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EFT: The Emotional Freedom Techniques

EFT, the Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a member of the energy psychology (EP) family of psychotherapies. These therapies combine Western psychology methods, mainly drawing on cognitive and behavior principles, with Eastern energy-based healing principles, including acupoint stimulation and chakra balancing. This mind-body approach allows EP techniques to facilitate rapid, positive change.

What is EFT?

EFT combines acupoint stimulation with exposure to an emotionally-charged memory or experience. EFT is built on the theory that every emotional problem is rooted in a block in the energy system because any traumatic event, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can cause a blockage in an energy meridian. This blockage can be thought of as similar to a droplet of water inside a drinking straw. Just as we can tap on a straw to release a trapped water droplet, we can tap on an acupoint to remove a block from the meridian.

EFT can be used as a self-help tool as well as in clinical therapeutic settings. It is an effective tool for working with specific traumatic events, such as accidents and medical diagnoses, as well as more broad-based and seemingly intractable issues, such as depression or low self-esteem. We conceptualize this type of broader issue as a “table top” which is supported by traumatic, though often seemingly insignificant, life events or “table legs”. Using EFT, we remove each of the table legs until the table top collapses.

The EFT Protocol

In EFT, we tap on the side of the hand while repeating a setup statement: “Even though I have this problem, I deeply and completely accept myself.” Then we tap on a series of points while just repeating the problem: “But I have this problem.” Before tapping, we assess our subjective units of distress (SUDS). After one round, or several rounds, of tapping, the SUDS will lower to a 0 or 1.

What Does the Research Say?

Researchers in Seoul, South Korea have identified a physical substrate in the body, composed of very small blood vessels, which correspond with the acupuncture meridian system. These vessels comprise what researchers have named the primo vascular system, and seem to transport biophotons, or biologically emitted photon beams of light. This may be the first scientific explanation of the flow of chi.

While researchers in the East have been studying the body’s energy system, researchers in the West have been studying the effects of EP, including EFT. More than 100 studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals, and 98% have found energy psychology modalities to be effective. To date, four meta-analyses have been conducted, demonstrating a moderate to strong effect size. In the past five years alone, more than fifty studies have found EFT and similar meridian-tapping therapies to be effective for treating depression, PTSD, other anxiety disorders, food cravings, pain, and other physiological symptoms, including blood sugar management and side effects of cancer treatment drugs.

The Takeaway

EFT involves tapping on acupoints while remembering a traumatic event from the past, or while experiencing upset in the present. It is safe and easy to learn, and is an effective tool to relieve many forms of emotional and even physical distress. It may be the best psychotherapy you’d never heard of!

Establishing Right Human Relations

The following article was published in the summer issue of The Beacon.

The effort to establish right human relations is helpful, indeed essential, in integrating the personality with the soul. The lack of “right relations” comes most often from a selfish attitude and an emotional body that is not held steady in the light. It is disharmony in personal relations that very often causes a person to decide that he or she must get hold of him- or herself and make some changes. Our relationships are indeed our greatest teachers.

The desire and the need for harmonious relationships is quite often the thing that puts us on our Path. The pain we feel as a result of disharmony is a real pain; brain imaging studies show that physical and emotional pain “light up” the same regions of our brains. What’s worse, the pain we feel when we are the perpetrator of disharmony is like added salt in our painful wound; we feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty, in addition to our angers and fears. This is a powerful combination that makes most eventually decide that Something Must Be Done.

The work, once committed to, involves a complete reorientation of thinking – away from oneself as victim, toward oneself as creator. When taking stock, we learn to reframe our point of view to include perspective-taking and empathy for the Other. We begin to practice “not taking it personally” and to recognize that when our emotions are getting riled up, it is not actually about the Other person, but about some wound in our own Self that is needing to be healed. We begin to have compassion for ourselves and to forgive ourselves ― that is an essential piece of personality integration. No longer can the mind spend oodles of energy denigrating the emotional body; instead the ego learns to befriend the inner child and to work with it, to heal it and create peace rather than continuing disharmony.

As we practice detachment, not taking things personally and not assuming that we know what the Other is thinking or feeling, we begin to task ourselves with cultivating Right Speech. We begin to be careful with our words, which slows down our emotional reactivity. Our relationships increase in harmony. With more harmony, we are able to create a spaciousness that allows us to strive for utter harmlessness and self-forgetfulness. The body relaxes; health ensues. The seven points of light begin to radiate and we become a fit vehicle of expression for the Soul.

When we have committed ourselves to a spiritual path, our lives change in incredible ways. The old emotional reactions and underlying assumptions give way to a light and peaceful experience. The very intention to bring more “spirituality” into our lives does indeed invite light, and love, and goodwill. These are the cause and effect of establishing right human relations.

A constant reorientation to spiritual values changes a person. At the moment we decide that there Must Be Something More, and determine to find it, our lives change course. A meditation practice may be the single most important tool for self improvement, and such a practice can be hung on the scaffolding of just about any religious or non-religious tradition. Whether we are searching for Peace through mindfulness or are devoted to the Buddha-nature, the Christ, Ishvara, the Divine, or the Beloved doesn’t matter. We begin to ascend the mountain and as we climb, we find that all of our paths converge.

With this awakening of inclusiveness, there can be no denigration of another spiritual tradition, no room for thinking “my way is the Right Way, and yours is, say, a ‘political ideology’”. From our place of inclusiveness we gain empathy and search for the reasons why people behave, often badly, the way they do. Rather than condemning and judging, we seek to understand and to aid, even as perhaps we wish that the reins of power were held by more-evolved hands.  Yet we find solace in knowing that we all learn through pain – individuals and groups alike,

As we work to invoke the Soul, not only do our worldly views become larger and more inclusive, our close personal relations do as well. We cannot but feel hypocritical if we make a fuss about a spiritual practice and then yell at our kids and criticize our spouses. Any momentary experience of mystical union rings hollow if followed by a fight at home.  The Love of the Soul has made its healing felt in every level of our personality-being and we begin to love and forgive ourselves, and from that peaceful place it is impossible to not-love or non-forgive others. And incredibly, when others criticize us we are far from defensive but rather seek to understand and find common ground. Exuding peace and love, others want to know how did we do that? Having sought the Light, the Light of the Soul has made its presence known and we are changed, and we are agents for change. Our seven centers begin to blaze and light our way, and light the Way for others.

EFT for PTSD

A treatment for PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) that uses no drugs, has no side effects, and really works―does that sound too good to be true? Research shows that such a treatment does indeed exist. EFT, the emotional freedom techniques, can resolve PTSD symptoms in as little as five sessions. Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest hospital systems in the US, just published clinical guidelines for using EFT to treat PTSD. The guidelines were created by Dawson Church and colleagues, after reviewing the literature and surveying 448 practitioners to see how clinicians are getting results. Their recommendation: five to ten sessions of EFT for people with PTSD.

We often think of war veterans when we think of PTSD, as well we should: the VA estimates, conservatively, that between 11% and 20% of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD (other sources put the rate at closer to 30%). The rates are even higher among Vietnam War veterans, with nearly a third suffering from PTSD. But PTSD is not just a problem for the military. Indeed, it can affect people who have been in any traumatic situation: those who have been in serious accidents, victims of violent crimes, or diagnosed with life-threatening diseases can develop PTSD; the death of a loved one can cause PTSD-like symptoms.

Nearly 8 of every 100 Americans are likely to experience PTSD during their lifetimes. Most people will go back to normal after a traumatic event, but some will develop symptoms that last more than a month (subclinical PTSD) or three months (clinical PTSD) and that interfere with their lives. The symptoms involve avoiding or “numbing out”; re-experiencing, often with nightmares or flashbacks; and some type of hyper-arousal, like being easily startled, on edge, having trouble sleeping, even having angry outbursts.

