Mindfulness Resources for Every Moment of your Life

(Published on Sivanaspirit.com)

My journey with mindfulness began only four years ago, during a bout of terrible anxiety.

My doctor told me that I needed to “relax,” the sort of advice that really just pisses you off. But I decided it was time to listen.

That was when I took my first step towards peace by finding my breath and seeking out resources for mindfulness practice, such as meditation, mantra, and positive affirmation.

The experience changed my life and gave me techniques to fall back on when I am lacking center.

Since then I have explored many different guided meditations, spirituality books, and blogs on mindfulness practice.

These are resources I’ve found for every moment in life.

SEE ALSO: Understanding Vedic Astrology

For Everyday: Morning and Evening Meditations, Louise Haye

Haye is basically the grandmother of mindfulness practice, and an amazing example of life-long devotion to inner peace.

She has a ton of resources you can buy or listen to, but I’ve especially connected with her Morning and Evening Meditations, which are great to use as part of your daily routine.

I find these sorts of less-specific, malleable meditations great because they grow with you and adapt with life, making them ever-helpful!

For Creativity:  Effortless Mastery, by Kenny Werner

This is a book and meditation practice created by jazz pianist Kenny Werner.

I love Effortless Mastery because it is art-centric, and it is all about harnessing the inspiration that is all around us by being present.

It also encourages us to be easy on ourselves and to not compare ourselves to other artists.

The mantra that is introduced in the guided meditation tracks is something I often come back to find my breath and ground myself: “I am perfect. I am a master.”

For Relationships: Conscious Transitions, by Sheryl Paul

Sheryl Paul has made her career helping those with anxiety with romantic relationships by teaching them to be present with their inner thoughts and how to change them.

She takes marriage counseling to the extreme by mending pending divorces and engagements put-on-hold.

She really works magic by battling the “fairytale” idea of romance and love and helping you come to terms with yours and society’s own misconceptions of love.

Her blog alone gives you the tools to work on your relationship and your attitude towards relationships in an effective way, but she also does e-classes on her website that come highly recommended.

I visit her blog often—she helps me immensely!

For Grief: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Motherfucking Sad, by Adam Knade

This is an enchanting little book that not many know about.

Adam Knade writes about ways to cope with sadness, grief and depression in little, easily-to-read lists.

It’s easy to digest, easy to carry around, and so dead on in its advice. Knade is also irreverently funny.

The book is artfully put together and only costs $7.

For Work: Real Happiness at Work, by Sharon Salzberg

In this book, Sharon addresses how mindfulness practice and the law of attraction can bring you success in the workplace.

The book is full of exercises and meditations that can be done anytime anywhere, and is extremely helpful in showing you the happiness beyond the stress.

For anyone who wants to be successful at what they do, this will give you the techniques to get there.

 *See also 3 Steps to Creating a Postive Internal Dialogue on Sivana’s Blog!

Starter Stories: My Berkeley Shoebox

In the last year, I graduated university, left a romantic relationship, quit my job and moved a thousand miles away from the place I grew up. It’s been a gigantic transition. But, the size of this transition is hilarious in contrast with the space I now call home—a tiny 18×12 one-room studio without running water, a closet, an oven, or bathroom. This is the story of my (very) humble abode, for the Urban Compass Starter Stories project on first homes.

I live in the right side of this studio/garage. The sliding glass door is my entrance.

Maybe you’re shocked that I would choose to live like this. A lot of people are.  But, I should add that the studio comes as exchange for my work as a nanny to the eleven-year old boy that lives in the main house, and it’s entirely MINE.  I can always go in the house to use the bathroom or oven if I need, I save the $1000 per month most people pay for rent in Bay Area (which, I might add, is one of the most coveted places to live in the world), and I don’t have any roommates to contend with. As a single woman just starting out on her own, this set-up is a godsend.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of constraints. It’s taken a cocktail of thrift purchases and ingenuity to make my little Berkeley shoebox home sweet home, but here the issues I’ve had and how I’ve addressed them.

Rainbow order, ya’ll!

1) The studio is tiny and storage is a huge issue. Luckily, when I arrived in Berkeley, my apartment was fully furnished with the basics as well as as much space saving furniture as she could fit (all of which purchased from thrift stores or IKEA), so most of the shelving I needed was already supplied to me. There was a big issue, though, and that was clothing storage: I had no hanging space and I have a lot of clothes. Like, a lot of clothes. I filled my dresser in a minute. Luckily, I had just enough space free at the foot of my bed for an adjustable hanging structure I found at Target. My own little touch was color-coding the hanging clothes in rainbow order, to make the structure functional and decorative. (Hint: this is cool for books too!)

It wouldn’t be home without maps and literary magazines.
My writing desk, complete with my record player AKA the best thing I’ve ever purchased. Talk about livening up a room!
Books, pictures and knick-knacks, oh my!

2) The studio is literally a rectangle with white walls and very little natural light. So, how I’ve decorated the space is 100% of what makes it interesting. Adding color and visual interest anywhere I can makes the space feel bigger and brighter. I’ve arranged my bookshelves with little knick-knacks to add personality and put fresh-cut flowers around to add cheer. I especially love the look of maps: they are visually interesting and keep my wanderlust a-kindled! So, I have pinned the ones I’ve collected in my travels to the walls. (Maybe I’m crazy, but I think having the whole wide world on my walls makes the place seem larger than it actually is!) Then add all the postcards, pictures and other art I’ve plastered to the walls and you’ve got a surplus of Alexa-ness. Plus, to make the space feel less like a poster-covered dorm room, I’ve gone to salvage yards and thrifts sorts and purchased cheap frames for certain little pieces. Frames are fun and make things look much more Martha Stewart approved.

This is my kitchen counter. Hanging the cups and using the magnet for the knives saves a ton of space.

3) Clutter makes big spaces feel tiny, and this tiny space feel like being buried alive. I have to keep the space as clean and contained as IMG_4584possible, or else I feel like I’ve joined the cast of TLC’s Hoarders. The space just isn’t big enough to be messy. Of course, I get busy and leave things out, but I can’t do that for too long or it begins to swallow me up. Hence, I have to clean and stay on myself about getting rid of things (especially clothes, shoes and books—my vices) if I am going to buy something new. I have to remember I don’t have the space to accumulate, only to replace.

The fridge should be as full of personality as it is of food.

These are the main ways I make this space my own and keep it livable. That isn’t too say that rain doesn’t sometimes come in through the makeshift window, that the hotplate doesn’t blow the circuit breaker, or that people don’t accidentally see me in my underwear through the gaps in the curtain that acts as a front door. These things happen. Nevertheless, I love my little Berkeley shoebox. It’s like me: quirky, scrappy and a little impractical. It’s as small as I feel entering into the adult world on my own, and yet, it’s huge to me. It’s my Starter Story. Because of that, it will always hold a special place in my heart.photo 3 copy