Monday, January 31, 2011

Renovating the "To Do" List

“Change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.”
 – Exodus 32:12

Hi.  My name is Freddae' and I’m addicted to “To Do” lists.  Many have tried to get me to lighten up on these lists over the years but to no avail.  Maybe it’s my upbringing in a hard working, rather workaholic family, or maybe it’s my type A personality, but I just can’t quit making lists.  You can find them all over my computer, in my purse, throughout my date planner, on my phone (yes, there’s an app for that), in my car…even in my Bible.  I have managed to meticulously outline the things I “need” to do in every compartment of my life.  I am thoroughly convinced that if I were to ever misplace my lists I would loose my mind - that is until I made another one.  Needless to say, I’m a “To Do” list girl.

Recently, I was reading a book of meditations for parents and came across one that had these lists as its central focus.  What I found new and interesting was a very simple statement that made me stop in my tracks and reflect on life for a few minutes. 

“If you have to live by lists, put ‘Love My Children’ at the top.”

I got to thinking about all the things that usually make it on these lists of mine and realized, quite sadly, that the simple act of loving someone, particularly my friends and family, never makes it on paper.  Of course, it’s always there in my mind and my heart, but why don’t I prioritize that on my list?  Other things not on my list:  pray, journal, spend time with God and read scripture.  I guess I just assume these things are givens and don’t need to be written down because “I’ll remember them.”  But do I?  What if it were as big of a deal to have something interrupt my family or God time, as it is when something interrupts my work or homework time?  What if I showed my family and my God that they truly are on the top of any list I could ever write?  How would my life be different if the first things on my list or calendar were ways to love, care for, be attentive to and show grace to my family and the One who gave all to save me?  If neglect can cause my relationship with God and loved ones to suffer, maybe I should do as Exodus says and “change my mind” about how I got about things.  My prayer for you and I this week is that we realize the importance of things and that nothing really compares to the charge we’ve been given to love God, love our neighbors and love ourselves.  So revamp your “To Do” list and put what’s really important at the very top.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Encounter Healing

Encounter, by Zoe Hersey

"Anyone who has ever felt the distance between herself and her true self-and who has looked for a way back-knows that the awe and humility that come from recognizing her place in nature can point the way. No matter how long the journey, when we return to our essence-our self-we are met with compassion, gentleness and love. And from here, hope and healing take flight."
– Mariska Hargitay, Founder & President, Joyful Heart Foundation

Winter Wellness Meditation from Joyful Heart Foundation

To begin, find a comfortable seat, take a few moments to quiet your mind and focus your attention on your breath. Noticing the inhale and exhale, feel the air flowing in and out of your nostrils. You will begin by offering Metta to yourself. If distracting thoughts arise, acknowledge them, you can make a mental note or label them and then gently return to your concentration.
Visualize yourself and repeat the following phrases several times:
May I be safe.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be at peace.
May I be free of suffering and the roots of suffering.
When you feel connected, move on to a person that you love, someone who makes you feel joy. Visualize them and repeat mantra to them:
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be at peace.
May you be free of suffering and the roots of suffering.
Next, chose a neutral person. It could be the person at the grocery store, bodega, someone in your neighborhood… anyone you feel no strong connection to. Visualize this person and offer the mantra to them: May you be safe… May you be…
Now move on to a person who you are in conflict with or struggle with somehow. Offer them the same mantra: May you be safe… May you be…
Finally, repeat the mantra for all living beings, yourself included:
May we be safe.
May we be happy.
May we be healthy.
May we be at peace.
May we be free of suffering and the roots of suffering.
Sit and take 3 – 5 breaths before opening your gaze and when you feel ready, gently open your eyes.

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