After World War II, people used the term “shell shocked” to describe the symptoms of PTSD. For decades, it was believed that veterans could not recover from PTSD. More recently, researchers have been looking for ways to resolve the previously “unresolvable”. Pharmaceuticals have not been an effective solution. In a creative move, the US government invested millions of dollars in a virtual reality technology to help veterans with PTSD. But that program is only available to some veterans, and is very costly and hard to replicate. EFT is effective, safe, has no side effects, all for the price of a therapy session ― except for veterans, who can get services for free through The Veterans Stress Project.

To learn more about EFT and other kinds of energy psychology, see emofree.com, energypsych.org, and my website, transformative-therapy.com. EFT for PTSD can get your life back on track.

Poetry from the Other Side

Earlier this summer, a client of mine―I’ll call her Beth―made her transition out of the body. I had worked with her for a year and a half as she battled a very deadly form of cancer. A few weeks before she died, I visited her in the hospital to do some Reiki healing. A couple of days later, I went back to do another healing session, but this time there were endless interruptions and the healing never got done. When I left her that afternoon, I told her that I would check in and do some distant healing. I went home with every intention to do distant Reiki, but when I tried to connect, I was told that I wasn’t allowed to.

Beth and I emailed each other and she wrote that she was in hospice. I offered to come and visit her and do some more Reiki. In a message on Tuesday, she suggested that maybe I could come on Friday. In the days that followed she was in and out of consciousness as I learned from texting with her husband. We never got the visit scheduled for that Friday, so I tried again to do some distant communication and healing.

When I connected with Bethnic the first thing that I saw was an image of her body lifted over itself. And then she and I began to have a conversation, in which I was reassuring her that it was OK for her to go. I was guided to say things that I’d never thought of before, and the words flowed through me. It was OK for her to leave her teenage daughter. Her early death had been known since before her daughter was born, and all of the decisions that they had made as a family were leading to this point.

When I finished talking I saw my friend standing before a blazing sun looking radiant and reassured, confident, happy, and powerful. Three days later, she died. I attended her funeral, which was an amazing service filled with reverence and love. Many of the women in attendance were wearing head scarves, and some of them were printed with Beth’s poetry. The day was beautiful, and her spirit was surely there, proud to witness the love and devotion of her community.

On the day following her death, another friend of mine was giving a talk on metaphysics and channeling. At the end of her talk, she led our group through a guided meditation in which we connected with a loved one on the other side. In the exercise, we went up a flight of stairs and down a hallway into a room and sat on a bench. Next to us was a box. We were to open the box and see if it had any contents. Mine contained a scarf printed with Beth’s poetry, but I couldn’t read the words.

And then Beth was there. I started hurriedly talking to her but then decided to stop and pay attention! Immediately I saw an image of two women walking arm-in-arm down a ballroom floor, dressed in Victorian style clothing. After that I saw an image of a white horse’s head. Both images gave me the impression that Beth and I have been friends before – that was the reason we had such an easy rapport and felt so close.

And then Beth read the poem that she had written for me.
“True friendship transcends all bounds of time and place.
“The seeds of friendship once planted blossom over many lifetimes.
“Thank you for being my true friend.”

Thank you, my friend. It is an honor to have crossed paths again.

My life is giving birth to me

It is not a comfortable process. There are moments of comfort, certainly. But there are unavoidable moments of painful growth, when I am squeezed and pushed and molded into something new. Painful experience seems to be part of the human condition. We are told that humanity as a whole is progressing under the 4th Ray of Divinity, the Ray of harmony through conflict. That theory is hard to argue with.

