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Mindful : February 2016
of mind can come up quickly and be very com- pelling. Kindness and compassion are skills that may also grow in you as you deliberately cultivate these thoughts and intentions in your life. It’s like repeating scales on the piano until they come naturally. Self-Compassion A painful habit of people who are shy and socially anxious is reviewing personal collec- tions of negative self-beliefs and judgments. Not only is this no fun (!), you can become so consumed with your thoughts, feelings, appear- ance, and behavior that you have a difficult time understanding, empathizing, or even noticing anyone else (like I never knew anyone liked me in high school). Usually the phrase “full of him- self” refers to someone who is an exhibitionist or extraordinarily vain, but in truth, we’re just as full of ourselves, just as self-involved, when we’re under the spell of negative self-talk. This is how we create the state of mind that makes us feel separate from the fundamental essence of life. Shyness involves maintaining thoughts and behaviors that alienate and isolate us from others. When in this state of mind, you experi- ence yourself as separate and create a personal prison for yourself, maintained and guarded by a scared internal gatekeeper who tells you things like “They screwed me,” “Don’t trust them,” or “They can tell there’s something wrong with me.” In one of Einstein’s famous quotes he enjoins us “to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” All living creatures includes ourselves. You can’t give love to others if you can’t give it to yourself. The physical heart infuses itself with blood before sending it to the rest of your body. REPLACING JUDGMENT WITH COMPASSION At the very moment of anxiety, when the internal critic or fear monger is roaring, you can begin to grow a new attitude of mind and hear t by offering yourself some kind words like: May I awaken to my loving heart and follow its path of compassion and kindness. Repeat. The more you repeat this the more it grows. 74 mindful February 2016 insight practices The Pursuit of Happiness curriculum is a personal or classroom guide designed to teach important skills that will help you navigate your personal journey to happiness. “Robin Blackwood’s conversion of my book, Too Soon Old, Too Late Sm ar t, into a...course is at once flattering and very impressive. The principles contained herein—that we are defined by our behavior, that we are largely responsible for what we make of ourselves, that we need to be astute about whom to avoid and whom to cherish as we move through our lives—all are ideas of vital importance. We can never know enough about the pur- suit of happiness.” - Gordon Livingston, M.D. C For more information about The Pursuit of Happiness, find Blackwood Education on facebook or at