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Pilgrimage through the holiday season

   In the Northeast as autumn arrives we enter into a beautiful time. The change in the maple and birch are transforming the landscape into a brilliance of gold, orange, yellow and crimson. A meditation student commented on the gorgeous leaf she noticed Wednesday, it felt like a gift from nature - of awakening.

   Have you taken time to notice? Perhaps you can consider the possibility that this season of blazing splendor is a brilliant reminder of the brilliance within each one of us. We may touch into our brilliance once in a while, maybe. So how do we sustain the awareness of this 'inner' brilliance as the leaves begin to fade and fall off the trees?

   As I become acutely aware of the change of seasons I marvel at our ability as human beings to transform our own personal lives. What is it to transform? What does awakening do for you?  Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present moment with intention, nonjudgmentally and with kindness. For me the practice of mindfulness meditation has allowed me to begin to awaken into life. As I teach mindfulness meditation a common challenge is time stress. People truly find it difficult to create a space of 20 minutes to just be. What does this feel like to know you can’t seem to find 20 minutes of time to recharge and renew your precious self?

   As we begin to practice mindfulness, we become aware that we have a choice in how we move throughout our day and you can begin to ask the question – How do I want to be in life?  Is it important for me to be wakeful and attentive to my spouse, my child, my work, my family and friends?  Notice the difference when you are on automatic pilot and when you are fully present to this moment of experience. For example, when you notice the exquisite multi colored leaf laying on the ground in front of you, you could have just walked on it without noticing!

   It takes great courage and perseverance to learn mindfulness meditation, to choose to wake up to our lives. When we do we receive such abundance of knowing we can truly live each day, each hour, each moment. To be fully awake to our experiences, rather than just going through the movement of living.

   As Thanksgiving arrives we can prepare for it by exploring the attributes of generosity, gratitude, and the natural abundance. Each Thanksgiving my family shares what they are most grateful for. It’s a practice that brings us all into the present moment and recognize the gifts in our lives.

   Opening ourselves to the gathering darkness of early winter we continue on into the winter holiday season. Just by remembering to notice our breath, where it is in the body enables us to come home to ourselves. This practice allows us to be mindful to our conversations, the words we speak and this is especially valuable when family gathers together. Notice if the words leaving you are kind? What is your intention?

Wishing you all a peaceful and kind holiday season.