Monthly Archives: November 2015

More on cultivating positive states.

A couple of years ago I did a facebook -“25 days of Christmas -noticing random acts of kindness posts”.  It had an amazing effect.  At first it was difficult to notice any acts and I really had to stretch.  But within a week I often noticed more than one a day.  This is the power of cultivating (not prefabricating) the positive.  There is a difference.

Positive and negative is happening all around us all the time.  The problem is that because of our negative bias we mostly notice the negative.  Mindfulness practice strengthens our ability to notice all of it.  And lo and behold most of it is not negative.  So we’re not fabricating what we don’t feel.  We’re not making it up if it’s not true.  We’re noticing what is.  And deciding to put some attention there.

Tomorrow is December 1st, so for 25 days I will post random acts of kindness I see during the day.  I’ll admit sometimes I have to do them in order to have one to post.  And, it doesn’t always make me feel “good” necessarily.  But there is an impact. And I get to notice that.

I invite you to read these and / or watch for them in your own life. See what happens.  Be curious.

Cultivating positive states

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  My husband and I took a month vacation driving to Canada and back.  The class I teach started. Then I had to deal with what I was going to do with my torn rotator cuff.  I decided to have surgery.

The surgery is a three rough days behind me but one of my mindfulness techniques has kicked in.  Cultivating positive states is essential to a healthy nervous system.  It helps to balance the negativity bias. You know,  the evolutionary tendency to hold on to and see negative or dangerous side of things so we can avoid danger.  It certainly has it’s place.  especially when we were cave dwellers.  But our nervous system can’t be kept on high alert all the time. We have to spend time generating the positive side of experience.  This does not mean being Pollyanna about life.  It’s not saying that things are OK when they’re not.  It is seeing what positive truly exists in the present moment.

So, in mindfulness, we practice a fair amount of cultivating positive states.  States such as good will toward others and gratitude.  When I woke up this morning, even with some pain and lot’s of lack of mobility, I saw the sunrise out of my back window.  The orange and blue colors were spectacular.  Then I noticed the sound of birds and the smell of fresh air.  And within about 20 minutes the sky had turned gray and it started to rain with thunder and lightening. Now for a Californian who has been living with 4 years of drought, that was a very welcome experience.

I was flooded with gratitude for what was happening at that very moment.  I was safe, warm, relatively pain free, looking forward to better arm movement and watching nature’s theater.  I thought of my family members who have been gentle, generous and kind during this process.  My heart filled with gratitude and joy.  The experience of that moment had made me feel better than any medication my Dr. had prescribed.

I’m so grateful that by just practicing these techniques helps them to arise when needed.  It’s one of the precious gifts that the use of mindfulness offers.

Be well.