stargazing meditation

love this idea and wanted to keep/share it!
Floating Amidst the Stars
October 4, 2016
Stargazing Meditation
Floating Amidst the Stars

by Madisyn Taylor

Stargazing meditation is an easy and readily available way to connect with self and Universe.
Since the beginning of time, humans have gazed at the stars in the night sky with awe, seeking in their luminosity everything from answers to inspiration to guidance. We have emerged from our contemplations with stories of gods and goddesses, maps of the universe, astrology, astronomy, math, and art. We have worshipped, wondered, and even projected ourselves out into space in an attempt to understand their magical essence. We know more now than we ever have about what those celestial lights are, how far away they reside, and what will happen to them over time, but facts and information are still no substitute for experiencing them yourself.

Gazing at the stars is no doubt one of the earliest forms of meditation practiced by human beings, and it is readily available to this day. If you live in a city, you may have a hard time seeing the stars, but a short drive can take you far enough beyond the city lights to reveal their glory. If you live in a rural setting, all you have to do is wait for the sun to set and the night to settle to get the show of your life, every night. If you make a habit of it, you will begin to know the seasonal changes of the night sky, deepening your connection to the earth and the universe in which you live.

One of the best ways to stargaze is to lie down on a blanket so that your body can fully relax. This position allows your breath to move easily through your tranquil form as you settle down into the earth, connecting your consciousness to the sky. As you look deeply into its vastness, allowing your awareness to alternate between the pinpoints of light and the blue-black space that holds them, your breath expands and contracts your body, just as the universe expands and contracts to its own eternal rhythm. You may feel as if you are floating amidst the stars or that they are raining down upon you. You may feel peacefulness, joy, and connectedness, or any of a full range of emotions. Simply continue to breathe, experiencing the wonder of this universe and your place within it.

 

morning ritual

reading some pieces from Witchcraft & Practical Magic and I really like this morning ritual!

Greeting the morning puts you in touch with the rhythms of nature and is a great way to start a new day. You can work out your own simple ritual involving a few stretches or breathing exercises to wake up the body, followed by a moment of quiet or meditation to collect yourself for the day. Taking a shower is also energizing and refreshing and changes your energy from sleep to awake; use fragrances such as rosemary, all the citrus scents, peppermint or eucalyptus in your shower products.

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Start-the-Day-Ritual

This quick ritual summons a fresh charge of personal and spiritual energy to strengthen your being and encourage you to appreciate the joy of a new day.

  1. light your chosen incense or collect your essential oil (can be diffused or on hands/body). Stand facing a window, toward the east if possible (or even outside if you like).  Take some slow, deep breaths.
  2. when you feel calm, make the sign of the pentagram on your body. touch your forehead with your fingertips and say:
    I am Spirit

    touch your left hip and say:
    I am Earth

    touch your right shoulder and say:
    I am Water

    touch your left shoulder and say:
    I am Air

    touch your right hip and say:
    I am Fire

    finally, touch your forehead again and complete the figure of the pentagram and say:
    thus I seal my affirmation, or you can simply go with “And so it is”

  3. inhale the fragrance of incense or oil for a few moments before beginning the new day.

 

lovely way to start the day!
Great herbs to use in the morning:

For protection & purification – frankincense, juniper

For success – cinnamon, clove, carnation

For a clear mind – Rosemary, basil, peppermint 

To dispel sluggishness – grapefruit, lemon, lime, bergamot 

The Perfect Mindfulness Practice For Every Astrological Sign

Interesting – does this ring true for your own sign?

From MindBodyGreen

Many people in the wellness community love to meditate and tout the practice frequently. However, it can certainly seem like a hard sell for people who can’t seem to sit still or quiet their mind. If you’re one of those people — I understand where you’re coming from! Though, there is definitely a way to fix it — you just need to find a meditation practice that works best for you.

Our astrological signs lend many hints to our personalities and behaviors. You can use these traits to zero in on a mediation that will work best for you. Here is the best mindfulness practice for each sign.

Aries’ personalities are like the coming of spring — fresh, vibrant, inspiring, enthusiastic, and fun. Being blessed with natural gifts of strength, fearlessness, leadership, initiative, and creativity, their pace of life tends to be high energy and ultra-active. Yet, without rest they’re susceptible to developing tension and stress in their bodies and minds. Meditation is a great tool for Aries to recharge while being immersed in peace, love, and joy!

