New! School-wide mental health & wellness workshop

Mental Health & Wellness Workshops

Presenting our new affordable and comprehensive wellness workshop, We Choose Wellness & Strength.

Highlights:

The focus of this short school-wide workshop is introducing mindfulness meditation as a cornerstone of self-reliance, self-regulation and self-knowledge. Students leave with an introduction to the physiological manifestation of stress, relaxation, several short and easy meditations, and a knowledge of the benefits of mindfulness practice, and teachers have tools to continue the work after facilitator is done!

  • 30 min workshop per class, 1.5 hours teacher training. Can be spread over a few days as scheduling permits, and for teacher training, this can take the place of a weekly staff meeting.
  • student activity handouts, home assignments, teacher manual provided so that staff can carry on to introduce modules after the workshops.
  • Can be hosted virtually or in person as regulations permit.
  • Please write or call to request full brochure with pricing sample handouts etc.

Annoucement about autumn 2020 schedule

Hello! Many are writing about fall…will we meet in person, online? We can do both. If in person, we will resume at MidSun Centre, or if it’s warm, in the adjacent field to better enjoy the outdoors. We will need to practice social distancing & other safety protocols, of course.

But there is no reason we can’t continue online also; many of our colleagues from the online class don’t live in Calgary’s south end, so I am happy to offer both.

At this time, please contact me with your scheduling requests so I can work it all out.

Thanks! Rosanna

Meditation and mental health during COVID

You’re not alone if isolation and the fear of becoming sick is giving you the blues. Deep down we know it’s not healthy for us to be alone and fearful. Science backs up our intuition: living under constant stress limits our creative, problem-solving brains to flight-fight-freeze instincts, where every interaction with people is gauged as a threat to safety.

Meditation and mental health during COVID

It’s easy to overlook mental self-care when fear of survival is number one. That’s why it’s really important to make manageable, regular commitments to mental health. It’s deeply intertwined with physical health. Meditation is one of many tools for mental-self care. It’s free, can be done anywhere, anytime, with no special equipment.

Meditation is sometimes misunderstood. Some people tell me they can’t clear their heads or sit still. They’d rather do exercise to relieve stress, or they don’t think it fixes problems. Meditation is not emptying our minds, forcing ourselves to relax and pretend everything is okay. Nor is it a planning & strategy session, or a replacement for exercise.

Today, try this short, easy meditation: sit quietly and count 10 deep, easy breaths. Notice where your thoughts wander when you lose focus. Notice how you feel. Fidgety, overwhelmed, worried, reliving past events? Take two more deep breaths. Relax your belly and shoulders. Notice how good that feels. Make a point of remembering this feeling, so you can pull it up later. After, start paying attention to how often your mind is occupied with those thoughts and emotions. That’s a good clue about how much stress you’re under.

Meditation is a physical & mental discipline where we sit/stand, in silent attention, to:
– train focus,
– reach equanimity with our thoughts and emotions, and
– achieve compassion for self and others.

Just like with exercise, regular practice delivers the awesome side-effects: self-control, keeping cool under pressure, sleeping better, and more.

Rosanna D’Agnillo (B.A, M.A. Certified Meditation Instructor) is the founder of Calgary Mindfulness, a non-profit that has trained hundreds of children, athletes, educators and businesses in mindfulness meditation.

Happy Summer & Father’s Day! Healing power of nature in today’s meditation.

Greetings! Today’s meditation focused on the abundance, strength and ease we sense from connecting with nature. At this time of year in my part of the world (Calgary, Canada), the outdoor world is furious with growth.

Today’s annular solar eclipse visible from Asia & Africa

Plants will literally grow several inches PER DAY. Baby ducks, crows, sparrows, woodpeckers, geese, loons, beavers, muskrats, hares, fawns, calves, ponies, foals are in every yard or field. Everything feels deliciously potent with the Creator’s–our Father’s– power to regenerate and make the miracle of growth happen.

This power exists within us, also, because we are a part of this amazing matrix of life. Contemplating the wonder of nature and being in nature is an excellent way to tap into our own inner strength and also a wondrous humility that helps us feel unity and connection with all life around us. It’s a great antidote to the fearfulness and isolation we’ve been practicing for the last few months.

Kudo’s to all fathers, for your hard work and patience in rearing children! And for single moms like me, who also celebrate Father’s Day (we call it Mapa’s Day actually in my house–so kudos to all women who are both mother and father in the house!

Above is pictured today’s annular solar eclipse, sadly for us North Americans only visible over Africa and Asia, but still inspiring to see pix and videos.

Here is a link to today’s podcast:

http://calgarymindfulness.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/solstice-meditation.mp3

Gratitude practice- seeing the glass half-full

In today’s practice, we did a traditional mindfulness practice with special attention to the tension we collect not just in the physical body (belly, shoulders, jaw) but the “emotional” body – is the heart area in pain from hopelessness? Is the belly tight from shame, fear? Touching upon each of these secrets with compassionate awareness and breath.

Then, since my backyard is crazy with birds, babies, lilac, plants, and not much hail damage from last night–a gratitude meditation! It is blissful to sit in the awareness of just how many things, people, states of being, that rush forward to notify us of their presence, as if just waiting for us to acknowledge the abundance that is and has always been. Food. Shelter. Companions. Growth. Spring. Health. Life. Chocolate. Cats. Work. Kids. Messes to clean, since it means there are beautiful creative kids there to make them. Dishes to wash, since that means there is enough food.

And number one, the eternal soul that is connected to the the source of all life outside of us!

http://calgarymindfulness.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Gratitude-Meditation.mp3

Self-Forgiveness Meditation Practice

Greetings! Two more meetings before we take a summer hiatus, but please feel free to contact me any time for support or for an impromptu practice! We will resume weekly in-person or virtual meetings, as legally required by Alberta Health, in September.

Today’s class was based on an intention submitted by one of our members regarding how to handle strong thoughts of self-criticism and the difficult emotions that cascade from that. Our traditional mindfulness practice thus transitioned into a guided practice regarding awareness of painful thoughts and emotions of self-judgement, in the body and in our achievements in the physical world (I am not _____ enough).

Often we (and for sure me!) know (brain) that our feelings of unworthiness are not logical, but the subconscious or barely-conscious is still busy busting our chops. This is called a lack of heart-mind congruence and it is an important step in the path to self-knowledge, acceptance and forgiveness. By identifying where we feel unworthy, we can offer ourselves the love in loving-kindness meditation practice that is often so much easier to give to others.

http://calgarymindfulness.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/June-7-Self-Forgiveness.mp3

“You can be fully satisfied with where you are, understanding that you’re eternally evolving. When you get into that place of feeling appreciation of where you are and of who you are, and appreciation of what you are, and you accept that you are a never-ending, always unfolding Being, then you can stand in that delicate balance of being optimistic about what is to come, without being unhappy about where you stand.” – Abraham

Finding inner strength and quiet within

Dear mindfulness students & colleagues! Thank you for your flexibility in allowing me to cancel our class to care for my sick little fuzzball, Balthazar, who is feeling better now! He is resting well. Thanks again for your well-wishes.

Balthazar recovering!

The podcast from our class is now posted, available by clicking the Podcasts link above and scrolling down.

If you prefer here is the direct link to the podcast for last class, where we held a traditional mindfulness meditation, but, outside in my backyard in the morning, I felt greater opportunity to connect to the present moment – pulling away from busy thoughts of past and future to listen to the magpies, sparrows, and feel the breath moving through the body. From this place of comfort and quiet, we take a step back from the fearfulness and anger that is closer to the surface in these days of pandem-onium! From this place of quiet inner strength, the Holy Spirit working within us can be heard, empowered to have a greater role in our thoughts, words, and actions.

http://calgarymindfulness.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/May-30-mindfulness.mp3

Gratitude Meditation Podcast

Gratitude staves off the blues!

Hi there! The May 23 podcast is just now live, and focuses on gratitude and heartfulness. This is one of my favorite practices and is very easy for children to do, and also engaging for discussion afterward. When counting our blessings, we feel stronger and fortunate and empowered. We are less likely to react like a “victim” when we see that we actually have a lot to be grateful for!

Gratitude & Heartfulness Meditation Podcast (26 mins)
http://calgarymindfulness.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/gratitude-meditation-May-23rd-2020.mp3

Meditation for awareness and releasing “negative” thoughts

Identifying and releasing negative thoughts….by Rosanna D’Agnillo

For today’s meditation class, we’ve received an intention regarding mindfulness and release of negative thoughts. Mindfulness practice is one of many ways to take a deeper look at thought habits, and develop the ability to sit with– and then open the capacity to address what doesn’t help us make decisions that line up with our goals & values.

