Category Archives: Mindful Living

My simple three step plan for busy moms to find more calm in life even when you can’t meditate

Resisting your resistance to meditation

Building a personal meditation practice without resistance.

Busy moms of teens and tweens in particular, often do not have the time to do the important self care that is essential to living with balance in life. Moms often say they don’t have time to meditate even though they know they should.

Does it seem to you like everyone else is living a perfectly balanced life – managing all the busyness, raising productive kids, going on vacations, doing well at work, communicating well with their partner, and seeming like they have it all together? Everyone except you, that is?

You might be saying to yourself

…I know. I know. I know… Everyone around me says the most important thing to do, to have more control over your emotions and to have more balance in your life is to meditate… But isn’t there an easier way – a way that doesn’t take so much time? I don’t have enough time as it is…

…All those busy moms and all those busy professionals out there can’t possibly be taking 30 to 45 minutes a day to meditate… And yet most of them look like they have it all together. And they’re not freaking out or feeling stressed and overwhelmed all the time. I know I should meditate, but I just don’t do it…

Being busy is stressful

The truth is, today’s world is extremely busy and fast paced. It is really hard to find the time to do the things that would most help one to live with balance and peace of mind. It can be stressful to try to build in a stress-reduction plan into your life. And then there’s that adage that if it’s important to you, you (have to) make the time.

You should sit in meditation 20 minutes a day. Unless you are too busy, then you should sit one hour.” – old Zen saying

But maybe you’ve already accepted that. You know that there are certain good things – healthy self care things – that you have to do for yourself – on a regular basis – or you really will lose your mind in the middle of it all.

Self-care is not optional.

You know you have to eat well and exercise as much as possible, and sleep enough, and maybe do some yoga. You have to express yourself and not wait on others to know what you need. You have to prioritize some self-care time, especially when you have a family, relationship or stressful work life to tend to.

Yes, you get all that. And generally you do a pretty good job of taking care of all of that…

But do I have to meditate too?

But this meditation thing has got you flummoxed. Not only is it nearly impossible to fit it in on a regular basis; but once you do carve out some time for it, you realize how resistant you are to doing it, and can’t seem to get over that hump and actually do it – even for five minutes a day. (…Yes, I know that IF it’s really important to me, I’ll make time or find time for it…).

I certainly understand that and have been there myself. Even as a trained therapist and someone who is educated about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, it took me several years to get to it on a regular basis. Several years. Definitely more than a couple. (The amount of time I spent haggling with myself about doing it or not could have given me over a thousand hours of meditation!)

Luckily, along the way, I discovered that it is certainly possible to begin to reap the benefits of meditating, even without a regular practice.

This is what it feels like when we resist meditation

The reluctance we feel about doing something we know to be good for us can come up in many different ways. We might be afraid we won’t really do it right, or that we’ll look foolish doing it. Or that “Yeah, it works for everyone else, but my life is different (special somehow or super complicated) so it won’t work for me.”

We continue to put off our time that we’ve already dedicated to meditation, and let ourselves get busy or distracted with anything else (planning next week’s dinner menus; answering emails; seeing where “Black Panther” or “The Shape of Water” is playing; checking Facebook to see what other amazing thing our acquaintance has posted about their life for us to compare ourselves to and to feel shame about).

We resent the shoulds in our life

We think about meditation as another should that we should do, and then we start to fight it internally. We react as if some Super Task Master/Slave Owner/Micro-manager Boss of us is telling us what we have to do, and we respond the same way we do about other things that are put upon us that we don’t choose – with resistance, refusal, procrastination, stubbornness.

We dig our heels in and we don’t get to it. We make excuses about why we can’t do it (I’ve tried it before and my mind just races too much and I can’t sit still long enough to meditate anyways. It would be wasted time on me. Or How can just a few minutes be enough to help anyone? It’s not worth it because it won’t do any good).

Critical voice in our head

Of course, this feels wretched. We start to get annoyed and frustrated with ourselves for not meditating yet again, especially after we’ve been saying “I know I really need to develop a practice for myself. For sure I’ll start tomorrow.”

Deep down we may not feel worthy of giving ourselves that (indulgent) time to be still and we don’t believe we deserve it. Or we think we should be able to do it without meditation.

But our secret shame starts to turn in on itself. We feel bad about ourselves for not doing what we should do; not doing it right; having something wrong with us anyways in the first place that makes meditation be so hard; plus we really don’t understand it or get how it’s supposed to work.

Our inner critic’s voice gets louder and meaner. We’re critical about the part of ourselves that is resisting this thing that is supposed to be good for us. We make no room for our own likes or dislikes. We shame ourselves with recriminations about why don’t we just meditate?… We feel guilty. In short, we feel like a hot mess when it comes to building a meditation practice.

