A five-day program to live with integrity

A five-day program to live with integrity
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on February 8, 2017

Most people live with integrity, love the world and try to be as honest as possible.

This statement requires a qualification: We do so as long as the conditions are right.

So noted Dan Ariely in his terrific book “The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty.” Ordinary people, if opportunity knocks, will be dishonest and cut corners, even if they perceive themselves as authentic and decent.  Continue reading

Menstrual cycle kits empower women around the world

Menstrual cycle kits empower women around the world
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on January 31, 2017

Tina Noel works with GRACE Project and the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Myers to produce hundreds of cycle kits.

It’s about the pads and tampons, the stuff women need when the blood comes out of their “wherevers.”

But not everyone has access to feminine hygiene supplies, and this is not a trifle.

It’s simple: Without hygiene products women can’t go to work or stay in school.  Days for Girls, an international non-profit, is dedicated to providing women around the world with the supplies they need.

Given women menstruate about two months out of a year, this project is part of a larger mission to address poverty, hunger, education, gender equality, economic growth and sustainable communities. Continue reading

Know Thyself through crystals

Know Thyself through crystals
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on January 24, 2017

Nancy Loughlin’s crystal meditation table…

Shimmering beauties surrounded me, and a decision was impossible.

Quartz, Selenite, Obsidian piled on tables in a dazzling color spectacle at Infinite Stones, Fort Myers.  My intention was to find the right piece of Smoky Quartz because, during a recent sound healing session, the visuals got surreal when the musician pressed a piece to my feet.  Which stone was right for me?

“Here is how you decide,” said associate Lisa Claiborne.  I should hold the stone in my hands, she said. If I rock forward, I need it.  If I rock back, my body says no.

I eyed her suspiciously as my first choice shifted my weight to the balls of my feet.  The second stone almost dropped me on my back.

Lisa smiled, “They communicate, don’t they?” Continue reading

Stepping out after a knee replacement

Stepping out after knee replacement surgery
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on January 10, 2017

After his knee replacement surgery, doctors and nurses called Gary Granza “Yoga Guy.”

Medical professionals huddled in his hospital room doorway and watched the Bonita Springs yoga teacher move into a full forward fold on the bed only hours after they replaced his right knee. The very first day (granted he was on pain blockers) he stood on one leg while holding the walker.

Gary laughs as he recalls the wide-eyed amazement as they said, “No one has ever done that before.”

He credits his yoga practice for carrying him through the ten years of pain before the surgery as well as his relatively swift recovery.  Immediately after the surgery, as he was weaned off the medication, he noted discomfort yes, but pain, no.

“It was just another signal my brain had to deal with,” he said. Continue reading

Meditative tools for taking control of your day

Taking control of the day in three steps
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on January 3, 2017

Fort Myers yogi Samantha Reynolds boxes up her arms for her morning stretch.

Some days don’t begin.  They launch.

Are you moving through the hours with deliberate intention, committed to purpose, or are the hours smacking you around?

Don’t just be aware.  Be aware of being aware, and embrace, regroup and release your days – morning, midday and evening.

Morning

As soon as you step from your bed, greet the day with four modified sun breaths.  Continue reading

Interbeing and what defines a spiritual experience

What defines a ‘spiritual’ experience?
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on December 27, 2016

It was either an out-of-body experience or an inner-body experience.  I can’t decide.

It happened during an afternoon meditation while I lay on my back.  Blue and purple stones surrounded my head, my holy trinity being blue calcite, kyanite and amethyst.

I dumped mantras long ago.  I couldn’t remember them, and, when I did, I fixated on pronunciation and maintaining a catchy chant.

Instead, I started visualizing color.  I didn’t have to worry about words dragging me back to Planet Thinking.

Something strange happened.  Continue reading

Changing your strategy is not the same as changing who you are

Change your strategy, not you
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on December 20, 2016

Heather Holland of Ruby and Pearls Yoga, Fort Myers, demonstrates Warrior II.

Sometimes, you just can’t get people on board with your plans.

You have big ideas for a business, a campaign, a book, a revolution.

People haven’t joined your bandwagon. Perhaps you are too aggressive, elitist or arrogant.  Maybe they think their ideas are better.  They are jealous or just simply apathetic. It’s your language, your posture, your tone.

No, nothing is wrong with your ideas or plans, but you might want to change your strategy.

Changing your strategy is not the same as changing who you are or what you want to accomplish.  You need to figure out a way to meet people where they are without compromising who you are.

Only you can figure out how to do that.

Make Your Move Meditation   Continue reading

Angels, coincidences and magical thinking

Coincidences and magical thinking
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on November 21, 2017

“Julia” by Lesley Morrow

When I raced a marathon in September, I hid a plastic bag of my dead friend’s ashes in my sleeve.

Around mile three, I sprinkled a handful of her on the wet pavement.  She always told me she dreamed of being a runner, and here she was at last.

A companion asked, “What was her name?”

At that moment, my eyes locked on a solitary sidewalk spectator holding a cardboard sign.

It said, “Julia.”

I screamed and pointed, stunned.  “That’s her name!”

For the spiritually minded, coincidences like that sign are evidence of a larger logical structure at work, a benevolent force guiding the universe.  To think otherwise would be to accept randomness, rendering life’s events meaningless.

That sign said she was running with me, and I called upon Julia’s angel wings to carry me to the finish line.    Continue reading

Rethink the TMI

Rethink the TMI
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on November 14, 2017
 

There is such a thing as oversharing.

The combination of our celebrity fixation with our social media crutch makes Citizenfour’s observation so apt: What we used to call freedom, we now call privacy, and we don’t have either anymore.

Standing in our truth is not the same as broadcasting it.

Conversational sharing of our secrets, revealing our sins, suffering and shame, can make us relatable to others but only on a superficial and misleading level.

The bonds forged by oversharing are a parody of connection, and they construct ramshackle bridges.  Dark tales of our pasts, the ones of pain, abuse, struggle, humiliation and failure, are decontextualized snippets and do not encompass our light. Continue reading

Twenty tips for letting go

Twenty tips for letting go
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on October 31, 2016

If I’m angry, it’s not advisable for anyone to say,” Just let it go.”

I’ll let go when I’m ready even though I’m always ready.

The challenge is how.

Twenty Tips for Letting Go

  1.  Pivot.

While my baggage screams, I amplify other areas of my life such as volunteerism, artistic endeavors, educational goals, a new sport or exercise program.

The new noise will drown out the old.

2. Make amends.

If I’m holding shame, I contact the person (people) I harmed.  I ask for forgiveness.

If this is impossible without causing more harm to myself or others, I make a “living amends” and vow to never engage in that behavior again.

3. Burn a bridge.

I write to the person who harmed me and state my case.  I don’t always mail it or press send, but sometimes I do. What difference does it make?

4.  Reframe.

I separate a piece of paper into two columns.  On the left, I list all my personality flaws, ghosts and mistakes trapping me in myself.  Then, in the right column, I turn every negative into a positive. Continue reading