Eat Mindfully the Length of One Song

My Mindful Meal

This week, I was a speaker on my favorite topic; Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First for Ventura SCORE, this wonderful nonprofit organization that provides mentorship for small business owners from retired business executives who donate their time. The topic was of course on Work-Life Balance. I am curious to know what that means for you? What do you conjure up when you hear those words?

Anyway, we were three speakers, each with 30 minutes to share on our topic. What I found wonderful was how, the lineup had been decided even before any of us had submit our topics, and yet we were lined up exactly in the right order that you would want to hear the content we all delivered.

Speaker 1: Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Speaker 2: Living Your Life to Your Fullest Potential (all about different ways to harmoniously balance stress/long work ours etc.)
Speaker 3: ME! Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

I will admit, I was nervous. Now, I have LOVED public speaking for over a decade, and can talk in any sized room whether it be 3 people or 300 people. BUT, I was still nervous. I’ve been a fundraiser for so long, that I can speak on that topic ad nauseum, but until lately my forum for speaking about Oxygen Mask has been all virtual/digital. You’ve all heard me go on about it here, if you know me personally, you have heard me share face to face, one to one, if we are friends on social media, or if follow my page The Breathing Space on Facebook then you have heard me talk about this.

This was only the second time that I had spoken about this to a live audience and had never done the presentation along with the slides I prepared; only because they asked me for slides! hahahah!!

Anyway, I had decided that I would just go up and be me. And it turns out, that when I have an audience, I can be a ham, I can be funnier than I think I am in real life, and I can totally be myself. The response was wonderful; people were laughing, participating, sharing and asking questions. What more can a speaker want?

OK, so what has this to do with the title?

That afternoon, I went to Namaste Spiceland to get chai and a simple lunch. As I was waiting for my meal of daal, roti, sabji I tuned into the music that they were playing over the speakers. It was of this deep voice, the voice of Amitabh Bachchan – India’s most iconic movie star whose stardom transcends generations. I couldn’t follow along with the Hindi, but just that sound of his voice, and the words that I couldn’t make out, but recognized from the movie that I loved so much as a child. My food arrived, and I sat enjoying it, savoring the hot, sweet spiced milk chai absorbed in the music of my youth. I didn’t realize the impact of that music on my soul, till I started to tear up as I listened to the soothing voice of my favorite Bollywood star. The food, the music, being surrounded by familiar smells, sounds and sights of my childhood and youth; I was completely immersed.

So what has this to do with the presentation that evening on Oxygen Mask?

So glad you asked. Let me tell you.

As we were talking about Mindful Minutes, I asked for examples of how they could incorporate what we were discussing into their own lives. How can you incorporate mindfulness into your over-committed days someone raised her hand and volunteered; when you eat, just eat. Just savor the foods, don’t talk, don’t watch TV, don’t work, worse of all, don’t drive!

YES! I exclaimed! YES indeed.

And I was able to recount my afternoon experience of my mini trip to India through all my senses.

Believe me when I tell you, if I am not with a donor or a potential donor, most afternoons my lunch is a protein shake drunk at my desk. I work right through lunch; but not because I am trying to over work – because I allow myself to leave work earlier as a result. It’s worth the trade off to be with my kids earlier.

But here’s what I really want to share. Yes, life is busy. Yes eating at the table is a luxury.

But what if you did that once or twice a week, JUST for the duration of ONE SONG (2-3 minutes)? Imagine this – you get to pick out your favorite song/s and then just as you sit to eat, you turn on the music — and allow yourself to be immersed in the experience of food and music.

So today’s call to action for you is to see if you can, just even once sit still and eat, for the duration of one song (remember it’s just 2-3 minutes) before you jump up to do 15 other things.

Will you write and tell me if you try this?

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6 Words That Rocked My World

  My husband Jason is a scientist and someone who has a very intense filing system for a mind. His mind never shuts down. If the average person has over 20,000 thoughts a day, he probably has more like 10x! 

For 13 years that we’ve been together I’ve suggested, pleaded, begged, implored, recommended and pretty much done everything I could to ask him to develop a meditation practice. I’ve sent him articles from journals that he respects that espouse the benefits of a meditation and mindfulness practice; all to no avail. 

This past week was extraordinarily stressful. Both our kids had birthdays and instead of parties we settled on a weekend at Legoland which while a lot of fun is exhausting if you’re not under 12! The drive to Carlsbad which is usually 2.5hrs took 4+hrs on a Friday afternoon after school. The bonus there was  seeing friends we hadn’t seen in over 4 years and dinner with my best friend!! 

