Mindfulness, I-Chatting With a Friend, Siegel and Amen


The last three days have been off from work and it has been a great break that I really needed.  My clients are very challenging and the paperwork in my temporary placement in Outpatient has been frustrating.  I needed to clear my head and return to flowing in a more hopeful and positive direction.

How I got myself back on course was first reconnect with a very good friend on Vancouver Island.  With my new computer we could do i-Chat and talk while seeing each other.  It worked really well and was so uplifting to me.  Wise friends are a wonderful gift.  He shared with me two authors he thought I would appreciate reading and the new ideas I have explored already have me very excited about their ideas.  The both write about the latest understand of the mind/brain and how we can create more personal health and more health on the planet.  Dan Siegel, Mindsight and Daniel Amen, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life are the two authors I am just beginning to explore.  I will share as I read what they have to offer.

Mindfulness and self-care continue to coming up for me as something I have to share in the form of talks and presentations and also I thinking it is time to write an e-book on Mindfulness and self-care. 

These times we live in are challenging, as you well know.  It seems more and more important that you and I learn to take good care of ourselves.  The stress alone of our high-speed lives is enough to push most of us out of balance.  Then we add the struggles of job and finances and we have more need to take care of self.  The political noise is also disruptive as our government tries to function under the weight of influence and that too is disruptive to our peace of mind.  Mindfulness is a perfect antidote in these times of uncertainty, chaos and stress. 

Let’s take a minute to talk about a simple mindfulness practice you can use this week to offset the negative around you and uplift the positive flow within you.  The practice is walking-meditation which I find enjoyable and very helpful.  Here is the practice:

No matter the weather outside it is best to walk where the air is fresh and the aliveness of nature can touch you.  It can be in a park or around your neighborhood.  I enjoy late in the evening when it is very quiet out.  Early morning or under the afternoon sun have their benefits.

Begin by having a commitment to walk with awareness.  This means as the mind wanders bring it back into the moment as you walking.  The breath is a great guide for being present.  Walking with awareness can be simply following the inhale and exhale of your breath as you move about.  It seems best to start with a more internal focus like your breath or feeling your feet touch the ground as you walk.  This internal focus has the ability to bring you fully into the now both in the body and to the surroundings.  You can be fully present to yourself and to the environment you are traveling through.  This being present to you and your world is mindfulness.  

This practice is very rewarding because in the now joy, peace and compassion naturally arise as you leave the past behind and the worries of tomorrow for tomorrow.  The more you practice this in an effortless way the more you will feel the benefits.  Effortless in this practice means with intention to be present and much kindness toward self along the way.   Enjoy this practice and allow its benefits to enrich your life, which it will in many ways.

My typical after 9:30 pm walk is a combination of intentions.  I often use the uphill portion that begins at my home as a mini workout for 15-20 minutes with arm swinging and lungs and heart working more.  Than I do 15-20 minutes back down as a walking meditation.  This regular practice has been interrupted briefly several times recently by nature in the form of four legged surprises.  Three times lately I have been surprised by out of the shadows quickly moving big bodies.  They were deer who had ventured down from the mountains near my home.  Each time the startle affect was enough to take a few minutes to settle back down.  One thing for sure I became even more mindful as I finished the walk. 

Also at night lately a skunk scurried very near me and I gave him lots of space because as you most likely know they can raise a big stink.  After I was sure we had both returned to our comfort zones I was able to be mindful again and appreciate all that these encounters stirred up in me from fear to appreciating the natural beauty of nature and it’s creatures. 

Have a great week and enjoy walking mindfully. 


Peace Letter #69

Dear President Obama,

Yes we do badly need financial reform and it needs to be substantial with what is good of the people as the main focus.  Your support for these changes is very important for all of us.  Great job making appointments while Congress is away.  Mr. Bush did that often but his appointments were often a disaster.  I have greater trust is you to make good selections again with the people in mind.

Our biggest financial reform needed is to forever put an end to war, which is disastrous at every level.  I know you promised our troops that we don’t give up.  Giving up is not what they care about, they care about their families and about their lives.  Please bring our troops home from the Middle East wars because it is the sane thing to do. 

Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.

Join me and send President Obama emails of support and encourage the end of war and the other dysfunctional ways of government at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact