Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beware of Contra-Mantras

Do you ever catch yourself saying the most awful things to yourself? I tune into my own inner dialogue at times, and find a terrible, critical task master has hijacked my brain! Out, out! I say.

This happens to all of us, however positive and confident we may be in our mind states, these thoughts and feelings will sometimes make their way in. A fellow yoga teacher once referred to these repetitive, negative, critical words or phrases as "Contra-Mantras." And they are just that. Negative programming that comes up and plays like a repeat of a bad TV show. What to do? Turn off the tellie! Or, at least change the channel.

When you notice these self-critical voices coming into your thought process, bring mindfulness back into your process. Stop, pause, take a deep breath. Don't try to push the thoughts away, to the contrary, embrace them. Take a good look at them. Who's voice is that? Is it really yours? Or is it an "old script" performed in the past my a critical parent, an unkind teacher, a bully, a jerk boss, etc. Sometimes even a passing comment can strike such a deep cord that it lasts a lifetime, showing up as a "contra-mantra" when something triggers our insecurity. Just examine this commentary for what it is, and then gently offer a positive mantra in replacement.

For many of us the self-critical mind talks comes from a certain level of perfectionism. While it may sound like a positive trait, studies have show time-and-time again that perfectionists not only suffer heavily as a result of their unrealistic goals for themselves and others, but actually short circuit themselves, and achieve less in the long run. It is hard to even get started when deep inside you know your goal of "perfect" is unattainable.

I came across a letter to Let Your Life Bloom blog author, Vanessa Smith, from a reader struggling with these particular issues. Vanessa gives an insightful response which includes the advice to, "release your need to release you perfectionism." You can read the rest of her response, here.

Think of it this way, one of the most widely used and effective forms of torture is to repeatedly bombard someone with certain words or phrases that "get inside their head" and change the way they think and feel. This "programming" or "brainwashing" is devastatingly effective. When you repeat in your own mind negative, even cruel words and phrases, that you would probably never dream of saying to someone else, you are doing the same thing to yourself. It is a harsh analogy, and I mean it to be, because I want you to understand how hard you are being on yourself when you do that. You are wonderful, you deserve better, regardless of what anyone has told you in the past. Let that go. Give yourself the gift of kind words, and gratitude for all the incredible things that you are.

As my teacher Rammanand Patel says,
"Everything that you can do is a gift from God. Everything that you can't do is part of the wonderful challenge and adventure of life."

Try these positive mantras, when you hear a "contra-mantra" popping into your head:

I am beautiful.

I am strong and smart.

My body is healthy and full of vital energy.

I am an excellent mother/father/brother/sister/wife/husband/friend/worker.

I deserve love and respect.

I can do anything!

My life is full of abundance.

I am calm and resourceful.

I have everything I need.

I am loved.

I am peaceful.

I am safe.

Write your own positive mantra, or affirmation. Make it a short and positive "I" statement. Repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Write it down and tape it to a mirror, or the inside of your desk. Anywhere you can quickly access it when your need to counteract a "contra-mantra".

May you be happy, may you be free from all suffering.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grateful for 15 Days and Counting

Only 15 days until my wedding. And for this I am truly grateful.

In large part because I am grateful because I get to marry my wonderful Michael. We have such a joy-filled life together. He makes it easy to be grateful for everything, and to forget the sorrows of the past. Here are some pics from our adventures, in the Emerald Gorge, China; and snowmobiling in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I am also grateful because creating a wedding is a lot of work! You know, I had heard this many times, but our wedding is so small, only 26 people...including us! How could it be so much work?!

I have had to pause many times during the rush and whirl of planning, and just rest in a few minutes of silence and deep breathing. What I find there is always the same; the touch my soul has waited for this whole life, rich and alive, and unbelievably mine. And then I can go back to resting in calm...

at least for a few minutes:-)

15 days!!!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

CAFE PRESS FREE shipping this weekend! coupon WEEKEND50.

For all my readers who LOVE the Blissful Body Yoga designs (yoga inspired, funny s-shirts, great gifts) on Cafe Press, here is the sweet FREE shipping deal for the weekend.

Blissful Body Yoga Store :

CAFE PRESS FREE shipping this weekend! coupon WEEKEND50.

Here's a little bit of what you will find on the site...

In Gratitude for Little Ones: the Campaign to Save the Lives of Children Under 5

Knit One Save One

If you knit or crochet consider making a hat for a little one in need. What a wonderful way to show gratitude, and love. Imagine the good energy and prayer you can put into a little hat as you make it, and how it will journey far and wide to a little person in desperate need of your love and comfort.

Visit Save The Children for more ways to help.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finding Peace in Chaos

There is no doubt that we have a lot going on in this world today. As I was reading The Zen In You blog this morning, I felt such a sense of commraderie and compassion with it's author, Caroline. She talks about gettting "sucked in" to the vortex of negative energy swirling out there, by watching the news. I have had the same experience lately. I usually don't watch a lot of news. I find the reporting so negative, and so sensational, that I get very little valuable information out of it. But, lately, with SO much going on, I have been tempted to tune in. It has certainly reminded me why the level of panic and despair is so high for many people right now.

Even if you are in the most dire situation because of the financial upheaval in this world right now, turn off the tellie. Just turn it off. Focus on what you can do. As Caroline says in her blog,

"Now is the time to reach out...either for help...or to help someone who is hurting. Just a few kind words of encouragement helps..."

I offer you this meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh.
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment!
You may also enjoy the Healing Mandala meditation, here.

Namaste, and may you be filled with peace, and free from all suffering.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wear Your Gratitude on Your Heart.

Looking for a reminder of all you are grateful for?
Here is a way to wear gratitude filled, heart-centered designs right on your heart.
Brought to you by the Teal Designs and Blissful Body Yoga.

And there are lots, lots more.
Browse, buy, and wear in good health!

Grateful for Technology

Skype LimitedImage via WikipediaI am grateful for technology, and in particular SKYPE! Because of it I have been able to talk to my fiance Mike over the internet, this whole week that he has been in Germany, for FREE!

Ain't technology great??

We use this in my family to keep up with each other, and so that we can see all the new cute babies we have going on. It makes the miles between seem shorter.

Check Skype out, it is a great tool for lots of things.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Operation NICE: NICE Giveaway #3: And the winner is...ME!

Lucky, lucky me! I would say I never win anything, but that wouldn't be true now. I am so delighted. Thank you to the wonderful people at and! I am so grateful.

Picture of my hand with my cool ring to come soon...:-)

Operation NICE: NICE Giveaway #3: And the winner is!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Operation NIce on Good Morning America ABC

How great is this??? The nice people at Operation Nice were on GMA this morning with Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer. Glad to see their message of kindness, gratitude and just being nice to each other in this world is getting the attention it deserves.

Well done Operation Nice!

See the clip here:

Visit the site, here.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

And when life gets dark enough
we can see our friends
like the stars,
lighting the way.

When you wander,
all is not lost.

When you are in the dark,
I will be holding you in the light.

When you can not see how beautiful you are,
let me be your mirror.

Tonight I sit in humble gratitude
for my friends
who shine brighter than the stars,
brighter than the sun.

Thank you.

Om shanti

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Anjali Mudra a Yoga Mudra of Gratitude

The yoga sage Patanjali with hands in Anjali Mudra.

Martha Graham said, "The body never lies."

Placing the hands in Anjali Mudra, sometimes known in yoga classes as placing hands in "Namaste", or prayer position, is an elegant and humble expression of gratitude, prayer, reverance, and respect. A large portion of the world greets each other by placing the hands in this position and bowing in acknowledgement and respect for the other person.

There can be no mistake in the body language of this sacred mudra. In it's silent wisdom it says, "I honor the divine in you, as I honor it in myself, we are all one in spirit."

How I would have liked to have seen the debates between Barack Obama and John McCain tonight begin and ended with this gesture; and in between to have seen their bodies never lie, never waver from that truth of the non-dual.

The word Mudra in Sanskrit means "seal", and so in placing our hands together in this way we make an agreement with ourselves and others; we "seal the deal" so to speak, promising to honor, to proceed with peace.

In your practice of gratitude today, pause and place your hands gently in Anjali Mudra in front of your heart. Breath a few deep breaths and honor yourself, and the wonderous gift that is your life, with a moment of gratitude.

Namaste- Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti...Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

In Gratitude for Love

Tonight I am so grateful for missing Mike. I feel so lucky to have him in my life to miss. I searched, and searched for so long for him; lost hope of finding him a hundred times, at least. Now, that almost seems silly sometimes. It was impossible that we would stay lost to each other in ths life for long. Like the poem by Rumi on our wedding invitation says...

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along.

– Rumi

Only 6 days until he gets back from Germany...and only 27 until we are married in the mountains. I could write about my gratitude for this man, and this time in my life, for volumes every day.

If you haven't found your anam cara, your "soul friend", yet, don't suffer...keep your eyes and your heart open wide. He or she has been in you all along...

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.

A man praying at a Japanese Shintō shrine.

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart

When you get up each morning, open your eyes, place your hands on your heart and say,
"Thank you," with all of your being.

Before you go to bed at night, close your eyes, place your hands on your heart and say,
"Thank you," with all of your being.

Just this
will fill you, and all this world
with bliss.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

5 Ways to be Generous in Tough Economic Times

From New Zealander, Meg Appleby and her terrific blog, How to Make a Difference. Five great ways to give, and giving is a wide-open pathway to gratitude. Thanks Meg, for your words, and good works.

How to Make a Difference: 5 Ways to be Generous in Tough Economic Times
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do you feel nice?

Operation NICE: NICE Giveaway: String-Ring™

Being nice, and recieving nice REALLY amps up your gratitude. Tell your story of nice to the folks at operation nice...and maybe you'll win the pretty ring!

A great reminder...

Success Isn’t a Competition: Boosting Others Helps You in the Long Run | Zen Habits

Great post from someone actively fostering cooperation. I am grateful for people like this, and the spirit of cooperation and unity they keep alive in the world.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Recognizing Gratitude

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God
in everything.

Thomas Merton
Thoughts in Solitude

Thomas Merton so concisely expresses the fullness that a moment of gratitude can bring into our lives. It only takes a moment of mindfulness, of recognition of the great gifts we have in our lives, to feel filled-up by sensations of joy, security and love. A fullness so enormous and complete it goes beyond the small ego-bound selves of our minds, and into the greater Love of our Souls, and the collective expression of that, whether you name it God, the Universe, Source, or some other term.

Take a moment to breathe into mindfulness.
Find something that fills you with the Love of God in everything.
Bask in this love – never forget how you are loved – pass it on to others.

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