Mindfulness - What's It About and How Can I Use It?

Mindfulness is all the trend these days – you can scarcely open a Twitter, Instagram or Facebook post, read a magazine article or switch on the TV without seeing something about this latest and greatest concept. I’m a pretty skeptical person when it comes to trends and fads. This one I ignored at first…

Over the holidays, I enjoyed some downtime from teaching online and in the classroom.  I enjoyed the break from a whirl of constant activity and I began to think …  Is it possible to break the cycle of constant activity, to sort the clutter from the chaos, to find time in my life for everything that is really important, to catch a breath. My time, like everyone else, is scarce. I need to find some way of focusing on the key things and get some balance between work and the rest of my life.

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I came across a book “The Art of Stopping Time” by Pedram Shojai. His premise is: time is scare and being aware in the present moment is a way of reclaiming time. In his book, he describes a series of daily activities (he calls them gongs) that help to slow the swirl of constant activity and develop a better connection with time. So I decided to follow his advice …

So, on Day 1, I visualized my life as a garden, focusing on the things I need to nurture in my ‘garden’, things that are important to me. On Day 2, I worked on gratitude, considering the things for which I am grateful. Day 3 was on being in nature. Unfortunately, that was a -20 degree day, so my being in nature involved shoveling snow from the driveway. Not really meditative, more fast and furious, thought I did hear chickadee chirpings and noticed a beautiful blue sky! Day 4 was a focus on e-mail time and how not to let responding to e-mails chew up your day. Day 5 focused on taking time to chill – booking some downtime on your calendar to pause and do things other than work e.g. read a book, go for a walk etc. Day 6 was about being anxious and how to leverage that time when you are feeling anxious for self-growth. Day 7 was about making time in our calendar for self-care.  Day 8 was about your daily workouts. The suggestion was to do an intensive workout outside, but, as another negative temperature day beckoned, so this wasn’t really feasible, but I will use the idea of doing a short and intensive daily workout. Day 9 was about digesting your thoughts- the importance of giving yourself time to analyze and process information, events and feelings and spend some time thinking about them. The suggestion to use workout as a time to integrate and process thoughts is one I use on a regular basis.

So far, so good. I’ve created a daily morning routine of reading and reflecting on one of the daily activities from the book. I find I am calmer, more conscious of how I use my time, and more mindful of the world around me in my day to day activities.

Susan-Clancy Kelly, Contributing Editor

Northwoods HRD Consulting

 

 

REF: The Art of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai, OMD. Published by: Rodale Wellness. 2017 ISBN 978-1-62336-909-5

WHO'S IT ABOUT?

Do you ever walk away from an interaction with someone feeling like you're only appreciated because of what you could do for them?  Our goal in both our personal and professional roles should be to always add value to others and leave them better because we're focused on what we can do for them, rather than on what they can do for us.  The problem is, we give more attention to what we think, need and feel....instead we should get better at asking questions and truly listening- hearing what their needs are and offering a solution, even if it doesn't benefit us at the time.  

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Brian Tracy, a well known success author says, "Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?'"

Here are some ways to help others, and in turn, it will come back to you.

*  Pay attention to the details in others lives....make note of their spouse's and kids' names, events in their lives and interests.  It will mean a lot to them and make them feel important by remembering to ask about something dear to them.  When they genuinely know you care, not only will they feel valued, but they will be more apt to do the same for you and people like to work with those they know, like and trust.

*  Share your network with them...introduce them to those you know who may be able to help them with their personal or professional needs. Ask the question, "How can I know if someone I'm talking to is a good prospect for you or someone you'd like to meet?"  When you go to a networking event, like WIM, invite them to come along, knowing that they will benefit from expanding their network.  In turn, they will start referring people to you who you might be able to help.

*  Put the needs of others over your own wants...although that may seem backwards, when you make it about others, it will eventually come back to you.  When their needs are being met, they will be more than willing to do what they can to help you with yours.  When you've taken the time to get into their world and serve them, you are developing a relationship and the saying is true that people don't care how much you know, till they know how much you care.  

Two great resources to encourage you to create such an "others mindset" are Endless Referrals and Go- Giver by Bob Burg.

Decide not to make it about me, but you.

Melissa Figgins, Contributing Editor

Arbonne Independent Consultant

 

Describing Wine Minerality

I once wrote an article in McHenry County Magazine's Leisure and Recreation issue about Summer wines. Oh, how I miss Summer when it's 2 degrees outside.  In the article, I discussed the term minerality. There are many differences of opinion from the wine community when describing this term. Some describe its attributes in characteristic form while others describe it as a mouth-feel.  Without being too diplomatic, I concur on both points, however there does not seem to be a definitive answer on this subject but to anyone who speaks the language of wine, its just simply an understood term.

Here are some descriptors that jump out at me when I taste a wine that I would describe as having a nice level of minerality.  Flintiness, slate, wet rocks, crushed stone, salty mist from the sea, mouth watering sensation, effervescent, crisp and lively.

Minerality, in my opinion, seems to be more noticeable in wines that are not heavily oaked, stand out more in young white wines than in bold reds, and that are aged or fermented in stainless steel tanks. 

 

Foods that seem to pair well with these wines are often soft light cheeses, a pear salad, and most certainly shellfish, especially oysters.  Summer is a great time to enjoy these wines. Think Spanish rose, cava, albarino or Italy's prosecco. These wines are refreshing and festive and are a great addition to a hot day on the patio with friends and some light appetizers.  Wishful thinking will not bring Summer here any faster therefore I'll drop a few raspberries in a glass of cava or prosecco and serve it to friends as a "welcome to my home" starter beverage served in a flute. 

