The Art of Stillness

The Art of Stillness

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Rarely do we sit still, especially in the western world. Yet, this was abruptly changed when the world-wide pandemic began in 2019 giving most everyone an involuntary dose of stillness. We may have moved about our homes, but by and large we had to settle in, settle down and come to terms with a stand-still from our “normal” life.

For years, I’ve heard incessant complaints that “there is never enough time”, “life moves so fast”, “I wish things would just slow down”, “I’m tired of the rat-race”. And so, in a way, we received what we asked; a quieter time, a space to do nothing, an opportunity to do some projects we never had time for, enjoying a hobby or putting a puzzle together, a chance for self-care with less commuting, and maybe more quality experiences with our loved ones like conversations or dinners with the kids since they were home.

What is Stillness?

Stillness is the quality or state of being calm or inactive, however, there is much more to it. Maybe you had a slice of stillness while you were stuck at home.  Maybe stillness was drastically uncomfortable.  Maybe it took some easing into. Maybe you discovered that while your body was idle, your mind was still racing. The power of stillness can serve all aspects of ourselves, mind, body and emotions. When we arrive at being still we can enter into a world of inner peace and equanimity, and this doesn’t mean your external world needs to alter. Silence is nice but it’s not necessary to enjoy the benefits of stillness.

What are the Benefits of Being Still?

Makeda Pennycooke outlines the top twelve benefits on her website.  She states that practicing stillness can ease stress, allows you to be fully present and can heighten your ability to listen more attentively.

Author, Ryan Holiday analyzes how stillness can save us from the chaotic, hectic world by developing inner peace through stillness. His book, Stillness is the Key emphasizes that this takes practice, patience and dedication to reap the benefits. He further goes on to highlight benefits of developing a strong moral compass, to reflect and contemplate, and cultivate deeper relationships.

For me, the power of stillness affords me solitude to be self-aware and listen to my intuition. From this I gain perspective and clarity.  Sometimes I even let go and just be – with no expectations or demands put on myself or from others. This is quite freeing.

How to Find Stillness in Our Busy Lives

Stillness exists, so you don’t have to exert energy looking for it.  Rather remove as much of the external noise, distractions, notifications, full schedules, busyness and stressors as much, and as often as possible. In our 21st century, this may not come easy. The art of stillness may feel odd because we are conditioned to always be doing instead of being.  If we aren’t doing something, we may feel guilty or accused of being “lazy”. We may become bored and restless since we haven’t ever slowed down and rested. We may have a false sense of purpose, importance and feeling accomplished by going, going, going. However, I can tell you as a compulsive “doer” and always going like a hamster on a wheel, switching off can be a skill you will appreciate.

I started with my calendar and blocked off one Sunday of the month – just to experiment and see how it felt. I did not schedule anything! Even if there was something fun happening or an event I wanted to attend, I honored my decision and commitment to the experiment. I wanted to learn how to be still. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed having a day “off”, to do as I pleased, at any given moment, by myself, so much that I added a second Sunday to the month, and then at least half a day to the other weekend days. I have come to savor these Sundays of Stillness. There are moments I putz around the house, read a book, take a nap, or sit in silence. I now realize the power of stillness in that I’m more productive throughout my week because of it.

The Art of Stillness
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Another way to start is with your own breathing. Close your eyes and let your deep breaths relax your body.  Notice the stillness within your own body, and perhaps the mind can relax too. I find that when I bridge stillness with silence I notice how relax and peaceful I become. Years ago, my car radio went out. This was before bluetooth stereo systems or cell phones, which avert us from silence as well. For days, I went “nuts”.  It was so automatic to have the music blaring, that the silence was almost unbearable. To turn this around, I chose to observe my thoughts instead.  WOW – what an eye opener to the busyness, and not always helpful thinking that was occurring. Even though the car’s radio was fix, I purposely would drive in silence.  This could be another easy way to find stillness in your busy day. As with any practice, start small and be consistent. Set a timer, turn off the noise and begin with 5 minutes of silence. Maybe you too, will embrace the quietude.

