Kim McDermott outside near the Mii amo Medicine Wheel with deer in the background

Mindfulness Lectures

Mindful Mondays Series

We invite and encourage you to explore an array of purposeful Mii amo experiences through which we are able to share with you the healing spirit of Mii amo and Boynton Canyon.

As part of the ongoing Mindful Monday Series, these sessions are offerings from the Mindfulness Team at Mii amo and presented by Kim McDermott, a senior member of this team.

We envision some of you will discover new information and possibilities through Mindful Mondays, while others will enjoy reminders that will bring you back to your practice.

We look forward to being on this journey with you.

Meditation 101

Meditation 101 Transcript

Hi, I’m Kim McDermott and I have been with the Mii amo Spa for 16 years. I am a senior member of the mindfulness staff here and offer a variety of services.

I offer lectures, classes and sessions either one-on-one or with a group. I have helped co-create many of our special mindfulness offerings here such as the Prayer Arrows, our Canyon Bathing Meditation and Medicine Wheel Meditation, as well as the New and Full Moon Ceremonies that we offer each month and have personally created all of the guided meditations on the Mii amo website for the Mii Time Meditation Series.

I love to share information and do so in many different ways. I feel that what I do here is my life’s work. It’s my passion so thank you for letting me share with you today about an overview of what meditation is and what some of the benefits are.

To me, meditation is truly about quieting this busy mind of ours and connecting to the mind within us – which I call our true mind – our essence, our soul. It’s about that connection within ourselves. Once you start to quiet the mind and start to connect within, it’s like a wide lens on a camera that begins to open and expand your inner vision and connection.

It expands your awareness within yourself and expands the awareness within your environment. It helps you to see what’s already there, that maybe you cannot when your mind is too busy. Meditation helps allow that expansion to happen, to remember the peace and calm within yourself that’s already there, and helps us stay present in our daily lives.

I would like to share a few of the many benefits meditation can have for you. It has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. Stress, along with our emotions, are a natural part of life. It’s part of our human experience here, so there is nothing wrong with stress or emotions. It’s how we handle our stress and emotions that affects our minds and bodies.

Most of us internalize our stress and our emotions whether we are aware of it or not. Meditation allows that awareness and then can help us to move the stress to release from the body and mind. Meditation helps you get you into that state of connection and balance within yourself.

Meditation can help improve our emotional health, it can help you feel and get back to that happiness, peace and calm that’s already there. It also enhances self-awareness, and can lengthen your attention span and clear your mind. Meditations can help with our with our sleep and are also used for help with pain management and it can actually help lower your blood pressure. These are just a few of the many benefits of meditation.

There are many different ways, different styles, and different modalities of meditation. There is no one way. There is no right way. We are all unique beings and it’s about finding the types of meditation or that style of meditation to help you get into that space of connection within yourself.

So allow yourself to try the hats on to see how it fits, how it feels, and what resonates with you. When you find the style and way that works for you, keep going to see what is there for you to experience. Continue to make time for meditation, time for yourself, time for that connection within, to allow the benefits that meditation brings naturally to you.

What might work for me might not work for you, so if a certain style does not work for you, that’s okay, move on to the next. Don’t try and force on yourself. Find the one that feels right for you.

Now I would like to talk about just a few different types of meditation. There are breath meditations, movement meditations, sound meditation, along with chanting and mantras and guided Meditations

Breath is used in most meditation. Focusing and using your breath is very powerful. The belly breath can actually help you get into a state of calmness and clarity very quickly.

When we come into the world we know how to breathe and then we forget when we start to go onto our minds. If you watch a baby breathe, as a baby breathes, his belly rises and as he exhales he lets the belly fall. The belly is where most of our internal organs are. It is the center of our being, the center of our body. This is our power center, our stability.

So focusing and re-training our bodies with the belly breath can help us become more clear and more confident. It helps maintain the circulation of energy and blood flow through our internal organs. Our heads should stay cool and our bellies warm, but most of the time our heads are hot and our bellies are cold, so that natural breath allows you to warm the internal organs to warm the belly so you can maintain that natural harmony within you. Physically, emotionally and mentally, it all works together.

Movement meditations are gentle movements. There is the practice of Tai Chi and Qi Gong. These are far east Asian modalities that use energy and breath. They’ve been around for thousands of years and can help create balance and strength.

The way I describe it is, we are more energy beings than physical beings, meaning we are made up of energy and we emit a life force energy that is about 3 feet around us. So Tai Chi and Qi Gong gather, and harness this life force energy, from the earth, from the universe, and then use this energy as intended. It uses the one of the laws of the universe, which is you first must receive, replenish and harness energy for yourself and then you can give and use your energy and power.

Most of the time we are pushing our energy out or pushing against our lives, and Tai Chi and and Qi Gong help us remember to first replenish and receive our energy so we can go out and give and move in our lives in the ways that we do, with ease and grace by being connected to our natural flow.

There’s also walking meditations that use the symbol of the circle. The circle is very powerful. It is a continuous movement and creates an amplification and can create manifestation. There are prayer circles, meditation circles, Labyrinths and Native American Medicine Wheels. The Labyrinth is a very simple sacred geometry symbol.

The way to use a Labyrinth is as you go in to the circle, first let go of something that no longer serves you in your life, or something you are complete with, and as you walk through the Labyrinth it gives you a chance to unwind to unravel to really let go of something. And then as you reach the center of the circle, giving yourself a moment to connect with the earth, and within yourself, and now that you have let go, and given yourself more room, now it is time to create something, to ask for what you want, wish or desire, with no limits or boundaries. Ask for anything and open and allow yourself to receive as you walk back through the circle and step into your life.

The Medicine Wheel is a Native American is a symbol of life and specifically the circle of life. The circle represents the perfection as well as the infinite since the circle has no beginning or end. Never ending and always new beginnings.

It represents the four directions – East, South, West and North. The four Cycles of Life – the newborn baby, the child, adulthood, and the elder. The four colors of people on the earth – the Red, Yellow, Black, and White. And the four seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

Other walking meditations can be walking through a forest, connecting with the nature and trees, or through a beautiful canyon. Here at Mii amo we offer Canyon Bathing, which the word bathing is about connecting and receiving the energy within nature.

Canyon Bathing is simply being present in nature with all of our senses fully alive. This practice can have a remarkably healing effect, and it can also awaken in us our profound connection with all living beings. It is a gentle, meditative approach to being with nature that can heal our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with the more-than human world.

It’s about connecting with the energy, the timelessness and the wisdom of this sacred canyon and all that is here within it. Walking in nature connects you with the earth, with the trees, the sounds of the birds and the wind.

There are sound meditations. Sound is very powerful. Sound creates an energy. It creates a vibration. It can help us connect with ourselves. That’s why we are so drawn to music. A few ways of sound meditation are crystal singing bowls, metal Tibetan bowls, gongs, bells and symbols. There’s also mantras and chanting, which are about creating a sound over and over again, and what that does is it raises the vibration within you. The sound creates an expansion, an opening within you through the vibration.

While in any meditative state, you will receive and experience that is yours, in those moments, whether it’s just a feeling or sense, or sometimes people see colors or get images of places or loved ones that have crossed over, and animals. Whatever you see, feel or sense, the experience is yours.

Sometimes you do not see or feel anything at all. I call that the void. That also means that you are there. Sometimes it may feel like you haven’t connected, but on some level you truly have. So allow yourself to go there, whichever way it shows up for you. Each time you connect will be a different experience.

And what I love is guided meditations. They allow you to focus, while a guide walks you through the steps into a relaxed meditative state, by focusing on the guiding voice. I feel it can get you into a deep state of connection very quickly.

Here at Mii amo, we offer what I spoke of today. But if you can’t be here with us, there are many resources to access to help find your way to begin or enhance your practice.

The internet is a great resource of information with YouTube videos and podcasts on many styles and ways of meditation. There are meditation apps to download to your phone such as Calm. What I really love is being in a room with like-minded people meditating together. It creates a powerful energy which allows a higher vibration within ourselves, the group, and the room.

Meditation is a personal practice. There is no right or wrong way. So try the hats on and see which way is best for you.

Thank you so much for letting me share my information with you and have a beautiful day.

Recognizing Universal Signs

Recognizing Universal Signs Transcript

Hi. My name is Kim McDermott and I am a senior member of the Mindfulness Team here at Mii amo. Welcome to my presentation on recognizing universal signs.

Universal signs are messages from the universe, from your higher power, your guides and angels, and our loved ones that have crossed over. These signs show up as synchronicities or coincidences in our life. They are the moments where you stop and turn your head and think, “Well, that was interesting.”

When that happens, it means it was specifically for you, so allow yourself to become aware and pay attention to see what’s there for you. Sometimes the signs we receive are to let you know you are not alone, to say hello, or just to let you know that you have been heard in what you have been asking for.

Sometimes the signs are subtle and then there are really big signs, which is says to you, “Do you hear us now? Yes, that was for you!” Sometimes we need that big sign. The signs from the universe are all around us to connect with, and show up in so many different ways, so allow yourself to tune in to your environment and become aware of how they show up for you.

I receive signs all of the time. I am very connected with angels and animals, so this is usually how my signs show up for me and why I am sharing this information with you. They are a big part of my life. They always make me smile, and I am very grateful for them. They help me remember there is so much to connect with than just our 3D world, that we are supported in big ways and that we are not alone.

One way that the universal signs can show up is through numbers. Numerology is powerful in its messages and meanings. Numbers are a universal language. They are a powerful way for spirit and our angels and to communicate with us here in our physical world. Numbers hold energy, so it shows up for us in different ways for information and messages.

In today’s digital world numbers are around us all the time, on our watches, our phones, tablets, and computers. When they start to show up in repeating sequences, it means there is a message for you. When you continuously see the same numbers over and over again, it is trying to get your attention.

Some sequences that are common to see are 111 or 333, and so on, 444, and 555. They may also be random numbers that show up throughout your life or at certain times in your life, that come to you over and over again, such as 62, 41 or 1014. What are the numbers that come to you? The numbers that show up in sequences are the most common, I think of them as angel numbers and the universe letting us know we are not alone.

When you see the sequences over consistently, such as for three days in a row or every time you glance at the clock, this is when there is a message and meaning for you. As I was putting this presentation together for you, I just looked down at the clock and it was 11:11. I love these universal signs!

To me, this is my confirmation that I am exactly where I am supposed to be in sharing this information with you. Eleven-eleven is a number that carries strong codes of initiation, intuition, spirituality, and enlightenment.

Numbers many times are called angels numbers, it is a way for the angels to connect with us to receive messages. The number 111 is a message from your angels or your spirit guide. It is their way of telling you that the universe is open to you, that your thoughts and ideas are ready to be manifested. For this reason, many numerology experts refer to the number 111 as an angel number.

The number of 333 is a message that your angels are just nearby, ready to help and reassure you that your plans are going well. It sends the message that your prayers have been answered and seeing 333 means that whatever you requested for is on its way to you.

An angel number 555 means you’re about to experience a positive change and you need to be prepared. So know that change means growth, and allow yourself to embrace it.

Another way signs and communication from the universe are through animals. Animals are very pure spirits and can be used for messengers for us in different ways. Our loved ones that have crossed over to the other side, love to show you they are around by using the animals. There are so many stories that after loved ones are gone sometimes almost immediately animals start showing up and it is their spirit and energy saying, “I am ok, and am still here with you.”

They can show up as birds, or butterflies and most anything in the animal world, and usually there is a sense within us that we know it is them. I feel they use the animal kingdom, so they can let you know they are free now, but are still near, just in a different way.

Just the other day, I was thinking about my father who passed away over 20 years ago. I had a couple for a session here at Mii Amo called ‘Red Rock Inspiration’ which is a guided meditation and is done outside to connect with this beautiful majestic canyon here. The husband was a Firefighter, and my father was a Fireman in Chicago. It brought a warm feeling of my father to my heart as we talked about being a Fireman and really how special kinds of people they truly are.

Part of the meditation was giving this couple space to connect with the canyon and nature, so I was off to the side, and suddenly a red cardinal landed right in front of me on the ground only about 5 feet away. And he stayed there and faced me and kept looking up at me. This went on for longer than a minute. I knew that was my Dad saying hello.

I love when my signs come to me, they make me smile and I am always so very grateful. Cardinals have been considered messengers sent by the spirit world for thousands of years. This symbol spreads across a number of different cultures and signifies an important or meaningful relationship.