Recommendations for meditation for an Aries: To cultivate a long-term practice, consider a daily practice as the most important challenge in your life. Continually set, accomplish, and revise goals of amounts of daily mantra repetition. Eventually you’ll find that you meditate less for accomplishing goals and more for the peace that meditation provides.

Taureans are endowed with great charm, stamina, endurance, and strength. Being the zodiac’s money sign, Taureans will use their natural abilities to work with an almost obstinate perseverance to achieve financial success. Yet for a Taurus, too much exertion over a long period of time causes accumulations of stress and tension, an overly rigid attitude, and health problems. Meditation can be used as a path toward cultivating a balanced sense of values, flexibility, and a positive outlook!

Recommendations for meditation for a Taurus: Once Taureans take on a task, they stick with it. In fact, they may find themselves feeling guilty or uneasy if unpredictable life events cause them to miss their cherished daily meditation. Cultivating an attitude of flexibility and self-forgiveness will help you happily resume your practice.

 

The intelligence, wit, and versatility of Geminis make them extremely fun to be around. They love change and are perpetually immersed in new projects, education, and experiences. With all of these mental challenges, they often find themselves waking up as one person and going to sleep as someone completely different, tired and lost in their thoughts. Meditation can help Geminis get grounded, find themselves, and create much-needed consistency in their ever-changing mentally intense lifestyles.

Recommendations for meditation for Geminis: Try to practice mantra meditation for only three to five minutes per day and expand this time allotment slowly. If you stop practicing your daily meditation, don’t take it personally, and get back on track. In time, meditation can become as natural to your daily routine as brushing your teeth.

Cancers are gifted with such profound psychic and intuitive abilities that they’re often perceived to be mysterious and unpredictable. When these abilities aren’t harnessed properly, Cancers might find themselves absorbing surrounding negative energies and reacting erratically through emotional mood swings. To protect themselves, they will likely withdraw into their depths isolating themselves from positive energies and beneficial relationships. Meditation is one of the best ways for Cancers to learn to channel their uncanny abilities and to lead joyous lives!

Recommendations for meditation for Cancers: Lie comfortably with eyes closed on a soft surface while listening to your deep rhythmic breath. With time you will find yourself dwelling deeply within and enjoying the homeyness of your subconscious. With practice, you’ll find more peace in your home within yourself.

Leos are loyal and rarely break a commitment. As soon as a Leo gets involved in work, family, or any other activity, he will take on the role of leader and work heartily to bring his pack success. By taking on so much responsibility and obligation, Leos often overdo and overwork. Exhaustion causes their big hearts to suffer, life expectancy to shorten, and health to deteriorate. Meditation helps Leos relax, balance their health, cultivate perspective, smell the roses, and enjoy their lives for many long joyous years!

Recommendations for meditation for Leos: Leos operate through their hearts. Once a Leo’s heart is moved by meditation they will establish a deeply cherished practice. Allow your meditation practice to take the form of reverence — repetition of a mantra to a beloved deity or metta practices will work wonders!

Virgos are born with strong analytical minds, pure motivations, and a superpower-like ability to notice details. They are perfectionists trying to make their domain one that matches their utopic ideals. This striving for perfection often leads them to be overly demanding of others and especially of themselves. This tends to cultivate fears, anxieties, insecurities, inferiority complexes, and, often, mental health problems. Through meditation, Virgos can achieve tranquility, acceptance, and the perfection they seek by discovering it deep within their own divinity.

Recommendations for meditation for Virgos: Allow meditation to be an activity that you’re not perfect at. Accept the practice as it is without expectations or goals. Performed this way, five to ten minutes per day sitting quietly, relaxing, and breathing in the sound “So” and out the sound “Hum” will be transformative.

Libras strive to cultivate an ideal of balance, peace, and fairness in their environment. Yet, life challenges them with its imperfections, untruths, selfishness, and unfairness. When Libras try to singlehandedly fix the world they may become overwhelmed, unbalanced, emotional, judgmental, and ultimately place their health at risk. Through meditation Libras can rebalance, recoup their health, and gain the wisdom to understand the root cause of life’s struggles.

