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Blog

Where is your mind right now? Without judging the findings, chances are you may have been thinking about something in the future or trying to resolve something from the past. 

We are hard-wired to scan for problems and threats. Research shows that we spend about 50% of our waking hours in this state of mind called the default mode network. 

There is another way though and that is with mindfulness; being present to more moments of your day without judgmentas you live them. Is this a day that you can tip the scales and be present more than 50% of the time to what is happening, as it is happening?? You may be surprised with how wonderful it feels to live more of your moments fully.

Angela Mazur

Rolling with the tides

We are inching our way towards December 1st! My grandma got it right. I remember her commenting that as she got older, it seemed like time had a way of moving faster. Well folks, I am getting older and I can attest to the truth of grandma’s words… Whether or not you celebrate a season of light, we New Englanders are headed into the darkest and coldest time of year. Are you noticing that your energy is on the wane at night, that the idea of going out after 5 pm seems ludicrous? Despite the holiday season and all the hype that comes with it, we are still very much connected to the rhythms of the natural world where there is a tendency to slow down and pull in. Funny how the holidays don’t align with this biological need, right? How many of us are burning the midnight oil rushing around to get the decorations up, presents bought, packages sent out? 

So, how do we both roll with the tides of our biology and  with our customs and celebrations? This is where a mindful practice comes in! Taking pause daily to meditate is so beneficial, but especially so at this time of year. Meditation provides a new and steady rhythm to ride the waves of breath while noticing when the mind wanders and  then gently bringing  attention back to the breath. Meditation practice can be the best remedy for the holiday blues. 

How is your practice going? Could you take a pause each day and sit for maybe five or ten minutes? Start small but start. Angela and I have a variety of meditations on this website that can assist you in your practice. Let it be easy but do it no matter what. When it comes down to it, our meditation practice is the best gift we can give to ourselves during this holiday season and on any day of the year! Happy practicing!!

Angela Mazur

LIFE IS MESSY!!

As I drove around my neighborhood this morning, I witnessed Mother Nature’s full display of “Life is Messy”. Although the road surfaces were simply wet, the sides of the road were filled with heavy wet snow mixed together with brown leaves. I had to chuckle in realizing that even the changing seasons aren’t perfectly timed. Our street had been lined with pile upon pile of leaves waiting to be collected by our town highway department. The early storm that blew through here on Thursday really curtailed that plan. 

I guess the question is can we roll with the unexpected both around us and within us? Flexibility is key, don’t you think? I will be learning this lesson until I take my last breath. I come from a family of routines, plans, organization and seemingly “being in control” at all times!. As I became an adult decades ago, I could see behind this facade of thinking this kind of structure could keep bad things from happening. No amount of routine could keep family members from getting sick and passing away. No amount of structure could prevent other members falling into the grips of addiction. Truth be told, this morning scene is probably the greater teacher than all the teachings I received as a child. Its message is to expect the unexpected, learn to live with things in disarray and know that life goes on.

Angela Mazur

The oak seed

About five years ago or so, we had to make the difficult decision to take down our beloved, massive oak tree that had graced our backyard for decades. In the summer, its long, arching limbs provided much relief from the sun. We were able to enjoy our deck in the middle of a summer day since this special tree provided a canopy of shade. Our house temperature was cooler due to the relief provided by this towering tree. Unfortunately, it had to come down since   it had lost its structural integrity. I wasn’t home when the tree service arrived. I probably planned it this way since it was heartbreaking to say goodbye to this oak tree that had commanded such a presence in our yard and in our lives.

That next Spring when we began our typical tasks of cleaning up the back yard, we discovered the most pleasant surprise! A tiny tree sprout was popping through the ground. Upon further examination, we realized it was an oak sapling, probably a seed from our tree that had replanted itself!! As these past years have gone by, we have watched this oak tree’s circumference  grow thicker and reach taller as it has  taken a stronger foothold in our backyard. The picture in Mindful Moments was captured this morning as the brilliant sunlight sparkled upon this proud tree. Who knows, it may be possible for it to provide shade and relief from the sun in our lifetime!! 

