Today is a day which only comes around every 4 years! Today, “Leap Day”, exists to correct the scientific calculations of our current western calendar. But, I'm not writing about the scientific reasons for this day. Instead, I imagine great possibilities that this extra day provides us.

I tend to look at this day as a gift given us to be used wisely. I figure that a day which only comes around every 4 years deserves to be treated in a unique and special way. This day is not like any other day, although I fear most people don't recognize the uniqueness of this day. Why is it that a day which happens only once every 4 years becomes overlooked by most of the population? Personally, I don't have an answer to that question. But the answer is not as important if we now come to the realization that we have been given a unique gift in this day.

So, we need to celebrate this day in a special way! This is extra time given to us in our very busy lives. What shall we do with this gift?

  1. My first suggestion is to acknowledge the specialness of this day,…

Read more: Rest Stop (Leap Day) ... 5 tips to make it unique

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As many of us spend much of our time rushing around, we don't seem to have the time for meditation. I often write and speak about the importance of daily meditation, understanding that there are more of us who want to meditate than actually do meditate. Good intentions; I know, I've been there.

One of the rationales I hear from busy people is "I would take time to meditate if I knew it would help me, but it's just a fad, right?" If your definition of a "fad" allows for the practice of meditation lasting thousands of years, than yeah, it's a fad. I believe that our culture sees meditation as a "fad" because it is "new" to our culture, and the practice of meditating has been relegated to the "new age" genre. As such, some don't feel the desire to try something that will "eventually go out of style".

But what if mindfulness meditation were scientifically, and medically, shown to be healing and transformative? A few months ago I shared with you a study from Harvard which demonstrated that meditation generated new grey matter in the brain. Well, we now have the results of a study done at Carnegie Mellon University which "for the first time shows that, unlike a placebo, it [mindfulness meditation] can change the brains of ordinary people and potentially improve their health." This is what the authors of the study wrote:

"These findings provide the first evidence that mindfulness meditation training functionally couples the DMN with a region known to be important in top-down executive control at rest (left dlPFC), which, in turn, is associated with improvements in a marker of inflammatory disease risk." -Biological Psychiatry Journal

Click here for the link to the New York Times article summarizing the study

Click here for the link to the actual research article

Please share with us your thoughts on this topic, and if you practice meditation, do you find positive health results?

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If you're ready to explore life coaching, we would be honored to help. You can read more here about our life coaching practice or call the office directly at 301-850-2177. 

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Read more: Rest Stop (Thursday) ... mindfulness meditation works

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Heart Cloud (credit: unknown)

Today, as many of us celebrate Valentine's Day, our thoughts turn to love and those whom we love. But do we really understand what that simple, yet very powerful word, LOVE, means? This four letter word holds power, and not just power over our emotions, but also power over the prospect of world peace.

So what does this word mean? Personally, this is a tough word for me to reflect on since my natural inclination is more toward the intellectual pursuits not understanding my emotions. Yes, as a counselor I deal with emotions, but note what I wrote: "my" emotions. I have no issue in helping others to come to an understanding of their own emotions and how they affect their lives. But my emotions, well, that's a whole different story.

So, what is love? This is what the Christian bible states about love:

1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I…

Read more: Rest Stop (Valentine's Day) ... love is an action

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Today, Christians around the world will receive ashes on their forehead as a reminder that we came from dust and will once again return to dust. Therefore, "Ash Wednesday" is a time to pause, reflect on our lives, and make plans to remove from our lives those aspects of ourselves which do not lead us closer to our God.

The practice of pruning our lives of those areas which are not healthy or which take us away from our inner-peace, produces a sense of humility as we realize that we are not perfect, but that we have the ability to learn from our imperfections. Letting go allows us to be true to ourselves, and open to the guidance of others.

There are people who exemplify humility, and for me, the ideal example comes from Saint Francis of Assisi. He was a wealthy son of a powerful merchant father, who, after gaining personal insight, gave up everything to live in poverty and to serve the poor in the spirit of Jesus. It wasn't simply the giving up of everything that made Francis humble; it was his attitude and way of living.  In the book "The Way of St. Francis: the Challenge of Franciscan…

Read more: Rest Stop (Ash Wednesday) ... letting go

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Winter Scene (Credit: unknown)

As I write this I, like millions of other people along the NE coast of the US, have hunkered down in the house due to the blizzard occurring. As of this moment it is still snowing and I already have two feet of snow on the ground.

Personally, I love snow. This event is a joy for me, and I am like a kid again. I see the beauty in the snow, it’s uniqueness, the sights, sounds, and smell in the air. All of this is perfect for me! Yet, I do realize that my love of this weather is not shared by everyone. There are many people who despise this weather, and, there are those who have been panicking for days before the start of this storm.

I am not in any way judging anyone, since each us views life from our own perspective, and that perspective is our reality. So, although I was not panicking over this storm, those that were truly felt fear. Panic is defined as: “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons.” (Panic at Dictionary.com. 2006. 24 Jan. 2016. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/panic) One of the reasons we panic is because we allow ourselves to “live” in the future where we have no control over the events. That realization of our lack of control brings on our panic.

Living in the moment is when we will feel at peace, but living in the moment is not always easy to do. In this short video I talk about ways we can change our perception to therefore change our reality to find peace.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfMN_UXaBiQ]

Share with us your ways of coping with events which otherwise would worry or panic you.

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If you're ready to explore life coaching, we would be honored to help. You can read more here about our life coaching practice or call the office directly at 301-850-2177. 

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Read more: Rest Stop (Saturday) ... coping with the Blizzard 2016

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