Get present to–and still with–the parts of yourself that are a bit harder to be with.

Today, dialogue with them. Talk to them as if they’re giving you some really helpful information, and if you can ignore the tone of voice or the worries that someone else will find out that you have this part of yourself (the anger, the shame, the guilt, the sadness, the not-enoughness), you might learn something really valuable and insightful.

we all have these parts. There are no free rides where someone doesn’t experience this stuff. You’re not alone.

what would your rough edges like you to know? what are they here to teach you?

grateful heart

Get present to (meaning: get still with) gratitude. Get present to all that you are grateful for.

Close your eyes and breathe for a moment (always a good place to start) and really think about how amazing it is that you have the body you have, with the cells whizzing about and all, and that you had access to clean drinking water today, and that there’s food in your belly.

This isn’t a guilt thing–don’t let the distractions pull you there–this is a “Wow, it’s pretty neat-o to be alive” thing.

Can you imagine–all the things that had to come together at exactly the right moment, all the series of events and circumstances, that had to fall into line for you to be the very person that you are, right here, today?

What are you grateful for?

My friend Yvonne sometimes says, “Don’t move, until you’re moved.” Meaning: don’t move until you sink so deeply into your gratitude that it warms your heart.

Sometimes people ask: What’s the point of a meditation practice? A stillness practice? Awareness practice?

You can distill it down a few different ways, but in essence I think all of the practices are about connecting to yourself. They’re not about finding some ultimate truth (if that even exists) or being completely objective (impossible, anyway) or seeing things clearly (you’ll never see anything clearly except your truth).

There’s more than one way to get connected to yourself, and getting still and present with gratitude is among the most beautiful.

What are you grateful for?

Shake the Gut

shake your gut.

Laughter meditation is when you laugh for a prolonged period of time. True story–there is an actual style of meditation in which this is practiced. And really, can there be anything else that is more fun to get present to than laughter?

calm down.

Ugh. I remember being in middle school when people started tossing this phrase around. If I laughed at something or got excited or enthusiastic, the cool kids would look at me condescendingly and say, “Calm down.”

Then perhaps they’d toss their hair over one shoulder.

The end result is that I had laughter phobia for years. I mean, not really–of course, I’d laugh. But I wanted to “laugh cool.”

don’t “laugh cool.”

It’s no fun that way. Instead, set a timer, force some ha-ha-ha-ha’s out of your stomach, and really get into it. Look in a mirror. Get a friend to play along. Get the pipes going by watching something funny on YouTube right before you do it. Think of something that cracks you up, every single time–for me, it’s this bumper sticker that says:

“Zen Buddhism: Don’t even think about it.”

Get it?