Is There An Easy Way to Develop a Daily Mindfulness Practice?

Meditating with this group of young fashion models in Europe reminds me that time is passing each precious day. How we spend our moments is how we spend our lives. Better to do it mindfully and on purpose. 

Meditating with this group of young fashion models in Europe reminds me that time is passing each precious day. How we spend our moments is how we spend our lives. Better to do it mindfully and on purpose. 

One of the things I hear most often from people who ask me to work with them one-on-on or come to my classes and workshops is how hard it is to develop a daily mindfulness and meditation practice

I hear that. Believe me I do.

It IS hard! 

For years, I struggled, too, with developing a daily practice and really reaping all of the benefits mindfulness has to offer 

Benefits like "better relationships, less stress, increased resilience, and fewer instances of feeling overwhelmed, " and "improved concentration, better sleep and better health as you age". 

In response, I decided to create an easy-to-follow daily e-course just for my subscribers, to help you cultivate mindfulness not just while you are meditating, but at work, home, when you scroll through social media, when you eat, move and all of the other things you do daily.

The feedback from this course was SO great! 

Here's what one participant, John C., wrote to tell me: 

I had been interested in learning more about Mindfulness, it’s a term we hear often these days, so when I got Felina’s email about 45 Days of Mindfulness,

I said, “Yes, I’ll do this!”

And it has been a revealing experience. I have become aware of aspects of my personality that I was not aware of before. For example, I realized how I respond to requests from others, both personal and business, and I have made a conscious decision to respond differently.

My normal response had been with resentment and anger. But early on in this 45-Day exercise, I saw that I could respond with love and kindness and enthusiasm instead, and when I do, I feel better about myself.

I’m looking forward to learning more and changing more as this process continues.

Way to go, John!

And because he, and so many others have loved the free e-course (even though I hadn't planned on it) I've decided to make it available as a FREE downloadable e-book, 45 Days of Mindfulness: The Easy Guide to Developing a Daily Practice 

It's my very first book on mindfulness and I'm SO delighted to share it with you! 

With easy to follow daily practices, I give you guidance on how to bring mindfulness
into your life in practical ways: at home, at work, while eating, using digital technology and
social media, exercising, and more. By starting with just one minute of practice on the first
day, and building slowly, day by day, you're shown how to build a lifetime mindfulness
practice in just 45 days while, at the same time, enjoying its benefits from day one.

Why am I so passionate about helping you to develop a practice for life?

Because I have seen the results of what regular mindfulness and meditation have done in my own personal experience and that of so many others. You deserve to have "more peace, more joy and less overwhelm", too. 

Because the world needs you now more than ever. 

My 45th birthday is this week and, with age, I've been taking a look at the world around me and what we are creating for our children.

I know you care as much as I do about contributing to the social, political, environmental and other challenges we face today. And by cultivating mindfulness, you will inexorably be part of the solution to the pressing problems of our times. Slowly and imperceptibly at first, but powerfully and inevitably. 

For your benefit, and for your kids.

Our kids. 

And our planet, too. 

I hope you'll enjoy this FREE downloadable e-book, 45 Days of Mindfulness: The Easy Guide to Developing a Daily Practice.  

When a Man Cries in Public

In Paris last week. A man and his phone. 

In Paris last week. A man and his phone. 

His sobbing could be heard only faintly amid the din of conversation and beeping digital devices that contributed to the on board cacophony.

He was a tall, dark haired man, probably in his late 20s. There wasn’t much that was particularly noticeable about him: the T-shirt, shorts, flip flops, wristwatch all were standard issue.

In other words, there were no external signs that this young man’s behavior might not conform with the expectations of public behavior and decorum in our society.

And yet, here he was, on a flight halfway between Phoenix and Albuquerque, faced turned downward and towards the window, sobbing.

Rarely have I seen, if ever, a man sob that way, especially not in public.

It was the kind of body shaking that was more like that of a howling, wounded animal than of a human, perhaps more like a woman in labor than what sexist and outdated cultural norms demand of men.

He convulsed and shook, and tears rolled down his face.

And all of this he did, with minimal sound. It was almost eerie how quiet it all was, except for the muffled noises as he seemed to fight between his own need to sob, and knowing what public expectations demanded of him as a man.

