This Is Your Brain On Mindfulness

During recent travels, a walk on the beach had me looking at seaweed as a visual metaphor for the brain…

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN

Much like a pinball machine, the mind bounces from one thought to the next: positive, negative, past, present, future.

Much like a pinball machine, the mind bounces from one thought to the next: positive, negative, past, present, future.

 

Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, MD, director of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health tells us that:

“People shift their attention from one task to the next in rapid succession [commonly referred to as multi-tasking]. This reduces the quality of the work on any one task because you’re ignoring it for milliseconds at a time.”

 

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MINDFULNESS

Separating out a single thought strand, mindfulness is present moment awareness.

Separating out a single thought strand, mindfulness is present moment awareness.

 

An article in Psychology Today defines mindfulness as:

“A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

 

Do you live in the moment?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
Find me on Facebook

Buddha Bowl

One of the many things I talk with my clients about is how we fuel our body — the physical package we reside in. A Buddha Bowl is one of the daily staples in our home. So in the spirit of a healthy new year, here’s how it’s done:

Find a unique, large-sized bowl that for you symbolizes nourishment and gratitude. And perhaps a pair of chopsticks to enhance slow eating and mindfulness. Preparing this meal should be enjoyable, relaxing, and creative. As you fill your Buddha Bowl, remember that you’re creating food art.

I found my Buddha Bowl at a resale shop — it’s 10-inches across the top and 3.75 inches deep

I found my Buddha Bowl at a resale shop — it’s 10-inches across the top and 3.75 inches deep

Farm-to-table means little to no processing involved. The closer to the earth we eat, the healthier the food is for us. I’m all about nutritionally dense fuel — foods with a high nutrition-to-calorie ratio. And it goes without saying, buy organic whenever possible and avoid anything that’s genetically modified (GMO).

50% of the Bowl — Greens
Raw organic greens: kale, arugula, watercress, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards, romaine lettuce, cabbage (red and green), and a bit of cilantro and/or parsley. Greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Note: the darker the color, the more nutritionally dense it is.

25% of the Bowl — Vegetables & Fruit
Raw, steamed, or roasted vegetables; mix textures and tastes — crunchy, sweet, bitter, juicy, bland — sprouts (my favorite are alfalfa), asparagus tips, onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, peas (snow, sugar snap, or English), papaya arils, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, diced fruit; the choices are endless.

25% of the Bowl — Protein
Protein: beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto, lima), cooked lentils and/or quinoa, diced hardboiled eggs, tofu, and/or maybe a bit of brown rice. Did you know that 1 cup of cooked brown rice has 5 grams of protein? Another great source of protein are raw seeds and nuts: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, hemp seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame, ground flax seed, pecans, pine nuts, chia seeds.

Dressing the Meal
Like the rest of the bowl, the final touch will vary from meal-to-meal, depending on what you have available:

  • Drizzle your favorite oil — olive, avocado, coconut
  • Splash on balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • Spice it up with a dash of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, maybe some cayenne
Eat slowly and savor your meal with gratitude.

Eat slowly and savor your meal with gratitude

What’s your recipe for a healthy new year?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
Find me on Facebook

Sheltering the Heart

A recent walk took us past dozens of picnic tables leaning against each other — upright on their sides — to wait out winter.

When I lean physically, I have the sense of being off balance. Mentally it’s much the same:

  • When I lean back mentally (dwell on the past), I’m not fully present.
  • When I lean forward mentally (dwell on the future), I’m not fully present.
  • When I lean into center — now — I’m in the present moment.

In Chinese calligraphy the word mindfulness is expressed by two characters: The top character (a shelter) represents the word now; below that is the character for heart. The literal translation means bringing the heart into the present.

 

Does your heart reside in the shelter of now?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
Find me on Facebook

Credit: The Chinese symbol for mindfulness used in this post was created by Japanese-born calligrapher and writer Kazuaki Tanahashi.

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Before enlightenment—chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment—chop wood, carry water.”
—Zen Buddhist Proverb

The duties are the same. The need is the same. So what’s the difference?
The frame of mind.

The practice of mindfulness—being in the present moment—invites us to focus on the task at hand. When we’re in the moment, everything becomes lighter; we’re not compelled to watch the clock.

When we’re fully present, we discover that work is no longer a burden.
Wood is chopped. Water is carried. Life happens.

At our house, one of our favorite areas to practice mindfulness is eating. Len and I share a middle name—Hoover. We tend vacuum the food right off our plates!

That is…until we started eating with chopsticks. These wonderful utensils have caused us to slow down. To pause. To reflect.

What’s your favorite task to practice mindfulness?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Please visit HolEssence and our Facebook page.

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

Self-Realization Fellowship & Meditation Garden

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During a recent visit with my dad in Encinitas, California (Dec 31 – Jan 1) I spent time at the Self-Realization Fellowship and Meditation Garden. This location—founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda—is always included when I visit.

It’s a wonderful place to recharge one’s personal battery; to just sit and drink in the beauty with all of the senses; to meditate, relax, and renew. It was a welcome part of my journey. I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Y is for You

Who Are You? by Len Buchanan

Who Are You? by Len Buchanan

There are times during a session when I ask a client to tell me who they are. I preface this by saying, “I don’t want to know whose mother, wife, or daughter you are, what you do for a living, what group(s) you identify with, where you live, what you collect, or what you drive. When you take away all of those trimmings, who are you?

This question usually causes a long, thought-filled, inward examination. It’s a question that’s important for each of us to be able to answer for ourselves.

I remember Olivia (not her real name) who thought quietly about this question for the longest time. Eventually, tears slowly began to roll down her cheeks, but she was smiling. When she finally answered she said, I am enough.” That was the most powerful, profound answer I’d ever received. This is the place that we all need to be—I am enough!

An equally important question is why are you here? Not your geographic location, but your life purpose. Knowing why we’re here provides us with the most concrete and basic thing we can know about ourselves—that there’s an individual reason for each of us being here.

Many people believe that we “find” our purpose. Not me. I believe that we determine our purpose. There’s a big, whompin’ difference.

Who am I? you ask me.
I’m an extension of Source Energy; an expression of Divine Love.

What’s the purpose that I’ve determined? you’d like to know.
I determined that my purpose is to be a mindful agent of heart-based change—body, mind, and spirit.

What about you—Who are you? Why are you here?

“All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.”
               — Lily Tomlin, American actress, comedian, writer, and producer

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

T is for Time

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kronos, or tick-tock time, is chronological, sequential, and linear in nature; it’s governed by watches, clocks, and calendar pages. We schedule our lives by it—making appointments and keeping deadlines. It tends to be more of a taskmaster than a friend. Many people speak of “never having enough” of it as we race against the clock.

Kronos time is symbolized by an infant that ushers in the New Year and ends the annual calendar as an elderly, bent, and bearded man—Father Time—similar to the god Chronos in Greek mythology.

It’s my perspective that there’s much there’s more—much more—to it than that. I believe that the brow chakra (energy center) is the gatekeeper to a time portal; a place where we can step out of quantitative time as we know it—Kronos, and into qualitative time—kairos.

Kairos, or opportune time, is the word the ancient Greeks used to describe the right time, perfect time, supreme moment, or the “now.” Some might even call it divine time. Kairos intersects and brings transcending value to kronos time. It signifies an undetermined period of time (time in-between) in which something special happens. I was 6 years old the first time I remember dancing with Kairos time, but that’s a story for another day.

One doesn’t catch up with Kairos time; rather one participates in it. In one of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, she suggests that kairos time can, and does, enter, penetrate, break through or intersect kronos time: the child at play—consumed in the moment; the painter held captive—mesmerized at an easel; the saint lifted up—removed as it were, in prayer…

In her book, Close to the Bone: Life Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning, Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote, “When we participate in time and therefore lose our sense of time passing we are in kairos; here we are totally absorbed in the present moment, which may actually stretch out over hours.”

It would be an understatement to say that kairos moments alter the trajectory of our lives. To miscalculate kronos time is inconvenient. To miscalculate kairos time is utterly regrettable.

When was the last time you were so caught up in kairos that kronos was transcended and you were at soul-level?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved