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Gene Williams

Gene's 100 Day Mindfulness Challenge

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Day 18: Just Like Me

Integrated Practice:

Think of someone whom you'll meet today or think of the next person you expect to see today.  Take a moment to silently consider how that person is just like you.  For example, you may say to yourself, "This person wants to be loved, just like me," or, "This person wants to do a good job, just like me."   

Reflection Question:

In what ways does this affect your perceptions of or experience with this person?

I had to convey a difficult message to someone and was able to approach the conversation in a way which balanced being assertive while maintaining compassion.

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On 5/15/2020 at 3:58 AM, Gillian Sanger said:

Your comment reminds me of how when I am feeling a strong emotion and am able to turn towards the body to inquire, "What is really here?" I often feel something - whether that be a knot in the throat, a tightness in the chest, or something else. But, after being with it and breathing into it, it naturally begins to dissolve. Here again is that theme of 'change' we discussed in the other thread.

 

20 hours ago, Paige PIlege said:

Have you ever wondered if pain, being the message of the body, is reality or not?  Some people try to just put it out of their mind instead of processing it.  I am wondering if that may cause added stress and issues of abandoning that sensation which in turn adds to the pain.

Hello @Gillian Sanger and @Paige PIlege,

This really makes me think about the second arrow of suffering, which makes an experience feel more acute. 

Here is a good article about the second arrow of suffering:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dont-shoot-the-second-arr_b_5102701

Kind Regards,

Gene

 

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Posted (edited)

Day 19: Concentration

Integrated Practice:

Practice generous listening with someone today.  When in a conversation, place all of your attention on the other person; listen with your ears and heart.   

Reflection Questions:

Q.) How does that shift the experience of the conversation for you?  

I felt more connected to the person and experienced more empathy while I was listening to their conversation.

Q.) How do you think that experience was for them?

I think the person sensed that I was actively attending to them during our conversation.

Edited by Gene Williams
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Posted (edited)

Day 20: Walking Meditation

Integrated Practice:

Find your feet. While in a meeting or giving a presentation (or just in a conversation with someone today), rest some attention on the sensations of the feet making contact with the ground to bring the mind and body back together and recenter.

Reflection Question:

Q.) How did shifting your attention to finding your feet impact your attention, energy, or focus?

 I felt my attention was fully focused on the conversation I was having with a friend. I also experienced the sensation of energy vibrating from my feet up through my head. This felt invigorating and created the experience that my body was a receiver listening to my friend's conversation. What felt pleasant was the fact that I did not have any internal dialogue to turn off and did not have to flick any mental "switch" to force myself to listen to him. It just occurred naturally.

 

Edited by Gene Williams
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Day 21: Compassion

Journaling Prompts:

 1. What I’ve noticed during this practice period is …

What I have been keenly aware of is the impact of the second arrow of negativity I often experience and practicing kindness and acceptance towards that state of being. I have noticed that I am being more deliberate about taking care of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions I experience daily. What I mean is that I am actively conscious and aware when I am being hard on myself and allowing those thoughts and feelings to just be there. I am also experiencing much more equanimity about those thoughts and feelings and accepting them as part of the natural flow of life. I am also experiencing more awareness of my surroundings and shifting back to the moment after periods of being stuck in a stream of thinking.

2. The kind of mindset or attitude I hope to cultivate is …

I want to continue cultivating the mindset of equanimity for people, places, things and thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

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Day 22: Focused Attention / Concentration

Integrated Practice:

Pick a short task you need to do today, (e.g. writing an email, washing the dishes). During the task, practice focusing all of your attention on the task and notice when your attention wanders, gently bringing it back to the task at hand.

Reflection Question:

Q) How does this shift the experience of doing the task?

During a busy day, I was able to shift the experience of walking which allowed me to see below the surface of my emotional reaction to the day's events. I had a moment of clarity which felt beautiful. I said to myself, it is ok, I allow this. I allow all of it. When this occurred, I felt like I immediately stopped struggling against a wave of negativity and mild anxiety I had experienced all day. I stopped fighting and immediately accepted my experience. Then everything around me became bright, I felt stillness and experienced acute awareness of my surroundings.

 

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Day 23: More Loving Kindness

Reflection Question:

 Q) What impact does this have on the rest of your day?

I was able to move through my day and focus on my main priority project with some peace and equanimity. I found myself experiencing some pleasure completing this task. I had previously felt a sense of foreboding and aversion to this project. I was able to focus on this one task without leaning into the past or the future in terms of thinking all kinds of negative what if scenarios. I believe this occurred because I started my day with a loving kindness practice: Sending loving kindness to me, my friends, my family, and co-workers.

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Day 24: Leading With Purpose

Journaling Prompts:

1. The contributions I most want to make to the world are …

I want to help people to be the best that they can possibly be in life. I want to be able to support my coworkers to be effective in their work so that our team can be effective in helping people improve the quality of their lives. It is my intention to do work that helps people to secure the necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, employment, and access to essential services. I want to be an effective leader that leads a team of people who can help make this happen.

2. Some ideas I have for sharing this with others around me are …

I want to articulate this mission and vision with passion and intensity so that I can inspire others and bring out the best in them to help achieve this vision. I do this by playing to people's strengths and inspiring them to achieve greatness in their own lives for the benefit of others. I continue to remind others of the mission and purpose of our work to improve the people’s quality of life. I will continue to remind the team I work with about the importance of the work that we do: to promote fairness, justice, social equality, and inclusion. I want to be that conductor in a choir that motivates others to become excited about achieving social justice for all by building healthy communities.

