Archive for the ‘Mindfulness’ Category

prescription

By Alan Delery

Whenever I still myself long enough to reflect on things, I usually get clarity on life. Past, present and future. It gives me a great sense of peace when I am able to celebrate my accomplishments, forgive myself for my mistakes, enjoy the moment and plan for the future.

When I am not intentional in my practice of reflection, I can easily spend the majority of my life stuck in the unproductive or even harmful thoughts in my head. I noticed this issue when I decided to spend extra time to reflect on and celebrate some accomplishments of my day. I decided to spend 1 minute during a mindfulness practice to simply treat myself by enjoying thinking about and celebrating one particular accomplishment.

While I had a sense of which accomplishment I would enjoy for one minute, I had a hard time naming it in my head. My mind continued to wander on other things. It was like I was determined to dwell on things that I still had to do rather than enjoy the moment of my accomplishment. I began to reflect on the moment that I first completed my task and realized, even then, I hadn’t given myself 1 minute to celebrate. I had done a mental check off the list and quickly moved on.

I got lost in the criticism of myself for not allowing myself to savor the moment. Our minds are good at that. They are always thinking and we have to train ourselves on what we will think on. I was determined not to judge myself and managed to settle on the target of my intention. I regained focus and tasted the satisfaction of my success. It may have only been a minute but it was more than I had allowed myself to do before.

This exercise should be a part of our mental health like lifting weights should be a part of our physical health. There is a physical exercise expression that says, “No pain, no gain” but I’d like to add another one that says, “When we don’t train, we feel pain.”

I am in physical therapy right now for pain that I had been experiencing and after just 2 sessions, I am noticing relief. I thought to myself that if I had simply been doing these exercises sooner, I would not have been in the pain that I was in for as long as I was in it. Some of us are in mental distress because we don’t practice mindfulness or take time to be aware of our thoughts as we think them.

Your mental therapy prescription for today comes from Philippians 4:8-9 and says,  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Stay Peaceful.

P.S. Don’t forget to read our previous post  “Cause for Dogs” and support our youth in their fundraising effort to provide heart-worm treatment for dogs that are eligible for adoption at the LA-SPCA.

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By Alan Delery

shoulder

For those who know me, know that I’ve suffered from frequent headaches. I have been to various doctors through the years but have not determined the exact cause or the remedy for lasting relief. I’m not sure if it’s tension headaches, migraines, stress, food related, water deficiency, some spiritual origin or a combination of several of these causes. I believe this is only temporary and in the meantime, I continue to pray and stay attuned to my mind and body listening to what they might be trying to tell me.

Recently, I think I had a mini breakthrough that has shown some promise of relief. While I was not suffering from a headache, I was using a personal back massage “gadget” that allows a person to target hard to reach pressure points for massage relief. As I was applying steady targeted pressure to my mid shoulder area, I noticed that I triggered a pain in my head that was an exact match to my familiar headache. When I released the pressure, the pain in my head went away. I was able to replicate the same pain on both sides of my head by applying pressure in an exact spot on either shoulder.

Let me stop for a moment and state that I have long been aware that we carry stress on our shoulders and I have used various forms of exercises and stretches to help manage stress but I have never noticed such a close connection between my headache to a specific pressure point. Using this knowledge, I was determined to let my body talk to me to help heal myself. I once read that God allows pain so that we would be aware that there is a problem and deal with it.

Several days later, I became aware that I was starting to get a headache. I grabbed my trigger point self-massage tool and applied pressure to the same spot I had discovered earlier. I also did some shoulder shrugs and in a matter of a couple of minutes, my headache was gone. I am not sure if I ever had pain relief that fast without medicine.

Before anyone gets too excited for me, I have since had a headache that this specific shoulder massage did not help. The good news is that it does help certain headaches and I am learning to listen to my body in a greater way than ever before. I’m using a body/mind connection with more precision.

Several days after this experience of relieving a headache, I was reading in the Gospel of  Matthew and had an insight that I don’t recall having before.