Angela Mazur

The 3 P’s and how to maneuver holiday stress

Pacing, Pausing and Presence

The build- up to the holiday season begins earlier and earlier each year. We barely have time to enjoy Labor Day before the push for holiday festivities begin! Shelves become filled with every kind of Halloween candy along with all the merchandise for ghosts, goblins and trick or treaters.

Just the word, “holiday”, can conjure up an entire physical, emotional and mental response for many of us!  We Americans can put a lot of weight into what our holidays should be like. We are subjected to a litany of media input that highlights the perfect family enjoying the ideal celebration. Can you picture that perfect scene of members smiling around the dinner table as the head of household is effortlessly carving the turkey?  This is not reality, people. For many folks, holidays are downright painful! Deaths within the family in the past year, failing health, job insecurities, abrupt ending of loving relationships and active additions in families can all add to the mix of feeling derailed by the high pace and expectations of the holiday season.

So to relieve some of the stress and pressure during the holiday season, it is first important to recognize that no celebration matches what we read about in magazines and see advertised on tv. Life is messy and this spills into the holidays as well. If we put less stress on ourselves to have the perfect holiday and enjoy the “being together” as the focus of the celebration, we are much more likely to enjoy the holiday season.

I used to feel tremendous stress before the holidays. That was about twenty years ago when I was buying presents for all our family members. We all smartened up and decided to do cash for the kids and let that be enough! What a relief to remove myself from the frenzy of holiday shopping where I would be competing for sought after parking spaces in the malls while dashing from store to store  as I  agonized what gift to buy each member of the family.

There is a balancing act of figuring out when to visit both my husband’s side of the family along with mine. I no longer will do a holiday marathon where we used to drive from one member’s house to the next on the same day. To be honest, I prefer to stretch out the family gatherings to at least a day or two in between. As much as I love both sides, it can be draining to participate in these big gatherings. 

I also have become known as the “board game family member”. I usually travel to celebrations with some kind of board game to engage all of us. This brings a certain presence for all of us to connect, laugh and enjoy being together. It sure beats having each member zoned out on their technologies or riveted to the TV. 

Pausing is so important during the holidays. My mindfulness practice serves me well. I can be sitting at the large gathering and if I need to, can take a moment to tend to my breath as a way to regroup and refresh. Or perhaps the pause most needed is to step outside, drink in the fresh air and put the day into perspective.

When I think about tips to help navigate holiday stress, what comes to mind is pacing. No matter what additional responsibilities may be on one’s plate during this time of year, chunking it out in manageable pieces is a great way to cut down on some of the stress. 

Self care is another essential component during this time of celebration. Making sure to get some daily exercise along with having healthy food choices at the ready will go a long way in combatting the overwhelming stress many feel during this time.

When we realize that any of the holidays are just another day, this strategy reduces the pressure of needing any holiday to be a certain way. This outlook can be extremely beneficial for those who are faced with celebrating without a family member or perhaps alone for the first time in their lives. 


 




Angela Mazur

The Japan adventure continues

Arrived in Kyoto on 9/12

I don’t know about you, but I love high speed trains! There is nothing like getting into your assigned car and seat, finding how to best position your foot rest, get organized with  reading material and settle  in for the ride. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Tokyo’s tight -packed streets of building upon building recede into the background as our train made its way to Kyoto. 

As I had time to unwind while the train sped towards our destination, I silently offered myself compassion for the parts of the journey that felt difficult. Maneuvering from place to place was stressful for me. I felt so grateful that both my informal and forma Mindful Self-Compassion practices were helping me navigate the rough spots of the trip with more ease.

Kyoto was lovely. Our small rental was nestled in a local neighborhood but close enough by foot to the vibrancy of city life. Each morning, our street came to life as we witnessed the school children make their way to school. Back packs slapping their backs, they would scurry down the sidewalk with such confidence. I noticed how young some of them were to be walking alone. It underscored the safe feeling that permeated this country. Some children arrived on the back of their parent’s bike. Biking as a main form of transportation seemed big in Japan. Even on rainy days, we witnessed parent’s and children fully dressed in rain gear making their way to both school and then onto work on their bicycles!

