Loving Kindness Meditation

By: Jennifer Navara

You can begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position, closing your eyes. Sit with your back erect, without being strained or overarched. Take a few deep breaths, relax your body.

Metta or loving-kindness meditation is an expression of what you wish most deeply for yourself, not just for today, but in an enduring way. The meditation is simple phrases that are big enough and general enough that you can wish them for all beings everywhere. Classical phrases are things like, “May I be at peace. May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live with ease.” You can also choose phrases that resonate with you, they do not have to be these specific phrases.

You can gently repeat these phrases over and over again, have your mind rest in the phrases, and whenever you find your attention has wandered, don't worry about it. When you recognize you've drifted away from the phrases, see if you can gently bring your mind back and begin again.

We start with wishing well to ourselves. Repeat the phrases slowly and for a chosen period of time or repetitions: (I like to repeat 3 times)

May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I be safe, May I be at peace, May I live with ease.

You can next call to mind somebody that you care about—a good friend, or someone who's helped you in your life, someone who inspires you. You can visualize them, say their name to yourself. Get a feeling for their presence, and then direct the phrases of loving-kindness to them.

May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be safe,

May you be at peace, May you live with ease.

Call to mind someone you know who's having a difficult time right now. They've experienced a loss, going through something painful, a difficult situation. Whoever comes to mind, bring them here.

Imagine them sitting in front of you. Say their name. Get a feeling for their presence and offer the phrases of loving-kindness to them. “May you be happy, healthy, safe, at peace, and live with ease.”

Think of someone who plays some “neutral” role in your life, someone that you don't know very well, that you don't have a particular feeling for, or against. Maybe the checkout person at the supermarket where you shop, the gas-station attendant, somebody that you see periodically. If someone like that comes to mind, imagine them sitting in front of you, and offer these same phrases of loving-kindness to them. “May you be happy, healthy, safe, at peace, and live with ease.”

This practice opens us to the possibility of including rather than excluding, connecting, rather than overlooking, and caring rather than being indifferent, both to ourselves and others. This intention can extend infinitely to all beings in a boundless way, leaving no one out, “May all beings be happy, healthy, safe, at peace, and live with ease.”

 
 
 

Wishing you more love than your beautiful heart can hold,

 

Jennifer Navara XO

Jennifer is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach driven to guide you along your own path to complete happiness as she helps you discover balance in health, spirituality, mindset, and more! You can visit her website here.

Mindful Rest

Rest

“It is very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying, it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.” - Thich Nhat Hanh⁠

Mindfulness and meditation are like the lifts and pulls we do in the gym, but for the mind. We need to give ourselves the internal piece, just as we give ourselves the outward strength, and we build this strength by practicing, and doing it daily. For both.

Start meditating by sitting quietly for just five minutes a day, and notice where your mind goes, observe, and come back to focusing on your breath.. It is natural to have thoughts come into your brain, just as sweat and tension come to your body in exercise. Notice them and let them go.

Learn to become mindful of your life and everything that surrounds it. Become aware of the little things as you go about your day, avoiding anything that disrupts your inner peace. And if something is negative, bring yourself back to mindfulness that you experience in meditation. Focus on your breath, and your inner environment will ease the outer for you.

Practice will make this so much easier. Don’t get discouraged in your practice either, it takes time!


4 benefits of meditation in the workplace

1. Less stress. Need proof that meditation can significantly reduce stress in the workplace? A 2018 study found that people who used Headspace for only 10 days reported an 11% decrease in stress. After 30 days of using Headspace, they reported a 32% decrease.
Here’s how meditation can reverse the impact of stress on our minds and bodies:

It helps us regulate our emotions. When we practice meditation and become more comfortable with unpleasant thoughts and emotions that arise because of challenging situations, we learn how to react calmly, thoughtfully, and empathetically when faced with stress and challenges (which can be particularly valuable in the workplace).
It changes our brains, rewiring them to be more resilient to stress. Specifically, meditation can decrease neurological connections to the medial prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain responsible for fear, stress, and anxiety — while building new pathways to the parts of the brain responsible for focus and decision-making. Moreover, research shows that two key parts of the brain — the gray matter (responsible for emotional regulation, planning, problem-solving) and cortical thickness (learning, memory) — both increase with regular meditation practice. Alternatively, the amygdala (responsible for stress, fear, anxiety) decreases in size.
It improves stress biomarkers. When we meditate, the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, which can positively affect a range of stress-related biomarkers including lowered heart rate, reduced blood pressure, and fewer spikes in cortisol (the stress hormone).

2. More focus and productivity. It’s true: research shows that completing just one 15-minute session of mediation (not using Headspace) resulted in a 22% reduction in mind-wandering, and four weeks of using Headspace daily resulted in a 14% increase in focus. Imagine if we’re able to leverage the benefits of meditation at work — the more focused we are, the more productive we will be.

3. Easier teamwork. Meditation has been shown to have a positive effect on employees being more collaborative and more compassionate at work. A 2015 study found that three weeks of using the Headspace app resulted in a 23% increase in compassion. Additional studies found that meditation reduced aggression by 57% and irritability by 27%. If your team is suffering from a lack of trust and poor communication, meditation could help turn things around.

4. Improved job satisfaction and engagement. There’s a positive correlation between mindfulness and engagement at work, according to research. In a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Medicine, nurses who used Headspace for 30 days had significant improvements in job satisfaction. These results make perfect sense when you consider that mindfulness helps foster the characteristics that lead to enhanced engagement and job satisfaction, such as better relationships with coworkers, lower stress, and increased emotional balance and positivity.

From: Headspace


My Top Ten Books For December 2020

This is the first list I have ever shared on books that have transformed the way I think about my life and the direction that I want to take it.

