No Self Awareness = Pain and No Inner Peace

A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves a thousand moments of regret


When I slip back into my old habitual thinking habits, which is to react to thoughts instead of noticing them and instead calmly responding to them -without being all emotional -I lose my inner peace. Having no self awareness is for me a recipe for pain and suffering.

Last Sunday before my son went back to college my husband and I got into it verbally. I was online paying 2 bills and noticed how much money he is charging to PayPal to pick things up here and there for his newest hobby, which is fixing old bikes. Well it was NOT a little amount of money –  and instead of me sitting with it for a moment and collecting myself before I asked him about it, I blurted out a snarky  comment to him.

Well that set him off naturally, he said something back to me that was snarky, and next thing I know we were hurling insults back and forth at each other.

The amount of anger I felt was just off the charts. We both probably scared the shit out of ourselves, because we haven’t talked to each other since and its now Wednesday! 🙁 Continue reading “No Self Awareness = Pain and No Inner Peace”

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Walking my dog in the rain

I started a new work schedule this week after asking for it months and months ago. I went from working 5 eight-hour days a week to working  4 ten-hour days, with one weekday off each week. Well today is my first day off, hurray!

Enjoy the little things in life


I didn’t sleep well last night which is pretty par for the course lately for me. Once Bob left for work around 6am I slept hard for about an hour and woke up with my right leg completely numb. Ugh.

It’s rainy and cold out and I decided to forgo a morning Spin class because I feel pretty lazy and besides, my dog Buddy deserves some fresh air. So I bundled up and put on my rain hat and out the door we headed… Continue reading “Walking my dog in the rain”

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How to Find Joy in a Dirty Kitchen

whatever the present moment containsThis morning I walk into the kitchen ready to start my day, and the first thing I notice is the sink full of dishes. This is the aftermath of my son who likes to cook late at night.

I also notice the dish rack is overflowing with dry dishes that haven’t been put away from last night’s dinner. Grr..

Mechanically I take a plate from the sink and rinse it open the dishwasher, only to find that it is full of clean dishes and hasn’t been emptied.

Irritated, I gaze over at the kitchen table and see my son’s prescription from the dermatologist. He needs to take this medicine back to school with him. I reminded him yesterday to drop the prescription off at Wal-mart. And there it is still laying on the table.

The recyclable garbage is full and so is the regular garbage.

And this little scenario is enough for me to lose my shit all over the place. I’ts 6:30 am on my day off and I haven’t even put the coffee on yet. And this is how I’m starting my day, feeling put out and feeling like I have to clean up after my 19 year old.

And it occurs to me…

Well, if this is my reality, and let’s be clear, this IS my reality, do I have to argue with it? Why do I automatically become negative and let my peaceful self become dark and feel bad because of nonsense like this?

Why do I give my peace away so quickly? Isn’t this how I lived for most of my life?

Do I have to be negative?

No I don’t.

My son is sleeping upstairs. He is going back to school this in 3 days. Do I really want to be in a crappy mood on one of the last days we’ll have together before he’s gone? And over something as trivial as dishes and a prescription and garbage?

No I don’t at all.

Eckhart Tolle teaches to “Accept – then act.  Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  Always work with it, not against it. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” – The Power of Now.

Well I know for sure I am working against the present moment right now. I know that I am creating pain because I feel horrible inside.

So I do my best to Accept. And I get to work. My present moment is a messy kitchen first thing in the morning. My spiritual practice right now is to empty the dishwasher. I can do this feeling hostility and anger inside, or I can do it in peace.

I can choose to be peaceful by focusing only on the task at hand. I can take notice of how the clean plate feels and the sounds it makes as I put it away in the cupboard. And then the cups, and then the silverware. I can keep my attention focused on putting the clean dishes away.

It’s a bit of a challenge, because my mind keeps trying to go off into blaming and bashing my son and how lazy and irresponsible, etc. he is.

But again and again, I keep choosing to stay focused on and notice what I am doing. I choose not to indulge the thoughts.

And pretty soon I notice the heaviness lifts and somehow I feel better. 🙂

And I can stay in this peaceful place by continuing to stay focused on the present and simply empty the dish rack. And then do the dishes.peace comes from within dont seek it withoutAnd then I can choose to put the garbage in the garage and replace the containers with clean trash bags.

And no, this doesn’t make me a doormat to my son or to my own mind. Choosing to be peaceful and stay present while cleaning up the mess benefits me in so many ways:

A. The kitchen is clean and tidy again. Yay!

B. I turned my automatic bad mood around and saved my morning. Double yay!

C. Which is really good field practice for the next time I become automatically irritated over something. Which for me is A LOT… 😉

And the best thing:



D.  I didn’t lose my composure later that morning when I brought up the situation to my son. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson and clean up after himself next time, and maybe he won’t. Either way, I didn’t become that screaming lunatic mom, all over something that is really pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things.

Win 🙂

Today I found some real joy in the midst of my dirty kitchen. Grateful that I didn’t ruin my day or my son’s, for that matter.

Wishing you a clean kitchen 🙂

xox, Lisa Arcelia

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What is Mindfulness and the Parable of the Two Wolves





This is a 2 minute video that illustrates beautifully what mindfulness is as well as how mindfulness helps us using the Native American parable of the two wolves.

It shows how we all have both good and bad within us represented by two wolves that fight inside us.

One wolf  is fearful, vengeful, envious, deceitful, and everything bad.  The other wolf is compassionate, loving, generous, truthful, peaceful, and everything good. The child asks, “Which wolf will win the fight?”

To which the elder replies, “The one I feed.”

That doesn’t mean we try to deny, hurt or kill the angry wolf. If we did that, we’d make the wolf more powerful. This is what is meant by, “what  you resist persists.”

If we fight the wolf, it sucks the energy out of us and only makes the angry wolf stronger. Instead we calmly pay attention to the wolf and let go of any thoughts about it. When we do that, the angry wolf becomes docile and lies down next to us, no longer an enemy.

We strengthen the good wolf and let it become out steady companion by feeding it with our attention. We let it show us the way through all kinds of life experiences, good and bad.

This is what mindfulness can help you do. Mindfulness allows us to see our thoughts and feelings as they are beginning.

It’s very powerful to know what we’re feeling as we’re feeling it, and to know what we’re thinking as we’re thinking it.

With mindfulness, we can strengthen and choose what we will bring into action (the good wolf) , and we can choose what we will gently let go of (the bad wolf). We don’t have to be at the mercy of old habits or old ways of thinking, or old ways of being. We are empowered.

It just takes practice.

feed your good wolf



Wishing you peace,

Lisa Arcelia

PS. Here are some easy mindfulness tips you can use today to help feed your good wolf 🙂

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Need Stress Relief? Here are 10 Mindful Tips to Lighten Your Burden

feeling stressed mindfulness tips

I had so much fun on the earlier post I did about tips to relieve stress, I decided to do another one today.

Got stress? See if you can use one or more of these simple mindfulness tips today.  Don’t worry, none of these tips are difficult, and all are aimed to help you feel better fast 😉  When you fill your mind with positivity & goodness, your outlook tends to get brighter, and your day can really lighten up.

It can be especially helpful to use these suggestions when you feel agitated, over-stressed, or overwhelmed. So let’s get going! 😉 Ok then, without further ado, here are… Continue reading “Need Stress Relief? Here are 10 Mindful Tips to Lighten Your Burden”

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Benefits of Mindfulness and How I Went from Messed Up to Happy in Just 6 Months

the goal of meditation



Today I want to discuss the benefits of mindfulness and how by doing something as little as sitting in silence for even 5 minutes a day, you can start to reap the wonderful and life affirming benefits.

Last summer I went to a weekend retreat at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. During that weekend I went to a meditation class in a lovely little temple deep in the woods. There were about 20 people in the class and the instructor was a young female Buddhist monk.  She had a shaved head and wore a long robe.

The monk gave simple little pointers on sitting and showed us how to focus on our breath. Then she lit some incense and we began. We basically just sat on cushions for 20 minutes in total silence. I have never sat in any room with total strangers for that long in complete silence  It was weird and cool at the same time 🙂

At the end of the 20 minutes she sounded a little bell. Then she had us follow her. We stepped outside and did a slow and silent walking meditation around the gardens and ponds surrounding the temple. That class was a surreal experience and felt sublimely peaceful. When I left I felt like I was floating.

After I got home I  researched the benefits of mindfulness and couldn’t believe what I read. It is just so good for your body, mind and spirit. It kind of blew me away, almost sounding too good to be true. More on that below…

Since I loved how I felt in that class, I decided to start my own daily meditation practice. I sit on 2 pillows in silence for 5 – 10 minutes (sometimes longer, if my schedule allows). In the summer and fall I enjoyed sitting outside in my backyard. Once it got too cold, I moved into my living room in front of a window. That’s it. I do this 4-5 days a week.

This little practice has helped me tremendously and I love how nice I feel today.

Like I said, I looked through some research articles (listed below) and here are some of the proven benefits of mindfulness that you can gain through a simple meditation practice like mine. Since most of these things have come into my life since last summer, I hope you don’t mind that I added in my own comments here and there 🙂 :
only living in the present brings peace

1.  You have more time to get things done.

2.  The quality of your interactions with others improve- whether this is family or strangers.

3.  Anxiety lessens. And if it does come now, I find I deal with it better.

4.  You worry less.  I am sleeping better because of this.

5.  You become better at regulating your emotions. For example,  I am learning to recognize when I am feeling angry or overwhelmed, and not acting out that negativity by taking it out on my husband or my coworkers.

6. You ruminate less. Again, and my sleep has improved. I used to take sleep aids pretty regularly, no more thank God.

7. Your attention span improves.

8. Depression lessens.  No more depression medication, thank you very much 🙂

9. You don’t look for happiness outside yourself. What a relief!

10. You become less reactive.  Have learned that I can actually stop picking fights with my husband

11. You become kinder.  I have always wished to be a kinder person. Now I think I am, and it feels genuine.

12. Eating becomes enjoyable.  And, I am finding it becomes *a choice* to mindlessly stuff myself or overeat into dullness. I really don’t just do it automatically anymore. 

13. You become more appreciative of little things.  I can experience real joy just eating an apple or sitting quietly on the front porch with my dog 🙂

14. Strengthens your immune system. I recently had a fever and it only lasted a few hours, no lie.

15. Improves your sense of well-being.

16. You become less distracted.

17. Promotes empathy.

18. Increased self – compassion.

19. Have less emotional exhaustion.

20. More job satisfaction.

21. Lessens automatic negative responses.

22. You become more emotionally stable.  Thank you Lord 🙂

23. Promotes calmness. Have you ever seen a stressed out monk? 😀

24.  Perform better at work and at school.

25. Life gets easier. Amen. 🙂



I am so so grateful to have found mindfulness. “Found” is probably the wrong word I guess. It’s really just focused attention – something I never really did for most of my life, until I was shown how.

On a very basic level what it boils down to for me is that my thoughts no longer control my mind and life. I have always struggled with feelings of racing thoughts and this is the balm that has allowed me to heal.

Sitting in meditation for just 5 or 10 minutes a day has quite literally given me a peace and joy of being that I never knew was available to someone as “messed up” as me 🙂

Wising you much success in your mindfulness practice,

Lisa Arcelia

PS. Have you ever wanted to learn to meditate but thought it would be too complicated or too hard to understand and get into? Here is a nifty free meditation starter kit from SubSines that can get you started in just minutes.  Learn more here.

Resources:

www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Benefits_of_Mindfulness.pdf

psycnet.apa.org/journals/apl/98/2/310/

research.familylife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/the-potential-benefits-of-mindfulness-training-in-early-childhood.pdf

openaccess.city.ac.uk/1918/1/Tapper%20et%20al.,%202009.pdf

www.pmalinowski.de/downloads/Lattimore2011.pdf

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Present Moment Awareness Brings Inner Calm

present moment awareness brings inner calm



I have lost touch with the present moment and therefore have no inner calm. Here is a short worksheet doing The Work (mentioned in my last post) on one of my stressful thoughts…

I perceive the outside world as hostile and that makes me anxious.

Is it true?

Yes

Can you absolutely know that it’s true that the outside world is hostile?

No

How do you react when you believe the outside world is hostile?

Unprepared, like I have to cover up, small, exposed, vulnerable…

And who would you be without the thought?

Happy, calm.  At peace.

Turnarounds:

The outside world is kind.

People are kind, nature is kind,

My thinking is hostile.

Yes! My thinking about the outside world is hostile. It plays over and over how I am different or how someone or something is to be feared. It keeps me separate and isolated from really connecting with others and the world itself.

When my thinking is aligned with the present moment, without all those mind-made stories and thoughts attached to it, I achieve an inner calm. I am free from the burden of  my mind.

Reality is kind indeed 🙂

Thank you Lord.

Lisa Arcelia xox

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Doing the Work to Get Rid of Emotional Pain

who is more hurtful


Last summer I went to a retreat to see Byron Katie, one of my all time favorite spiritual teachers, to learn all about The Work, which is her simple method to investigate stressful thoughts and get out of emotional pain. I first heard about Byron Katie years ago on Oprah’s Soul Series TV show.

According to Katie, all stressful thoughts are untrue, and by doing The Work on your own stressful thoughts, you can free yourself from the egoic thinking that she says is the cause of all the suffering you and I experience. This is a gentle way out of emotional pain and suffering and into wellness and peace.

Katie is the author of Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life . This book takes you step by step into the process of The Work. It shows you to use the Work to set yourself free from emotional pain and suffering by questioning your own stressful thoughts. It requires that you write your thoughts down, as this is the only way to stop the Ego. (I have a journal by my bedside and I also do the Work on my computer.) Continue reading “Doing the Work to Get Rid of Emotional Pain”

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7 Super Easy Tips to Reduce Stress and Have a Great Day Today

how to beat stress


I work full time, run a home business on the side, and have a family that I need to feed and water occasionally, lol 🙂  Like you I have a full plate, and keeping myself balanced & my stress level in check is paramount to feeling good and staying healthy.

I have discovered some simple practices that really yield big results. These practices also build on themselves, and I have found one of the best ways to reduce stress during my busy work week is to follow these simple mindfulness practices. They put me in the best possible position to start any day, no matter how crazy the day may get🙂

So to help you stay balanced in your busy life, and without further ado, here are 7 super easy ways to mindfully reduce stress and have a great day: Continue reading “7 Super Easy Tips to Reduce Stress and Have a Great Day Today”

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Happy new year :-)

grateful for this day



Today is New Year’s Day and I had planned on starting the new year with a good workout at the gym. But that’s not what happened.

When the phone rang at 7am I had just showered and was just about to fall back asleep. I am on call for my job in the recovery room this weekend. I had to get to the hospital stat as a patient was bleeding internally.

The operation was very involved and took several hours, but it was a success. At one point we didn’t think the man was going to live. Although the surgeon had found and sutured the ruptured vessel, the patient had lost too much and his body started shutting down.

His oxygen saturation was very low, and I watched his skin turn deathly purple blue. I quickly got the crash cart and got ready to start the code. As I drew up the epinephrine, miraculously he started to turn around. Somehow his body just started to right itself. Once he he stated to pink up, everyone in the room breathed a collective sigh of relief. It was still touch and go for about an hour, but we knew he had turned around.

Eventually we brought the patient up to the ICU where he would rest and recover for the next few days. After getting him stabilized in his room and giving report to his nurses, I was free to go. As I was leaving the ICU I saw the man’s wife talking to the anesthesiologist. I remembered giving her a quick hug earlier that morning as I ran into the OR.  I remember she told me how she and her husband just retired and still have so many plans..

I drove home exhausted and in silence sipping my morning cup of coffee, even though it was now after noon.

I felt a deep sense of peace and gratitude for being alive and for being of service. And for the gift of this day. When I got home I crawled back into my unmade bed and slept.

Wishing you a day of peace,
Lisa

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