Meditation for Everyone: A Guide for the Less-Than-Novice Meditator

Meditation for Everyone- A Guide for the Less-Than-Novice MeditatorAdd heading

In our busy lives of working, learning, care-taking, chauffeuring, cooking…the list goes on, finding an extra 20 minutes in the day may seem impossible. Especially for those of us who may be critical of the idea of meditation – “There’s so much more I can get done in 20 minutes than to sit there and breathe!” – meditation may seem like wasted time, but it’s exactly the opposite. Meditation is the practice of clearing your mind for a mindful moment to reduce our stress, minimize our anxiety, regain clarity and focus.

But HOW do I meditate?  If you Google this question, you’ll get thousands of hits with different ways to practice meditation. There are essentially five steps to meditation:

  1. Preparation – Clearing your mind for a focus.
  2. Contemplation – Deliberate your focused thought.
  3. Meditation – Focus.
  4. Dedication – Who is this for?
  5. Subsequent Practice – Bringing this into your daily life.

When I first started meditating, I really had no idea what I was doing. I read and read…AND READ and I still didn’t seem to understand. Some advice explained I have to sit cross-legged, some said I had to have absolute silence, some said extreme deep-breathing. The conditions never seemed to work for me – my legs cramped, there’s ALWAYS noise around me, and I was yawning-to-death from all the deep breathing. I eventually gave up believing I was incapable of meditating.

Then about a year ago I was dealing with something very frustrating; I shut my laptop in disdain, went to the bathroom and rinsed my face with cool water, and I looked in the mirror and said, “God, give me patience!” Then it hit me – meditation is YOUR own practice of calm. Meditation is anything you need to bring you to the point you want to be at that moment. For some people, it’s prayer, for others, it’s running.

Just because my form of meditation didn’t follow the “rules” of gurus, high priests, or anyone else who is far more enlightened that I am, didn’t mean that I wasn’t meditating.

I learned to turn meditation into picking a mantra; this is what works for me and this is what I teach others who struggle with finding a moment of peace and tranquility. These are a few great mantras to start with:

  1. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
  2. Small changes to make big results.
  3. I am enough.
  4. Kindness and compassion lead to happiness.
  5. This too shall pass.

Putting it into Practice

I. Preparation – Find a place where you feel at peace. This can be anywhere you’re able to focus solely on you and your thoughts. For me, it’s in my office (strange, right?). I need the space to be organized and neat; I cannot focus in clutter (for some people, clutter doesn’t matter). I also like to light a candle (if I have the time to let it burn), and if not, I spray some Rest Easy or wear my Aromatherapy Tree-of-Life necklace; these fragrances elicit calm energy for me. The next part of preparation is choosing the mantra you want to focus on for meditating.

II. Contemplation – Here you deliberate the mantra you chose. Why do you want to focus on bringing this energy into your world? What is giving you stress/anxiety/fear/etc. that is preventing you from making this practice happen? The practice of self-reflection helps to become cognizant of the barriers preventing the mantra to become reality. It’s okay if this phase is hard, or if you don’t have all the answers the first time. That’s why meditation is a practice; it’s not meant to be perfect the first time, the fifth time, or even the tenth time. It’s the art of mindfulness, and true art takes time.

III. Meditation – This is where you hone in and focus on what you want to bring into your life. You can simply repeat the mantra in your mind, or offer solutions as you allow your mind to focus on the mantra. For example, you keep repeating “This too shall pass,” until you recognize that whatever is making you distraught is temporary and you will overcome it. Again, if this doesn’t come to you right away, there’s tomorrow’s practice to look forward to.

IV. Dedication – In the dedication stage, you give your practice of meditation to its purpose. For example, if I am meditating to “I am enough,” I may dedicate my practice to myself. It may sound like, “I dedicate ‘I am enough’ to myself because I deserve love, honor, and respect as I am.” If you’re meditating for patience, it may be along the lines of, “I dedicate “God, give me patience” to all of those I have been impatient with and to everyone who I will encounter tomorrow.” On some level, this provides accountability because by giving your meditation a purpose you lead it to subsequent practice.

V. Subsequent Practice – The easiest stage to understand, but perhaps the hardest to manifest, is subsequent practice. This is where you bring your mantra into your everyday activities, so you can quickly bring your mind there when you need it. You’re waiting on an extremely long grocery line and the person in front of you needs a price check for every item, you say to yourself, “God, give me patience;” you breathe it in and feel yourself become more patient.

Along with the five steps, deep-breathing exercises throughout are extremely helpful. According to Harvard Medical School, this is because biologically our bodies see deep-breathing as a way to “quell errant stress response.” Try it right now – take one deep breath in through your nose, filling your whole diaphragm, and release – I guarantee you will feel a bit calmer than a moment before.

How do you bring meditation into your life? Have you tried any of the mantras suggested? I would love to hear more in the comments section!

Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo

What it Means to Live a Life of Abundance

What it Means to Live a Life of Abundance

For those of you who may not know, I am also a high school English teacher. This past summer our department asked rising seniors to read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I’ve read and taught the book before, many years ago, so I saddled up my sunscreen, flip flops, and my trusted copy of Siddhartha not expecting to be any further enlightened (pun intended) than I was the last time I read it. I was wrong and as an English teacher, I should have known better.

Ultimately, Siddhartha learns the path to enlightenment is one that cannot be taught and it cannot be bought, it must be achieved through spiritual fulfillment – what I now recognized and understood as abundance. With each passing year, month, even moment, we gain insight and experience – if we allow ourselves to be open to gratitude, learn from what was, not focus on what will be, but be at peace with what is.

Abundance, as I have come to understand it, is a richness that cannot be acquired by money, success, or fame. It’s found in waking up and watching the rising sun, tucking your kids into bed, walking with your dog, doing acts of kindness simply because it’s kind.

On a stringent path to discover true abundance, I questioned whether the appreciation and admiration of others would detract from our own abundance. As all quality ethics questions do, it comes down to sense-of-self. When it comes to “doing good,” the power of the goodness lies in intent. If someone happens to appreciate or admire your good traits and kind acts that stemmed from absolutely no desire to ingratiate others, this is abundance. Your drive to better your surrounding world must simply be to better the world for its own sake.

Abundance, first, comes in prioritizing. In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People* by Steven Covey, he states: “We must have the discipline to prioritize our day-to-day actions based on what is most important, not what is most urgent.” While the most urgent duties of our life include necessary responsibilities which should not be dismissed, abundance is about looking at life for the big picture – your credit cards will not cry at your funeral because you paid more than the minimum every month, but the people (and animals) you’ve truly invested your time in will. Vis-a-vis, abundance stems from the love we put into the world.

Each moment of every day is an opportunity to add to your “bank” of abundance. Appreciating the perfect cup of coffee, enjoying music, even stopping to be thankful that you have the metacognition to be aware of your gratitude all leads to a life of abundance. It’s about appreciating the small steps.

Today, I got a call-back from BonTon retailers about their interest in carrying our candles and soaps. It’s just a call-back, but taking a moment to feel proud of this accomplishment for a small business, however small of an accomplishment it may be, is abundance. It’s one small step in a positive direction.

Fill each moment of your life with positive, small changes to gain abundance. Take the time to appreciate the positives. Be mindful of each of your actions – towards others and towards yourself. Feel gratitude. Feel forgiveness, especially for yourself.

When you find peace, you find abundance.

Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo

*This is an Amazon affiliate link.

How to Stay in Touch (Social Media & Contacting Us)

How to Stay in Touch (Social Media & Contacting Us)

Today’s blog post is a quick one just to give you information about how to keep in touch with us using the platforms you love to use every day.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter
Our newsletter is a great way to stay in contact with us! We’ll email you with news and updates, usually around 3-4 times a month. *Note- There are a lot of fields in the sign-up form, but all we really need is your first and last name, and email address.
SIGN UP HERE*

General Contact
Email* – This is the BEST way to reach us. We have quick and easy access to our email right on our phones, so we’re able to respond to all of your questions usually within a few hours. Our email address is info@scentsthemoment.com.