What is Meditation?

Finally, I believe one of the most effective ways to finding stillness is by meditating. As you explore meditation, you can happen upon a myriad of definitions, methods, perspectives and techniques. There is no right or wrong way, as meditation is an individual state of being. The general purpose of meditation is to become mentally aware and seeking an experience of emotional ease and peacefulness.

My first hint of meditation or mental stillness was during a yoga class in 1992. The asana portion of the class settled down my physical nervous system, which gave way to sitting in meditation. The teacher reassured us that there would be thoughts running between our two ears, and to observe these thoughts rather than attempt to rid or judge them. “Just breathe and observe”, he would kindly whisper like a gentle breeze floating by.  It may have appeared that everyone was in stillness, but I for one, was squirming.  I wondered when this was going to be over!  Heck, I did my yoga “exercise”, and had to run errands before traffic got bad and the kids got home. “Hurry up!”  keep looping AND then the words “breathe and observe” were finally heard. So I observed my breathing, and then I observed my thoughts, and then I started thinking again, but as soon as I realized I was thinking, I would shift my attention to observing my thoughts and breath. This only lasted a few more minutes, and then the teacher guided us to complete the class. At that moment, I wanted to stay in meditation or whatever that experience was, because it felt so rewarding.

As Sarah McLean, Director of FeastForTheSoul.org says; “We all have thoughts, as it’s the nature of the mind to think. The most important aspect of meditation is your willingness to keep going, to keep on bringing your focus back to the object of your meditation. It’s a training that helps us to pay attention on purpose. And it can change the landscape of your brain”!

How to Meditate

You don’t have to sit at the top of a mountain or spend 40 days in an ashram to learn how to meditate. As described throughout this article, there are many ways to meditate. You can meditate open eyed while watching the ocean waves or sit and observe your breathing pattern. You can use a free app such as InsightTimer which offers everything from a timer to music, along with guided practices from experienced contributors.

Katie Swartz, founder of BeMeditation has created a unique way for you to learn how to meditate through a live, virtual meditation studio. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned meditator, you can experience a wide variety of numerous classes scheduled day and night with meditation teachers from all over the world who will guide you with something new each time.

“The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.” – Sakyong Mipham

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati

Coach | Motivational Speaker | Mentor
barbarabadolati.com
bewellretreats.com

about

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati, founder of BeWell Retreats has been a key player in the evolution of wellness since 1986. Her dedication to this field has included creating corporate wellness cultures, opening several yoga studios, providing health and life coaching for individuals, and leading worldwide retreats. The foundation of her work is to empower the individual toward greater health and well-being through lifestyle, mindset, movement and meditation. You can experience all of this and more through her virtual retreats and classes at BeWellRetreats.com

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Be a Conscious Creator of Your Own Reality

Be a Conscious Creator of Your Own Reality

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When you read this title, how does it make you feel? Do you feel skeptical, frightened, confused, hesitant or anxious? Or do you feel empowered, excited, assured, eager, at ease? Maybe you feel variations of all the aforementioned.  Regardless of how much you adopt this premise, you are contributing to your future by your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, choices and actions, whether deliberate or not. And therein lies the key; how deliberate, purposeful and intentional are you?

The Keys to Conscious Creation

I first heard this quote from one of my favorite authors, Maia Toll and it’s one of my daily guideposts; “Energy follows intention”. Beginning with purposeful intention is a key component to consciously creating our reality. It takes deliberate attention of our thoughts, feelings and actions, yet there could be times that our desires are so strong, that the focus is on what’s lacking.

Therefore, the sister to intention is appreciation. The feeling of appreciation can shift our perspective. Appreciation provides observation of what does exist, which fuels intention and builds confidence in actualizing our desires.

