This is the second full moon where HEN has dropped its identity: my old newsletter based on 3 topics every month: Health, the Environment and Negotiation.

Instead I am looking to build my voice for you in the area of Health and Conflict. That’s still fairly broad, allowing me to cover many of my health and conflict related interests like resiliency, self-awareness, self-regulation, somatics, life energy, transformation, growth, consciousness development.

I ask your patience with me as I seek to find what truly wants to be expressed from me to you.

This month, what calls to my attention is the topic of meditation.  

Meditation has been such a large part of my life for almost 40 years, that in some ways, it’s hard for me to stand back and see the practice with a beginner’s mind. My first exposure was when I lived in Japan in the 80s and my friends would bring me to a Zen monastery.  We would sit in the meditation hall, on cushions made of buckwheat, and the Zen master would walk around the rows with a wooden rod, to hit those on the shoulders who had fallen asleep. I never saw anyone get hit with the stick, and I’d periodically pop my eyes open every so slightly to see what was going on!

From there, I got into mindfulness meditation, then guided meditations and these days, there is almost never a morning that goes by that I don’t start with something that could be called meditation.

I like variety, so my meditations are often not the same, but generally I tend to constellate these days between guided meditations from Dr. Joe Dispenza or mindfulness meditations from Shirzad Charmaine (Positive Intelligence) or Wif Hoff or Soma breathwork meditations. Mindfulness practices also tend to be part of my approach, in particular checking in multiple times a day. This approach is articulated in my book, Hold On To Yourself, and reinforced by many teachers and sources including Heart Math Institute and some of the previous teachers.

You can see I’m not “religious” about meditation, but having a practice matters to me. Deeply.

So, I was surprised when I was asked recently about the benefits of meditation, and I couldn’t come up with much.

I was on a bike ride with my cycling club, and one of the women on the ride asked about meditation. She’d never done meditation before and was curious what the benefits might be.


What a great question!

My meditation practices are foundational to strengthening a stronger connection to myself, accessing creative flow more often and being more present.

However in the moment, perhaps because there is almost never a time I don’t meditate regularly, I couldn’t think of much to share by way of benefits to the practice.

I surmised that perhaps I’m too close to it now and there is almost never a time I don’t meditate regularly.

Luckily, one of the other women on the ride, shared her experience with meditation and was quite articulate. She said having a daily meditation practice helps her widen that elusive gap between her reaction and her response. It gives her more equanimity in her daily life.

She said that when she doesn’t meditate for a while, that’s when she’ll notice she’s lost that longer reaction time.

She told a story from cycling to illustrate. One time, when she hadn’t been meditating for a few weeks, she had a somewhat near call with a car. Of course, we can have our visceral, automatic reactions when our animal bodies get scared.

But she noticed fairly soon on in her reaction, that this was over the top to the situation. She was near picking up her bike and throwing it.

And, she said, she had that moment where she was able to see herself, and stop the rest of the reaction. Needless to say, she got back to her meditation practice.

The person who had asked about the benefits of meditation was sold immediately! She said what most appealed to her was the idea that meditation could help her be a better person for other people.

That says so much about this woman as well! How wonderful.

One easy yet very effective way to get started is to try Dr. Daniel Siegel’s Wheel of Awareness practice.

Siegel is someone I’ve been following for years – he’s a clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine and the co-director of the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre. His Wheel of Awareness tool is a very simple mindfulness process to train our brains to increase that reactivity gap.

His guided Wheel of Awareness meditation is available for free on his website.

I have done the Wheel of Awareness before, but a colleague recently mentioned she’d discovered it and it was very helpful. So, I went back to it. In signing up for the Wheel of Awareness practice, Daniel sent an email that has a list of benefits to his type of meditation.

So, if you sign up for his Wheel of Awareness meditation, you’ll also receive an email from him with his identified list of benefits as a reinforcement for the meditation practice he has created.

We need to have a sense of ourselves in the world of conflict. If we don’t, then our mammalian and lower brain (bottom up) processes can easily take over. We fall prey to an amygdala hijack and our conversations go down the tubes. We pick up that proverbial bike and we throw it.

We might not mean to, when we would be in our “right mind” but we do it.

So, it’s imperative, in a world where there is much stress inputs to create a chronic stress load, that we make time regularly for practices that will allow us to more easily hold on to ourselves.