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E10 - Mindfulness

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*Intro and outro music are from an original piece by

Carl Zukroff of The Blue Hotel

Think and Grow Rich

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MIM – Bed-xercise! – You may remember that the theme for Move-it Monday is that we want to incorporate exercise into our busy lives without having to run to the gym. Bed-xercise is the ultimate tool for that goal. Basically you’re starting to exercise before you even get out of bed. I think you should start each day with a really good stretch. Even if you’re not in bed now, I’m confident you can remember this stretch until tomorrow.
Lay on your back and stretch out your arms on either side, like Vetruvian man. Pretend someone is pulling on the ends of your fingers and just elongate your arms as much as is comfortable. This should feel really good, no pain at all. If you feel pain, stop. Now turn your head to one side, then the other. Now put one arm overhead and elongate that arm and the opposite leg. You should feel this in your waist and I sometimes feel it in my upper back, which is usually very stiff. Experiment with other ways to move your body around and get your blood flowing with a nice bed-xercise stretch.
TAGRT – A 50 cent lesson in persistence
The same RU Darby who stopped three feet from gold last week witnesses the determination of a child that changed his whole approach to sales and allowed him to sell over a million dollars a year in insurance, which would be an accomplishment today but he did it over a hundred years ago. According to Napoleon Hill, Darby was with his uncle when the daughter of a sharecropper on his land came and asked the uncle for 50 cents because her mother needed it. The uncle was in the middle of a conversation and told the girl, “I’ll not do it,” and expected that to be the end of it. In fact, it was just the beginning. In the end, the girl left with the 50 cents having stood her ground persistently and allowing the strength of her will to wear down the landowner.
We are all in sales in some aspect of our lives. We will all arrive at a time when we want to or have to convince someone else of our way of thinking about a subject or situation important to us. When this happens to you, think of this young, poor, black child who probably came up to the knee of the big, mean, white landlord and channel her persistence and her focus. She knew what she wanted and she wasn’t leaving the building without it. And I’d say she got more than 50 cents that day. She also earned the man’s respect.
WAIW – Check-in time. So much is going on in my life. My mastermind group has started up again- that’s a concept from Think and Grow Rich that we’ll be talking about before long – and it’s even more energizing than usual this time. A lot is happening and my goals are becoming more clear and more focused than ever. I’m starting to question everything that takes my time to make sure that it’s a worthy way to spend time and that it is getting me closer to my goals.
How are you doing? You know, I was at the beach the other day. It was getting warm so I wanted to take off my coat before going for a walk so I looked at the water to see if the tide was coming in or out and how fast. At first, I was sure it was going out but then a big wave came and I was sure it was coming in. The only way I could figure it out was to look at the line of my footsteps then I could track the progression of the waves. Goals are our footsteps in the sand. They allow us to see where we are and where we’re going – if we’re getting better or worse – if our personal tide is coming in or going out. Without goals, you can’t celebrate your progress toward a goal that you’ve not yet reached because you can’t see how close you are. Make some goals!
TYT – For Thank-you Thursday, I want to thank my family. My dad was one of ten kids – part of a set of twins that his mom had quite late in life – his oldest sister was 20 years older – so you can imagine that I’m part of a very large extended family. I have friends who do not have this support system so I realize how lucky I am. Of course, not everyone gets along all the time but we have a strong connection and support each other in times of need.
Who or what in your life is making you feel gratitude today? Let them know, find a way to express it – or if you can’t because the person isn’t around anymore or the situation is such that you really don’t have anyone to thank, then close your eyes and allow that feeling of gratitude to wash over you. Revel in that feeling of gratitude. If there’s a situation in your life that you wish were different, gratitude is the perfect way to change it. Instead of feeling sad or mad or depressed or whatever about a situation, find one tiny grain of goodness and put all of your mind into enjoying and appreciating it.
For example, a friend of mine has kind of a tough relationship with his daughter. We were talking the other day and he was saying, I guess I’m just a bad father. It struck me that to support his idea of himself as a bad father, he has to always find fault with his daughter. If he can, instead, focus on her good qualities and accept that his love may have had a hand in that good quality, the whole paradigm could shift. Could that work for you?
FF –Bread alternatives – how much bread is too much? If you have a busy life, and even if you don’t, bread can seem like a necessity. It’s hard to eat breakfast out or take a lunch to go without involving bread and some of us just love bread and other carbs. If you feel like you’re eating too much bread, there are some interesting alternatives available to you.
Apple: Some sandwiches taste fantastic on an apple. You can cut the apple crossways, so the core will be in the middle of the slice, cut it a little thick, about a quarter-inch or so, and substitute that for the bread. The first time I had this I was at a little restaurant in the Berkshires. They had spread Boursin cheese on the apple, put roast beef and some lettuce. It was delicious!
Sweet potato – A lot of the things you’d like bread to do for you can be done with a sweet potato. You can slice them about the same – a quarter inch or so – and toast or roast them. Spread them with peanut butter & jelly, cover them with maple syrup like French toast. Yum.
Popcorn cakes – Before you groan, give rice or popcorn cakes a try. I actually like to toast them – the caramel ones are especially good – then you can put on your peanut butter, cottage cheese, or hummus. I eat these like open sandwiches. It adds a nice crunch and some flavor.
SMS – Mindfulness – What is mindfulness? According to my phone’s dictionary, mindfulness is a noun that describes a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting ones’ feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Used as a therapeutic technique.
You often hear mindfulness and meditation used together. They are basically two sides of the same coin. They support each other and have the same basic goal of making our lives more tranquil and relieving stress and anxiety but where mindfulness is the awareness of everything that is going on around us and tuning into and being aware of something, in meditation, your goal is to be aware of nothing. We can get more deeply into nothingness in a later episode. My strongest example of mindfulness happened when I was a teenager. I had stayed over a friend’s house. We were experimenting with some substances that are no longer illegal in Massachusetts and at some point in the evening, my friend said to me, “I just suddenly became aware of my skull,” As soon as she said that, I also became aware of my skull. It was like my whole consciousness was suddenly focused on the inside of my skull. It was deep.
Let’s practice some mindfulness now. Wherever you are, you can do this to some extent. It’s better if you can be in a quiet place where you can close your eyes but let’s say that you’re sitting in traffic. First, look at your hands. Are they relaxed or are you gripping the steering wheel? Look at your tense hands and accept the fact that the traffic is stressing you out, then try to transition that feeling as if you’re watching a character on TV who is experiencing it. Consciously relax your hands.
Now do the same with your face. What’s your expression? Are you smiling? Frowning? Scowling? Relax your face and try for a neutral expression. What sounds are around you? Are cars honking? Are you hot? Cold? Tune into each sensation that you can detect. Take it out and mentally look at it and then release it. This takes practice but should make you feel more relaxed the more you do it.
That’s it for this week. Check out the website, You can leave comments, check out other episodes, subscribe to the podcasts so you’ll automatically get them as they come out. Next week you’ll meet