Recommendations for meditation for Libras: Libras will need to understand how meditation benefits them before being able to cultivate a sustainable practice. Seek out a well-qualified meditation instructor and literature that can explain the benefits of meditation. Start simply with short five-minute daily meditations and do not extend this length until you are ready.

 

Scorpios will be able to get through the toughest troubles in their lives without any inclination of inner turmoil by their external expressions. They store their troubles deep within their subconscious. This is why Scorpios are described as fixed water or, in simpler terms, ice — their deep emotions are covered by thick ice! If these emotions are not released in a timely manner, they will reach a point of explosion either through a big conflict, depression, or illness. To release deep emotions, the mind has to be cleared of thoughts so that emotions can be released. Meditation works the best for this application.

Recommendations for meditation for Scorpios: Sit or lie comfortably and gently listen to the sound of your breathing with a witnessing attitude. Especially in the beginning, you might feel uncomfortable or even angry during your practices. This is a great sign of deep emotional release. With time, this will happen less and you will enjoy your practice and daily life more. Stay happy, Scorpio!

Sagittarians are busy bees, constantly on the go traveling, creating their futures, looking for love, and embarking on new endeavors. Their great sense of intuition keeps them moving from place to place and from enterprise to enterprise toward some kind of utopic fairy-tale land. In time, Sagittarians will find that their paradise does not exist out in the world but within themselves. To open the door toward this idyllic Sagittarius dwelling, they must learn to meditate and go inward.

Recommendations for meditation for Sagittarians: Before your meditation practice, enjoy a yoga asana session. It will help ground your on-the-go energies and will help you establish a comfortable sitting posture. From there, start with a simple three- to five-minute breath awareness meditation practice and increase this time allotment as feels comfortable. Don’t worry if you miss your practice; smile and try again!

Capricorns will climb the steepest and riskiest mountain slopes to reach their ambitious life goals. No tests, obstructions, or conflicts will stop their ascent! In order to keep their bodies, minds, and spirits healthy for their impressive work ethic, Capricorns need an effective method to recharge their energy, de-stress, and remove tension. Meditation will work great for Capricorns by providing much needed rest, peace, perspective, healing, and joy!

Recommendations for meditation for Capricorns: For one month try to meditate every day at the same time for 10 minutes, and you will likely discover that cultivating a meditation practice is quite the challenge! Take on this challenge and know that its success will bring fulfillment.

 

Aquarians are ruled by two very powerful and very different planets: Saturn (responsibility and structure) and Uranus (liberation and change). This creates difficult challenges for Aquarians — they have to balance their desire for friends and family with their desire for freedom, their strong opinions with their potent intuition, home with travel, etc. These challenges create tension in Aquarians’ bodies and do not permit their minds much needed rest. Meditation is the key for Aquarians to deeply relax, release physical and mental tension, cultivate inner peace, and find balance.

Recommendations for meditation for Aquarians: It is not easy for mind-oriented Aquarians to stop or slow their thought processes. A strong point of concentration is needed to keep the mind calm and clear of unwanted thoughts. Try using a mantra such as “So-Hum” to harness your focus.

 

Inside Pisces are two fishes tied together swimming in opposite directions — ultimately the fish can only travel in one direction yet the fish named “Ego” opposes the fish named “Soul.” Pisces who travel on the path of “Ego” will suffer from many doubts in decision making and living; they will never feel satisfied with their efforts and even might feel unworthy in life. Because they are the most sensitive sign of the zodiac, doubts will lead to strain, stress, and suffering. However, Pisces who choose the way of “Soul” will increase their inherent abilities of intuition and introspection discovering deep within themselves balance of their feelings and emotions, self-worth, self-confidence, and a sense of more effortless living. Meditation can help Pisces travel the way of “Soul.”

Recommendations for meditation for Pisces: Before cultivating a practice, create a very special cozy meditation abode — your own private temple. For meditation, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and listen to your breathing. Don’t worry about “clearing your mind” — when thoughts come, do not fight them; simply observe and let them come and go like waves on the ocean shore.

Meditation Myth #3

Myth #3: It takes years of dedicated practice to receive any benefits from meditation.

Truth: The benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. You can begin to experience benefits the first time you Mindfulness Meditation 2sit down to meditate and in the first few days of daily practice.

Many scientific studies provide evidence that meditation has profound effects on the mind-body physiology within just weeks of practice.

For example, a landmark study led by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that as little as eight weeks of meditation not only helped people experience decreased anxiety and greater feelings of calm; it also produced growth in the areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation.

From MBG: A Super Simple Morning Ritual For A Happy, Productive Day

My morning ritual is the most important part of my day. It’s an incredibly powerful tool to help me bust through the challenges that sometimes get thrown my way. I start my day by practicing anywhere from 11 to 60 minutes of kundalini meditation, journaling, and sipping tea before I make breakfast. This is my sacred time. It’s how I harness my “superpowers” in the crazy world we live in.

Below, I’ve outlined three practices I recommend if you’re interested in starting your day in a more mindful way. Find one of these rituals that resonates with you and commit to it for 40 days to fully establish it in your mind, body, and soul.

After 40 days, you may want to continue with it or you can also experiment with a different form of meditation or perhaps add another practice on to your initial ritual. Start by designating a special place in your bedroom or living space as your “sacred spot,” put a pretty pillow there, maybe some flowers, and find a place to feel comfortable. Then, try one of these practices:

1. Visualize your best day.

Take some time to create a clear vision for your best day. This can be done by sitting up in bed after your alarm clock goes off, in the shower, sitting in your favorite chair with a cup of tea, or sitting in your sacred spot. Close your eyes; start long, deep breaths; and once you feel calm and centered, start visualizing the best version of your day.

How do you feel after breakfast and getting dressed as you’re walking out of the house? How does your day at work go? What do the different interactions feel like? How does that meeting go? What does it feel like to send that email or complete that project? Get clear on each part of your day until you tuck yourself into bed at night and hold the space for the highest vision of your day.

2. Try a let-go mantra for release and surrender.

Are you someone who wakes up and instantly has a rush of anxiety as your entire to-do list floats to the forefront of your mind? Then this practice is for you! This simple mantra allows us to surrender our negative thoughts and feelings and release to a deeper place of peacefulness.

Simply repeat “LET” in your mind as you take each inhale and repeat “GO” on each exhale. With every repetition, breathe deeper and release further; keep your eyes closed, palms up to the sky, placed on your knees; and either sitting in easy cross-legged pose or in a chair with your legs uncrossed. This is a great meditation that you can take with you anywhere, from the subway to your office to your in-laws’ house.

3. Connect with your inner light.

Connecting to the source, remembering who you are, tapping into your true potential — whatever you call it — can expand your life exponentially when you start taking the time in the morning to connect to your limitlessness. For this process, I suggest selecting a powerful “theme song.” It can be anything you want as long as it’s a song that makes you glow from the inside out and awakens you to your greatness. My personal song is India Arie’s “I Am Light.” It’s a soft, soulful song that makes me feel like a giant fireworks display.

Pick yours and play it while sitting in your new sacred spot, eyes closed, palms up, legs crossed. Imagine a giant ball of light at your heart’s center; watch it grow with each breath until the golden light expands throughout your entire being. Let the light pour out each every cell and surround you in a giant cloud of golden light. When your song comes to a close, take a deep breath in and hold it, soaking in all the light inside and around you. After a ten count exhale and slowly bring yourself back into the room. You can also use this song throughout the day as a positive trigger to take you back to that place inside of you.

If after 40 days, one practice isn’t resonating with you, move on to the next! I promise that when you connect with a mindful way to start your day, you’ll experience happier, more productive days.

Meditation Myth #2

Myth #2: You have to quiet your mind in order to have a successful meditation practice.

Truth: This may be the number one myth about meditation and is the cause of many people giving up in frustration. Meditation isn’t about stopping our thoughts or trying to empty our mind – both of these approaches only create stress and more noisy internal chatter.

We can’t stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much attention to give them. Although we can’t impose quiet on our mind, through meditation we can find the quiet that already exists in the space between our thoughts. Sometimes referred to as “the gap,” this space between thoughts is pure consciousness, pure silence,meditation-tip and pure peace.

When we meditate, we use an object of attention, such as our breath, an image, or a mantra, which allows our mind to relax into this silent stream of awareness.

When thoughts arise, as they inevitably will, we don’t need to judge them or try to push them away. Instead, we gently return our attention to our object of attention.

