I’m happy NOW

Happiness is a feeling, an experience in the Now.

It isn’t something that we’ll get one day when we reach a certain condition in our life (job, relationship), or when we finally get our dream objects (car, house).

Happiness isn’t dependent upon outside circumstances even though our mind is trying to tell us that it is.

Happiness is just an emotion.

It is always there, in the moment, in the Now for us to tap into.

When our mind is quiet, when all thinking stops, when desires drop, when we don’t need to do anything or get anywhere,

Right Now, right Here Happiness is waiting.

K. Wilson

http://www.awakenmeditationretreats.com

Navigating the Holiday Season as a Newly Divorced Parent with Depression: How to Take Care of Your Mental Health and Keep Your Holiday Spirit

Article by Alexis Hall

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Around 4 million divorced parents live in the United States, and around 20 percent (814,000) of them became divorced in the last year. That means that this holiday season will be their first time facing the challenges of negotiating holiday schedules, conflicts over gifts, and other woes of being newly divorced during the holidays. While navigating the holiday season as a newly divorced parent won’t be a cakewalk, you can keep your holiday spirit while also keeping your mental health in check by following some tips.

Try to remember that your kids should never be placed in the middle of the issues you and your ex-spouse have. How you handle the holidays with your ex will greatly affect how much enjoyment your child has during the holidays, and how you handle your ex can be an example to your child on how to handle conflict, stress, and anger. Never ask your child to choose which parent she would rather spend time with. Start communicating with your ex well before the festivities begin to find a fair way to split time. This will cut down on the stress and give you time to prepare for the new adjustment.

If you don’t get to spend the actual day of the holiday with your child, don’t worry. You can have just as much fun on the days near the holiday. Thanksgiving can be celebrated on Tuesday or Saturday, and Christmas can be enjoyed on December 21 or December 30. What matters is that you’re celebrating with your child and spending time together, so focus on that.

Just because you’re apart from your child on the day of the actual holiday doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with her. To lift your spirits, send a nice text message and arrange for a phone call or Skype call. Be careful not to spend too much time on the call; you don’t want to infringe too much on your ex’s time with your child. When talking to your child, keep it upbeat and don’t say anything negative about your ex.

Use your ex’s day with your child to your advantage. Do something that makes you happy and/or relaxed during your child-free time. Call up a friend for coffee, enjoy a day at the spa, or soak in a soothing bath in your own home. Consider a mental health day. Do something that’s not part of your normal routine. For example, if you’re known for binging shows on Netflix, do something different so that you actually recharge. Get outside, see a show, or try something new. To keep stress low throughout the holiday season, be sure to follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Taking a day (or more) for yourself to recharge is especially important during the holidays when you’re more likely to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs at the exact same time every year, usually in the winter months. Symptoms of SAD include the normal symptoms of depression (loss of hope and self-worth, fatigue, sleep issues, etc.), but can lead to more serious issues like addiction. Additionally, you may experience cravings for sugary or starchy foods, extreme sleepiness during the day, difficulty waking up, overeating, and avoidance of family and friends.

Children love routines and rituals, so try to keep some family traditions going. You’ll likely enjoy keeping them too. Ask your child what is really important to her. Maybe baking cookies with mom or choosing a tree with dad are rituals that can continue. If some traditions can’t continue or you can’t be apart of some of them (like if she chooses the tree with one of you), create a new tradition for just the two of you. Take her ice skating, go look at Christmas lights, or volunteer at a soup kitchen.

Remember that attitude is everything. If you anticipate that the holidays will be disappointing, they probably will be. Try to stay positive and remember the true meaning of the holidays. Put your child first and focus on making the holidays enjoyable for her, but don’t forget to make time for yourself too. Although the divorce means this holiday season may be very different ones in the past, it doesn’t have to be an end to your holiday spirit or ability to enjoy the holidays.

Our life is our teacher

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Who are we to decide what is right or wrong?
How do we know if a person wrongdoing maybe another one life’s lesson?
My worst experiences have been my best experiences. Why? Because my difficulties and hardships have given me more strength, wisdom and empowerment than my happiest times.
I’m forever grateful for the pain, hurts and difficult times that I have encountered in my life. Not that I want more. But I acknowledge and understand the perfect place they had in my growth and journey as a small human being.
K. Wilson

This is the Best Way for Single Parents to Get and Stay in Shape

Article by guest blogger Alexis Hall

Single parents are among the busiest people on the planet. Between working, taking care of children, cooking meals, packing lunches, helping with homework, transporting kids, and taking care of the house, laundry, and dishes, single parents don’t seem to have any time left for themselves. It’s no wonder that many single parents think that they don’t have the time, energy, or money it takes to get and stay in shape. The truth is, single parents can get fit, and our guide will help.

