They Posted WHAT on Facebook?? Transforming Reactivity into Empathy in a Time of Crisis

Trees

I suspect your experience has been a lot like mine: You open Facebook to see what your BFF is up to. You want to see a cute meme about kittens or puppies. You look for that inspiring quote posted by the friend who always knows what to share during difficult times – and WAM! There it is! Your beloved aunt or friend – whose political leanings are not the same as yours – posts THAT unbelievable post that is filled not only with hate, but downright inaccurate information.

How do you feel? Anger? Disappointment? Do you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach?

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Bringing Mindfulness Home

Last week I participated in an online veterans program entitled, “Bringing Mindfulness Home.” I was invited by the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone to present a 4-week program about mindfulness for veterans, military members and their families. The Cohen Clinic opened in Jacksonville in February just before the pandemic lockdown, so online was the only way to share this class.

The theme I explored was “Mindfulness of the Breath.” Participants had the opportunity to participate and experience this basic part of mindfulness – following the breath as we inhale and exhale – and returning to the breath anytime we notice that we are distracted.

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Look Up!

Last night we saw the most amazing thing! It was the “pink moon” – when the moon is the closest to the earth. I’ve included a picture in this post provided by a former Air Force chaplain colleague of mine, Jeffrey Neuberger, who is a brilliant photographer, who shot this view last night. 

The view was awe-inspiring! The light of this full moon lit up the sky! Had we not gone outside and looked up, we would have missed it!

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Let it Go or Let it Be?

Picture of the Lotus Flower

When it comes to mindfulness – we always have a choice. Dwell in the sadness, fear and anger of “what might happen” or touch the present moment with curiosity and hope. During these uncertain times, this might sound like “pie in the sky” denial. But being in the present moment has nothing to do with denial. Being in the present moment has everything to do with touching what is happening – both outside and inside – with compassion and care.

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Holding Our Breath

This morning as I was cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast, I noticed something amazing. I was holding my breath! I have practiced mindfulness and yoga for many years now and know the importance of breathing, of being in the present moment. But I was literally holding my breath!

The events of the past several months with the COVID-19 pandemic have created many uncertainties for us. When will it end? Am I safe? Will my loved ones be safe? Will we ever return to “normal” (whatever “normal” is)?

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Mindfulness in a Time of Uncertainty

Mindfulness

The title of this blog is a bit of an understatement! These are uncertain times. For many of us, this is the first time we have experienced a national emergency that affects and will affect our lives for days and months to come. Even if we remember 9/11, this is unchartered territory.

Ponte Vedra Mindfulness, our local mindfulness sangha, was scheduled to meet tonight to begin our study of the book, “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World,” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. Our regular sangha meetings were delayed in 2020 because I fell and broke my wrist on December 30, 2019, and I spent the next two months recovering and attending Occupational Therapy sessions. It was a mindful two months.

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A Mindful Veteran’s Day

Preparing for Iraq Deployment

As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the “War to End All Wars,” I find myself here at 5:30 a.m. a bit introspective. Please allow me to remember… 

I grew up with with the Vietnam War, high-profile assassinations, the Cold War and Civil Rights. I came of age just as the Vietnam War ended and Watergate hit the news. Our country was tired. Disillusioned. Not so patriotic. Let’s change the channel. Continue reading “A Mindful Veteran’s Day”

Mindful Friendship – Mindful Goodness

Friends

Mary Ann and I met in kindergarten at Jackson Elementary School on the south side of Youngstown, Ohio. We spent the next eight years in the same classes together. My mother even allowed me to walk to Mary Ann’s house – which included crossing busy Midlothian Blvd. We played. We laughed. We sat on each other’s beds to share little girl secrets. 

Once we went to high school, our interests took us in different directions and toward different careers. Mary Ann went to nursing school. I pursued my music and theology degrees. Continue reading “Mindful Friendship – Mindful Goodness”