In secular mindfulness practice, we are aware of how human physiology & neurology contribute to prioritizing scary thoughts, and we are compassionate to this part of our nature. We are wired to weigh negative thoughts more heavily on the scale, to stay safe and problem solve. Thank you, amazing brain! Reptile brain is where fear lives; it has instinct to flight fight freeze. And the physiological response is very strong and fast—we feel it all over lightning quick: in the belly. Stress hormones pump the heart faster, dilate the blood vessels to flush the face, heat us up, make us dizzy and nauseous.

Negative thoughts aren’t “bad”: if you’re in danger, if you have a problem, you need awareness, perhaps action, correction. “My job sucks. School sucks.” These thoughts mean something: ask for help. Contemplate a change.Identify the root problem. The dysfunction comes when we don’t have awareness or maybe won’t action. We can get physically addicted to our complaining: we can rewire our neurology to enjoy complaining.

In Law of Atraction circles, it’s like this: what we think attracts more of the same, so we keep thinking it. We have an expectation, and we see its results manifested, when actually we are just practicing the same thought. If we believe “nobody respect me,” then of course we are easily offended by the unconscious actions of others all the time.

Helpful inquiry comes from compassionate tally of our thoughts, and asking, what is it really that I’m afraid of? What do I gain by holding on to this thought? Perhaps I need to make a change, but I’m afraid of asking for help, or of trying something new, and so complaining about school or work is the easiest choice. There is always a gain or we wouldn’t do it. Mindfulness practice doesn’t go so far into psychotherapy, but it is where we can practice sitting with our sometimes unhelpful, incomprehensible paradoxes to get to know ourselves better.

This practice, we will sit silently with some guidance through the anchors, and feel free to make a note of the thoughts of worry, fear that enter. Mentally or on paper. Or, if you got the email I sent earlier today, and you’ve been noting these all day, you’re ready to sit with them and face them clearly. Let us ask our inner wisdom: what am I afraid of? What do I gain by holding these? What will I give up to release them?

For Christian meditation, a helpful intention to guide practice is this: is my attachment to these thoughts more important than holding the peace of God within me? Why? Where can I further surrender to the will of God?

Here is the meditation podcast; enjoy!
http://calgarymindfulness.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Releasing-Negative-Thoughts-05022020.mp3

Kind regards, Rosanna

Love vs. Fear – today’s big choice

More than ever…our work is about more than washing our hands and social distancing. With pressure and worry mounting, cascading many people already operating in flight-fight into true survival mode, it is very easy to be warlike in thoughts, words and actions.

Walking in Fish Creek Park earlier yesterday, I was marveling at the budding pussy willows, and the waterfowl protecting their nests. My boys and I stood at the water’s edge amazed by the sound of the creek, high with melting water, bubbling over rocks and grass. It was magical and beautiful. I was so grateful for this time with my children, the warm day, the wonder of nature and its balm on our tension.

Then as we headed up on the bike trail out of the park, an older woman stopped several metres from us, as if contagion was visible on my family. She looked at me like an enemy. It absolutely rankled me right out of my good mood. I barked at her, “We’re not gonna make you sick, lady,” and kept marching.

All it took was this woman’s fear to set me off, a person who “should” know better, and for me to treat her like an enemy also. That was an excellent opportunity for me to have shown love by not taking her trepidation personally. But I was ready to take offense at any little slight, and did. I embarassed my kids yelling at her. In taking offense, I chose fear instead of love, spreading anger between strangers.

Hence the theme for today’s meditation: how many thoughts, words, actions do we take that choose fear over love? For what reason? Today in practice we observed where this happens in our mind’s distraction, and countered it with an expression of gratitude. Now, how to bring this to bear in life? Mindfulness gives us a chance to engage the brakes before we have a strong emotional reaction. Take a breath. Choose again.

In my story above, a suitable response to the nervous woman would have been to be grateful for the fact that she was being careful about social distancing, rather than casual.

Today’s meditation centered on gratitude. Expressions of gratitude are the perfect antidote to inflated senses of worry, fear, isolation and alienation from our fellow humans. To listen, please visit the podcasts page.

I hope you enjoy!

Kind regards, Rosanna

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for the latest updates to our class schedule and reminders: https://www.instagram.com/rosanna_dagnillo/