Sending a Boomerang for Peace

Actively commemorating the Season of Non-Violence, between the dates of Ghandi’s and ML King’s deaths, January 30-April 4, gives me an opportunity to send out a boomerang for peace.

During the Season of Non-Violence, I invite you to pay particular attention to any negativity you send out before it comes back at you like a boomerang. I experienced this first hand one morning when we were rushing to get to an event on time. In a crabby mood, I fussed at the kids about their lack of preparation and the possibility of arriving late. The tension in the air escalated. I fumed in the kitchen, hurriedly throwing together ingredients for a dish to bring to the third event in a day with back-to-back activities. In a careless, not-at-all-mindful moment, I knocked over a can of olives, sending the liquid flying all over the floor and behind the stove.

I took a deep breath, recognizing that I had just magnetically attracted that experience into my morning. Like attracts like. My negativity had come back to me like a boomerang.

Pulling the stove out to the center of the room, I cleaned the floor and the wall behind the stove while imagining that I was cleaning the negativity from my aura. The day got brighter. On that specific day, I had to focus several times on mindfulness in the moment.

Some days require the extra mindful awareness to my responses. The fellow in the next car flips me off because he doesn’t like the way I am driving. Breathe. When I am mindful of being the change I want to see in the world, I send a boomerang for peace, “I hope the rest of your day goes better.” If I am not paying attention, or if I have already collected too much negativity in the day, I may boomerang negativity back at him – which will come back to me later.

I invite you to bring mindful awareness into your daily interactions. Are you sending a boomerang for peace or for violence?

While attending kids’ sporting events in the past few years, I have sometimes noticed adults yelling or speaking rudely to players or refs. My daughter and I commented on a poster at a kids’ basketball tournament, which read: “Remember, this is a game. The players are kids. The coaches are volunteers. The refs are human. This is not the NBA. Have Fun!” I invite you to be aware of the level of respect in your tone of voice at your kids’ sporting events. Are your comments contributing to hostility or to fun?

Today, I had the opportunity to talk with middle-schoolers about non-violence. Gossip presented as the hot topic. One student suggested that when she hears negative talk about a friend, she weighs what she knows about the person and chooses not to believe negativity. Another student says that she walks away from negative talk and will come back when her friends change the topic.

A couple years ago, while assisting with two situations requiring conflict resolution among adults, we found that the root of the conflict started with miscommunications via electronic media. When volleying email and text messages back and forth, I invite you to be mindful of your intention. Others cannot hear your voice and may misinterpret your words. Misunderstandings over electronic communication can mess up relationships. When I get an email or text message that feels prickly to me, I try to communicate verbally in person or via phone call to sort out the underlying message.

Being the change I want to see in the world, as Ghandi urged, requires that I put mindfulness into practice in my daily life. It takes one set of skills to be mindful of my thoughts while sitting peacefully in meditation. Being mindful during daily interactions requires another set of skills. In what ways are your thoughts, words and actions contributing to peace or to violence? What is on the boomerang you are sending out today?

Leah Skurdal teaches classes on meditation and wellbeing at the Wellness Circle in Lino Lakes, Minnesota. For more information, click here. Or visit her website, www.MasteryInTheArtofLiving.com

Recharging Your Batteries Efficiently

When did you learn efficiency of time?
Daughter #2 and I arrive home at the same time. I shovel snow, eat a snack, pack an overnight bag for an away basketball tournament, throw in a load of laundry, clean up the kitchen and am ready to go – in the time it takes for Daughter to finish packing the bag she started the night before.
When do we learn that level of efficiency? Apparently not at birth. Is it a personality characteristic or a mommy tool honed over years of supervising multiple activities? Perhaps both.
Sometimes that efficiency overlooks an important detail: ME Time. Sometimes I get so focused on getting things done that I neglect adding “Down time for myself” onto the TO Do list. Maybe you are like me and squeezing in an hour of yoga, 20 minutes of meditation and a cup of tea before bed is the best quality ME Time you get. Actually, that’s pretty good for one day, but paltry as the sum total for the week.
Some weeks feel like a roller coaster with hairpin turns. Maybe you land gracefully, ready to dance on Friday night. Maybe you catapault into a heap on the sofa with a bag of potato chips and a soda. By the end of the week your inner battery needs serious recharging.
When your batteries run low, here are three tips for efficiently recharging your body, mind and spirit before running off to your next activity.
Breathe. Find a quiet space for five minutes. Yes, you can. Go sit in the bathroom. Imagine that you are breathing through a nose in the center of your chest. Touch your thumb to each finger while saying, “I am at peace.” Repeat for ten heart breaths. Notice your energy move from your head to your heart. Listen to your inner voice.
Move. Find your own body rhythm and stretch. Reach overhead, up on your toes, stretch side to side, bend down low. Listen to your heartbeat. How does your body want to move? Notice, stretch and breathe into an area of tightness. Relax the back of your tongue. Wow! You didn’t know your tongue was tense until you relaxed it, did you?
Ask. What would feel good now? A luxurious, sweet smelling bath? Clean sheets on the bed? A foot massage? Extra care washing and moisturizing your face? Choose and schedule a self-pampering activity. Then, be sure to do it.
Efficiently recharging your batteries on a regular basis helps you stay out of depletion mode. You stay available for your loved ones, remain productively in the flow of the things you love to do, and you can monitor your own wellbeing. Periodically, though, a deeper recharging of your batteries benefits the entire clan as well as yourself. A weekend spa sounds great but not practical with our schedule. A half-day to myself feels doable and luxurious though. Dedicate some extended ME time just for yourself to nourish and renew yourself and to recharge your batteries. You will be glad you did.

Living on Purpose

When you are living your life on purpose, you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. You feel grounded and anchored in your core values. Your inner compass is set to Due North and when you get off track you can easily check your inner coordinates and get back on track. Mastery in the Art of Living helps you connect to your inner GPS and create the life you choose.