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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

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.