Monday Mindfulness

Cultivating Strength, Joy, Peace & Resilience


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Illumination

There lies a place in me that has grown numb and is forgotten, a place that in the cool darkness has fallen asleep.

The every day routines of existence have turned off the spigot of kindness, creativity and possibility. Even many of those rituals established to keep me awake and alive are void of meaning, passion, and connectivity.

I must step out of the sleepiness, the lethargy, and the isolation. I can no longer await the awakening. I must create it.

In the darkness I will dance until the vast potential and possibility within me are moved and my heart connected to the fullness, freedom, and gift of my essential self.

In the daylight hours and through the night, I will stay alert to those parts of my life that have fallen asleep, that are passing me by…and I will sing and dance and engage in such revelry and play that no part can remain unmoved, I cannot escape the awakening.

There I will find my essential self, my capacity to joyfully meet my needs as well as yours, and celebrate the wonder of life.

Special thanks to Greg Young of RGY Photography for the beautiful photo accompanying this post. See more at http://www.rgyphotography.com or on Instagram @randygyyoung.


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Awakening

Why is it when something good happens, I assume I am dreaming? Good fortune couldn’t possibly come to me just because it is a way of living.

Our dreams allow us to live out endless possibilities, to experience great joys and work through sufferings. Yet it is more often the sufferings that we bring with us into the waking world. It is the sufferings we expect to find in the daylight hours.

As we settle into the darkest time of the year, let us awaken in this darkness to the fact that we are intended to live in joy and peace, and to thrive in the living more than in our dreams.

It is the suffering that is the illusion, not the success. It is the discomfort that we can relinquish to the dream state.

In the darkness, I awaken to know that this being is intended to be miraculous, exuberant, joyful and abundantly filled with ease.

It is time to give ourselves permission to celebrate our successes and well-being, fully awake and aware in our right to thrive.


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From the Inside

As the last of the peppers hang on the branches of summer gardens, I am reminded that all dressed up in their glossy and attractive shades and shapes, all peppers really do look quite similar. Yes, some may be longer or rounder, but for the most part you can recognize a pepper when you see one.

The truly interesting part is that what you see on the outside rarely relays the tastes and sensations that are discovered on the inside. Size, color, and shape don’t always indicate what you will find. Stand a bright yellow pepper next to a long red one and you might think they were very different until you take a bite. Then you find a delicious sweetness in both of them. On the other hand, line three different green peppers up together and each can have a distinct flavor — some cool and sweet and others quite bitter or firey. In fact, some peppers will even take your breath away.

All crisp, juicy, and designed to complement one another, peppers come in all shapes and sizes, all flavors and intensities, all suiting different taste buds.  Imagine if the world had only one type of pepper. Imagine if someone tried to decide which pepper was best for all and ignored the taste treats hidden in the others.

Isn’t it grand we have so many peppers to get to know?


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Together Within

Hidden inside us all is a cozy little spot where we can find respite from the heat of the sun, from the fear of intruders or encroachers, and where we can feel cradled and protected.

At first glance it may not even be noticeable, blending in with the roots and trunk of who we are. But, it’s there, between the knots and the twists that define our experiences and have grown us into this being.

To some, the nook may look like an imperfection. Some may see it as a weakness, a failing, or space to fill in or cover up. But this treasured gap, this space within, is of great value. For this refuge tucked just so can be bravely opened up to become a haven for others as well. The meek, the tired, the lonely, the lost, or simply those just wishing for a moment of cool, reliable coverage, can gather here in this nook. No matter how many come, when we rest here together we find plenty of space to live and breathe…just as we are.


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In a hurry to go nowhere

Motion around me could easily create a distraction or even be perceived as a danger. Motion around me could be a sign that things are passing me by.

Or, motion could be a wonderful reminder to feel my own stillness, to watch without attachment, and not be in such a hurry to get somewhere.


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Comfy

comfy 3

Here I sit in the middle of my couch.  Extreme joy balancing on one armrest.  Great challenge and sorrow on the other.  There are pillows and soft coverings that support me as I lean to one side or the other.

There is excitement and movement, equal levels of engagement and doing required at either end of my couch.

There are days when I slide over to one side and days that I spend a large amount of time on the other.  Neither better nor worse.  Both engaging my heart and mind in ways that are good for me. Both providing opportunities for me to grow. Both utterly exhausting.

Today I choose not to lean or slide. Today I choose to curl up right here in the middle of it all, to feel the balanced rhythm of my heart, lulled into rest by my breath.  Today I remember the weariness in my bones. Today I remember that laughter and crying use the same muscles.

I smile and melt deep into the cushions of my comfy little couch, so happy to have joy and sorrow by my sides.


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Tiny Droplets loop

Quiet cradles my mind like a blanket of fog embracing the landscape, softening the angles and ridges of criticism, judgment, and doubt.
Pain and suffering become frozen silhouettes. Dark and light meet, their edges fading into one another as if inseparable.
It is in this space where I find freedom to explore the notion of existing without shame or blame. I don’t need explanations, answers, or stories. It is here that I realize there is only love.

In and around, all that exists is love when I allow the low-lying cloud of peace to settle in.


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Hard work or heart work?

Are my decisions truly aligned with what is best for me?

Do I jump into action to make a big splash?

Are my actions tied to some sort of outside message board?

Can living just to feel happy be enough?

What if I chose empathy for myself instead of sympathy?

Or kindness and forgiveness instead of shame and blame?

Can I integrate my experiences, even the ones that result in mistakes, redirection or pain as essential parts of me?

Am I working to prove something?

Or am I living in these moments for my own higher good?

Could it be that by holding a space of peace and love for me I am holding it for you as well…

…and that is heart work.


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Witness Healing

My body is a part of me. It tells me when it needs nourishment and rest.

I can manifest the most horrific diseases by ignoring the signs in my body that are saying slow down, ease off, make a change.

There is no way my body can stop being ill until I care for it.

It is time for me to take responsibility for the way I feel. I do not need to be sick to care for myself. Sick is a reminder that I have neglected to care for me.

These are real symptoms – not of some outside force taking over, but a means of communication from the inside – me sending a message to me that something is out of alignment – the schedule, a relationship, nutrition, work…my connection with me.

Each of us has ignored signs that our bodies needed more care until we were really sick, feeling that powering through is a sign of strength. We don’t need to go there.

True strength lies in respecting myself enough to rest, eat well, choose to receive kindness and love from others and to forgive and let go of those who are in a position to diminish my sense of worthiness.

My body should be held and loved by me as a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. Given a chance to be seen, heard, and to heal.

When I carry my body as it carries me, my body allows me to witness the capacity I have for deep love and profound peace and healing.


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All Wrapped Up

All Wrapped Up

There comes a time and space where each of us longs to curl up in a snuggly blanket, to feel the pressure on our skin, the cocoon of warmth and connection.  This need for contact, pressure, and restriction is also the driver for the invitation of struggle, suffering, and conflict into our lives.

With difficulty pressing in upon me, I will always still find the same comfort and ease on the inside if I allow it.

It is simply a matter of the material of the wrap and the lens with which I see it that determines whether I feel it as nurturing or limiting.

The wrap is just a reminder to feel what’s on the inside – to know the true essence of me, undefined by the fabric of my experience.