March: Mind Your Business

March 27, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

“Won’t mindfulness make me lose my edge in business dealings?” This question came up recently during a Twelve Mindful Months class I lead weekly at the Door, and it is a common concern.  Mindfulness is the new buzz word in the media, as evidenced by the many articles boasting the benefits of the practice – increased productivity, decreased stress and healthcare costs – to corporations such as Aetna and General Mills and teams such as the Seattle Sea Hawks.  But in other articles, the media tends to sensationalize mindfulness as a blissful state with photographs of models meditating with peaceful smiles and faraway gazes, so it’s not surprising that business people have doubts. Mindfulness is not about zoning out, but about zoning in. Mindfulness is not passive, but active.  In business it sharpens your edge.  Instead of dulling your senses, it heightens your awareness of them.  Through the practice of …


February: Be Mindful/Be Mine

February 19, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

In February, this month of Valentine’s Day, we may gift those we love with cards, flowers or chocolates.  But the greatest gift we can give our relationships is mindfulness.  The practice of mindfulness slows us down and increases our awareness, allowing us to pay attention without judgment, which benefits  our relationships – both personal and business – in two important ways:  1. It gives us the ability to delay our emotional responses. How to do it:  Stay aware, so you are able to notice when an emotional sensation arises.  Become conscious of your breath.  This pause gets you out of autopilot and creates a moment to discern whether your speech or action would be harmful or beneficial.  Then you can respond, rather than react, and not be yanked around by your emotions. 2. It gives us the ability to be better listeners and develop empathy. How to do it:  Disregard your electronic …


January: A Mindful New Year Three Tips to Help Your Intentions Thrive

January 20, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

How exactly will mindfulness help you stick with your intentions? When you are fully aware in the present moment you do make healthier choices.  Think about it:  When you are unmindful, you lose control over your actions and become reactive.  Mindfulness, like a vigilant personal trainer, helps you become a keen observer of yourself, giving you the wisdom, willpower and patience to stay in balance, which is the key to developing lifelong healthy habits.  Even a little bit of mindfulness goes a long way, so give at least one of these tips a try: 1. Disconnect More from Technology and Reconnect Instead to Your Own Lived Experience so you can be in touch with your feelings and what it is you need to feel fulfilled. Budget usage of email and texts. Unplug as often as possible.  Limit social media time.  Disconnect after sunset or at least an hour before bed …


How to Stop Going Steady With Tech & Still Be Friends

May 1, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

Why is it that we live in a world where we crave control and don’t want to be told what to do, yet we let our devices rule us? Technology is seductive.  It flirts with us constantly, creating an insatiable desire for more stimulus, entertainment and information. In today’s world where most of us are in a continual state of partial attention, we crave connection. Technology provides that. So it’s easy to get hooked.  The fact of life today is that we need technology – we can’t just say good-bye – so we have to set boundaries. To change our relationship from going steady back to friends.  It can be a challenge, but using the three steps below can help us develop a healthy relationship with technology and a more meaningful life: Step One:  Create Space  Just like any relationship that is smothering us, we have to find small ways …


October: Unchain Your Fears

October 19, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery/None but ourselves can free our minds.” – Bob Marley In this month of Halloween, it’s an ideal time to confront fears – past, present or future – that haunt us. The lens of fear distorts what we see, often exaggerating, and focusing on the negative.  Fear can also  masquerade as anger, jealousy or ego attachment.  Most fears are unfounded, yet they force us to compromise our core values by putting us in survival mode. Try these 3 mindful strategies to unchain your fears and liberate your mind: Practice Meditation and Mindfulness:  These skills keep you present, instead of ruminating about the past or projecting into the future.  It’s not an escape mechanism to ignore your worries; you just put them on hold, so they don’t rule your life.  You acknowledge them, let them go, and address them later, to determine whether they are indeed real, or …


Got Gratitude?

December 14, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

You probably do.  Amidst the rush of holidays, as another year winds down, our thoughts turn to gratitude for our lives and people in it.  But to truly embody gratitude, we must practice it not just from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, but from New Year’s to Thanksgiving as well.  To-do-lists, work pressures, family issues and health and safety concerns can all threaten our  well-being, so when stress and negativity build up, try practicing gratitude to stay in balance. For the past several months I’ve been hit with some stressful life situations that have put my mindfulness practice to a test.  It’s easier than ever to be hijacked by emotions or anxiety,  but I’ve discovered that actively pursuing gratitude has helped keep me present and calmer.  Not that I haven’t had my moments.  When those happen, I compassionately remind myself that mindfulness (and being a human being) isn’t about being perfect.  …