Phone – We do have a phone number, 718-667-3150, but our line is often unattended. If you prefer a phone chat, please feel free to give us a call and leave a clear message with a number to reach you. We make all call-backs within 48 business hours.

Social Media

  • Facebook Fan Page* – Like and follow us to get all the updates!
    • Our VIP Facebook Group* – This is our favorite method of staying in touch with you. We’re extremely active in our VIP Facebook group, and it’s a super-fast way for us to provide you with top-notch customer service.  Plus, being a member of our VIP Group gives you access to great benefits like weekly sweepstakes, birthday bonuses, and more.
  • Instagram*– We like Instagram because we try to be artistic photographers. This is not a great place to direct message us, though, because we don’t see it.
    • Tag us @bathbodycandlemoments
  • Twitter – Follow us on Twitter as we share and repost fun tweets from people we admire. Plus, Twitter is the first place where new products on the website are announced.
    • Tag us @bathbodycandlem
  • Pinterest – You can shop most of our pins! This is also a fun way to add some of your favorite Moments products to a board.
  • YouTube – We make all kinds of videos. Sometimes they’re instructional, sometimes they’re just us catching up.
  • Google Plus – A super-easy display of our blog content, videos, and some updates.
  • Tumblr – You’ll find a hodge-podge of our content on Tumblr, including our blog posts and Instagram posts.
  • LinkedIn – This is a general resume and profile of Kristen. All of her blog and business content goes to this channel.

Other Blogs

Kristen is also President of the Vine Vendor Network. If you’re interested in reading her blog about small business, click HERE.

*All the links with the asterisk are where we are the most active and most likely to get a fast response from us. These are also the best places to go for new content, new products, information, and more!

Living Naturally with Breast Cancer

 

Living Naturally with Breast CancerOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I need to ask you: Have you had your mammography in the last year? Not trying to get in your business, but totally getting in your business.

In the last year, I have learned about five women I know who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Turns out that according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. This staggering number is one of the many reasons I decided to create a natural bath and body line for our company.

I met Lisa Vento-Nielsen in the summer of 2016 when I was running a special summer project in my school for upcoming seniors to prepare for college and careers. Lisa was one of the guest speakers that my principal invited in to teach students about preparedness. Along with being the owner and visionary of The Next Step as an entrepreneur and author, Lisa gave the students incredible tips on how to write resumes, use LinkedIn, and blogging. I remember clearly thinking – “This woman is a firecracker!” – Brilliant, bright, vibrant, energetic, no one knew, including herself, that she was living with breast cancer.

Fast forward to earlier this summer, I noticed Lisa was off of Facebook but found her again on Instagram. I wanted to touch base with her simply because I found her inspiring and wanted to go grab coffee with her – that’s when I found out she was living with breast cancer. Instead of giving into cancer (and let’s be honest, sometimes people don’t have a choice), she turned her pain into an array of inspiration and education. She started a new blog, called The Time Between – Breast Cancer Survival Guide. 

Knowing several of my customers are breast cancer survivors, I am sure to curate some products that are without fragrance oils. However, my biggest drive was to create a natural deodorant free of aluminum, parabens, phthalates, dyes, and any other additives that may be linked to breast cancer. While the evidence of linking antiperspirants to breast cancer is still considered inconclusive, I know my customers were looking for a natural alternative where there was clearly no link to breast cancer.

Once I heard what Lisa was going through, I had to let her know about my products. It was not even about business, which is why I curated a small package for Lisa for free, but about education – there is a better way; people now have a choice to live naturally. Here you can read about Lisa’s experience with our products: Click Here for Her Review.

While breast cancer is still prevalent, the greatest resource you have is knowledge and prevention. What is recommended for your health and prevention:

  • Get 30 minutes of exercise every day
  • Keep your weight down to a healthy number
  • Drink plenty of water daily
  • Perform monthly self-exams on your breasts to check for lumps and indentations on your breasts
  • Visit your gynecologist at least once a year – but most insurances will pay for 6-month visits
  • Get a mammography every year after turning 40, and earlier if there is a history of breast cancer in your family
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

To your health and happiness!

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