Anyway, again and again, I was impressed by the sense of how the Japanese value family, community and connections. One day after touring Nojo-jo Castle built in 1601, we wandered over to a small park that was nearby. The park was alive with activity. A group of seniors who looked to be in their 80s, were enjoying some kind of croquet game. Another active group of elderly were stretching out together after having completed a brisk walk together. Further into this park, we noticed a play area teeming with squealing children and parents engaged with conversation with one another. It felt so alive and vibrant!!

As I witnessed their values in action; kindness, connectivity and respect, I wondered if as a culture ,they struggled with strong inner critics like we do in this country?? Would they even need a Mindful Self-Compassion practice? Upon further contemplation, I realized that perhaps people are people and despite the strong values, Japanese too may  grapple with “feeling not good enough” at times. 


Angela Mazur

My MSC practice gets a workout in Japan!

Reflection # 1

Having survived the longest flight of my life, 13 hours, we landed in Haneda airport in Tokyo late afternoon of September 6th. Due to the international dateline, although we had left the morning of September 5th, we set foot on Japanese soil over 24 hours later. After having shuffled through the crowds to depart the highly air -conditioned airport, I was first surprised by the blast of hot, humid air. Beyond exhausted at this point, we jumped on the first subway that seemed to be headed in the right direction to  our apartment in Tokyo. Mistake number 1, don’t assume anything. The subway reached the end of the line and we were nowhere near our destination. In the thick of rush hour, folks were dashing around us as they made their way from work to the next destination in their day. After practicing our limited Japanese, we were directed to the right track and the right subway. Throughout our trip, being able to ask for help is what saved us. Although the Japanese learn English in school, many were hesitant to speak. Again and again, we had to persist in asking for help until someone could articulate the answer. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to help. Just the opposite. I have never met a kinder, more gracious, gentle group of people in my life! So many of them went out of their way to be helpful. 

Anyway, I digress. Back to the beginning. We finally arrive at our destination. We are in the heart of Tokyo, right near Jingu baseball stadium where my husband’s nephew-in-law, Matt,  is pitching for the Yakult Swallows. His being in Japan is the reason we have embarked on this trek across the world!! 

Over the next five days, we orient ourselves in Tokyo. In order to manage the heat, humidity and streets teeming with a sea of people, we begin our days very early. This becomes my favorite part of time in Tokyo. We are able to explore the city on foot with some semblance of peace and quiet. Nearby the apartment is a lovely national park. These places with space and greenery are ones we seek out as our 22-  day trip unfolds. I realize that city life is overwhelming for me. Not only are there crowds of people fast-pacing it up and down the sidewalks, there are bikes careening around the corners, criss-crossing on sidewalks to find the fastest routes forward. 

Can you begin to get the picture why my MSC practice was both essential and a lifesaver? I used my informal practices all of the time, especially the Mindful Self-Compassion break! I was so grateful to have this practice to fall back on. I was raised a country girl. My grandparents were farmers. We had a huge, open cow path going between our house and the farm. My nervous system was not designed for the fast pace of this vibrant city. 

The highlight of Tokyo was attending a baseball game where Matt pitched. Let me tell you, the Japanese love their baseball. I have never seen such team spirit. Between the drums, trumpets, songs, and waving umbrellas, it was a deafening display of their enthusiasm for this sport. We witnessed Matt sliding into home plate, his white uniform covered in dirt. The umpire called safe but it got replayed about 12 times on the big screen with the accompanying eruption of hoots and hollers from the stands. American baseball will never live up to this experience. My next blog will cover my reflections about Kyoto, our next destination where we spent 13 days. 

Angela Mazur

Time of transitions

 

Ok folks, I have waited all summer for a day like today. There is a cool breeze moving the leaves outside my living room window. The air is fresh and without all that humidity. This is a big cause for celebration in my world. It has been a challenging summer with so much heat and high humidity.  I haven’t enjoyed my deck like in years past nor have I been on any bike rides on rail trails due to the oppressive conditions. Well that all changed today!! I thoroughly enjoyed a bike ride around town this afternoon and later today, I am meeting family at an outdoor patio at a local restaurant. 

The welcome change of the weather isn’t the only transition this week. The college students return to school. Perhaps one of your beloved family members is packing up and getting ready for the new semester. 

