Becca Peters

BECCA PETERS is a therapist in private practice and an educator and consultant in Mindfulness and Compassion Training for public and private organizations. 

Breathing in, Breathing Out: Individual yet Interconnected

"In Western culture we are conditioned from an early age to think of ourselves as a separate, individual person, unique and different from the rest. There is, of course, some truth in this, but along with our uniqueness and individuality, comes our total interconnectedness with all beings and everything on this planet. Each time we take a breath, we are sharing that breath with every other life form that breathes! While we are  breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide during the day, trees and other plants are breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen. It is a beautiful symbiosis…" - Ayya Anandabhoi

 

How Meditation Helps with Difficult Emotions

 

How Meditation Helps With Difficult Emotions


Enjoy a preview of the second installment of Mindful's Getting Started series.

Illustration by Jason Lee

How are you feeling? Meditation gives us a chance to entertain that question at a deeper level. In Getting Started: Emotions, Mindful shares authoritative practices to learn how to tame raw, difficult emotions, and foster feelings that are positive, powerful, and beneficial. For a sneak peek, here are some meditative practices for working more creatively with fear. To learn more meditative practices for working with anger, love, sadness, and jealousy, you’ll want to catch the June issue ofMindful, on newsstands mid-April.

• • •

It’s hard to imagine life without fear. Its raw power can save lives. It can also paralyze us and invade every part of our life. Taming it and directing is one of life’s greatest challenges.

Fear is primal. And essential for survival. It’s highly energetic, and even exhilarating. Lots of people love horror movies, and kids (young and old) get a huge kick out of scaring each other. But fear is no joke. It can be a highly aroused state that overtakes us in response to a perceived threat, causing us to either fight, flee, freeze, or faint. It can be a deeply unpleasant feeling.

As with all emotion, the practice of meditation can stabilize us enough in the midst of fear to help us see more clearly—to distinguish a false threat from a real threat that needs to be acted upon. The type of fear meditation can have the most effect on is the fear (and fears) that we continually generate in our own minds, the product of our rich imagination and our desire to control everything, rather than be tossed around in the risky and stormy world.

As our fear rises, we can start yammering in our heads to reinforce the size and shape of the threat: “They’re not going to like me… they’ll think I’m stupid…I’ll never get another job…I’ll lose my mind…and all my friends… and my apartment…” By now, our palms are sweaty and we’re in a total panic.

The good news: This is all natural. The very intense energy of fear, when we’re able to let it dissipate, can become a powerful driving force. It’s nothing other than the energy of life.

Practice
NAME THE FEAR

Being able to recognize that fear is present can be hugely important in not allowing it to control you.

As you NOTICE your heart pumping more, your chest tightening, your back stiffening, let an imaginary alarm bell go off in your head.

Take 3 or 10 or 20 deep breaths, however many you need to SLOW your body down. Place your hand on your heart if that will help.

Acknowledge to yourself, “I’m scared. I’m afraid.” NAME THE FEAR so you automatically create a bit of distance between yourself and the intensity of the emotional reaction.

Say a few phrases of WELL-WISHING toward yourself and for others:

May (I/others) see the source of our fear.

May (I/others) be safe and free from fear.

May (I/others) be happy and at ease.

Practice
LEAN IN TO FEAR

Whenever you feel the energy of fear, DON’T AVOID the feeling. Sit with it.

As fearful thoughts of dread and worry continue to arise, approach them withFRIENDLINESS. Don’t treat them as a threat.

Be kind toward yourself for being afraid. See what happens when you hold your ground and let the fear rise in your mind. You may FIND CONFIDENCE within.

• • •

Getting Started: Emotions was compiled by Barry Boyce, editor-inchief of Mindful, in consultation with:

Jeffrey Brantley, MD, director of the MBSR program at Duke University’s Center for Integrative Medicine. Author of Calming Your Angry Mind.

Vinny Ferraro, meditation teacher and senior trainer, Mindful Schools.

Stefanie Goldstein, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and co-author of the audio program:Mindful Solutions for Addiction and Relapse Prevention.

Christa Turksma, child-clinical psychologist and specialist in developing mindfulness for teachers and families.

 

NEW! 6 Week Mindful Awareness Practice Course Now Offered in Utah!

Rebecca Peters, LCSW, Certified Mindfulness Facilitator through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, and owner of METTA Mindfulness Center is offering a:

6-week Mindful Awareness Practice Course (MAPs I), created by Diana Winston & Dr. Sue Smalley of the Mindful Awareness Research Center, University of California Los Angeles

The 6-week course will be held on Tuesdays beginning October 28th through December 9th

**No class on November 25th

$185 per person **Space is limited

6:30 – 8:30 pm

Location: METTA – The Mindfulness Center

360 West Broadway #206

SLC, UT 84101

Online registration : 

Read more about MAPs Classes:

Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) Classes Overview

Mindful Awareness Practices are the signature educational programs of the Mindful Awareness Research Center, University of California Los Angeles. These six-week class series are open to the public for registration. The classes lay the foundation for students to understand basic principles of mindfulness, develop a personal meditation practice, and to apply the principles in their daily life on an ongoing basis.

Each class is a combination of lecture, practice, and group feedback and discussion. MAPs is taught in a context of a supportive community environment with classes no larger than 20-30 students. Students report that the group support was one of the most helpful and inspiring aspects of the class. MAPs instructors have years of personal experience practicing mindfulness and teaching it nationally and internationally. MAPs is helpful for people of all backgrounds and religions. These classes are suitable for ages 16 and over.

Class Structure

MAPs classes meets weekly for two hours per week for six weeks. Students will complete daily home practice meditation assignments starting at five minutes a day and working up to 20 minutes daily by the end of the course. Students will receive a complimentary Home Practice CD and a copy of the book Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness by Susan Smalley, PhD. and Diana Winston.

Students will learn Mindful concepts that include:

  • Overview of Mindfulness
  • Mindfulness of the Body
  • Obstacles to Mindfulness
  • Mindfulness to help with Physical Pain
  • Working with Difficult Emotions
  • Cultivating Positive Emotions
  • Working with Difficult Thoughts
  • Mindful Interactions

Students will also learn a variety of mindfulness practices so that the student can discover which practice is useful to them. Practices taught include:

  • Sitting meditation
  • Eating meditation
  • Daily life meditations
  • Relational mindfulness
  • Walking meditation
  • Standing meditation
  • Movement meditation
  • Practices to develop positive emotions

Daring Greatly

A favorite new book entitled DARING GREATLY by Brene Brown is a must read. She is a researcher who provides results from studies around vulnerability and shame. It is profoundly insightful and I highly recommend it for anyone who is curious to understand the tenderness around being a human being and the ways in which we hold back from living greatly. Happy reading!

The Wave does not have to search for Water

A wonderful book offering a new mindfulness practice every week of the year is called How to Tame a Wild Elephant. As we look for a deeper understanding of this being human through mindfulness practices it is important to remember as Thich Nhat Hanh states, “The wave does not have to search for water, because water is the very substance of the wave.” I invite you to check in with yourself today with open curiosity and question if you too have been searching for something that is already present within you.

Becca Peters, LSCW is an educator in Mindfulness, Meditation, Compassion + Self-Compassion

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