June 21, 2014
Four times a year the solstices and equinoxes remind me of the cycles of change. As a lover of light, I always look forward to the long days of summer. And yet, when the solstice arrives, things are turning the corner. After this longest day, the days will get shorter as darkness increases. This, plus the fact that we have listeners from all over the world, and half of the world is experiencing the shortest day, caused me to wax philosophical. What started as a meditation to celebrate the light of summer morphed into a meditation reflecting on change and how we can relax into it. Our latest podcast - Summer Solstice Guided Meditation – is an opportunity to relax into change and view our current life situation from a broader perspective.
June 24, 2013
Every moment is fresh and new, unlike any that has gone before or will come again. So often expectations based on what has happened in the past cloud our ability to let in what is actually happening now. This latest Guided Meditation for Renewal podcast is an opportunity to let go of expectations, ideas about how things are or will be, and be open to change.
Life is constantly creating and renewing. We breathe in oxygen to enliven and nourish all our cells. The out breath carries away what isn’t needed. Every cell in our body is being replaced with new cells. This meditation invites you to open to the flow of life energy, allowing it to renew you and your life on all levels.
This meditation was recorded live with my guided meditation group. I am thankful that they came up with this theme. It was interesting to hear everyone in the group describe their unique journey with this meditation. I would love to hear about yours!
March 15, 2013
Loneliness can be a doorway to connection. Contained within the feelings of loneliness is our capacity for connection. Our podcast meditation – Guided Meditation for Loneliness – encourages you to go deep into the feelings of loneliness to connect with yourself and ultimately with others.
So often we resist emotions that we feel are threatening or unpleasant. Most of us don’t want to feel pain, but resisting our feelings alienates us from ourselves. This is especially true with loneliness. When we are lonely, we may feel deeply sad or have a strong sense of yearning. We might feel anxious, especially if we feel that there is something wrong with us for feeling they way we do. And yet going into the very heart of loneliness, experiencing it all the way, allows us to feel the most important connection of all — the connection to ourselves.
Remember — loneliness is a normal human feeling. It’s a result of your natural capacity and desire for connection. I would love to hear about your experiences with this meditation.
September 6, 2012
Our new podcast meditation is designed to help you visualize a healthy body. Many people have requested this, each with a different angle. Many wanted to visualize a specific goal. While I allowed time at the beginning of the meditation for people to set a goal, I created a meditation focused on the health of the body as a whole. This is like watering the root of a plant to benefit the whole plant, rather than focusing on any one part.
This Healthy Body Guided Meditation targets the core systems of the body which bring oxygen, nutrition and energy to the cells — the heart, lungs, and digestive systems. Strengthening those supports the health of all of the other parts of the body and can help the body with healing. Simply putting your attention on your body brings energy to it. You can use this meditation to enjoy a sense of well-being and enliven your body.
As with all of my meditations which involve visualization, be easy about the process. You don’t need to follow every word or see everything clearly. You can simply sense something in a vague way. The important thing is not to strain to follow the meditation. Let it unfold in a way that is natural for you. Whatever comes to mind as you try to visualize or sense something is just the right thing for you at that time.
Of course, simply visualizing good health and healing is not enough. For a healthy body, we need a healthy diet, exercise, enough sleep and so on. For healing, it may be necessary to see a health care provider and use appropriate therapies. But visualization can play a big role in moving the body toward health, partly by helping us tune in to our body, listen to its needs and do what is needed to be healthy.
To learn more about visualization, read Dr. Andrew Weil’s article on Guided Imagery — http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00468/Guided-Imagery-Therapy-Dr-Weil.html
For more on my approach to visualization, read this blog post — Intuitive Visualization in Meditation
April 25, 2012
Deepening your connection to your baby during pregnancy is not only fulfilling in itself, but has benefits for both mother and baby. This new podcast meditation helps you to relax deeply, tune into your body and connect with the baby in your womb.
When deeply relaxed, everything flows more easily in your body, circulating blood with its nutrients and oxygen to nourish both you and your child. Your breathing becomes deeper and more regular. The physical benefits of this for both you and your baby are obvious. Mentally your mind becomes more settled and open and you are able to focus on your baby. Emotionally, you are more available to bond with your child and tune into your child’s presence and energy. Being more tuned in will automatically guide you in your eating and lifestyle choices.
