mindfulness

Mental Health, Politics, Spirituality

Living Mindfully in a Kingdom of Fear


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Like many, I watched in horror as America elected a narcissistic bully as our next president. Like many, I was overwhelmed by despair, panic, and grief, and astonished by the intensity of my feelings. A serene voice in my head repeated, over and over, “There, there, things might not be that bad. We don’t know the future. Maybe he won’t be a complete unmitigated monster.” And yet I couldn’t curtail the horror, disgust, and panic that was rising within me. I couldn’t sleep, I drank too much, I was a morose basket case. I couldn’t get out of my head the circus of obscenities that we had all been exposed to: the abuses, the lies, the disregard for the beams of democracy, the Caligula-like grandiosity of Donald Trump. Now we are to live with such disgust – and whatever other follies may come – for the next four years.

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Spirituality

You Do Not Have to Be Good


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American poet Mary Oliver begins her poem Wild Geese thusly:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Every so often, I find myself meditating on these lines. They represent a shift in my consciousness, a sea change in my faith and worldview. These words have been the theme of my growing up; of moving from boy to man.

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Spirituality

Finding Fulfillment As a Grocery Store Cashier


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“Wow” said the man, “you are still working at this store. I’m impressed. Most people with higher IQ’s don’t stay here very long.”

“Thanks?” I said, ringing him up.

“So what are you really doing with your life,” said another older gentleman as I bagged his groceries, “because clearly you’re just playing here.” I stared at him, irate.

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Spirituality, Yoga

On Living With a Black Dog: Surviving Depression


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During my brutal battle with anxiety, depression, and being gay in the church, I struggled deeply with finding relatable, insightful words about how to survive depression. I found a lot of general, obvious advice: exercise more, find a good therapist, and get on meds being the top three.  But when it came to real-life, personal advice from other strugglers, I found very little.

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Spirituality, Yoga

Three Lessons from Yoga: Mindfulness, Respect, and Flexibility


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I started practicing yoga in college because I was curious, and because I was a voice student, living the typical life of a music major. I was a sensitive soul surviving in a highly competitive and physically demanding field, taking anywhere between 8-12 classes every semester, performing nearly once or twice every week during certain seasons, and getting next to no rest.

I was driven to yoga, desperate for some kind of glue that could hold my fracturing life together. I heard that yoga could help with the stress, so I tried it as a last resort.

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