Creative Mornings: Boston

Copley Square BostonThis week had a lot of emotional and work-related ups and downs.

But, I did manage to look up and notice the beautiful sky in the middle of it all. When I’m feeling like this, I know that I need to get my mind right. To stay positive and be mindful.

As I write this post, I’m listening to The Lively Show. The show is an interview with Lynn Robinson and focused on intuition. It’s quite a good pick-me-up and helping me stay in the right mindset.

A few months ago, I learned about a breakfast lecture series for the creative community called Creative Mornings. These free morning lectures are held in different cities all over the world and are quite a wonderful resource. I encourage everyone to go if you get a chance. From what I can tell, each month there is a different theme for the talks.

I was finally able to attend a Creative Mornings event in Boston a few weeks ago. The stars aligned and I had the time and found a lecture that interested me.

It was amazing how it worked out. I had just listened to an On Point podcast called, Zen And The Art Of The Free Throw, where George Mumford was interviewed by Tom Ashbrook about how he teaches mindfulness to athletes to help them perform at a higher level. They also discussed his new book, The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance.

It was just a day or two after hearing the interview, that I received an email that Mumford would be speaking at Creative Mornings in Boston. I registered right away!

When I attended the event, which had a theme of Collaboration, I thought they were giving the book away to attendees. But it was only to a few people and I didn’t get one. I put it on hold at the library and have been number one in line for weeks waiting for it. Maybe I’m not meant to read it yet, since I am finishing up another one. It feels right to write this post now, so I will probably write about the book after I read it.

Click here to see some more photos taken by other people. I had a great time and learned a lot at the event. Looking forward to attending more!

You Can Train Your Brain

petals blowing in breeze

Have you read the recent Washington Post article about how meditation changes your brain? It’s quite interesting. As someone who believes in the benefits of meditation and practices regularly, I certainly believe it. Below is an excerpt from the article.

We found differences in brain volume after eight weeks in five different regions in the brains of the two groups. In the group that learned meditation, we found thickening in four regions:

1. The primary difference, we found in the posterior cingulate, which is involved in mind wandering, and self relevance.

2. The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.

3.  The temporo parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion.

4. An area of the brain stem called the Pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.

The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program.

I’ve been meditating on a regular basis for about three years now and have noticed a real difference. It’s easier for me to detach from a situation and calm myself down when stressed by taking deep breaths.

It seems that there are even more benefits than I was aware of before, which is definitely a good thing.

Enjoy your Sunday! Namaste.

Mindfulness & Fidelity of the Breath

Since I started meditating on a regular basis a few years ago, I’ve become more mindful and aware of the present. Also more focused and calm. It feels like I’m in flow with the universe. Whether you believe in that or not I don’t know, but I feel like the timing of things is often quite right. More than before at least.

When I took a mini-mindfulness retreat a couple of years ago, I learned about the fidelity of the breath and blogged about it soon after. Here’s an excerpt below.

While everything in life changes, one thing we can always count on is our breath to be with us. It’s the one thing that we have had since the moment of our birth and we can count on until the moment we die. We will always have our breath and we can use it. Sit with it and learn to appreciate the present.

This short video “Just Breathe” is quite moving. Children are so often underestimated and spoken down to in our society. But here, several kindergarteners speak quite eloquently about how they feel when they are experiencing anger and how mindfulness meditation helps them to get control of their emotions and calm down. These kids really get it.

If you’re interesting in exploring this topic a bit further, click over here and Bill Murray, yes the comedian Bill Murray, will take you through a short mindfulness exercise like only he can. It’s worth a listen.

Have a great day! Namaste!