September: See Routines as Rituals

September 24, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

”Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.”- Buddha Often when we are engaged in everyday routines, our body is in one place, while our mind is somewhere else, and our breath is being ignored.  We’re operating in autopilot.  This is mindlessness.  And in today’s world where most of us are in a constant state of partial attention, it’s the norm. But consider this: In challenging times of our lives, when we’re stressed, sick or injured, we tend to turn to our daily routines to help us feel normal and forget our worries. Routines then become soothing – and more sacred – like rituals. Why wait until tough times, when you could create more joy now?  By seeing routines as rituals, we can prevent burn-out and boredom and cultivate appreciation for the simple mundane routines that make up our lives.  This is mindfulness. Here’s How to Do It:  1. Get …


May: Cultivate Self-Compassion

May 22, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

Self-compassion is the ability to love and accept ourselves just as we are.  If we habitually berate ourselves for less-than-perfect behavior or appearance, we cannot feel it, because we don’t feel deserving.  And when we don’t feel deserving we lean more towards destructive, rather than healthy habits. If we can’t feel compassion for ourselves, it’s not possible to feel it for anyone else – except, perhaps, our offspring.  The capacity for compassion is innate in both animals and human beings, and parenthood is a prime example. While it comes easy for most parents, (and maybe for those who choose professions that require compassion), somehow, we find it harder to feel it for those people we don’t have to care for – and that includes ourselves. Research has shown that cultivating self-compassion can help us attain wellness and exercise intentions that last. Try these mindful tips so you can experience life …


June: Throwback Summer

June 30, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

In a throwback to childhood summers, summertime gives us permission to push the reset button and recreate the work/life balance we all crave. Guilt-free. It’s instilled in us to work less and play more. We know from experience that old habits die hard due to the momentum they have behind them, so why not go with the flow of the season?   How To Do It: Tap into mindfulness:  When we’re on vacation, we are often mindful without realizing it:  We slow down, multitask less, spend more time in nature and less with technology, have more interactions with people we enjoy, and we reconnect with what it is that fulfills us.  Because we’ve slowed we are able to notice how we’re feeling and tend to give our bodies what it needs to stay healthy: exercise, sleep, relaxation and proper diet. Embrace these mindful concepts all summer to help you manage …


July: In the Heat of the Moment

July 31, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

In the heat of the summer, anger – among other things – can be aroused.  Of all our emotions, it can be the most toxic to our health and our relationships. In the heat of the moment, that’s all we have – a moment – before we blow it.  Enter mindfulness for emotional rescue.  When we slow down and stay aware, as we do when we’re mindful, we are able to notice how we’re feeling. We are familiar with the sensations we feel when we are in the throes of sexual passion, but often we are oblivious to the bodily sensations that precede heightened emotions like anger or fear. It could be pain in the belly, tightness in the chest, heat or chills or elevated heart rate, quickened breath.  When we are able to notice them, we can pause – take a deep breath – and rather than react, we …


August: Patience & Acceptance

August 20, 2015 by Carol Tibbetts

“Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao-Tzu  Sometimes we find ourselves so fixated on perfection and future results we don’t enjoy what we’re doing in the present.  To build patience, practice contentment.  Appreciate all your small successes:  Notice subtle changes or ease with which you perform an activity, or become more mindful or how your personal relationships have improved. DO: Accept where you are.  Keep your goals/intentions in mind, but avoid fixating on them. DON’T: Stop striving or become complacent.  (Especially if you practice unhealthy lifestyle habits, or have yet to get moving!) TAKE A LESSON FROM NATURE:  Make peace with plateaus and practice patience.  Be content, but not complacent, with where you are now.  Celebrate the good in each moment and each day.  Create a journey as joyful as your destination. Excerpted from August Chapter of “Twelve Mindful Months:  Cultivating a Balanced Body, Mind & Spirit” by Carol …


Monday Mindfulness Tips

August 18, 2014 by Carol Tibbetts

Get Mindfulness! Here’s how you can achieve mindfulness with three daily activites:  Create a daily wake-up ritual.  Each morning before you rise, set a mindful intention.  Choose 3 activities that you will attempt to do mindfully.  Choose one meal, one rote activity, and one other.  Examples: 1. Just eat:  No reading, emailing, texting or TV.  When we eat mindfully we will be satisfied with less, and with time, crave healthier foods. 2. Just shower:  Feel & appreciate how the hot water soothes your body. Avoid thoughts of what you have to do after your shower & stay present to the sensations we often take for granted. 3. Just exercise:  Stay tuned into your muscles, how you place your feet, your breath, your heartbeat & how you move through space.  Get out of your head (away from unrelated thoughts) & into your body.  You’ll benefit more with focused exercise & be less apt to get …


August Mindful Musing: Acceptance

August 29, 2014 by Carol Tibbetts

Sometimes we find ourselves so fixated on perfection or future results we don’t enjoy what we’re doing in the present.  To build patience and help you stay open to learning, accept where you are now.  Appreciate small successes and the subtle changes or ease with which you perform an activity that will add up and make a difference in the end.  Keep your goal in mind, but avoid fixating on it.  Be content, but not complacent. (Excerpt and photos from August chapter of  “Twelve Mindful Months” by Carol Tibbetts) For more on mindfulness, read  “Twelve Mindful Months:  Cultivating a Balanced & Fit Body, Mind & Spirit” by Carol Tibbetts.  (Available at Golden Door Boutique or shop on-line)  Stay on the mindful path with me by following my posts. Share comments & questions here or email me at ctibbetts@goldendoor.com  


Mindful Monday Tip

September 2, 2014 by Carol Tibbetts

Events that force us to slow down – gridlock traffic, red lights, long check-out lines – can serve as reminders to slow down and become aware of what’s going on in the world both around us and inside us. To get out of our heads and into our hearts for even just a few moments.  Use those times as your mindfulness wake-up call.  Stop, look, listen – and just be.  The next time you’re at a red light, resist the urge to use your phone, and make an inner connection instead: Follow your in and out breath.  Or, as you’re waiting for your check in a restaurant or in line at the supermarket, become  present to your surroundings and you may notice that the whole place is busy, there are many other customers, and the waiter or cashier seem to be the only ones working.  As you practice this mindful …


Got Mindfulness?

July 24, 2014 by Carol Tibbetts

Mindfulness is the new buzzword.  Although we hear it often, I’ve discovered – through the Twelve Mindful Months class I teach weekly at Golden Door – that a lot of people aren’t exactly sure what it is or how to go about it.  In this post, I hope to demystify it. But first, let me tell you why I got into mindfulness.  Over time, I observed – as a fitness instructor/trainer for 30 years and a yoga teacher for 10 – that most people had adapted to a healthier diet, followed a cardio and strength program, but had not incorporated the weekly one hour mindfulness component (like meditation, yoga, T’ai Chi) that ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)  recommends for stress management and total body/mind/spirit wellness.  Usually it was the last activity to be added (if at all) and the first to go when time was limited.  Many people have …


Yield to the Present

September 12, 2014 by Carol Tibbetts

On a recent trip to Northern California, the sign – yield to the present – came into view as I entered the property of Spirit Rock, a place I was exploring for a future retreat. It made me think about how challenging it is to stay present in today’s world. Maybe if we posted sticky note signs in our homes and offices it would help us remember what is truly important.  Instead of “to-dos” and grocery lists, we could write:  Be Aware.  Slow Down.  Just Breathe.  Be kind. I have often thought about yield signs.  How so few drivers actually yield:  Not  slowing down to allow other cars to enter or exit.  Am I alone in noticing this?  To yield means to “give way to,” which is an aspect of mindfulness:  being aware of what is present, without forcing your viewpoints or preconceptions. Whether on the road or off, we …


November: Harvesting Positivity

November 17, 2014 by Carol Tibbetts

This month of Thanksgiving, when gratitude is in our minds, is an ideal time to focus on harvesting positivity. I learned this concept from Rick Hanson’s book Buddha’s Brain.  Prior to that I had expressed daily gratitude, and even kept a list at times, but fostering positive experiences took me to a deeper level. Here’s my adaptation of Hanson’s theories: 1.Actively Seek the Positive:  Most of the time our minds are so occupied that small, pleasurable everyday experiences just skitter by, unnoticed. Choose to actively seek the good, and you will slow down and increase your awareness of the world around you – a smile from a stranger, a baby’s face, an act of kindness, a minor success, subtle aspects of nature. 2. Savor It:  Make it last by giving positive experiences your full attention for 5, 10, even 20 seconds.  Truly take it in.  Relax your body.  Breathe.  Feel …


December: The 12 Gifts of Mindfulness

December 11, 2014 by Carol Tibbetts

1. joy 2. peace 3. contentment 4. self-regulation 5. increased focus 6. developed compassion 7. present moment awareness 8. appreciation for what you have 9. acceptance for what you cannot change 10. liberation from anxiety & cultivated resilience 11. delayed emotional responses & deep listening skills 12. ability to experience life with more depth, meaning & connectedness mindfulness is the path to all of these qualities of emotional intelligence May the gifts of peace, joy & mindfulness be yours through the holiday season!   For more on mindfulness, read “Twelve Mindful Months:  Cultivating a Balanced & Fit Body, Mind, & Spirit” by Carol Tibbetts.  Available on-line & at Golden Door Boutique.


October: How Nature Helps Us Age Well

October 20, 2014 by Carol Tibbetts

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Thoreau’s words echo throughout the gardens and trails here at Golden Door.  As a hike leader for the past 16 years, I continually hear guests say the 6AM hike is their favorite activity.  It’s especially dramatic this time of year, when we begin our walk in semi-darkness beneath the glimmer of stars and moonlight, and as we ascend the mountain, the darkness recedes, the sky lightens, and the sun rises. Thoreau knew how good a morning walk made him feel, without needing science to tell him so.  Now we have scientific proof (Harvard Health Letter 2010) that “green” exercise has been proven to lower depression and elevate mood, self-esteem and motivation more than indoor exercise. So it’s no wonder why we feel nurtured by nature.  And if you don’t have time to exercise, just being outdoors in natural light …