January 2013       
 Professional advice 
  & practical solutions 
for people of
 every kind
 Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. 

I'm a Mountain; You're a Mountain   
Sometimes I forget how much bigger I am than my problems. I forget how colossal my intimate connections to family, friends and Spirit make me in the face of life's storms.  I forget because I need to be reminded! One way I've learned to remind myself of my mountain-like resilience is by practicing mindfulness meditation.  
In this issue, I will share with you a few mindfulness-based techniques I use with my psychotherapy clients to help them work with their troublesome thoughts and emotions instead of avoiding them or getting "entangled" with them. 
One such technique is a guided mindfulness meditation I recently adapted from one of Jon Kabat-Zinn's books: I call it, Your Mountainness as it encourages us to recall our mountain-like resilience, which is available to us at any time.  I have provided you with this guided meditation in narrative form and as a YouTube audio file for quick and easy access. Take a listen; you might just discover how much of a mighty mountain you really are!    

Well wishes,

Tony Madril
Editor & Psychotherapist    

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In This Issue
Mindfulness Reflection
Mindfulness Meditation
Newsletter Archive
Special Focus: Mindfulness Practice in Daily Life
Special Focus: Helping LGBT Youth
Special Focus: Cyberbullying
Special Focus: Teens and the internet
Special Focus: Problems facing LGBT youth
Special Focus: Children with special learning needs 
Special Focus: Managing challenging behaviors in children  
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Beyond Your Every Thought: What Else is Happening   
By Tony Madril, M.S.W., B.C.D. 
Would it help to know that your thoughts are really harmless? They are.  Neuroscientists tell us that our thoughts are nothing more than electrical signals passing from one brain cell to the next; usually fading within a matter of moments.  No matter, if you're like most people, you may find it all-too-easy to take your thoughts personally; believing what they have to "say" about a number of things important to you, like:  What you must look like to other people; how well you are liked; whether or not you are "good enough" for this situation or that.  The problem is that these thoughts may not be true.  And, believing thoughts that are not true--especially if they're about important things--can leave you very upset.  Feelings of self-doubt, sadness, and anxiety can arise when your beliefs are "hooked" onto thoughts that, well...just aren't true. 


Would it help to know that you could let upsetting thoughts pass you by?  You can. Mindfulness practice teaches us that one of the best ways to "unhook" ourselves from upsetting thoughts is not to get hooked in the first place.  Seeing thoughts for what they are--energy passing through the mind--is one way to keep from becoming attached to upsetting thoughts.  You might say to yourself, "Oh, that's just a bit of energy passing through my mind...no need to get upset" when noticing a troubling thought you're tempted to believe.


Another way to keep from getting hooked is to see your thoughts as just a small part of your present-moment experience.  For example, if you happen to find yourself having a troubling thought, you might remind yourself that this thought is really only a very small part of what's happening inside and around you.  You might ask yourself:  "Is this the only thing that's going on right now?"  "What else is happening in my body besides this thought?"  Or,  "What other things are happening around me that are not this thought?"  When you make it a habit to become aware of everything else that's going on in the moment--besides your troubling thoughts--you begin to discover all the other choices you have besides believing-your-every-thought. 

Mindfulness Meditation: 
Erecting Your Mountain-Self
By Tony Madril, M.S.W., B.C.D.

Click here to listen on YouTube 

"Your Mountainness" Mindfulness Meditation


How much of a giant are you?  I mean; if you counted all the different parts that make you a one-of-a-kind person, how many parts would there be?  If you could stack your hopes and dreams skyward, how high would they reach?  If you could measure your inner-strength in acres-of-land, how much space would it cover?  One way to help overcome adversity in our lives is to recognize how often we are so much bigger than our problems.  That said, this mindfulness meditation asks you to use your imagination to see yourself as a colossal mountain!  The kind of a mountain that is so tall and wide that almost nothing can disturb it. 


Are you ready? Find a place where you will not be disturbed for a few minutes.  Get into a comfortable sitting position, close your eyes, and take a couple of deeper-than-normal breaths: In, and out, in, and out.  When you are ready, begin to imagine the most incredible mountain you've seen or can imagine; the kind of mountain you would chose to look at were it outside your window.  Notice how massive it is, how unmoving and still it appears against the big blue sky.  Now...zoom-in as if your mind were a camera and inspect the different parts of your mountain.  Does your mountain have an especially large peak, a series of peaks, or a peak that's so high it's covered by clouds?  What about the sides of your mountain?  How do they look?  Are they steep and jagged, or smooth and gently sloping?  What else can you see?  Are there trees on the lower slopes of your mountain and snow at the top?  What colors can you see?  However your mountain appears, just sit for a few moments and hold a clear image of it in your mind's eye.


Now, have some fun with your imagination!  Rise-up and become this mighty mountain! Bring the image of this mighty mountain into your body using your breath.  Take an extra slow and deep inhale and imagine your head becoming the giant peak of the mountain, towering far above the base of the ground, sitting-up taller as you do.  And, with an extra long exhale see your shoulders and arms reaching-out and becoming the long, sweeping sides of the mountain.  Now breathe again and see your buttocks, legs, and feet transform into the solid base of the mountain; deeply rooted into the depths of the earth.  Finally, allow your skin to become the very surface of the mountain; so sensitive, it is able to pick-up even the slightest changes in weather.  Experience the feeling of becoming this mighty mountain:  Feel a sense of uplift from the bottoms-of-your-feet to the top-of-your-head.  Centered and powerful in your stance; you cannot be moved!


In this moment, begin to sense a storm happening on one of the peaks far-off to your left.  Zoom-in and notice more closely that, here, the weather is pelting you with heavy wind, rain, and ice!  It feels like winter!  Can you feel it?  Stay with these images for just a moment or two.

This time, zoom-out and see a panoramic view of yourself as the mountain.  Scan yourself from end-to-end.  Notice any parts of you that are "not stormy."  When you find one, zoom-in and sense closely what's happening there?  Perhaps you feel the sun shining on your skin, warming you as you breathe with this pleasant sensation.  Perhaps you see the leaves on the trees gently swaying in the breeze.  Perhaps you hear birds chirping and smell flowers growing in a meadow.  However you imagine this part of yourself, use your breath to absorb these calming images; take refuge in them! 


Now, zoom-out, again,and notice well that the majority of your mountain-self is actually calm and sunny compared to the one, small patch of land on your left that happens to be cold and wet.  See all of the calm and sunny areas you have scattered across your mountainside like strings of bright lights on a Christmas tree.  Stay here for a few moments and breathe with these pleasant images.  

And, while sitting here, recognize that, although a part of you feels like winter, the whole of you is far bigger than this one cold region.  Recognize that the storm happening now is not the only thing happening.  Recognize that the majority of what's happening to your mountain-self in this moment is actually calm and sunny.  Feel free to breathe-out a sigh of relief if you'd like.

Now as this time for sitting slowly comes to an end, begin to reacquaint yourself with your surroundings.  Sense how it is you are sitting and how you're breathing. Notice any noises inside the room, and outside the room.  And, taking one, last deeper-than-normal breath...slowly open your eyes.


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