Your sensuality can bring peace to the world.

I’m pretty sure you’d love to be a part of the solution, bringing more peace, love, and acceptance to the world.

You know you can’t give what you don’t have, but how do you find peace inside you during these troubled times?

Meditation is one of the proven ways to experience more peace, acceptance, and compassion, so you could start there.

  • But what if you don’t have 20 extra minutes each day to chant and breathe and be calm
  • What if you’re already meditating regularly and still feel anxious at times?

By using the sensuality of your body as your guide, you can find the peace within you and share it with the world wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. This will help ease you into meditation if you don’t already practice. It will extend your experience throughout the day if you are already practicing.

Meditation is simply the practice of focusing your mind on an anchor. When you do that your mind stops jumping between the future and the past. You land in the present moment and can access the peace that is always inside you. The more specific the anchor is, the greater your focus will be.

So why not let your anchor for meditation be the sensations in your mouth every time you eat?

Your mouth is a dark moist cave of pleasurable potential. Eating is a sensuous act. By focusing your attention on

By focusing your attention on the flavors arousing your tastebuds and the juices filling your cheeks, every bite can draw you into the pleasure of that very moment.

When you are truly present in the moment as a living experience rather than a lofty concept, you touch the still peace that is always inside you, even during turmoil.  When you access that peace you experience a calm joy as well as compassion and acceptance for yourself and others.

Keep it simple and make it doable.

If you’ll give your full attention to just one bite of every meal, you’ll fill your day with sensuous, meditative moments.  The moments of presence will link together until more and more of your days are experienced in this simple state of peace.

When your thoughts and actions come from that state you are a beacon of peace and love in the world.

All of us rush through meals at some time, barely paying attention to this sacred act. If you’ll pay attention to just one bite, you’ll alter your relationship with time and fill yourself up with nourishment.

Here’s a guided eating meditation from my book The Power of Pleasure.

 

Thanks to Elizabeth Grojean for knowing how to enjoy a peach, and to Cheryl Himmelstein for capturing the moment.

What the World Series and Presidential Election reminded me to do.

When I left my hometown, I also left The Blue Jays and all things baseball behind. I’d been a big fan, but there was no MLB team in Vancouver and I just got busy with other things.

Almost 30 years later I found myself watching baseball again.

My in-laws all live in Chicago, and they are die-hard Cub Fans. Always have been, even when there was no good reason to be. So you can imagine their excitement when their team made it to the World Series. Each night my 85 year old mother-in-law drove to a sports bar in Skokie to cheer and laugh, drink beer and even cry with fellow fans. I call her the Cubbie Bubbie. My brother-in- law and a couple of cousins even scored seats at the games.

On the final night, my husband and I turned on the game. What I’d forgotten about baseball, one of the things that makes the game great, is The Pause. And when a World Series is on the line, the Pause becomes more, important, poetic and dramatic.

The pitcher connects with the catcher. He Pauses. He takes his time. Takes a breath, winds up and throws an impossibly fast ball. The batter swings and misses. Strike two. He steps away from the plate. He Pauses. He gives himself some time. Stepping forward, he positions himself to swing again. Tension mounts as the game is tied 6 to 6. In the 10th inning the rains pour down. The entire game Pauses for about 15 minutes.

The Cubs go on to win the World Series. After a Pause of 108 years.

In each of those pauses I would breathe, feel my own body, and become more acutely present.

It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts, worries, emotions and stories. A Pause can bring you back to Peace.

A week after the Cubs great victory I woke to the news of Trump’s win. I was”shocked but not surprised”. I sobbed. Like I’ve never cried over politics before. I was sad and scared. I was afraid that this win would validate misogyny, bigotry, racism and elitism. I feared what would become of my husband’s immigrant students, the Supreme Court, women, the LGBT and black communities, our prison system, and environmentally sensitive areas that house endangered species and natural resources.

Then I Paused. I stopped talking about it. I got off social media. I sat quietly and took a moment by myself. As I felt my breath move in and out I could sense my body’s expression. Tight. Buzzing. Jagged. As I gave each sensation my attention, it morphed into something else. Over time my breath deepened, my body softened and expanded. I was calmer, and connected to myself again.

Nothing had changed. And everything had. I was no longer stuck in the survival panic of my reptilian brain. I was operating from a more evolved part of myself. I was no longer lost in the apocalyptic future my thoughts were building.

After the Pause I was able to love again. I felt stronger and more able to handle the change with an open heart. I could feel the need for kindness, acceptance and tolerance now more than ever. I could feel potential.

When you’re faced with great opportunity or great challenge, PAUSE.
Take a moment just to be.
To breathe.
To feel yourself in a body, that’s alive.

