Mindfulness and the Five Senses

Mindfulness is an important part of life.

Mindfulness is an important part of life.


I’m a big fan of mindfulness. It always seems like when I’m mindful, I’m happy and content and enjoying life. And one of my goals for this year is to be more mindful.

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose! A lot of us go through life mindlessly. Here are some examples of mindlessness:
• Breaking things, spilling things
• Forgetting someone’s name as soon as you hear it.
• Listening to someone with one ear while doing something else at the same time.
• Being preoccupied with the future or the past.
• Eating without being aware of eating.
• Having periods of time where you have difficulty remembering the details of what happened – running on autopilot.
• Reacting emotionally in certain ways – feeling like an emotion just “came out of nowhere”.
• Daydreaming or thinking of other things when doing chores.
• Doing several things at once rather than focussing on one thing at a time.

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I Resolve To Make 2017 A Happy New Year!

2017 Zen Mama Resolutions

Happy 2017!
My theme for 2017 isn’t just Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) but Carpe Annum (Seize the Year)! Rather than pick impossible goals to accomplish, try these new habits to practice. Resolutions like this make you a happier person. And in becoming happier, the people around you will be happier, too.

1. A Balance of Work, Play and Learning
Balance is extremely important for a healthy mind and body. A balance between work, play and learning. It’s a simple idea that is really hard to accomplish at times. What does being balanced mean to me? It means not rushing, feeling grounded, calm and peaceful, and best of all, excited for my day and for just being alive. It’s feeling awake, mindful, receptive and wise. We all have glimpses of balance in life but not usually on a daily basis. What if you could have this feeling nearly everyday?

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Go Where the Energy Goes…Follow Your Bliss

Follow-your-bliss

This summer my niece visited for 3 weeks. She loves crafts so much that we set up a basement room with sunny windows for “Creative time”. I bought a bookshelf at the 2nd hand shop nearby. All the craft supplies I had in the house filled up the shelves. Everyday at 3:30 we’d head down to the basement and begin our “Creative Time”. We also wrote and cooked together. We watched inspirational youtube videos to figure out how to make interesting crafts. Now, even though she’s back at home in San Francisco, I’m inspired to get down to our creative room every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

And then I recently took two incredible cheese making class. I never dreamed I could actually make cheese!

I’m a foodie and a cheese freak! Taking a cheese making class was high up on my list of things to do. For the last year, I’ve put off taking this class. My friend, Amy, who wanted to take the class, too, went ahead and found a class for us taught by the owner of a goat farm.

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Make Gratitude A Habit for This Thanksgiving and All Year Long!

Zen Tips Gratitude Beattie

Looking for Happiness?
Of course you are! We all are.
What is the key to finding it?
Could it be gratitude?

It is amazing we have a holiday that is set aside to be thankful for the abundance in our lives. I love Thanksgiving for just that reason. We celebrate family and the things we are thankful for. No craziness, no buying sprees….just gratitude. It’s become my favorite holiday over the last few years. And now, I want to live Thanksgiving everyday!

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9 Ways To Raise A Mindful Child

Children are naturals at mindfulness

Children are naturals at mindfulness

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” – Henry Miller

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”– William Blake

Here are some of my preschool students on a recent field trip to our local gardens. About 10 frogs presented themselves that day. We spent as long as we could just staring at this little frog. Nothing was as fascinating as that frog! It was pure mindfulness. Totally living in the moment. Since then I’ve gone back to study the frogs, bees and fall leaves. I’ve never felt such peace.

Children should be naturals at mindfulness. Yet these days so many children are combating anxiety, having trouble concentrating and controlling anger.

Aniexty is a big problem. I recently read that 1 in 8 children feel some kind of anxiety. Some are depressed, some are worried and having panic attacks. It’s hard to imagine! And with all the technology, sticking to a task for a long time is more and more difficult.

There are several tools to combat anxiety through mindfulness. Kids need more time to be mindful. It’s up to us teachers and parents to give that to them.

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13 Quotes To Help You Achieve Mindfulness

MindfulnessA few weeks ago, while on auto pilot and thinking too many thoughts, I got to my destination without even paying attention to the drive. Then there was one night last week I couldn’t sleep as I made all sorts of lists in my mind of things I needed to do. My distracted mind or Monkey Mind had taken control! I was falling into the trap of our culture and being too busy. (Do you remember what I think of busy? Read more here about the 4 Letter Word). I had too much going on in my head. I realized that I needed to take the time out to be more mindful!

What is Mindfulness?
It’s paying attention “on purpose”. It’s being aware without judgement.

Left on its own our mind wanders back into the past and forward into the future. These thoughts can include worry, anger, disappointment, fear, grief and self pity. You suffer with these thoughts because the past is gone and the future a fantasy. Let go of these thoughts, paying attention to the now without judgment. This creates a stillness and peace in the mind. When using mindfulness in your life you tend to be here now. And now is usually filled with contentment.

When in the present moment nothing everything seems just right. It means being there with your children or the other important things. It means really listening. Or being in nature and just observing. Or seeing still in a meditation that revives you. It’s almost like you’ve taken a mini-vacation from life and are feel rested and renewed.

I love these mindfulness quotes. The quotes remind me how important mindfulness whether it’s a serious meditation or just a walk in your garden.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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Yummy Zucchini Noodle Salad – The Perfect Zen Meal!

A New Zucchini Growing in the Garden!

The zucchini is one of the most versitile squash around. It’s used in all sorts of meals. In gardens it grows like crazy! I often have more than I knew what to do! Which is a great problem to have if you know a few good recipes.

My latest go-to Zucchini meal is a Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Salad with Miso Vinaigrette. This salad fits in perfectly with my Zen Meal requirements: easy, healthy and delicious. I took a couple of my favorite recipes (from Skinnytaste and Pinch of Yum) and combined them into one.

Shrimp Salad with Zucchini Noodles

You feel healthier just looking at it, don’t you?!

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Live Life In Reverse

What if we could live life backwards

When I am an old woman by Mamjakty http://mamjakty.deviantart.com/art/When-I-am-an-Old-Woman-81727418

When I am an old woman by Mamjakty
http://mamjakty.deviantart.com/art/When-I-am-an-Old-Woman-81727418

I’m imagining that I’m at a party, a birthday for a very old woman. She is surrounded by all those she loves in her life. They are the gifts. The memories of a life well lived are a gift. The momentoes and books on her shelves tell the story of adventure, imagine and creativity. Photos capture loved ones and beautiful places.

I’d like to imagine that woman is me many, many years in the future.

If you imagine life as an old woman or man, you could understand so much. You could understand why the bad things happened to you. Or what you really wanted out of life. It’s kind of like asking yourself the questions, if you were at the end of your life what you would like people to say about you? If you are 50 now and you’re going to live to 80, you only have more 30 years? What will you do with that time?

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Want To Be Happy? Try Gratitude – 7 Ways to Practice Gratitude and Be Happier

Zen Tips Gratitude Beattie

Looking for Happiness?
Of course you are! We all are.
What is the key to finding it?
Could it be gratitude?

Yet how do you define gratitude?

Many of us are thankful for the things in our life. Yet, gratitude is much more than being thankful. Thankfulness is an expression of happiness. Being thankful is telling someone you appreciate what they have done. Being thankful is being glad it didn’t rain on picnic day. Being thankful is happiness from a gift.

Gratitude is thankfulness taken to the next level. It is a heart-felt and intellectual acknowledgement of all that is good in your life. It’s embracing uncertainty. To feel gratitude towards the bad things that have happened to us knowing that will lead you a new opportunity.”

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Give Inspiration To Your Graduate!

Congratulations Graduates!

Congratulations Graduates!

My college senior graduated this weekend and will soon be heading out into the work place. The event was joyful! I didn’t expect to cry but I did. There’s something about the song “Pomp and Circumstance” that brings out emotions in me!

This generation is full of hope. Today’s grads want to do some good in the world. They want to explore the world. They want to do what they love. Money isn’t necessarily the end-all, the way it was when my generation was graduating in the ’80’s. Yet, if you watch the news, you know how bad the world is portrayed. It can be disheartening to be entering the workforce. This bad news puts fear in the lives of these young grads.

Don’t want to concentrate on the negative with a new grads. Give them some inspiration! Write some wonderful quotes for them in their graduation card and inspire them. Maybe you’ll inspire yourself, too!

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