstanding. Only love, ie, Self-Compassion can soften, in time, the hard crusted scars of the wounded child in each of us. You only insult the pain further by presuming to "positively affirm" it away.


Don't try to not feel your emotional pain. Don't deny it. Don't minimize it. Don't try to rationalize it away. Don't effort it away. Tether yourself to the promise of the healing power of love. Accept your memories and your pain. Bring mindfulness to the experience of your pain. Then extend the loving-kindness of our vast universe toward yourself. Bring love on a velvet pillow and offer it to your pain. Inhale that love and then exhale the breath that has been trapped in your pain body for so many years. Stay with that visualization. Inhale ... Exhale ...  Repeat. Then take a nap, because you might be a bit exhausted.

Ocean Evening

I think I just invented MBSCT - Mindfulness Based Self-Compassion Therapy. Move over, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Move over, even Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. It's not about cognitions. It's about love - self-love, self-compassion. And then it's about having the courage to accept that healing, to give yourself permission to let go of the old pain, the old identity of being a broken person. And turn toward your future, casting off the trappings of the former victim and claiming the freedoms of the new self. Cool, huh?

Let me know what you think. Are we on to something here?


Make this easy for yourself! Let me come to you!


It's FREE!


When you become a Subscriber, you will get an e-mail from me when I occasionally publish a new post. The link will bring you right back here with one click. Just fill in your e-mail address over there >>> on the right side bar where it says, "Subscribe."




Mindful Grieving

Grief Wood Sculpture
"I want to go through this just once - whether it takes a few days, a few months, or a few years." Those were the wise words of my dear friend as she asked me for some suggestions about how to navigate this new journey thrust upon her by the sudden death of her older brother. Two weeks ago, she was halfway around the world in Australia when she got that dreaded call in the middle of the night. He had been missing and then the police welfare check confirmed their worst fears, four days after he apparently died alone in his apartment. Shocked and stunned into paralysis, she sat on the edge of her bed unable to move, unable to put together a plan of what to do next. Literally, what to do next. Somehow, in a surreal blur of warp speed and slow motion, she made her way back to Albuquerque only to leave the next day for the funeral and then back home two days later. Events transpired so fast, even jet lag couldn't catch up with her until a few days ago.

 Of course, I listened far more than I spoke, and then only to remind her of the need to drink plenty of water, eat nutritious food, get as much sleep as possible, trust love, and stay in today.


The Mindful Path of Grief

Path in Woods

Within the embrace of today is this moment. Notice this moment. Notice that you are feeling; perhaps notice what you are feeling. With the gentleness and delicate care that you reserve for only your most beloved friend, gaze upon yourself with compassionate acceptance. Notice, too, that in this loving space, there is no need for "shoulds," no need for judgments, no need to be anything different from who you are right now. Grief is as unique as the proverbial snowflake. Each person's process is invented as it unfolds.

Perhaps you are in shock. Perhaps your mind is racing. Perhaps you are numb. You may want to withdraw. You may want to invite friends to come close. Maybe you want to talk. Maybe you want to scream. Maybe you want to sit and rock yourself in the dark. There is nothing to change; there is only to allow. Allow your natural instinct for self-compassion to guide your conscious process through this most sacred and searing time.

Dice Today Tomorrow

As much as possible, protect your physical space, time, and privacy to respond to whatever inclination your grief asks of you. Simplify your life; reduce your usual daily demands to only the most basic. This is the surest and safest path through this challenging journey.

Neither be averse nor attached to your experience. You don't need to be afraid of the pain. Even if you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with your pain, seemingly lost and alone, and beyond reach, you are not. You are tethered to your truth through your trust in a love-filled universe.

Let your friends love you. Let us lift you up when it is time for you to be lifted up.

                                                              Ocean One Big Wave

You don't need to judge the waves, let alone name them. Just ride along with them, assured that you will be delivered safely to a better place. No feeling is too much or too little, too soon or too late. There is no normal; there is no abnormal. Follow your own lead as you compassionately witness yourself. Allowing yourself to be in this moment will mysteriously reveal your next steps. Trust that those steps will carry you to serenity.

                                                            Anxiety Workshop Butterfly

Let your grief move through you. Notice it and respect its own wisdom to move beyond you. Do not insult your grief by clinging to it or identifying with it. It knows its rightful place is to merely touch you, like the alight of a butterfly upon your shoulder.

Grief is the ecstatic reminder that you have loved. Take comfort, even joy in the knowledge that you have fulfilled the purpose of your life, that you have willingly paid the price of deep love with the currency of deep pain. Perhaps you will even love again in your life because, having now come full circle, your healing teaches you that the pain of loss is the bittersweet affirmation of your highest accomplishment: you loved.

Do just these three things today:

                   Notice . . . . .    

                                               Accept . . . . .      

                                                                                 Release . . . . .



KR NaPali Coast Small


Megaphone with Words Special Announcements

Make this easy for yourself! Let me come to you!

It's FREE!

When you become a Subscriber, you will get an email from me when I 

occasionally publish a new post. The link will bring you right back here with one click. Just fill in your email address over there >>> on the right side bar where it says,