Breath

We become connected with our bodies during meditation.

Like the ebb and flow of the tide, with each inhale and exhale our cleansing breath centers and soothes us.

As we breathe deeply, our blood is oxygenated and our brains are enriched.

The levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, are reduced, and neurotransmitters in the brain increase the hormone serotonin which calms and relaxes us.

Breath is a koan: both a resting place and enlivening.

Anne Lamott

Meditation

Meditation provides us with the opportunity to discover what’s beneath the surface and how to reckon with what we find. Sitting quietly with ourselves and paying attention brings awareness to our mental activities and their impact on our bodies. We can notice the myriad thoughts that flit through our minds, the ego-stories upon which we fixate and replay in an endless cycle, and the bottled-up emotions causing tension and unease.

The practice of meditation can help us stay in the present moment without ruminating on the past or fretting about the future. We become “unstuck” as we release ourselves from the grip of our thoughts and allow emotions to run their course, freeing us from their control. It strengthens our ability to manage stress in a healthy way, while creating a sense of equanimity to help us courageously and peacefully navigate the challenges of life.

Meditation also brings us in touch with our precious inner nature and connects us with others in the spirit of compassion and hope that we may all be free from suffering.

Transformation

Within the chrysalis, a caterpillar digests itself and releases enzymes that dissolve and disintegrate all of its tissues; this protein-rich soup fuels the formation of the butterfly.

Destruction is a prerequisite to creation.

What are we willing to sacrifice in order to evolve?

Are we willing to let go of habits, objects, and relationships that do not serve us? Are we willing to erase old programming; eradicate our ego-stories and mental scripts?

Our reactions to internal thoughts and external circumstances, our preconceived perceptions, our patterns – within each moment and interaction, we have the power to choose the alchemy of transformation.

Kindness

I’ve come to believe that the most important measure of life is kindness, freely given without condition or expectation of reciprocation.

Kindness is a mindful practice that we can exercise in our thoughts, body language, words, and deeds.

When we extend it to others, we recognize that we are reflected in everyone. When we extend it to ourselves, we reinforce the fact that we are worthy of compassion and belonging.

Kindness is a healing balm and a bridge that enables us to traverse the divide from fear to love.

Awareness

The heart of mindfulness is awareness.

This takes many forms: active listening, observing our thoughts without believing them, paying attention to emotions without being swept up by them, and pausing to simply breathe and be.

Our presence in the present moment is the key to connection with ourselves, others, and life itself.