Later in the week, other things happened to us which threw us off kilter and by Wednesday we were not our best selves. We got into a big argument which ended in a 4 hour must-needed conversation about many unspoken things– things that got put on the back burner when kids and life happened. By now it was 11pm and my husband with the filing system of a mind the size of a museum was in overdrive. And then he said the words I’ve waited all these years to hear him say…

Will You Teach Me To Meditate?

I immediately burst into tears…relief, joy, gratitude and a feeing of closeness to him in a way that has been sadly missing between us for a while. We sat on our living room floor, across from each other, candles lit, mantra music barely discernible in the background and I led him through a Black and White breathing meditation. I emerged from meditation before him, and as I sat there in silence watching him with his head looking down, he never looked more beautiful to me. His face, usually wears the weight of our life that he’s chosen to bear, and in those few moments he looked so serene, so at peace, so reminiscent of how he looked to me when we first met. The light of the candles caused his rugged features (which I adore) to be softer, almost fluid. My eyes welled up again. I was never more in love with him than I was at that moment. I was transported to our wedding day and how I loved staring into his handsome face on Hearst State beach as we said our self-written vows to each other 10 years ago. 

It’s only been two days but he’s asked that we do this every night together as a new ritual for us. 

It’s been 13 years in the making and I never lost hope that one day we would sit in silence together and allow our energies to dance in the candlelight together. Yes indeed, dreams, even seemingly impossible ones can come true. 

Next up, couples yoga and (dare I say it) couples spa day. 

Maybe.

I’m patient.

I can hope.

I got pulled over by a policeman today

Yes I did. I was driving home with my 7yo after dropping my 3yo off to school so we could have a ‘girls’ day off’ while on Spring Break. I turned down a street, just one turn away from my home, doing a California Roll (barely stopping) at the stop sign and in the microsecond that I made that turn and saw him, I just knew he was going to stop me. I looked him squarely in the eyes as I drove by, watching my rear view mirror to see if he would turn his car around…he did.

Now first off – in the past, whenever I have been stopped (just about 3-4 times in my life) my heart would race and I would get really nervous – this time, I was calm. Curious!

Anyway, he probably ran my plate then came up to me and I was handing him my license and registration before he asked. He said what I knew he would say, that I didn’t stop; (I did tap the brakes, I just didn’t stop long enough) – I looked at him and said that I knew the moment that I saw him that he would be pulling me up for this. He took my stuff back to his car to do whatever it is they do. And in that moment, as I waited to receive the ticket (I saw him pull out a pad and start to write something) I remembered my meditation class from last week. It had been such a good teaching that I pulled out my iPhone and started taking notes, making sure to tell the teacher after the fact, that that’s what I was doing, lest she think I was texting in the middle of her teaching.

What she said was profound yet so simple as profound statements tend to be. She was talking about the effort that it takes to train your mind and that it is as important to clean our mind as we clean our bodies, our homes and our cars. The statement that I went to, in that moment waiting for the policeman to come back and give me a ticket for the California roll was that of finding a spiritual practice in every mundane act that we do. In my case sitting there, I thought of this: ‘thank you Universe for one more sign┬áthat I should slow down. I receive this message with humility and a sense of acceptance of whatever the consequence is for my action.” And I actually found myself smiling at that moment.

So Mr. Policeman with a very sweet Eastern European accent returns to my side and asks me for my home or cell phone number. (is that usual? Don’t remember that from my last pull over from over a decade ago) He asks me what I do – I tell him I am self employed. He asks in what? I say I am a Wellness Coach. I am figuring he’s filling out details on his triplicate ticket that he’s about to rip out and give me. He then says he isn’t going to give me a ticket this time…rather let me off with a warning – that I have a child in the car and that I am in a residential area and that I should be more careful. I thank him out loud, bless him in my heart and make my way home basking in the love that has just been shown to me by The Universe, by way of a very thoughtful police officer.

So my invitation to you is to consider what ordinary activities do you engage in everyday that you can transform into a spiritual practice. Here are some thoughts to ponder:

  1. Food cooked with love and consciousness is an expression of love and kindness.
  2. See the potential in every activity you engage in – whether that be cleaning your bathroom or doing your taxes
  3. Develop a mind of compassion in everything you do
  4. Recognize that even an intention to control your mind and develop peace causes a karmic event. No action is ever wasted.
  5. You’ve created the cause, you will experience the effect.

Think of negative thoughts as ‘bad weather in the blue sky of your mind’ turbulence is momentary – blue skies ahead!

Let me know how I can assist you on your journey. I’m in your service and sending you light & love