The Death of My 99-Year-Old Grandfather Made Me a Better Person [Lead by Example & Choose Your Examples Wisely]

That is what love is made of...

That is what love is made of…

My Grandfather passed away last week. 99!

Actually, 98 and 337 days…28 days shy of 99. I’ll round up.

One heck of a run.

Here’s what our train ride looked like to/from the funeral…

 

2 1/2 year old in car seat for 12 hours or the train for 12 hours? Neither.

A whirlwind of travel misery and death.

And profound life lessons.

A little background on the legend that is Pop-Pop…

  • December 5, 1916 – November 7, 2015
  • Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Four children, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren.
  • Didn’t swear, smoke or drink.
    • The only drink he ever ordered was when he proposed to his lovely bride – Grandma, at Rockefeller Center. He ordered a whiskey sour, and “if you look there now, the full glass is still sitting there.”

Pop was an awesome dude. Cheerful. Kind. Always there with a joke and a smile. The most steadfast and consistent person I’ve ever met. If he said it, you know you could count on it.

He expected a lot out of you. But he didn’t make demands. He led with his actions, and you knew to follow suit.

He would say things like…

  • If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
  • The Marines have landed and the situation is well at hand.
  • The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.

Before giving a reading at the funeral (verse below), I said…

Pop is an amazing person. I’m honored to be up here. Gram and Pop are the example I live by every day.

Love you Gram

Love you Gram

With the passing of Gram and Pop, I’m left with the realization that I am now responsible for carrying on that example. Their legacy.

A bit cliché, but real.

It’s easy for examples to fade away. It’s difficult to choose the right examples. And even more difficult to follow that example.

When the end is in the future, examples remain examples. Ideals. When the end arrives, those ideals must be carried on. Or fade fast.

I’ve chosen the best possible example, and now it’s my turn to lead in the same way.

  • Always a smile to share.
  • Never a bad word for anyone.
  • A fighter for what I believe, but fight in the most loving way.
  • No complaints, angry faces, or mean-spirited actions.
  • Family is always the top priority, but love is all inclusive.

I am who I am, on so many levels, because of Gram and Pop’s love. I am the husband, father, and person that I am because of the lessons they passed on to me.

The brilliance of it all is Gram and Pop never once “taught” me a lesson. They passed on everything I need to know to live a good life and be a good person by just being themselves.

I am their legacy.

I wrote an essay for my college application about my Grandfather. I closed with…

I hope to make my Grandfather as proud of me as I am of him. 

20 years later, this is more important than ever.

The ideals that Gram and Pop lived by are in my hands. Their lessons live on through my actions.

An immediate jolt to responsibility.

I am a better person because Pop was in my life. The best example I’ve ever met.

Love you Pop. You will be missed. But your  legacy is safe with me.

1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Posted in Family, Grandparents, Life, Life Lessons | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

You Should be Listening to Podcasts [Awesome Recommendations to Get You Started]

A monotone voice drones from the worn-out speakers.

Wa wa, wa wa wa…

Miles of road ahead.

Grandpa at the wheel.

Glazed eyes of bored youth melt into the faux wood paneling of the giant Buick.

Ever been trapped by talk radio?

It’s the pits.

Podcasts are NOT your grandpa’s talk radio.

Podcasts are the next wave in media consumption. And you need to tune in. Yesterday.

Blogs are rad. Social media has some nifty perks. But podcasts are where the cool is headed.

Free format. No rules. A niche for every interest. All sorts of unknown talent.

In the past couple years podcasts have moved from fringe to mainstream. With the best yet to come.

Ditch mass media. Control your consumption.

Podcasts are time well spent.

But where to start?

The Dude’s Top 10 Podcast Recommendations

  1. The Tim Ferriss Show: Awesome guests. Great questions. Amazing ideas to improve. The only podcast I can say I’ve listened to every episode.
  2. Hardcore History: History is boring, right? No way – not with Dan Carlin leading the charge. Could be the best podcast out there. Start with the Wrath of the Khans series…you will gladly listen to 7+ hours of history!
  3. Serial: It’s been talked about a lot. Perhaps the podcast that pushed towards the mainstream the most. Awesomeness abounds.
  4. The Moth: Listening to amateurs tell real stories without notes is amazingly captivating – funny, sad, honest.
  5. This American Life: Longtime public radio show turned podcast. The Moth + Serial. Real life stories with professional journalism.
  6. Death, Sex & Money: Great topics, interesting people, endearing interviews.
  7. StartUp: Listen to a podcast startup business…start up. Connections to This American Life, Serial, and other great podcasts…
  8. Reply All: StartUp’s first off-shoot podcast. You didn’t know the Internet was this interesting.
  9. Bulletproof Radio: I’ve chatted Bulletproof in the past. Great info on cutting-edge health ideas.
  10. Psychedelic Salon: Looking for out-there ideas? This is a great place to start. The first podcast I listened to 3+ years ago. Podcasts were definitely fringe. A grandfather sharing psychedelic ideas – mostly Terrence McKenna.

Podcast Recommendations from Around the Interwebs

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Dude’s Book Review: Dead White Guys [Because Parental Units are Expected to “Know All About Life.”]

Little Dude ~ Yes you do; you know all about life!

I dig philosophy.

We’re all philosophers at heart.

Whether we realize it for not, we search for answers to life’s unanswerable questions. At some point, we realize that we don’t know…and no one does!

At that crossroads, we can throw on the blinders and slip into the cultural norms guided by powers beyond our control, or we can dig deeper and build a personal philosophy that can guide our life.

This personal structure is unique for everyone. Where to start? Who to trust? What is really important?

Luckily there have been very rad dudes (and ladies too) raising these same questions for a loooong time. Dudes like Plato, Socrates, Machiavelli, and many more.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to be swept away by the cultural stream, and for the vast majority of us, we’re not exposed to great thinkers until it’s too late.

Perhaps this is by design.

If people think less and follow more, it sure is easier to guide them.

In the end, we are all responsible for ourselves. And self-education is a primary responsibility.

However, as every parent knows, for the first 18 years, it is our responsibility to mold those young minds. And those young minds depend on us to “know all about life.”

Little Dude: Why can’t girls have boys names?

Dude: I don’t know. (It was early; I weaseled out.)

Little Dude: (Offended now) Yes you do; you know all about life!

How cool is that?! Our kids actually think we know all about life! Awesome.

Perhaps we didn’t get a great education. Or pay attention to that education. But it’s not too late. Not too late for you, and not too late for the little ones that think we have a clue. It could be years before they’re on to us!

Take the blinders off and start to build your personal philosophy. As a result, the little ones will start to build their philosophy too.

A few weeks ago I was asked to review a book called “Dead White Guys.” I’m asked to review books from time to time, and most of the time I decline without much thought.

I have enough to do/read without spending time on unsolicited books. But this one grabbed my attention. As the subtitle says, “A father, his daughter, and the great books of the western world.”

That’s got Dude written all over it. And it didn’t disappoint.

The book is written as a father passing down advice to his child. The advice just happens to be based on some of the greatest minds in history. The book is filled with compelling stories, heart-felt examples, and the loving guidance that only a parent can share with a child. It felt like me, talking to my kids, through the book.

Matt Burriesci is a talented writer that shares a great view of brilliant historic thinkers.

We all need to spend time with these philosophers. But our kids who depend on us to “know all about life” need this guidance now more than ever.

The world is a crazy place. Powers are fighting for your kids’ attention. If you don’t take it, someone/thing else will.

Build your personal philosophy, and help the kids start to build theirs. “Dead White Guys” is a great place to start.

Nice work Mr. Burriesci.

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Grooming the Next King of Foosball: One Ridiculous Don King Quote at a Time

“Gonna beat your face to outer space!” – Little Dude’s foosball trash talk.

Don King? Or does that American flag top hat put him in Apollo Creed territory?

Either way, Little Dude is on the path to greatness. Foosball greatness.

Are you aware there are foosball greats?! Yep, a pro tour, tournaments, world champions, $65,000 prizes, and some scandal too.

But, it’s a shadow of it’s 1970’s prime when the pro tour offered player trading cards, groupies, coke parties, sports cars, and a $1M prize purse.

A rec room legend has been on a long decline.

Perfect opportunity for the rise of the next king.

Last year I transitioned a dirt mound under the deck into a patio. As part of this mastermind landscape creation, I purchased a $50 foosball table on CraigsList and hauled that beast to it’s new home in the Dude casa backyard.

I have no idea how to play foosball.

Why get a table? Simple. Mrs. Dude whipped my unskilled butt on our 2nd date….years ago. Dudes remember these things. Dude pride is at stake.

The perfect addition to the backyard patio.

To pay the bills back in the day, I worked at a dive bar in Boston that was lovingly described as the “star wars bar.” Perhaps the best dive bar…eva. This dive bar rocked a foosball table, and regulars rocked the foosball table. I’ve seen some nasty foosers.

But I never put the foos time in…the dudes seemed waaay too good. And unfortunately, I never realized I could have made it my (alcohol/drug fueled) occupation. Until I read about The Party Boy King of Foosball.

I’ve been sitting on this Men’s Journal article for a year because the foosball table has been sitting idle on the patio for a year. But a couple week’s ago the foos frenzy began.

For some reason (great summer weather, time to kill, threats from Dad?), we’ve started an evening foosball tradition – Dude & Little Dude vs. the Princess.

None of us had a clue at the beginning, but we’re catching on fast. Flick of the wrist here, pass off the wall there, power shots galore.

We’re definitely catching our foosball groove.

Watch out competitive foosball world, Little Dude is sharpening his skills…and his trash talk. 

I just hope the convention hall tournaments and Trans-Am prizes can last long enough to fulfill the dreams of a future foosball legend.

Give the MJ article a read…it’s equally ridiculous and awesome.

Long live foosball.

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Dudeist Priest Wedding Officiant: How to Rock Your First Wedding Ceremony [Bonus: Script Include]

As you may glean from the name of this blog, I dig the Big Lebowski.

Wit, dialogue, deeper meaning…it’s tough to beat The Dude.

In honor of The Dude and his Zen-like ways, I joined the fellowship of the Dudeist Priests many moons ago.

In addition to a few chuckles and reminders of classic Lebowski quotes, I became an ordained Dudeist Priest.

No cost and two minutes of my time, why not?

Ordained priest; check off that bucket list.

In the back of my mind, I contemplated making use of my ordained status…someday, but never dedicated too many brain synapses to the mental image.

A few years ago my cousin asked me to be the officiant at her wedding. But it was a long trip, kids in tow, blah didi blah blah. I declined. I figured my next bucket list check had passed me by.

Turns out my sister-in-law is also a poor judge of character and requested my ordained presence as well.

A beach vacation/beach wedding with the entire family. Hard to turn that request down.

It got really real, real quick.

So, a few weeks ago I performed my first (last?) wedding ceremony. And if I do say so myself, I think I may have rocked it.

Well, I didn’t fall down and I wasn’t booed off the beach. Rocked it? I’d say so.

Lessons for the first time officiant? Sure, how about a Top 10…

  1. Abide. Chill, Dude. I’m a Dudeist Priest…you should have expected that one.
  2. Search flow and scripts online (see below).
  3. Watch officiant videos on YouTube.
  4. Know the bride and groom. Talk about their wishes for the wedding, but more importantly, about themselves and their relationship.
  5. Take time to prep. The great Dude in the sky hooked me up with a 20 minute t-storm to give me added memorization time…much needed.
  6. Memorize, don’t read.
  7. Be comfortable in front of the crowd. Practice…use a mirror.
  8. Keep it short and sweet.
  9. Mix a hint of humor with a whole lotta love.
  10. Tell the bride she’s beautiful. 😉

Marrying two human beings was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. Bucket list, checked.

And afterwards, we danced our faces off to a kick-butt funk band, and watched Little Dude dominate the dance floor with his sweet break dancing skills.

Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Newlyweds.

Wedding Ceremony Script

Here’s my rad wedding ceremony script. Feel free to use, but use with caution…it’s pretty awesome.

Greeting

Welcome everyone. Welcome on this gorgeous day to the celebration of the marriage of XYZ and ZYX.

On behalf of X and Y and their parents, Z and W, I’d like to thank you all for being here to celebrate this special day.

In the wise words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.”

It’s easy to get lost in the details of the day and lose focus on the big picture.

I encourage us all to stop and look around.

Relax, take a deep breath of the salty air, enjoy this lovely location, enjoy this special moment on this special day as we launch X and Y on their lifelong flight together. (Groom is a pilot, you like that, right?! :))

Exchange of Vows
(Luckily, they wrote their own vows – not included)

X and Y, the words you are about to say to each other will change your lives forever. It’s an honor to be here to share this moment with you.

X, please share your vows with Y…

Y, please share your vows with X…

Ring Exchange

For X and Y these rings are a symbol of their commitment to each other. By exchanging these rings, X and Y declare their eternal love for each other.

X, repeat after me: “Y, take this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

Y, repeat after me: “X, take this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

X, do you take Y to be your wife?

Y, do you take X to be your husband?

Closing

This ceremony may have only lasted minutes, but your promises to each other will last a lifetime.

It is my great honor and privilege to now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss your bride.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. XYZ.

Yes, I did quote the great Ferris Bueller. Classic Dude.

Go forth and marry Dudeists!

Posted in Dudeism, Dudeist Priest, Wedding, Wedding Officiant | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

MenEssentials: Smell Waaay Better than Your Grandmother on Fire.

MenEssentials Beard Gear

A few weeks ago the Dude was in need of some new beardscaping products.

I conducted the perfunctory Google investigation and turned up too much and too little. Too many options with too little details.

I quickly turned to Amazon and their highest sellers. Mistake.

The first time I oiled up the beard and slapped on some aftershave, Mrs. Dude responded with…

Sniff. Sniff. “What’s burning? You smell like a camp fire.” Sniff. Sniff. “And those spicy candies my grandmother always had. Pretty much my grandmother on fire.”

Not the review I was hoping for.

Thankfully, MenEssentials sensed a bearded bro in need.

A well-timed email, and the Dude had a box of beard gear waiting on the doorstep. Rad.

MenEssesntials gear is solid. Natural ingredients. Sweet smells. Healthy beard.

Waaay better than your grandmother in flames.

A couple favs: Bluebards Beard Wash + Bluebeards Wonder Beard

Happy bearding matey.

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[Bulletproof] Coffee of the Gods: Quality Beans, Butter & the AeroPress

Quality is important.

Coffee is important.

Quality coffee? Crucial.

I mentioned my affinity for “bulletproof” coffee in a post a couple years ago – grass-fed butter and MCT oil added to quality coffee as a great way to start your day.

Since coffee has become a staple in my daily routine, I’ve developed a focus on improving my coffee routine and quality.

Last week, this improvement hit hyperspace.

A bit of a tangent, but we’ll loop around.

Tim Ferris. 4 Hour Work Week. 4 Hour Body. 4 Hour Chef.

Never read his books. The infomercial names turned me off. But I’ve been listening to his podcast and reading his blog for the past few months.

I’m amazed at the amount of quality info I’ve consumed at the hands of Mr. T. Ferriss in a short time.

Another topic for another time.

Coffee.

The first blog post from T. F. that caught my attention was

Tim digs into the coffee ritual at Apple. Decently interesting. But the magic is in the tips Tim offers to hack the coffee game.

After listening to all of Tim’s podcasts, I realize this is the magic T.F. brings to every endeavor. And the reason his books are probably worthwhile.

Tim tells you how Apple loves coffee and their obsessive habits around it, but he also tells you how to do it cheaper and easier.

I bought the recommended inexpensive grinder after reading that post.

I watched the video included in the post and saw the plastic coffee-maker, but like Tim’s books, I judged the book by the cover. Wrong choice.

Tim talks about using this plastic masterpiece to make the “perfect cup of coffee,” but I didn’t believe.

Until last week. I finally broke-bad and ordered a $25 AeroPress (Amazon).

It’s hard to overstate how great the AeroPress is. Quick, easy. More importantly, the best cup of coffee I’ve had.

For reals. The best. Ever.

Coffee of the gods.

Here’s a great post on the invention of the AeroPress.

And a great video of the AeroPress “ritual”…

Sandwich Video | AeroPress – “Ritual” from Garrett Shannon on Vimeo.

I’ve included a list of coffee-related links below that I’ve collected while wandering the interwebs in search of el perfecto cuppa joe. But all you really need to know is…

  1. Grass-fed butter
  2. Single-origin coffee beans (no blends)
  3. Aero Press for life

Coffee-related Links:

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Zen and the Art of Mobility: A Minimalist Approach to Stretching and Mobility [Fitness Bonus]

I won’t claim to be an expert on Zen. But I dig the Zen/Buddhist ideas I’ve studied.

I’m a big fan of simplicity and minimalism. Both of which seem to have strong ties to Zen.

Simple and minimal also have a broad application to an efficient, productive everyday life – a core focus of the Dude’s world these days.

Including health and fitness.

You can dig a bit further on the Zen philosophy and the relation to minimalism in this blog post:

Rather than a focus on esoteric ideas, let’s use this post to explore a minimal, simple, quick and easy approach to mobility and stretching.

And start to consider an efficient, minimal approach to fitness as a whole.

I’ve mentioned the idea of “mobility” a few times:

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Best Exercises to Keep a Dude Healthy
  3. Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation
  4. You Should Stand More
  5. Everyday Mobility: Every Dude Needs to Move

From my experience, mobility has always been a drawn out approach – from a short and long-term perspective.

I stretch and foam-roll for 40+ minutes almost every day. And I’m still working through deep-seeded damage to muscle groups.

It’s not a quick fix…but neither was the damage.

Progress is being made, but there is a strong time commitment as well.

As I explained in Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation, my approach to fitness has changed drastically over the last few years, and it is continually evolving.

Efficiency and minimalism are at the core of my fitness approach.

It’s great to see the fitness and health world moving in this efficient/minimal direction as well – forget the gym, use everyday objects and activities, stop over-training, use science to focus on minimal exercises with best impact, get back to nature and use your body.

I could share a long list of resources that are moving in this direction, but rather than an overload, let’s look at a couple recent gems I’ve enjoyed (check my posts listed above for additional links)…

And the motivation for this post – Dan John.

Dan is an impressive dude with a long list of credentials and experiences.

Jumping from one link to another I landed on a post Dan wrote about his go-to mobility exercises:

2 exercises. That’s it!

A big difference from my daily 40 minutes+.

I see value in my slow, deep approach to mobility and stretching. But dang, only two exercises?! I dig. Always room for efficiency.

I’m now working with both approaches. Some days long. Some days short. Dan’s exercises, every day.

Dan sums up his approach to minimal mobility well:

Listen, I KNOW you can do more…I know it! But, will it be better?

Checkout Dan’s great explanation – Two minimal mobility movements:

  1. The Windmill Stick
  2. The Stoney Stretch.

Bonus

Dan shares a great minimalist fitness practice (Pavel says don’t call it a workout) in the same post:

Day One

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Snatch

Day Two

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
Posted in Health, Mobility | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Still Time to Score for Valentine’s Day [More Importantly, XOXO on the Reg]

There’s only a couple rules we live by in the Dude casa.

  1. Never break a promise: Trust is important
  2. Always give a kiss goodnight…

You can’t get today back. Make sure the peeps you love, know it.

  • “I hope they know how much I love them.”
  • “I wish I had a chance to say I love you.”

Such simple regrets to avoid.

Don’t wait for the next holiday to say I love you and share a good night kiss.

Today’s the day.

Holidays? Gifts?

Meh.

Make every day the right day to share a special moment.

With that said, I love love. Any reason for an extra squeeze is good by me.

It’s a week away, but you still have time to score for Valentine’s Day. Here’s how…

You’re welcome.

Posted in Family, Holidays, Life Lessons, Love | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Meditation: The Ultimate Life Hack? [A Dude’s Guide to What, Why & How]

The Dude is all about some life hacks.

Simple. But effective. That’s my jam.

As I travel down life’s path, I continue to refine. Every aspect of my life. Daily.

How can I improve? Make this better. Easier. More efficient.

Everything can be improved. Always.

Regardless of the area of life I place my attention – work, art, fitness, relationships, health, well-being – a common thread that binds is the suggestion to practice mediation. It is astounding how often mediation comes up from all walks of life.

I’ve tried to create a mediation practice for years. Read. Researched. Started. Stopped.

I never felt I was doing it “right.” Or my mind would drift, and I felt my efforts were wasted.

Practice was consistently inconsistent.

Almost two years ago, I hit my stride. Daily practice has become a reality.

What changed?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the magik bullet. I did land on a style I dig (check out Theurgy), but mainly, I think I’m at the right place at the right time.

I may not have the magik bullet, but the interwebs sure do have A LOT of valuable info.

During meditation tenure, I’ve collected a variety of articles, blog posts, etc. that discuss the vast benefits of meditation. Coupled with the real-world effects I feel on the daily, I’m starting to believe mediation just may be the ultimate life hack.

Let’s take a gander at what the interwebs have to offer…

What is Meditation

  • The Paradox of Meditation: Great source. Subscribe. The book reviewed here has been on my Amazon list for a while. Time to buy.  In Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (public library), neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris argued that cultivating the art of presence is our greatest gateway to true happiness. After his extensive, decades-long empirical romp through the world’s major religious traditions and humanity’s most potent psychedelic substances, Harris returns again and again to meditation as the holy grail of self-transcendence, the single most promising practice for slicing through the illusion of the ego to reveal what Jack Kerouac so memorably called “the Golden Eternity.” (You can also find a great interview on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. Book AND source. Foreshadowing?)
  • Ram Dass on Meditation (Polishing the Mirror): Meditation is basic spiritual practice for quieting the mind and getting in touch with our deeper Self, the spirit. Meditation provides a deeper appreciation of the interrelatedness of all things and the part each person plays. The simple rules of this game are honesty with yourself about where you are in your life and learning and listening to hear how it is. Meditation is a way of listening more deeply, so you hear how it all is from a more profound place. Meditation enhances your insight, reveals your true nature, and brings you inner peace.
  • Meditation & Theosophy: Builds on my Theurgy link above. Meditation is thus a continual process of remedying our ills by remembering who we are and adapting to the circumstances we face in life. The techniques of meditation are varied.
  • The Rituals of Kumar Pallana: Kumar loves mediation. Wes Anderson love Kumar. You should love meditation AND Kumar.

Why Meditate

  • A Scientific Revolution Driven by Meditation: Harvard level professors giving attention to mediation. Meditation vs. Mindfulness – same? Maybe. Maybe not. Seems pretty close to me. This article discusses Jon Kabat-Zinn– one of my first entrants to mediation/mindfulness and still one of my favs.
  • The Power of Meditation & How it Affects the Brain: Great mediation overview on Buffer (Don’t know Buffer?! Dude!) – 4 types of mediation, how mediation affects the brain, how mediation affects us, getting started.
  • Meditation Enhances Creativity: David Lynch, famed movie/TV director, uses mediation to find great ideas. Agreed. Keep your bullet journal nearby…sweet creative ideas will bubble to surface.
  • Meditation Alters Genes: Methodology – Researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Subjects trained 26 adults with no prior experience in meditation for eight weeks. Results – All of the subjects’ blood samples revealed changes in gene expression following meditation. The changes were the exact opposite of what occurs during flight or fight: genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion, and telomere maintenance were turned on, while those involved in inflammation were turned off. These effects were more pronounced and consistent for long-term practitioners.
  • 10 Benefits of Meditation: The length of your practice isn’t as important as the frequency; you’re far more likely to experience the many benefits if you meditate for five to 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week than if you squeeze your meditation into a 30-minute session once a week.
  • Meditation – Key to Longer, Stress-free life?: Telomeres are portions of repetitive DNA at the ends of our chromosomes that protect our chromosomes from deteriorating. Meditation was the focus of research at UC Davis and UCSF by Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD. The 2011 study found that meditation increased activity of telomerase — enzymes that can rebuild and lengthen our chromosomal telomeres — when meditation was conducted twice a week for three months.
  • How Meditation Can Boost Your Brainpower: For skeptics, this study showed how the brain literally changes with meditation in order to provide dozens of positive benefits for anyone who starts a practice. The sizes of key regions of our brain improve as a result of meditation, memory is made far more efficient, and empathy, compassion, and resiliency under stress are also improved.
  • Meditation Appears to Produce Enduring Changes in Emotional Processing in the Brain:  A study at Massachusetts General Hospital found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating. The researchers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.
  • Increase Happiness, Bravery & Attention Span: Great post from a great source. A number of good quotes. Will motivate you to take five minutes out of your day to test a habit that could offer widespread, lasting positive effects.
  • How Changing Your Breathing Will Change Your Life: Think you know how to breathe? You do it every day. Even right now! Yeah, nope.
  • Google’s Jolly Good Fellow: Meditation, emotional intelligence, and Google. Safe to say it’s worth the read.
  • Meditation & the Brain: A team of researchers from Norway and Australia are trying to sort the different forms of meditation and the benefits each one yields.
  • Superhuman Energy Cultivated by Meditators – It’s Science: The energy emitted by people who have reached an advanced level in meditation practice has been shown by multiple studies to exceed normal human levels by hundreds or thousands of times.
  • Meditate Before You Medicate: There have been numerous studies of the health and financial benefits of meditation including: 28% cumulative decrease in physician fees, 55% less medical care utilization with lower sickness rates, including 87% less hospitalization for heart disease and 55% less for cancer.
  • Does Meditation Make You Smart?: A new study claims that meditation activates parts of the brain that simple ‘relaxing’ cannot.
  • Does Mediation Slow Aging?: A Nobel Prize-winning biochemist is engaged in serious studies hinting that meditation might – as Eastern traditions have long claimed – slow ageing and lengthen life.
  • Think Meditation is a Waste of Time? Watch This – The Neuroscience Behind Meditation: Despite its continued growth and popularity, meditation -like so many other practices -is not without ridicule, as a large portion of the world’s population are still happy to classify it as pseudoscientific, or a waste of time. In response to this common classification, the group at Big Think have created an easy to understand short video that explains the neuroscience behind meditation.


How to Meditate

  • 10 Ways to Work Meditation Into Your Day: Surprisingly good suggestions for a quick list. Great accompanying quotes as well.
  • Meditation for Beginners: 11 easy tips to get you started.
  • 100 Breaths Meditation: Increase concentration by using the breath as a focal point for meditation. It should take between 10-15 minutes depending on your natural pace of breathing.
  • Guided Mediation – Destress in 5 Minutes: Thinking is the cause of stress. The most effective way to relieve stress is by taking a break from thinking. Guided meditation does not involve thinking. Guided meditation is one of the easiest meditation techniques available. All you have to do is press play, close your eyes, and follow the voice instructions. Meditation downloads can be found by searching for guided meditation in any search engine.
  • How to Finally Start Meditating (Like a Pro): Without guided meditation, I could barely last for 3 minutes without getting bored, anxious, and giving up.
  • TED – All It Takes is 10 MinutesTransformative power of refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day.
  • 5 Minute Guide to Meditation – Anywhere, Any Time: All you need to meditate is yourself.
  • 12 Meditation Apps: Guided meditation is a great way to start. These apps have you covered.
  • Mind the Gap: Notice that in between thoughts, there’s a small gap of “no-mind.” Thoughts run in succession, interspersed by gaps of empty space. Over time, with practice, we become aware of the feeling, and we learn to extend the gaps, feeling more and more stillness and inner peace.
  • Two Minute Meditation: The most important two minutes of your life.
  • 5 Methods of Meditation: There’s a myriad of methods for meditation. Some are easy and some are difficult. All require daily practice to perfect. Here are five of the most popular methods of meditation and what they each bring to the Meditation Table.
  • Four Primary Skills of Meditation: Presence, awareness, focus, concentration.
  • Learn How to Meditate in 8 Easy Steps: We all already know how to meditate. Meditation is the natural state of all human beings, and we have had to work ourselves very hard to condition ourselves out of that natural blissful state of unity with the universe.
  • Solitude as Meditation: Losing oneself in solitude is a means to the end of finding oneself in meditation.
  • 7 Day Meditation Challenge: 7-Day Meditation Challenge to see the positive affects it has on your life and on reducing stress.

Mindfulness Meditation

  • Science Behind Mindfulness: Researchers highlight six neuropsychological processes that are active mechanisms in the brain during mindfulness and which support S-ART (self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence). These processes include 1) intention and motivation, 2) attention regulation, 3) emotion regulation, 4) extinction and reconsolidation, 5) pro-social behavior, and 6) non-attachment and de-centering.
  • Mindfulness – Meditation for People Too Busy to Meditate: Practicing mindfulness – and reaping its benefits – doesn’t need to be a large time commitment or require special training. You can start right now – this moment. These techniques quite literally train the mind and rewire the brain – ability to concentrate increases, see things with increasing clarity, which improves your judgment, and develop equanimity.
  • How (Mindfulness) Meditation Works: In a practical sense, “sitting” is really all there is to the meditation aspect of mindfulness meditation. You sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath as it moves in and out. Your mind will inevitably wander, which is where the mindfulness aspect comes in. Instead of growing frustrated with your lack of focus or getting caught up in the web of your thoughts, you train yourself to observe the thought or emotion with acceptance and curiosity, and to calmly bring your focus back to the breath.
  • How Mindfulness Meditation Works: Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have devised a model that sheds light on the science behind mindfulness. Instead of a single dimension of cognition, the researchers show that mindfulness involves a large framework of complex mechanisms in the brain that lead a person down the path of developing self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART). Practitioners can begin training themselves to become less emotionally reactive and to recover more quickly from negative emotions.
  • A Simpler Guide to Mindfulness for Beginners: Learn how to do your daily routine activities mindfully.
  • Brief Mindfulness Yields Long-Term Results: Even brief mindfulness practice—typically, a kind of meditation that focuses on a particular aspect of the present moment, like your breath, your body, or a particular sensation—has a substantial positive effect on mental well-being and memory. It also appears to physically improve the brain, strengthening certain neural structures that are tied to heightened attention and focus, and bolstering connectivity in the brain’s default mode network, which is linked to self-monitoring and control.
  • Inhabit the Moment: Practice occupying the current moment. Inhabit it, by really being in it, fully experiencing all our senses in everyday ordinary actions.
  • The Shadow Side of Mindfulness Meditation?: Every yin has a yang. Meditation shouldn’t be viewed as a cure-all. But from my experience, it’s a pretty rad addition to your daily.

Kids & Meditation

HeartMath

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