How to Build Confidence in Creating Our Desires

Go on a “rampage” as taught by Esther Hicks. I recommend playing some favorite upbeat music and writing everything you appreciate for 5 minutes. Set your timer and GO! Have fun with this. It’s ok to pause and let your mind wander, then bring your consciousness back around to more of what you appreciate. This could be as simple as how you enjoyed the cup of coffee you drank this morning to playing with your pet. Don’t discount anything – there is usually more to be appreciative of since people generally take much of their lives for granted.

Then reflect on your list and acknowledge everything you created within your life. If you can experience a good cup of Joe and be blessed to have a pet to enjoy. Yet, there is probably so much more you can reflect on which you’ve manifested or co-created with Life itself. Confidence builds upon acknowledging your successes, even with many failures in achieving them. It’s like building a muscle; the more times you lift a heavy enough weight the stronger you become.

The Mercury Comet Manifestation

When I was 9 years old, my mom and I visited a friend of hers who, out of respect, I referred to as “Aunt Sue”. When we arrived, Aunt Sue took us for a ride in her new car which only had two front doors. I remember thinking, “where am I going to sit?”. Then with a flip of a lever, the front seat popped forward and I could see my place. I climbed into the small space, spun around and slipped onto the leather seat.

As I looked around the interior, I liked what I saw! It was sooo cool to me. I bellowed from the back seat, “What kind of car is this?”. Even though I didn’t know much about make and models at that age, I locked into the response “this is a Mercury Comet sweetheart”. I distinctly remember thinking; “when I grow up and can drive, I’m going to get one of these cars”! And then I never thought about it again.

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Why letting go is important

When we hold on too tightly to what we want, when we try to make what we want to happen, when we keep asking, the conscious and subconscious mind are saying; “I don’t believe, I don’t trust, I better ask more just in case my desires weren’t heard”, and on and on. The inner message given repeatedly is I don’t believe. Not just believing with from your head but believing from all your heart.

Remember the Mercury Comet I discovered when I was 9 years old. I declared that I would get one when I could drive. Guess the make and model of my first car?

When I turned 17, I had to drive to and from my part-time job, so my grandmother helped me make that first big purchase. We walked around the used car lot and the dealer said, “here is one that fits your budget”. It was a red 2 door Mercury Comet. I LOVED that car, yet it was nearly 20 years later that I recalled the declaration I had made when I was only 9 years old, not knowing anything about being a conscious creator. In many ways, this manifestation occurred because I didn’t dwell on it.

One of my spiritual teachers told me, “say your prayer, and when you’ve finished, thank the powers to be for answering your prayer for the highest and greatest good for all concerned”.

What’s the difference between Intention and Purpose?

Think of purpose being the energy that fuels intention. You can intend for a smooth ride to the office as you breeze through green lights and land the perfect parking spot, but why? You can train for a half marathon, experience the race, and maybe shave minutes off your time, but why? What’s the purpose? You can intend to invest in law school, study and pass the bar exam, but for what reason? What is the purpose behind or underneath any of your desires?

When you are clear why you want what you want, your purpose activates laser focus attention on your intention. You can also navigate the excuses or obstacles to believing you can have what you desire. Here’s a fun formula to remember this: Y > X meaning your whY is greater than your eXecuses.

“Begin each day as if it were on purpose.” – Kevin Bisch, screenwriter (“Hitch,” 2005)

How to find support

There is a plethora of books, videos, meet-ups, facebook groups, and maybe even a group of like-minded people you could gather to support one another.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Nate Guadagni began a LOA club that focuses on health, wealth, love and freedom. When I attend this bi-monthly online community, Nate provides some gentle movement to nourish our body, and then provides a different exploration into the Law of Attraction. You can learn more at LawofAttractionFreedom.com

Soul Coach, Michele Joy (yes, that is her last name) Law of Attraction in Action podcast

Of course, I mentioned Esther Hicks who interprets non-dimension group consciousness referred to as Abraham. Esther and her late husband, Jerry have authored numerous books, sharing their teachings in a variety of media.

