Mendful and Authentic in 2021

Will 2021 be the year you act more authentically on your values?

2020, a year unlike any other, is behind us. Although we still have to remain masked and careful with in-person interactions until we are all immunized, the hopeful end to the pandemic that changed our lives is on the horizon. Still, there are months of uncertainty and hardship ahead of us.

You, like many of us, have most likely experienced significant changes and disruptions to your life in the past year; work, relationships, home, family, travel, and routines. While some changes are stressful and disorienting, other may be welcomed and comforting. We all , with more or lesser success, have tried to navigate with grace and balance. 

In the many interactions I had during the past year I learned two things were important. Staying connected with others and staying connected to our inner selves. To many fo us daily body-mind practices were more important than ever. It continued strengthening our resolve, sense of hope, well- being, and resilience. In the virtual Mendful mentoring sessions and gatherings it was apparent how connecting with one another helped bring out our authentic selves and smiles more fully. The engaging conversations encouraged us to be more daring and open to try new things while in lockdown.  

I learned from Professor Wendy Wood that people are reluctant to make new decisions at disrupted times like these. People think that making new decisions when there is a disruption to life, like this pandemic, is not a good idea. But, in fact, she says, that disruptions to life are opportunities to act more authentically on our values. People try new things when life is disrupted because the old ways are no longer possible. They experiment with ideas that may have been dormant for a while, and the disruption is an opportunity to act on them.

How can you act more authentically on your values in 2021?

I invite you to make time to reflect back on the year 2020. What were some of your most memorable experiences and insights? What do you wish you acted on to bring you closer to a fuller expression of you? Now, what do you want to cultivate and grow in the year 2021? How will you use the time left in lockdown this winter, whether home alone or with family, to bring out more of you? Perhaps to do something new, or something you always wanted to learn or attend to but never did.

Set your heartfelt intentions and follow them with meaningful action. Invite others into the conversation, discuss and share your intentions with family and friends to support each other and share in your success, as you engage in your chosen activities to live out your intentions.

It’s hard to make changes at any time. It requires courage, resolve and commitment to act. When we attend and nurture our body and minds with mendful conversations and spiritual practices, we grow our capacity and encourage or hearts to live our values more fully, and we act more authentically. The practices give us strength and focus to creatively find paths to overcome challenges. We experience more contentment, peace and joy when we act authentically.I hope this year we feel resolved and better equipped to handle the ups and down of life. May we support each other and have the courage to really live our authentic values more fully.

I wish you a happy, healthy and authentic 2021!
I hope to see you at the Winter Mendful Gathering Series starting Sunday, January 17th at 4pm, 2021.

Bi- monthly gatherings every other week in January and February.

Polyvagal Theory: Mendful Pointer to Well-being

Polyvagal theory and other neuroscience teach about important systems that regulate our responses. These new areas of study are important for us to understand because they point us to wellbeing. The theories explain patterns in our body-mind which heavily influence our lives; physiologically, psychologically, relationally and cognitively.

I have seen the positive effect of sharing this information with my students.A beautiful shift can happen when we learn how the body responds to fear and stress.It helps because it can stop us from taking things personally or believing we are broken beyond repair. It  points us onto a kinder mendful path toward our hope and strength. This knowledge along with guided MENDtations and self inquiry exercises can help when we are dealing with negative arousal responses. Many of my student learn to relax more, rebuild resiliency and access more joy in a relatively short time.

What I teach in my retreats and personalized mentoring sessions  is now supported by the growing body of research and knowledge from neuroscience. We combine guided practices  and conversations to help create the conditions for the desired shifts back to health, contentment and ease. Centuries before seeds of neuroscience theories were even thought of, spiritual and religious practices such as meditation, chanting, visualization, prayer, tribal and physical rituals and cognitive methods, were used to calm, destress and point us in the direction of joy and contentment.  It is powerfully transformative when we delve into ancient practices and teachings now with the added knowledge of the new findings.

We discover how that they go together well because they address the same human needs; the freedom and easing of fear, stress, anxiety, discontent, agitation and unhappiness. I feel awe when I see these connections because they reflect to me humanity’s desire and ability to engage in a continues and expansive exploratory creative unfolding toward betterment of our conditions.

The retreats I teach are immersive and supportive experiences where we relax and let our full selves be. We learn how the conditioned unnecessary reactivity in the body-mind act as door ways to healing and positive change. It’s amazing what can be done in three days! Participants are able to delve deep into their inner spaces and experience beautiful connection to soul. It’s profound and moving to witness.

Participants report that the group experience and the exercises are soul nourishing, insightful and mendful on many levels.

Hollie wrote: “Following Rabbi Sigal’s Mendful program at Kripalu I have experienced a shift, a softening, a turn towards wonder. So much of this heart opening was a result of ‘marinating’ in the loving community Sigal held for us.”

I love guiding and supporting people in retreats and with personalized Mendful Life Mentoring. You don’t have to do it alone. I am here to help. Together we journey the mendful path. I hope we connect again soon, Sigal

Choose Mending not Fighting

We are left shaken when violence strikes anywhere in the world and lately the multiple mass shootings in the US. We need to find ways to mending and peace.

May all those who mourn and are injured be supported and loved to find healing and peace. May the dead Rest In Peace. 

We are all in this together. Let’s find ways to calm down and talk to each other. To uproot hate and create more peace in us and among us. Maybe, just maybe, if we feel more secure with one another and connect human to human first, people would refuse to make, sell, buy and carry weapons. People will refuse to fight because they see there are better ways to living together. We must insist on choosing the path of mending not the path of fighting one another.

Six Ways to Live More Peacefully in a Violent World by Shannon Sexton. An interview with Rabbi Sigal

Let’s talk about LOVE

More than ever before we talk about love in different ways. It seems there is more appreciation to other kinds of love which exceed romantic love. Maybe the change is because now, more than ever before, many people are single. Being single is a growing global trend, whether by choice or by circumstances, more people don’t marry and new ways of being in loving relationships are explored. It turns out, there are many ways to be in loving relationships.

Love is a humungous topic. It’s hard to put our arms around love, but we try, measuring love and defining it. For some love is a feeling, to others a commitment. To some it’s security, to others a vulnerability. To some a fulfilled desire, while for others a longing. 

What we want is to be in authentic relationships.We want to be ourselves and relate to others who are authentically themselves. When we are in loving relationships we want to be seen, heard, feel connected and belong. In authentic loving relationships, these four posts are important underpinnings, usually garbed with elaborate unconscious and conscious desires and needs. 

Alain de Botton who wrote Essays in Love defines love as charitable interpretation of others’ behavior. To love is to be willing to interpret someone’s not so appealing behavior with a more benevolence reason. Loving is accepting faults; being patient and charitable in our interpretation of unappealing behaviors. 

We are bound to disappoint and be disappointed, especially with people we love and whom love us. Love is not admiration alone, although we want it to be because it would be so much easier. But real life love must include compromise and tolerance of unpleasant feelings and behaviors. It calls us to be mature in loving and living with the recognition we need to tolerate ambivalence. The disparity between what we like and the things we really don’t like. We tend to spend a lot of time and energy rejecting and resisting the things we don’t want to include in the mix of love and relationships, but reality is what it is and we need to accept it. 

Staying in relationships requires skill. Love is not just a matter of feelings. It hurts when we are disappointed, but with mendful skills and sensibilities we can navigate it better. We must stay in the conversation with others and with the different triggers within us, and not run away from them and avoid them. It actually makes the things we try to avoid more resistant and painful.

In Mendful Path Living we cultivate a remembering we carry in our heart, namely, the intention to mend. The mendful mindset and the intention to mend are tucked in our heart and in our consciousness to help bring us back to love and mending.  How?

I have a regular daily practice of meditation and prayer to orient me ever so strongly to mending. More and more I see how it helps usher me back from the edge of discomfort and discontent to balance and calm. It’s especially helps me respond with more understanding and care in challenging moments. Remembering all humans experience disappointments, hurts, and challenges, we prepare and support ourselves to respond more calmly and productively in stressful situations. The question is not whether we will be challenged, because we surely will, but instead we prepare and plan how we will respond mendfully. How in the moment we don’t allow our habitual reactivity to get the best of us and create more suffering and harm. And, when things get away from us sometime we mend from there. We ask for forgiveness, forgive others and make amends. 

Mendful love is how we live. One conversation, one encounter, one small mend at a time. May your love flourish in many colors and textures within you and in all your relationships, whether you are partnered or not. Rabbi Sigal

 Mendful Living from Your Heart 
Retreats at Kripalu Centerin June and September  

Information about Mentoring – See Special Offer

Be Yourself: A mendful Path to Joy

How can we free ourselves to live authentically, fully, with joy and fulfillment? How do we know and live our heart’s purpose and passion while living our lives, as they are now? Sigal, creator of MENDFUL is a motivational coach, inspirational teacher, rabbi, researcher and artist, with training in psychology, art, integrative methods, and holistic lifestyle. Her innovative approach integrates body-mind methods inspired by the connections between spirituality and neuroscience. Rabbisigal.com