1. Create a Home Gym

IMG_3386Gym memberships are expensive in and of themselves, and single parents often have to hire a babysitter if they want to work out at a gym or fitness center. The costs of working out in a gym add up too quickly for most single parents. That’s why one of the best ways you can get and stay in shape is to build your own gym at home.

Single parents who have a home gym don’t have to worry about taking extra time to drive to and from a gym to work out or paying fees to the facility or a babysitter. They also can work out early inthe morning or late at night.

The key to building your home gym is to include the right pieces of equipment. You don’t need to buy the most expensive equipment, but you should purchase pieces that will help you maximize the short time you have to work on yourself.

For example, dumbbells and kettlebells are among the most versatile pieces of equipment you can include in your home gym. You can store them virtually anywhere and start small and gradually increase the weight. You also can use dumbbells to work several parts of your body, including your shoulders, arms, abs, and legs.

2. Involve Your Kids in Getting Fit

Spending time with your kids is precious to you, and you can instill healthy habits in them if you get fit together. In fact, studies find that obese children and teens are at a higher risk for heart disease and other health conditions earlier today than ever before because they have as much plaque in their arteries as middle-aged adults.

To get your kids excited about getting fit together, make it more of a game than a chore. You could ask them to create fun ways to stretch and warm up, create a family-friendly contest for the number of push-ups or sit-ups completed in a week, or have them take turns timing the number of squats everyone can do in a minute.

3. Get Outside

Sometimes, getting fit can be as easy as getting out of the house. Families get stuck in ruts when they sit around and watch television every night or play video games on weekends. As a single parent, you can help your kids become more active by getting them outside with you more often.

There are several fun ways you and your kids can be active as a family, including playing basketball in the driveway, football in the yard, or baseball at the park. You also can plan a family bike ride on the weekend or a day of swimming when the weather gets warm. Other fun, physical games to play as a family include kickball and dodgeball.

Going on family hikes is an ideal way to get fit without spending a ton of money. Many cities throughout the U.S. have nature trails that are free to the public, and state parks often offer free hiking trails that are family-friendly. To make your family hike even more fun, make sure you are prepared ahead of time.

Pack plenty of water and healthy snacks that will help everyone refuel, including granola bars, trail mix, nuts, and dried fruits. It’s also a good idea to ensure everyone has good walking shoes or sturdy sneakers and cushioned socks while you hike. And, pack bandages in case someone gets a blister or skins a knee while hiking.

Even single parents can have enough time, energy, and money to get and stay fit if you build you create a home gym, involve your kids in getting fit, and spend more time being active outdoors.

Who are we choosing to be?

IMG_4890We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves.
We need to start giving more to receive more.
Find peace within before expecting it outside.
Learning to love ourselves so we can love others.
Be ready to question our system of beliefs to create a new society system.
We can be all, create all, become anything.
What are we doing?
What are we choosing?
Who are we choosing to be?
K. Wilson

Stressed Out? Try Some ‘Mindfulness’ Practice

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Contribution from freelance writer Sally Writes

Stressed Out? Try Some ‘Mindfulness’ Practice

The word mindfulness has become a prominent fixture in western vernacular in the past couple of decades. It is a direct translation of the pali word ‘Sati’ which literally means to ‘keep something in mind’. So then, what exactly does this practice entail? In brief, we should understand that mindfulness is essentially a ‘centering’ practice that aims to make users more aware of how their bodies and minds function.

For example, a common method for being more mindful is through the observation of one’s breath. While this may sound like an easy task, it is much more difficult than you might think. For starters, you can begin with five minutes a day of watching the ‘in and out breath’. This steady awareness helps us tackle difficult emotions more efficiently and allows us to have a better perspective on things, as and when we are faced with them.

Some handy mindfulness techniques..

  • Walking awareness: this technique was widely propagated during the time of the Buddha as it is highly portable and can be done on the go. The method entails the user being aware of his/her footsteps so that the attention is focused on the pressure sensations on our feet.
  • Mindful Eating: this is another potent method that is highly useful to make ourselves more aware. While this might be difficult to practice during work hours, it can definitely be a handy tool when eating at home or when on a mindfulness meditation retreat.
  • Visualisation: this is another method that has been propagated for centuries by various Hindu and Buddhist meditation practitioners. It involves us focusing on a visual image (candle, photo) and centering our awareness on the object for a certain period of time. This technique helps gather our awareness and allows us to feel refreshed in a small period of time.

How does mindfulness help me in real life?

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between mindfulness and lowered levels of stress. For example, people with a 15 minute daily practice were on average seen to be 46% less likely to face issues related to stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. These numbers are quite startling as they reveal that a practice this simple can greatly influence the way our mind works.

Where to get started?

There are many useful books on this subject that can help us get started into a regular practice. Other than that, it is also beneficial to check out local teachers who have had prior experience of meditation and mindfulness. Lastly, users can also go online and find a teacher that connects with them.

 

www.awakenmeditationretreats.com