I hope you find this list helpful, and I hope that they will guide you in the ways that you may need them too. I will continue to add to this list!

 

 

1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

 

 

2. The Alchemist

 

3. The 48 Laws of Power

4. The Four Agreements

5. The Biology of Belief

6. You are the Placebo

7. The Genius Life

8. Limitless

9. Think Like A Monk

10. Sacred Economics


Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake

With the holidays coming up this is sure to be a major mouth-watering hit with everyone!

Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake

Prep Time 20 Mins Cook Time 120 Mins Makes 12-16 Servings

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST:
* 2 cups (225g) graham cracker crumbs
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/3 cup (75g) butter, melted
* 1/4 cup (50g) sugar

FOR THE FILLING:
* 4 eight-ounce blocks cream cheese, softened
* 1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
* 4 large (200g) Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs
* 1 cup (225g) canned pumpkin purée
* 1/4 cup (57g) heavy or whipping cream
* 3 tablespoons maple syrup
* 3 tablespoons bourbon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

FOR THE TOPPING:
* 2 cups (454g) sour cream
* 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup
* 1 tablespoon bourbon

Nutritional Information
Serv. Size: 1 piece, Servings: 16
Amount Per Serving: Calories 490, Fat Cal. 290, Total Fat 33g (51% DV), Sat. Fat 18g (90% DV), Trans Fat 1g, Cholest. 135mg (45% DV), Sodium 280mg (12% DV),  Total Carb. 42g (14% DV), Fiber <1g (3% DV), Sugars 32g, Protein 7g, Vitamin A (60% DV), Vitamin C (0% DV), Calcium (10% DV), Iron (4% DV), Vitamin D (4% DV).  Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Directions

TO MAKE THE CRUST:

STEP 1:
Preheat oven to 375F.
STEP 2:
Combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a lightly greased 10-inch springform pan.
STEP 3:
Bake for about 10 minutes, until just starting to set and browning slightly on the edges. Remove from oven and set aside while preparing filling. Reset oven to 325F.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
STEP 1:
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with a hand or stand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.
STEP 2:
Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition and scraping the bowl well.
STEP 3:
Add all remaining filling ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour filling into crust and shake the pan gently to level.
STEP 4:
Bake at 325F for 45 minutes, leaving the oven door closed throughout the bake. After 45 minutes, turn the oven off, but do not remove the cheesecake. Keeping the oven door closed, allow the cheesecake to remain in the oven for an additional hour with the oven off. After that time, remove cheesecake from the oven, set aside, and reset oven to 375F.


TO MAKE THE TOPPING
:

STEP 1:
While oven is preheating again, prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, mix all topping ingredients until well combined. Spread evenly over the top of the cheesecake and bake for 12 minutes.
STEP 2:
Remove cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Once at room temperature, chill for at least 3 hours before removing the pan. Serve chilled.

Original Recipe Credit: Sandra Laflamme


Who Are You?

Seriously, who are you? We go to work, hang out with friends, get together with family, and so on, but are we actually being our true self.

When we were born we learned everything from our parents or the ones that took care of us. We subconsciously stored this info and became what we were taught and what was expected of us. Then we threw in a little of our own desires and traits that REALLY make up who we truly are. Our persona if you will.

But are you happy with who you are outside of your home? Are you acting one way there and totally “You” at home? It’s not your fault if you are because we were all programmed that way from the start. But it’s time to break that cycle.

Be you. Be total, 100% you. The only way that your authentic self can come out is if you remove all of your hindrances, doubt’s fears, and the pleasing of everyone around you. It can be tough and it won’t happen overnight. We have friends that we act differently in front of. The same goes for those at work and or in our social circles, and it can be a terrifying thought to change into our 100 % authentic self 24/7 because of the fear of “what will they think of me”? If you’re worried about that then that is an entirely separate issue. First of all those closest to you should celebrate everything that you do and who you truly are without question.

Sit back in silence and determine the things you like to do and what brings joy to your heart. Write them down, and slowly begin to BE that to the world. Share YOU with everyone and the changes they see may surprise even you. But remember, it is for you and not them. Re-program your subconscious and watch all your dreams and visions begin to manifest in the most amazing way!

Try this task:

1. What makes me happy the most?
2. Do I share my inner thoughts with others?
3. What do I love about myself and why?
4. Am I around those that accept everything I am currently?
5. What are the things I need to do to become myself?
6. List 5 loves.
7. List the 5 things you want to change about yourself.
8. Who are the people that accept you without hesitation and would love to see you be you 24/7?
9. Who brings you down?
10. Look at your list, meditate with the thought of being your authentic self, and look at your list daily. Meditation and change don’t happen overnight, it takes practice and a little work. Who you are now took years, so take your time, and watch your true authentic self emerge!


Lori Gilbert

I love the idea that the best way to help those around you is the embody your highest vibration.  To love yourself unconditionally where just by you entering a room you shift the entire feeling of others. We learn by observation and imitation... when you set boundaries for yourself others will observe the power in it and can learn.  So often, helping others is actually a covert manipulative tactic to have your subconscious needs met.  Does your need to have others view you as good fuel your life-source that is actually full of voids? The next step to our evolution in consciousness is here. We are analyzing the more subtle layers of addictions and healing. Carl Jung felt that the price of evolution was searching for your identity that reaches down to the depths of the underworld. It's seeing your inner demons and choosing to be altruistic despite your shadows you have brought light to.  Denial is a hell of a drug the human race subscribes to. How do you discern your real motivations? Ask yourself and ask yourself again... do I have something to gain by doing this and is it the guise of altruism.

 

Please visit Lori Gilbert Fine Arts