Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’



Success is seldom a straight road; it almost always involves many detours and dead ends. It takes tenacity and determination to keep going, but those that do will eventually reach their destination.

Most of us have heard before that Thomas Edison failed more than 1,000 times but continued on despite being ridiculed by the media and those around him. And plenty more people refuse to quit long after most would have given up. What is it about these people that makes them different?

There are a number of attributes that consistently stand out amongst those who tenaciously follow their own path in life. Here are seven things highly resilient things have in common:

People who are able to develop a strong sense of who they are and what matters to them are much better able to resist external influences that will keep many people from reaching their potential. They are able to draw strength from within and are therefore less likely to be influenced by what others think of them. This strong inner strength helps them deflect criticism, alienation, ridicule and other factors that everyone who forges their own path inevitably faces.

When things don’t go according to plan, resilient people look for the learning in the situation and the lesson they can take away. They don’t view failure as final, rather a necessary learning step that will take them further along the path. Instead of taking setbacks personally, they are seen as an inevitable part of the learning process and mentally prepare themselves to deal with them. Resilient people do not lose the lesson.

Resilient people are prepared for the long haul, fully realizing that anything worth achieving will be difficult and will take a great deal of time, effort and persistence. Despite not seeing any immediate results of their efforts, they are keenly aware that what their lives will look like in the future will be determined by their efforts today. Their strong sense of the future motivates them to take action even when they see no immediate benefit and don’t feel very motivated in the moment.


Whether it is a belief in a higher power, a strong sense of purpose, or a great sense of humor, resilient people have sources of strength they can rely on to get them through difficult situations. This decreases their sense to belong and rely upon others for motivation. They see their lives beyond the everyday routine and strongly feel the need to follow their own vision. Their motivation is intrinsic.


Most people believe that not knowing how to do something and not being able to, are one and the same thing. Highly resilient people don’t let not knowing how to do something stop them. They believe that they will find a way. They have faith in their ability to overcome whatever obstacles are in their path. Expecting to find new situations uncomfortable and difficult, they are willing to accept this as part of the process.

Highly resilient people don’t suffer fools. It’s not that they never look to others for guidance and direction, it’s that they are very selective in who they chose to follow. They look for mentorship in people who have achieved greatly and whom they admire. Once they have found the people they chose to follow, they soak up all the information, guidance and inspiration they can by reading their books and listening to their spoken messages for insight.

Resilient people are no less susceptible to pressures and life’s stressors than anyone else, but they have developed healthy coping mechanisms they know can be counted on. Whether it is meditation, exercise or an all-encompassing hobby, they have proven methods that allow them to recharge their energy and get back into pursuing their passion. Personal growth and development for them is not a passing interest or flavor of the month, it is a way of life.



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In the book “A Calm Brain, Unlocking Your Natural Relaxation System” neurologist Gayatri Devi explains that the brain is most at peace when you take 6 breaths per minute.  The usual number of breaths is 12-15 breaths per minute.  In order to slow your breathing down to 6 breaths,  each in-breath and out-breath cycle should be slowed down to approximately 10 seconds.  Its not easy to do, however we know that many meditative traditions use focused and slow breathing to achieve a calm state.
Try this for one minute today: using a stop watch, time your breathing for one minute and see how many breaths you take.  See if you can slow it down to 6 breaths.
You will immediately notice a calm feeling.  Make this a daily practice.  It’s the best strategy for stress reduction!

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To live fully each day we must pay attention and be mindful of everything. When you live this way, you anchor yourself in the present. This present-moment awareness is often called mindfulness. Derived from Zen Buddhism, it is a form of meditation in which you focus your attention on what you are experiencing from moment to moment. You don’t think about what you are going to do next or what happened yesterday.

“See your life as a series of moments,” suggests Dr. Lawrence Ballon, a psychiatrist who teaches meditation and mindfulness. “Most people have learned techniques to avoid coping with how they feel. They take a pill, overwork, overeat, overdrink-anything to change their state of mind. Picture someone listening to a pianist yet thinking about what happened at the office or whether they put enough money in the parking meter. That person is not fully present.” He then cited an interesting example. “My dog lives in the moment. She’s hungry; she eats. She’s tired; she rests. She’s aware of her own experience. She checks in with herself.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Howard Book practices mindfulness and is acutely aware of his senses. “When I’m outside in the summertime, I can smell the earth and the green grass. In March I notice that the ground smells different. I smell the sweetness of spring coming.”

