With the start of each new year comes, at least for most of us, a period of self-reflection. Was this past year particularly wonderful for you, or particularly worrying—perhaps a bit of both?
Regardless of recent events in your life, whether mentally categorized as “good” or “bad”, please remember what’s important: this current moment in time is all we ever really have. The future has not yet come, and the past is nothing more than a memory now. This may seem frightening at first, but with time, you will find that it is quite liberating!
Life is beautiful. What will you be doing this year to help encourage more beauty, peace, and abundance to flow into your life? Is it time for a career change? Are you struggling with interpersonal relationships, or a general lack of fulfillment?
It’s important to nourish your body, brain, and soul alike. If you have been struggling to figure out who you really are and what you want to do with your life, know that you’re not alone. Also know that there are opportunities out there to help you discover your true self— including spiritual retreats, body and brain healing sessions, and much more. You are already at least somewhat interested; otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post. However, you have to take that first step by reaching out. We promise you won’t regret it!
“This is a beautiful and hopeful time to be alive. We are at a turning point, and your contribution to the world is needed more than ever. All of your struggles, all the struggles of your ancestors, all the struggles of all life have led to this moment right now. You are the culmination of life's great yearning; you are the hope of the world.” ―Ilchi Lee
Sedona Meditation Center wishes you a new year full of love, hope, peace—and lots of smiles! Please contact us for more information on any of our services, or if you have any questions. We would love to hear from you!
The winter holidays are just around the corner. For some of us, this time of year is one of invariable joy and excitement. Shopping lists are double-checked, halls are decked, and guest bedrooms are prepared once more for seasonal visitors.
But for many of us, particularly as we get older, the holidays just aren’t as cheery or enjoyable as they once were. Often, this is because something feels different or “missing” compared with earlier years. The reasons behind this shift can vary:
· The death of a loved one
· “Empty nester” parent (your child/children have gone to college, gotten married, or otherwise “left the nest”)
· New family dynamic (remarriage; family blending)
· Relocation/new house
· Generalized or seasonal depression (please contact your medical doctor if you feel this might be part of the problem)
Embracing the New; Accepting the Now
If this holiday season has brought you the feeling of loss, loneliness, and maybe even fearfulness, you’re not alone—even if maybe, it feels that way right now. It’s important to look at this from a big-picture perspective. Rather than daydreaming about the way things used to be, or feeling frustrated or depressed by perpetually contrasting and comparing past vs. present holidays, consider all these changes as one big invitation to instead find a quiet new peace in the present moment. Learn to not only accept your new solitude, but truly embrace it—and in time, even learn to appreciate it!
Ilchi Lee, meditation expert and best-selling author, recently wrote “I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation”. Within its pages, Lee offers insightful, encouraging thoughts about how to best approach and accept solitude as you age. Two excerpts from the book are below:
“I want to say this to you: Don’t fear loneliness; accept it. And enjoy solitude.
Everyone comes into the world alone and leaves it alone. So a human is originally a lonely being. Young or old, rich or poor, famous or unknown, a president or a street cleaner, everyone experiences moments when the loneliness of existence suddenly touches them deep within.
Some seek other people to alleviate that loneliness, while some are addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, or various forms of entertainment. Some live mired in depression or give up in despair because they can’t endure the loneliness. Others, though, face the substance of their loneliness head on and experience an awakening of consciousness through deep reflection on the essence of human life. They choose life on a new level of spiritual maturity, and they gain inner joy from the experience. I don’t believe that such a life is limited to special people who pursue spirituality. We are all born with a spiritual nature. What’s important is how we sublimate loneliness regarding the essence of our being.”
“Do not fear loneliness. Great wisdom and love come to us from solitude and loneliness. That path of a human is essentially lonely, but when that solitude has reached the extreme and gone beyond, it changes to great gladness and peace. That’s when you know great compassion. Great compassion can be felt when it transcends human affection. It’s easy for human affection to give birth to attachment. When you are leaning to one side and relying on or stuck in something, you cannot feel the whole. You feel the whole when you are completely alone and lonely. When the loneliness of being reaches deep into your heart, a bright light breaks out of the darkness. Then great solitude changes into brilliant light.”
Rediscover Yourself This Holiday Season
As Lee says: don’t fear solitude. Enjoy it!
With a little Internet investigating, there will be no shortage of local opportunities to help you rekindle your inner joy once more during the holidays. Consider the following ideas and consider embracing one or more, on an ongoing basis if possible.
· Volunteer your time and energy at your local community center, spiritual center, food bank, or other nonprofit organization. Preferably, try to find one that provides tangible assistance to those needing extra help at this time of year. If you find yourself with nowhere to be on the day of a holiday, you can often find community events taking place where you can put your time to good use.
