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Mindfulness: Purposeful Awareness

Posted on February 18th, 2016 | Filed Under Health and Wellness, Life Balance

So what is this mindfulness that we hear so much about?  The Webster Dictionary says:


1.  the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.

2.  Psychology.

  1. a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them:  The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.
  2. the mental state maintained by the use of this technique.


Very different from meditation, which is about quieting the mind, mindfulness is about noticing all that is present, even our thoughts.  As you have noticed, our thoughts can very effectively demand all of our attention, pulling our focus away from all else happening around us.  Our thoughts can seem so pressing that we can miss the little things (or big) that are the things that create the most joy in our life.

Yesterday, on my hike on the trails near my home, I was in complete pleasure at the ability to be outside in exquisite weather, sunny and breezy, in Texas Hill Country with sage and rabbits and that blissful solitude that only nature can provide.  Then without even noticing it happening, my mind became immersed in the thoughts that come in.  You know the ones – the calls that need to be made, the bill that needs to be paid, the dry cleaning that needs to be picked up, the client that needs some extra attention, the office that needs to be organized, the project that needs to be completed – yesterday! …. blah, blah, blah.

And then I noticed my body in reaction to the thoughts.  My pace had slowed down.  My legs literally moved slower.  While I new on an intellectual level that thoughts can be an energy drain leading to exhaustion or the opposite, creating anxiety.  But this was a visceral awareness of how my body could not function to normal capacity when I was so deeply engaged in thoughts that were pulling my energy down…that feeling of not ever being able to get it all done.  In that moment, I allowed the thoughts to disperse and came back into the moment, into the mindfulness zone.  My pace increased, and I became aware again of the sun and the breeze and the beauty around me.

How often do you allow your thoughts to steal your ability to be present to the beauty in your life?  I invite you to be mindful of your thoughts and notice when they are pulling you away from your peace, joy and passions.  And enjoy the results of your more purposeful awareness!


Conscious In-Fertility

Posted on September 29th, 2014 | Filed Under Featured, infertility, Life Balance, Self Care

What does it mean to be conscious in our fertility efforts? Especially when getting pregnant is a challenge? Being ‘conscious’ is a word that is tossed around a lot of late, so let’s take a closer look at the formal meaning of the word ‘conscious’.
con•scious pronounced [kon-shuh s]

1. aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
2. fully aware of or sensitive to something
3. having the mental faculties fully active
4. known to oneself; felt
5. aware of what one is doing


When I read this definition with the eyes or filter of my in-fertility experience, I realize, in many ways, I was, at times, unconscious about the way I walked through this journey we call in-fertility. I was aware that I wanted a baby. I prayed for a baby. I thought I needed a baby. I would, in fact, do anything just about anything, jump through any hoop for a baby. And as this desperate desire caused my awareness to become more and more tunneled vision, it became acute and all-consuming.

So, if the desire for that baby inherently blocks out (to some degree) other awareness of our existence, sensation, thoughts, and surroundings outside the full awareness necessary to make wise choices and live fully, how can one walk through in-fertility fully ‘conscious’?

The answer is as simple as in the answers similar questions of awareness or enlightenment in other cultures and throughout the religions and traditions. Living in the Now. I realize that this might sound ludicrous when one is in the despair of in-fertility. Who wants to be there? But behind the mind, just below the despair, in the breath, is Now. And when you can reach Now, all is well. After all, what else do we have? The past is done, and does not have to prescribe our future. Our future is still malleable to our intent and actions. And now is perfect. We breathe. We are. We are okay.

My in-fertility journey was anything but conscious in the beginning, which is why I wish to share my story – a sort of ‘what NOT to do’ testimony. The lessons that I now share were learned deep into my journey, and the jewels of that journey are rich and many. You can gather your own jewels, too. here are a few tips on how to begin that for yourself.

One. Don’t go it alone. There are organizations and groups out there with women just like you, struggling and feeling isolated. Join Resolve or a group at your place of worship, or consider starting your own group on MeetUp.com. Connecting with other women who are dealing with the same emotions you are is incredibly healing. Some of my dearest friends and soul sisters came from being involved with Resolve and working with The Fertile Soul.

