Monday Mindfulness

Cultivating Strength, Joy, Peace & Resilience


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The Pieces

Frequently I stumble over my desire to align myself with someone else, to feel liked, to fit in.

Then, I realize a little piece of me is already aligned with everyone else and that is what allows me to stand out.


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Contain Me

For each of us there is a layer that surrounds and holds our thoughts and feelings, that ties physical material existence to a sense of being. Built into the walls of that container are our beliefs, values, and desires, ever connected and blending with the feelings of others. These characteristics are what give the container strength but can also become places of vulnerability, weakness, and destruction. Stress fractures can begin to appear over time in the container where the values, beliefs, and habits are challenged, become inflexible and brittle.

Signs of wear or weakness are not markers of fault in the container, but a means for assessing whether repair or replacement could be useful. It may be the values and beliefs woven into that section are ready for reconditioning.

When I visualize the materials, tools, and mending — stitching the fabric, soldering the metal, molding the clay – and give myself permission to reshape the container, perhaps even layering different media, I can begin to fill and empty with experiences in a way that projects and protects the me I have come to be.


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Caught up

Why is it that I am so regularly seduced by over work at the sacrifice of self care and compassion?

Caught in the net of a never ending to-do list that lures me away from rest and towards the mirage of success.

In the end, it is not the amount of work I get done but my capacity to enjoy the work I do and that is only possible with sufficient compassion and care.


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Badlands

I stand at the edge of what appears to be a barren and desolate canyon, seemingly incapable of supporting my growth.

Between the jagged and piercing crevasses, I reach down and discover I don’t need as much as I thought to thrive – simple and small gifts of connection are enough to sustain me. Humility, patience, and kindness soften the edges of the canyon like a gentle rain just enough to allow me to take hold and flourish.

Here I learn of my own fortitude and resilience. Here I may appear to stand out but it’s really just where I belong.


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Badlands

I stand at the edge of what appears to be a barren and desolate canyon, seemingly incapable of supporting my growth.

Between the jagged and piercing crevasses, I reach down and discover I don’t need as much as I thought to thrive – simple and small gifts of connection are enough to sustain me. Humility, patience, and kindness soften the edges of the canyon like a gentle rain just enough to allow me to take hold and flourish.

Here I learn of my own fortitude and resilience. Here I may appear to stand out but it’s really just where I belong.


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Contrails

Every morning through my window I watch the airplanes carve a path through the sky, a seemingly straight line built of swirling vortices.

The pilots consider themselves on a steadfast course, honed to the coordinates entered.

But as I watch the swath cover the sky, I see that one path dissipates into a thousand threads of opportunity to go in a different direction.

What one perceives as the path another sees as the starting point. A straight line swirls and morphs into a cloud.

There is nothing wrong with the trajectory on which I ride, but I find it quite fun to imagine where else I might go.


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Hmmmmm

A tear carves a cool path along my skin. My heart pounds furiously against the constricted edges of my body. Focused on my imperfections, I am frozen.

Motionless, my attention is suddenly diverted to a deep and robust murmur in the sky. I slowly turn and open my eyes to find a hummingbird still yet racing in the sky before me.

Wings fluttering so quickly I cannot see them, heart beating 500 times the speed of mine, there it hovers, searching just like me for nourishment in its motionless.

It’s lightness as much a reality as my heaviness.

Joy and freedom projecting from its racing heart and pounding wings.

My racing heart begins to feel less burdened.

My constricted body is now inspired to move.

The illusion I’ve created of my suffering fades.

I find nourishment in transforming my experiences into joy and lightness, choosing the qualities of a hummingbird over failure.


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Meditate Me

The gentle breeze brushes the hair off my face, opening my eyes to all the possibilities that lie on the path before me.

Sunlight bends and shifts through the branches above me, sending waves of warmth and shadows dancing upon my skin, drenching my muscles down to the bones.

The earth below pushes up into the soles of my feet, every step met with a symphony of sensations – crackling forest debris, jagged rocks protruding through the dusty soil, the path shifting and bending me.

The pops of green in the scattered brush and the sprinkling of wild flowers and occasional sprigs of berries remind me of the lushness in this life.

Smells meld together, carving new trenches in my memory, designing a magnificent tapestry of infinite connections linking the past to the now.

My palm now meets the furry edges of the bark on the thousand year old gatekeepers of this sacred space, full of knobs, notches, and burn marks, all signs of a life well lived. It’s touch drains the deepest crevasses of my being, tears now flowing in synchrony with the close by river, eroding the stone edges of my cheeks, chin, and chest.

All the pain, struggle, and fears, begin to melt. All the doubts and failures dissipate. My body, my soul now willing, softness consumes me, not absent strength, but expanding into the subtle power of me.

It is here that I witness harmony, balance, and beauty in the inconsistencies, imperfections, death, and birth before me…within me.

It is here that I discover my own capacity for healing.

It is here that I meditate instead of medicate.


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Does size matter?

When the energy in a situation gets big do you get bigger?

When the energy gets big, do you get littler?

Neither is right or wrong, they just produce different effects.

Where I match the energy carefully and skillfully in its bigness, riding the inhale to its peak, I can take that energy by the hand and usher it to a more stable space.

When I remain small in the big energy I model a means to come back to center, a way to arrive home on the wave of the exhale.

So I can choose whether to breathe in and ride up or breathe out and come back. Where I get into trouble is if I only head one way and forget that there is an inhale and an exhale in every encounter and that big and little are compliments as much as contrasts.


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For a Smoother Takeoff

“Prepare your doors for departure and cross check, please” said the pilot before departing the gate.

How often in our daily lives do we launch without proper preparation?

The brief pause to transition from one moment to the other – to conduct a cross check and prepare for what comes next – provides clarity, confidence, and confirmation that I am ready to move forward.

This cross check also eliminates potential danger and reduces the likelihood of unfortunate outcomes.

On the rhythm of every breath lies the opportunity to prepare for departure, to make wiser choices, and be ready for what lies ahead.

And, with that next exhale, looking keenly and calmly ahead, I softly whisper, “Cross check complete.”