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Coming Home (To Ourselves) For The Holidays

Thanksgiving Day is upon us, and for many that means the start of the holiday season. Here we go! The stress, worry, relationship struggles, shopping, hurt feelings, awkward moments with your drunk uncle sharing his political views….. you know the drill.

This year….come home yourself for the holiday’s. What do I mean? Have I lost it? Well, I probably have, but let me share the only solution to all of this mayhem that has worked for me over the years (aside from crawling under a rock and avoiding the holiday’s all together).

Pause. Breathe. Practice Compassion.

Do this ever so quietly in your own mind…over and over again (should others catch on they may think you drank too much of the punch). And start with compassion for yourself before offering it to others. This is how we come home to ourselves. When we find ourselves getting irritated about something “out there” we immediately take a u-turn back to our own hearts and minds.

Each time one of those “inconvenient irritations” appear just pause…take that breath…and offer yourself a little compassion. Once that compassion has sunk in offer it up to others. We can’t love up on others until we love up on ourselves.

Here’s the deal…everyone is doing their best with their current situation and state of mind. And during the holiday’s many folks tend to lose their minds. It’s just the way of it. We can’t and shouldn’t expect anyone else to change. We are the one’s we have been waiting for.

Compassion is this beautiful space awaiting us under the big emotions that often get triggered during the holiday season. It’s so generous in that it does not ask us not to feel what we are feeling, but instead to see any given situation with reality. It asks us to take off the veil and be with what is….just as it is. Compassion reminds us to stay open to the truth of any moment, even when that moment hurts us in some way. It walks us straight into presence and into the arms of love.

Let’s spend more time together in the arms of love this holiday season. I plan to start in my own loving arms and move out from there…

Now off you go to practice presence during this holiday season. One moment at a time…

Xo

Michelle

Four Steps to Diffusing Big Emotions

One of the most common requests I receive from corporate clients and stay at home/working parents alike is to help them manage their response to stress. Personally, particularly on school day mornings, as I’m trying to get my kids out the door and myself to work, having the ability to bring it down a notch is absolutely critical. No one can find their shoes, the dogs are barking, the waffles just burned, and I’m running late to see a client. The best parts of me can be pretty hard to find in those moments.  

It’s perfectly normal for us to experience stress, and some measure of stress is actually good! It can motivate us and spark us into action. However, when the level of stress we experience passes our ability to skillfully deal with it, then it’s important to have some skills to help in that moment.

A useful skill to self sooth on the spot is to label our emotions. A study done back in 2007 by Matthew Lieberman and his colleagues looked at functional MRI images of people who were emotionally triggered. They found that if you labeled your emotion by simply saying sadness, frustration, anger, or any other emotion, this had a direct effect on calming the amygdala which is the alarm center of our brain that goes crazy when we are stressed. Labeling the emotion decreased the activation of that alarm center. When we identify our emotions we miraculously stop being identified with them! Self soothing 101.

To help my clients (and myself) practice this technique I like to use the acronym STOP.

S- Stop. Pause. Don’t do or say anything else! Seriously. Don’t.

T- Take a breath while focusing on a long exhale.

O- Observe the emotion present. Label it.

P- Proceed, with lower emotional reactivity and a more sane response.

Now go do life and keep this little mindfulness hack in your back pocket….. What we practice grows stronger! 

A Conversation on Fatherhood with Soren Gordhamer, Founder of Wisdom 2.0

Listen in as Michelle & Soren talk about fatherhood, parenting, and the adventures of the teen years.

Within these thirty minutes you will hopefully be inspired and gain practical ideas for living more consciously with your children.

About Soren Gordhamer

Soren Gordhamer works with individuals and groups on living with greater mindfulness and purpose in our technology-rich age. He is founder and host of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, and the author of Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected (HarperOne, 2009), one of the first books to explore living with mindfulness and wisdom within the context of our modern technology age.

Awakening Joy in Kids with James Baraz and Michele Lilyanna

Spirit Rock founder, author, and teacher James Baraz’s Awakening Joy offers his large and devoted readership a program to gain contentment and happiness by cultivating the seeds of joy within. He joins with Michele Lilyanna, a classroom teacher for 25 years, to offer caregivers and children ways to find joy in each day together.

This unique offering nourishes both adults and kids. James shares the practices for the adults—parents, caregivers, and teachers. Michele offers her own experiences as a parent and as a teacher, showing how the themes work with kids, followed by the tried and true lessons that she’s used herself in the classroom and at home.

Tune in to hear James and Michele share about their many years of working with thousands of adults and children in retreats, workshops, and the classroom.

You can purchase the book through Amazon HERE.

Learn more about James & Michele’s work, sign up for their newsletter, and learn about their course offerings HERE

Thanks for listening. If you like what you heard, please give us some stars and a favorable review at iTunes.