Conscious Parenting Notebook – Introduction

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We are the windows through which our children first see the world. Let us be conscious of the view. – Katrina Kenison

As many of you know from reading A More Conscious Life, one of my areas of focus is on being a more conscious parent. As with the rest of my life, when I am more conscious of my thoughts and feelings throughout the day, I much kinder, gentler and more responsive to my self and my children. But parenting consciously isn’t easy. For me to parenting this way, I need a lot of help.

Since I have been a parent, I have read as many parenting books as I could get my hands on, enrolled in online parenting courses, listened to parenting webinars and subscribed to parenting blogs. My parenting philosophy has always had a positive, attachment leaning, so I looked for insight and advice in the areas of positive, mindful and conscious parenting. I found tips and tools to use to help us through difficult times or read inspirational mantras that I was determined to use when I most needed them. Yet, once a book, blog post or interview was finished, I would promptly forget most of what I heard or read. The book might come up in a conversation online or be recommended by a friend and I would remember that I had read it and liked it, but I hadn’t absorbed, or utilized, the information like I had hoped.

When I realized what was happening, I began taking notes. I dog-eared pages, I highlighted text, I filled pages of notebooks with ideas, mantras and inspirations. Once I had gathered a lot of useful information, I compiled it into a small notebook where it was more accessible when I really needed it. As I returned to my parenting notebook, it became more and more unique to my daughter. In using it, I found myself more aware of who she was as a child and what parenting techniques worked best, not in general, but for my unique child. I was finally really learning, applying what I learned and modifying it until it became my own – and I watched my relationship with my daughter blossom. The more I became consciously aware of what I needed as a parent and what my daughter needed as the unique being she is, the more I became the parent I really wanted to be, for the child that I have.

Being part of online forums for spirited children or positive-parenting-leaning parents, made me realize that what was working for me, with my daughter, might help other parents. In lives that can be increasingly busy and disconnected, I thought that my research could be a resource to help others feel more attuned to their children and their own needs as parents. I knew that the books I read and the advice I highlighted wouldn’t be the same that other parents would, but that perhaps they could use the same framework to create a unique parenting guide for their family. And so I created The Conscious Parenting Notebook.

There are a lot of wonderful resources available on Conscious or Mindful Parenting. The Conscious Parenting Notebook is not meant to join them as an equal, but more of a companion on the journey. It isn’t a book of advice, but rather a compilation of exercises, stories, prompts, and useful links to help you create your own unique conscious parenting resource to reflect the history, culture, values and realities of your unique family. I have found that, what is most important on the journey towards being a more conscious parent is a desire to be conscious and a regular reflection and awareness of your thoughts, feelings, words and actions and the impacts they have on yourself and  your family. The Conscious Parenting Notebook is a space for you to do just that.

To learn more, purchase your own copy or view a sample selection, please visit The Conscious Parenting Notebook page. I’m looking forward to sharing The Conscious Parenting Notebook with others and hearing if it was as useful and inspiration to you as it continues to be for me.

Thanks for reading!

Conscious Parenting Inspirations – June 2014

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“We need to remind ourselves that many pleasurable moments exist each day in our life. Understanding this, we make a decision to start noticing them. We take a few seconds here, a moment there, to stop and appreciate the small joys and beauty in our lives. And far from it being a chore, we find ourselves refreshed by this simple practice.”
- John Kehoe, The Practice of Happiness
This month has been another busy month in our lives: the end of the school year, the beginning of summer and summer travel, a move from our home and the beginning of a transition overseas. With so much going on, I’ve been less active on the blog and less conscious in my every day, including in my parenting. However, as the month came to a close, I finally slowed down saw the stress of the change in our environment as a wake up call to return to a more conscious state.
Morning and Evening Rituals
With most of our belongings packed up or packed away and our home bases changing every week, I decided that it might be helpful to add a few daily consciousness rituals to our routine to give our days on the road a bit more structure and intention. I’ve started a mini yoga practice with my daughter in the morning, to wake us up and start our mornings off calmly and connected. After our yoga, we both choose a “word for the day” (intention being a bit too complicated for a four-year-old) that we want to keep with us throughout the day. So far she’s enjoyed this and brought up our words at various points to apply them to things we’ve been doing. So far we’ve used “loving, happy, appreciative, “pause,” and “listen.” With inspiration from Left Brain Buddha, our evening routine now includes, our three favorite things from the day and a loving kindness meditation.
Conscious Parenting Resources
Speaking of Left Brain Buddha… I was so excited to find this blog this month. The blog is written by Sarah Rudell Beach, a mother, teacher and blogger. On Left Brain Buddha she shares her ideas and thoughts on mindful parenting, meditation, motherhood, joyful living and spirituality. Her posts are informative and inspiring.
I also recently read an older, but still relevant, descriptive, informational article on conscious parenting in practice in Psychology today called Imperfect Mothers. In the article, author Andrea Fox describes a specific encounter with her daughter in which she used conscious parenting practices, as well describing the “Three Fs” process (Focus, Find and Forgive) for conscious parenting in-the-moment.
Blog Overview
Something I realized this month is that I really need to read this blog. I am inspired when I write posts on conscious parenting, but I don’t always continue to incorporate my ideas and practices in my day-to-day parenting. So this month, I decided to read over my previous posts and make a bullet list of what I most want to utilize in my interactions with my children over the next month. Please forgive the “inspirations” for not being all that inspiring this month; hopefully my practice this month will be more fruitful!
  • Pause Before Reacting – Use the Pause to ask “What does my child need from me in this moment?”
  • When you feel your frustration or anxiety levels rising, notice the color of the child’s eyes; something that anchors you to that moment with your child, to bring yourself back to the present moment.
  • OR When you feel your frustration or anxiety levels rising, take three deep breaths – One for yourself, one for your child and one for what to do next.
  • After an interaction with your child, ask yourself, “What did they just conclude about themselves from that interaction?” Do they feel loved? Heard? Validated? Or unimportant?
  • Lead with Intention – Begin each interaction with your child with a conscious intention
  • Accept What Is – When you hear yourself thinking or saying “should,” Accept and Address What Actually Is. Practice saying, “Okay here we are. My child is doing _______ or feeling _________ . I am feeling ___________. What do I need to do?”
  • Assume Positive Intent – Instead of rushing in an imposing punishment or yelling, assume your child did not mean to cause harm and try to address need or feeling instead of / or before behavior.
  • When you catch yourself mentally or verbally complaining, switch to gratitude mode

Thanks for reading! Wish me luck!

What about you? Have you come across any inspiring sources of information on Conscious Parenting that you would like to share?

Conscious Living – Daily Consciousness Rituals

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“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Our family is in a period of transition. We are leaving our home of three years and moving overseas. In the month we have in between leaving our current home and settling in our new home, we are visiting friends and family in three different states, staying in three different “temporary homes.” As a mother, I am aware of the importance of routines for children during transitions, yet even as an adult I find myself craving a daily routine – something to give structure to the chaos and a reminder to be present. Something to help me to celebrate each day, rather than losing them all in a whirlwind of activity.

In their book Gifts of the Spirit, Philip Zalensi and Paul Kaufman, talk about the importance given to the day and the passage of time in various religious traditions. In early traditional cultures, the sun was often worshiped as a god that brought light and took it away at the end of each day. Quotes such as “Carpe Diem” and “Live each day as if it were your last” are well known in popular culture. Yet all too often, we find ourselves rushing through our days and wondering where they’ve gone or wishing them away until some future time. One way to prevent this is through Daily Consciousness Rituals. Daily Consciousness Rituals can help to give structure to your days and allow you to give priority and awareness to what matters most in your life.

In our often busy, over-scheduled lives, it can be hard to incorporate, or even fathom incorporating another “task” in our schedules. However, many consciousness rituals take 5 minutes or less, but can add so much more than they take away in terms of your perspective and feelings of peace and control over your day.

Following are some Daily Consciousness Ritual suggestions for various times throughout the day, although many routines can be done at any time that works best for you. Additionally, many daily consciousness routines can be done with children.

Morning Rituals

Afternoon Rituals

  • Mid-Day Check-In
  • Savoring Tea and a Healthy Snack
  • Walking or Stretching

Evening Rituals

  • A Gratitude Journal Entry
  • Journal Reflection of Your Day
  • Three Good Things Exercise
  • Conscious Preparation for the Next Day
  • Evening Self-Care Rituals
  • Un-Plugging 30 Minutes Before Bedtime
  • Family Connection Rituals
  • Meditation

Read more about daily consciousness routines at A Happy Simple Life,  Rachael Campbell‘s Personal Coaching Pages or at Healthy Living Rituals.

Thanks for reading!

What about you? Do you have any daily consciousness rituals that help you maintain consciousness throughout your day?

Conscious Parenting Inspirations – May 2014

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“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.”
~ Navajo Proverb

This has been a rough month. We experienced the loss of a loved one. Our computer died and took all of our files with it. My wallet and camera were stolen. With the school year winding down and the summer around the corner, we are simultaneously planning our summer travels culminating in an overseas move and saying good-bye to our home and friends of the past three years. And in the midst of all of this, I’ve been less than conscious of my desire to be conscious. My mind has been clouded with thoughts and emotions. I’ve been short with my daughter and our relationship has suffered. I’ve been less attentive to the other members of my family. In short, I haven’t been living as I want to, consciously and authentically. I’ve been allowing myself to be hijacked by my emotions and overwhelmed by my thoughts.

What does any of this have to do with Conscious Parenting, or Inspirations, you ask? Everything. Because the destruction caused by the rolling clouds of unconsciousness shows how important it is to be on this journey. When I don’t stay conscious of my desire for A More Conscious Life by using mantras, practicing consciousness habits or reflecting on and researching posts for this blog, I very easily fall back down the slippery slope into the abyss of unconscious thinking. So in the last few days of this month, I decided to try to turn things around.

“Just Be Kind”

First, I returned to my most basic of all mantras, “Just Be Kind,” which you would think would be unnecessary, but it helps to keep me on track when my four-year-old screams in my 19 month old’s face for trying to tickle her, something she’d been doing to him a moment before. Or when she decides that a well placed kick is an appropriate outlet for her anger. “Just Be Kind,” helps to bring me down from my instinctual “Fight” reaction and back to a place I can respond more calmly.

Give Choices

Then I started on repairing the fractured relationship I’d been cultivating with my daughter, who had responded to my lack of consciousness with even greater intractability, bossiness and negativity. I realized that in order to maintain a sense of personal control when daily events seemed to be spiraling out of my grasp, I’d become more controlling towards my children and my daughter had responded by ratcheting up her own controlling behavior – directed at her more placid younger brother. I began by practicing the basic positive parenting technique of offering choices to allow her more of a sense of control and release her from the grip of my own controlling behavior. As I started offering her choices throughout the day (“Do you want to hold my hand as we walk to the car, or hold on to my belt?” “Do you want to leave in five minutes or two minutes?” “Do you want to walk home the long way or the short way?”), I found that she responded more positively and I also realized how often I had been trying to impose a choice when there really was a lot of room for flexibility.

Challenge All-or-Nothing Thinking

As my unconscious behavior translated into my daughter’s unhappiness, I found myself wondering why she “always” wakes up angry, or why she “always” has to take her anger and frustration out on her brother, or why we “always” struggle to have pleasant mornings. Once I noticed my all-or-nothing thinking, with the use of “always” to describe a situation that really doesn’t happen every day (just more often when I live unconsciously), I decided to challenge my thinking and try to remember times when she doesn’t wake up angry, take her frustration out on her brother or contribute to less-than-pleasant mornings. As I took the time to consider our morning routines and my daughter’s needs, I realized that she has always needed a little time to wake up slowly and before her brother was born, her mornings would start with a long snuggle and a lot of one-on-one quality time. However, since she has become a big sister and started going to school, I have depended on her growing independence to get her through some of the morning routine that I used to assist with, such as waking up and getting dressed. I realized that her mood, probably had to do with the same needs she had always had, that were no longer being met when she was faced with a busy mom, with a baby in one arm and a cereal bowl in the other.

Once I realized all this, I sat down with my daughter and had a talk with her. I told her that I know that neither of us had been happy with the way our mornings had been going lately and that I thought I knew why. I explained my thoughts and she agreed that she would probably be happier with a little more time to wake up and connect with me before coming out of her room to meet an eager-to-play toddler. We even devised a “secret” knock she could use on her bedroom door when she wanted me to come in.

This morning, as soon as I heard the knock, I made sure my son was safe with this father and went in to greet my daughter. She spent a few minutes snuggling and talking in my lap. Once she was fully awake, she asked me to read her a story. After her story, I left to make breakfast and served her breakfast in her room when she said she wasn’t quite ready to play. After a lot of back and forth parenting between two rooms, my efforts paid off when my daughter, her reserves of quality time replenished, came out and was able to play happily with her brother while I finished packing her lunch and ushered everyone out the door.

I hope some of this month’s parenting inspirations have resonated with you. If so, I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Conscious Spring Cleaning (and Conscious Consuming)

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Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. —William Morris

With Spring here, it is yard sale season in the Eastern US. Yard sale season always gives me the opportunity to clear out the things we no longer need and pick up the things that we do at rock bottom prices. One of the things I appreciate about living here is the myriad of opportunities we have to recycle and reuse items that we, or others, no longer want or need. In a culture with so much desire for, and access to, stuff, there is a lot of opportunity for waste. So when I have a chance to sell or donate something or to buy it used, I always choose those options over buying things new or throwing things away.

This year’s clearing out has a new dimension, in that my family and I are moving abroad for the forseeable future and are working to pare down our “stuff” to a few suitcases and a few boxes to be stored in a friendly garage. As I went through each closet and cabinet, I tried to be as unsentimental and practical as possible. Winter clothes – Donate. Big toys – Donate. Wine glasses – Donate. But when I got to my children’s books or their “Big Bear,” a big stuffed bear in their room, the memories attached to these items gave me pause and made me realize how easily “things” can become infused with memories and how downsizing “stuff” can also mean downsizing cherished memories. But on the other hand, six years ago, when I packed up for another move abroad, I packed things in boxes, put them in storage and haven’t looked at them since. So the practically of removing sentiment from the process is reinforced by the knowledge that most of what we don’t encounter on a regular basis can become relegated to the attic of our minds and easily forgotten. And of course, we can always take pictures to keep the memories alive.

The benefits of decluttering, conscious consumerism and conscious recycling (whether giving away, selling or recycling in the most common definition) are numerous. For many people, clearing clutter not only opens space in their homes and offices, but can also create space in their minds and their days (with less time devoting to cleaning, organizing and finding “stuff”). Buying or finding used items and selling, donating or recycling old items keeps them out of our landfills and benefits our environment (and often, your bank account).

There are many posts on the process and benefits of simplifying the “stuff” in your life. Zen Habits – as you now know as my go-to blog for advice on life – has posts specifically on Decluttering and another on more broadly Simplifying Your Life. For the more sentimental among us, Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom has a post on How to Simplify When You Really Love Your Stuff.

The following links are opportunities for recycling, donating or buying used in your communities:

Freecycle is an online forum for users to ask for or donate wanted items in their local communities. It started in the US, but has expanded across the world. Check the link to see if there is a group in your community.

Craigslist is a free online classifieds site which provides opportunities to post wanted items or donate or sell unwanted items. Craigslist also has a section for posting yard / garage / boot sales. Also started in the US, this service has expanded worldwide. Check the link to see if there is a group in your community. When using either of these sites, please take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family, such as meeting in public areas and taking a friend along.

Miss Minimalist provides an extensive list of donation sites for specific goods for readers in the US. Other sites are listed on a post on Apartment Therapy.

Happy Spring Cleaning and Thanks for reading!

What about you? Do you have any great go-to sites for free-cycling, donating or buying used?

(Photo Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulr_42/501104089/)

 

Conscious Parenting Inspirations – April 2014

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Mother (and Father) hood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing, even when you’re not sure what the right thing is.. and to forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong.- Donna Bell

This month, I have been reading Susan Stiffelman’s Parenting Without Power Struggles. In her book, Susan talks a lot about the attachment needs of children at different stages and provides practical ways to meet those needs. She talks about the importance of connection with your child in terms of their healthy development, socialization and safe navigation through the challenges of adolescence. The book offers a lot of insight and practical advice, and is definitely worth a read. Come back soon for another Conscious Book Review.

When not reading or writing, I’ve been working on furthering my goal to be a more conscious parent, although the past few days have seen a bit of a return to my “pre-conscious” behavior, serving as a reminder of the importance of this journey. In my interactions with my daughter this month, I’ve been working on using the following mantras and conscious parenting techniques: “Connection or Rejection,” “Flowing with the Current,” and “Apologize and Forgive.”

Connection or Rejection

Inspired by Stiffelman’s book and the realization that my daughter is much happier and cooperative when we are connected, I’ve started to try to bring the awareness, or consideration, of connection into all of our interactions.  Typically utilized in moments of frustration, I ask myself, “Connection or Rejection?” short for “Is she feeling rejected by my words and behaviors or are we still connected?”If, in the middle of a parenting moment, I ask that question and find the answer is “Rejection,” I try to pause and ask myself if there is a way I can address the situation through connection. An example of how this unfolds is typically when I find myself trying to command or demand that she does something and instead change to a more conscious, kind explanation of why I need something to be done. I find when I switch to connection, she is usually, if not always, more willing to cooperate.

Flowing with the Current

Another thing I’ve noticed as I interact with my children on a daily basis is that so much of our enjoyment of the situation depends on whether I am flowing in the direction they want to go or fighting their resistance to go in another direction. So much of our daily interactions with our children have to do with accomplishing certain tasks – getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, getting out the door, cleaning up, eating meals, etc., and when our goals are the same, these things flow easily. However, when our goals are different – as they usually are in my household where my children’s most common goal is to play, start playing or keep playing – these interactions can lead to frustration and conflict.

This month, I’ve been trying to notice and appreciate those times when I am able to relax and flow with them (typically when we’re playing outside with no agenda or other place to be) and enjoy those moments. In times when I notice that I am struggling against the current of their collective desire to continue playing when we have something else to do or somewhere else to be, I try to think of a way to “Flow with the Current” and redirect them to where I need them to be through play. When I join them in their play and expand upon  it to include whatever I need them to do, we typically experience a more consensual flow in that direction and everyone is all the more happy for it.

Apologize and Forgive

My third parenting practice for this month was something else entirely until today, when I stormed through the morning completely conscious (now – thanks to my consciousness habits) of my self-defeating behaviors but seemingly unable, or unwilling, to stop them until it was too late and the morning was lost in a a whirlwind of tears, frustrations and angry words. It was then that I remembered the healing power of a genuine apology.

Before dropping my daughter off at preschool, her little heart filled with sadness and the pain of a morning gone wrong, I stopped and apologized. I told her how sorry I was that I had gotten frustrated and acted on my feelings instead of choosing to be kind. I reminded her of how much I loved her and allowed her to talk about her feelings before setting her on her way for the day.

After she left, it took some time, but I eventually remembered the equally powerful salve of forgiveness, in this instance, for myself. As Leo Babauta of Zen Habits writes in The Miracle of Self-Compassion, forgiving yourself is an important practice to keep the negative tentacles of regret from pulling you back into the past and keeping you from moving forward and enjoying the present. So as parents, when we all inevitably make mistakes with our children and do or say things we regret, don’t forget the importance of the practice of “apologize and forgive.” For more on moving past mistakes and reconnecting with your children, read HERE.

I hope some of these parenting inspirations resonates with you this month. If you have any of your own conscious parenting tactics or resources to share, please comment below!

Thanks for Reading!

Conscious Nonjudgement – Learning from Others

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In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him; and in that I am his pupil. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last week, I returned to my regular night of yoga after two weeks off. During my absence, the previous instructor had left and a new instructor had taken her place. The previous instructor was inspirational in her practice of yoga. Her classes were theme based and varied. She had an incredible memory for the positions both in Sanskrit and English; she led us through sequences gradually, building up to more advanced poses; she continually reminded us to listen to our bodies, take breaks if needed or challenge ourselves with more advanced poses if they were a part of our practice. She had an uncanny ability to know where we were out of alignment or tense, allowing us to self-adjust simply by listening to her suggestions. She respected us as adults and yoga practitioners, never giving too little or asking too much. She valued the silence we could cultivate within our minds as we flowed continually, one pose, one breath, at a time.

Over the years, I have practiced with a variety of different yoga instructors and have learned something from each of them; yet I have practiced enough to appreciate the difference between a class with an experienced instructor and one with a beginning instructor, so it was with a little trepidation that I returned to class with a new instructor.

Just as I arrived, the class began slowly. And continued slowly. At times, the instructor repeated sequences as though she was buying time to think of her next move. Other times she left us in restorative poses for what seemed like great lengths of time when we hadn’t, in my critical mind, done anything to merit restoration. She forgot steps sequences; called out the wrong names for poses. My thoughts went from my breathing and postures to a critical stream of judgement. “Does she know this is a mixed level class? Or did it change to a beginning class? Am I really going to drive all the way out here for this?” And on and on in the same vein.

Yoga promotes peace, humility, understanding and equality. Yet throughout my practice that evening, my thoughts were negative, judgmental and unkind. Even as I noticed the tone of my thoughts and tried to return them to my breath, the flow of negativity continued with each pose. Before I knew it, the class was almost over.

As we were preparing for the final, resting pose, the new instructor offered us each a temple massage.Because I felt that I hadn’t gotten much out of the class, I was pleased at the idea of a brief massage to help me relax and finally quiet my thoughts.

I tried to relax and focus on my breathing as the instructor made her way around the class. Finally, I felt her fingers on my temples…

… and they were trembling.

In an instant, all of my negativity and judgement drained from my body. At her touch, I was at once reminded of our shared humanity and of her courage to be at the front of the class, sharing her love of yoga with us, while I grumbled from my mat. Maybe these were her first classes and she was still honing her skills. Even the most seasoned teacher was once in her shoes. I was ashamed of my judgement and lack of humility.

After class, I made sure to welcome her to the studio and thank her for the massage. In part, I did what I did to assuage my own guilt, but also, in the hope that I could pass along a little of the kindness and encouragement that I withheld throughout the class. I am grateful to her, and the experience, for reminding me that everyone has something to teach us, if only we allow ourselves to be open and receptive to what they have to share.

Thank you for reading!

What about you? Is there anyone you have come across lately that you may have judged too harshly? Is there any way you could re-frame the experience to be a learning experience or a reminder of our shared humanity?

Conscious Meditation

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The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.”Sogyal Rinpoche

I have wanted to cultivate a regular meditation practice for years. I have started and stopped, tried and failed, found inspiration and lost it. I even spent 10 days at a Buddhist Meditation retreat in Thailand. But I have never set aside enough time, fostered enough motivation or followed through with my desire to sustain a regular practice. Yet now, on my journey to live a more conscious, mindful, life, it seems all the more important to commit.

There are so many reasons to meditate. According to Belle Beth Cooper What Happens to the Brain When You Meditate (And How It Benefits You), meditation quiets your mind; it helps you focus; it helps you to be more creative, compassionate and empathetic; it improves memory and reduces stress. In her Psychology Today Article, This is Your Brain on Meditation, Rebecca Gladding, M.D. explains, in detail, how a regular practice of meditation physically reshapes the connections in our brain, leading those with regular meditation practices to be calmer, less reactive, more empathetic and more balanced in their responses and perspectives.

Yet even with all of this scientifically based reasoning, I find it difficult to sit down for 10 to 15 minutes a day and just do nothing. I am a task-master. I worship at the temple of productivity. A day when I clean my house, cook a healthy dinner, write a blog post, spend quality time with my family and knock a few other things on my to-do list is a happy day for me. I am very conscious of this aspect of my personality. And yet it is just this aspect that I would like to soften through meditation. I would like to be able to sit for a moment without thinking of all of the things I should could be doing. I would like to be more focused and not thinking constantly. I would like to be able to relax and just be.

But it isn’t easy.

As a runner, if I don’t run every few days, I feel a physical pull to get outside, stretch my legs and put some distance between myself and the confines of my four walls. Running exercises my muscles and clears my head. I would love to have that feeling, as a “meditator;” that physical need for regular practice, for mental cleansing.

So I’m committing here, in this post, to finding at least 10 minutes each day to begin a regular meditation practice. Armed with Zen Habits’ Leo Babuta’s 20 Practical Tips for Quieting the Mind and  Goodlife Zen’s Mary Jaksch’s guidance on what to do when things come up for you during your meditation practice, I’m ready to begin…

…doing nothing.

If you are interested in beginning or reinvigorating a regular meditation practice, there is so much going on right now to encourage people to meditate.

Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Choprah have launched a 21-Day Experience called Finding Your Flow that began on April 14 and continues through May 4. Their site offers daily guided meditations on a theme with a free registration.

In May, Mindful Magazine is starting a Mindfulness in May campaign that offers a month of daily guided meditations and interviews with practitioners in the fields of meditation, science and health for a fee of $25 with proceeds going to clean water initiatives around the globe (You have to register by May 1).

America Meditating is an initiative by the Meditation Museum in the D.C. area to encourage people to pause at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. each day for a moment of peace and contemplation.

The Insight Meditation Center in California offers recorded talks, articles, newsletters and other meditation related resources. You can access the homework for their Six Week Mindfulness Meditation Course HERE.

Thanks for Reading!

What about you? Do you have a regular meditation practice? If so, do you have any tips or insights for beginners? Are you a beginner or interested in beginning a regular practice? If so, I’d love to start a conversation and share experiences.