· Connect with your community by first reconnecting within. Consider attending a self-exploratory workshop or retreat to learn more about your True Self.
· Create useful gifts for those most in need. Contact your local homeless shelter, women’s shelter, halfway house, or homeless coalition for a list of their current most-needed items. Create grab bags full of toiletries, bottles of water, non-perishable snacks, and other essentials to drop off.
The heat of summer has been replaced with that refreshing, chilly bite in the air once more. Autumn is finally here! We are so excited to start enjoying all the magic this season brings,
including taking leisurely strolls and more ambitious hikes among the spectacular red rock formations that help make Sedona, Arizona such a popular destination.
Did you know that with a little practice, you can meditate nearly anytime, anywhere? It’s a common misconception for new practitioners to believe they have to be seated cross-legged on the floor in a silent space in order to be meditating “properly”. In fact, you can meditate nearly any time, including when you are walking.
Begin Your Walking Meditation: A Short Guide
Autumn is the perfect time of year for a meditation in Sedona, as the temperature is neither overly hot nor cold. However, you can learn to enjoy a walking meditation any time of year, and anywhere—even if it’s just around your neighborhood.
There there is no “wrong” way to begin your walk. However, there are several things you can do to help make the most of the experience:
1. Walk slowly—this isn’t a race. Feel the ground supporting your body; feel all parts of your feet and the rest of your lower body. Keep your weight more in the ball of your foot than in your heel. Press down into the earth with your ball, then push fully through until your toes extend.
2. Breathe mindfully. One common technique is to inhale slowly, hold the breath for a very brief moment, and then exhale as slowly as you inhaled. This allows you to experience and be mindful of that tiny gap of stillness that exists between your breaths. Note: if you are not used to walking in nature or if your health makes walking more challenging in general, ensure that you are not forcing yourself to breathe so deeply or unnaturally that it makes walking too difficult! The goal is to be mindful of your breathing, not to tire yourself out immediately.
3. Observe the physical mechanics of each step you take. Walking is such an everyday occurrence that most of us are on mental autopilot when it comes to the complex mechanics involved. As you mindfully walk, feel how one leg supports all of your weight as the other is raised to start a new step. Feel your hips rotate; feel your knees bend. Feel your feet flex and stretch as weight is put upon them, then removed, over and over. What areas of your feet do you tend to focus your weight on? Feel how your core responds to each step. What are your arms doing? How is your back feeling? Do you notice anything else?
4. Stop and reflect. After you’ve walked a very short distance, perhaps just a few steps, stop in place, breathe, and feel your body. What is it telling you? Continue to stop and reflect every few feet or so. Don’t worry about any other hikers if you are on a popular path; stay closest to the far right edge of the trail, and they will pass you if need be.
5. Keep a clear, empty mind. If outside thoughts begin to form, acknowledge them, then let them go and return your attention to your body. It’s normal for you to have some thoughts pop up here and there, but do your best to not let them distract and derail your efforts as you walk.
Where to Hike: Sedona’s Famous Red Rocks
If you are fortunate enough to be in or near Sedona, you have a nearly endless number of choices where you can begin your red rock walking meditation. Although this list is far from comprehensive, four of the most popular hiking areas include:
· Cathedral Rock
· Bell Rock
· Boynton Canyon
· Airport Mesa
Each of these sites has stunning and unique red rock formations, as well as dedicated, well-maintained walking paths, making them fairly simple to access by foot. They also include something extra special: each is home to a powerful energy vortex.
What’s a Vortex?
Energy vortexes are found at ley line intersections. In other words, when you visit a vortex in Sedona, you are standing right on top of or closely near where natural electromagnetic lines or paths of energy criss cross one another. This produces an intensely concentrated amount of energy at the intersection that most people can definitely feel or sense in some way.
Just as there are many different types of energy in the world, each vortex is unique in how it may affect you. Some may be uplifting and invigorating, while others may help foster peace and tranquility. Vortexes affect different people in different ways, so if you travel with a hiking buddy or in a group, you may all experience different sensations and feelings from one another.
Walking for Longevity
“Longevity Walking” is a concept that Ilchi Lee discusses in his newest book, “I've Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation”. Here is an excerpt:
“Altering one thing—the way you walk—can bring great changes. Most of us walk without thinking of anything in particular. We’re not really interested in our gait. No one criticizes us for walking our own way, whatever is comfortable. We don’t learn much about walking in school, and we don’t worry about the soles of our feet. But our quality of life changes depending on how we take these steps. Instead of just walking because you have to walk, tell yourself, “I’ll exercise as I walk,” then walking becomes a means of promoting health for a long life, a means of creating happiness.”
To learn more about longevity walking, please click here.
Below is an excerpt from Ilchi Lee’s newest book, “I've Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation”. As you read it, please gently and honestly ask yourself: