Tag Archive for: mindfulness

Podcast Ep 111: Mindfully Re-Centering

This week I have felt scattered, and I am having trouble focusing on tasks I need to complete, like creating a new podcast episode. World events, and my own stuff, have been distracting. To work with the disarray in my thoughts, I am sharing a simple mindfulness meditation practice, which I hope will be re-centering for both of us.

Please join me on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 to celebrate Ostara, the spring equinox, in virtual ceremony. You will find more information and online registration on my ceremonies page.

I would like to welcome new My Shamanic Life patrons. Thank you! If you like this podcast and would like me to keep recording new episodes, please visit my Patreon page and become a patron for as little as one dollar a month. When you do, you will have access to patron-only guided shamanic journeys to meet animal helping spirits and read posts about the animals’ symbolism and archetypal energy as well as the natural history and conservation challenges those animal face in their living incarnation. As you work with different animals, you connect more deeply with the natural world and may be inspired to advocate for one of the wild beings you resonate with.

If you would like to chat about this episode and connect with others who share your love for the wild beings, join the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook and get the free Guide to Getting Real when you sign up for the email newsletter, which is full of moon magic and upcoming virtual events.

Much love and gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music. Blair is also an outstanding webmaster and makes sure I can share these episodes with you. Thank you, Blair!

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Sitting with Squirrels as a Meditation Practice

If your idea of meditation is sitting comfortably on a cushion in a softly lit, quiet room, with an hour-long recording of Tibetan singing bowls streaming on your tablet while incense smoke curls around you, sitting with squirrels is not the practice for you. If you are ready to be fully present to what is true now, even if what is true is that a squirrel has buried his head in your coat pocket to grab the last peanut, than maybe it is time for your meditation practice to get out into nature.

Grey squirrel standing on back feet looking up at cameraWhen I first started on the Shamanic Reiki path, I could not figure out how I was supposed to be standing next to the Reiki table, paying attention to my client, and simultaneously journeying to connect with helping spirits, the elements, or the client’s higher self. There was too much to keep track of at once, and I was often disappointed that I was not able to be “shamanic” enough in my approach.

The instruction I received for developing those shamanic, two places at once skills?

Get out into nature.

Seriously, going outside and spending time in nature, without an agenda or expectations, was part of our Shamanic Reiki Master Teacher practicum. In Llyn Robert’s book, Shamanic Reiki, she talks about connecting with nature repeatedly. After many years, I believe I understand why.

First, nature heals. Yes, it sounds trite, but fresh air, nature sounds, and a brisk walk can reduce the effects of stress without much in the way of an investment. The natural world is available even in the biggest cities, evident in the plants that sprout in sidewalk cracks and the pigeons that perch on high-rise balconies. All you must do is stop paying attention to where nature is not and open to where nature is showing itself.

Second, being in nature is an opportunity to practice being in two worlds at once. If you have ever taken a long hike, you have most likely experienced moments of being lost in thought while following the trail and managing to avoid tripping over at least some of the roots and rocks in the path. You can, in fact, walk and chew gum or, in this case, daydream at the same time.

Third, Spirit speaks through nature. The stone or feather that catches your eye, the appearance of a frog or a snake at your feet, or a hawk overhead, are signs that nature is communicating. I cannot tell you what the signs mean, but your inner wisdom knows.

Sitting with squirrels

This brings me to sitting with squirrels. Behind my house there is an imaginary line drawn somewhere in the woods, but the squirrels do not care if they are in a tree on my land or the 30 undeveloped acres on the other side of that line. This makes my home an ideal place to release the squirrels I have raised as a state-licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Most of the squirrels spread out into the woods or beyond, but a few have stayed close to raid the bird feeders and beg for peanuts.

These squirrels have become my meditation partners. Every morning I plop down a split log and practice becoming grounded and centered, watching my breath, and being mindful of my senses and thoughts, while having a peanut at the ready for a fast-approaching grey squirrel. The squirrels are a delightful distraction that keeps me alert to their antics while also shifting my consciousness to the detached observation of my response to them.

I have heard it said that shamans stand with one foot in each world. By sitting with squirrels, I am learning the art of being here and also not here, in my morning meditation and in my Shamanic Reiki practice.

Podcast Ep 32: Yoga to Stay Mindfully Centered

Do you have spare time? I prefer to make a conscious choice to use my time in ways that align with the big vision for my life. In this episode I discuss what it means to have a vision, how it keeps me centered, and how all the things I spend time doing come together in a glorious way. Then I’ll guide you through a yoga practice that will challenge you to stay mindfully centered in both strong and releasing asanas.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter. Please consider becoming a Patreon sponsor and help me purchase needed equipment for my wild turtle clinic.

Gratitude to Mark Piper for the background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Yoga for Hikers: Hiking Mindfully

Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience.  It isn’t more complicated that that.
~Sylvia Boorstein

Shoulder stretch yoga at the trailheadYour backpack is loaded with water, snacks, and the safety equipment you will need for your hike. You have been practicing yoga as part of your conditioning, and you just did a quick sequence at the trailhead to warm up before you head out. There’s one last question to ask: Are you here?

Being present will not only keep you focused on where you are putting your feet, it also opens a new world on the trail. When you hike mindfully, you will see more, hear more, and be aware of nature. After all, why hike if not to explore the wilderness?

Walking Meditation

For three to five minutes during your hike, walk slowly and deliberately, taking note of everything that is going on while you move.  Listen to the sound of your breath.  Feel the air move around you.  Feel your muscles expanding and contracting as you step.  Notice your weight shift as you lift one foot and then the other.  Feel the ground under your feet.  With practice, you can build up your walking meditation to longer times.

Take It All In

Observe your surroundings very closely.  Try to use as many senses as possible (taste, touch, hearing, smell, sight).  Smell the flowers.  Listen to the bird songs.  Touch the bark of the trees.  Taste the air.  Watch for small animals darting away.  Practice using all your senses for ten to twenty minutes while you hike. Eventually it becomes habit.

Tread Lightly

Help keep the Adirondacks, or wherever you are hiking, beautiful and wild with these tips.

  • Stay on the trail.
  • Walk single file to avoid widening the trail.
  • Be considerate of others.
  • Speak softly or not at all, except in emergencies.
  • If you must hike with music, use ear buds.
  • Keep your pets under control and pack out pet waste.
  • Comply with all signs and respect barriers.
  • Avoid sensitive habitats such as meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams.
  • Keep your distance from any wildlife you encounter.
  • If you pack it in, pack it out again.