There must be a reason that everyone is talking about meditation

… OK, so if we could actually take those 20 minutes a day to meditate and stay focused, everyone says we will feel better; we’ll have more balance in our lives; we’ll learn how to handle our emotions better; And be able to feel less anxiety.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to welcome meditation easily into our lives, and to feel a sense of peacefulness in our hearts? We’d love to not yell so much at our family and to feel more connected to our partner. We’d love to have better ways to handle our stress and navigate those teen and tween years more smoothly.

Apparently meditation can even be helpful to improving our expression of compassion, and reducing our acts of racism and violence. It would be great to have more confidence and sense of competence; and to just feel more present and engaged with the people around us.

We do long for that sense of calm that we see some moms exude. We’d love to handle life’s ups and down with more grace and ease, and not be such a hot mess all the time.

Maybe we don’t have to fight it

…Maybe this meditation thing is worth pursuing a little more… Maybe we can just make ourselves do it, one day at a time…

Supposedly meditation can help improve concentration and attention. We do know how hard it is to pay attention and resist distractions or interruptions from our kids, our partner, our colleagues at work – or our devices.

Maybe a dose of meditation would be better than a dose of medication, or wine, or any of the other things we typically use to self medicate away from our stress..

In fact, it is possible to build a simple meditation practice into a busy life.

Here is my simple three-step plan for busy moms of teens and tweens, to build more calm in their lives – without having to meditate…

1) First, stop fighting it.

  • Try to stop fighting and resisting the idea that you should meditate. And try to stop fighting the idea that you shouldn’t be resisting meditation. The more you fight it, the more that terrible feeling persists.
  • Accept your own resistance. Acknowledge it without judgment. Let yourself pay attention to parts of yourself that want things to be a certain way – often times the way that they are not. Also let yourself notice when you don’t want something. Pay attention to not wanting to do meditation; or see if it’s not wanting to be told what to do, that really is coming up for you.
  • Remember, other people’s perceptions of what you should be doing is really none of your business. (Lisa Nichols says that) And don’t turn those expectations from others into your own demands or criticisms of yourself.
  •  Trust that when you authentically stop fighting it, there’s a better chance that you’ll just naturally pick it up at the moment that is right for you.

I “resisted” taking up meditation for the longest time. Until one day it just made perfect sense as the next right thing to do, and I fell easily into it. I realized I wasn’t resisting it any more. No fight. Now it’s become a completely natural thing for me to do, and I feel something is missing if I don’t do it.

2) Above all, be kind.

  • Be kind to yourself about meditation; and especially about not doing it every day or for a pre-defined length of time. Be kind to yourself when you feel you are resisting. Let yourself be mindful of what it feels like to be resisting. Notice how that feels in your body.
  • Be kind to yourself in your evaluation of whether you do it right or not. Meditation (or not doing meditation) is not really something you can’t do right. In fact, we all start with a wandering mind. When you notice your mind wanders, and then wanders again and again, that’s exactly the time to notice that you’re actually doing it right.
  • Notice other mindful practices you do, outside the ‘Big Meditation’, that bring a sense of presence, attention, calm. Value those.

3) Easy does it.

  • If you’re not yet ready or maybe feeling a little unwilling to actually meditate, you can still bring a sense of calm to your day by engaging in some simple mindful practices:
    • Count your breaths. See if you can count 10 breaths without distraction. If you lose count, no big deal. Just gently come back and start over.
    • Listen to and count the sounds that you hear. Note if they are coming from outside; in the room you are in; or maybe from within your body. Don’t go looking for the sounds; let them unfold and come to you.
    • Watch a sunset or sunrise from beginning to end. And then watch a little more. Notice everything you notice. Pay attention especially to the subtleties, the small minute changes that take place in the light, color, temperature, sound, etc.
    • Go for a walk mindfully. You can walk at your regular pace or intentionally walk really slowly and focus on each step you take; the movement of your legs and arms as you go from one place to another. Behold all that you experience in each of your senses. Notice how alive the world is around you.
  • These experiences all ‘count’ as meditation and work in the mind and body the same way meditation does, making physical and emotional connections that increase our inner spaciousness. There isn’t just one way to meditate.

You don’t have to be an expert meditator

Remember, the goal is more to live mindfully than to become an expert at meditation. Meditation is just a tool – one of many that are available to assist you in doing this. There are many other ways to be meditative that can be fit into an already busy life.

Meditation of course is a very powerful tool, but it can’t be forced. Yes, it can help you transform your feelings of anxiety and depression to more of ease and acceptance. It can help you build your resilience and self compassion; and learn to handle stressors in a more effective way. But let it come gently.

For more support

If you’d like help to develop a meditation practice that works for you and if you’d like to feel better in your world, or if you struggle with emotional overwhelm and would like to feel more balance in your family and work life, Please call me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445


Heart Full Moments February 2018

A monthly feature of Listening with Heart blog


These are the most impactful things I have read or heard this month that gave me pause, or uplifted my heart. I am happy to share them with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. These are wise words about how to live life fully and with compassion. Enjoy…

  • Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Steven R.Covey
  • Assertiveness is an open and direct expression of our thoughts and feelings while respecting the right of others to express themselves. It is a form of being kind to ourselves as well as to the other person“. – Sara Fabian
  • Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, what single right action can you take right now to move closer to your heart’s desire?” – Alex Katehakis
  • Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” – Maya Angelou
  • Insanity is living your life as if there were a better moment than the one you’re in.” – Eckhart Tolle
  • The days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among the miracles… Don’t be sightless” – Sabbath prayer, Dani Shapiro
  • Life is so hard, how can we be anything but kind?” – Sylvia Boorstein
  • There’s nothing stronger than gentleness.” – a wise grandmother
  • Love is as Love does…When you love somebody, ask yourself, “What acts of love have I done for him?” – Nicos Hadjicostis
  • It is never too late to give up our prejudices.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – HH Dalai Lama XIV
  • Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day saying “I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
  • There is no pain on earth that doesn’t crave a benevolent witness.” Sarah in The Invention of Wings
  • You are the sky. Clouds are what happens- what comes and goes.” – Eckhart Tolle
  • In a time of destruction, create something: a poem, a parade, a community, a school, a vow, a moral principle; one peaceful moment.” – Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Welcome your feelings like a doorman welcomes a guest to a party…Just don’t follow them into the bathroom!” – a wise meditator
  • Recommended book: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – a beautiful story about the relationship between a young abolitionist-to-be, and her slave, and how they each grow into different experiences of freedom
  • Remember that imperfections are deliberately woven into Navajo rugs and treasured in the best Japanese pottery. They are part of the art. What a relief to honor your life as it is, in all its beauty and imperfection.” – Jack Kornfield
  • Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A. A. Milne
  • You should sit in meditation 20 minutes a day. Unless you are too busy, then you should sit one hour.” – old Zen saying
  • “Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.

March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now. 

On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington, DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority. The collective voices of the March For Our Lives movement will be heard.

School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing, and growing. The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.

Every kid in this country now goes to school wondering if this day might be their last. We live in fear.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Change is coming. And it starts now, inspired by and led by the kids who are our hope for the future. Their young voices will be heard.
Stand with us on March 24. Refuse to allow one more needless death.
MARCH FOR OUR LIVES! Mission Statement

  • The lion’s story will never be known, as long as the hunter is the one to tell it.” – African proverb
  • The opposite of poverty is not wealth, but justice.” – Bryan Stevenson
  • A racial literacy involves the ability to read, recast and resolve a racially stressful encounter. Reading involves recognizing when a racial moment happens and noticing our stress reactions to it. Recasting involves taking mindfulness and reducing my tsunami interpretation of this moment and reducing it to a mountain-climbing experience, one that is — from an impossible situation to one that is much more doable and challenging. Resolving a racially stressful encounter involves being able to make a healthy decision that is not an underreaction, where I pretend, “That didn’t bother me,” or an overreaction, where I exaggerate the moment.” – Howard C Stevenson
  • Grateful eyes look at each thing as if they had never seen it before and caress it as if they would never see it again.” – Brother David Steindl-Rast
  • Let Yourself wonder without Googling it.” – Janell Burley Hofmann

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s Heart Full Moments – wise words that I’ve been stirred by – and that you have read or seen or heard things, in your own life too, that made you pause and breathe in, the wisdom or wonder of that experience.

You might keep your own list of Heart-full or mind-full gems, and re-read them when you need an uplift. Simply to be on the lookout for gems that speak to you is a mindful practice that helps to keep your heart open to all that’s good in the world. To deepen your experience even more, you might use any one of these as a journal prompt, where you add whatever comes to mind about how this applies in your life, and how it makes you feel. Or use any one of these as a conversation starter and see if you can draw someone out to share how these words make them feel. Enjoy sharing Heart full wisdom…

If you or someone you care about needs help to overcome some of life’s struggles, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Real Ways Meditation Can Help You

A sample meditation to improve your workday.

improving work productivity, how meditation can help reduce stress , anxiety and depression

I believe that helping busy, warm-hearted, individuals, couples, parents, teens to live mindfully is the most effective way to deal with stress, anxiety, depression, loss, and really, to make the world a better place, one heart at a time. And there are many ways to live mindfully that contribute to having more harmonious relationships, navigating the challenges of family life, and managing your own emotional life with grace.

A regular meditation practice is just one way to expand your practice of living mindfully. For many, it is a core practice.

I hope the idea of a regular meditation practice doesn’t scare you. Please know, you can start it with just a few minutes a day, and still experience some benefits.

I have been meditating regularly for over ten months now. Mostly for 30 minutes at a time. A handful of days for 5 to 15 minutes only. But every day some formal meditation since March 12, 2017, when daylight savings time changed. The biggest impact for me is experiencing a kind quieting of my internal whirring of the mind. And appreciating all the related experiences that come with that.

I’ve noticed many benefits to this, like:

  • Paying even better attention to my clients
  • I have a more harmonious home and family life
  • The typical annoyance or upset coming up with my partner and being truly embroiled in it – for a moment – and then noticing it has passed – like a fire that doesn’t take
  • More focus as I do my writing and work projects
  • More moments of being awestruck by nature or my surroundings
  • I’m remembering things better
  • Less personal sense of inadequacy
  • More calm and more confidence that I can become calm, or get to it, or help others get to it
  • Less irritation with those things that get to me
  • When I notice my reflection in the mirror, I like it
  • I can directly feel when my heart is closing and notice it before acting on it
  • I can be with a hot flash or other painful feelings (like jealousy, resentment, loneliness, rejection) for the whole course that they take, as they arise and eventually pass
  • I breathe better and pay more attention to my breath
  • I am endlessly aware of simple things I feel gratitude about
  • I am more competent
  • I am less afraid
  • I navigate sticky or conflictual interactions better
  • I feel depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, lonely less often, and for less length of time
  • I have deeper empathy
  • When I get panicky I can slow my breathing down more easily
  • I feel generally less defensive, and more open when I hear criticism
  • I feel better about myself, and listen less to negative self-talk
  • I have more capacity to learn
  • I can tell better, what’s true to my heart and right for me

Many of these things are subtle, nuanced, not necessarily noticed on the outside, but felt and profound on the inside.

There are many ways to do formal meditation. I might vary the focus of my daily meditations, depending on what I need or where I’m at – physically or internally. Sometimes during my meditations, I listen to sounds or use the time to think through all my projects, or I focus on the feelings I’m having about a particular experience. Sometimes I count breaths, sometimes I count the waves I hear, or let my feelings conjure up beautiful colorful abstract paintings. Sometimes I practice loving kindness, wishing well for someone who is suffering. Sometimes that someone is me. Sometimes I sit at that tender place of tenderness and vulnerability and poignancy and just bring forth compassion. Sometimes I do a body scan. Sometimes I just am aware of my breath. Sometimes I’m just aware of my awareness; or my humanity. Sometimes I feel connected to the whole world. Sometimes I just amplify the feelings of love. Sometimes I do special breaths (a 7–11 Breath, or a 4-7-8 Breath, or four short breaths in and one long exhale…). Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation. Almost always I have chimes and waves.

When I have a day dedicated to some work projects I want to complete, I might meditate on that, asking for things that will help me be productive.

This morning it went something like this:

May I be present to the work in front of me…May I be clearheaded and ready… May I integrate what I’ve been learning… May I share information that’s helpful to others… May I write freely and with wisdom…May I take regular breaks… May I get up and move several times an hour… May I not be distracted when I feel dis-ease… May I stay with my moments of discomfort a moment longer… May I be responsive to influences outside of me that require my consideration and care… May I be attuned to the influences inside of me that bring forth character, courage and compassion… May I keep coming back to the work at hand… May I give thanks before each meal… May I do breathing exercises throughout the day… May I be honest and true… May I be more proactive than passive (write more than I watch/listen to)… May I trust that I already have everything I need to know for this day’s work… May I stay present… May I be grateful for being able to work with a clear head… May I appreciate all of my teachers who have given me guidance… May I be able to check some things off my list… May I not multitask…May I be creative and strong. ..May I work well… May I not fritter my time away with procrastination, self-doubt, resentment or negative thinking… May I appreciate the preciousness of this time before me, and be with it to the best of my ability… May I work in a flow that doesn’t overthink or overlook anything…

The work time that followed was indeed productive and came from a place of clarity and depth. I credit the precious time I had spent, being present with myself in morning meditation. All of my wishes for myself were stated as intentions that would favorably impact my work day.

