Cultivating Mindfulness

Are You Craving A Simpler Way To Live?

I love the rock sculpture in the forefront of this picture as a metaphor for life; some things are a focus point and others are in the background.  It reflects to me what you get when you decide to make changes that simplify your day to day choices about how to live. What you value comes to the forefront and becomes the basis for your choices, everything else is in the background.  It’s true, there are some things we don’t have a choice about, but there are also a lot of choices we make every day that we are not even aware of, and we do have choice about those. Tsh Oxenreider, author of The Art of Simple Blog, puts it nicely in these words.

Do the choices I make line up with how I really want to live? It is about living life instead of life living us – one small choice after another, day after day, month after month, year after glorious year. It is about living with intention.

My question to you is simple:

Are the choices you make each day lining up with what you want for your life?

What choice can you make for yourself today that will bring you closer to that?  

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What Is Your Perspective?

Self-awareness helps you switch your perspective to a world view that sees solutions and not just problems.

I first learned about perspective while taking an art class in college. When the perspective was off, the picture changed completely. The same is true for us, when our perspective is off, our view of life and our ability to change it is skewed.   At times like this, our natural inclination is to narrow our focus to see the issue as a problem to be solved.

The more self aware we can become, the more we notice the clues it gives us. When life feels hard, I feel stuck and everything is frustrating, that is when I know I need to change my perspective.

Stepping back, pausing and taking a breath can begin the process of opening to a larger view. Reflecting on these questions further expands your awareness that helps you to align your thoughts with your greater good.

How does this fit into the bigger picture of my life?

Am I hanging on to something when I really need to let go?

What is the blessing that I am not seeing?

Do you believe there is good in the world and are your thoughts aligned with that goodness?

Remember, everything we do to create harmony and well-being takes practice and that is part of the safari or journey of your spirit.




Monday Inspirations:

One of my favorite authors, Barbra Brown Taylor, writes this, “To the one who waits, all things reveal themselves, so long as you have the courage not to deny in the darkness what you have seen in the light.”  This is a powerful statement about who we are because all too often when we are feeling lost , discouraged or stuck we focus on the negative aspect of ourselves. We are not patient, we want to rush things and we want the answers quickly, without much work on our part.

But what if we took some time to reflect on this quote?

What answers are you waiting for?

Have you prayed that the answer will be what is best for you, even if you don’t agree with it?

When was the last time that you acknowledged your gifts? My guess it has been a while because we don’t easily focus on the God given gifts that we bring into the world each day.

Blessings on your day~

Sandy Thibault

Finding Light in the Wilderness

If you are Christian and following the liturgical calendar, we are about a third of the way through the Lenten journey that leads up to Easter Sunday. The forty day journey, not including Sundays, chronicles the days and nights Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. Lent is a time of year when we focus on repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection where people focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

Did you know that the word Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means spring? In nature we have just endured the cold, snowy and dark days of winter and are emerging into the spring. Hopefully soon, we will see the warmer temps and the first of the Jonquils, tulips and daffodils. I love this time of renewal because it parallels our own lives; after a dark time we emerge into a new light, unearthing the spring in ourselves.

So here is what I’m wondering…

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Monday Inspirations: Transformation

“Through spiritual maturity you will see new ways to avoid unnecessary suffering; wiser ways to endure unavoidable hardships with grace, and opportunities to turn your pain into lessons of service and healing for others. Your hard journey has had a great purpose! Your pain was always a part of a plan to open your heart to love. Have faith. A miracle is happening in your life; the miracle of pain is transforming you to your highest self.”
— Bryant McGill

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Unlocking What Is Within!

I feel that as long as you’re honest, you have the opportunity to grow. It’s when you shut down, go into denial, and try to start hiding things from yourself and others, that’s when you lock in certain behaviors and attitudes that keep you stuck. Tracy McMillan

Reflection: There are places for all of us that we have shut down and have decided, Why change? Like anything else, the more we do it the better we become at it, and soon being stuck becomes comfortable. If this is you, agree to look at the places where you are stuck. In other words get honest about it, write it down and decide if you want to do continue it or change it. At least this way, if you decide to continue, it is on purpose. If not, how can you start? Do you have all the tools you need to start? Do you need to engage help to move you into a new space? Acknowledging that you are stuck in itself is already a big step. Now you have choice in the circumstances and you are in control of what comes next. Each day is yours…you are writing your life and I’m so excited about all the new opportunities waiting for you! ~Sandy Thibault 

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A Kind Response to Our world

As I sat down to write this article I couldn’t help but to think about how fast summer has gone by. I savored the memories about the wonderful family times and all the outdoor adventures we enjoyed but it also brought back into focus the violence, politics, terrorism and racism that has been in the news over the last three months.  In the midst of the fond memories, this was never far from my mind as I pondered by own response to it.

It is hard to understand the things that are happening in our world in the context of what we believe and what we know. The very nature of all that has happened has rattled our foundations. People are left to wonder what they could do or what role they might play in creating a greater or common good.

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What No Eye Has Seen, nor Ear Heard

I think most of us would agree that we are very happy to finally see warmer weather. It is the long awaited time of the year when our world comes back to life; a time of transition from winter into spring and the world seems filled with new life. This time of the year also reminds me of the new lives that are unfolding for our youth with rites of passage such as graduations and Confirmations; all of which signal the beginning of a new path or direction.

This past Sunday, 25 youth affirmed their faith in the rite of Confirmation at my church. It is a tradition that the students pick out a Bible verse to be read during the laying on of hands. Of those verses selected, there was one verse from 1 Corinthians 2:9 that really caught my attention. It is: “But as it is written, what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.

These students have their whole lives in front of them filled with promise and new adventures, but so do we.

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Focusing On the Quiet Within

A few weeks ago when Lent began, I began to hear people talk about what they might give up. Things like chocolate, coffee and other really yummy food items were at the top of the list. In a world focused on pleasure, giving up these goodies are a real sacrifice. I understand the intent is to parallel the Lenten journey and the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

But, I am wondering what if we could for the forty days of this journey, or the days reaming, be intently focused on being still to hear God’s voice speaking to us? Might we be able to discern the bigger questions that we carry into life each day?

As a small girl I would often go with my cousin and her dad to collect milk from farmers. We lived in a rural area and early in the morning while it was still dark, we would jump in his truck and collect the milk in large milk cans. It was a great time, the farmers always made a fuss over us and their wives gave us treats. The most wonderful part of this adventure is that I could take home a small amount of milk to my grandmother. She would wait for the heavy cream to rise to the top and I knew we would be having a dessert with lots of whipped cream that night!

This is an old process that came from a simpler time when there was more time to focus on what was important. The process of discernment is a lot like this process; it takes patience and paying attention. At the heart of our relationship with God, I believe we all have questions about purpose and God’s will for us.

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Living Authentically…The Blessings Jar

I think we would all agree with the idea that we are richer and more affluent than many in our world. However, sometimes in the struggles of daily living or when we have more dark days than light, we have trouble seeing that there is hope and light in the world. At times like this it is hard to connect to the blessings that we already have.

Brene Brown says it so well when she said, ” It seems that gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works – it’s not alive.

Acknowledging what we are grateful for, or calling to mind the blessings in our life changes the lens that we use to view our life thru. It can help us move from struggle to ease and from dark into light.

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