Ravens also come to me often as well, and to me and represent my connection to the universe. They are consistent in my life and show up sometimes more than others, and when that happens I know there is something good coming into my life, and they will show up in a way that there is no coincidence that the message is for me.

Last year on my birthday in October, I was driving up the canyon to Mi amo to come to work early in the morning. It is a two-lane scenic road that goes both ways. It was quiet, and I was the only one this road at the moment. There was a raven flying slowly towards me on the other side of the road very low, about the height of the top of my SUV.

As he reached my car he did a U-turn and flew along side of me for about a mile. That was a very special experience for me and brought tears of joy to my eyes for the magic that was there with me that day, and to be aware of that connection. Raven represents prophecy and insight. Ravens are about connecting the material world with the spiritual world.

So when an animal shows up in your life, in a way that gets your attention, take a moment to receive the connection. The internet is such a great source to find out what the meanings and messages of these signs are. There are books on animal medicine, which specifically are about the animals that show themselves to you in your life and their meanings. There are books on numbers and numerology and their meanings as well. Allow yourself to explore.

There may be times when you have a question about something in your life, and shortly after you have a conversation with a stranger or a friend that says something that is the answer to what you were asking or looking for. It’s those one-off moments where it grabs your attention and that’s when you know it’s for you.

Sometimes it shows up in songs that we hear where something has been on your mind to make a decision or you are unsure of and you turn on the radio as you are driving or in your house and suddenly a song comes on with exact words you need to hear for the answer you are looking for. Or a song comes on that reminds you of a loved one that has been on your mind.

However it shows up to enjoy! The signs are truly around you, it’s just a matter of opening up to them, asking for them and becoming more aware of your environment and what’s in your path.

I am sure you all have your experiences as well. Keep asking for these signs and the more you become aware or ask for your signs, the more they will keep showing up for you. Sometimes almost immediately or sometimes it will show up more subtle a few days later. Test it and see what happens and see how the universe, your guides and angels respond to you.

Thank you for joining me, and I wish you many magical signs to come your way in your life.
Have a beautiful day.

Elevating Your Energy

Elevating Your Energy Transcript

Hi, my name is Kim McDermott, and I am a senior member on the mindfulness staff here at Mii amo. Welcome to the presentation of elevating your energy.

What I am going to share with you today is how to raise and elevate your energy on different levels: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. In our world today, with all that is going on and the unknown of what is next, it is important that our minds stay positive and our bodies active. It is important to recognize the deep connection between the mind and body. If you look after your body, you automatically increase your emotional and mental energy as well.

Our energy can feel low or drained, by not sleeping well, too much stress, not enough exercise, or not eating good nutritional food to feed our bodies and brains. Also, our thoughts can affect us. By being around certain environments, interactions or conversations with people can make us feel drained, tired, and affect our emotions.

Worry, fear, and anger can lower your energy. It can affect your body and mind. Become conscious of your thoughts. Become aware of when these thoughts start to come to your mind. Feel your body and notice your mind start to race to different stories and scenarios of what could happen all not so good.

Your eyes and your head start to feel tense as well as your body. This way of thinking and feeling lowers the energy, lowers the frequency which can affect you in these ways, as well as emitting and sending that energy, thought, and feeling outward into the universe to that situation. Know that your thoughts can affect your life and will begin to create what it is that you are thinking.

Start to become aware of when this happens, and then change the direction of those stories and thoughts. If you are worried about a situation with yourself, a family member or friend, change the thought to positive meaning change your thought of, “What if this happens,” or seeing it as something negative.

Instead imagine what it is you are worried about or fear might happen and change the story, change the ending, seeing and feeling that scenario unfold in a positive way. Even if you think you have no control over the situation, you truly do. You can help affect the outcome just by sending positive thoughts and energy to that situation.

The saying, “You create what you think,” is true, so begin to see and think of things turning out for the best even if you might not know what that best may be. By sending positive energy and thoughts can help raise the vibration of that situation, where the negative thoughts and feelings can lower the vibration. Test it and when you start to change your thoughts, feel your body and mind lighten. You will notice a difference.

How we think plays a huge role in how we feel. The more you focus on the positive things in your life the more you will enjoy a sense of well-being. Positive thinking brings positive responses in your body. By thinking positively and having a good attitude about different situations in your life, knowing that you will figure things out, and believing that you can do whatever is before you in your life will help you get through those challenging times. Having this positive way of thinking and looking at the world in this way will raise your energy and vibration.

Staying positive in our thoughts and outlooks of ourselves and the world important for us to maintain a healthy and happy life. Sometimes we create habits and patterns both physically and mentally that are not for our highest and best good. So become aware of your thoughts, become aware of your body, to maintain balance in your life.

Our vibration is a way of describing your overall state of being. Everything in the universe is made up of energy vibrating at different frequencies. Even things that look solid are made up of vibrational energy fields at the quantum level. This includes you.

All vibrations operate at high and low frequencies, within us and around us. If your vibration is low, it will be evident, it’s simply a matter of bringing awareness to your situation and then changing it to a higher vibration by the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we see our world.

Here are some ways to elevate you energy and vibration.

Keep your sense of humor. Humor can change your mind; it can widen your mind. When you can look at things, even if they are challenging or serious, if you can find a little humor in the midst of it all it will lighten your heart, and lighten your mind. Even if it is just throwing your arms up and saying, “You have got to be kidding!” or, “I give up.”

When you throw your arms up it is a surrender. Surrendering is a good thing, it allows you to release the control that we try so hard to keep, and when we let go it allows the energy, the universe, guides and your angels, to come in closer to you to help balance whatever is happening in your life. If we hang on too tight, there is not enough room or give for things to unfold as they should.

Surround yourself with people that are positive, people you have fun with and laugh, and where the conversations are always interesting. Write down every night before bed the things that you were grateful for that day, the things that did go right. Write down something that someone said to you that day that was kind, or complimentary.

Do things that help you feel positive. At least twice a week, give yourself time to do something that makes you smile, or makes you laugh and allows you play, whether it is creating something, taking a dance class, going to lunch or dinner with a friend that is like minded, with someone who it feels good to be around, and really enjoy the time with.

Keep a journal. Everyday write something down you would like to experience and watch how it unfolds for you. Also, at the end of every day, write down the things that were positive, and allow yourself to reflect on them, rather than the things you thought might have gone wrong.

Ask for a sign from the universe that you are on the right path, and know things may seem intense, that you know you are not alone and feel supported even during those turbulent times through those signs. Give yourself permission to create your life instead of waiting for things to happen. Start with one step or one thing at a time, and watch it happen. But not just think it, as you imagine it, feel it, sense it, and see it happening.

Find something beautiful in your world. It is the small things that can help you appreciate your life more. A kind word, a thoughtful gesture, a hug, or smile. Allow yourself to do this for others as well as become aware when it happens to you.

When your energy and vibration start to rise, you may notice you are less judgmental, you know it and feel it, and something is different, and that something changed your way of seeing the world and yourself, you sense it. From all your physical senses to the intuition that is always there but you become more aware of it, and you suddenly feel attuned to it. You are different, you are elevated.

A great positive exercise is on a piece of paper writing your name vertically down the piece of paper. Write both your first and last name. The point of this exercise is for each letter in your name is to write something positive about yourself.

An example would be the name Kathy:

K – Kind
A – Attentive
T – Thinker
H – Helpful
Y – Young at heart

By feeling and thinking positively in your life can elevate your energy, it allows you to feel freedom and more expansive.

Movement is important. Being stationary and sitting too long can affect your energy level and make you feel sluggish and tired and can affect your mood. Create movement throughout your day. Being in nature can replenish us.

When we step outside, everything is alive which means everything has a life force energy and charge. There is an exchange happening, with the air, the earth, the trees, and the natural sounds. It also reminds us that we are so much more than our daily lives, that we are a part of a whole and connected to everything.

Dancing is powerful in raising your energy and mood. Move your body to your favorite music, from whatever era you connect with. It is a fun, feel-good exercise and is so good for you on so many levels. It helps you connect with your body. Music holds energy, so moving your body together with the music adds to raising the level of your energy. Whether it is a dance class or at home being free in your own space, allow yourself to let go, have fun, and feel the smile grow as your body raises and elevates in energy.

Thank you for joining me today. Remember to smile often and keep your thoughts positive and feel yourself become more alive and happier. Become elevated. Have a great day.

