All posts filed under: Mindful Living

The Virtues of Boredom

By Janet Solyntjes // It was the fall of 1986. I was staying with my mother during a period of transition marked by a lack of interest and direction. My mother gently asked if I wanted to see her therapist. I’m not sure how I knew that therapy wasn’t what was needed. A few days later I was driving from Minnesota to Colorado to what was then Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now Drala Mountain Center) for a 28-day meditation retreat. The first week was enjoyable. It was autumn and the Colorado landscape was stunning. I was excited to learn the art of chanting and the ritualized movements of a Zen-inspired meal ceremony. Sitting and walking meditation practice helped me work with the thought patterns that had led me into the confused and directionless state. Hour by hour, with the instructions to let go of thoughts, my heart began to lighten. By the beginning of the third week I was less enthusiastic about the rigorous schedule. Each day followed a similar pattern: Sit. Walk. Sit. Eat. …

Permission to Rest

by Marissa C. Knox, PhD Photo credit: Marissa C. Knox, PhD I’m currently in a major life transition– adjusting to a new home in a new state with a new job in an entirely new environment – and I’ve been waiting to exhale until I finally feel settled. I’ve told myself that I can finally relax once I get through a full year of living and working here, experienced all four seasons of weather, successfully taught classes for two semesters, and I’ve figured out all of my new routines, and generally have “it” all together. And until then? I guess I’ll just brace myself and hold my breath. … Well, it may not be surprising, but this plan has not been working very well. In fact, I have only made it this far precisely because I have forced encouraged myself to exhale and rest. It has become undeniably clear that without rest, nothing else is possible. Giving myself permission to exhale, even when it feels like I don’t have the time, has been a portal …

Live as a Free and Full Expression of Who You Really Are

by Blake D. Bauer What if all our suffering is a cry from our soul, from our body and our subconscious mind, asking us to love, value, and take much better care of ourselves? What if our suffering is waking us up to what matters most, to the reasons we were actually born? We experience so much pain and suffering throughout our life. You were not born to suffer. You came here to enjoy your life, to learn about love, to grow. The question that’s really important to answer is “how do I create less suffering for myself and for the people I love?”   A lot of our suffering is the result of us betraying ourselves and trying to please other people all the time. I’ve been tortured mentally and emotionally. I’ve struggled with drug addiction, and suicidal thoughts. I’ve gone through periods of not wanting to be here. I feel really lucky that I found some insights that helped me heal my heart and find deep health again…and I want to help you …

Build a More Self-reliant, Resilient Life

by Kareen Erbe Design a life connected to your food, live healthier, and start building your resilience! Join us for the Introduction to Permaculture Weekend Workshop at Drala Mountain Center this Fall! Climate change, wildfires, a pandemic, food shortages, topsoil loss – these are unsettling and challenging times on so many levels. Sometimes it’s hard to feel hopeful about the future.  That’s why learning how to grow our own food and setting up a resilient yard and garden are some of the most positive steps forward at this time.  Come spend the weekend learning about permaculture and gaining the tools to design a site that will provide you with an abundance of food along with the tools you need to build a more self-reliant, resilient life.  Permaculture involves the development of agriculturally productive ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. Your instructors, Jerome Osentowski and Kareen Erbe have over 50 years of combined experience in the permaculture field. Author of Forest Garden Greenhouse and founder of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (CRMPI), Jerome Osentowski …

Exhaling Deeply

By Kelly Lindsey It’s a beautiful sunny day in late July and I have just arrived at Drala Mountain Center for Family Camp, an annual retreat for families that I have been attending with my children for the past 20 years. Drala Mountain Center has been my spiritual home since I first set foot on this sacred land more than two decades ago. Each time I return and I glimpse the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in the distance, my body softens. My heart opens. My breath deepens. I notice that as I exhale, a gentle sigh escapes my lips. It feels like I have been holding my breath for awhile. Living though a pandemic and bearing witness to the increasing amount of confusion and conflict in the world has at times felt like too much to bear. This is a place where I find refuge. I take a walk and begin to reacquaint myself with this place again. As I wander, I recall sacred moments of connection that I have felt throughout my many summers …

The Gift of Attention

By Melissa Lago When we feel calm, we have more options about where to place our attention. One of the many gifts of yoga and mindful movement is that it can help us to calm our sympathetic nervous system designed for fight, flight or freeze, which causes stress, and activate our parasympathetic nervous system responsible for rest, which promotes an experience of relaxation, inner peace, and well-being. Since we are wired for survival, it’s natural that when we are overwhelmed or stressed, our negativity bias turns on, which is designed to keep us safe. In these moments we often notice what is out of balance in our bodies or challenging in our lives rather than what feels supportive or is working.  Many of us have had the experience of noticing when our back is sore, and then barely noticing it once it’s healed. This can be true in our relationships too. We might find ourselves focusing on the one thing that we find annoying that our partner, friend or family member is doing rather than …

Flowing with the Seasons

By Heather Lindemann The realities of living in our modern culture can often impose a quick pace that is focused on “doing.” From getting to the next meeting to answering e-mails or texts, to checking off items on the never-ending to-do list, it’s easy to get consumed by the forward-moving cadence of a “productive” life.  The natural flow of the seasons offers us another way to move through our day While the to-do list might remain, we can also align our movement, intention, and practices with the energy of the seasons as a way to slow down and harmonize with the innate rhythms of Mother Nature. By connecting with the subtle energies of the Earth, we create a flow in our daily lives that boosts our innate superpowers and fosters ease and a sense of calm within our busy and over-scheduled lives. Alignment to the seasonal flow isn’t a new concept. Ancient cultures prayed, celebrated, worshiped, and built monuments to synch with the summer and winter solstices as well as the fall and spring equinoxes. …

Why Meditation and Yoga for Runners & Hikers?

“I drove myself with an unconscious motivation of fear. Afraid that I am not special unless I prove I am special.” ~Marty Kibiloski In our upcoming Labor Day Weekend program, Meditation and Yoga for Runners & Hikers (formerly Running with the Mind of Meditation), you’ll learn how to enjoy the journey — not just the finish line. “The people that, I think, are drawn to running are used to hard work and pushing themselves and tend to be goal-setters,” says Marty. “We start to compare ourselves to other people.” This is where mindfulness, which employs the same principles used in yoga and meditation, comes in. Mindfulness is the basic ability to be fully present. It’s a mental state achieved by calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations without judgment.​ There are sound evolutionary reasons why running and walking have surged in popularity in the new millennium to become the exercise of choice for reducing stress, bringing us greater perspective, and connecting us directly to the wisdom of the body. The practices of …

Yoga Heart Opening Work

Most people are aware that yoga improves heart health by increasing circulation and blood flow. Research shows that practicing yoga can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels, as well as the heart rate. All these benefits can add up to a lower risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. In this practice video, De West shares another benefit of Yoga for your heart. The heart open practice is noticing what is happening and then being very kind to it. You’ll use your body to help you be more in touch with what you feel. About the Author De West, Certified Yoga Therapist and a Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher is a leader in the Boulder, Colorado yoga community with over 29 years of teaching therapeutic yoga. She has developed a movement practice that allows people of all ages and abilities to experience a positive, relaxed, and transforming experience in both body and mind. Observation, listening, and respect of one’s unique anatomy contribute to her passion for helping students create more peace and freedom. De …

Healthy Selfishness 

Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer by Blake D. Bauer A person who seeks help for a friend, while needy himself, will be answered first. ~The Talmud  If you’re honest with yourself, would you say you’re a selfish person or a selfless person? What do you think of the assertion that everyone is in fact selfish, regardless of how well it is masked? Could you entertain the view that some of us are healthy in our selfish tendencies while most of us are quite unhealthy and destructive, which is what gives the topic of ‘selfishness’ a negative association and leads us to deny it as a fundamental attribute of human nature?  If you really analyze it, you will eventually see that we either take good care of ourselves – which enables us actually to have time and energy for others – or we neglect our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, and therefore live in the world with stress, resentment and a lack of joy. Our metaphorical cup is either overflowing …