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Linda Lee Sheldon
Helping Masters Master Life
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March's Word of the Month - Mindfulness

by Linda Lee Sheldon on 02/29/16

One way to manage stress and promote peace in our life is by being mindful of our thoughts. Every day we have so much going on and we complicate those daily pressures by layering on thoughts of the past or the future. Research shows that we spend just 20 percent of our time focused on what's happening now - in the present moment. Mindfulness is the practice of moving more consistently into the present moment.

Mindfulness is creating an impartial moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and surroundings.

Some cultures were raised with a mindfulness practice. But not here in the United States. To Western cultures mindfulness was an unknown concept as we let our minds run away with us. There's no blame. It's just the way our culture and society was focused. But we are seeing that change now as many recognize the benefits of being mindful of what we are thinking.

 

It's easy to begin a mindfulness practice. Start by paying attention to what you are thinking. If you are washing dishes are you focused on washing the dishes - getting that pot clean, the bubbles in the water - or are you thinking about what happened earlier that day or what's coming up later that night? If you're looking ahead to the future or hashing over the past be careful. You may not see that sharp knife in the wash water!

 

The first step to developing mindfulness is to check in periodically on what you're thinking. Catch yourself if you're thinking about something other than what you're doing right now. Now there's a time to plan and a time to look at what's happened in the past - but those would be designated as that's what we are going to do now - plan for the future or look at lessons from the past. That's when we look at the past or future. Otherwise, we want to bring the mind back to what's happening right now.

 

When we start thinking or "worrying" about how what we're doing will turn out or what people might think we are thinking of the future. When we start thinking "I should do it this way because that's how it's always been done." we are thinking in the past.That takes our focus away from doing our very best and what feels right for this project. And it also sets up an emotional response that will then color whatever we are doing.

 

Begin by monitoring your thoughts. When you catch yourself dwelling on those thoughts of what has been or could be remind yourself you can think about that later, let it go by, take a few slow deep breaths and bring yourself back into the moment. Be kind to yourself. It just takes a little practice but in time your stress level will be reduced and you'll find a deep peace come into your life. 

 

That's a wonderful place to be!

 

I hope you will share your stories of moving into Mindfulness!

February's Word of the Month - Appreciation

by Linda Lee Sheldon on 01/31/16

This month we celebrate Valentine's day and Love is in the air! It's a time to honor and show appreciation for those we love - including ourselves.

Appreciation is the recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things.

Appreciation is more than just being thankful or grateful for someone or something. Appreciation is acknowledgement on a much deeper level. When we look at something with appreciation we are seeing into the depths of that being and acknowledging that part of them that is connected to all that is but uniquely significant in its own way.

There's an energy about the appreciation. It's not about feeling grateful for having overcome an adversity or being thankful for something received. It is honoring the beauty deep within. It's extending your own unconditional Love out to connect with the unconditional Love within that being. Valuing at the deepest level.

This Valentines Day is a perfect opportunity to practice the art of appreciation. You can practice on your loved ones, family, friends, the grocery clerk. Let the Love in you reach out to the Love in the other. (Everyone has Love in them!) Although you may be handing them someone flowers as a gesture of appreciation, when you say "I appreciate you." from your heart and soul there is a special vibrational quality that will inpact the other in such a beautiful and loving way. 

And remember yourself as well. It's not only Valentime's Day this month but it's also American Heart Month. Be kind to yourself. Feel appreciation for your body and your amazing heart.

Written with great appreciation of each and every one of you!!

Share your stories and thoughts on Appreciation with us!

January's Word of the Month - Renewal

by Linda Lee Sheldon on 12/31/15

This us a time of renewal - the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again.

Renewing our vows to ourselves - setting New Year resolutions - is a common prctice. Changing just one small action or behavior in our lives can have an amazing affect on our state of mind and well-being.

If need a resolution to put in place this year here's an idea that's sure to provide renewal to your soul throughout the year - practice the art of mindfulness or living in the present moment on a regular basis. 

  • Take a few minutes (or just half a minute if time is short) to stop what you are doing, take a few slow deep breaths and take your attention to what is around you. 
  • Let your thoughts go by - if you catch yourself thinking about the future or past just bring your attention back to your breath and where you are.
  • If outside, take in the beauty of the plants and sky. 
  • If indoors, savor your surroundings - a warm home, office or the flowers on the table.
  • Appreciate what you have rather than what you consider to be missing.
  • Take another deep breath - relaxing your shoulders as you do.
  • Return to your activities fresh, strong, renewed.

Some of you may want to set an alert on your phone or computer for the top of each hour. A reminder to take a breath, bring yourself into the present moment, be mindful of / appreciate your surroundings and the peace of your inner spirit, and smile!

I wish you Health & Happiness in 2016 and always!

December's Word of the Month - Peace

by Linda Lee Sheldon on 12/01/15

December is a time for joyful celebration and reflection. As I look back on the year I am filled with satisfaction. I had the opportunity to co-create a new kitchen with my artist brother Dave. He's worked on lots of kitchens and when it came time to do mine I couldn't think of a better person to create the beautiful space. (Check out his Green Interior Spaces website!)  It turned out beautiful and we initiated it to the fullest extent on Thanksgiving Day!

Although I've waited a long time for this new kitchen I have to say that what stands out most about this year is my time spent at the Eckhart Tolle Retreat for Helping Professionals. Although I've been meditating most of my life, this Retreat took me to a deeper level of peace in my everyday life.

This month's word is Peace - A state of tranquility or quiet.

For those of you who are not familiar with Eckhart Tolle, he is an advocate for living fully in the present moment. It is an amazing way, and sometimes one of the only ways, of finding peace in our hectic lives. The terms "present moment" and "mindfulness meditation" are essentially the same concept. Using the phrase "present moment" we can more easily bring the practice of meditation into our everyday life, transcending the notion that "meditation" needs to be done in a quiet place. We can meditate and find peace anywhere, anytime, in anything we do if we can bring ourselves into the present moment. That means not thinking ahead to what may be or looking back at what has been. It's a process of looking at right now. And when we can do that we become Peace.

Let me give a personal example. Some of you have already heard this but it bears repeating. Just a few weeks after our kitchen remodel was completed we saw water leaking from under the wall. YIKES! That's not a good thing. That was on a Sunday night. We shut the water off and called the plumber we know and trust.  He couldn't come until Tuesday morning so we had plenty of time to "worry" if we chose to. But instead of worry I chose to practice being in the moment - mindfulness meditation.

Every time I woke up in the middle of the night, every time I would start thinking about the astronomical cost of a slab leak repair, every time my husband Bob would call to report on the horror stories from others I practiced the same mantra.  I reminded myself (and Bob) that "It is what it is. We've done what we can for now. Let's wait and see what the plumber says and take it from there."  These sentences were repeated numerous times and brought peace into my emotional state.

When the plumber came Tuesday morning he confirmed what everyone dreads - it was a slab leak. My hopes were dashed and I found myself slipping into that world of fear. But I was able to catch myself and remind myself that "It is what it is. See what he says." So after about a half hour the verdict was in. We caught it really early, very little damage to the wall, the line that broke went only to the refrigerator. There was a very easy and affordable fix!

Now think of all the worry I avoided by bringing myself into the present moment instead of dwelling on what horrors could have resulted. Look at all the peace I brought to myself, my husband and the house. It takes practice but it is possible to transform our reality of worry, stress and fear into peace with a few simple changes in what we focus on. We don't have to think rosy outcomes, just look at right now.

I wish you PEACE that lasts a lifetime!

Share how you bring Peace into your life.

November's Word of the Month - Gratitude

by Linda Lee Sheldon on 11/03/15

This month we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. It's a time of family gatherings - usually involving lots of good food - being thankful and showing our appreciation and Gratitude  

This month's word is Gratitude.      

A feeling of being thankful and appreciative.   

As we go through life our minds are filled with thoughts of what's going on around us at any given moment. We frequently think about what has happened or what will happen. So often our mind goes to the things that are or can go wrong, the problems, the traumas or the catastrophes. Dwelling on these topics can be so depressing, so deflating, so dark.

But we have a choice. We can choose to go into that dark hole of thinking about the problems or we can choose to look for something more pleasant to think about - even if it's just that right now... this moment... all is well. Most of the battle is catching ourselves embracing the problems. Once we catch ourselves in the thought process we can change the station to something more positive, something that feels better.

Choosing a thought of gratitude is an easy choice. It doesn't have to be a huge thing that we are thankful for. Here's a suggestion. When you're celebrating Thanksgiving this year acknowledge everyone who participates with gratitude for their role. Express your gratitude for not only the food but for the cook or cooks, the person who cleared the table, the one drying the dishes and the dishwasher (person or machine!)

In Reiki we have what are called the five Reiki Principles. The Principles represent a way to help keep our life in balance through our thoughts. Here's the first principle:

Just for today I live the attitude of gratitude. 

I give thanks for my many blessings.

I Am so very Grateful that you are in my life!  I Am truly blessed!  

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Share with us how you bring Gratitude into your life or what you are Grateful for!

Cedar Waxwing
Photo: Linda Lee Sheldon


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