There is a bit of letdown for me at this time of year as September looms right around the corner. Although it has been decades since I have been in school, my heart still flutters a bit when I see those big, yellow buses lumbering down our street. I need to remind myself to be present in this moment and allow the myriad of memories and body sensations to move through me as I enjoy what is in my world right now.

Happy time of transition to you. May you enjoy the changing landscape from summer time to shifting to fall. We New Englanders are lucky to have the weather underscore the change of seasons.

Angela Mazur

The high cost of mindlessness in the early morning

This past week, I had three unexpected hours of mindful meditation after experiencing a costly moment of mindlessness. All dog details were on me this past week since my husband was away hiking the Appalachian Trail.  I barely rolled out of bed at 5:40 am on Tuesday, slipped on a bathing suit coverup, and descended our stairway to let out Oscar, our beloved ten and a half year old golden doodle. As I waited for him to do his “business” outside, I idly scrolled through my facebook feed. Upon hearing his sharp, quick bark to come in, I went out the back garage entrance, closed that door and opened up the rear garage door to let him in. All seemed part of the regular routine until I jiggled the inside handle and to my horror, the door was locked!!!! Darn it, darn it, darn it….. I tried jiggling it more vigorously, as if that would help, before I took a deep breath and decided it was time for Plan B. 

Our neighbor has our back-up key but I didn’t think she would appreciate such an early morning rap on her front door. To bide my time, I barefooted it back to our shed and carefully pulled out my zero balancing chaise lounger. After some finagling, I managed to set it up inside the garage with the back door open so Oscar knew I was there. From this vantage point, I could follow the flight of the early morning birds, watch the leaves sway back and forth and take it the dawning of this new day. Instead of berating myself, I had some good chuckles about my predicament and at the same time appreciation that it wasn’t in the dead of winter.

All ended well when I knocked on my neighbor’s door at a reasonable hour of 8:30 am. She was horrified I waited three hours to ask for her help. She assured me that if that ever happens again, I can come over right away. Let me tell you, I hope this doesn’t happen again any time soon. I did enjoy stretching out on this chair that mostly gets stored in the shed and being able to watch the day dawn…. Are there silver linings in things that are difficult for you?

Angela Mazur

The granite steps and life itself

My husband and I, along with my niece and nephew, are enjoying a glorious sun-filled week at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. June can be dicey as far as the weather is concerned. We have been graced with a week of brilliant blue skies. Our first hike of the week was one of the most challenging; the Ladder Trail. It was listed as strenuous but somehow I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to navigate up all the steep steps. How wrong I was! My body went into a “freeze” response from a past incident in Acadia where I slid my way over a moss-covered wet granite slab and ended up wedged between the rocks. Even though the rock face was bone dry, my body went into a threat response. I wasn’t sure if I could make it up the 1.5 mile climb to the top. Luckily my kind husband reminded me to just take one step at a time. Literally and figuratively, it was one step after another. The queasy feeling along with the dizziness finally passed and I made it to the top!! 

Sometimes life is like this ascent up Ladder Trail. We can hit such barriers, both internally and externally and simply want to quit. At these times, it is so helpful to have supportive people around us. Are you hitting any obstacles in your life right now? Are you allowing your loved ones to help coax you on? Just one step at a time is often all it takes to get going and move beyond the fear, the blockage or whatever gets in the way.

