Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Magic of Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices and meditation have recently become quite popular for stress relief and a variety of other health-related benefits. Mindfulness simply means the practice of paying attention to the experience of the present moment. Being mindful can simply entail stepping back mentally and noticing the specific elements of your present moment experience, paying attention to thoughts, feelings, sensations, and other aspects of present moment awareness.  (As opposed to getting lost in mind wandering and being caught up in a focus on past, future, worry, anxiety, judgement, guilt, and other negative mental and emotional states.)

The magic of mindfulness practice is that it allows us to fully appreciate whatever we are experiencing right this moment, and brings peace of mind and a much healthier state.  While this might seem a bit abstract, it also has some very practical applications as well.

Over the past several weeks, I've used a form of mindfulness meditation to significantly reduce and manage some rather severe flu symptoms.  Over the holidays we spent a lot of time with family members in intimate, enclosed spaces, many of whom were battling the flu bug that's been going around. My immune system apparently succumbed to the constant contact, and I came down with a really nasty case of the flu.
I began experiencing a hacking cough, fever, nausea and upset stomach, and a splitting headache.  In practicing mindfulness, in each case, I simply discipline myself to relax and pay attention to the particular discomfort, becoming aware of it as a sensation in my body, and also similarly become aware of my breathing and how it feels in my body as I take each inhalation and exhalation.
Even my seemingly relentless coughing has been calmed by this approach.  Almost without exception, as I become aware of the discomfort, I begin to realize that without being fully aware of it, I've been "resisting" the pain or discomfort.  For example as I experience the nearly unavoidable need to begin coughing my brains out, as I begin to pay closer attention to what I'm feeling in my body, I notice that I'm resisting the coughing by constricting the muscles in my chest, abdominals, and lower back, and that as I become aware of this, I can also feel that the tension itself has significantly increased my need to cough.  As I become more aware of the tension I'm holding, I'm able to release it, my breathing becomes less constricted, and my need to cough decreases, sometimes even going away entirely.
With the headaches, I also focus very specifically on the exact location and sensation of the pain and discomfort.  Almost without exception, I find areas where I'm resisting and holding tension, often in my facial muscles, neck, shoulders, etc., and to the degree that I can locate them and just "notice" them rather than resisting, I'm able to relax and relieve the discomfort.
The same is true with the other symptoms as well.
I've written briefly about a similar experience with this in my book: A Call to Magic - the Artful Science of Transforming Self and Worldhttp://bookShow.me/147932034X
Try this practice the next time you have a headache or other discomfort and see if you can learn to relieve your own symptoms through mindfulness.  It's certainly been a magical practice for me.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Magical First Wednesday

This Wednesday is the day -- you know the one -- the day you can see my astounding magic at Tyroni's in Bartonville.  The last two months have been bad weather, so if you've missed me, be sure to be there this Wednesday, March 4.  I'll be there from 5:00 to 7:30 PM.  Hope to see you then!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

News 25 Today from This Morning

I was on TV this morning!  My monthly spot on News 25 Today with Garry Moore.  Here's the video:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cold and Early

Tomorrow (Thursday, February 19) morning is my monthly appearance on WEEK-TV's News 25 Today.  If you're up early, stay inside where it's warm, and watch me on TV!  Around 5:50 AM.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Magic Thought

One immutable aspect of the true magic that we humans embody lies in the fact that so long as we still experience dissatisfaction or any form of unhappiness about any of the circumstances in our lives, we will continue to attract and manifest situations and circumstances to be unhappy and dissatisfied about.
Luckily, the opposite is also true.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tyroni's Tonight

In spite of the snowy weather, I will be at Tyroni's tonight, in case you're planning to stop out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quotation on Service

"When you came into this world you cried, whereas everyone else rejoiced. During your lifetime, work and serve in such a way that when it is time for you to leave this world, you will smile at parting while the world cries for you. Hold this thought and you will always remember to consider others above yourself."
--Paramahansa Yogananda

Monday, February 2, 2015

Upcoming Events This Week

Wednesday is my monthly appearance at Tyroni's Italian Cafe in Bartonville.  I'll be there from 5:00 to 7:30 PM.  Last month was cancelled due to the weather, so make sure you get your Tyroni's magic fix this time around.

This Saturday, February 7 I'll be performing at the "Thank You Festival" at Five Points in Washington, an event honoring the Washington and surrounding area emergency responders for their work before, during and after the Nov. 17, 2013 tornado.  It's free admission, they have free food, and lots of fun activities for the whole family.  For more INFO.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fun with Garry and Gina

I just discovered that they posted the video of my appearance on News 25 Today from last Thursday.  Here it is!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ledger Article

I just found out I was featured in an article in the Canton Daily Ledger last week:  ARTICLE