Bringing Our Own Light into the World

sunlight on ocean
Even after all these years
the sun doesn’t say
“You owe me”.
Look what happens!
The whole world lights up.

(Hafiz)

NC Mountains

What can each of us do to light up the world?  At this time of year the days are getting longer and the sunshine enters our life more and more each day.  I don’t have the reach and power of the sun but I can effect my little corner.  As I contemplate bringing more of my own light into the world, I wonder about doing it in a graceful way that expects nothing in return.  I am making a commitment to myself and now publicly to smile more, to smile more to friends and loved ones, to look strangers in the eye and smile, strangers on the streets and trails, strangers in the store.  With those smiles, I want to say, “You matter”, You’re important”.  I want to say connections and relationships are important.  I want to say that kindness can come from unexpected places.  I want to believe that if my little corner is brighter that the light will spread like ripples in a pond, growing and spreading.  How much light is that when we each bring even more light into our little corner?  And then that light ripples out?

Please share your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martha Whitney, LMFT – Psychotherapist, Counselor & Life Coach in Chapel Hill, NC; near Durham, NC

Take Care of Yourself First

airplane in skyWe need self-care to have the physical and mental health to take care of others.  As parents, lovers, friends, relatives, our first impulse may be to take care of others first.  What happens if we ignore self-care?   The classic metaphor is from airline travel.  Supply yourself with oxygen first before helping others.

Take care of yourself first.  Here’s a graphic demonstration of Why you need to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.

Brain and Bicycle Bias

Perhaps you learned to ride a bicycle as a child and perhaps your brain thought you were done with that particular skill.  What if one small thing was changed and the handle bar and wheel connection was reversed?  Is your brain biased?  Can it change?  What does it take to change?  Knowledge that the bicycle was changed does not equal understanding of how to ride that changed bicycle.

A clever experiment in how the brain works: Learning to Ride a Bicycle or Backwards Bicycle

Notice that the brain can learn and the effort it takes.  We can learn new habits around how we live our lives, the good news.  When there is something we want to change, what is harder to accept, is that it takes effort and time.  Because of these habitual patterns, we have built in biases, ways in which we look at and live in the world.

Sometimes we want to change those patterns.   Our brain can build new circuits changing how we act, feel and think.

bicycle

Mindfulness Meditation Changes the Brain

We can change our brain.  After a weekend retreat in mindfulness meditation, participants brains changedleaf bud in structures that process stress and are related to focusing and calm.  This is good news.

For more info: Mindfulness Meditation Changes the Brain

 

Mindfulness to Improve Brain

We can change our nervous system.  More evidence emerges that mindfulness meditation can change our brain structure.  This is good news because we can improve memory, reduce stress, become more empathic and change our sense of self.

For more info: bromiliad flower redMindfulness to Improve Brain

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