Two. Gather your Fertility Team. Don’t go it alone! Gather the experts who can best support you – ones that you can trust to have your best interest at heart. Gather your doctor, your acupuncturist, your body worker, your yoga teacher, your nutritionist and your coach. Knowing your team has your back allows you to let go of some of the stress you are carrying.

Three. Don’t go it alone! Bring your God, Creator, your Higher Power into your life. A strong connection with your Creator will give you strength when you most need it. Going through infertility is often a time when we question our faith, and move away from our traditional spiritual practice. Embrace that this is a time for your spirituality to mature and expand into one that is more meaningful and alive in your heart. Even five minutes a day, BEing quiet, BEing aware that you are a spiritual BEing having a human experience will ease the stress that our mind creates.

Four. Don’t go it alone! Pull together all the above and take all of it to your Journal. Your Journal can be your most trusted place to be authentic with where you are in this process. It is a safe place to be honest with your fears, and release them. This is the perfect tool to bring about awareness…consciousness. The practice of journaling creates space for self-inquiry, self-connection, release and inspiration – even creativity – which is the energetic force we wish to cultivate!

Allow these tools to heighten your ability to stay conscious on your fertility journey, and you will be enriched, aware and more connected with you.

Love & Light,

Knowing Hope

Posted on September 7th, 2014 | Filed Under Featured, infertility

Have you ever thought about how many times a week…a day…you think the words ‘I hope’? ‘I hope the traffic isn’t bad today’ … ‘I hope I don’t get the flu from my coworker’. And if you are traveling on the road to fertility, then I may sound like ‘I hope this is the month I finally get pregnant’ … or if you have been on that road a very long time, maybe it sounds like ‘I hope I get my period so I can keep trying…’

Do any of these thoughts actually create hope? Or create the feeling of hope? Or do these thoughts create more mind chatter – you know, the ‘monkey mind’ – as if the thoughts were just questions to keep the negative thoughts endlessly spinning? Questions answered like: ‘of course there will be a lot of traffic – I live in Houston, ug.’ … ‘I always get sick when anyone sick breathes anywhere near me’ … ‘why would this month be any different than the last one, the last five or … thirty?’

Hope Letterpress

The hope that we desire to tap into is more than a feeling, more than a fleeting wishful conceptual thought. It is a knowing that anything is possible – with no conditions attached. Now that may be a new concept – unconditional thought. The conditions only make the thoughts spin more. For example, ‘I could get pregnant IF I did everything I am supposed to do (ie. if I get acupuncture, if I take herbs, if I do yoga, if I meditate daily, if I always think positive, if I avoid eating sugar and dairy etc. etc. etc.)’ or if I was ten years younger, if I had married sooner, if I hadn’t put my career first’….back to spinning thoughts, yes? And further away from hope. It is almost as if the IF is protection against hoping too much. The insurance, if you will, that we will have recourse if the miracle doesn’t happen. We can blame the sugar, or the gluten or the PCOS or age or something in our past… etc. etc. etc. … After all, it would be just too much to accept that the pregnancy doesn’t come just because.

Once during one of the darker years of my infertility, a social worker said to me that it was just ‘luck of the draw’. This was incomprehensible to me. No, it had to be my fault somehow. Maybe something that I had done that made me undeserving…not good enough…unworthy. Or it had to be something physically wrong inside me that must be fixed. There had to be a reason. It couldn’t be just because. That left me with no recourse. No power. No hope.

I ran across this quote about hope:

Hope transforms pessimism into optimism. Hope is invincible. Hope changes everything. It changes winter into summer, darkness into dawn, descent into ascent, barrenness into creativity, agony into joy. Hope is the sun. It is the light. It is the fundamental force for life’s blossoming.

