Practice Taking a Pause

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017

By Sarah Patten, RD LDN


One of my favorite routines after getting out of bed in the morning involves making a steaming hot cup of coffee and taking a moment before taking my first sip to pause, gaze out my kitchen window, and set an intention for my day ahead. This ritual started a couple of years ago as I began to realize how busy the days can be and how easy it is to fill the waking hours to the brim without taking the time to slow down and check in. I found myself talking with clients and friends about the importance of mindfulness, self inquiry, and pausing, but realized that I too needed to hear that message and bring focused attention to sloooowwwwwwwwwingggg down.

Sometimes setting an intention to set an intention is the hardest part

At first, I had to remind myself to take that moment or would chide myself with self-criticism if I'd rushed around after waking up too late/hitting snooze and had forgotten about the intention to set an intention altogether. Just like any type of habit change, however, with enough practice and repetition, the new ritual stuck and now it's the part of my morning I look forward to most. This “mindfulness moment” allows me the opportunity to assess how I'm feeling, what I'm grateful for, what I'm worried about, and what I'd like to practice for the day ahead. Solidifying this habit in the morning has also helped to make it much more natural to return to this practice throughout the day.

Even the fullest days can hold mindful moments

Maybe it's taking a moment to check in while waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting down to eat lunch, or washing dishes at the end of a long day – wherever it may be, the realization that there IS time to take time throughout a busy day has been a huge change for me. We all have the ability to slow down and check in with ourselves, no matter how full our time may seem.

This past Christmas, I received the perfect gift to accompany this morning ritual - “Journey to the Heart” by Melody Beattie. This book has a daily reading for each day of the year and always seems to deliver just the message I need to hear. There was a reading a few weeks ago that gave me pause for thought and it felt important to share. It's entitled “Look at What's Right” - a reflection about how we can spend so much time looking for flaws in ourselves, even in the name of self improvement,”that we often forget to stop and take stock of what is going well or what we value within ourselves. Here's the reading:

“Take time to notice what's right in ourselves, in others, and in the world around us. We may become so concerned with correcting ourselves we become habituated to seeing what's wrong. Not just seeing it – constantly looking for it. The question itself – What's wrong? – is enough to keep us on edge.

"There are times to take stock, do an inventory. Times to learn and grow. But spirituality and joy do not stem from trudging around in the muck of what's wrong with others, ourselves, and life. We do not have to seek out mistakes and errors, poking and picking at ourselves to continue our growth. Poking and picking hurts. Our lessons will be revealed to us, and they will present themselves naturally. Growth will occur.

"Give yourself a break. Ask yourself what's right, what's good, what's true, what's beautiful. Sometimes the lesson isn't in discovering what's wrong. Sometimes the lesson is discovering that the world is all right – and so are you.”

So, with that, I'd challenge all of you to practice taking a pause today (and maybe eventually every day) to acknowledge what's right. Give yourself the gift of self compassion, give yourself some space from that internal critic, and call out a strength you possess – even if it seems tiny or insignificant. With practice and persistence, everything gets easier.

 

Self-Care or Self-Destruction Post-Election 2016

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Regardless of whether you supported Donald Trump or not, this election has likely deeply affected you. In this video blog I share my thoughts about picking up the self-care pieces post-election 2016. Self-care is at the center of your ability to be present and effective as the kind of change agent YOU want to be. And during stressful times our best attempts at self-care can unintentionally slip into self-destruction. I encourage you to take a quick self-assessment, commit (or re-commit) to taking charge of your online media usage, and remember that we aren't able to be effective when we are trying to pour from a dry well.

What are you doing to take care of yourself post-election?

Rituals

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It’s the holidays! While it’s a time of stress and overwhelm, for many of you it’s also a time of tradition. The holiday season is filled with traditions and rituals and I have been thinking about this quite a bit. A ritual is a ceremony or action performed in a customary way. My extended family has a pre-Christmas ritual of gathering around a big meal of Mexican food. I also listen to the same Christmas album while wrapping my presents. It’s nostalgic and brings happiness to my heart. I look forward to some of my holiday rituals all year round!

Rituals can be powerful determinants of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

 I’m very curious about your rituals. Have you cultivated any daily rituals that keep you grounded and present? Expressions of gratitude before your evening meal and a cup of tea before bed are simple rituals that can instill a feeling of peace and calm amidst a hectic day. Conversely, many of us engage in unconscious daily rituals that deplete our energy and sense of well-being. Frequent Facebook checks and a critical inner monologue are small but insidious ways we become depleted rather than buoyed up in the course of our day.

I would like to encourage you to take stock of your daily rituals. And if you’re up for it, choose one to create, one to keep and one to toss. Consider which rituals generate more peace and clarity as opposed to greater stress and distraction. Getting a good night sleep is incredibly important to me. So I have recently replaced my nightly ritual of scanning social media with a few meditative breaths and a technology-free zone an hour before bed.

Please share the daily rituals that help you stay grounded during particularly stressful times. And I’d love to hear what rituals you plan to create, keep, or toss! Here’s to a slightly less stressful kick-off to the end of the year.

 

Rituals- Your Daily Habits That Help or Hinder

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It’s the holidays! While it’s a time of stress and overwhelm, for many of you it’s also a time of tradition. The holiday season is filled with traditions and rituals and I have been thinking about this quite a bit. A ritual is a ceremony or action performed in a customary way. My extended family has a pre-Christmas ritual of gathering around a big meal of Mexican food. I also listen to the same Christmas album while wrapping my presents. It’s nostalgic and brings happiness to my heart. I look forward to some of my holiday rituals all year round!

Rituals can be powerful determinants of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.


I’m very curious about your rituals. Have you cultivated any daily rituals that keep you grounded and present? Expressions of gratitude before your evening meal and a cup of tea before bed are simple rituals that can instill a feeling of peace and calm amidst a hectic day. Conversely, many of us engage in unconscious daily rituals that deplete our energy and sense of well-being. Frequent Facebook checks and a critical inner monologue are small but insidious ways we become depleted rather than buoyed up in the course of our day.

I would like to encourage you to take stock of your daily rituals. And if you’re up for it, choose one to create, one to keep and one to toss. Consider which rituals generate more peace and clarity as opposed to greater stress and distraction. Getting a good night sleep is incredibly important to me. So I have recently replaced my nightly ritual of scanning social media with a few meditative breaths and a technology-free zone and hour before bed.

Please share the daily rituals that help you stay grounded during particularly stressful times. And I’d love to hear what rituals you plan to create, keep, or toss! Here’s to a slightly less stressful kick-off to the end of the year.


Give Myself Permission to Eat All Foods? Yes! Here's How

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Thursday, October 29, 2015


Are you worried about all of the Halloween candy you might eat in the next couple of days?!  Then be sure to watch this video blog. In it I address the challenging topic of learning how to give yourself permission to eat ALL foods. I share with you why it's important and provide you with a 4-step process to successfully introduce formerly forbidden foods back into your diet. If you are on your path to making peace with food and getting off the dieting train, this is a video blog you will want to listen to again and again.

 

But I also want to hear from YOU. What did you learn from this video blog and more importantly, what questions does it bring up for you? Share your thoughts here or on my Facebook page.