Driving home from my office I am greeted by huge trees on both sides of my street, their canopy of leaves touching and kissing each other, dappled sunlight dancing among the branches. I see this every day and yet every day it thrills me. It’s that kind of enthusiasm and paying attention that is important in my life.”

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For 25 years I’ve been looking out of my office window, located on the third floor of a four-storey brick medical building. I’ve angled my chiropractic treatment table so that I can clearly absorb the view while I palpate, massage, and adjust patients. The scene outside the window is always the same. Each day brings a caravan of mothers and nannies to the park, with children eager to play on the swings, slides and rocking horses. This is Peter Pan Park, a green patch of heaven in the city, framed by giant old oak trees with low branches begging to be climbed.

On this particular day, all four swings are occupied, children’s legs pointing to the sky to seek momentum. A toddler supported by two strong female arms rocks gleefully on a red horse attached to a blue spring. Two little girls with plastic shovels and pails crouch over a mound of sand. A mom waits at the bottom of the slide while her son readies himself at the top.

It may seem unfathomable that this window could possible be a gift for my spirit. But every day it serves as a reminder to be playful. I am witness to the timelessness of life. Fifty-five years ago this “grown up” was that laughing child. There will always be children playing in this park to remind us that the simple things in life – a ball, bird, or tree – can spark curiosity, adventure, laughter, and delight. Children teach me to notice and appreciate little things – that the days are getting longer, the smell in the air after the rain, a woodpecker tapping on bark. There is a low lying oak branch so close to my window that I can see buds forming on it in the early spring. I still feel a wide-eyed excitement no matter how many times I witness the unfolding of the seasons

We all have an enchanted window to look out of every day – if not in reality, at least in our hearts and minds.

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Have you ever been lost in the woods and walked for what seemed like miles, only to find that you were still very close to where you started? Life is a lot like that; it takes us on a convoluted path that often circles back to our beginnings. Think about the things that you loved learning as a child or a teenager. Remember home economics class and attempting to sew your first dress? Learning to play chess? Clarinet lessons? Auto mechanics or art classes? Tapping into the activities that we used to love can be fun, playful and healing the second time around.

Reflect on the hobbies, sports, leisure, and creative activities that you loved to do.  What did you give up when life got in the way? What have you been promising to do “one of these days” or “when I have more time”? What talents and gifts have you buried or abandoned because you’re not a kid any more? When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up? Go back to what you loved to do! When you start retrieving memories and fragments of your childhood passions, a door will open to Rekindlegarten (a term I created to describe rekindling our childhood). Inside you’ll find a world where anything is possible — you just have to try it!

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In a lecture I attended at Canyon Ranch Health and Wellness Resort in Arizona on the subject of balancing work and home, Dr. Robert Rhode, Ph.D. suggested that we create intimacy in our life. This requires emphasizing feelings, experiences, and memories instead of mastery, which is based on logic, intellect, and rationality. For example, a teen will go to a mall and just hang out. That is an intimacy experience. We will go to the mall with a mission — to buy what we want and get out of there. That is mastery. Mastery, the way many of us work, focuses on getting things done, the end goal, and being in control. Intimacy stresses the process, and asking yourself questions like “How did I connect with others today? What did I do to further my spiritual goals today? How far back do I have to go to savour a memory? What did I do today that had no goal, but that I enjoyed just as an experience?” Mastery individuals often forget or minimize birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays, focusing their energy instead on work related issues. I hiked with many “mastery types” at the ranch. They march up the mountain with heads down, determined to maintain a specific heart rate, while others stop to inquire about a certain flowering cactus or to admire the beautiful view along the way. “We are used to annual reviews at the office,” Rhodes says, “but what about an annual review at home? How about putting down an intimacy goal in your appointment book or daytimer, like, “Find out something new about my spouse or teen today.”

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