Be Kind to Yourself!

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Be Kind to Yourself!

Be kind to yourself! The evidence is in…It does work!

 

As a therapist one of the most common problems my clients admit is the habit of talking to themselves in a mean voice. Maybe you know this one. We have a running dialogue with ourselves all the time. Our internal voice can criticize, predict negative outcomes and point out all your failures. It’s the voice that says “Um…you shouldn’t have said that …everyone is staring…what’s wrong with you…LOSER!”

However, this habit is never the symptom that brings someone to therapy. I must ask directly…What’s your internal voice say to you?  Is it kind?  Helpful?  Encouraging? Or mean and critical? 

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      Sometimes being a meditation mentor really sucks. Everyone expects you to be all “Zen” all the time. You’re supposed to be kind, peaceful and patient.  But **@* it!!!  I don’t feel like this all the time and I just want you to know.  I get envious, really envious… and sometimes I’m irritable.  No Zen there.  I may say things like  “Everything happens for a reason”  and  “All is well”  but really, truly, I’m not buying it some days.  But what am I supposed to do?  I'm just a human being after all. Right, I know the answer to this, you don’t have to tell me.  Just breathe.   3 conscious breaths can make the difference between a good day and a bad one. It can also turn a bad mood into a better mood. It works. I know it and you are learning it. I'll struggle with it. I'll fight it. It’s hard to let go of old habits and as much as I believe in the healing power of meditation my brain can get stuck for long periods of time.  So why am I telling you this you ask? Because my dear friends, I am normal and you are too.  If you are having a challenging day and you become aware of the fact that you are stuck in some negative patterns you can make a few moves to help get unstuck or at least limit the time you are spending in that dark place.  Here’s what I do…and you can do it too.   First.   Take a breath . No. Take 3. Three long slow deep breaths. Really breathe. Focus on the inhale and exhale. Feel your chest expanding and contracting. Notice the breath and only this. You have heard this from me before. I continue to repeat that breathing is a coping strategy because it works. It’s simple and effective. No mystery. Long slow deep breathing tells your body that everything is OK. It’s the same breath you use when you are falling asleep. Just breathe.   Next, be kind to yourself!  Say something nice. Practice this one…" I am good enough, I am strong enough and (no laughing) people like me!!"   Say anything that could be taken as a compliment or make a soothing remark… ”It’s going to be OK…I can do this.”   The key here is to give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. Acknowledge it. Give it a name.  “I am feeling fearful because my landlord just gave ME 60 days notice!"   (True story.) Feelings are only information. Use the information but do not get stuck in the story you create about the information .  In this case the information I received was I have to move my office.   However, the story I created to go with the information looked more like this:   “Augh…this is not a good time… @+** where am I going to find an acceptable alternative that doesn’t take me too far away or cost too much…what about getting movers, packing… I’ve got too much going on…when will I find the time… It's so expensive to move!”   See the problem here?  I was stuck in the story which was not in alignment with the information.   Once I realize this I can detach from the worry which got activated by the information and move into a more thoughtful and productive space if I take a moment to realign.   Here is where the benefits of having a meditation practice can be seen. Because of what meditation does for me and my busy brain, I am able to move from reactive to responsive faster that I had in the past.  I activate the first and second solutions swiftly therefore moving into a place of effective thought with breakneck speed! And whoa…this is a beautiful thing.  The moral of the story today is simple.  Meditation can make you and I more “Zen” sometimes and this is awesome. However, when it doesn’t seem to be working remember to take a breath, be kind to yourself and you will find, more likely that not, that you can move though the difficult crap with an ease that you didn’t have before.  Go ahead, try it out next time you feel overwhelmed, irritated, envious or any other normal negative emotion.  I’m with you my friend.  If you are feeling stuck and need some advice on your meditation practice or want to work on getting started, I can help!  I have faith in you. You can do this!  Feel free to send an email and I’ll get back to you!  As always, I wish you Peace.   Robin

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Sometimes being a meditation mentor really sucks. Everyone expects you to be all “Zen” all the time. You’re supposed to be kind, peaceful and patient.  But**@* it!!!  I don’t feel like this all the time and I just want you to know.  I get envious, really envious… and sometimes I’m irritable.  No Zen there.

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Having the Talk...

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Having the Talk...

Having “the TALK”…

“I’m really going to work hard at meditation this week, Robin” (ugh, have I taught you nothing!!!!)

This is how my Meditation Mentoring session went this week with a lovely and dedicated student. I appreciated the commitment and enthusiasm of this student and really had to be gentle when his simple proclamation made me bristle a bit.  Why was I twitchy about this comment you ask? (Plus you are probably thinking with all the meditation she does should she be getting bugged? I’ll have to address this in a future post. It’s a good question.)