Trust your own inner guidance. The right resource will show up because of your purpose and intention.

What if I don’t like what I’ve created in my life

This is common, whether we are aware of being a conscious creator or not. We all have things, people and situations throughout our lives of which we are not happy with. When you become aware of this, follow this process below:

  1. Appreciate that you became aware of what you don’t want.
  2. Forgive yourself and realize you made choices at the time based on the knowledge, understanding and awareness you had at that time. And so too, did others.
  3. Now that you have new knowledge, understanding and awareness, as well as a new desire based on what you don’t want, you can choose differently.
  4. Declare what you want and who you are becoming because of this declaration.
  5. Gather support, whether it be people, books, learning techniques or attending an event such as; BeWellRetreats.com, online and in person programs and classes to further your growth and well-being.
  6. Recognize all that you have created for yourself and your life. Celebrate this.

Enjoy the Ride of Your Life. You can’t do anything wrong. You are loved and cared for.

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati

Coach | Motivational Speaker | Mentor
barbarabadolati.com
bewellretreats.com

about

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati, founder of BeWell Retreats has been a key player in the evolution of wellness since 1986. Her dedication to this field has included creating corporate wellness cultures, opening several yoga studios, providing health and life coaching for individuals, and leading worldwide retreats. The foundation of her work is to empower the individual toward greater health and well-being through lifestyle, mindset, movement and meditation. You can experience all of this and more through her virtual retreats and classes at BeWellRetreats.com

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The Benefits of Gratitude

The Benefits of Gratitude

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The holidays are a time when giving thanks is more abundant.  We gather together to share food and exchange gifts. However, what if gratitude was an everyday experience?

There are many ways you can express gratitude. Practicing gratitude is one of the fastest ways to shift one’s mood, thoughts and results from whatever is not wanted to what is desired.  If one has the desire to master a particular behavior such as gratitude, it takes practice.  This article gives some ways to begin, how to practice and offers up possibilities of your life changing for the better, all from the simple and always available gratitude practice.

 

When to start a gratitude practice

It’s always best to start practicing gratitude when your energy level is neutral or higher.  When you are happy, at peace or feeling love it is much easier to “count your blessings”.  If you’re feeling blue or complaining about what you don’t have, it will be much easier to turn that perspective around when gratitude is already familiar to you.  Therefore, use the good times to build your practice, so you can rely on this when you may need it most.

Start wherever you are now and continue to evolve.  This is the formula for any self-improvement journey.  Although you can become an avid appreciator, daily awareness, attention and rituals will keep this virtue going strong.  Every day is a new start, so start now.  If you already feel gratitude often, read further on how you can deepen or enrich your practice.

How can you practice gratitude?

Start with an existing daily activity, such as waking up, brushing your teeth, walking to your vehicle, drinking a favorite beverage or eating a meal. Each day choose one routine activity and for one-minute focus on everything you appreciate about this.  Here is a gratitude example, as I’m eating a meal, I can be thankful for the food that nourishes my body, for the various smells, colors, temperature and textures of the food.  I can be grateful for all the people that grew the food, harvested it, and transported it to the market. I can acknowledge all of the people who stocked the grocery store shelves, the cashier who assisted me in my purchase and that I have resources to buy my food.  I can be grateful to everyone involved in preparing my meal, myself included.  If this didn’t take up a minute, I could extend my appreciation to the soil, rain, sun and miracle of a seed that made this meal possible.  Many of us take our daily experiences for granted.  In beginning a gratitude practice, it’s easiest to start when you appreciate what you have or are already doing.

 

Why is gratitude important?

There are 4 scientifically proven benefits of being grateful.