Angela Mazur

Little Jersey trail meandered around Lum’s Pond State Park in Delaware offering an adventure for our morning eight mile bike ride. The route began on a narrow, sandy path that was bordered by row upon row of rye grass waving in the breeze. The scene was so reminiscent of my grandparents farm and fields. I was aware of this sweet memory from the past as I pedaled into the woods. Due to the seven inches of rain from a recent storm, the trail was challenging in places. Fresh tire marks tracked deep into the mud as we entered the forest section of the trail. I played it safe and dismounted from my bike, preferring to walk around the obstacles. What was most prominent throughout this bike ride was how changeable the landscape was. We passed tall pine forests with barely any light shining through to open fields baking in the early morning sun. Once the pond came into view, we witnessed fish slapping at the edges of the rusty colored pond water in pursuit of the bugs skittering at the surface. The bike surface was hard-packed gravel in places and other sections were teeming with tree roots criss-crossing the area. Just like life itself, the path and surrounding beauty had a fluidity of its own. I noticed my wanting the path to be the easy hard-packed, dry surface instead of full of roots or slippery with crevices of mud. As soon as I became aware of my “clinging”, I then challenged myself to notice what new experiences I could have in the other terrains. Instead of resisting and tightening my muscles while gritting my way to the other side, could I let go and flow with the changing surface? What I discovered was that there was a measure of thrill of being able to stay upright as my wheels slipped and slid through the heavy, wet mud or bumped precariously over the knotted roots. Could I meet each new twist and turn on the path and adjust my gears, my pace, and my attitude accordingly? I improved this practice as the miles unfolded and once again was reminded how when we can lean into the present moment and flow with what is around us, it makes for easier going. Are there experiences in your life that you tighten against? Would it be possible to live it a different way? You might be delightfully surprised with what you discover by adopting this new way of flowing with life.

Angela Mazur

Sunlight shimmers in the early morning

As a variety of sweet-sounding birds chirped their morning tunes, my husband, our beloved dog, Oscar and I made our way around the local golf course before anyone hit the links. The 6:00 am hour is a fabulous time of welcoming in the day. The newly leafed out trees were all back light by the shimmering sun. I felt as if I was walking in a painting. The colors were illuminated by the rising sun. I could not think of a better way of waking up then strolling over the carpeted greenery with its springy feel as each tree branch seemed to reach out with a “hello”. 

There are so many blessings and precious moments for all of us. The important thing though is to be present to capture them. The morning could have played out much different if I was lost in thought. My mind would have been spinning out in either past or future thinking meanwhile missing out on all the richness of the present moment. This day ahead is going to be a good one. I want to leave you with a link for video called, “A good day”, by Brother David Steindl-Rast. If you have a moment, give yourself the gift of watching this. 

Enjoy your day!

“A good day” by Brother David Steindl-Rast

https://youtu.be/3Zl9puhwiyw

 

 

 

Angela Mazur

 

Spring must be here. The full running stream says so. The red buds on the maple tree say so. The melting snow says so. Can you feel winter’s thaw and Spring’s arrival? What new life inside of you is waiting to burst forth? Maybe it is to become more dedicated to your own self care? Perhaps it is to sign up for that class that will help with professional advancement? Maybe it is time to heal the fractured relationships in your life? Whatever it is, follow this deeper call to move forward. Align yourself with nature and notice how everything is beginning to bud forth, to flow, to open into new life!

I am allowing the energy of Spring to move through me as I continue to create new Let Your Yoga Dance playlists and offerings.  In addition, Angela Mazur and I are excited about offering our first Mindful Self-Compassion workshop for clinicians on May 18th at Copper Beech. Please visit www.coppperbeechinstitute.org for more information.

 Our creative juices are in full gear as we craft this day long retreat. Learning how to cultivate Mindful Self-Compassion for ourselves and others is a major step forward in healing the planet.

On a personal note, I am uncovering my desire to learn more about photography. Taking pictures has always been a passion of mine. I am excited to step deeper into the world of cameras, lenses, classes etc. 

Wishing you a Springtime of new possibilities, fresh starts and ability to cherish the blooming of the natural world around you!!

Angela Mazur

Sacred moments unfold during a Let Your Yoga Dance/Meditation experience!!

This past Thursday evening, Angela Mazur and I offered a free one hour Let Your Yoga Dance/Meditation experience at the main branch of the Farmington library. We welcomed a wonderful group of seventeen people ranging in age from 17 to over 70 years old. It was the first time we had men join in the fun! 

What was most special about this night for me was the unexpected surprise of having two hearing-impaired people and their interpreter join us. As I began the Let Your Yoga Dance portion, I marveled at how easily this man and woman  flowed to the music. It made me realize that music speaks to a deeper part of us. Although neither of them could hear that music, it was apparent that they could feel the rhythms and beat. 

