The Art of Surrender


It takes a great deal of strength and courage to allow life to be as it is,  and equal amounts of awareness to notice when we’re resisting the simple reality of our experience. Many of us resist as a matter of course. We’re trying to make things a certain way. We’re working, we’re efforting, we’re creating, or so we think. Sometimes, all of the effort and puzzling out gets in the way of life’s natural unfolding. We’re so busy trying to change or create, that we aren’t able to take in what’s right in front of us. We miss important information and enriching experiences. Mindfulness helps us slow down and be in the present moment so that we’re better able to take in and savor the goodness of life, and also to notice when opportunity is ripe. There’s less efforting and exertion when we surrender to the present and trust that all will be well.

Mindfulness and Emotions

Through mindfulness practice, we can learn to be with our emotions, to allow them space, and to also allow them to move through our awareness without becoming attached to them. In this video, I share how to mindfully work with repressed emotions and/or attachment to emotions. I also explain the concept of emotional back draft and how, once we learn to allow emotions to pass through our experience, we make more room for the good to grow.

Begin Again

In mindfulness meditation, we always have the option to begin again. Mindfulness isn’t a practice to master, it’s one to explore and it’s best explored with an open and pliable mind, much like the mind of a beginner. When we’re meditating and become distracted, we return to the breath and the body, and we do this with the humble awareness of a beginner. Every time we begin again, we create an opportunity to learn something new about the practice and ourselves. We set aside our attachments to figuring this mindfulness thing out, and we allow our curiosity to lead the way. How might practice be different this time? How long will I be able to hold my attention on my breath before it’s swept away with thoughts? Will a dormant memory or emotion surface? Will I start to get all numb and tingly and annoyed? If so, how will I respond this time? To be a beginner means to accept that we are learning, which is the optimal state of mind when approaching mindfulness mediation, for it has something new to teach us every time we sit.

How to Practice Self-Compassion


Self-compassion, like mindfulness, is a practice. For many of us it may not come easy and may even seem totally foreign. There’s strong evidence in the research to support self-compassion as a reliable way to build inner resources and strengthen our sense of self and belonging.

In this video, I discuss self-compassion and teach a simple 3-step practice for directing loving kindness towards oneself.

A Mindful Approach to Food and Eating

When we think about mindful eating, we may first think of a practice where we eat something with focused attention, noticing each part of the process, smelling, feeling, tasting, and observing with care and kindness.  An excercise like this is one important way to practice.

During the reflection after mindful eating exercise in my classes, students always report on the high contrast between the mindful eating exercise and how they normally eat. It’s not realistic for most of us to eat every meal with slow, focused attention but if we can slow down just 5 or 10 percent, that’s still progress. The mindful eating exercise shows us another way to eat that we can turn to or draw upon as needed.

Mindful eating also means being mindful of our relationship to food, and this is perhaps even more important than the exercise. Mindfulness asks us to withhold judgement and regard ourselves with kindness and curiosity. What if we were able to do those things when it came to food and eating? What if we could stop the self-criticism, guilt, shame, and love ourselves exactly as we are in this moment no matter what we ate?

That’s what I discuss in this video. The dieting culture is build on the judgement that something is wrong and needs to be changed. Mindfulness of food and eating begins with love, acceptance, and curiosity, not judgment. It’s a radically different, and I would say more effective, way to address your relationship with food.