Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mindfulness Monday: Resources

Here we go! It's kind of exciting to be starting a new blogging journey. The thing is, I don't really have a plan. This is going to be blogging by the seat of my pants...blantsing? (You know, blogging and pantsing would equal blantsing.)

I should probably mention that I'm not a mindfulness guru. What I am is a stressed out social worker--mother--writer who has found learning about and practicing mindfulness has seriously helped my emotional equilibrium. Back in May I had one post regarding what mindfulness is and where I was at that moment, so if you're not sure what mindfulness is, I'd suggest going here and reading at least the first part of the post.

Arches National Park taken by me!
It seems to me that people talking about mindfulness practices are everywhere. There were even two articles in the Huffington post over the weekend (How Mindfulness Is Revolutionizing Mental Health Care and What Mindfulness Actually Means, And Why We All Have Time For It) One main reason for that, I believe, is because of the incredible advances they have made in neuroscience in the last ten years. The efficacy of meditation on self-control and emotional well-being has been researched for over the last fifty years. However, it's only in the recent past that well-known universities and researchers have joined in and, with the different methods of imaging the brain and tracking brain-function showing scientific proof of such efficacy, brought meditative practices to the mainstream.

There are several books that have come recommended to me, either from workshops I've attended or from like-minded friends. I have started most of them, but I've mentioned before how hard it is to find time to read, so I haven't finished any of them! However, part of having the Mindfulness Monday blog posts should encourage me to get more into the books, so I'll share the ones I have with you, in case you might want to check them out.

The Emotional Life of Your Brain by Richard J. Davidson, PhD - This book is more about the neuroscience of emotions and how we can change how we "think, feel, and live." Richard Davidson is a neuroscientist who has studied neuroscience for thirty years and the effects of meditation on the brain since around 1992. I haven't yet read this book (I started it and then returned to work), but it is one I am very interested in.

The Happiness Animal by Will Jelbert - This book doesn't appear to be specifically related to mindfulness, but a friend of mine recommended it, and from what I've seen it has similar thoughts to mindfulness. It also seems similar to Shawn Achor's The Happiness Advantage. I haven't bought the Happiness Advantage, but I have used this video of Shawn Achor's in my Mindfulness Parent Group. It's worth the twelve minutes.

Mindfulness Yoga by Frank Jude Boccio - I think this book might be very helpful for someone who is interested in including yoga into their mindfulness practice. I can't say it was particularly helpful for me, but it did reinforce for me that the reason I enjoy yoga is because of the inherent connection "of body, breath and mind." My experience with yoga will be a topic some day in the future.

The Mindful Writer by Dinty W. Moore - No, I have no idea if that is the author's real name. But, this book has been very inspiring, and spot on with what I know about mindfulness practice so far. The author uses some really wonderful quotes which have been inspiring on their own, even without reading the author's interpretation of the quotes. I'll talk more about this book in the future, as well.

I'll end with this video set to a portion of a commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave in (I think) 2008. The nine-minute video captures what my understanding of mindfulness is - being aware to make a choice for how we are going to experience our lives. I really love the video.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: Have You Been Indoctorinated?

It's true. We've made it through another week!

I've been toying with the idea of a Mindful Monday blog post for a while, and have decided to go ahead and give it a try. Because time is always an issue anymore, I'll only post twice a month, unless I have a guest post, like I will on February 2nd. I'm excited to get to share my blog with my friend, Roland Yeamons, who is releasing his book Return of the Last Shaman February 1st, and is going to share some connections between his book, his culture and mindfulness with us.

Thank you to Suzi, Veronica and Lexa for your continued support and comments on Fridays! You are all awesome!

Here's this week's photos!

Or you wake up after a nightmare...

I've always had this mental picture in my head when I hear people refer to women as "cougars."

I've succeeded in hooking my nephew and my kids. And probably my husband, too.

Earlier in the week I had an icky nightmare about aliens. I woke up freaked out, (if you remember, I have a phobia about the Communion-type aliens) but when I finally calmed down enough to fall back asleep, guess who came to help.

The tenth Doctor and Donna Noble.

It's humorous to me how comforted I was in the dream, because I knew the aliens weren't going to get me. The Doctor was going to save the day!

I think I have to accept I am, indeed, a Whovian.

Here's our puns!

My favorite this week is the sneezed on dog. The caption just fits.

Which is your favorite?
Just curious, have you ever had connected dreams before?

I'll see you on Monday!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: Have You Seen a Possessed Goat Before?

Happy Friday, everyone!

One thing I've learned since the beginning of the year is that purging your house to live a more simple lifestyle is very time consuming. I've begun working on Through the Fairy Ring again (I'm really liking that as a working title!) My editor, David Malone, took a look at my synopsis and helped me see what the ending needed. I'm grateful for his input, because I think the ending will be much better. It's been hard to purge the house and write and go back to work, but I'm trying to remind myself that, even with small steps, there's progress.

Last week we had a clear winner for favorite photo, and it was:

Here's this week's photos:

Ever feel this way?

That's just claustrophobia inspiring.

Maniacal, evil goat.

Yes, it's another of those "more cute than funny ones."

This is the face of a cat on the edge. (Anyone remember that line in Jumpin' Jack Flash?"

I spent time today trying to explain to a teacher who Groot is.
I think I'm the only adult in my school who has seen Guardians of the Galaxy.


My favorite is the possessed goat. Which is yours?

Have a great weekend!


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