Today, for Christians around the world, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, the days leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Spiritually, Holy Week has always been a special time for me as this week is a high point of much emotion in the life of Jesus, His early followers, and for me.  In my personal spiritual journey I try to understand what it was like living in the time of Jesus. I read historical books as well as the Bible in my attempt to more deeply understand and feel the emotions of the people of the time. In my effort for a deeper and closer relationship with God, I immerse myself into the Bible stories, trying to feel what they felt; experience what they experienced. This week, Holy Week, is a recollection of not just an ancient story, but a retelling of real events which happened to real people who lived real emotions, real feelings, and real experiences.

Our challenge this week is to enter into the emotions of the apostles and the bystanders as they experienced the events leading up to the betrayal, arrest, death and later resurrection of Jesus. The emotions of this week begin today, with the…

Read more: Rest Stop (Palm Sunday) ... the start to an emotional week

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Last night, many of us in the United States turned the hands of time ahead one hour as we are entering the period identified as Daylight Savings Time.  Our ability to change time prompts a few questions for me, some mundane and some a bit more philosophical.  But, to stay grounded I will refrain, for this post, from discussing the abstract philosophical notions of time.  Rather, I would like to reflect on this day in two specific ways, namely, how do we take advantage of our "extra hour" of daylight, and, what does time mean in our own lives.

I am certain many of us have had life experiences for which we have wished we could either turn back time or move time forward to change particular life events.  There are times that we wish we could have back to cherish again, to say something different, do something different, or to have never had happen in the first place.  But, regardless of our ability to change clocks, we do not yet have the ability to go back in time.  Therefore we struggle with our personal feelings of resentment, disappointment, anger, sorrow, etc.

But, all is not lost.  Even though we cannot go back in…

Read more: Rest Stop (Sunday) ... coping with the time change

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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, I would be honored to help. You can read more here about my life coaching practice or call me 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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