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      Number One reason for not meditating…  I can’t stop thinking!   I can’t stop thinking! This is what I’m told when I recommend meditation to my stressed out, anxious and depressed clients.  It’s the number one reason people tell me they can’t meditate. It’s such a frustration for them.  “AUGH!!!  I’ve tried, but my brain won’t stop!” It’s at this point that they have already given up. Their brains are always on, thinking on 4 or 5 or 10 levels at the same time and they are feeling hopeless and that nothing will stop this constant onslaught of thoughts. They’ve resigned themselves to sleepless nights, headaches, panic, anxiety, over eating, drinking too much, creating more distress and feeling exhausted.  WHEW!  Does this sound familiar to you?  Really, I am not surprised.  As a culture we are more overworked, overscheduled and stressed than ever before. We are also more prone to try to solve this miserable feeling with behaviors that might bring a moment of relief but have no staying power like alcohol, drugs, food and gambling among many other destructive behaviors.  The more we combat our busy mind the more we actually make it stronger! What we end up with is a deeper hole and the feeling that we cannot ever feel better. Fighting your busy mind is a losing battle. It will always win.  What if there was another way? What if you didn’t have to give up?  What if you could meditate? Would you? We are all seeking peace, calm, relief, space, and the ability to restore our depleted capacity to manage stress!  The best way to do this is through the simple everyday practice of meditation. OK, so here’s the problem again… my. brain. won’t. stop. so. I. can’t. meditate!   Now listen here…I have the solution for this problem and it’s big.    You do not have to stop thinking   !   Yes, that’s it!  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STOP THINKING!!   Take that idea right off the table and see how that changes things. Having a busy head is normal. Your mind just doesn’t know how to do anything other than what it was designed to do. Having thoughts in meditation is NORMAL, not an indication that you are incapable of doing it. Let go of what you may have heard, read on the internet or believed about meditation .  Having thoughts is normal and not a reason to quit meditation ! Sorry, I don’t mean to scream, it’s just that so many of you have gotten some bad information and I want you to let it go!  When you first sit in meditation acknowledge that your brain is going to do its thing and thoughts will appear. Remind yourself…”ok thoughts, this is normal…I’m doing ok…keep coming back to breath…” You may have to do this many times in every meditation but remember its OK. Meditation is a practice and you are training your brain to “sit and stay” with every breath.   With practice meditation will actually train your brain to focus on one thing at a time. It won’t happen the first time you sit down but with repetition and acceptance you can learn this.  You will begin to slow down that unruly mind of yours and as this happens you develop a natural observation of what your brain does. Instead of fighting the thoughts you start to notice them…”interesting …huh…look at that…wow…” A completely different, neutral perception of your thoughts begins to appear. This review of thoughts rather than reaction to them is much more calming, subtle and very little energy is required.  Does this make sense? Instead of expecting your mind to stop thinking, you accept that thinking is what the mind does.  This shift in expectation changes everything about your experience in meditation. Now when your brain does its thing you can calmly and assuredly remind yourself that this isn’t a problem and go back to focusing on your breath.  No more excuses. OK? You can do this. I can help. Send me a message with questions and I’d be happy to talk to you!  Peace,  Robin, The Meditation Addict

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Number One reason for not meditating… I can’t stop thinking!

I can’t stop thinking! This is what I’m told when I recommend meditation to my stressed out, anxious and depressed clients.

It’s the number one reason people tell me they can’t meditate. It’s such a frustration for them.  “AUGH!!!  I’ve tried, but my brain won’t stop!” It’s at this point that they have already given up. Their brains are always on, thinking on 4 or 5 or 10 levels at the same time and they are feeling hopeless and that nothing will stop this constant onslaught of thoughts. They’ve resigned themselves to sleepless nights, headaches, panic, anxiety, over eating, drinking too much, creating more distress and feeling exhausted.  WHEW!

Does this sound familiar to you?  Really, I am not surprised.  

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I Can't Meditate Because...

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I Can't Meditate Because...

I can’t meditate because my mind won’t stop thinking

As a meditation mentor this is one statement I hear over and over. It’s where most students will decide that meditation cannot work for them. This is a statement created by the mind to trick you into not learning how to tame it! It is not based on any reality or experience. Just because you think something doesn’t make it true! Our brains give us a lot of bad information. Our issue is, of course, that we tend to believe everything we think. BIG MISTAKE!!  Don’t fall for this trap. Learning to meditate is a skill everyone can learn. It’s not rocket science, but it does take practice. You can do this.

So please before you dismiss this wonderful practice read on and see if I can’t convince you to give mediation a second chance. 

Let’s take a look. 

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