Laura Ribando, Contributing Editor & Writer

Wine 101 Simplified

 

Karma & Reincarnation at the heart of evolutionary astrology

The field of astrology has grown tremendously over the years, slowly reclaiming the respect it had with the ancients. Practiced and followed authentically, areas of specializations in this field especially Evolutionary Astrology, can be used as helpful tools to understand differences between ourselves and others, chart financial trends, alert us to health issues so we can be pro-active and offer us paths forward in our evolution, just to name a few examples. When I say, 'used and practiced authentically' I mean that astrology should not be viewed as a tool of fate or 'divination'; authentically means ALWAYS having the 'power of choice', the power of 'freewill'.

 Evolutionary Astrology is a specialized lens wherein our Soul growth is at the heart of the matter, grounded in the concept of karma and reincarnation.  Where it differs from what we might think of as 'traditional western astrology' (i.e., I'm a Leo and love to wear jewelry!), the core of this lens rests in the concept that the Soul is eternal with an agenda of evolution toward our highest good.  This development is worked toward and achieved through lifetimes of experiences in the physical body. In my practice, when I analyze a natal chart I'm actually 'seeing' two charts.  There's the chart cast for the time of birth of course, but these symbols also tell me (and other Evolutionary Astrologers) about the 'growth' agenda the Soul has in mind for this life time.  

 

Through the symbols we're able to see 'something' that went wrong in the past, a piece of 'karma that has ripened'. The individual has now come to a stage in emotional development where they're strong enough to face what that 'something' was.  There's now opportunity to go forward, to change the channel this time around.  This said, it needs to be reinforced that we're working with emotional energy 'imagined' through metaphorical story, as obviously it's impossible to know the specific details of 'what happened'. In this story the person was 'vexed' by something or someone that had power over them, offering no choice but to succumb. Or, perhaps they were the 'vicious rat in the woodpile', behaving badly...very badly. This time around they're now much stronger emotionally, but somehow carry a sense of familiarity with the past. 

Such nigglings could be wrapped around situations or people that 'did us in' or visa versa; same script, different actors. Recently there's been a lot of 'traffic' in the heavens affecting all of us.  I know several people who are dealing with major effects of the slow-moving planets across their natal chart.  For some, Pluto, the planet of transformation, is conjuncting, opposing or squaring their Sun, Moon or Ascendant-sometimes simultaneously; Neptune, the planet that can bring confusion, disillusion and fantasy or Saturn, the task master of the material, are hitting these power points for others.  ALL of these possibilities are extremely challenging, but also bring opportunities because in some way, they trigger major life-changes and choice. What to do? Herein lays a key element separating this field of astrology from other lenses. 

 Evolutionary is partially descriptive, but not entirely; it's also 'prescriptive'.  In other words, when an Evolutionary Astrologer 'metaphorically' looks at what went wrong in the 'chart behind the chart' they can offer remedial options so that the client can get off the mouse wheel and not repeat patterns of the past that got them in trouble in the first place. There could be one particular life reflected or a chronic pattern of behavior from the core of our being reflected by the symbols and the patterns between them in the present chart.

 Every astrologer has their own style; some prefer to have background information beyond the date, time and place of birth from a client before they analyze a chart.  I do not; it's just personal preference, but I want to be surprised, and surprised I usually am.  I have yet to see a chart wherein the past has not bled through to the present...this is FASCINATING.  And, even more fascinating is when the client emails me saying, "I'm so relieved; I thought I was making this all up, that I was crazy...you have just confirmed what I've been feeling for years."

 

Contributing Editor

Gay Mack, MA - Author & Evolutionary Astrologer

"I must govern the clock, not be governed by it". Golda Meir

I am too busy for __________? You fill in the blank.  These powerful little words hold you back from the doing and being the person you want.  What have you been too busy for lately - meditation, exercise, grabbing coffee with a friend or love?  I hear it all the time, and I catch myself saying these harmful little words. 

The reality is each human in the world has 24 hours in a day.  Time, the one true social equalizer in the world.  If you have noticed yourself saying, "I am too busy" for relationships, friendships, or family-ships, it is time to do a personal inventory of your wants and needs.  As humans, we need and want relationships, even those folks who try their darndest not to let others in.  More simply stated, we must have other humans in our lives for happiness and survival. 

It is really easy to get wrapped up in social media, the television, texting, online shopping, overtime, worrying, being angry, and commutes.  However, no one has ever stated "I am so glad I spent all that time online shopping or watching football" on their deathbed.  Ultimately, we get to choose what we want to do with our time.  If you are feeling challenged with time lately, try these practices and see what happens.

1.  Reflect on the last 48 hours of your life.  Review your schedule and events - what did you do with your time?

2.  Write down the things that are most important to you. Your family, relationship, work, time with a pet, nature, volunteering, or etc.  Then note mentally how much time or energy you spent in them recently. 

3.  Notice all the things you say Yes and No to.  Saying "Yes" can mean actually saying "I can do that" or mindlessly finding yourself in an activity like social media scrolling.  Saying "No" can mean actually saying "Thank you but no" or mindlessly finding yourself on the couch instead of taking a walk.  

After you try these practices, you will have a better understanding of your time and energy and where it goes.  Reflecting on time can be critical in relationships - to build and maintain a relationship it takes time and energy.  Only you can decide if you will say Yes to it.  

Contributing Editor

Molly Hillig RN, BSN, MPH

 Empower Yourself - Relationship Expert & Coach 

 

 

WIM3 goes Blogging in 2017

We are encouraging our members to submit blog content that supports their careers and passions.  Please submit your blog content to info.wim3@gmail.com.  WIM3 reserves the right to approve all blog content and will confirm receipt and posting.  You will be recognized as contributing editor.