Our painful experiences, though, are turning us into something more useful and pure. Pain is the heat applied in the crucible of our existence. When we hold this in our minds, it makes the pain a little easier to bear. When we are able to detach a little from the pain, we can navigate it a little better. One way I’ve found to be a little more detached is to remember that each of us is made up of many parts, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Our bodies are made up of 50 trillion cells, and each of those cells is a little unit of consciousness. Bruce Lipton, in the fabulous Biology of Belief, describes the movement of cells in a lab setting: In a Petri dish, human cells will move toward a sugar source and away from a poison. They have consciousness, of course on a different scale than ours, but consciousness nonetheless. Imagine how they respond to the thoughts we send to them…imagine how they will respond to kinder thoughts.

Our emotions exist on a different level of consciousness than our bodies or our minds. Emotions use different brain structure than thoughts. The limbic system is the emotional brain and the cortex is the “thinking” brain. The limbic system sends more signals up to the cortex than the other way around, which helps explain why emotions can sometimes overwhelm reason. Luckily we can learn to take a more detached position, and when we do, we begin to notice the flow of emotions. We still experience them, but without drowning in them.

Our thoughts are different from our feelings. Our thoughts sometimes run away with us, but with practice we learn to control them. The first step to this control is to witness them. We notice them arise and float away, and begin to realize that we have thoughts, but we are not our thoughts. We have been told that with our thoughts we create the world. As I look back on my own life experiences, it seems that there is some truth to this. But often we create by accident or default because we create the things we are afraid of. With practice we can learn to use our thoughts to create the things that are for our higher good.

The highest level of being that most of us are able to access at times is the level of our Soul, which is who we really are. Instead of identifying with the passing pleasure and pain of our 3-D physical world, we are learning to identify with a higher purpose, a higher level of consciousness. When we contact our soul, we experience pure joy, gratitude, and peace. We become more intuitive and less critical, and realize that when one member of our human family is suffering, we all suffer. We come to understand that we are more than what meets the eye.

I think that is the purpose of our suffering: To teach us to shift our focus upward. Painful experience shows us that we are placing our attention on the temporary and transient rather than the real and transcendent. Holding on to this idea has helped me to witness my suffering on one level, even as I participate in it on another. This eases the pain and opens me up to pure joy. And that is pretty fantastic!

The Chakras: Foundations of Health

The chakras are energy vortices that conduct energy though our energy field and into our bodies. Each of the seven major chakras is associated with a particular gland, and the functioning of the glands is a reflection of the functioning of the chakras. The chakras also affect the organs near them. Each chakra is also associated with a particular set of emotions and with a level of our aura, or energy field.

Energy moves through our chakras and into our bodies via nadis, which are etheric or energetic patterns of our nervous system. They also send energy into the governing and central vessels, which run our meridian system; from there, energy is distributed throughout the entire meridian system. It is not an overstatement to say that the function of our chakras is foundational to our overall health and wellbeing. Here are some basic ways the chakras affect our health:

1st chakra: Imbalances in the first, or root chakra affect our “will to live” and ability to get along on the physical plane. When we have a block or sluggishness in our root chakra, we may be “spacey”, or unable to manifest the best life we are meant to live. Over-activity of the root chakras is associated with over-activity of the adrenals, so we feel stressed.

2nd chakra: Imbalances in the second or sacral center are common, as this is the center related to our emotional life. The sacral chakra is related to the gonads, so imbalances lead to sexual problems and problems with the sex glands. Sacral imbalances also lead to emotional problems, and problems with money and relationships. This is an area of creative expression, so a block or over-activity will also affect our ability to create.

3rd chakra: The third or solar plexus chakra is related to the pancreas and its neighbor, the spleen. The spleen is responsible for circulating prana, or energy, throughout our body; it actually has its own mini-chakra, but is closely related to the solar plexus center. The pancreas, of course, is responsible for fueling our body by regulating blood sugar levels. Dysfunction in the solar plexus can lead to blood sugar problems (hypoglycemia or diabetes), lethargy or over-energy, and stomach and digestive complaints.

