Steep in the tea of gratitude for Thanksgiving – A 5 minute meditation

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“Hakarat Hatov” means  “recognizing the good” in Hebrew.

In Sanskrit, the practice of “Santosha” or “contentment” has similar meaning.

We often call it gratitude, or thanksgiving.  It is fairly easy to list a few things or people for whom you are grateful, but I invite you to take 3-4 minutes to actually fully embody gratitude…To notice the profound effect it has on your body, your heart, your breath, your spirit.

Find a comfortable place to sit and gently close your eyes.
Imagine you are a hot, steamy cup of water, preparing to make of yourself a tea of gratitude.
Take a few breaths for each of the ingredients you add to your tea.

Your infusion includes “hakarat hatov” of the following:

1) ONE  part of your body that is working well
2) ONE person in your life
3) ONE basic need that is met for you (example, clean water, heat, etc)
4) ONE  luxury you enjoy (for this, bring to mind all the people and activities that have come together to make this luxury available to you.  Feel your interconnectedness with them, and the ways you support each other)
5) Steep in this tea. Notice the changes in your body and mind, as you take in the good of your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Namaste and L’Shalom,
Kendra

There is more to life..

then increasing its speed.   ~Gandhi

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There is more to life than increasing its speed.  In our efforts to become more efficiently connected, we have lost touch with the most vital connection of all – to our innermost selves.  And when that is lost, so is  our connection to the Divine Source that is our power and supply.  And you think you’re up a creek when you forgot to charge  your smart phone!

We charge our  smart phones so we can have meaningful, important conversations… so we can Google some answers to our questions…  so we can navigate where we are going.  Hmmmmmm. Sounds more than a little familiar.

Our technology is valuable and certainly has its place.  But just for one hour per day, heck, 30 minutes, (I’ll even take 5 if that’s where you’re at)  let’s go OLD SCHOOL.  Put your phone on “airplane mode,” or turn it off, and plug into your BREATH.  That’s where you recharge.    Have a meaningful conversation with yourself.  Ask some burning questions.  Listen for a response.  Get some input on where you are going and how to get there.  But before you can know where you are going, it helps to know where you ARE, right?

You are right here.  Breathe.  Be with yourself. Connect.  And from that profound experience, you will find a deeper, more authentic connection to your daily activities and relationships.

Are you willing to try?  Make a commitment to yourself  – something reasonable and sustainable, and let me know how it goes.

Namaste,

Kendra

A quote to live by!

“Your life is an occasion…rise to it.”

– Suzanne Weyn, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. (GREAT movie)

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I heard a radio commercial the other day, and the folks were saying how they loved the station because it “made their day go by faster.” Or it helped them to “not be bored at work.” Wow. These statements touched me deeply, as I remember a time in my life when I wanted the day to hurry by. Now these comments really stand out for me and cause me to feel some sadness and compassion for those of us that want to hurry to “something or somewhere” better than the moment.

My 5 year old son gets asthma from time to time. In fact, he had pneumonia for 8 days over the holiday break from school. EVERY BREATH was a gift to him. And EVERY MOMENT that he, or any of us have breath and a heartbeat is a gift. Not to be rushed, to be cherished. Soak up each moment of your life. You don’t get to have today back when it’s over. Life truly is an occasion, a privilege. Let’s all to rise to it.

Namaste,
Kendra

Soul Compass

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 “Two roads diverged in a wood and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.” – Frost

Are you at a crossroads in your life right now?  Perhaps a big one – a job change, a health choice, a relationship issue?  Or maybe a small crossroads, like say, what to have for your next meal?

I had an epiphany today while practicing yoga. Every moment is a crossroads, and even the ones that feel small, aren’t.   Every moment in which we are mindful gives us a powerful opportunity to choose the highest choice for ourselves and the world. Rather than wandering along aimlessly in life, we can align ourselves with our soul’s compass.

My soul compass, originally a gift from God or the Universe, has been affected by years of collective karma and conditioning (mine and my ancestors). I envision it sometimes as being tarnished and slightly sticky, so that occasionally it has trouble pointing to true north.  However, the more I practice being present, the more easily I make life nourishing choices. These positive choices lubricate the soul compass, so that it naturally points me toward my sacred path for the next crossroads to come.

My true north is one of being a spiritual healer, minister, teacher, and guide. In order to stay on course, I often have to choose the road less traveled.  It definitely requires me to make choices that do not allow me to numb out.  How can I ever be present and truly effective for others, both professionally and as a family member, if I am not in touch with myself?

How do you numb out?  Is it television or video games? Gossip?  Alcohol or recreational drugs?  Over scheduling?  We all have something. But each and every moment that we meet courageously and consciously can be used to create new karma, new results.  Each moment is a chance to polish and tune up your soul compass. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing “so and so.”  Right now is your crossroads, and your soul compass can lead you on the divine path toward wholeness.

I invite you to explore taking the road less traveled.  Once you traverse over the weeds and through the density of old conditioning, you will come to a clearing – and the journey will be well worth your effort.  Namaste!

Where’s your Sabbath?

tealite candles

What I want is to leap out of this personality

And then sit apart from that leaping—–

I’ve lived too long where I can be reached.

–Rumi

Might you consider choosing a select amount of time this weekend, perhaps during the Sabbath (Shabbat) between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday, to disconnect from your technologies, and re-connect to your loved ones and your self?  Namaste.

What Are You Doing Right Now?

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The other day I found myself frantically cleaning the kitchen.  Dishes were piled everywhere, healthy smoothie remnants were stuck to the counters, and general evidence of a very hasty departure from our home in an effort to get Evan off to preschool.   So there I was, faced with a job that is not on my favorites list.  I wanted to wave my magic wand and make it instantaneously clean and perfect.  THEN, this interruption would be over and I could get back to living my real life (aka, the shiny, pretty stuff that appeals to my ego).

Thankfully, the wisdom of my spiritual teachers arose in my mind….There are no interruptions.  I’m not missing out on a “parallel reality.”  Nowhere else I’m supposed to be.  Life is right here, right now.  I could choose to embrace it, or resist it.  And then the the inquiry arose…how can I be nourished by this moment rather than depleted by it?  I began to put into practice the moment to moment question, “What am I doing right now?”  At first the answers were generalized, like “I’m unloading the dishwasher.” But I soon recognized that I needed to fine tune my awareness.  And as I remained fully present in the moment  the quality of my answers changed.  They became, “I am putting the cups away.”  Then, “I am putting THIS cup away.”  Then,  “I am reaching for the cup.”  Gradually, this whole kitchen cleaning process was becoming a moving mindfulness meditation.   I was slowing down.  And I  discovered that I was being deeply nourished.   I wasn’t thinking about what to reach for next.  I was utterly and completely in relationship to my environment, the objects around me, and to myself.

In the beginning this exercise felt strange and even frustrating.  It didn’t take long for me to notice how often I am mentally on to the next activity…which feels energetically depleting and thoroughly unsatisfying.  But when I gave myself to the moment, it actually fed me.  It was a glorious experience in the chaos of my kitchen.  It was a glorious peek at how I can tend to “do” life.  The magic wand was mindfulness.  It didn’t make the kitchen clean, but it did make it perfect.

What are YOU doing right now?