Bells of Mindfulness

It was a lovely autumn evening and all was well… It felt wonderful to breathe in the cool fresh air… But then, once again the neighbors’ cigarette smoke began wafting in on the breeze… With anger I closed my window… and then, once again the toilet paper holder fell to the floor… and then, I stepped in water in my socks… and with each small frustration, I felt my angst growing stronger…

And once again the negative thinking swirl began, with the primary question surfacing, “Why is life so hard?” But just then, a small gentle voice asked quietly, “Umm, could we reframe that?” So I tried and tried to think of a more positive spin on my view of life (in that frustrated moment), but all I could come up with was “life is challenging” and “life is not fun.”

Well the small gentle voice was not having those negative reframes, so she dug deeper into the situation, and then she shared this insightful reframe:

“Life is filled with bells of mindfulness.”

Yes! All parts of me agreed, and the toxic angry vibes lay down to rest with the cranky despairing energies…

So then the small gentle voice said calmly, “When you closed the window in anger, that was a bell of mindfulness to show you where you need to cultivate more peace, understanding, compassion, and kindness… And, when the holder fell down and you stepped in water in your socks, those were bells of mindfulness to show you where you need to generate more calm inside yourself. So remember, life is filled with bells of mindfulness.”

Dear readers, this experience arose in me because I have been studying the teachings of the Zen Buddhist Master, Thich Nhat Hanh… His teachings on mindfulness are so simple to grasp, integrate, and practice in daily life… Soon I will write a post about his book Peace is Every Step.

And so what about you… Can you relate to my experience here? Can you also see many bells of mindfulness in your life?

I hope this post was helpful to you!

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Photo of bells cropped from original photo by Az Aay Chhetri on Pexels.

 

Happy International Day of Peace, Friends!

“Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy International Day of Peace, Friends!

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And for those living in the Northern Hemisphere,
on Monday, Happy Autumn Equinox! 🙂

 

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash.

 

Happy-ing Up With Images

I am pretty sure that color saturation increases serotonin, that neurotransmitter which helps us to happy up… At least it seems to for me! How about you? Do you love looking at bright images? Do you notice how color saturation affects your mind?

When I first started blogging, I used a lot of NASA space images with my posts, because I didn’t know that there were other sites with free images… Discovering those other sites opened up whole new colorful worlds for me! One of my fave tasks of blogging is scrolling through images on Unsplash or Pixabay to find just the right image for each post… That scrolling has become like a spiritual practice which really helps to happy up my mind!

Another fun practice with images is collage-making. Do you ever make collages? Some people get really artistic and elaborate with their collages, but mine are pretty basic, as you can see in the photo…

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This collage is glued onto my next journal cover, and I really had fun creating this one. I think it’s going to be one of my favorites ever. Lately I’ve been struggling with a Fibromyalgia flare-up, and my mind can get pretty negative, especially about financial issues, so in this collage I added some humor to lighten up the situation. I laugh every time I see that phrase at the bottom, “You need financial solutions.” Then I say, “You’ve got that right, I sure do need them!”

The meditating Buddhist image* in this collage reflects my current studies of the teachings of the Zen Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh. Soon I will write some posts about him and his Plum Village monastery in France. In his book, Peace is Every Step, he says, “The foundation of happiness is mindfulness. The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy.”

When I look at bright colorful images I feel happy, and I am aware of feeling that happiness. The next time you look at some beautiful photos, notice how they make you feel, and enjoy any happy feelings which arise!

May All Beings Be Happy! 🙂

 

* Buddhist image is a painting called “Serenity” by Anyès B. ~ AnyesEmotionArt.com

 

Half-Way Through 2019: Goals Review Time!

Hello Dear Readers!

Can you even believe that we are already half-way through this year? And how is it going with the goals you set for 2019?

On January 1st, I set these goals for the New Year:

To be Happy, Healthy, Holy, Hopeful, and Helpful.

I actually did not try to make them all begin with the letter “H”… Those goals just came to me spontaneously, in that order, and they all just happened to begin with H… So here is my check-in about how my goals are going:

Happy: As the image with this post says, “I ❤ Happiness.” Years ago I bought a bunch of organic bananas that had a little oval sticker with that quote. I still have that tiny sticker, but it is too small to photograph, so I made this image… I recently suggested to WordPress that they include the featured photo in the emails, but since that isn’t happening yet, I’m attaching the image here again for those who are viewing this post by email…

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Anyhow, I would say that overall I am feeling much happier in 2019. It is a choice to be happy, and I definitely choose happiness… AND I do practices to keep happy-ing up, and when those practices are effective I write about them in blog posts and books to help you happy up also!

Healthy: Well, physically I look very healthy, and I do eat an organic, whole foods plant-based, gluten-free diet, as well as exercise and take care of my health on all levels… AND, for decades I have dealt with many strange ailments and aches and pains that come and go and move around. My symptoms lately seem like perhaps a Fibromyalgia flare-up, so soon I will be finding a new doctor to get evaluated… Thankfully, all of the practices that I do to happy up also help me to manage my emotional reactions to not feeling well physically. And, fortunately I have good days as well as bad days, so I am very grateful for the good days!

Holy: For many years on my spiritual journey, I straddled two worlds… In one world I wanted to be a nun, and in the other world I wanted to find prince charming. (Please read my favorite blog post ever about how I no longer have that desire for a partner: “Into the Fire.”) Now that I am just living in the one world as a nun, married to God and the Spiritual Life, I am relieved to no longer be searching for an earthly guy… AND, I’m still learning a lot about desires and attachments in the earthly realm! Just because I freed myself of one desire, did not mean that I freed myself of all desires! So even though I am doing many daily spiritual practices, I would not describe myself as being entirely pure and holy. I am doing my best and I am always challenging myself to grow more!

Hopeful: Recently I discovered a new hero, Thich Nhat Hanh, and I read his awesome book, Peace is Every Step, which I will be reviewing in a blog post soon. In that book he talks about how hope is necessary when we are having a hard time because it helps us to get through the difficulties… but then once we get through the challenges, hope is not enough for true happiness, because hope is for the future, whereas happiness is to be found in the present moment. That really resonated as truth for me, and I reflected on how I had set “Hopeful” as one of my 2019 goals because I was still living in what I call my decade of hardships (which began in March, 2009)… And so the first few months of 2019 I was struggling to keep hope alive in my mind and heart… But thankfully, in the past few months there has been a shift into feeling hopeful most of the time… So I think I can check this one off, and move on to living in the happy present moment!

Helpful: Due to the health issues mentioned above, I am not able to do all that I would like to do in terms of helping others… But, I am proud to say that this year I trained with a local hospice and I have been going out to visit with dying patients and their families. And I have been posting helpful blog articles… And I am getting ready to publish my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life. (For more information, please read “Double Coffee Days Ahead.”)… So, I am being helpful in the ways that I can…

Thank you for reading my 2019 Goals Review!

How about you… How is it going with your goals for the year?

 

Happy Half-Way Through 2019 to Everyone!