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8 minutes ago, Gene Williams said:

Day 24: Leading With Purpose

Journaling Prompts:

1. The contributions I most want to make to the world are …

I want to help people to be the best that they can possibly be in life. I want to be able to support my coworkers to be effective in their work so that our team can be effective in helping people improve the quality of their lives. It is my intention to do work that helps people to secure the necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, employment, and access to essential services. I want to be an effective leader that leads a team of people who can help make this happen.

2. Some ideas I have for sharing this with others around me are …

I want to articulate this mission and vision with passion and intensity so that I can inspire others and bring out the best in them to help achieve this vision. I do this by playing to people's strengths and inspiring them to achieve greatness in their own lives for the benefit of others. I continue to remind others of the mission and purpose of our work to improve the people’s quality of life. I will continue to remind the team I work with about the importance of the work that we do: to promote fairness, justice, social equality, and inclusion. I want to be that conductor in a choir that motivates others to become excited about achieving social justice for all by building healthy communities.

That sounds like a noble and admirable mission Gene. Good luck to you! 

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Day 25: Focused Attention & Open Awareness

Integrated Practice:

At your next meal, practice mindful eating. Bring an open awareness mindset to this practice; see how much of the experience you can be present to including the flavors and textures in the food, the sounds occurring around you and as you eat, the colors and smells, etc.

Reflection Questions:

Q.) In what ways did the mindful eating practice affect your experience of eating?  

I was aware of the texture and smell of the food. I was also more aware of the person I was having dinner with and felt more present during the conversation. In addition, I became more aware of wanting to continue with my stream of thinking about what I had to do after breakfast and shifted my awareness back to practicing being aware of my meal.

Q.) How can you apply this type of practice to other areas of your life?

This type of practice can be used whenever I am completing any task. I could apply this to work projects to focus on the task at hand instead of engaging in the thoughts and emotions I often relate to getting the work done (i.e. the story line about deadlines, impact of conversations, not getting things done, too much work to do etc.).

 

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Day 26: Remembering Motivation

Integrated Practice:

Write for 2 full minutes for each journaling prompt below.  Once you’ve finished, take a minute to reread what you wrote and reflect.

 Journaling Prompts:

 1. An intention I'd like to hold for myself is...

To remember to be kind to myself today. I tend to forget that it is ok to say I allow what is happening. I am becoming aware of the fact that much of my mental and emotional suffering occurs because of the constant states of aversion I experience. I am not always aware of how this state creates a dark cloud which causes suffering.

 2. Things I can let go of are…

Let go of aversion to people, places and things.

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I do try to remember to give myself a break and be kind because I am my own worst enemy and strongest critic; i thus must try to support myself and be kind. I am not great at letting go of things and am getting better at not obsessing. Lots of work to do there. 

My only aversion towards people is those who abuse power and torture and kill animals and the planet. It is true I am critical-something to work on. Our species is not my favorite.

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1 hour ago, Gene Williams said:

Day 26: Remembering Motivation

Integrated Practice:

Write for 2 full minutes for each journaling prompt below.  Once you’ve finished, take a minute to reread what you wrote and reflect.

 Journaling Prompts:

 1. An intention I'd like to hold for myself is...

To remember to be kind to myself today. I tend to forget that it is ok to say I allow what is happening. I am becoming aware of the fact that much of my mental and emotional suffering occurs because of the constant states of aversion I experience. I am not always aware of how this state creates a dark cloud which causes suffering.

 2. Things I can let go of are…

Let go of aversion to people, places and things.

Hello Gene, I appreciate your insight about aversion- something I think we all struggle with. I’m going to practice awareness of my own aversions today and notice how it impacts my thoughts and feelings. 

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4 hours ago, Gene Williams said:

Journaling Prompts:

 1. An intention I'd like to hold for myself is...

To remember to be kind to myself today. I tend to forget that it is ok to say I allow what is happening. I am becoming aware of the fact that much of my mental and emotional suffering occurs because of the constant states of aversion I experience. I am not always aware of how this state creates a dark cloud which causes suffering.

 2. Things I can let go of are…

Let go of aversion to people, places and things.

These are wonderful prompts to consider, so I feel compelled to reflection and share my own responses:

1. An intention I'd like to hold for myself is...

To continually root myself in the heart. To come back to compassion when I am feeling judgmental of myself or others, and in doing so, remember our interconnectedness.

2. Things I can let go of are...

Physical constriction. I can consciously relax my stomach more often, breathing a bit deeper. I can play music and dance freely, really coming into my body.

Hmm... I think I will go and do that now!

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Day 28: Positive Future

Write for 3 full minutes for each journaling prompt below.  Once you’ve finished, take a few minutes to reread what you wrote and reflect.

Journaling Prompts:

1. What I’ve learned from this 28-day challenge is…

Mindfulness is a deliberate practice that has to be applied every day. I found that it is quite easy to "forget" about being mindful and get caught up in an unconscious stream of thoughts. In particular, I found that when I become extremely busy with a lot of project deadlines, hours can pass by without being mindful. When I do remember to be mindful, I become aware of the thoughts, feelings and emotions and they often feel like an avalanche.

2. What surprised me is…

Some moments of mindfulness where everything appears to be bright, shiny, or acute. I am not sure if this is what "bliss" feels like and I am not even sure if this is an illusion. These moments sometimes feel pleasant, but I am not sure if they are truly real. What is behind the pleasant experience? Perhaps they are real if I am not clinging to them? Each moment of mindfulness is what it is, and I need to accept it and not expect to reproduce the experience.

3. What I feel committed to is…

Finding ways to continue to be deliberate about being mindful each and every day. That is my intention, but I am also aware that when I become extremely busy, I lose my motivation to be mindful. This is when the practice is needed the most.

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