4th chakra: The fourth or heart chakra is related to the thymus gland, which runs our immune system and is critical for our overall health. Heart chakra imbalances can lead to problems with the thymus and also to heart and circulatory problems. These problems are most always because the heart chakra is blocked or drained.

5th chakra: The fifth or throat center is associated with the thyroid, which regulates our metabolism. Thyroid problems are linked to dysfunction in the throat chakra. This center is also involved in many throat problems and respiratory complaints.

6th chakra: The sixth chakra, the forehead or “ajna” chakra, is associated with the pituitary body, which is responsible for running our entire glandular system. Blocks in the ajna center are related to endocrine imbalances and some sinus and head complaints, as well as vision and hearing problems.

7th chakra: The seventh or crown chakra is related to the pineal gland, which is responsible for producing melatonin, the sleep hormone; it regulates the body clock. Dysregulation of the crown chakra (and its polar opposite, the root chakra) can lead to sleep problems as well as migraines and other brain issues.

Loving Our Cells

I want to share with you something that has been helpful in my work with clients, as well as being profoundly helpful to me. A lot of my clients are trying to lose weight. This isn’t really surprising, as trying to lose weight is so common that it is practically an all-American pastime. A lot of us criticize our bodies and criticize ourselves for not having an “ideal body”. I’d like to turn that around and start loving ourselves—we can start by loving our cells.

It is a struggle to eat the SAD diet—that’s the acronym among “healthies” for the standard American diet—while trying to grow healthy and strong. In our culture, we are fed a constant barrage of media images that idealize an unrealistically super-thin woman (Martha Beck once referred to this as a “stick figure with boobs”) and an unrealistically super-cut man with a six-pack. All this while our population balloons to ever-greater BMIs—one of the areas in which the USA leads the world.  This causes a lot of us to dislike our bodies and feel bad about ourselves as we don’t appear to “measure up.” The negative body image often leads to shame and hopelessness and a host of other negative feelings.

Having a negative body image is destructive. It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with our bodies when that relationship is built on criticism and dislike. And it really isn’t fair to dislike our bodies. Here’s a different perspective on why this is so: Our bodies are made up of 50 trillion cells. Each cell lives for about seven years, and each has a certain kind of job to do in our bodies. Moreover, when those cells are taken out of the body and put in a Petri dish, they will move toward a sugar and away from a poison. In other words, our cells are alive, and they have some kind of intelligence, some consciousness. (For more on the consciousness of cells, read Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief).

Now, here’s how this is useful: we can shift the way we think about our bodies. We can learn to honor the cells that make up our bodies, the “50 trillion molecular geniuses” as Jill Bolte Taylor calls them in her most-popular TED talk. We shift from “being” our body to honoring it. This leads to a healthy level of detachment, and it is founded in truth. When we realize that we have a body, rather than mistakenly thinking that we are a body, everything shifts. Those tiny molecular geniuses work hard for us all day, every day. They deserve to have us say good things to say to them. They deserve to be loved an honored.

When we love our cells, we can better love ourselves. Making this shift in how we think of our bodies changes our whole relationship with our bodies. We move out of criticism into love. We love our cells, and begin to love ourselves and to appreciate all our various parts, certainly flawed but special anyway, that make us uniquely us. And that is a profound shift.

I had a ghost in my house

When I was younger, I was pretty attached to the idea that we are our physical reality, and nothing more. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust—we live and then die, and that’s that. We are a collection of cells, our consciousness is our brain. We are the body and nothing more.

I don’t think so anymore. Over the last decade and a half, I have had some really weird experiences, or amazing opportunities to rethink how I see the world. Here’s one of them.

In 2003 my kids and I moved into a new house. Pretty soon after moving in I began having nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night with the feeling that someone was watching me, that there was a man in my room. Sometimes it even felt like someone was sitting down on my bed. At that time my ex-husband would drop the kids off early in the morning before he went to work. I would often wake up during the night and go downstairs to the living room couch and sleep there till the kids got home, and the feeling of someone sitting down next to me happened on the couch as well.