Releasing Stress

Releasing Stress Transcript

Hi, my name is Kim McDermott, and I am a senior member of the Mindfulness Team here at Mii amo. Welcome to my presentation on releasing stress.

Today we are going to talk about the different ways stress can affect you and give you some tools that can help you with releasing the stress from your mind and body.

Stress can affect you emotionally, mentally and physically. We each tend to hold and store stress in different areas of our body. Some common areas are the jaw, such as clenching your jaw or grinding our teeth. Some of us hold stress and tension in our head, our neck, shoulders and upper back. And then there are those who hold tension in their stomach and organs in the body that can affect your digestive system, where it feels like everything is in knots.

Stress is a natural part of life as well as emotions. When they start to become an issue is when we internalize the stress and emotions, which many times we don’t realize we are holding on to it. A law of the universe is what comes in must go out. So, it is about finding ways to move the stress though rather than let it accumulate in your body.

When the body is stressed, it can create what is known as the ‘flight or fight’ response. It’s like a switch that gets turned on, but has a hard time shutting off, which can create tension in the body, affect our mood, and not be able to quiet the mind.

Another law of the universe is you first must receive and replenish and then you can give. Most of the time we are going and going and we don’t allow ourselves the proper rest and replenishment that our bodies and minds need.

Put yourself in your schedule, just like you have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Take care of you as part of your ritual. Let taking care of you become a part of your life and this is a major step into reducing stress in your life. That’s self-care.

Here are some tools that may help you throughout your busy days:

Write a to do list either before bed or in the morning, so you don’t get overwhelmed and keep thinking about what you have to do throughout your day, it’s right there on the list. Be sure to keep the list light, so it is not too much, and remember there is always another day.

When we are stressed, sometimes we can feel overwhelmed. It’s about taking a step back and diffusing, resetting, and connecting to become more clear and replenish so we can continue our day more easily and in flow. Take time to reset your day. Be sure to take lunch away from your computer and desk.

Take about a 10 to 20-minute walk outside and get a little fresh air. Just doing those two things in the middle of your day, will reset your mind and the space you were in, so when you come back you are more clear and refreshed.

Exercise and movement is important. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are great tools to help create balance in our bodies and mind. Whatever your exercise that feeds you, allow and create the time for yourself in these ways.

Also, taking a walk each day for at least 20 minutes will help keep us in balance. Getting outside and being in nature is also key to our health in both mind and body and can help maintain a balance to help with our sleep and stress levels as well.
When you are outside be sure to be aware of your environment, so leave the headphones at home, and listen to the sounds of the birds. Feel the breeze, and notice the trees, the animals, and whatever is there for you to connect with.
Take time to connect with you. Meditation can help in keeping you clear and balanced in both your mind and body. It has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. Make the time in your busy life to have a practice of connecting with you.

This can be for 10 minutes 15, to an hour a day. Whether it is in the morning, middle of the day or night-time, whichever time works best for you. It’s not about the quantity of time, it’s about the connection you make. The more you make the time for yourself in this way, the more the benefits your mind and body will receive.

Do things that help you feel positive and make you smile. At least once twice a week, give yourself time to do something that makes you smile, or makes you laugh and allows you play. Whether it is creating something, taking a dance class, going to lunch or dinner with a friend that is like minded, with someone who it feels good to be around and really enjoy the time with.

When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, a great positive exercise is on a piece of paper writing your name vertically down the paper. Write both your first and last name. The point of this exercise is for each letter in your name is to write something positive about yourself.

An example would be the name Jim.

J – Joyful and joking
I – Intelligent
M – Mindful

What this does is switch your mind to positive thoughts, and the words are raising the vibration of your energy.
Also, limit consumption of media you listen to or read on your electronic devices. The news is always literally in our vision and is everywhere our world today whether it is your intention or not.

News is rarely positive, so all of the information that you read, watch and listen to is absorbed into your mind and body. Information is energy. A lot of our news creates fear, anger, shock, violence, and is very graphic of what is happening in our world today, and can have a deep effect on your body, mind and nervous system.

In this season, being made aware of global happenings is important, however try limiting consumption of media to no more than 10 minutes per day or every other day. It’s usually all the same information over and over again so you won’t miss anything – and never before bed or evening.