Remembering to Pause when you’re under great stress can be challenging. If you don’t practice Pausing regularly, you can only hope you’ll have enough awareness to override your own biology – the ancient fight-flight-freeze response of your nervous system. That’s sort of like hoping you’ll figure out how to swim once your boat capsizes in the ocean.

If you want to be able to Pause when you need it, I suggest you Pause when you don’t, just like practicing swimming before you head out to sea. You’ll be able to draw on your practice when you need it most.

This week, try Pausing several times a day. Set up reminders for yourself. Pause before every email your write, or every time you sit down, or at every red light. Just pay attention to your breath. Experience your body’s sensations, even as they change. Let your eyes look around. Then notice how your body feels.

Though it only takes a moment, the Pause has a way of slowing life down, bringing things into focus, and connecting you to yourself in a way that being busy never can.

It might be interesting to write about your experience each night, and at the end of a week look back on how it went. I’d love to hear how it goes.

Love Debra

If you know someone who’s facing a lot these days, please share this with them, so they can benefit from a Pause.

Waiting… as a Portal to Presence.

Everything was perfect.
He arrived exactly when he said he would.
He lifted her bike onto the roof of his car, and deftly secured it in place.
They drove out of the city, the sun rising between apartments, above houses, then over the fields.

An hour later they arrived.
He unloaded the bikes and they were off.
They rode through the trails until they reached the lake.
No one else was around.

A picnic brunch, including champagne.
Long talks, laughter, and a languid drive home.

He hadn’t raised the bar on first dates. He’d captured the bar and totally demolished it.

She sent a heart-felt thank you text shortly after getting home. and then…

Nothing.
Not a word.

So, she found herself…..

Waiting. And Waiting. And Waiting.

Not just that day, but the next day, and the one after that.

By the time we had our coaching call, she’d been waiting for days.

I asked her what else she’d been doing. NOTHING, she said. Which wasn’t totally true. She’d gone to work, cleaned her apartment, practiced yoga, made meals, eaten them, run with a buddy, showered and slept a few times, and told the story to some close friends. But she was just going through the motions, as if in a dream. Her life was a watery background to the waiting.

Waiting was consuming her like a disease.

I encouraged her to feel her feelings. There were many, hiding behind the confusion of trying to figure out what was happening, and what went wrong. And then I told her to STOP WAITING!!!

Waiting can be torture.

Whether you’re waiting for the bus, a call after the interview, the test results for that mysterious lump, the snow to thaw, or your friend who’s always late ~ waiting has a way of messing with your mind.

You give power to whatever you’re waiting for, and let it control how you feel.
You treat some imagined future moment as better, or more important, than the one you’re experiencing now.
You put your life on hold (for a few minutes or years), going through the motions, until that thing finally happens.

But here’s how waiting can work for you ~

Make a decision to Never Wait Again.

Next time you notice you’re waiting – for the coffee to brew, the line to move, or your kid to come home from the party – let that nudge you to come back from your thoughts into where you really are. Notice what you’re doing and give yourself to it fully.

Feel the cup in your hand, the sun on your face, the shower water hitting your body. Close your eyes and taste the food in your mouth. Let your eyes look around, and notice where you are. Even if you’re checking up on whatever you’re waiting for, bring all your attention to what you’re doing right now.

If thoughts keep pulling you in the imaginary world of waiting, try this to come back to what’s real:

  1. Slow down whatever you’re doing so that you can feel it fully.
  2. Notice your breath moving in and out of your body.
  3. Feel your feet touching the floor, if you’re standing.

When you bring your attention to where you’re at in this moment, waiting dissolves into the background.

Bring yourself back to right now every time you notice you’re waiting, and you’ll eventually access the state of peace that’s underneath. It’s always there, like the sun hiding behind the clouds.

Try a NO WAITING EXPERIMENT for the next 30 days.

Every time you catch yourself saying or thinking “I’m waiting for…”, bring yourself completely back to what you’re doing here and now. The 3 simple steps above can help.

PS. She stopped waiting. She got back into her life, her relationships, and her work. She let herself grieve – the loss of the future she’d created with him in her mind. She began appreciating all that she had and let herself enjoy it. She even appreciated the perfection of that date and let it go.  He never got back to her. It would have been a long wait.

 My e-book is full of simple practices to connect you to the pleasure of being present in your life.

It will be here soon.01-ipad-flat-mockup
You don’t have to wait.
I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Love Debra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you know someone who’s waiting, please share this with them right away!
Maybe they’ll join you in your 30 day NO WAITING EXPERIMENT.

Peace And Where to Find It.

