4.2018

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Mindfulness

Morning Music: EverGlades Birds Greeting the Day

It’s my pleasure to share a brief glimpse of the glorious sounds of morning song in the EverGlades… Happy Friday!  EGlades birdsong

Birds, Birding, and Mindfulness

The Varied Thrush. Now I know. For the past couple of weeks however, I didn’t know, I couldn’t identify the bird responsible for making the “whistle” sound I was hearing while walking through the forest. I searched online for “birds that make whistling sounds” and “what bird sounds like a referee’s whistle”., to no avail. I stood still in the forest, waiting, listening, looking; I would hear the whistle and could not, no matter how much I peered into the foliage, find that bird.

Then we were walloped with winter storms. Two major snow dumps with lots of rain in between. Power outage. Trees down. Big trees down. Using saved bath water to flush. Heat from the wood stove. Roughing it — 21st century style.

My twice-daily dog walks took on a different tone; dressed in gortex armor (me, not her), out we’d go into the deluge of rain or the dumping of snow. The only sounds I heard for days was that of big winds in the treetops, giant clumps of snow hitting the ground, and my labored breath as I tromped through 12+ inches of heavy, wet snow.

Until today. We woke to a brightness in the sky — not sunshine, but the promise of it. No precipitation. As soon as I stepped outside, I heard the birds — all of them, singing their celebration of the non-precipitation-ary state — Chickadee, Robin, Stellar Jay, Towhee, Mourning Dove, White and Red Breasted Nuthatch, and from deep in the forest, the coveted song of the Piliated Woodpecker. Then: the whistle. And again. I took a few tentative steps on the path and there, perched on a broken oak branch, was a magnificent bird making a referee whistle sound. I saw it clearly, remembered the dominant characteristics, and looked it up as soon as I got back from the walk. When I clicked on the “listen to the call” button on the WhatBird.com website, I was so pleased to have matched the sound with the bird!

In my round-about way of telling a story, the point here is to share with you that birding is a truly mindful practice. Standing still, watching, observing small movements, following sounds, watching, waiting some more…it is an invitation to be in the moment. To be mindful.

What will you be listening to today?

Have a listen to the Varied Thrush: whatbird.com

Mindful Chocolate Exercise

Some fun with chocolate and mindfulness. A seriously fabulous combination.

Heart – Mind Connection: A Mindfulness Symposium

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Center is hosting a free community heart-health symposium, the theme of which is Mindfulness. I have the honor and pleasure of joining Dr. Marty Cottler as a speaker at this event to share the benefits and how-to’s of integrating mindfulness into daily practice.

Dr. Cottler will speak about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and I will discuss Mindful Meals — two relevant and healthful topics! Local health related businesses will have demo and display booths there as well.

Seating will be limited, please RSVP to 274-6124 to reserve your spot.

Mindful Eating on Your HeartMatters Journey

Slowing down to savor the flavor is a practice of mindfulness–a practice that leads to an enhanced connection with your level of satiation. When your brain is engaged in the pleasure of eating, you will create a connection between feeling satisfied and eating just the right amount of food. (read: you will eat less, with all the pleasure of eating more!)

Mindful Morning Musings…

With a busy day ahead, I went out early for my morning walk with Grace the dog, taking with me the intention of enjoying the morning sky. I started out in the dark, using a headlamp, marveling at the delicate scattering of stars, the brightest of which illuminated the thin clouds. The path I walk each morning opens up in one spot to a large Manzanita grove, affording me a big view of the expansive sky beyond the forest.

I gave myself permission to just be. I stood still–perhaps it was five or eight minutes–and savored the awakening of morning. I watched the clouds spread sensuously to cover the sky, shifting from feathery streaks to tissue paper wispiness. The stars began to fade, although that brightest light remained as the herald to the sunrise. Birds began to tweet and sing from the treetops in celebration of the new day. A gaggle of geese flew overhead. A most gorgeous blue crept into the sky, the color of which is unique to nature–surely that blue cannot be duplicated in a pencil or paint pot. The clouds turned from dawn-gray to soft white with just a hint of pink. The birds sang more robustly, serenading the sun…

In the several moments I spent in a state of mindful observation of the morning sky, my heart was open and receptive, slowly filling with joy and calm. My soon-to-be-busy day has begun with the gift of quieting through intentional attentiveness to the details.

As I share the journey to optimal health and well-being with you, I find that I have become so much more aware of the opportunities for mindfulness throughout the day. What about you–what mindful experiences are you savoring?

Pay Attention!

This familiar phrase that we heard as kids from our teachers and parents, in retrospect now seems that they were on to something…and as adults, we can apply this wisdom to becoming Mindful.

When we live in mindfulness, we pay attention. We notice the details. We give ourselves permission to slow down, so that we can create an awareness of what is occurring in this very moment. The details are rich and colorful and delicious and…so incredibly varied from one minute to the next, that our brains become soothed in the attentiveness.

Being mindful brings depth to so many aspects of our lives. We listen more fully. We speak with clarity. We eat slowly. We walk in nature with reverence. We savor the flavor. We love completely. We see without judgment. We share with compassion. We express gratitude. We move our bodies with appreciation. We sleep deeply. We come to know ourselves.

As we move forward in Your HeartMatters Journey, mindfulness remains a central component of integrating new and healthful behaviors. In the state of being soothed, the brain literally grows new decision-making pathways that allow for a pleasant and subtle shift to daily choices that support optimal health and well-being.

Take a moment to look around you. Pay attention. What do you find when you slow down to look and listen?

"The Holiday Survival Cooking and Eating Class exceeded my expectations. It was so enjoyable to learn new ideas for healthy snacks and meals, taste the delicious treats we created and leave with an inspired hope that this will be my healthiest holiday season yet! I am impressed with the knowledge and care that Robin (and Wendy from In the Kitchen) both possess and I look forward to taking more classes in the future. Thanks again!"  --Rose M.   “What a wonderful, yummy class! Not only did we participate in creating several easy-to-make, delicious, nourishing dishes for the holidays and every day, we also learned strategies for surviving and enjoying the upcoming holiday season. Both Robin & Wendy were delightful and imparted their cooking and eating knowledge with love, humor, and enthusiasm. I highly recommend their classes to anyone who is interested in developing a better way to look at food, using thoughtfulness with mindfulness to learn some very valuable strategies for eating any time of the year!” --CAM   “I found the class delightful with great ideas for the holidays. In the Kitchen is a warm and welcoming place and you and Wendy were great teaching collaborators. Good new recipes. I appreciate your healthy eating information. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to enjoy the holidays without stressing over food. Actually, the information isn’t just for the holidays. I want to stay healthy all year and eat well.” --Pat B.   "I’ve participated in several classes at In the Kitchen, enjoyed them all immensely, but it is always a special treat when Wendy teaches a class. The recipes offered in The Holiday Survival class were easy to make and so delicious. And what a plus to have Robin co-teach the The Holiday Survival class with Wendy. Thank you, Robin, for all your great information on healthy eating, which was delivered so professionally, dovetailing beautifully into Wendy’s presentation. Hope you two team up again for more classes of scrumptious, healthy recipes. What a fun evening!!" --Carol B. _______________ I love this positive feedback! How gratifying it is to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way…and to be able to do so around a topic that is so dear to me, is just the icing on the cake (right—pun intended!). Wendy Van Wagner and I will continue to offer seasonal cooking classes in addition to the occasional specialty class…stay tuned!
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