#236 Mindful Kissing

Be patient while you explore and navigate your partner’s kiss. Be sure to keep your focus there without the distraction of other sensations.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#236

Mindful kissing

If you have a significant other or even a special friend, this suggestion can ignite a spark so, reader beware. Mindful kissing is a special kind of kissing… it’s kissing on purpose, with intention, for no other reason than to experience – truly experience – the kiss.

This type of kissing begins with intention. It is a desire to fully engage and participate in the experience of a kiss with particular notice to each and every sensation;

  • Notice the closeness of your partner.
  • Notice the smell of your partner, their skin, their breath, their body perfume.
  • Notice the texture of the lips you are kissing; their temperature.

Slowly inhale and exhale with the focus on the sensations you are experiencing in the kiss itself.

When your focus moves to another part of your body, or somewhere in your mind – bring it back to the kiss.

  • Notice your saliva production and it’s exchange.
  • Notice the desire of your tongue and its movement.
  • Notice the taste that is exchanged in your kiss.
  • Notice the interaction between lips, tongues, and mouths.
  • Notice the as your breath changes; notice your partner’s breath.

Allow the kiss to take time. Be patient while you explore and navigate your partner’s kiss. Be sure to keep your focus there without the distraction of other sensations. Try spending 5 minutes mindfully kissing – only kissing – and if you enjoy the interactions, increase the time with each engagement.

If you want to jump start a little energy in your relationship, this is a great way to get the engines rolling again. One of the key’s is free, easy, and innate for us all…

Mindful kissing.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#248 Sit in a park

The temperature falls instantly by ten degrees as the air is cooled and pushed by the water cascading 20 feet across the entire back of the park.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#248

Sit in a park

So, it’s Sunday afternoon and you’re at the park. Perhaps you’re walking through. Maybe you’re having a picnic. Could be you’re biking, running, or playing your way through the terrain… when was the last time you simply sat??

Why a park?

Generally, parks are green spaces created with our pleasure in mind. Pleasure because they offer an open space (open is relative here) where we can go for an outdoor experience. Of course that often means some kind of activity and yet all those benches that we see in parks aren’t only for rest in between activity. You might also sit on a blanket in the park or on a rock. Perhaps you prefer to plunge right down in the grass, allowing yourself to feel the ground specifically beneath you. The goal is to find a spot in the park and to sit alone and quietly there; contemplating or observing everything in your sight.

Parks are a great place to find a few quiet moments – perhaps not quiet from the perspective of sound – but from our individual lives. There in the park, we can slip away from responsibility, from demands of work and family, and utilize the energy of the outdoor environment to rejuvenate.

Be Mindful

As you sit there – in the park – take time to be mindful. Notice the grass, the sky, the people, the sounds, the temperature, and the textures. Pay attention to details… color differences, movement, and decibels.

Allow it all to move through your sight line without attachment and if you can… practice gratitude or compassion with each observation. (i.e., “I’m so grateful for the sensation of the sun on my face.”)

Sitting alone in a park can be an experience all in its own.

Paley Park

a7be0370254b67a3db601dc0b3fa7968

One of my most favorite memories is finding the jewel of Paley Park in New York City. Walking east along 53rd street, just past MOMA, there’s a small break in the storefronts – almost unnoticeable – and yet with a glance you are immediately lured into an open square canopied by trees and flanked by a wall of water falling into a pond. The sounds of Manhattan cease and your senses are filled with nature. The temperature falls instantly by ten degrees as the air is cooled and pushed by the water cascading 20 feet across the entire back of the park. Without hesitation, I pulled up a chair and allowed that space to evaporate the metropolitan energy from my mind; replacing it with a lightness and freshness that can only be induced by Mother Nature.

Create your Own Moment

Understandably, most readers won’t be running to Paley Park anytime soon (highly recommended if you find yourself in NYC) and yet there are dozens of options near you at any given time as our culture is rather park-minded overall. A local town square, a community green space, a state game land, or a national treasure all offer opportunities to get grounded if we just take a moment and …

Sit in a park.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#271 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

So, getting up and watching the sun rise may impact your thoughts; reinforcing that there are constants in the world. Standing with your face against the Eastern breeze as the sky turns orange …

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#271

Get up for the sunrise

Some of you may do this daily as you prepare to begin your work day and yet there are millions of you who don’t frequently make time to experience this daily wonder, but do you really ‘see’ it??  Depending on the day of course, the sunrise is either visible, or not. It is either majestic, or not. But, it is always dependable and THAT is part of it’s wonder.

