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Rachel

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Rachel last won the day on July 8

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  1. I have recently learned that empathy is the identifying with the feelings of others, while compassion is being called to help. This has helped me reframe compassion for both myself and for others. Viewing compassion as something actionable has made it more concrete for me. I, like @Gillian Sanger am regularly drawn to metta and tonglen styles of meditation. In both, the concepts of helping, wishing, meditating in the interest of increasing the well being of others is, to me, the action of compassion. I also really like the self-compassion work of Kristin Neff, who taught me about the shared humanity of suffering during a very fragile and difficult time in my life. The idea that self compassion can be the tiny act of placing a hand on your heart or holding your own hand to alleviate your own suffering shifted things for me. When I am feeling self critical or shaming myself, those things continue to bring. me some small places of ease. Lastly, I heard Pema Chodron speak of something in a recent interview called Compassionate Abiding. You can take a listen to the conversation (I have listened 4 times!) at the link below. Tami Simon from SoundsTrue is a wonderful interviewer. I learned so much from this podcast and use compassionate abiding daily. https://resources.soundstrue.com/podcast/pema-chodron-compassionate-abiding/
  2. Yes! That is the intent. However, I found that once I really got into it (beyond the 30 days), there was a flow to just doing the daily prompts. I realized that much of my 'work' was related to a few core things that were related, and that my daily entries continued to speak to that ongoing growth and attention. In other words, I like to use the daily prompts without a '30 day-time's up' mentality, and just meander through the days as opposed to feeling like I should have a hard finish. That said, I do reread my entries every 20 or so and reflect. Hope this is helpful!
  3. @Gillian Sanger- I am so happy that you found resonance with the future self journaling practice! Wonderful! My affirmation for today: I am able to make space for whatever comes up for me today.
  4. Yes! Dr, Nicole LaPera. Below is a link to the future self journal information and prompts. https://yourholisticpsychologist.com/future-self-journaling/
  5. Journaling has been a safe refuge for me for years. I have notebooks filled from pretty much every phase of my life as far back as adolescence. For the last 178 days, I have followed prompts for daily journaling from @the.holistic.psychologist called future self journaling. I find it really transformative to both have a practice that is rooted in repetition as well as to gauge my own growth from a standpoint of the direction I am moving in as well as things I hope to manifest in word, thought, and deed.
  6. @Karen Hello! I’ve been an early childhood educator for over 20 years. With young kids, I have always incorporated movement into mindfulness. I’ve also utilized themes, such as colors and animals to help children conceptualize things. As a single mom with a teenager and tween, it definitely seems more challenging to get my own kids to practice or consider mindfulness. With them, I try to speak more through my actions (maintaining my practice and altar or taking big deep breaths in front of them when I feel overwhelmed, for example). They do both journal which is an offshoot of my own practice as well. Hope this helps! Be well.
  7. I really like the box breathing and alternate nostril breathing as well. Thanks for sharing!
  8. Thank you, Gillian- for some reason, any time I try to add a photo or video (other than a link)- even for a profile pic, I get the message that the file is too big, although I am not sure why. I would love to share the video of Julia, so if anyone can give me a little tech support, it would be appreciated.
  9. On another note, here is something I hope will also remind us all of our shared humanity. Meet my daughter, Julia. https://www.instagram.com/p/CB_ePuGjd4eI5R0vUz71Flo_PugH4AXCjr7ntU0/?igshid=sg5qc5wyhx2s
  10. I am so humbled to have come upon this thread today. I was recently in deep discussion with my partner about the school to prison pipeline, the prison industrial complex, and the common denominators of systems of oppression and childhood trauma. As some of you know, I work in one of the most impoverished cities in America (Newark, NJ). I live in a large city with obvious signs of the inequities of gentrification everywhere you look. The haves and have nots, the seen and the unseen. One thing I am learning from a friend and sangha member who teaches mindfulness at Rikers Island is the difference between a jail and a prison. Jails, like Rikers, are supposed to be places where people are housed for short periods of time, awaiting bail or trial. Conversely, prisons are where folks go to serve out their sentences. Typically, prisons more often provide people with educational, spiritual, and rehabilitation services (though they are still often inadequate). Because of this, many resources (like the Compassion Prison Project) are not available to those incarcerated in jails. To compound the problem, many folks at places like Rikers are there for low level offenses but cannot afford bail. This system is another glaring example of how those who are most vulnerable as a result of childhood and intergenerational trauma are left behind. Seeing that woman's work and connection with those men was inspiring. I had initially set off with the intention to use my mindfulness teaching with children and families living in marginalized communities- but I am called to thinking about the work done in prisons and wonder if I might be able to serve in that capacity...perhaps melding my professional work as a literacy instructor and my mindfulness work. This has really opened up such a vein on compassion in me. I am so moved to act. Thank you all for sharing. I am deeply grateful. Rachel
  11. I would love to join via Zoom if/when Priyanka offers another yoga practice. Thank you!
  12. Good morning, friends- I have been a little MIA- after finishing up my school year last week, and spending so much time on my computer as a result of distance learning, I have kept it closed for the better part of a week. However, I have thought of all of you here, in this community, and I hope this morning message finds you safe, well, and with peace in your hearts and minds. Gillian- your weekly queries always seem to pop up (for me, anyway) with divine timing. I just this morning corresponded with my teacher about how I have felt somewhat restless, both in body and mind, in the past 2 weeks or so during my morning sit. As such, I have shifted almost exclusively in this time to chanting with mantra. I find that the rhythm and repetition helps to ground and soothe me. The 2 mantras I have mostly been working with are Om Mani Padme Hung and Dhanyavad Ananda (for anyone who is not familiar or who wants more information on these, do let me know). So in answer to your question this week, right now, I would offer up mantra. Take good care, everyone. Rachel
  13. Hello friends- I hope this finds you all safe and well. Yesterday, 2 things came across my awareness that I thought had relevance for this conversation. One- I attended a Juneteenth rally here in Jersey City. Most attendees were white. This gave me a sense of hope. As we stood together and chanted and cheered when passing cars honked and raised fists of solidarity, I noticed a young Black man, maybe about 19 or 20. He was alone, holding a sign that read "Please stop killing us." I observed him as he periodically looked out over the crowd. I saw him smile several times. I imagined that in that moment, he felt seen. Less alone in his struggle and his grief and his trauma. It was a moment that stayed with me through the evening and still, this morning. The second was listening to my teacher share a. passage by Brigit Anna McNeil yesterday morning during our Friday Morning Zoom Sangha meditation. It resonated so deeply for me- personally as I continue on the path of learning and healing, and collectively- what we as a world are in the midst of right now. The protective instinct to run from and leave our hurts behind, until we cannot. Until they are seen, tended to, healed. I hope you find resonance with it as well. You have got through all those heart crushing experiences. So much trauma, it could have crumbled your bones.Yet here you stand before me; beautiful and strong; awe inspiring.But I'm not so sure that you pulled yourself out and away from the wreckage whole. It feels as though you left a piece of yourself in that place; cutting it away so you could run, closing your ears and heart to the whispering cries of help. And now there seems to be a slice down your middle, a missing piece from your centre. Creating disharmony and uncomfortableness within your very bones.Perhaps it is time to stop your survival sprint, and put your hand on your heart. Feeling into the places that are tender and torn away. Gently pulling them out of the wreckage and into your flesh, your embrace. Without harshness or self criticism, but instead, finding feelings of compassion and kindness for the lost and starved parts of you. For this is how they come home, this is how you make what is broken, whole. And taking your golden thread of care, that is contained within your sewing kit of recovery. Slowly stitch yourself together, singing the old songs of healing. Reminding yourself, with each stitch; of the medicine woman within. Who turns the darkness into light, the wound into a gift, the death into rebirth. As you whisper these stories of strength, courage and medicine deep into your fabric, you call yourself back, drawing your essence into the heart of you once more. Teaching yourself how to love yourself, stitch by stitch. In peace- Rachel
  14. Good morning, everyone- I really do look forward to each Question of the Week. It acts as sort of an entry point for me to peruse what everyone has been up to and what's on everyone's mind. So grateful for this community. I think the biggest shifts from mindfulness for me have come in the form of communicating- with myself as well as others. I totally get the expansiveness that Jo referenced. There is an openness to be more present and listen when engaging with others, especially with my kids. I am conscious not to (at least less) multitask when one of them is speaking to me. I find I am more present with difficult emotions when in difficult conversations with others, especially my parents and partner. This is a definite shift for me and speaks to what Sean referenced today in his 5 Mindful Musings- we feel what we feel. Typically I would stuff or deny or avoid my uncomfortable feelings, but I don't do that anymore. The same openness also allows me to gain more insight during therapy. Aside from the openness, there is the pause before responding. This has also brought clarity to interactions and in my view, has often changed the outcomes. Another major shift in this area for me is self compassion and forgiveness. I have carried a lot of inner critic around most of my life; shaming and blaming myself for everything under the sun that has gone sideways or impacted those I love in a negative way (especially my children). Self compassion and forgiveness practices along with awareness allow me to recognize the stories as opposed the the truths, and also to stop being attached to things from the past or projections about the future. This is difficult work, but I definitely recognize its' worth. Lastly- I have done a lot of work around boundaries, and I find that it relates closely to compassion. Being enmeshed with others' suffering can be overwhelming. I am learning to have compassionate boundaries when I care about others' suffering and difficulties. This is ongoing heart work. Wishing all of you peace and ease on your journey today. Rachel
  15. Jo- We are thinking alike! 1. The foundation of my mindfulness practices are all pretty much rooted in Buddhist traditions. I have done some informal reading and study and have found it aligned with my personal values and aspirations as a mindfulness practitioner and teacher. It also aligns with how I aspire to show up as a parent and urban educator. Most of the meditations I lean toward are from Buddhist teachings- Loving Kindness and Tonglen, for example. Pema Chodron talks about Compassionate Abiding, which is an extension of Metta, and I really resonate with her teachings, as well as those of Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Tara Brach, all of whom teach from the Buddhist traditions. My own spiritual teacher/retreat leader/dear friend is also trained in the lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, so much of our work together is influenced by it as well. 2. Because of where I live, and where I have spent my career (both large urban centers on the East Coast), I am very interested in, and sensitive to, the Black community. I have been so fortunate to have close friends who are Black who have been able to answer some of my questions about white savior-ism, white privilege, and the difference between being non-racist and anti-racist. These difficult, but necessary conversations are/were the living embodiment of mindfulness- full presence, open, non-judgmental, receptive. I would love to continue learning (especially in light of the current state of affairs and the momentum for change that is building) about showing up with sensitivity and understanding up in Black communities as a white woman, where I plan to share mindfulness with my students and their families, as well as my colleagues. There is so much to learn! Grateful for this community. Have a good day, everyone.
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