You might try to build some quiet moments of meditation into your daily life, and notice more focus in your work life, better sleep, more harmony in your relationships, being better able to manage your emotions, more ease in parenting, conflicts that get resolved a little easier, decreased depression, anxiety and worry.

If you or someone you care about needs some help to develop some constructive self-soothing tools, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments – January 2018

Wise words for uplift and keeping your heart open

wisdom for living mindfully; living in the moment with kindness; simple everyday mindfulness practice to ease stress.A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

Happy New Year to you! I hope this first month of 2018 has had the right combination of energy and calm for you, and that you have been blessed with peace in your relationships and gratitude in your heart.

These are the most impactful things I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. I am happy to share them with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
  • Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl
  • Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.” – Sir Francis Bacon
  • When you speak, speak. When you listen, listen. When you drive your car, drive your carDo something until you are done. After you are done, then you can move onto the next thing.“ – Rob Brandsma
  • Celebrate the little things.
  • Thoughts aren’t facts so don’t take them seriously.” -Ruby Wax
  • And while the news often features the worst of humanity, there are a billion acts of human kindness every hour of every day. Take another breath and sense this truth.– Jack Kornfield
  • You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.” – Pablo Neruda
  • Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.” – Golda Meir
  • Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” ~James Baraz
  • When given the choice to be right or kind – choose kind.” – precept from Wonder movie
  • Compassion is the capacity to feel love and pain at the same time.“ – Susan Piver
  • Think more about how to give love rather than how to get love.“ – Susan Piver
  • It really is a shame, this feeling of shame, that keeps us from being there for each other, and feels isolating.” – Parent at San Quentin
  • We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
  • We all have needs, and we all want those needs to be met. But we also need to learn how to achieve that and how to manage the time between having the need and having the need met.” – Mercedes Samudio
  • People have said, “Don’t cryto other people for years and years, and all its ever meant is, ‘I’m too uncomfortable when you show your feelings. Don’t cry.’ I’d rather have them say, ‘Go ahead and cry. Im here to be with you.’ – Fred Rogers
  • Yoga helps to get the issues out of the tissues.” – Nicky Myers
  • We believe that people of all genders and ages should live free of violence against us. And, we believe that women of color, and women who have faced generations of exclusion indigenous, Black, Brown and Asian women, farmworkers and domestic workers, disabled women, undocumented and queer and trans women — should be at the center of our solutions….We look forward to partnering with them and others to organize, support all survivors, and find solutions that ensure a future where all women and all people can live and work with dignity.” – #TIMESUP initiative
  • “Failing at a task is not failing as a person.” – Jenny Anderson
  • Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the inter-related structure of reality.  – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” – Attributed to the Talmud
  • All addiction comes from a sense of lack, a core feeling that something is missing. And when we feel this lack subconsciously or consciously, we tend to breathe poorly.” – Tommy Rosen
  • May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.” – John O’Donohue
  • You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can decide how you’re going to live. Now.” – Joan Baez
  • The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.” – Bell Hooks
  • Courage is facing your fear and doing it anyways. Confidence is a slightly over rated mask for insecurity.” – Dani Shapiro
  • The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barack Obama
  • Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.” – The Dalai Lama
  • I think 99 times and I find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.” –Albert Einstein
  • What’s past is past, nothing can change that. But the future can be different if we choose to make it so. We have to cultivate a vision of a happier, more peaceful future and make the effort now to bring it about. This is no time for complacency, hope lies in the action we take.” – Dalai Lama
  • “I don’t want to be somebody that I’m not. I like me, and I’ve been pretty successful so far being me and I was raised in a really big family. And, you know, my mom liked me, my friends liked me … I don’t care about a title or a position. You know I have to wake up with me every morning, and I want to be the best version of myself. I don’t want to be this person you’re trying to make me, so I’m really sorry but I have to go. So, I left, and literally a month later got the call to become the CEO of Burberry.” – Borrowing from Shakespeare, Ahrendts then sums up the lesson in a single, beautiful sentence:
    So, I just think that to thyself be true.” –Angela Ahrendts

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s Heart Full Moments, and that you have read or seen or heard things, in your own life too, that made you pause and breathe in, the wisdom or wonder of that experience.

You might keep your own list of Heart-full or mind-full gems, and re-read them when you need an uplift. Simply to be on the lookout for gems that speak to you is a mindful practice that helps to keep your heart open to all that’s good in the world. To deepen your experience even more, you might use any one of these as a journal prompt, where you add whatever comes to mind about how this applies in your life, and how it makes you feel.

If you or someone you care about needs help to overcome some of life’s struggles, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
(510) 482-4445