  1. Relationships – People are more likely to reciprocate acts of appreciation and acknowledgment when you display these genuine gestures according to Positive Psychology March 2020 leading to friendships and healthier relationships.
  2. Physical Health – Gratitude improves physical health according to slew of studies over the past 20 years, one being GGSC at UC Berkeley, 2018. Research shows a correlation of gratitude and having a stronger cardiovascular system, reporting fewer aches and pains and better sleep.  It is also noted that people who have feelings of appreciation and happiness engage in other lifestyle behaviors like eating well and exercising in ways that are fun.
  3. Mental Health – A study from Nationwide Childrens May 2020 states: People who regularly express gratitude for the positive things in their life are shown to be happier overall, leading to lower rates of stress and depression. Expressing gratitude can improve your mood and showing gratitude can make you more optimistic. Not only does gratitude reduce stress, it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.
  4. Emotional Well-being – Researcher Robert Emmons, PhD, has extensively studied the link between gratitude and well-being. He has found that gratitude can reduce negative emotions such as envy, resentment and frustration.  Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were found to be more empathetic toward others and had higher self-esteem.  Grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s successes.

 

Besides enormous benefits, cultivating a gratitude practice doesn’t take much time or cost any money.

The Benefits of Gratitude
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How to be grateful when times are difficult?

“When it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” – G.K. Chesterton

Studies have shown that whatever we focus on expands. Therefore, when we focus on lack our attention goes to what we don’t have.  When we focus on abundance, we notice more of what we have.  “Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously, as parallel realities”, states Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of the mid-90’s best seller, Simple Abundance.  Breathnach goes on to say that abundance is not only in the things we possess, but in our relationships, work, personal pursuits, nature, health and love.  When we choose to revel in all that we have, our minds and energy follow along.

Gratitude can change challenging situations or difficult times into a positive one.  It’s easy to be thankful for good things, yet mistakes teach us valuable lessons, limitations are opportunities for improvement, and if we don’t have everything we desire, it could mean there is something to look forward to.  Having a daily gratitude practice can shift your mind from the negative to the positive, and offer you a deeper feeling of joy, as well as acknowledging the evidence of more good coming into your life.

 

Gratitude Day Activities for New Possibilities

Each night before going to sleep, spend 15 minutes writing down all that you’re grateful for.  You may have to dig deep but keep exploring.  Then notice how you feel.  Keep this practice going every night for at least 40 days. It is said in yoga traditions that it takes 40 continuous days to rewire a habit.  Take it further and continue for 90 continuous days to establish the new habit of daily journaling which affects your conscious and subconscious mind, attitude and behaviors, opening your life to new and better possibilities.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” coined by Jim Rohn applies to the power of gratitude.  Therefore, surround yourself with others who practice gratitude and be a model of thankfulness as well.  Before any of us could walk, we began to crawl.  We also watched others walking, which gave us further desire and modeling to achieve standing on two feet and moving forward.  Throughout our lives we have received help and have helped others.  Sharing and showing appreciation is a powerful act which uplifts others and one’s self.

Inspirational quotes to keep you going

Whether you are a thankfulness newbie or a gratitude guru, everyone can use a little pick-me-up.  This article also includes some of favorite go-to quotes to keep a high vibe and remember what life is all about.  I hope they help you to remember your blessings too.

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” —Cicero

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar

“When things go wrong, take a moment to be thankful for the many things that are going right.” – tinybuddha

“Thank you” – Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati

Coach | Motivational Speaker | Mentor
barbarabadolati.com
bewellretreats.com

about

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati, founder of BeWell Retreats has been a key player in the evolution of wellness since 1986. Her dedication to this field has included creating corporate wellness cultures, opening several yoga studios, providing health and life coaching for individuals, and leading worldwide retreats. The foundation of her work is to empower the individual toward greater health and well-being through lifestyle, mindset, movement and meditation. You can experience all of this and more through her virtual retreats and classes at BeWellRetreats.com

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How to Prepare for a Virtual Wellness Retreat

How to Prepare for a Virtual Wellness Retreat

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Is a Virtual Wellness Retreat Effective?