As you continue to use the meditation, your connection will deepen. You may also want to share the meditation with the baby’s father. When the guidance is to become aware of the baby “inside you”, he can also connect with the baby inside you. Listening together will enhance your connection with each other, harmonize your intentions, and help you bond with each other as you bond with your baby.
This meditation was born of many requests by pregnant women over the years. Most of them have had their babies by now, but they did help birth this meditation. I would love to hear about your experiences with the meditation!
January 22, 2012
Compassion, like gratitude, is something we love to feel. Even though compassion arises as we witness and empathize with another’s pain, it is satisfying to feel this response in our hearts. It feeds our hearts. Hopefully, this new podcast meditation will help strengthen and develop your capacity for compassion, not only for others, but more importantly for yourself.
I recorded this meditation with my local group. You’ll notice voices in the background in one part. I thought about editing that section out, but I had incorporated the noise into the meditation and thought you might enjoy that. When we hear noise as we meditate, the key is to let go of resistance to it and attempts to push it out. Although it’s more pleasant to meditate in a quiet place, we can experience inner silence even in the midst of noise.
Let me know what you experience with this meditation. Hope it serves you well!
July 7, 2011
This latest podcast meditation came about when I became aware of how much easier it was for me to sense the right side of my body than the left. I was doing a body scan and when I noticed this difference in perception of the two sides, I began experimenting with favoring the signals coming from the left side. The result was a pleasant sense of balance and wholeness. I tried this out with my local guided meditation group and everyone loved the experience. The session had been recorded and so luckily we can share it with you. Doing this meditation, especially if you use it repeatedly, should enhance mind-body coordination, and increase mental and physical balance.
The Body Balance Meditation guides you to focus more than most of our meditations. You will be directed to put your attention on the right and left side of the body (moving from feet to head) and notice if you experience each side with equal clarity. Often it will be more difficult to sense one side than the other. When one side is less clear to you, you’ll be guided to try to sense that side more, holding the intention of experiencing both sides with equal strength. As you do this, be very easy about this focus. You don’t need to strain or concentrate hard to reach the goal of sensing each side equally. If you don’t find your perception of each side shifting, that’s fine. As with all of our meditations, any effort you make is an “effortless effort”. As you repeat this meditation over time, just naturally the balancing of the perception of the two sides will take place. Simply having that intention will gradually make this shift happen.
I’d love to hear your experience with this meditation, and, as always, am happy to answer questions.
April 12, 2011
I’m so glad some of you asked for a meditation for patience. I really needed this! Whenever I’m creating a new meditation, I explore my own experience. Exploring my experience of impatience brought insights, and helped me notice when I was trying to rush things rather than relaxing into the natural rhythm of how things are unfolding in my life. This new podcast meditation was created to allow you (and me) to relax into life’s natural timing.
When we are impatient, we are in a hurry for things to be different. Whether we’re eager to finish a project, or make a change in ourselves or our circumstances, we are focussed on the future. We’re at point A, but our attention is on getting to point B. In essence, we feel that things will be better at point B, and we’re trying to get away from point A.
The fast pace of life and living in a culture that values quantity and speed feeds impatience. For many of us, it takes a strong intention and usually some sort of practice to counteract that. Meditation is certainly a great antidote to our speedy culture, and you can add to that an intention to come back to the present throughout the day. It’s a great help to be in tune with your body, because it will tell you when you are rushing.
Next time you feel impatient, check in with your body. What do you feel? Chances are you’ll feel some agitation and restlessness. Let yourself be present to that. You might then find that some other feeling emerges — sadness, anger, frustration, fear… Allow yourself to be present to that. Allow the emotions to be felt and see what happens. See what else you experience by being present to yourself and the moment. Hopefully you’ll notice the aliveness that is there, and find fulfillment in simply being present to what is.