In every meditation, there are moments, even if only microseconds, when the mind dips into the gap and experiences the refreshment of pure awareness. As you meditate on a regular basis, you will spend more and more time in this state of expanded awareness and silence.

Be assured that even if it feels like you have been thinking throughout your entire meditation, you are still receiving the benefits of your practice. You haven’t failed or wasted your time. When my friend and colleague David Simon taught meditation, he would often tell students, “The thought I’m having thoughts may be the most important thought you have ever thought, because before you had that thought, you may not have even known you were having thoughts. You probably thought you were your thoughts.”

Simply noticing that you are having thoughts is a breakthrough because it begins to shift your internal reference point from ego mind to witnessing awareness. As you become less identified with your thoughts and stories, you experience greater peace and open to new possibilities.

Meditation Myth #1

Myth #1: Meditation is difficult.

MeditationWeb_a47f1f24-7c79-439b-8577-c2f6b1743ed8Truth: This myth is rooted in the image of meditation as an esoteric practice reserved only for saints, holy men, and spiritual adepts.

In reality, when you receive instruction from an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, meditation is easy and fun to learn. (I’d note that a teacher is great but not totally necessary – with today’s guided recordings online, apps, etc., it can be done at home, alone…)

The techniques can be as simple as focusing on the breath or silently repeating a mantra. One reason why meditation may seem difficult is that we try too hard to concentrate, we’re overly attached to results, or we’re not sure we are doing it right.

From thespiritscience.net

Sage Goddess: Top Ten Tips for Manifestation

From the Sage Goddess blog – I think she’s right on, and this is something I am working on with myself.

Are you frustrated because you haven’t been able to manifest your dreams and visions?  You are not alone.  Manifestation is the act of focusing your will and your vision on a desired outcome over an extended period of time; it takes discipline, courage, and faith.  Here are my Top 10 tips for manifestation.  These have worked for me.  I trust they will work for you!

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1. You have to believe
I’ve noticed that most people don’t actually think their dreams can become a reality. There’s too much information and too many people actively convincing them that what they want is unattainable. You have to believe. You have to be able to see your dreams unfolding before they actually do. The first and most important step in manifesting anything is to completely believe in yourself and your vision. If that vision is coming from your heart and soul, then hold on tightly to it.

2. Use the right tools
Gemstones, candles, and essential oils are helpful for manifestation work because they raise the energetic vibration around you to be in total alignment with the energetic frequency of attraction. Stones like zincite, yellow apatite, citrine, quartz, magnetite, and arfvedsonite top my personal list of powerhouse manifesting gems. I use frankincense, patchouli, and lotus oils to support this work on the aromatherapy side. And then for candles, the colors green and gold are the best for manifesting work. Create a manifestation altar in your home and meditate in front of it. When you do, make sure you keep all your thoughts focused on how possible your dreams really are.

3. Hold the vision
You will have to hold the vision of possibility through some challenging times; if you can’t, then you won’t manifest. Crystallize a vision of what you want to create and make it clear in your mind. Then, spend at least 5 minutes a day in active visualization with that vision. That means inhabiting the vision, being able to see and experience it as if it has already occurred on the material plane. See it, smell it, feel it, touch it in your mind’s eye.

4. Trust the process
If you believe as I do that you create your own reality, then you have to trust the process of how your reality unfolds. I believe there is a powerful and infinite intelligence in the Universe that really does conspire to support you. Trust it. Learn to appreciate it. When things don’t go as planned, or as you desire, trust that any setbacks are still progress.

5. Don’t listen to the naysayers
Haters gonna hate. I don’t know why, but people love to tell you why things won’t work. They get jealous when anything good happens to someone else. And they rarely hesitate to discourage you when you’re trying so hard to trust the process. Let it go. Don’t listen. It’s that simple. Find a support network of people who can nourish and encourage you. Listen to them.

6. Don’t yield to your inner critic
And most of the time you don’t need haters; we do a good enough job of naysaying ourselves! Your Inner Critic might be loud, like mine is, reminding you of the risks associated with your dreams. The Inner Critic’s favorite question is “What if it all goes wrong?” The answer is, you’ll figure it out. But if you never try you’ll be haunted all your life by your unlived dreams. You are here to manifest – it’s literally your reason for being. Get fearless and put a muzzle on that Inner Critic.