I figured I was insecure about living alone. One day I was in the bookstore browsing the New Age section and I picked up a book by Rosemary Altea. She described exactly that feeling of someone sitting down on the bed, only in her story she didn’t think her mind was playing tricks. She knew that a “ghost” was there. I got chills! I was so freaked out I slept at a friend’s house, and when my boys were home I slept on the floor in their room. Fear is a terrible thing. I didn’t tell the kids what was happening, partly to save them from the fear and partly because it seems so crazy.

Jack and Sheila were long-timers in the neighborhood, as they had moved in when the homes were new. I asked them if anyone had ever died in my house. Being a good Irish-American pair they were interested to know why I asked, and they shared with me that the first homeowner had indeed died in the house. Back then, in the late ‘80s, their kids were teenagers and had babysat the couple’s infant while the mom and dad were dealing with his cancer. They remembered that everyone was surprised that the dad died so quickly, and the mom and baby moved away. Neither Jack nor Sheila could remember the guy’s name.

The Universe had my back and I got connected right away to a ghost-buster (I use that term lightly, but this woman really clears discarnate beings out of houses for a living). She came to my house and performed her ceremony: Reiki symbols, sage smudge, lavender mist, frankincense and myrrh filled the house and we waited for the ghost to show up. Soon enough, she told me that he had come to join us in the kitchen. She said he seemed confused, like he was doped up on morphine. He wondered why nobody could see him. He said his name was Jim.

We did a little ritual, guiding him up through the ceiling and toward the light. I just went with it. When the whole thing was over, and he was gone, and the ghost-buster was gone too, I thought “Well that was strange.”

The very next day, Jack and Sheila’s son was visiting them and we ran into each other outside. They asked me how things had gone, and the son asked, “Was it him?”

I answered with a question: “Was his name Jim?”

He nodded. “That was him. His name was Jim.”

You are so much more than what meets the eye.

Tap away your cares

EFT, or The Emotional Freedom Techniques, is getting a lot of press these days. What’s the fuss about? Can tapping really help us do… anything?

The research says it can. EFT has been found to decrease anxiety and depression, treat phobias, and increase feelings of wellbeing. Moreover, there is a significant body of research showing that EFT is an effective tool in treating posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

How does this happen? Most experts agree that EFT is a three-ingredient recipe: thinking of the problem, affirmation, and tapping on acupressure treatment points. The basic setup goes something like this:

While tapping the fingers of one hand on the pinky-edge side of the other hand, say “Even though I have this problem”– (and be specific, like, “I need to lose 10 pounds”, or “I’m distraught because my boyfriend and I broke up”), “I deeply and completely love and accept myself”. Then proceed to tap on the following series of points while re-stating the problem (without the affirmation; eg., “but my boyfriend and I broke up”): inside corners of the eyebrows, outsides of the eyes, under the eye, under the nose, under the mouth, under the collarbones, under the arms, and all around the top of the head. Then go back to tapping the side of the hand and take a deep breath. You should be feeling a little bit better already.

Whatever thought comes up next is fair game for tapping. So, if you are still upset about the breakup, tap on it again; if you think, “It’s OK that this guy and I broke up, I didn’t really like him that much anyway…. But I’ll be that old lady with 50 cats!”, then tap on it! “Even if I’m going to be that old lady with 50 cats, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” Continue to go through the tapping sequence, tapping away whatever comes up, until you feel clear.

For more information and a tutorial on EFT, check out the website of its founder, Gary Craig, at www.emofree.com.

10 ways to boost rest and bust stress

Americans are in a hurry. We rush to work, and rush to get the job done. We then rush home, and rush to get dinner on the table, kids to their activities, homework done, work some more. We rush to get to bed and hope to fall asleep really fast because the morning will be here before you know it, alarms dragging us out of bed to do it all over again.