12-15 “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.” —  The Message

While in this passage, Jesus is talking to his disciples about going out in the “harvest” to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, I believe there is a component that can apply as a general principle to live by. The King James translation says, “shake off the dust of your feet” but I appreciate how it is written in The Message as, “Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”

As we go about living our lives, there are people who don’t accept us as we are or there are situations that don’t go just as we have planned and we need to learn to shrug our shoulders and be on our way. We shouldn’t carry these things as a weight on our shoulders as stress that produces all sorts of sickness and disease. Sometimes we have neck, back, and shoulder tension as a result of carrying a heavy weight of care that we need to release. I believe that even when we are doing our godly assignments we can suffer from pain if we do not learn how to release stress and cast our care on God.

There are 3 things that you need to do today. You may not get headaches like I do but if you are carrying any type of heavy weight on your shoulders (mind) it will manifest itself in some way in your life. Your body will tell you if you are carrying stress. First, you need to listen to your body and know that something isn’t right. Second, you need to figuratively shrug your shoulders and let “it” go. Finally, you need to target the manifestation of stress in your body and work it out. You might literally need to shrug your shoulders to release some of the tension out of your body. Take your hand or massage tool and massage your shoulders or some other pressure point in your body.

You need a “Shrug your shoulders and be on your way” attitude. Life is too precious to live it worrying about things.

Do what you know to do and then rest and relax.

“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)

It’s possible that this knowledge is a part of what Jesus meant when he said we are to go out and heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. First, we have to get our inside world right before we can help others.

Have a blessed and peaceful day.

Lately, media coverage would have you believe that the youth of this city are on the wrong path. But then you encounter a group like the team of 12 students in Algiers, who recently decided they wanted to make “peace” the focus of their senior community service requirement, and you realize that hope is alive.

The Algiers Peace Fest, scheduled for Saturday, April 8, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at Brechtel Park, is the brain child of a group of students working with Positive Impact, a youth community service organization.

“We talked about what service learning means and different things we could focus on, but we all agreed that peace needed our attention,” said Kenneth Barnes, a local senior in Algiers.

The group of teens came up with the idea of bringing together community organizations as a sign of unity, and they have been meeting weekly at the Algiers Regional Library to plan the event. The fest will focus on different aspects of peace including inner peace, nonviolence, equality and freedom.

“We didn’t even realize when we picked that day that it fell during National Crime Victims Week,” said Shane Delery, a student participant. “I guess it was good timing because you can’t have a peaceful community or inner peace when you see so much crime in the city.”

The community is invited to come out and participate in the Peace Fest, which will include:

  • Peace through Knowledge: Tables and stations set up by various community groups exploring aspects of peace and nonviolence
  • Peace through Art: A community “peace art” project
  • Peace through Nature: A volunteer clean-up and planting of a “peace butterfly garden”
  • Peace through Community: Flag football game

The community will also be encouraged to explore aspects of inner peace by taking a walk down the park’s trail, which will have multiple self-guided “mindfulness” stations.

Businesses and community groups interested in participating or hosting a table should contact Alan Delery at 504-343-3432 or alan@positiveimpactnola.org.

NOTES:

Brechtel Park is located at 4401 Lennox Ave., New Orleans (Westbank/Algiers)

There is a vehicle entrance fee at the park: $1 for Orleans Parish brake tags; $2 for all other vehicles (for buses: $5 fee with Orleans brake tag/$10 for all others)

by Alan Delery

peace-sign

Several weeks ago, I began the service learning process, with a group of high school students, to develop a youth-led community service initiative. The first step was to brainstorm and plan a project around their interest. After exploring a wide range of themes, ranging from the environment to hunger and homelessness, Peace was identified as their top area of interest.  The following are their ideas around peace that we will use as a foundation for our planning and implementation. Today, I  am simply asking you to read and reflect on the meaning of peace,  in their own words.

  • Peace is calm and content without violence It’s being happy with what’s going on around you and within yourself.
  • To me, peace means solving conflicts without violence or wars or negative things. Peace is when you can come to an understanding with others and trust others.
  • Peace is everyone living together in non-violence despite differences.
  • My definition of peace is freedom living with no anxiety and I can do whatever I need to do without limits.
  • Calm, no drama, no fighting, just chilling!
  • Equality (Racial, gender). Less violence and lack of judgment.
  • When you’re calm and relaxed.
  • The absence of harm or stress.
  • Fair opportunity and treatment.
  • Everything the United States of America owes us, as well as a peaceful soul, mind, body, etc.

