I just started reading a small book by Pema Chödrön called “Practicing Peace In Times of War” and it’s really struck a chord. Many of us struggle with the battles within ourselves as a result of past negative relationships, problematic families, PTSD, physical and mental illness and other mêlées. We’ve created unending battles within our brains and bodies. Look at all of those power-hungry people, the 1% and the politicians and dictators out there. I guarantee you that these sorts of people have major internal battles that lead to personal, political, social and global warfare.
My own war has been with my bipolar disorder, a number of chronic pain issues and some very difficult past family relationships and recently in my former marriage. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that one of the most beneficial paths to my inner peace amongst the skirmishes in my brain and heart has been through meditation. My practice has helped me find plenty of stillness within me and my inner sage has been like the Geneva Convention of my soul.
My story about my struggles is going to be part of a chapter in my forthcoming book so I won’t go into detail here about of the wars that I’ve fought. I’m sure many of you have had similar ones and can relate. One thing though, meditation has only been a part of my overall journey to my inner harmony. I take meds for my illness, exercise (love to swim and hike), do my creative pursuits, take plenty of doses of comedy and spend time with my friends and love ones.
For those of you who aren’t meditators or don’t do it consistently, takes regular practice and commitment. Meditating is about the long-term benefits and the short term ones are less apparent. Do it requires plenty of patience and commitment to yourself. I’ve been meditating for over twelve years and I still feel like it’s a new pursuit.
If you need some guided help, check out my page at
Soundcloud for audio
or on YouTube for video at
I often travel to the Sarasota area, Longboat Key to be specific, to visit my amazing mother. I’ll tell more about her in another post because this one has to do with the unbelievable banyan trees. I love trees but they’re not the easiest to shoot. Banyans are easier than most and so complex, twisted and exotic. I had fun abstracting the interesting parts of the banyans here.
I’m still amazed by the the green that can show up in the desert. This was taken at South Mountain, Phoenix, AZ
In stress management work, practitioners tend to focus on our brains and minds and can overlook the heart until someone has a heart attack or heart disease. The rest of the time, people tend to forget what an amazing and crucial organ it is to our survival. It’s the single hardest working muscle in our bodies and never stops doing its job unless it gives out and we die.
Our hearts can feel pain and joy in more than just a philosophical way because it has neurons that are similar to the ones in the brain and the gut. Check out this link to learn more: http://www.heartmath.org.
As a wellness teacher, I strongly advise my clients the need to take care of their hearts by reducing their stress, meditating, while focusing on the heart, exercising and eating well. This should seem obvious but we all need reminders to stay on a healthy track including myself. I want people to protect themselves and live the longest, healthiest life that they can by taking care of their number one muscle. Of course the brain is crucial in our wellness, but always remember that a truly broken heart in the literal sense can be the end of the line.
A concept that I teach (and sometimes preach…) in my work is that happiness and contentment don’t have to be ecstatic, unadulterated excitement. Happiness can simply be about having everything go peacefully and smoothly in our lives. This is one of my ultimate goals in my existence and I hope that I can help everyone that I meet also obtain it. Remember, there are many roads to stillness so keep your eyes wide open and seek the ones that suit you best.