My head was buried, ironically, in Huston Smith’s Why Religion Matters, part of my intention to fight against the tendency so prevalent in our world to stay at the surface of life and thought exacerbated by the ubiquity of technology. I was longing and hungry for more time to be spent in the depth and richness of deep contemplation underneath the realm of our ordinary diurnal tasks, where meaning is made, and this book was simply one of many such oft-foiled attempts.

Huston, one of the greatest religious scholars of the 20th century, writes about how a pseudo-scientific understanding of the world (what he calls scientism) has ripped away our common sense and traditional ways of knowing about things that are not proven by science in double-blind trials. Again and again, he writes about the realm of meaning that is valid and deeply worthy of respect, and which is all too often dismissed as not being factually based. A bias as crippling as the biases which Galileo and Copernicus had to face, too. 

I was captivated by the depth of the book and so grateful I had escaped the surly bonds of social media for long enough to actually read this way again. 

And here I faced the struggle that I find gets the better of me and many of us all too often: to say something to the young man sitting just a few inches away, or to keep my head buried in the book in fear of what might happen if I do?

The reality is that, in so many ways, our common experiences of compassion and tenderness towards those who are suffering are radically limited to safe spaces where we have permission to be with people in sometimes intimate ways. I make up that hundreds of years ago, if you saw someone sobbing right next to you in the orchards where you were picking apples or on the farm where you were milking cows, you wouldn’t think of not reaching out in compassion. That the imperative of being civilized, respectful and always decorous, actually prevents us from exercising our natural impulse to authentically connect with and be with those who are hurting.

I contemplated the dilemma in front of me: reach out to my brother or respect the rules of modern society which value privacy and individualism far more than they value connection, and risk making it worse for him and, potentially, me.

Eventually the impulse to care for another human being got the better of me and I had to say something.

But what?

What the hell could I possibly say to this man I didn’t know in a public place whose body language clearly seemed to signal that he, like a wounded animal, wanted to be left alone?

With whatever courage I could muster, I decided to wait for a pause in his sobs when he finally had to look in my direction.  After several minutes, with red eyes and a splotchy face, he glanced up.

And I heard this come out of my mouth:

“Do you want to talk?”

He nodded no, silently, but his eyes spoke of gratitude

He put the palm of his hand to his chest in that well-recognized gesture of being touched emotionally, and mouthed,  “Thank you”.

I nodded, as if to say, OK, and went back to my book.

Here it was, two perfect strangers in a public space, having a deeply authentic and private moment.

I had no idea why he was sobbing and noticed my analytical mind trying to find reasons why:

Had his girlfriend broken up with him?

Was he on his way to his father’s funeral?

Did he lose his job?

But none of that actually mattered.

What mattered was that this human, an American male no less, sitting in seat 8A, was hurting amidst dozens of other people. And he was courageous enough to be showing it.

How many others on that flight though were holding their pain to themselves?

Holding on to the idea that, in our culture, it is weakness to show emotion or to need others, medicating themselves with everything from food to obsessive social media, prescription drugs to sex?

I had no answers only more questions as my eyes went back to my book.

But over the past month of travels on more planes than I can count - from Oslo and Prague, Paris to London - I’ve been noticing more and more how much harder it is becoming for us to authentically connect. And how especially tough that must be for men, who still have even less social permission to publicly express emotion and vulnerability than do women.

We look down, get on our devices and check out of communal spaces as soon as possible. And then we wonder why we feel lonely, disconnected and frazzled.

Instead we could take a risk to look up, to each other and to what lies within us. 

The yearning to authentically connect with others is as common in Paris and Papua New Guinea as it is in Poughkeepsie and Pasadena. And for those of us living in the undemocratically elected Reign of Technology, leaning into a mindful and authentically meaningful life takes great intentionality and care.

It also takes a community to remind us of its value and necessity.  

And it takes a willingness to make ourselves vulnerable to those across the aisle - whether on an airplane or in the halls of power - to make us feel human.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to keep trying. Even if it does get a bit turbulent at times.

Want to connect more authentically with those around you? Sign up for a free coaching session and start building the life you truly want today.