As we moved our way up through the seven energy centers of the body, (the chakras) and came to the heart chakra,(4th chakra), I led the group in a choreographed dance that repeated again and again. The song was Beauty Chant and chorus went like this:

Beauty before me—— (we walked forward with our hands raised to the sky)

Beauty behind me—    (we walked backwards with hands pushing behind us)

Beauty beneath me—  (we bent our knees and pointed to the earth)

Beauty above——        (we all opened our our arms skyward allowing our hearts to soften)

After doing a few rounds as a large group, I had the participants break up into smaller groups. I made my way around to each group as the song’s chorus repeated again and again. As I joined  the circle of this hearing-impaired couple, I was singing the chorus out loud as we moved in unison. The man was reading my lips as his body flowed in sync with mine. In that moment, I felt the deep connection with our small circle and the energy of the larger group. This is the sacred part of Let Your Yoga Dance experience. You can never plan for these transformational moments to take place but by being present and open while moving, some wonderful, heart-felt and unrepeatable moments like this can occur.

Come join us in our next Let Your Yoga Dance/Meditation offerings which happen once a month at the Yoga Center in Collinsville. You can learn more about LYYD/Meditation by reading about it on our website. Give yourself the gift of a new experience, one that may just transform the meaning of your life!

 

Angela Mazur

March 13, 2018

 

Why I Wake Early

by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who make the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light–

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.

 

I love this poem. It speaks of Spring time, of the ever turning order of things; the sun, the moon, the flowers opening into the new day’s light. As I walked the nearby golf course with my dog, Oscar, I marveled at the two crows perched high in the pine trees as they chattered back and forth to one another. How I would have loved to understand their communication with each other…. 

The crunch of the snow under my feet, the rich, loamy smell of wet earth peaking from the bare spots, it all felt so alive in the melting, thawing and changing terrain. Even though tomorrow’s forecast threatens more snow, I could truly sense the new season about to unfold. 

What do you wake to in your day ahead? Is it to claim quiet time to meditate, perhaps to savor your first sips of hot coffee or tea? Whatever your practice is, can you allow the new day to greet you with a fresh hello? As you open your senses to each new day, let the energy of kindness encircle you. Notice how bringing this to the forefront sets a positive tone for the day ahead…. 

 

 

Angela Mazur

MOTHER NATURE DAZZLES

On my morning commute, the scenery dazzled as one ice- covered tree branch after another bent towards my car as if to welcome me along my way to work. I never tire of the beauty Mother Nature provides. Instead of being bummed out about the icy driveway and sides of the roads, I instead focused on being in the center of such a magical wonderland. I realize that my return ride home will be a different story. The strength of the sun will surely melt most of the ice coating the trees, bushes and shrubs. 

So this is how my day began. It continued to offer priceless moments. As I met with my first psychotherapy client, I had just begun to teach him about the Two wolf story when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed this massive bird fly over the river. We both jumped out of our seats to witness an eagle soaring towards the South. It glided over the river with its massive wing span stretched out to full capacity. Wow, what a special sighting indeed!  I believe in coincidences and having an eagle appear just as I am about to share this sacred Cherokee story gave me goosebumps. For those of you not familiar with this story, I want to share it with you.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. 

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.”

“One is evil- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt and ego.”

“The other is good- he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

“This same fight is going on inside you— and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, 

“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

 

Living in the present moment creates  the potential for such wonderful surprises. May you be open to the magic around you.

Angela Mazur

The deep silence of the marsh

After the morning hustle of tidying up our home, packing the car and traveling over three hours, we have finally arrived at our destination; a lovely home set up on a hilltop overlooking the marsh lands of Wellfleet, MA. Due the the unusual weather pattern this past week, the marsh is  graced with frozen salt water chunks, some small and others rather impressive. From the comfort of the living room, the large windows provide quite a view of the landscape below. 

Soon, we will take a walk and be able to get up close and personal with this marvel of Mother Nature. What I most appreciate about this step away to the Cape is the total peace and quiet. In order to get to this rental, we have to travel down a sandy, rutted road. For any of you who knew Cape Cod over 50 years ago, this feels like a step back into the simpler life on the Cape. What a blessing to be able to slow down, breathe, relax and soak in the goodness around us.

What are your plans for this upcoming weekend? Is it possible to take a walk in the woods? Perhaps you can find a special spot to watch the sunset and with it the glorious multi colors that paint the sky. Give yourself of slowing down and noticing the goodness around you. We can sometimes be in such a hurry that we miss the blessings around us.

