Imagine your heart is open.
Imagine it is full of happiness and love and peace and joy.
Now imagine that energy going out into the world...your immediate world and the entire world.
How does this feel?
Now imagine getting upset at the driver who cuts you off, or the person with 24 items in a 10 item line at the supermarket.
Was that worth it to change how you felt?
With mindfulness we are learning that the choice is ours.

It amazes me every time!  The road I drove on to a meeting
this morning was filled with cars going in and out,
fast and slow.  I could feel myself getting more and 
more uptight.  I was about to yell but I stopped.
I breathed in and out 3 times.
Ahhh...peace.  I smiled.  It works every time.
Later in the day I took my dog out for a walk.
My mind began to rush over all the things I still had to do.
I stopped. I breathed in and out 3 times.
My thoughts stopped and I was just with my dog,
the flowers, the trees...
no thoughts.
Nothing but this moment.
It amazes me every time!

When I recently picked up my rental car, the woman behind the counter was very short and unfriendly.  
When I went to return the car, I told my friend I was not looking foreward to seeing this woman again.  
My friend said that all everyone really wants is to the happy. I went to the office and smiled at the woman and she smiled warmly back at me. What a change!

Did my smile change her? Who knows! Maybe it was just a different, better day for her. 
But I felt better just thinking about what my friend said.

 Realizing everone just wants to be happy when you come in contact with any difficult person can be completely freeing and expand your heart with compassion instead of any negative emotion that first might arise in you.


Have you ever notice how uncomfortable it is in the beginning when you give up a habit?  I've experienced this with the obvious, coffeee, alcohol, cigarettes...the real hard one...even red meat! But the less obvious: 
anger, judgmentalness, the need to be right, pride...it's not as obvious. 
Because it is so uncomfortable, when we give up a habit, we often go back to it. We give up!
I find this quote by Pema Chodrin is very helpful.  She calls this period THE DETOX PERIOD.
I think I might have quoted this once before, but I find it worth rereading and practicing what she suggests.
"When you refrain from habitual thoughts and behavior, the uncomfortable feelings will still be there. 
They don't magically disappear. Over the years, I've come to call resting with the discomfort "the detox period," 
because when you don't act on your habitual patterns, it's like giving up an addiction. 
You're left with the feelings you were trying to escape. The practice is to make 
a wholehearted relationship with that. "
By the way, I'm still working on my need to be right!That's almost as hard as stopping smoking!!!

JANUARY 7, 2015
Expanding Peace
By Ruth Fishel
“When enough of us are aware of something, all of us become aware of it.”
Ken Keyes, Jr.
One of the main reasons we seek solitude is to gain inner peace.  We leave a world of busyness, demands, responsibilities, noise and sometimes chaos to be alone, listen to the silence and find serenity.  We try to get in touch with ourselves.
Imagine what happens when you throw a pebble into a still pond.  The force of the pebble landing on the water creates ripples that become wider and wider until they finally disappear and the water becomes smooth again.
There is also a ripple effect to the acquisition of peace in our journeys into solitude. When we return to our everyday life, we carry this peace with us.  People around us often notice a difference in our moods and can be affected by it.  As our lives change, so can the lives of those around us because our peace can be contagious.  As the energy around us becomes more peaceful, others can feel it.  As others take it on, they pass it on to people they meet, and so on.
In his book The Hundredth Monkey, Ken Keyes, Jr. wrote about    scientists who had been observing monkeys in the wild for thirty years.  In 1952, on the island of Koshima, they provided monkeys with sweet potatoes which they had dropped in sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the potatoes but found the sand unpleasant.  One day an eighteen month old monkey named Imo washed the potatoes in a nearby stream.  She taught the trick to her mother and her playmates, who taught it to their mothers.  As the story is told, perhaps 99 monkeys learned to wash their sweet potato between 1952 and 1958.  One day the 100th monkey learned to wash the potatoes.  Suddenly, almost every monkey on the island began to wash their potatoes before eating them.
The added energy of this 100th monkey had somehow created an ideological breakthrough.  
But more amazing, it was observed by the scientists that the habit of washing sweet potatoes had jumped over the sea, because the colonies of monkeys on other islands, as far as 500 miles away, began washing their sweet potatoes.
This phenomena is known as “critical mass.”  When a limited number of people know something in a new way, it remains the conscious property of only those people.  But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes in to a new awareness, a field of energy is strengthened so that awareness of it is picked up by almost everyone.
Author Jack Kornfield teaches, “All other spiritual teachings are in vain if we can not love.  Even the most exalted states and the most exceptional spiritual accomplishments are unimportant if we cannot be happy in the most basic and ordinary ways, if, with our hearts, we can not touch one another and the life we have been given.”
As more and more of us make solitude a regular part of our lives, more and more people will be touched by our energies of peace and serenity.  Imagine this ripple expanding throughout the world, touching everyone!  What a beautiful world it will be!
It is so gratifying to know that as I seek peace and serenity for myself, 
I may be bringing peace and serenity to other people in my life.  
I am connected to all people who are a force of peace and light in the universe.


And unless you are in a clinical depression, YOU CAN CHANGE.

1. You have become aware by asking
2. Now breathe in and out 3 times.  This brings your awareness to your breath and thus your body and takes you out of your head where the suffering or unhappiness began.
3. Think of something for which you are grateful.  Neuroscientists have discovered that this sends new neurons to your brain, thus reenforcing the positive thought and thus changing how you feel.
Sound too simple?

Try it!
It works!