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Scale down instead of giving up

I’m a big fan of small changes.

Stanford psychologist B.J. Fogg, who has been studying behavior change for over two decades, says that when people are trying to adopt a new habit, “the number one mistake they make is not going tiny enough.”

My friend Jo Annette came up with a mindfulness habit that perfectly illustrates the power of aiming small. She kept leaving her garage door open and started needing to make return trips just to make sure she hadn’t forgotten to close it again.

"So, I decided," she told me, “I would stop – on purpose – to watch it go down. I love the landscaping in my neighborhood, so I decided to take a moment to look around and express a thought of gratefulness and blessings for my neighbors and our neighborhood.”

I’ve been experimenting with this since she told me about it.  

This is why I love trying to sneak mindfulness into my life. It reminds me that finding time isn’t the real obstacle.

The real challenge is my reluctance to stop ruminating even for the ten seconds it takes for my garage door to close.

Building direct awareness into tasks we're already doing doesn't subtract time from our lives. The impact adds up in quietly rich and satisfying ways. 

It also leads to looking for more crevices where we can smuggle life back into our routines.  

Isn't there one thing you whiz through every day on your way to doing more important things? 

I dare you to build a small attention shift into it and wait to see what happens. 

Deep Sit 

I was honored to be invited as a guest on the new Deep Sit podcast. 

Here's how the host Peter Falker describes this new meditation podcast that focuses on meaning, mindfulness, and wisdom: 

"Join me as I dive deep into thoughtful conversations with people who are living with a distinct sense of meaning and purpose.

Each of my guests live with intention and a heightened sense of present-moment awareness.

Many have specific mindfulness practices such as meditation that keep them in touch with their internal observer, allowing them to connect with their inner wisdom and intuition.

Through these deep-dive interviews, reflect on your own life and where you might find opportunities to connect with meaning and purpose."

You can also listen using the Stitcher app

Shinzen Young was a recent guest, too. You can hear his fascinating two-part conversation  here (part 1) and here (part 2). 

Spring mindfulness workshops, classes, and talks

Upcoming classes

    Live, 8-week online mindfulness course introducing the Unified Mindfulness system. While mindfulness is an exercise that strengthens the muscles of your attention overall, it can also optimize any life situation. Whether you're walking your dog, taking a sip of coffee, hugging your kids, driving to work, participating in a meeting – all the little moments throughout the day can be qualitatively improved through mindfulness practice.    

    Thursdays, March 29 through May 17, 2018. Details at Unified Mindfulness
    • Week 1 (March 29) Introduction to Unified Mindfulness
    • Week 2 (April 5) How to Relax and Recharge with Mindfulness
    • Week 3 (April 12) Mindfulness in Daily Life
    • Week 4 (April 19) Getting in the Zone & Going with the Flow
    • Week 5 (April 26) How to Develop Spontaneity 
    • Week 6 (May 3) Feeling Good and the Magic of Music
    • Week 7 (May 10) Inner Opportunities and Obstacles
    • Week 8 (May 17) Wrap Up: Your Unified Mindfulness Road Map
  • 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT
  • Mindfulness for People Who Can't Stop Thinking
    Learn how to navigate this common obstacle to consistent mindfulness practice.

    Friday, March 30, 2018
    10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    Mount Carmel St. Ann's
  • Feel More at Home in Your Life with Mindfulness
    Learn how observing our thoughts and feelings with curiosity can lead to fighting with ourselves less.

    Monday, April 16, 2018
    4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Mount Carmel Healthy Living Center
  • Mindfulness Resources

    Get my recommendations for books, apps, and retreats that can help you get started exploring the many options you have for practicing mindfulness.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018
    6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
    Amelita Mirolo Barn 
  • Friday Morning Retreat: Doable Mindfulness
    Break through the common obstacles to mindfulness and get practical strategies to address the attention-related challenges everyone faces.

    May 4, 2018
    9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    Spring Hollow Lodge
  • Saturday Morning Retreat: Shift Your Attention with Mindfulness
    Come explore simple ways to shift your attention on purpose with an emphasis on experiencing mindfulness rather than just understanding it.

    May 5, 2018
    9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    Amelita Mirolo Barn 

Recent blog posts

  • Feeling Better

    It wasn’t until I stumbled clumsily toward a daily mindfulness practice in my mid-thirties that I discovered that there were ways I could get better at feeling my feelings.

    Before intentionally working on my attentional skills, I had no idea how often I escalated my unpleasant feelings and zipped past the pleasant and subtler ones.

  • The Story You Tell Yourself about the World

    Magician and writer Nate Staniforth: "It’s easier to live in the story you tell yourself about the world rather than the world itself."

Recent attention grabbers

  • "Living in the Moment: What Mindfulness Is and Is Not" by Manuel A. Manotas

    "Meditation practice supports mindfulness, but meditation is not mindfulness; meditation merely helps train the mind to be in a mindful state. Mindfulness doesn’t belong to anyone or any one tradition, although many meditative and contemplative traditions (particularly Buddhism) make it explicit in their practices."

    Mindfulness is an ever-deepening way of being that can be understood only by living it.

  • Yuval Noah Harari from Russell Brand's Under the Skin podcast

    "The success of Homo sapiens as a species is built on our inability to tell the difference between a fiction and a reality."
  • "The Other Real World" from Invisibilia 

    "A look at the goals and impact of a UN-backed reality show called Inspire Somalia, that attempted to model democracy and freedom in a country racked by decades of clan warfare and oppression by extremist groups."
  • "The Lonely American Man" from Hidden Brain

    "Researchers say it can be difficult for men to hold on to friendships as they age. And the problem may begin in adolescence."
  • "How the Shape of Your Ears Affects What You Hear" by Veronique Greenwood

    "Researchers set up a series of experiments using a dome of speakers, ear molds made of silicone, and an fMRI machine to record brain activity. The findings suggest that locating a sound in space requires your brain to incorporate not just the sound waves themselves but your own grasp, however unconscious, of how your ears modify that sound."
"We are losing our listening. We spend roughly 60% of our communication time listening, but we're not very good at it. We retain just 25% of what we hear." 

Treasure, J. (2017). How to Be Heard. Mango Media. (Amazon, library)
EVENT UPDATE: We've moved the contemplative photography camping trip to Sep. 26–30, 2018 to allow more time to promote it. Submit your contact information to learn more when the details and registration become available. 📷🏕️

Keep in touch between newsletters: Take care, 


Copyright © 2018 Attentional Fitness Training, All rights reserved.

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