I’ve just finished reading Peace and Were To Find It, by Chris Papadopoulos. It’s a straightforward directive for accessing your true nature.

I loved that he gets right to the heart of the matter. Peace is your natural state and getting to it is simple. It’s the first book I’ve read that really matched my own experience, and he explains it in a much more direct way than I’ve been able to.

Chris was kind enough to take some time from his book tour to answer some questions.  I’m hoping it will inspire you to buy a copy for yourself and people you love.

Our brief interview went like this:

Chris I’m so glad you wrote this book. You’ve clearly articulated the simple path. You wrote, “…the more we know something, the less we are able to describe it.” but all through the book I was saying, “Yes, that’s it. You’re saying it so well”. I’m really impressed with what you’ve done.

What inspired you to write this book it?

Thank you for your kind words Deb and I am glad you are out there on the front lines of body awareness with me! There were recurring themes in my work with students who would say: How do I awaken to end my dissatisfaction and suffering? I do yoga and/or meditation and go to retreats etc., why isn’t it working? Focusing on my self awareness seems a little self indulgent, what about all the suffering in the world?

I realized I needed to lay out some basic principles that have been consistently overlooked or minimized and finally give them the attention they deserved. Many people were talking more about self awareness than feeling it in the body. Specifically, the depth of their body awareness was limited and they had not made the link between body awareness and their level of present moment awareness. But given that what we call awareness/consciousness, the Now or presence are words not easily associated with felt experiences, I began to emphasize that presence feels like a vibrant stillness or peace — it has been called the “peace of God” or as Eckhart Tolle mentions in the introduction to my book, “the peace that passeth all understanding”.

We are all looking for inner peace and world peace and the world needs to know that peace is already here looking for us, waiting for us to notice it. Peace is a fundamental characteristic of our deepest being which also happens to be the source of all existence–we are the water drop as well as the ocean. The feeling of deep peace is one of the hallmarks of consciousness, which is the stuff that makes up the universe. And since consciousness—and therefore peace–is everywhere and in everything, what is lacking is our attending to it. This also means world peace is already here, saturating every place and molecule, waiting to be ‘activated’ by our awareness of it. We bring peace to life, manifesting it, by noticing it and experiencing it.

You wrote about the moment when seeking stopped for you and your mom said, “That’s good.” What is it you were seeking, and how did you know it had stopped?

I was seeking for the answer to who I was beyond the egoic “me”–the mental self-image we have of ourselves with which we identify. By that time I knew that my true nature could never be thought, only felt, and that morning in 2003 when I woke from bed I also woke up to the experience of a permanent peace. Peace is not some vague inert feeling in the body. Peace is vibrant and intelligent.There is ultimately no difference between peace and its Source. It emerges with the information that it has always been here and that it is the essence of your being and can be found in all things. Since that day peace has remained as the bedrock of my experience. Even on the most upsetting days I can feel it in the background. This permanence is simply the nature of the peace-filled Source finally being revealed–and it is an immense relief.

You do a great job of clarifying the similarities and difference between our natural state and emotions. I was wondering if a reader would understand that if they’d not already experienced it. How has the response been to that?

For those that have had moments of clarity where a peaceful presence emerged, it is possible to take note of the difference between what within us is permanent and what is transient. Some people nod in agreement or with an “A-ha” realization that they in fact already knew this truth, at least intellectually. There are also some people who find this subject uncomfortable as if, in some way, I am invalidating their emotional experiences. I make a distinction between what is “normal” i.e commonplace and what is “natural”. Of course, it is natural to experience emotions, just not so much that they dominate us, perpetuate our suffering and contribute to the mental activity that blocks the experience of our peaceful, joyful, fulfilled eternal nature. Peace and Joy, for example, are uncaused: they do not rely on external events for them to be present. And they may elicit delightful emotions because they are present but the latter like happiness, pleasure, or relief are temporary while the former are permanent and fundamental characteristics of who you are.

How is this book different from a “self-help” book?

I am not trying to help the “me”–who you think you are–feel better about itself. I am not trying to get you what you want, not trying to make a better you–a ‘you’ which is only temporary and is actually the source of your suffering and dissatisfaction. I am trying to reveal who you really are. Interestingly, by helping you have your own direct experience of your true self you will feel better and fulfilled…and life will finally make sense.

What can readers expect to get from it?

Public response has been very positive–and emotional too! Readers are discovering how to finally feel for themselves the peace that is always within us and around us. There will be breakthroughs on a spiritual path to awakening that has plateaued for many. They will learn about addictions, their root cause, and the way to dissolve them. And they will understand why the world has never created peace and what we can do to finally experience global peace.

Thanks for taking the time with me today Chris, and thanks for writing this book. The message is so direct and clear. 

