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This Week's Support

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Weekly Mindfulness Support - It Starts With Us

Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, April 10, 2020! This is a rare and precious day that will never come again. May you experience each moment with attention and intention. Last evening in our meow online meditation group, I offered a Metta, or Loving Kindness, meditation. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Metta, it starts with us. We begin the meditation by grounding our awareness in the present moment and giving ourselves permission to let go of worries, concerns and time constraints. We then spend little time scanning and relaxing our body. With an alert mind and a relaxed body, we call to mind that, “we are a precious and valuable human life.” As we say in Mindfulness in Recovery, “We are not the center of the universe, but we are a valuable part of it.” We start with us because we give away what we have. This week I have been focusing on values and what it means to live a meaningful life. One of my intentions was to reflect on how I want to be remembered – my legacy. In thinking about this, I remembered something Maya Angelou once said, people will not remember what you said or did as much as how you made them feel. How do I want to make people feel? The people that I admire most and aspire to emulate are those who are kind, funny, generous and who genuinely love, appreciate and enjoy their life. I would approve of being remembered like that – I’m working on it 😉 So, in this Metta meditation, we start with us. We begin by cultivating the thought, “May I be filled with Love and Kindness.” We visualize a warmth emanating from our heart, filling our whole being. We envision that this warmth soothes us, comforts us, leaving us feeling safe, accepted, cared for and loved. We spend some time in this space. Next we visualize ourselves “feeling Peaceful and at Ease; completely content; free of any worries and concerns; relaxed, without fears or difficulties.” After spending some time in this space of Peace and Ease, we cultivate the thought, “may we be Healthy and Well.” Here, we focus on our in-breath and imagine a healing light entering our body and relieving us of any illness or injury. We then spend a little time focusing on our out-breath and visualize mental, emotional and physical afflictions exiting our body leaving us healthy, vibrant and strong. After cultivating for ourselves Loving-Kindness, Peace and Ease, optimal Heath and Wellness, we then offer ourselves Genuine Happiness. This is not giddiness or the pleasure we get from ice cream, fluffy bunnies, rainbows and kittens—rather it’s a deep sense of contentment; a flourishing; a heartfelt gratitude that comes by doing things that we feel good about as opposed to the pleasure we get from doing things that makes us feel good. A Genuine Happiness. We give ourselves permission to bathe in these qualities. For some, like myself, it’s easier to cultivate these thoughts for others than for ourselves. Be patient and kind with yourself. You are (I am) worthy. Having cultivated these conditions for ourselves, we then take some time to pass on these qualities to others. I like to call to mind people that I know personally who are suffering. In this time of COVID-19, it’s not hard to think of someone who might need some prayers. I have one dear friend who has lost three people significant in her life. Prayers, Love and Kindness to you! I also like to call to mind groups of people, for instance, store clerks, healthcare providers and law enforcement who are putting their lives at risk for our own well-being. We bring these important people to the forefront of our mind and remember that, “just like us, they are doing the best they can to survive; they have trials and tribulations, fears, worries and concerns. And, just like us, they are valuable human beings worthy of living meaningful and purposeful lives free from suffering.” With this in mind, we spend some time spreading to them Love and Kindness, Peace and Ease, Health and Wellness and Genuine Happiness. Some of us truly want to make a measurable difference in the world! If we cultivate and embody these qualities of Love and Kindness within ourselves, there is in fact more Love and Kindness in the world—this is indeed a measurable difference. We are an interdependent part of this world and what we do and who we are ripples out. We’ll never know the full impact that we have on others, all around the world. This virus should help us realize our inseparability! So, we don’t stop extending Loving Kindness with the people we know personally. Like tendrils, we extend the merits of Love and Kindness to all sentient beings, including the people and institutions we have difficulty! I personally extend my prayers to plants, water, rocks and the whole earth. I believe our world is alive – I am alive, and I am of this world. Extend your Love and Kindness as far as you wish. Improving this world, starts with us. And to finish off the meditation, we allow ourselves to be the recipients of Love and Kindness from others. You are (I am) worthy! I love you and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Thank you all for being a part of my life. With Gratti-Atti-Attitude, Dan Contribute to the Turning Leaf Foundation. If you would like to help bring Mindfulness to the less fortunate and to help pay for current services, your generosity will be deeply appreciated.

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