No wonder we love weekends.

But what are we losing in our fast-paced modern times? Americans are stressed – indeed, almost a quarter of respondents to an American Psychological Associate “Stress in America Survey” reported extreme stress; we are famously unhealthy, with chronic health conditions on the rise: fifty percent of US adults are living with some kind of chronic disease, and 1 in 3 of us is obese. And we aren’t particularly happy: one in ten Americans is living with depression, almost a third of us will experience anxiety in our lifetime, and up to 90% of all doctors visits are related to stress.

When we slow down, we create the space for more happiness and health in our lives. When we rush around from obligation to obligation, where is the joy? …and what is the point?

In order to take back our lives and create a better quality of life, we can make some small choices that will yield big results:

  1. Set a bed time and make it sacred. That bed time should be a little more than eight hours before the alarm will go off the next morning. When we give our bodies a chance to rest and get a good nights’ sleep, we feel different. Research links sleep deprivation with everything from depression to weight gain. Sleeping is one of the most important things we can do for our health, and one of the things we really undervalue in our culture. For the many of us who struggle with insomnia, one of the best treatments is to set and keep regular sleep and wake times.
  2. Decide what you can let go of. If your day is crammed with after-school activities for the kids, which ones are really worth it? A stressed-out kid who is shuttled between gymnastics, dance, and softball isn’t necessarily living the ideal childhood. I remember sitting in the lawn as a kid, watching insects and eating the buds of yellow clover flowers. I can still taste them. I’ll bet my kids don’t know what those flowers taste like; they spent their youth going to practice. It is a shame.
  3. If you are a slave to your housework, think about what you can live without and try to build in efficiencies for the things that matter. A professional organizer can help with that. I remember seeing on the Oprah show years ago a woman who was driving her family crazy because she was such a cleaning freak. After an intervention, she and her family decided not to sweep the floor every night. One less thing to do, one less thing to argue about. In my own home, I decided to trade ecology for the convenience of disposable cleaning wipes; I figured I wasn’t going to solve the waste disposal crisis anyway, and it makes cleaning easier. What are the things you can do to simplify the tasks you have to keep? Which are the tasks you can let go?
  4. Take a walk at lunch time. Even five or ten minutes away from your desk, outside in the real air, is like pushing the re-set button on the day. Take a friend, and don’t talk about work unless it is to laugh about it. In my 20’s, I used to relish lunchtime walks, which were such a reprieve from an unfulfilling job. I thought back then that those walks were moments I’d cherish for the rest of my life. Twenty-five years later, I can say I was right.
  5. Smell the roses. Really. Walk by flowers in bloom and try to catch their fragrance in the air. It reconnects you to the moment and to nature. And makes you happy.
  6. Greet your family when you come home. Make it a ritual. Smile, make eye contact, have a hug. It will connect you to them and allow you to pause and transition to the next thing. And then you will be more mindful about what you are doing.
  7. Bless your food. It is amazing and wonderful that we have such a bounty of colorful, life-giving foods available to us. Taking the moment to honor it before eating slows the pace, increases the mindfulness, enhances the enjoyment. And you’ll eat less, and better.
  8. Take a bath. Let the kids fold their laundry or run the vacuum. Your emails can wait. That endless TV will still be there when you finish. A good soak does a world of wonder to wash away the stress of a busy day.
  9. Take a nap. If you are really tired, take a nap. Just make it a short one or it may disrupt your sleep cycle. Set your alarm for 15 minutes and close your eyes. You will be amazed at how much better you feel.
  10. Don’t buy into the busy-ness. We are caught up in a grand illusion that every little task is uber-important. Imagine you are 90 years old. What would your old, wise self say to the present-day you? My guess is that it would be something like, “Slow down, enjoy your life. It is fleeting.”