7. Consult your higher self
Then once that Inner Critic is quiet, listen to your Higher Self, your inner muse, the source of inspiration and the quiet voice of your dreams. Your higher self is an evolved form of YOU, deeply connected to your guides and integrated into the network of lightbeings and angels who surround you every day. She is your wisest self. Ask her what direction to follow. And then do a really good job of acting on her counsel. Meditation is the best way to connect with your higher self.

8. Create an authentic vision
Be sure that you are following a vision that is unique to you. You can’t copy your way to success. Don’t try to create what someone else has. Your soul purpose is a unique fingerprint that belongs solely to you; meditate and ask for clarity about what it is. Request that your guides come to you in dreamstate with details. Go out in the world and explore different things, ideas, and experiences. See what resonates. Inspiration will find you but it helps if you go seeking. Travel, ask questions, talk to people, dream, and open yourself to new opportunities.

9. Meditate and focus daily
Meditation is the act of getting internally quiet, and you need to spend 5 minutes a day in active silence. Quiet your mind and travel to a place inside your soul where your dreams are already a reality. Visualize your possibility in fine detail. If your dreams came true what would that look like? Would you live somewhere else, with someone else, do something else, feel differently? Allow yourself free reign to explore during your meditation and then, ask your guides to offer you wisdom and clear your mind to receive it. Spend as much time in meditation as you like. But as a minimum, give this 5 minutes a day. I meditate at night, but you can do it first thing in the morning or even mid-day if that’s when you have time.

10. Keep your vibe high
What’s a high vibe? Joy, peace, gratitude, anticipation, love. Low vibes are anger, resentment, jealousy, fear, and sadness. High vibes help you manifest; low vibes keep you stagnant. Your emotions are always your choice. People hurt us, disappoint us, and scare us. But we decide how we react. I like the 7-second rule. After 7 seconds, an emotion becomes a vibration and begins attract like energies. Don’t complain, yell, cry, scream for more than 6 seconds. Count if you have to. Then switch the vibe. Keep switching. Eventually you’ll find it difficult to dwell in that stagnant place for long and what’s more, you won’t want to spend time with people who do.

May you manifest all that you desire in perfect time and in full alignment with your soul’s divine purpose in this lifetime. So it is.

– See more at: http://www.sagegoddess.com/my-top-ten-tips-for-manifestation/#sthash.NFhTy0Y3.dpuf

Ways to Encourage Mindfulness at Work

It’s strange to be a pagan/spiritual being in a corporate world, but I am working on it!  This post was helpful for me – excerpts below.

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“Most people spend over 30 percent of their adult waking life at work. For many of us, that time is a blur of meetings, email and frenzied activity. If there’s a gap during the day, the web usually wins our attention. We leave work exhausted and out of touch with our basic humanness.

Even though I’ve been practicing mindfulness since college and have experimented with everything from meditation retreats to daily rituals, it can still be difficult.

Below are just a few of the ideas suggested for developing mindfulness on the job:

Getting into the Habit
You’ve read all about the benefits of mindfulness and are ready to start, well, being mindful. But actually putting intention into action can be challenging. Here’s what meetup participants had to say:

  • Create 15-minute calendar invites for mindfulness every day and commit to spending time with yourself.
  • Set up mindfulness “triggers”. Take a conscious breath when you walk through a door or before you sit down to a meeting.
  • Stretch a bit when you stand up from your desk, or as you walk to your next meeting.
  • Focus on one task at a time–multitasking doesn’t work.
  • Take breaks from work to gain perspective on what you are doing.
  • Find other workmates interested in mindfulness and practice together.
  • Connect with a mindfulness mentor–someone you can talk with about your practice.

Finding the Space
Unfortunately, our lives often aren’t set up to facilitate mindful practice. One of the common themes at the meetup was our need for a space to practice mindfulness. Here are some strategies we came up with:

  • Sit in your car for a bit before going into the office.
  • Take a 10-minute walk outside every day and leave your phone at your desk.
  • Ride a bike to work–you have to be mindful when you’re biking through traffic.
  • Yoga, Aikido, Qi Gong and other contemplative exercises help connect mind and body.
  • Sit quietly at your desk for ten minutes before going to lunch.
  • Pause at your computer for 30 seconds before diving into work.
  • Turn an unused room or closet into a “Wellness Room” or meditation space.
  • Set up boundaries to protect your mind–shut off your phone after 8 p.m., don’t bring it to your bedroom, etc.

