By Jennifer Miller
Witnessing my daughters Navigating life and
Concerned they do not have
A father around.
They have learned to call
On their own masculine
While maintaining their feminine.
Transforming their pain
Sorrow into wisdom.
Broken hearts into kindness and compassion.
Their wit and humor is always present.
So many gifts come out of the struggles and
Journey of life when we look close enough
To see all the beauty and blessings.
Posted in Awareness, Balance, Family, Forgiveness, Happiness, Knowledge, Life, Mothers, Pain, Reflections, Self, Teenagers, Wisdom, Women
Tagged Beauty, Compassion, Daughters, Fathers, Jennifer Miller, Life, Pain
By Jennifer Miller
The year 2012 will be remembered for many important events and happenings. Two of the biggest are the London Olympics and our own Presidential Election on November 6. But 2012 is also significant in that it has been 20 years since President Bill Clinton made his famous statement in March 1992:
“I feel your pain.”
While it is very difficult to feel another person’s pain, or suffering, unless you have “walked in their shoes”, we can all feel our own emotions, including pain. But why is it that so few people are actually able or willing to feel real emotions?
Do the activities and distractions in our lives numb our inner feelings?
Is it our culture of overconsumption, where we overeat and overspend, and in the extreme, abuse alcohol and drugs?
People are often afraid to go inward and truly connect with their real, raw emotions. It exposes us and makes us vulnerable…but also makes us more authentic. And humble. Getting to the real cause of personal pain and anger can often involve nothing more that looking at ourselves as we are now, not at who we were in the past. We are not that person any more. Forgive that person or move on from that person. Benefit from the often humorous process of “observing yourself” at this very time in your life. I often feel like a stand-up comic, with an audience of “none” as I go inward and self-reflect. But it makes me aware of the moment.
I am one with my espresso coffee machine in the morning. I am one with my two dogs while I walk them. I am one with my cutting board as I prepare vegetables for cooking.
Do I feel like saying “enough already” and want to rejoin the noisy fray? Sometimes. But to go inward is so much more rewarding. I connect with my inner feelings and shower them with positive reflections. This can often produce the little miracles and happy endings that make life worth living.
Namaste, Jennifer Miller
Posted in Knowledge, Life, Meditation, Mind, Pain, Reflections, Wisdom, Women
Tagged Awareness, Bill Clinton, Distractions, Emotions, Feelings, In The Moment, Jennifer Miller, Pain
One of the great benefits of yoga, in addition to increased strength and flexibility, is that it promotes the peaceful state necessary for self-reflection, letting us go “inward” to establish a “mind-body-spirit” connection and nourish our soul.
Other forms of physical exercise require a great deal of external focus, with our mind and body ”engaged” with equipment and people around us.
Yoga allows me to “be in the moment”, quieting my mind to focus on “being where I am.”
To “be in the moment” is a goal of “meditation”. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, developed “mindfulness meditation” to help people reduce the suffering coming from chronic pain and stress in their lives. This included a method of “moment-to-moment” awareness that allowed for increased “coping skills”.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) program combined Hatha Yoga and meditation to achieve extraordinary health benefits. But, in writing “Wherever You Go, There You Are”, he beautifully described what all of us can achieve when we quiet the mind:
“From the perspective of meditation, every state is a special state, every moment a special moment.”
How cool is that? Our modern society does a great job of promoting life’s “special moments” but requires most of us to “purchase” these as luxuries.
The “movements of the body” in yoga connect us to the “moments in the mind” where we can “nourish our soul”.
My yoga practice allows me to achieve serenity and peace, what many people would describe as a “special moment”.
Namaste, Jennifer Miller
Posted in Asanas, Life, Meditation, Pain, Reflections, Soul, Studies, Wisdom, Women, Yoga
Tagged Health Benefits, In The Moment, Jennifer Miller, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Living in the Moment, Meditation, Mind, Moment to Moment, Pain, Pain Reduction, Quieting the Mind, Stress, Stress Reduction
“A little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation,” says Fadel Zeidan, a neuroscientist. NPR Health Blog, April 6, 2011
Yoga has taught me to be present and feel what is going on in my body and mind both during my practice and outside of it. It teaches us the importance of self-awareness. And it is the meditative benefits of breathing, called “pranayama”, that allows a calming to wash over your body.
I came acrosse an article in “NPR”, short for National Public Radio, that cites the physical benefits of “mindfulness meditation” in reducing both physical pain and our “perception of pain” through limiting our “stress response”:
“In the study, a small group of healthy medical students attended four 20-minute training sessions on “mindfulness meditation” — a technique adapted from a Tibetan Buddhist form of meditation called samatha. It’s all about acknowledging and letting go of distraction.”
“You are trying to sustain attention in the present moment — everything is momentary so you don’t need to react,” Zeidan explains. “What that does healthwise is it reduces the stress response. The feeling of pain is a very blatant distraction.”
“After meditation training, the subjects reported a 40 percent decrease in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. And it wasn’t just their perception of pain that changed. Brain activity changed too.”
NPR Health Blog, April 6, 2011
A simple form of meditation is to count as you inhale deeply through your nose and exhale out through your mouth, saying ”one” as you breathe out. Try to reach 60 in a very deliberate and “self-aware” manner. Simple pains and tensions should begin to ease.
And as you can see, medical studies are starting to demonstrate the physiological benefits as well.
Namaste, Jennifer Miller
Posted in Breathing, Life, Meditation, Pain, Reflections, Suffering, Women, Yoga
Tagged Breathing, Jennifer Miller, Meditation, Pain, Pranayama, Stress, Yoga