Archive for February, 2012

February 28, 2012

MBSR: Week 5 – Halfway!

by mandy lipka

Tonight was the halfway mark in our course. And as you can imagine, this gave us pause for reflection. So A opened the evening with an awareness of breath sitting meditation. This time, I noticed much less tension in my face, though I still had thoughts about my current relationship, some about seeing an old friend and teeny bit of work.

Reflecting on our progress

A followed this meditation with a guided reflection on our progress– are we worried about the time we’re putting into our practice? Are we judging our practice? Are our thoughts the same? Before leading us into our minds, A emphasized the idea that growth isn’t linear, something that really spoke to me. She asked if we are open to recommitting to our practice and to losing judgment, to losing expectations. All of this sounded good to me and as I reflected on my first half of practice, I lost the judgment and embraced positivity toward the second half.

I did think I would be more disciplined in my practice, as I told a classmate, so I promised myself that in the second half and beyond, I would recomit. It seemed to be a trend in the room, despite knowing time and life events aren’t an excuse. One classmate explained, it feels more effective when it’s a constant and another made it a goal to incorporate into job with a new start.

Despite my own judgments on the consistency of my practice, I’m learning it’s working. I’ve had several life events in the last few weeks that have tested my work. My reactions are incredible different. I’m pausing, breathing and reflecting instead of giving my knee-jerk thoughts or feelings. I feel much more in control of my emotions this way. And I know I want to make this more a part of my life journey than a hobby. I do have my preferences– yoga as no surprise is my favorite for the mind/body combo and my least favorite is the body scan. I also seem to meditate at odd times. Like while I’m reflecting on the train or walking in the city. Regardless, it’s all part of my progress.

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February 23, 2012

Mindful Sip: Listen to Your Life

by mandy lipka

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of  it, because in the last analysis all moments, and life itself is grace. / Frederick Buechner

February 20, 2012

MBSR: Week 4

by mandy lipka

We opened the class with a light standing stretch. It felt great after a vigorous yoga practice and a stressful day at work. Then we moved into a silent sitting meditation which lasted ~30 minutes. At first, I felt the immediate effects of drinking coffee shortly before class– it felt as though my heart would jump through my chest as my breathing intensified. During my meditation, I had this awful tickle in my throat and then had to sneeze. In preventing panic, I dreamt of grabbing my water bottle to relieve my throat but knew I’d disturb someone. In an effort not to “cheat,” I managed to breathe the tickle and sneeze away. Once I conquered that and felt like I was on top of the world, I realized that my thoughts started to jump and caused tension in my face. This was a first. I kept having to check-in and relax my face when A’s guidance triggered a thought (often about my current relationship). It felt very familiar to what my best friend and I call savasana brain after a wild yoga practice— that heavy, foggy mind.

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February 15, 2012

Mindful Sip: STOP

by mandy lipka


Take a breath



We all have the ability to make a choice.

February 13, 2012

MBSR: Week 3

by mandy lipka

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it ’til your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters

and purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

it is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere like a shadow or a friend.

– Naomi Shibab Nye

By now, folks are starting to feel more as they develop their practice. The above quote is a nod to keep going. We may not like what we see, but to see it is the important part.

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February 9, 2012

Mindful Sip: May I…

by mandy lipka

May I be safe,

May I be free from suffering,

May I be peaceful.

February 7, 2012

MBSR: Week 2

by mandy lipka

This week we completed a full body scan together. A recommended that as we continue our home practice, we experiment with different times, postures. Many students discussed sleepiness, a want for it to end and difficulty fitting the practice into their schedule, while others felt successful for having made the time. Another felt it was a lot like house cleaning.

Regardless of the reaction, A reminded us that a major part of mindfulness is the willingness to come back to the scan. All reactions are part of the process, whether they be feelings of agitation, racing thoughts or uncomfortable moments. John Kabat-Zinn often says, “You don’t have to like it, but you have to do it.”

This whole process A says is a way we come to understand our own wisdom. We need to trust ourselves to experiment whether the experience is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. Visiting practitioner E mentioned we’re trying to find the balance between laziness or sleepiness to too much tension.

The mind thinks like the eyes see and the ears hear.

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February 6, 2012

Mindful Sip: Kindness

by mandy lipka

When we are devoted to the development of kindness, we are no longer forcing ourselves into a mold we think we have to occupy; rather, it becomes a movement of the heart so deep and subtle that it is like a movement of the sea close to the ocean floor, all but hidden yet affecting absolutely everything that happens above. That’s the force of kindness. – Sharon Salzberg, The Force of Kindness

February 4, 2012

Mind-Body Alignment

by mandy lipka

Just completed my second visit to a polarity healer/massage therapist in north central MA. The atmosphere is exactly as you expect– old Victorian home at the end of a dead end in a tiny rural New England town, complete with screened in gazebo for spring and summer visits. I absolutely adore the 50-minute drive. And I’m in good company, as one client travels all the way from New Jersey for Judy’s magical powers.

Judy, Judy, Judy. You caught me in such a whirlwind. And you picked up on it immediately. I let Judy know it was an exceptional week and she talked me down and reassured me that the first visit is the dating dance. We need to build our trust in one another before the healing begins. I started to meditate and smell the cleary sage as we worked through our first exercise. I began to tell her the laundry list of bad habits that misalign my body and she held her hands beneath my sit bones to see how much damage I have done over the years. While she worked her magic on my post-yoga sore body she challenged my mind with some probing questions— When was the last time you saw your father? At what age did you lose your virginity?

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