Take a little more time, and look around you and see what is there — the richness of experience is nothing short of a miracle. You hear sounds, touch textures, see colors and shapes, and have a huge variety of smells and tastes to feed the senses. If you find a relief in relaxing into the now, make note of that for the future. Take a moment to let that sink in, to recognize that the real fulfillment in life doesn’t have anything to do with finishing a project or changing yourself and your circumstances. It has to do with the simple experience of being alive, and the richness of that experience.
January 19, 2011
Getting me to bed was a long routine for my mother. She’d have me all tucked in and start to leave my room and then I’d say, “Mommy, I want some water”. Off she’d go for water, and once I’d had that, she’d be on her way again. My next ploy for keeping her near was — “leave a crack in the door”. She’d leave the door a little open and I’d say “bigger”, and she’d open it a bit further and start to step away. “It’s too big, make it smaller”, I’d say. You can see where this is going! I’m not sure how she would finally make an exit, but I do remember what was going on inside me. I was anxious!
I haven’t thought about this for years, not until I started recording this new podcast (Sleep Meditation for Children). I wanted to go back and remember and get into my child world. What would have helped me if I could have had a guided meditation back then? I tried to speak to the child that I was, and this new podcast offering is what resulted. It is designed to help a child settle into bed and relax into sleep. For children who are fearful at bedtime, there is an added element of a “make believe friend” to help them feel reassured.
Please listen to the meditation first and see if you feel it will be suitable for your child. It’s for fairly young children. I’m sure you’ll check to see if your child liked it after the first time they hear it, and see if he or she has a question about what something means. Like all guided meditations, this will work for some and not others. I do hope, though, that it will send lots of children off to sleepyland feeling relaxed, safe and loved.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with it here. And it’s fine if you use it as an adult. We’ve all still got the child we were within us!
November 19, 2010
Is anger a difficult emotion for you? If yes, why?
In my family, anger simply wasn’t expressed. Being angry wasn’t allowed, the obvious conclusion being that it was a bad thing to feel. I wasn’t a child who could say “I hate you mommy!”, a perfectly normal thing for a young child to say. It’s taken a long, long time for me to find a healthy relationship with anger.
For others, the challenge with anger may be a different one, but I’ve had so many requests for a meditation for anger, that I know it’s a challenge for many people. I do hope this latest podcast meditation will help with some of the issues with anger, and would love to hear about your experience with it. I’ve thought about some reasons why anger can be so challenging and am sharing some of my thoughts as a background for the meditation.
Anger can be a very useful emotion. It can show us where we need to take action and gives us energy to do so. If the barking of a neighborhood dog or someone’s loud music is disturbing your sleep night after night, anger is a natural response. As part of the fight of flight response, it gets you to take action. Hopefully you can find a constructive way to confront the situation and resolve it.
Like every emotion anger is a natural flow of life energy. When allowed to flow freely, it passes through us. All too often, however, anger gets suppressed and doesn’t get released. That energy will then express itself in other ways, or lead to chronically tight muscles and other problems. What you resist persists, and suppressing anger actually keeps it around.
Another way of keeping anger going is to hold onto it by running stories in our minds about whatever it is that makes us angry. We may play something that happened over and over in our minds, thus extending the anger and not allowing it to resolve. Both strategies, suppressing anger and getting mentally involved with it, can cause it to continue longer than it needs to. It’s the ability to allow the anger to be felt fully that allows it to release.
Why would we hang onto anger? Sometimes anger is a reaction to another emotion, and covers up the original emotion. For example, if you feel hurt by someone, it may seem easier to feel the anger than the hurt. But unless you feel the underlying hurt, the anger will never resolve.
Anger can be difficult when it is accompanied by destructive thoughts. The thoughts themselves may seem unacceptable, or there may be a fear that they will be translated into action. The more we can feel the anger fully and allow whatever thought comes to come, the more choice we actually have about when and how to act. The ability to stay centered in ourselves as the observer of our anger gives us greater mastery over our behavior.
When to get help: Sometimes, of course, it’s important to get help with anger. If we are very angry a lot of the time or angry way out of proportion to the situation, counseling can help us work on unresolved issues causing the anger. And certainly if our expression of anger is interfering with our relationships, daily functioning or is destructive to others, professional help is needed.
I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with anger and what you’ve learned. I’d also love to hear about your experiences with this meditation.