~ George C. Fraser

This is the hope that transcends all rational thought, all conditions and all fears. This is the hope that I aspire to and sometimes attain and cherish. I never find it in thought. I never find it in questioning. I only find it inside, just under the thoughts and fears, in quiet moments of being. Just being with myself and my breath…just as I am in the present moment, in the now, in this moment. In the moments that I allow all of those thoughts, conditions and fears to melt away, there is room for all things possible.

And in that place, there is hope. The hope which is always available, always there waiting….just under the thoughts, conditions and fears. Hope is yours to know and to own….just because.

Need some help tapping into your hope? Schedule a coaching session with me today.

Love & Joy,

Push the Pause Button!

Posted on May 23rd, 2011 | Filed Under Life Balance, Self Care

My four year old daughter has now mastered how and when to push the pause button on the television remote.  Usually this action is taken so as not to miss her favorite show  when needing a potty break!  Children that age are so eager to experience EVERYTHING that they become desperate not to miss ANYTHING.  Whether it is ‘push the pause button!’ for the potty break or ‘five more minutes’ at the playground that they are asking for, they are, in their own little way, fully experiencing the NOW or engaging in the present moment.

It occurred to me that as adults our moments are filled with so many thoughts, responsibilities and tasks, that experiencing the NOW or present moment almost requires us to “push the pause button” on everything else going on around us, and even within us.  While experiencing calm in the midst of the storm may be reached by some who have perfected the art of meditation or enlightenment, most of us are still looking for ways to carve out snippets of time and space to experience being in the present through quiet and uninterrupted meditation or prayer.

A wonderful tool for living in and between the two worlds of EVERYTHING and NOW is mindfulness.

Mindfulness allows us to continue in our day to day activities of human ‘DOing’ to experience human ‘BEing’.  Practicing mindfulness is the art of being fully present with yourself in whatever you are doing or experiencing, without having to step away or out of your life.  As busy women, we often delve into the much admired ability to multitask – it makes us feel productive, important and allows us to feel like we are getting a lot done.  After all, that is what is encouraged in our culture – the yang energy of doing, doing, doing.  Being productive feels good!  It feels like action!  We like the kudos we get from our accomplishments being witnessed and we like checking things off our To Do List.  Have you ever added something to you To Do List after you did it just so you could check it off?  We all have!  The problem with staying in the energy of yang is that eventually, it depletes.  And more importantly, it diminishes experiencing the fullness of Being in the NOW.   Has this ever happened to you?  You are driving somewhere and your mind wanders and then all of a sudent you notice you don’t remember the last few minutes of your driving and wonder how you drove safely without being aware of driving at all?  That is the opposite of mindfulness.  You didn’t fully experience those moments, those moments in time are gone and they cannot be retrieved.

One thing I hear people say all the time is “there isn’t enough time” or “time flies”.  We all have the same twenty four hours a day.  And we all have thoughts, responsibilities and tasks that fill every hour of each of those, but we also have the ability to slow down.  To slow down time.  We slow down time by experiencing it as fully as possible.  By being mindful.  Remember those long, endless summers of our childhood?  We can recapture some of that feeling if we choose to live in the moment, and not live in the past where things cannot be changed and not live in the future thinking constantly of what happens next – of our To Do List.  Being fully in the moment has the magical effect of slowing down time.

Another benefit to mindfulness is our peace of mind.  When not eternally engaged in yesterday and tomorrow, not in the Doing but rather in the Being, we allow our minds to slow down, and make room for peace.  Experiencing peace in each moment.  Then expanding that peace to being mindful of the task at hand – whether that is washing dishes, bathing our child or taking out the trash.  Cultivating the ability of mindfulness in all aspects of our lives allows us to push our inner pause button – we can still be in the world, and do all the things we must to live in this world, but we are experiencing it in our way, and at our pace, rather than the hectic, sometimes even frantic pace of our culture.

How can you ‘push the pause button’ today and allow mindfulness to penetrate your Being from the inside out?

Expand your peace!

~ ~ ~

Comments and converstations are welcome, however I have had to close the comments due to spam.  Should you wish to submit a comment, please email to me at michelle@awomanswellness.com and I will be happy to post.  Thank you.