Apps and Resources
Technology is often the cause of our mindlessness, but it can also contribute to the solution. Here are some helpful resources–high-tech and low-tech–everyone can incorporate into their routine:

  • For your phone/tablet:
    • Insight Timer–A meditation app you can program to help you meditate for a range of different times, keep track of your practice, and connect with others.
    • Headspace–A beautiful, friendly step-by-step app for practicing mindfulness.
    • Calm–Another great option for learning mindfulness from your phone, this app provides timed meditation along with soothing pictures and sounds.
    • Habit Bull–Android app that encourages you to make or break habits.
  • For your computer:
    • Pomodoro–A timer to encourage focusing on a single task, and then taking breaks.
    • Time Out for Mac–fades your computer screen on schedule.

Reminders
Becoming mindful isn’t going to happen overnight–it’s a lifestyle change that takes time and patience. Here are some things to keep in mind through your personal journey:

  • Be gentle with yourself. Mindfulness is not about getting rid of thoughts.
  • It’s normal to get distracted–some days are just more hectic.
  • It’s called “practice” for a reason–it takes repetition to develop the mindfulness muscle.
  • Some people say it takes eight weeks to develop a mindfulness habit. It hasn’t been that fast for me!
  • Committing to “doing nothing” for at least ten minutes every day is not a serious undertaking–a sense of humor helps.
  • Keep your goals in mind. One from our meetup: “look for and recognize the good in other workers and in myself.”

What did we miss on this list? What do you do to encourage mindfulness at work”

Exploring Chakras: Root Chakra

Chakras are something that most of us seem to grasp and understand, but still wonder how to work with at times.  Deepak Chopra teaches about them in an easily understood way – here, I am sharing his explanation of the root chakra.

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“The First Center: The Root Chakra

The root chakra, known in Sanskrit as muladhara, is located at the base of the spine. It governs your most basic survival needs. When this chakra is clear and energy flows through it freely, we feel secure and confident that we can easily fulfill our needs. However, blockage in this area can cause us to feel anxious and worried.

The spiritual Law of Karma governs the first energy center. On the physical plane, every action you perform results in a corresponding reaction. To maximize the possibility that your actions generate evolutionary reactions, you can use your body as a choice determining instrument.

Consider the possibilities in front of you and listen to signals from your body. These sensations generating from the root chakra are either comfortable or uncomfortable. Your body evaluates every possible decision in terms of its likelihood to meet your needs for safety or increase the level of threat you experience. The first chakra, which connects you with the earth, provides essential information as to the potential nourishment or toxicity that is available to you as a result of the actions you are taking.”

Techniques for Opening and Energizing the Root Chakra:

The Root chakra is the most physical one. Any activity that makes one more aware of the body, will strengthen this chakra.

This particularly goes for physical activity. One can do sports, martial arts, walking, yoga, tai chi, it all helps. But also house-cleaning, manual dish-washing and car-cleaning. It is important not to do things that make one insensitive to pain and not to overdo it. Exhaustion is just not good.  Zen meditation is an activity that seems to be the contrary of physical, but actually is. This can make one very aware of the body.

Grounding and contracting the muscles between the anus and genitals are also root chakra activating.

An easy root chakra meditation idea:
Some chakra meditations use mudras, which are special hand positions, to open chakras. The mudras have the power to send more energy to particular chakras.
To enhance the effect, sounds are chanted. These sounds are from Sanskrit letters. When chanted, they cause a resonation in your body that you can feel at the chakra they are meant for.

For pronunciation, keep in mind that:
the “A” is pronounced as in “ah,”
the “M” is pronounced as “mng” (“ng” like in “king”).

Do a meditation for 7 – 10 breaths. Chant the sound several times each breath (for example three times).

Let the tips of your thumb and index finger touch.
Concentrate on the Root chakra at the spot in between the genitals and the anus.
Chant the sound LAM.

Mudra for Root chakra
Read more at: www.eclecticenergies.com/chakras/open.php#chakra1