Thank you Deb for all that you do.  ~ ChrisScreen Shot 2015-11-02 at 5.10.09 PM

 

I encourage you to pick up Peace and Where to Find It.

Read it. Practice it. Give it to someone you love.

You can also work directly with Chris one on one or in groups. Email him at chris@youarepeace.org .

 

 

 

Radical Self Care ~ Pay Yourself First

This is the blog I almost didn’t write. Though the idea came to me the moment I posted my Radical Self Care New Year’s Wish, I dismissed it as too obvious and not worth writing. Everybody knows this, I thought. I told that to a friend who responded, “Write It. We don’t know. If we knew we’d be doing it.”

The “It” is simple…. Pay Yourself First.

It should have been obvious to me that this is a post that needs to be written, perhaps not for you, but for that one person who needs to know it, because it’s been my experience with clients that this is not common knowledge.

Most of the clients I work with make more money than I do. Some make A LOT more. But even some clients who make a few hundred thousand a year have complained about money fears and stress. It use to surprise me. It not longer does. They have nice homes, new cars, go on great vacations and have beautiful wardrobes. Upon further investigation I discovered that these money-anxious clients had no savings, were behind in taxes and had credit card debt. The patterns were the same whether their income was $50,000 or $250,000 a year.  No wonder they were stressed.

How does this happen?

These people aren’t dumb . They are smart and creative and doing great things in the world. It’s just that nobody taught them good habits with money. 

So here’s one of the things I teach clients about money. Pay Yourself First. Decide on a percentage of your income and put it aside to invest BEFORE you do anything else. I recommend a minimum of 10%. It’s a nice easy number to remember and it won’t make a big dent in your lifestyle.

With some of my clients there is much grumbling, followed by explanations that it will be too hard, or that small a percentage won’t be enough to make a difference.  But those who do it, and commit to it, turn their financial situation around in lightening speed. It continues to amaze me how fast it changes things. I believe the primary reasons this is so effective are:

  • You bring consciousness to habits that were previously unconscious.
  • You give yourself a message with every cheque you receive that you value yourself enough to invest in yourself.
  • Priorities change once there is self-worth and consciousness brought to your relationship with money, and that has a systemic impact on spending, saving and investing.

It’s important to know that this 10% is for investment only ~ something that will give you a return on your money. It’s about having your money work for you. That’s a critical part of this. An investment is not a $2,000 pair of Manolo Blanik boots or a week at a spa, no matter how much you think those will improve your life. 

You may think you don’t earn enough to pay yourself first, but if you don’t change your habits now, you’re going to keep spending and living in such a way that you won’t be able to afford it later. I was teaching these same principles to my retail staff in the 90’s who were earning between $7.00 and $12.00 an hour. If they can do it you can do it.

Another great excuse is that you’re an entrepreneur and don’t have a regular income. Spending lots of money when big checks come in and feeling broke when they don’t is like being caught in a dieting spiral of binging and starving and binging again. Neither are loving ways to treat yourself. Setting 10% of every cheque aside creates a solid foundation that grows over time and will give you peace of mind. When you’ve got peace of mind you can truly give your gifts to the world, feeling generous and fulfilled.

You may think you’ve got too many other things to worry about. You can’t focus on this now. Well, I learned this principle from my mom, along with “never spend more on your credit card than you can pay off completely when the bill comes”, and “have a year of expenses in savings for emergencies”.

You see when my mom was 33 years old my dad left her will all his debts and two kids. She could have crumbled under the pressure. Instead she got a second, third and fourth job, then used the extra money to pay off his debts and make investments. She bought her first house when she was 35 years old, and went on to build a real estate portfolio that enabled her to retire at 54 years old. She’s got a great attitude and super-human energy, but it shows you what is possible even in dire situations.

I’ve never been a financial wizard, and I don’t have to be. I make money decisions based on what feels good in my body. I don’t have a big house, expensive clothes, or a fat portfolio. But I do have peace. And a life I cherish ~ living by the beach, walking in the sunshine, spending time doing things I love with people I adore. I don’t work very much, and when I do it is profoundly fulfilling.

At 37 years old I was very sick and was told that I might never work again. I was shocked and scared. I had never expected to quit working so young. I was so very grateful that I had some investments to live on, even if I wasn’t ready to start living on them. I thought I’d have many more years to contribute to them, but you never know what life is going to bring your way. I’m healthy enough to be working again and you bet I’m paying myself first.

Make this a year of Radical Self Care and Pay Yourself First.

P.S. My mom only worked multiple jobs for about 4 years to dump the debt and buy her first house. She is now married to a wonderful man who also enjoys travelling the world and doting on the grandchildren.