Mantra Maven Blog

For the last several weeks, I've been in a funk. Tired, cranky and dull—so much so that if I wasn't me, I would've stop hanging out with me a week ago. Not sure if it's been because of the cooler weather, the darker days, the going and going to the point of being completely out of steam or a combination of all three. But the one thing I do know is that I am no longer enjoying my trip to "Funky Town."  I think all of us hit a rut every now and then. We've all heard the true test is how quickly you bounce back. But what if you have no desire to bounce back? What if you want to hang around, get to know the people, and check out the scenery? I mean....ruts do have their privileges, which include my own version of the three R's—rest, relaxation and reflection.  So when I do hit a rut, I like to mull around a bit and make the most of them. In the last two weeks, I've watched more than 20 episodes of  House. I've taken several naps on the couch with the cat. I've prepared some mean chai lattes. Physically, I've done a lot of nothing. But I've used this time to think up new plans for my future, catch up on reading and contemplate the meaning of life—again. So feeling rested and rejuvated, I am now ready to leave Funky Town. It's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

Many blessings,
Tiffany

I just discovered Prayables, a new web community created by Susan Diamond with the purpose to empower women by giving them an easy way to add more prayer to their daily lives.  Prayables is a free, online prayer community that offers women short prayers that reflect a woman's story. Prayers are relevant to our times and honor all faith perspectives. You can register to receive daily prayers, build a personal profile to connect with the Prayables community or visit to read prayers and blog posts.  Check them out and let me know what you think!

Many blessings,
Tiffany

I was having lunch with some friends this weekend. Just the typical catch-up conversation at the local vegetarian restaurant about what we had missed in each other's lives over the past month.  One of my friends was going back to work after recently having a baby. We were discussing the choices she was making to support this return--day care, pumping, re-arranging work schedules, and so on and so on.

She had accepted her new reality but I became sad just listening to her. It seemed like satisficing. In an ideal world, the solution was so obvious--work (if you want) and bring your kid along. Or if no, stay home with the niño. It's the way we've lived for thousands of years because it works. But somewhere along the line, we got lost. 

In this moment, it became so clear to me at that we as human beings are not supposed to live this way. We're now wrong...out of wack. My friend's situation is just a small example of the wrong turn we took many years ago. The way we eat, the way we work, the way we live just isn't natural--and by "natural" I mean it doesn't serve our overall well-being.

Often I feel like meditation, church, and prayer are just band-aids we use to get us through our daily grind, like a cast to support a permanently broken ankle. As long we have these supports, many of us can hobble along for months, even years, working 12 hour days, eating from fast food drive-ins and paying mortgages but at what costs? Damaged health and empty relationships?

I believe in the power of growing from overcoming challenges and adversity. What I don't believe in is the unprecedented levels of meaningless stress created by our modern lifestyles.  Change has to come. And I see mutterings of it everywhere--yoga and mediation have gone mainstream. People are slowly weaning themselves off cell phones and making more conscious choices about the food they put in their bodies. Even my beloved MyMantra stems from this desire for more meaning and connection in life.

I think 5 to 10 years from now, we will reach our own tipping point when it will become painfully obvious the price we are paying for our choices and the new direction we need to take. Maybe if we're lucky, it won't take that long.

Many blessings,
Tiffany

Dual-tasking, emailing, mobile phones and texting have created a society where we are constantly "on." We're doing too much--poorly. Only a certain amount of concentration can go so far, and we've been spreading ourselves too thin for a long time. I created my own business, MyMantra, in response to this phenomenon, asking people to slow down and reflect on what is most important in their lives. Dan Rollman, creator of the Sabbath Manifesto, also has a response to this current state of our culture. The Sabbath Manifesto is a creative project calling for individuals " to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world."  The project consists of carving out a weekly timeout and implementing  the following 10 core principles: 1. Avoid technology. 2. Connect with loved ones. 3. Nurture your health. 4. Get outside. 5. Avoid commerce. 6. Light candles. 7. Drink wine. 8. Eat bread. 9. Find silence. 10. Give back. I absolutely love this idea! I am so in. These are simple practices that can have a world of difference on our overall health and well-being. Try it yourselves and let me know how it goes.

Many blessings,
Tiffany

Breathing is the most basic and important function in our lives. However, rarely do we give it any thought, especially during life's numerous, everyday stressors. Whether it's being stuck in traffic, calming a crying baby or paying the bills, times like these can greatly affect your breathing. At these moments, you would be surprised how a few deep breaths could significantly reduce your stress level. Deep breathing and meditation have been medically proven to reduce stress. Everyday, I start the morning with at least five minutes of meditation. And during particularly stressful times, I wear this breathe t-shirt. Everytime, I look in the mirror, it reminds me to slow down and just breathe. So now, I'm encouraging you all at some point in the day to stop and take three deep breaths, especially during stressful situations. You'll be surprised how much calmer and better you will feel afterwards!

Many blessings,
Tiffany