 

Angela Mazur

Last weekend my husband and I spent a quiet and relaxing time on Cape Cod. We rented this large windowed home which overlooked the marsh area in Wellfleet. Although we were within a mile’s drive to the Route 6, it felt like we were tucked away from the world. Friday night, we were graced with the magic of fresh snow falling outside around us. As we nestled in for the night, each stretched out comfortably on opposite couches, we watched the light snow swirling around outside. The magic continued on Saturday morning when we bundled up despite the raw and windy day and headed to walk along the ocean side. No one else had braved the brisk weather. We headed South on the beach noticing some large headed seals peaking at us  as they bobbed on the surface of the ocean. As the wind pushed us from behind, I noticed the unusual swirl of snow lift off the sand, become air bound and then disappear in ethereal wisps. The energy of this snow felt more than just snow. It had a presence of its own. Instead of trying to understand what was happening, I allowed myself to be in the experience. I felt held by a higher source as I realized our lives are like the wisps of snow. We are each here on earth and then when it is our time, our spirits soar. As this year draws to a close, is it time to lighten your grip on how you “should be” and instead allow yourself to simply be present to experience all of the wonder around you?

Angela Mazur

Tis the season……..

Can you fill in the blanks? For so many of us, this time of turning into the holidays can be met with a heap of expectations along with memories from the past. Our mindfulness practices can truly help navigate this high time of stress with more ease. In this first full week of December, keep noticing where your mind is taking you! Is it a walk down memory lane? Is this a pleasant experience? Perhaps there is a fair amount of sadness and pain. Can you bring compassion to be with these feelings? Perhaps your mind is thinking about this holiday season and holding expectations for the family gathering. What would happen if you could release these thoughts and allow the celebration to unfold moment by moment? 

Now is a great time to keep bringing awareness into each and every moment enjoying the sounds, sights, smells of this season of light and love. Give yourself the biggest gift each day and make room to enjoy what is here right now. 

Happy Holidays to each of you! May the light of consciousness shine bright….

Angela Mazur

GRATITUDE

Karen Drucker’s moving song, “I’m so grateful”, is such a powerful and appropriate song for this time of the year. The chorus of the song is:

 Gratitude before me. Gratitude behind me.

Gratitude to the left of me. Gratitude to the right of me.

Gratitude above me. Gratitude below me.

Gratitude within me. Gratitude all around me.

I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful,

I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful ( repeat)

Could you imagine allowing these lyrics to encircle you in your day ahead? Cultivating gratitude helps keep our inner critic quiet. In raising up our gratitude meter we are actually helping regulate our physiology. Living in a state of gratitude aligns with our “tend and befriend” part of our autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system. As humans we are hard wired for survival. Throughout the day the other branch of our autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system, is getting activated by any number of triggers. Unlike the cave people before us, we aren’t under threat of being eaten by the saber tooth tiger. Instead our sense of self and how we are doing, how we are perceived, how we are fitting in, is under attack. 

So as we prepare for our Thanksgiving gatherings, perhaps we can let the words of Karen Drucker accompany us. Showering ourselves with words of gratitude will help create a more positive inner experience no matter what is happening around us!

 

Angela Mazur

The magic of connecting through dance, moving yoga and meditation

Angela and I launched our first Movement and Meditation event this past Sunday at Chi Healing in Canton. It was a terrific maiden voyage with 22 in attendance. As the women trickled in for our gathering, you could feel some hesitancy in the room. This was a new experience for all of us. Creating safety wasthe first order of business followed by permission to honor our bodies and move in accordance of our abilities. The entire two hours was devoted to claim a new way of simply being in the present moment either through dancing up the seven energy centers of the body (the chakras) or deep in loving kindness meditation. How often do we claim a piece of time to nourish ourselves in this way? Not often enough, that is for sure. At the end of our time together, the energy in the room had transformed. There were smiles and looks of joy as we all made our way out into our lives. 

Come join us in one of our next Movement and Meditation events. Our November 5th one is almost to capacity. We have spaces left for December 3rd and January 7th. 

Movement and meditation both help create more integration with our body, mind and spirit.