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?

Continue reading “They Posted WHAT on Facebook?? Transforming Reactivity into Empathy in a Time of Crisis”

BLACK LIVES MATTER! What Should I Do? – Join Me Online

Black Lives Matter! What should I do? – Join Me Online on Wednesday, June 10 at 8 p.m. (EDT)

Black Lives Matter! Not, “White Lives Matter,” or “All Lives Matter.” Make no mistake – unless you are a person of color, there is no way you or I could ever know the experience of being black in America. Sure, I experienced sexism and discrimination as a woman pastor as an Air Force chaplain – both overtly and often quite subtly – but my experience could never compare to that of my colleagues of color. Racism has been and continues to be a tragedy of our American experiment.

As I have watched and read the news of the past few weeks – the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, the protests across our country, the President’s uncensored words – I am saddened, enraged, and, especially during this time of COVID-19, I feel helpless. I worry about my neighbors’ health as they gather. Never in my 50+ decades of life have I wanted so badly to join the protesters and lend my voice and my indignation – to somehow help to make things better.

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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!

Continue reading “Look Up!”

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”

Take Your Seat – A Practical Guide to Beginning and Sustaining a Mindfulness Meditation Practice, Part 2

“Just sit there and do nothing!” This was Mom’s stern directive when she made my sister and I sit on separate chairs in the living room when she was fed up with our picking at each other. It certainly wasn’t a invitation! We often heard instead: “Get busy!” “Keep moving!” “Hurry up!” “Quit daydreaming!” Action, productivity, forward motion, work ethic. “Don’t you want to MAKE something of yourself?” The invitation,“just sit there” might seem counter cultural because it ISN’T about doing. And this is exactly the point! Continue reading “Take Your Seat – A Practical Guide to Beginning and Sustaining a Mindfulness Meditation Practice, Part 2”

Begin – A Practical Guide to Beginning and Sustaining a Mindfulness Meditation Practice, Part 1

Sitting Meditation

Begin

Where do I begin? How do I start a meditation practice? Where do I find the time? These are some of the questions I get when I lead a mindfulness meditation group. Without being outright snarky, the easiest answer is, just begin! Sharing from my own personal experience, here are a few guidelines to begin and sustain a meaningful mindfulness meditation practice. Continue reading “Begin – A Practical Guide to Beginning and Sustaining a Mindfulness Meditation Practice, Part 1”