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What have you missed over on our Facebook page? Check out some of our top posts!

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What have you missed over on our Facebook page? Check out some of our top posts from this past week!

Join us on Facebook, and be sure to subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter too: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=exwricdab&p=oi&m=1102808931044&sit=8w7zndteb&f=0383bd7b-6431-490b-85cd-f5c4412d7cf2

What have you missed over on our Facebook page? Check out some of our top posts from this past week are suhere!
Join us on Facebook, and be sure to subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter too: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=exwricdab&p=oi&m=1102808931044&sit=8w7zndteb&f=0383bd7b-6431-490b-85cd-f5c4412d7cf2

This New Year, rather than making a resolution to change something, why not make a commitment to find a deeper appreciation for small moments and shared time with friends and family? Here are 3 ideas to get you started…

Gestures of caring and acts of kindness hold a space of sanctuary during shared meals. In this place of refuge, we can fill ourselves with gratitude and appreciation for the gifts of the world, the authentic connections we can make with one another, and being of service to the universal “me” that resides in the stories of our neighbors, the fruit of the land, and the moments of silence in between.

Through curiosity and compassion, we can move from toxic environments we might find ourselves in during our days or in the evenings to a space of sanctuary, areas where we can be generous with one another and ourselves through nonjudgement and acceptance. Let the generous month of November be a starting point, and shared meals your practice.

As a teacher and a mother, September brought homework back to the forefront for Pain Specialist and Yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton. How do we make the time to keep our commitments to our own needs and growth? Doing our Homework, in this month’s Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting.

Pain Specialist & Yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton now watches from inside as her fourth grader gets on the bus. Perhaps she shares a comforting hug with her son’s special stuffie, reminiscing about his early years. Pigs, time, and things that fly, in this month’s Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting.

“Acknowledging how good I have it in this life, it’s ok to also acknowledge that being human – raising humans – loving humans – is still hard.”

In this month’s Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting, Pain Specialist & Yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton works the gratitude muscle.

How Things Work

What makes the car stop? How are car brakes different from bicycle brakes? Train brakes? Roller coasters? How do hydraulics work?

These questions pepper my days these days. Raised for sugar, spice, and everything nice, my mechanical engineering knowledge is woefully inadequate. Thankfully, in his updated masterpiece on machines, The Way Things Work Now, author David Macaulay and his illustrated mastodons describe the inner workings of the toilet tank, stapler, and radio, along with Wifi and RAM. And hydraulics.

I’ve been reading about the power of pressure. When a fluid is compressed, it exerts pressure in all directions.  A container not strong enough to withstand the pressure will leak or otherwise be damaged. Properly contained, the fluid will transfer the force of its power into the world around it.

…”Tibetan nun, Pema Chodron said, “Fear is the natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” The truth is, maybe things WILL go wrong. Completely, horribly, terribly wrong. Pema Chodron also said, “You are the sky. Everything else it’s just the weather.” So it seems that even if everything goes to hell, it will pass us by, like a storm.

This sentiment is easy to remember when things are well, but if we try very hard, we can keep it in our minds when fear creeps in the margins. So if it is difficult for us to hold onto when a situation is daunting, my hope is that we can remind each other….”

Mindfulness is something you can practice at any time, in any place. Still, if you don’t know anything about how to meditate or practice mindfulness, you may want to find guidance and support in the form of community-based classes or groups. Luckily, Western Massachusetts is home to many organizations, courses, and sanctuaries for people to learn about and practice mindfulness (and yoga!).

Mindfulness practice can help us learn to understand and be at peace with impermanence, and self-regulate our emotions when dealing with our own desires to cling to the apparition of permanence.

Snow can make you feel as though the world has stopped around you. During snowstorms, travel is suspended, and, for a day or two, the quiet of the outdoors reminds us to simply enjoy the moment and to be mindful. Here are several resource centers, peaceful places, and class ideas to connect you to the quietness inside through your community during the winter months.

Reading up on mindfulness and empathy is a powerful way to understand and reflect on our own mindfulness practice and our how to work within our current divisive paradigms.

This holiday season, families can achieve the sharing of kindness and meaningful gift giving by exploring mindfulness meditation in order to give the gift of mindful presence. Not only does the gift of mindful presence benefit those around you, it benefits the gift givers themselves by granting feelings of calmness and deeper awareness of the world around them. Read more in our post, The Gift of a Mindful Presence.

For many, this last month ushered in strong feelings of uncertainty for the future. Mindfulness meditation is a useful tool for embracing uncertainty and learning to live fully and compassionately within it.

Jack-o-lanterns and early voting. Costumes and politics. In this month’s Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting, Ginny Hamilton looks at fear in this election season and shares tools we can use to move beyond it.

Using the practice of mindful attention to examine our own negative emotions can allow us to cultivate a space for ourselves where we can better accept and be kind to ourselves, without pretending the negative feelings don’t exist.

Boredom may seem like the pits to a six-year-old, but there is much to appreciate in letting your child experience boredom, and letting them learn how to get themselves out of the doldrums on their own.

Cognitive empathy means considering another’s perspective. And in a world where rushing to judgement has never been easier, strengthening our empathy muscles matters more than ever.

Sometimes the greatest mindfulness lesson you can give your children is the one you teach yourself. That’s what happened for me when I finally chose to pay attention to my clumsy struggle to adapt to plans that go awry.

Finding time to reflect and give thanks for our daily joys is no easy task in the midst of the hectic churn of day-to-day reality. In our newest monthly column, “In Appreciation: Reflections on Teaching Gratitude & Empathy,” Hilltown Families Contributing Writer Amy Diehl finds that as she and her family discovered, taking a break at the “gratitude table’ is a simple, fun way to slow down and not just smell the flowers, but thank them too.

Rather than resolving to change in the new year, we encourage families to explore themselves through mindfulness in 2016. A practice that can support the development of many skills and understandings, family mindfulness practice can lead to a productive, engaged, and mindful new year!

This holiday season, families can achieve the sharing of kindness and meaningful gift giving by exploring mindfulness meditation in order to give the gift of mindful presence. Not only does the gift of mindful presence benefit those around you, it benefits the gift givers themselves by granting feelings of calmness and deeper awareness of the world around them.

New situations arrive with new fears. Learning to accept what comes is the way through in this month’s “The Good Life, a Year of Thoughtful Seasons.”

How have you responded to this winter’s stir crazy blend of excess snow, bitter cold, and school closings and delays? When yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton finally had an uninterrupted moment to sit and write this month’s column, “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” she found she wanted to throw the pen across the room! She then reminds herself, that she has a choice of which thoughts she can welcome, and with daily practice, finds it easier and easier to choose the one that leads towards more kindness. More ease. More gratitude.

Since her teen years, yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton has worked to engage others to acknowledge race and address racism. In this month’s “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” she takes her son to see “The Wizard of Oz” and to Black Lives Matter rallies. Their conversations about skin tone, race and racism point to a baseline shift in what we teach our children to see.

In this month’s “Off the Mat, Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” Hilltown Families contributing writer, and yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton, shares her New Year’s re-solutions, hoping a public commitment will help address those enduring habits that require solving again.

As the daughter of an anxious mother and mother of an anxious child, yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton regularly walks the edge of fear. In this month’s edition of “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” she examines the edges with her son. — Remember to mark your calendars and get ready to support Hilltown Families on Valley Gives Day: December 10th!

As a yoga instructor, Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Ginny Hamilton, aspires to 20 minutes of meditation before sunrise – or before her son rises is more like it. In reality, she hits the snooze alarm most mornings. In this month’s edition of “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” she lets her 5-year-old son be her guide.

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