The sun comes up regardless of politics, pains, joys, seasons, etc. and while it may seem like a rather primitive or conspicuous concept, it has value because of its constancy. Like ‘Annie’ always sings… “the sun will come up tomorrow”. It’s good to know that no matter how much change happens in our lives, the sun will still come up like it did yesterday and will again tomorrow; whether you actually ‘see’ it or not.

So, getting up and watching the sun rise may impact your thoughts; reinforcing that there are constants in the world. Standing with your face against the Eastern breeze as the sky turns orange and/or pink offers a perfect opportunity to experience a very specific type of mindfulness. Depending on where you live, it takes somewhere between 2 minutes (at the equator) and 5-6 minutes in northern latitudes for the sun’s disk to rise above the horizon. That offers a short – but impactful – opportunity to practice mindful gratitude with a very specific visual.

Yes, gratitude because the sunrise represents yet another opportunity for you to begin anew. It acts as a reminder that some things just are – no matter what – a reminder that is beneficial to us periodically. It represents a certain amount of energy available from the Universe and if you are there – watching it… go ahead and grab it.

It’s just a few minutes of your time and although it’s early in the morning, I can’t think of any other way to jump start each morning. Grab your coffee or tea, step outside, and embrace the magic of the moment since you made the decision to…

Get up with the sunrise.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

#287 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

We’ve added fountains and water features to our pools and landscaping in an effort to bring that calming effect to our outdoor living space and there are any number of tabletop fountains…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#287

Listen to the sound of water

If you’re looking for a different way to relax and/or meditate – try listening to the sound of water flowing. There’s no denying that aside from initiating the urge to pee – running water is known to help us relax. Indeed, it’s true for so many people that white noise machines routinely include the sound of streams and/or oceans.

Science suggests that our brains relate the sound of water to a NON-threat environment; walks on the beach, picnics by the brook, and sitting by lilly filled ponds are all pleasant, pleasure inducing visions or experiences. Others suggest that the sound of water is one of the first elements that we experience in our womb environment – more data that our brain relates the sound of water to safety and security.

I’m not suggesting that being IN the water is the same as I know many people have negative experiences in regards to being in water; not knowing how to swim, bad boating or ocean experiences, etc…. But listening to the sound of water is the prominent point.

If you find yourself with a cranky infant – walking over to the sink and running the water will almost instantly calm the baby.  Oceanfront rooms around the world attempt to capitalize on the idea that you can hear the waves simply by opening the window or sitting on the patio/deck. We’ve added fountains and water features to our pools and landscaping in an effort to bring that calming effect to our outdoor living space and there are any number of tabletop fountains that bring the sound of running water neatly indoors for your listening pleasure.

If all else fails, you can head over to YouTube and discover thousands of video options to include beach waves, waterfalls, babbling brooks, and fountains from around the world so that your smart TV (or connection via HDMI) will generate the sound and vision simultaneously.

Focusing on the sound of running water will induce a calming effect within minutes, especially if combined with mindfulness. Use this strategy to bring a tranquil element to your space when stress is present in your life or if you anticipate a stressful situation. In an emergent scenario use this tip… find the closest bathroom, stand at the sink, turn on the faucet, and …

Listen to the sound of water.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#305 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

…swallow the raisin – paying attention to the sensation of it moving across your tongue, to the back of your mouth and then down your throat.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#305

Eat mindfully

Most of us never do this and even those of us who have tried it a time or two don’t spend many meals engaged in intention but when you do… is a whole new experience.

Eating mindfully is frequently taught with a raisin. Sometimes it is referred to as an eating meditation -mostly because ALL of your focus is on the process – the entire process – of eating.

Imagine the raisin. Hold the raisin and notice how it feels in your finger; notice the ridges, the color, and the size. Intentionally, place the raisin on your tongue and let it sit there for a minute; noticing its smell, the sensation of it there, and perhaps how you begin to salivate. Move the raisin between your teeth and gently squeeze… notice the texture, the flavor, and how your mouth responds. Notice with each movement of your jaw – how the raisin changes – the change in flavor or texture or size. And finally, swallow the raisin – paying attention to the sensation of it moving across your tongue, to the back of your mouth and then down your throat.

Now do this for an entire meal. Same process with each and every bite.

Yes – it will take a long time to consume your food – and it will be good for you. The first time I had ate something other than a raisin intentionally I immediately noticed how reflexive it was to put a spoonful in my mouth and then immediately shovel the spoon back into my plate of food – prepping the next bite. That’s NOT mindful.

I was curious enough to persevere through an entire plate of Kung Pao Chicken but it was cold by the time I was finished and an entire hour had elapsed. I had visions of my father telling me to “stop fooling around and just eat!”

Out of all the people I’ve ever known, very few eat slow enough to truly ‘experience’ their food and my personal belief is that it is becoming problematic in our culture. We eat so fast, we don’t know when we’ve had enough to satisfy hunger and consequently, we frequently overeat. Mitigating that issue is easily rectified when we …

Eat mindfully.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#306 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Just keep coming back to your point of focus; and coming back; and coming back – without judgment about how well you’re doing or if you’re doing it wrong.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#306

Meditate

Wikipedia says that meditation has been “practiced since antiquity” – it’s the exercise of being still and directing all focus to a single object or thought. If you haven’t heard about meditation and its benefits, you’ve been living in a cage without WiFi!

Developing a ‘practice’ of meditation will reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It will increase your sense of calm, peace, and ultimately… happiness. When meditating daily for more than 30 minutes, one develops control over mind processes and is potentially able to reverse heart disease and well as other ailments that are caused by over-activation of  the parasympathetic nervous system.

Research in recent years has demonstrated that meditation may be significant in the reduction of anger, pain, stress, fatigue, depression and more. A well developed meditation regiment may be just shy of a magic pill for most of what ails our sick and tired, fast paced and distracted society.

Most of the time, I find that people who don’t have a regular practice actually misunderstand the process of quieting the mind. People say “I can’t stay focused” and “My brain is too active” – indicating that those elements must prevent them from having any success. Actually – we all experience those barriers when we begin.

I think of meditation as the art of noticing thoughts just like the lights that pop up on a peripheral vision test while I am focused on the white dot in the middle… I see – and stay trained – on the dot in the center, not allowing the other lights that pop in and out of my field of vision to redirect my attention. It’s not NOT having other thoughts that is the goal… it’s to NOT pay attention to those other thoughts that we work to accomplish as a beginner. I was once told that after 10 years of dedicated meditation practice, a teacher was excited when as much as 5 whole minutes passed without a recognized thought – 10 years!

Just keep coming back to your point of focus; and coming back; and coming back – without judgment about how well you’re doing or if you’re doing it wrong. Using an app like Headspace or guided meditations like those of Ron Seigel are great ways to begin. The challenge is to add dedicated time to your day in pursuit of meditation.

It’s like anything else though… what you prioritize – you WILL make time for. It’s a universal law. So think about what ails you and do a little research. I’m sure you’ll find that relief may be as simple as some still time. Set aside some time, get comfortable, find a focus, and …

Meditate.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#318 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Bad posture is the culprit for more than back pain. There is evidence that it promotes Asthma (restricted breathing), heart disease, joint degeneration, and higher levels of stress.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#318

Stand up straight

At the risk of sounding like your mother, I think we can all use the reminder to ‘stand up straight’. The number of Americans who complain about back pain at some point in their life has crested over 80% and it is suggested that poor posture is to blame for a significant percentage. Since we’ve transitioned to desk jobs and electronic browsing – our shoulders curve and our heads are bent – throwing the natural alignment of our spines out of whack.

Bad posture is the culprit for more than back pain. There is evidence that it promotes Asthma (restricted breathing), heart disease, joint degeneration, and higher levels of stress. It is a leading cause of missed work and worldwide – back pain is the leading cause of disability. Improving posture strengthens the musculature surrounding the spine, keeping aligned properly.

I am particularly mindful of my own posture when I see a television news anchor or an interviewer sitting in perfect alignment (how long so they practice that so that it appears naturally?) It’s a reminder for me to square my shoulders and pull in my abdomen while simultaneously raising my chin Aligning myself perpendicular to the floor.

There are a number of products marketed to help you remember and/or strengthen the back muscles but in a recent review, the writer declared that they were mostly annoying and that the only significant solution was to pay attention and practice. Essentially – include it in your mindfulness regiment. It’s a little thing that can make a world of difference. Remember…

Stand up straight

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.