Whether you attend a retreat in person or virtually, “retreating” is a deliberate act to revitalize and nourish your connection with yourself.  With travel being limited at this time due to the global pandemic, a virtual retreat, such as BeWell Retreats is a perfect antidote.  When you prepare for a virtual wellness retreat, you can get the most from it, much like any vacation or get-away.

 

Why Are Retreats Important?

As a retreat goer of decades, I can speak personally to the spiritual evolution, personal growth and transformations I have experienced.  One of the most transformative retreats I attended was how to start meditation.  Now, years later, I’m teaching meditation for several companies and include meditation as a component of the retreats I lead.  Many times, retreats can lead us exactly where we need to be.  To be changing careers, to be forgiving our past, to be with different people, to be vulnerable, to be safe in being ourselves.

Retreats allow us to immerse ourselves in consciousness, healing and wholistic health.  Retreating can give us the time and space to reflect, explore, inquire, learn and share.

By attending a retreat, regardless of where and how long it is, we give ourselves the opportunity to be renewed and enter back into our everyday lives with a new (and usually better) perspective.  We also learn techniques, methods and skill which can enrich our personal, interpersonal and professional lives.

Since most of us live a fast-paced life during stress-filled and stressful times, it is even more necessary to give ourselves self-care.  Virtual retreats provide a convenient, affordable and easy way to relax and rejuvenate from the comfort of our own home.

How do I Start to Prepare?

The best way to start is to define your intention.  In regard to attending or going on a retreat; what do you most need or desire?  What would you be open to? What would you like to receive? The expression; “energy flows where intention goes” pertains to where you place your attention during the retreat.

When you know what your desire is and give it your intention and attention, you can be more successful in receiving that which you desire. This is true in living an intentional life as well.

Oprah Winfrey speaks about how she decided to become aware of her every intention in order to create a different outcome. “Beneath each thought and choice lies your deepest intention.”

Regardless of the retreat theme, setting your intention will carry you through your experience with the best outcome, and perhaps serendipitous surprises too.

 

Allow Yourself to Open Up to New Experiences

Beyond your intentions, retreats, whether in-person or virtual will fulfill you in unexpected ways if you are open to this notion. Retreats invite a safe container for many different people to come together sharing a mutual risk of vulnerability.

When we try something new or beyond our comfort level, it can feel scary and disconcerting. However, when we know we are with skilled professionals and those who’ve had the experience we are about to embark on, we can trust the process, and being guided for our best interest. Being open to this is where the transformation can occur.

Retreats are usually a blend of fun and relaxation with adventure and exploration.

I recently came across Bold Spirit Travel that brings women together for inspired adventures around the globe.  These real-live journeys and virtual tours offer an experience of different cultures crafted by women travel pros who know and love the destinations touted.  Even a few moments exploring their website eases trepidation.

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”  – ANAÏS NIN

How to Prepare for a Virtual Wellness Retreat
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What Does Vulnerability Mean?

Most people avoid putting themselves in a vulnerable position to reduce the risk of being emotionally attacked or ridiculed. This can extend to physical vulnerability, especially when traveling outside of the familiar. Virtual retreat experiences provide the opportunity to open up your heart and open yourself to others from the safety of your own home (or wherever wi-fi exists), whereas in-person retreats are longer in length and thus, a greater potential for vulnerability.  Recently, after going through a revealing activity at BeWell Retreats, I felt compelled to share with the attendees. The retreat focused on self-care, yet I fell guilty in not heeding my own advice.  Regardless, most personal growth retreats are well thought out and crafted to support benefits of vulnerability:

  • Builds trust and intimacy in relationships.
  • Fosters healthy communication.
  • Builds empathy and understanding.
  • Increases our self-worth.
  • Helps us feel more connected.
  • Allows us to work together more.
  • Helps us overcome our negative emotions quicker.

 

How to Set Up Your Retreat at Home

Let everyone know you’ll be taking the day “off”. Off of social media, phone calls, emails, obligations, responsibilities, etc.  Maybe put a sign on your door that you’ve gone on a retreat. Like going on a retreat in another physical location, you would not have anyone or anything distracting or interfering with your time and attention. Think of this as a digital cleanse, a tech detox or a “disconnect to reconnect”.