Instead listen to uplifting information such as podcasts or audiobooks that inspire you. Where you can learn something new or widen your scope of insight to many things or subjects, and areas that you have a curiosity about and that interest you.

Some other tools to help are the belly breath. Belly breathing can put you into a very calm and balanced state quickly. What it does is begin to bring all that energy and blood flow that has risen to your head, neck and shoulders, back into your belly letting it flow through your internal organs.

The belly is your power, not your mind, and what happens when you are under stress your organs and muscles start to tighten and constrict, so the energy and blood flow starts to rise into the chest, the shoulders and the head, and we forget how to breathe. The belly breath allows the natural flow of energy and blood to flow through the body and organs to recreate the natural balance, physically, emotionally and mentally.

When you breathe, breathe from your lower abdomen. When you inhale, feel your belly rise and when you exhale, let your belly fall. Focus on the breath from the lower abdomen, you can place your hands on the belly to help with the focus.

You can also use visualization. Imagine a candle inside of your physical center, your belly and keep watching the flame with each breath. Or you can visualize a nose in the small of your back, and breathe in from the nose as you raise the belly, and then exhale.

Another visual is imagining your belly as a balloon and as you inhale the balloon inflates and as you exhale feel the belly and balloon deflate. Another is mantras with the belly breath.

Mantras can help you clear your mind of your thoughts, and get your body and mind into a relaxed state. Here are a few examples:

  • Within me is a peacefulness, that cannot be disturbed
  • Breathing in, I calm my body, breathing out, I smile
  • This too shall pass, and I will be OK
  • All is well in my world, and I am safe

Using the breath with the mantras can bring your mind back into the body. It’s a good focus tool. As you inhale, raise your belly up, and in your mind, not only say but allow yourself to feel the words, “Within me is a peacefulness,” then when you exhale, say and feel the words, “That cannot be disturbed.”

You are not only saying the mantra, but you are communicating with your body that it’s true. You can also use a deep breathing exercise.

Slowly inhale filling your belly first and then up to your chest, gently holding your breath to a count of five, and then slowly exhaling to a count of five, and repeat several times. Allow yourself to feel the tension leave your body.

Visualization is very powerful, and you can move stress through your body with it. When you are in the shower in the morning, imagine the water as a waterfall running over and through your body, and feel the waterfall begin to release the stress and tension in your body, feeling it leave through your toes and then down the drain.

Water is a very powerful visual for cleansing and clearing all that we no longer need or no longer serves us. There is also a water visual you can do throughout your daily life, whether at home or at work, and that is to place your hands and wrists underneath a faucet, and feel the water as it moves over your wrists, hands, and finger.

Close your eyes and visualize whatever you are feeling whatever stress you have in your body or emotions and imagine it leaving down the drain. This visualization will help you move stress and emotions through the body so you no longer hold them. Water is very clearing and cleansing and calming, so the visual of it is powerful.

I hope some of these tools were helpful for you and remember anything that is stressful in your life now will pass, and you will be OK. Take care and have a beautiful day.

Sacred Sleep

Sacred Sleep Transcript

Hi, my name is Kim McDermott and I am a senior member on the Mindfulness Team here at Mii amo. Welcome to the presentation on sacred sleep.

Sleep is very important in our lives on all levels. Not having a good night sleep can have an effect on your alertness throughout your day, as well as your mood. It can make you feel tired and fatigued.

Lack of sleep can affect your ability to think, remember and process information. If this becomes a pattern and habit in your life it can begin to affect your quality of life as well. It can affect you on all levels and areas within it, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I am going to talk to you about some ways that might help change your sleep pattern and habits to receive a more restful sleep, whether you are having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, where you wake up in the middle of the night or maybe several times a night. What I would invite you to do is keep a journal to become aware of what is working and what is not working.

Think of your bedroom as your sanctuary to rest and rejuvenate, from your day and your life. Make it as comfortable and cozy as you can so that it keeps inviting you into it each night. Turn off and keep all electronic devices away for your body during the night.

If you must have your phone on, keep it at a distance from your body and head. Place across the room or better yet outside your bedroom door so you are not receiving the electronic signal which is always being emitted while it’s turned on.

If you have a television in your room, unplug it at night while you sleep. We are being bombarded with the electronic waves all day long, so give your body a rest at night. A very important step in a good night’s sleep is to go to bed every night at the same time, or at least around the same time so that it becomes a habit or a pattern.

Your body will begin to get accustomed to this and will actually start to communicate with you to let you know it time to go to sleep. Also, it is a good idea to eat your dinner earlier in the evening, and that your meal is not too heavy, and to be sure that you eat at least three hours before you go to bed, so your body can digest what you have eaten.

Caffeine and sugar can also be a factor in not being able to fall asleep, and interrupt your sleep. Try not to have caffeine or sugar after 2 p.m. so your body can process it through your system by bedtime. For those of you who like their sugar and desserts, try having them after lunch instead of dinner and enjoy them without the sugar affecting your sleep time.

All alcohol is a stimulant and is turned into sugar in the digestive process. So, if you do drink become aware of how you sleep when you do have alcohol compared to when you do not.

You can test this in different ways. If you are used to having more than one drink before bed, try to scale back to just one at night and notice any differences in your sleep. Also maybe take a break for four or five days and then resume having your favorite drink and again notice any changes in your sleep. Remember it’s all in moderation, too much of anything will create an imbalance.

Here are some other tools that can help quiet your mind and body. Guided meditations before you sleep are a great option to help you get into a deep state of relaxation to fall asleep easily.

We have ten Mii time meditations here on the website you can use. There are also guided meditations on the internet that focus on relaxation and sleep. Now, I would like to speak about using the breath to help put your mind and body into a state of relaxation, so you can fall asleep or fall back to sleep easily.

Focusing on the belly breath is focusing on the natural breath originating from the belly. So focus on the breath from your lower abdomen, by placing your hands on the belly will help with the focus. While you inhale, expand your belly up, and as you exhale let your belly fall, as you continue to be aware and feel your belly rise and fall with each breath.

You can use visuals to help focus as well. Imagine your belly is a balloon inflating and deflating with each breath. As you inhale the balloon inflates, and as you exhale the balloon deflates as does your belly.
And I like to use a visual of a cave with a candle within your belly, and keep focus on the flame of the candle as you breath. Or you can visualize a place that brings you peace and joy and bring that place within your belly as you focus on the breath.

What this focused breath does, is bring your mind into the body rather than your mind start thinking too many thoughts. It helps quiet the mind and brings the circulation of energy and blood flow back into your body to create a natural balance within you.

You can also practice a body scan before sleep or if you find yourself awake in the middle of the night. This is a mental check of the body that visualizes releasing all of the muscles in your body. You begin at the top of your head, allowing yourself to fall deeper into the pillow, releasing the muscles in your head, then releasing your shoulders, as if there were nothing to carry, then your arms, and chest, then continue this scan through each part of your body all the way down to your toes allowing each part of the body to relax further into the bed below you.

Another invitation would be to keep a to-do list by your bed. Before you go to sleep, write down what you need to do the next day. What this does, by writing it down from your hand to the pen and on to the paper, is giving your mind a visual of what needs to be done. This sends a signal to the brain letting it know you got this, and the mind no longer needs to think about what it is that you need to do.

Also keep a journal by your bed as well to write down any worries or stress that may be coming to your mind from your day or your life and use that journal to release as well. And again from your hand to the pen onto the paper, this helps move it out of your body and mind so you are no longer holding it, and is a form of release.
Some other tips that can help are to drink a nice herbal calming tea, such as Nighty Night Tea or Sleepy Time Tea, which you can buy at any natural grocery store. These are very calming teas.

Essential oils have been known to help with sleep as well. Its best to use high-grade, pure essential oils. There is lavender oil. Lavender is known for calming the nervous system, which can help you find relaxation before sleep. Chamomile oil. Chamomile alleviates insomnia by reducing anxiety. There is also bergamot oil, sandalwood oil, and ylang ylang oil.

And how to use the oils to allow them to get in your system is to place two small drops of any of these oils in your hands and rub them together, and inhale and exhale while cupping over your nose and mouth while breathing in. This get it into your membranes and system. And then add two more drops in your hands and work into the bottoms of your feet. You do not need much so use sparingly.

I do hope you find some of these tools helpful. Thank you so much for letting me share with you and have a beautiful day.

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