There is an alternative.

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By v.ronnica on Shutterstock

JUST BREATHE.

I’m a meditator. I teach meditation. And sometimes, for weeks in a row, I don’t get on the cushion and meditate. There, I’ve said it.

But what I do every day is breathe. And I do it in a way that kicks my vagus nerve into gear, over and over. The vagus nerve triggers my parasympathetic nervous system to help me calm my over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system. That process allows me to function as a decent human being, i.e., mindfully moving through my day without doing too much damage to myself or anybody else.

I started meditating to…


Saying less doesn't just work in business meetings. My partner has earned the respect of everyone I know by simply listening, and waiting, and offering his opinion in a few words, when asked. At times, I sit in awe.


to make the world a lot less lonely.

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Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in the world, but people capable of giving them their attention.” Simone Weil

Some of us are living in a crisis of conscience. We are ashamed that we haven’t done more to alleviate the bigotry and injustice that has always been here.

We wonder what we can do to be part of the solution. Take a class, read a book, join a group, post on social media. We want to do something big because we need to feel better about ourselves after all the years we did nothing.

Here’s the thing.


To develop patience, practice the pause.

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Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

When you’ve been trapped at home with your family for months, drained of compassion by the Groundhog Day experience that has piggy-backed on Covid, the antidote to wanting to rip your children’s faces off is patience.

We want to be compassionate and loving, to ourselves and others.

But what if compassion is the last thing on your mind when irritation, annoyance, and fear have taken center stage? Compassion for anyone or anything is all but impossible without patience, a more substantial and reliable characteristic.

Patience is my elusive hero. I’ve been working on increasing it for years. I marvel at…


We tell them to find, and connect with, each other.

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By Constantin Stanciu on Shutterstock

If I told you when I was eighteen, my mom, my little brother and sister, and I moved from Troy, Tennessee, to Chicago, you would know a fact about my family. Still, you wouldn’t know me.

But you might know me a little better if I told you that my mom and I were packing up, once again, without talking about why we were leaving another home in the middle of the night. My little brother and sister were sleeping, and my older sister was away at college.

Years of silence and pent-up frustration prompted me to scream, “What the…


Loosen the Iron Grip You’ve had on Some of Your Thoughts.

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By Holmes Su on Shutterstock

Believing every thought we think isn’t a problem — until we assume our ideas and opinions represent facts.

In order for us to be reasoning, thoughtful, beneficial members of society, we need to see our thoughts for what they are. According to Study.com, thoughts are random responses to internal and external stimuli of which we are often unaware.

To me, that says the primary meaning thoughts end up having, is the meaning we give them.

THOUGHT ARE NOT FACTS

In a Mindful article by Elisha Goldstein, Thoughts Are Not Facts, Goldstein encourages us to hold our thoughts lightly. Just because somebody doesn’t wave back…


One predictor is how you answer that question.

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By FabrikaSimf on Shutterstock

Climate change will still be haunting us. Covid-19 isn’t going away any time soon. And the last guy in the oval office won’t stop tweeting until he’s been arrested for any one of numerous charges. And even then, I bet he’ll figure out how to continue tweeting.

The quality of our 2021 will, in actuality, be a reflection of our attitudes and perspectives.

We are self-reflective creatures. We see through a lens that we’ve developed through a combination of our particular neurology coupled with years of conditioning by our psychosocial environment and personal experiences.

None of us will see the…


Not if you’re a meditator

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By romeovip_md on Shutterstock

“In all your life, only a few moments matter. Mostly you never get a good look at them except in hindsight, long after they’ve zipped past you.” From Tana French’s New York Times best-seller, Faithful Place.

As a child, I was pretty serious. I thought about big things. What does it mean that the universe is infinite? How can the trillions of cells in our bodies work together in a way that has us walking, talking, loving, hating, and making babies?

Today I’d call them existential thoughts — ideas about unexplainable and incomprehensible things that are still true. …


Hint: It’s not the candy’s fault that I overdo it.

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Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash

It’s not Covid-19.

It’s not capitalism or socialism.

It’s not the control freaks in my life.

It’s not conservatives or liberals.

It’s not my nomadic childhood.

It’s not pro-lifers or pro-choicers.

And I’m not to blame either.

Let’s throw out the idea of blame. As far as I can see, it’s never made anything better.

If I can’t blame you, the world, or myself, how can I account for my misery?

When I’m miserable, I’m unhappy because I have abdicated responsibility for creating my own happiness, sense of self-worth, and growth and development.

Taking responsibility for myself is not blaming…

Robyn Norman

Therapist, mindfulness coach, writer. Trying to give back as much as I’ve gotten. Contact me at robyn1001@comcast.net or www.partnersinmindfulliving.com/blog

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