We will keep you updated on their next steps and reflections as they embark on a journey of civic engagement. Your skills and talents may also be called upon as they put their thoughts into action. 

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Stay Peaceful

Sniffing “it” Out

Posted: June 9, 2016 in Adventure, Mindfulness

BellaI don’t know why it is but there is something energetic about living life with your nose. I know that can be interpreted a number of ways but let me explain.

I was recently walking my dog Bella, on the Levee of the Mississippi River. I don’t know exactly what breed of dog Bella is but I believe she has some type of terrier in her. She keeps her nose to the ground and sniffs every patch of clovers and just about any object that comes into her path. It can be frustrating at times as the owner holding the leash but on this particular day, I decided to enjoy her experience. I put aside my exercise goal and let her do her thing.

As we continued on our journey, together, I considered the pleasure she must have been experiencing. She would stick her nose deep into a patch of grass and I would wonder what she was sniffing out. For today’s discussion, it doesn’t really matter. My main take away was that I should be more like Bella as I live my life. There are some hidden “treasures” that I would never discover if I didn’t aggressively sniff them out as she was doing.

Sometimes, it’s rewarding to just go for an adventure without knowing what you’re searching for. Just take a walk into the world and see what you discover. You can be discriminate as you go and you will know when you’ve found what was right for the occasion. You will likely take great satisfaction in what you find. It’s the Law of Recognition.

Take a walk sometime soon and sniff around…

Just to be sure that my intentions are clear, I did not literally mean for you to get on the ground like a dog and sniff around. That would look a bit strange to those around you. I’m recommending that you go into your world with the belief that there is something for you to discover today that you might not have expected. When you find “it” you will know and be satisfied. Maybe you’ll roll around in it like my dog does. Bella2

Have a nice day.

Today, I’d like continue with a line of thought from a recent post where I used the analogy of sorting and folding the household laundry to discuss the process of dealing with societies problems. I addressed the thought that might be on a person’s mind who has become overwhelmed with the problems of society. Some have concluded, “Why try?” because it won’t make a difference. As I pointed out, “Love never fails.” We try because of love. We make a difference because Love never fails.

Before we can effectively deal with society’s ills we need our mind renewed. Just as we can be overwhelmed with making a positive impact in the world, we can also be overwhelmed with our own personal issues or attitudes that prevent us from walking in love with both ourselves and others. If we were able to peek into one another’s minds, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw chaos. Crazy thinking that has gotten out of control.

The reality is, we can see into the minds of others by what they say and do.

That leads me back to my initial reference to sorting and folding household laundry. Imagine your mind is the laundry basket full of cloths and your thoughts are all of the items of clothing. Mindfulness is sorting and folding your thoughts into neat piles.

Simply put it’s dealing with your thoughts. Using the laundry analogy, some socks are old and worn out and should be discarded. They are not worth hanging on to. We also have to be careful not to let unwashed items get thrown into the pile by mistake. Sometimes we must take and smell an item to make sure it doesn’t stink. Relating this back to your thoughts, you have to check for stinking thinking.

It’s time to do the laundry. It’s time to sort your thoughts.

Just as we wear clothes on our bodies, we wear our thoughts on our inner man through our feelings and actions. Have you ever heard someone say, “you’re in your feelings?” I put it this way, “you’re in your thoughts and feelings for all to see.” You probably heard the expression, “You wear your heart on your sleeve.”

Imagine what you might look like if the way you dressed represented what your inner man looks like.  Would you be wearing dirty, unkempt, non-matching cloths? The other day, I was getting dressed and went to my unsorted sock basket. Needless to say, this was a very inefficient and frustrating process. Sorted and matched socks are easier to grab than a pile of socks. I pulled out a sock that had its toe cut out. This was not the first time this had happened. Each time I threw it back in the basket.  My wife asked me later why I didn’t just throw it away.

What if I put the sock, with the entire toe cut out, on and went to work?

That’s what we do, when we are not organized in our mind. We put on the first thought that comes to mind, which usually have a feeling attached to it, then walk around in both PRIVATE and PUBLIC for others to see. People might think I was crazy if I was not careful with what I put on.

It’s time to take control of our lives by Doing the Laundry. Casting down every imagination and high thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ. The way we dress impacts the way we live.