With kindness and love, set healthy boundaries for your day.

The day before prepare your favorite meals, snacks and beverages that aligns with your intention. Perhaps a lovely fresh salad, a detox tea or kombucha, a piece of dark chocolate or a favorite fruit.  Maybe your retreat is a fasting or liquid retreat, which you would still need to prepare for.  If the retreat is professionally organized, suggestions may be made, or you may need to research for your dietary needs and the purpose (intention) for specific foods and/or beverages.

Think about what your home space could be for retreating.  Think of fulfilling all of your senses; sight, smell, sound, touch and taste.  Do you want to use different rooms of your home? Where can you sit, lie down or lounge throughout the day. Is there anything you can do to make this more enjoyable or accommodating, such as moving furniture, or clearing clutter?

Do you want to be outside some of the time, on your patio, porch, yard?

You may be doing a movement or yoga class which is done barefoot. Do you need a yoga mat, or other props?  What items would be nourishing to have around you?

Here are some ideas: flowers, a diffusor, essential oils, candles, a childhood photo of yourself, crystals, mala beads, something from nature such as a shell, leaf or stone.

Finally, be in comfy clothing.  Wear what you can move in, lounge in and be active in. Wear layers or have a shawl or wrap close by.

Retreating is the ultimate self-care experience, which you choose for yourself.  Make yourself a priority and give yourself this gift as often as possible.

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati

Coach | Motivational Speaker | Mentor
barbarabadolati.com
bewellretreats.com

about

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati, founder of BeWell Retreats has been a key player in the evolution of wellness since 1986. Her dedication to this field has included creating corporate wellness cultures, opening several yoga studios, providing health and life coaching for individuals, and leading worldwide retreats. The foundation of her work is to empower the individual toward greater health and well-being through lifestyle, mindset, movement and meditation. You can experience all of this and more through her virtual retreats and classes at BeWellRetreats.com

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How to Practice Non-Judgment

How to Practice Non-Judgment

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If you want to be free, learn how to not be judgmental. This may seem like an unattainable state, but it is achievable. Like anything that we want to improve upon, it takes desire, a heightened state of awareness and consistent practice. If you’ve got the desire and awareness, this article outlines the three concepts to practice when you are judging yourself or others. These three concepts are; seeing the best in others, forgiving yourself and cultivating joy. I hope you will enjoy the non-judgmental quotes included as well.

Why Do We Judge?

Although I’m not a theologian or licensed psychologist, I have identified a few theories as to why we judge ourselves and each other. Perhaps, some of these will resonate with you as they do with me.

  • Growing up in an environment in which we were subject to judgment and criticism.
  • Not receiving the messages or modeling of acceptance, appreciation, love and encouragement.
  • Experiencing one or many incidents wherein our self-esteem, body image, intelligence or character was damaged, marred, ridiculed, shamed, humiliated, condemned, judged, or criticized.
  • Creating a story or perception in our own minds where we believe we are being judged.
  • Judging to compensate for our insecurities.
  • Media’s continuous influence that something is “wrong” with us, that we are flawed and need to be changed if we want to be loved and accepted.
  • Our brains attempting to make sense of something or someone that doesn’t fit our paradigm.
  • Feeling and/or believing we are all separate from one another as a species.
  • Wanting to be right.
  • Having a sense of superiority, a belief of being better than others, a false perception of control.
  • Fear.

“The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.” – Unknown

How to Not Judge Others

One of the first virtues demonstrated to me in my formative years was coined from Thumper, the adorable (yes, adjectives are a form of judgment) bunny animated in the 1942 Disney movie; Bambi.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” – Thumper

There were many times I would run home from school, wailing to my mother that kids were not being nice and not saying nice things. In all of my innocence, I was doing my best to up-hold the virtue I was taught, yet others were not! I was confused, hurt and dismayed. In her wisdom laced with kindness a child could comprehend, she explained that everyone is different, whether it be the color of their eyes, or the scale of ‘nice-ness’ they expressed. She also cleverly turned my chubby fingers around and pointed them toward my heart, and said; “See the best in others, and in yourself”.

Throughout my life I’ve adhered to the notion that everyone is doing the best they can with the knowledge, understanding and awareness they have at that time. Thank you to my mom, Louise Hay, Sharon Gabriela and many other life teachers, including life experiences which have solidified this time and time again.

 

How to Practice Non-Judgment
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How to Stop Judging Yourself

It may not be pretty, but unless you are a narcissist, you probably do a fair amount of judging yourself. I had a client who wanted to turn this around. We used the following technique to change an internal habit, creating desired results. Every morning, she would place a handful of coins in the left pocket of her pants. Each time she caught herself thinking or saying anything negative or judgmental, she would place one coin into the other pocket. In the first few weeks, the empty pocket accumulating coins quickly. However, rather than instigating shame, she would silently say to herself; “I forgive myself for having that judgmental thought”. As her awareness and forgiveness increased, she reframed her judgment into kind perspectives and positive statements instead.

It’s my belief that gently forgiving ourselves when we notice we are criticizing or judging ourselves is the most powerful first step. The more practiced we become at forgiving ourselves for being judgmental, the easier it is to be loving, kind, joyful, appreciative and compassionate. Self-compassion is true self-care. This transfers to others as well.

“Compassion is the fountain of forgiveness.” – Unknown

Cultivating Gratitude and Joy

A simple and effective method for reducing judgment is to deepen gratitude. It’s impossible for the mind to think two opposing thoughts at the same time. Therefore, the more focus one is on gratitude and appreciation, the less attention is given to criticism and judgment. Like the client who replaced a judgment with ‘I’m sorry’ and a positive statement, we can course-correct by putting attention on what brings us joy or appreciation. A daily practice of acknowledging all that we are grateful for is maintenance in keeping judgment at bay. However, when you fall into the cavern of criticism, take 5 minutes, paper and pen, and write EVERYTHING down that you are grateful for. Keep listing until the timer has gone off. This practice will quickly lift you out of self-destructing, low-vibration thoughts and energy into a happier, lighter frequency, gaining a healthier perspective. If you’re so inclined to take this another step further, choose one of the items off your list. Then write down everything you love and appreciate about that one item for another 5 minutes. This 10 minute activity increases your ‘joy factor’ and most likely will spiral into many areas of your life. With consistent practice, gratitude and joy becomes automatic and a natural way of being.
“It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful.” – Anonymous

Moving from Judgement to Compassion

Although there is an extreme between being judgmental and being compassionate which may appear vast and far reaching, the meditation provided below is a good place to start. This meditation reading offers the recognition that all human beings experience happiness, suffering, health, illness, love, loss, well-being and despair. These extremes vary in length, depth and breadth, a perception if you observe this in others. Likewise, if you reflect on your own life, you can soften into self-compassion.

Loving Kindness, a modified version
Breath In … Breath Out …
Bring a person to mind

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness for her/his/their life”.

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in her/his/their life”.

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair”.

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfill her/his/their needs”.

With attention on this person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is learning about life”.

“Compassion is a state of constant giving of the self for others.” – Unknown

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati

Coach | Motivational Speaker | Mentor
barbarabadolati.com
bewellretreats.com

about

Barbara Badolati

Barbara Badolati, founder of BeWell Retreats has been a key player in the evolution of wellness since 1986. Her dedication to this field has included creating corporate wellness cultures, opening several yoga studios, providing health and life coaching for individuals, and leading worldwide retreats. The foundation of her work is to empower the individual toward greater health and well-being through lifestyle, mindset, movement and meditation. You can experience all of this and more through her virtual retreats and classes at BeWellRetreats.com

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