Ruth Landstrom,Ph.D.                                                                                                                         

August 2007                                                 Volume 1, Number 1
Meditation and life coaching both help us become aware of our habits, let go of habits that keep us stuck in dissatisfaction, and cultivate new habits that bring joy and ease.  With this newsletter, I hope to inspire you to try one or both of these practices in your life.  This first issue starts with meditation and the practice of resting our awareness on whatever arises in the present moment.


Habits are extremely useful things -- largely unsung heroes, since most habits go unnoticed.  That's the point.   Once something becomes a habit, we don't have to think about it anymore.  The habit takes care of itself.
But there's a catch.  The more we run on habit, the less we notice what's actually there.  And because habits by their nature run beneath the radar, we don't realize when we're substituting habit for reality.
Habits of mind are especially tricky.  We think certain things, based on past experience, and pretty soon we believe that we know the way things "are,"  We think we " are" this way or that way.  We think we know what we like and don't like -- now and forever.  We think we can predict what will make us happy.

...and Happiness

And we're often wrong.
One of the most provocative findings of recent years is that we're not very good at predicting our own future happiness.  We tend to misjudge -- badly -- how different circumstances will affect us, so we try hard to avoid some things and make sure we get other things.
I'm writing this newsletter to challenge you to entertain the thought that, just possibly, your most cherished ideas -- you habits of mind -- can be thrown out, and you'll be happier for it.
Let's begin with a common idea, the thought that the present needs tweaking.  You can't possibly be fully happy right now, right?  All you're doing is sitting at the computer reading!  What about your hopes, your dreams, your plans?  What about the ten pounds you "need" to lose?  Your son's socks on the floor?  (Sorry, guess those were my son's socks...)
Do you have this habit of expecting happiness to arrive in the future?  With this habit, your experience of happiness will stay just around the corner, receding into the future forever.
What if you don't need to seek  happiness, but can just settle in where you are?   What if the pursuit of happiness actually gets in the way of being happy?
Mindfulness meditation offers a way to test what happens when we drop our pursuit of happiness and just rest our awareness on our present experience.  People often think that meditation involves achieving a particular state of mind, stopping thoughts, or becoming calm.  It doesn't!  Really, mindfulness meditation is just a process of resting your mind on whatever is happening, without judgment.  It is simply experiencing being you, whatever state you may be in, with awareness.  You can be restless and still be aware of your restlessness!  You can practice mindfulness of any aspect of our experience -- the feel of your body or breath, sounds, sights, even thoughts and feelings. 
What are you experiencing right now? 


Day to Day

I realized, sometime in my thirties, that I was always having a "hard time."  Though my life looked great from the outside, my typical emotional experience was in the neutral-to-stressed range.  It just seemed that things "were" stressful.
Now I know that my perception of my life as stressed and hard was a habit, and that habit can be changed.
 "Happiness is no longer something to pursue, to be attained by acquiring something outside of ourselves, but is the natural by-product of being ourselves."
     Barry Magid
     Ordinary Mind   



Tuesday, Septembet 11, 2007, 1:15 - 2:30
Ruth's weekly mindfulness meditation class will resume at Yoga for Well-Being, Goshen, NY
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Ruth will present an introduction to meditation at the National Women's In Network EXPO, to be held at The Grail, Cornwall, NY
Date to be announced:
Ruth and Reverent Naomi Fay will offer a workshop called "Courage and Contentment" at Wellness Springs, Highland Mills, NY

I'd love to hear from you!  Please e-mail me your comments, questions and requests.  If you or someone you know would like to explore coaching or meditation, you can contact me for a free phone consultation at 1-866-788-4526 (1-866-RUTHLAN) or