Sarah S. Giordano
Warm summer sun, cool ocean breeze, lush green forests and deep blue seas. Summertime and the livin’ is easy. This season begs us to get outdoors and spend endless hours enjoying life with those we love.
This seasonal publication from Discover Awareness is intended to inspire us to explore ourselves as whole beings: our mind, body and spirit. A big part of what makes each of us whole is our connections with one another, how we relate to each other. This summer we will explore the components of self awareness within ourselves and between ourselves and others.
How do we react internally? How do we respond to others? What energy are we producing? What energy are others projecting? How do those energies affect one another? What is within our control to change? And how would we change it? Inside this edition we will explore these very questions.
What is the Mind?
Mastering the Self
Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho
What is the Mind?
The mind is a notoriously difficult concept to define. For starters, where is the mind located? Many would answer, in the brain. However if we consider the functions of the concept of the mind (thoughts, movements, processes, communication, emotions, connections) then we may reach a conclusion that the mind has more metaphysical aspects than the physicality of the brain.
Dan Seigel, author of Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, defines the mind as a constant flow of energy and information happening within ourselves and between us and others. What we spend our time and energy thinking about and feeling emotionally creates a constant flow that reacts with our internal ecosystem and is also projected outwards.
Our thoughts, movements, choices and emotions (all functions of the mind) are separate and different from those of others and therefore they are specific to us individually. We are aware that we are separate from each other and this is self awareness.
In yoga we use the term Self with a capital "S" and this is roughly defined as our ego. We all know we are individual, separate from one another, the ego reflects on that individuality.
Yoga philosophy encourages us to acknowledge this individuality and then let go of our attachment to it in order to ascend to a Higher Self described as a collective state in which all of us are a conduit for pure energy, consciousness.
Summertime draws us outside and at least in NYC that undoubtably means we will interact with others. Our energy, thoughts and emotions will affect those we meet just as theirs will affect us.
Living in a constant state of pure consciousness is not particularly conducive to western life in 2022. If you feel particularly called to retreat into the wilderness and sit in a state of meditation during waking hours by all means do you. For the rest of us looking for meaning and connection while remaining somewhat in the rat race of society we have the ability to explore our lives through reflection.
Emotional Intelligence is a concept first defined by Daniel Goleman in 1995 as the ability, capacity and skill to identify, assess and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others. In order to achieve this state of awareness and self-regulation we must discover the information and energy of our mind, body, and spirit.
What is going on inside our minds? What is the current state of affairs internally? How do certain situations, circumstances, phrases, words, sentiments affect us? How do we react to others?
Exploring emotional intelligence builds insight and allows us to then choose the response to any given situation.
Mastering the Self
How do we master emotional intelligence? By connecting to ourselves and to each other. By constantly asking ourselves, What am I feeling? How am I reacting to this person or situation? What am I sensing when I walk into this room? How is my physical body reacting? What emotional response has been triggered? What messages am I communicating to myself?
On the yoga mat we have the unique opportunity to focus on our mind body connection for a set period of time. My teacher, JhonT, describes yoga practice as a journey of mastering the Self.
Through a connection to the breath, the body begins to communicate with the mind. The rhythm of the breathing focuses the information and energy that flows through us onto a singular object, the breath. Now I am breathing in. Now I am breathing out. Everything else disappears.
Meditation is defined as repeated focus on a singular object. When we practice yoga we create a state of mediation in movement. We enable ourselves the opportunity to ascend to the Higher Self.
Off the yoga mat we can continue to heal through exploration of emotional intelligence in our daily lives. Goleman describes 5 main components of emotional intelligence which can be developed through practice and repetition:
Mastering these skills takes regular practice just as any skill does. We can practice by regularly tuning into our thoughts, reactions, emotions, triggers, desires, goals, values and the language we use to communicate with ourselves and others.
Write it down, talk it out with friends and family, sit and meditate on it. This repeated awareness allows us to examine if these aspects of our mind, body and spirit align with how we envision ourselves in the collective experience of life.
Mindfulness assists us in the journey of self exploration. Here is a guided meditation to encourage us to explore our minds. This mindfulness exercise is designed to help us connect with what we want. Connecting with our hopes and dreams regularly promotes emotional intelligence and aids us in mastering the Self.
Get into a seated comfortable position.
Allow the eyes to drop towards the floor or close completely.
Breath out. Take a deep breath in and let it go.
Allow the next few moments to focus on the rhythm of the breath.
Imagine yourself in a lake either on a boat or raft or simply swimming along. Then picture all of your current circumstances: your daily tasks, to-do lists, struggles, joys, etc. See them floating in the water around you. Encompassing you with all thoughts and actions of your current situation.
Now begin to make your way through these floating thoughts pushing them aside as you make your way towards the shoreline. Keep moving closer to the shore. Once you arrive at onto the beach you notice your hopes and dreams are being played out on the beach. You are surrounded by the people you want to spend you time with, the thoughts you want to be involved with, the emotion and sensation of reaching your dreams consumes you. What does it feel like? What does it look like? Where can you feel this joy in your physical body? Stay with this scene for a few more moments. Stay here for as long as you like.
When you are ready to let it go, come back to the rhythm of the breath. Breathing in. Breathing out.
Slowly coming back to the room and eventually opening the eyes.
Watermelon Gazpacho Soup
Ingredients 8 cups diced watermelon 1 medium cucumber peeled and diced ½ red bell pepper diced ¼ cup fresh basil chopped ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar 2 tablespoons shallot minced 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Using an immersion blender blend mixture until desired smoothness is reached. This can also be achieved by using a food processor or high powered blender and working in batches. Serve chilled.
I hope you have enjoyed this food for thought and utilize the actionable practices I have shared to promote health and vitality.
Are you interested in further guidance on these practices? I am currently offering virtual and in person (NYC) sessions for nurse coaching and yoga where we can explore the concepts discussed here and how they can be customized for you. Reply to this email or reach out at email@example.com
Take this moment and thank yourself for dedicating time to the mind, body and spirit. Enjoy this season of celebration.
- Sarah Giordano -