Florida

How to stop beating yourself up

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at Dec 10, 11.37.36 AMThere is still time to join us for a retreat this weekend in Florida, just south of Tampa, Feb 21–23. It’s on the theme of self-compassion and it’s called “How to Stop Beating Yourself Up.”

Self-compassion is at the heart of my teaching these days.

The retreat fees include food and accommodation, and they’re on a sliding scale.

Most us us have the habit of being unkind to ourselves. We talk unkindly to ourselves and often we sacrifice our own well-being in order to “get things done.”

Florida Retreat Center

Florida Retreat Center

Florida Retreat Center

Florida Retreat Center

On this weekend retreat, Bodhipaksa will introduce a step-by-step guide to self-compassion, so that we can learn to be less hard on ourselves.

To allow people of varying income levels to attend, we have three suggested contributions: $250 for those with lower disposable incomes, $350 as the “standard” contribution, and $450 for those with more disposable income available. The price of the retreat includes food, which will be vegetarian/vegan.

The retreat will start at 7:00 PM on Friday and end at 12:30 PM on Sunday.

There are a couple of spaces still available.

You can read more, or sign up, here: https://www.wildmind.org/florida

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How to stop beating yourself up

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Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at Dec 10, 11.37.36 AMI’m leading a retreat in Florida, just south of Tampa, Feb 21–23. It’s on the theme of self-compassion and it’s called “How to Stop Beating Yourself Up.”

Self-compassion is at the heart of my teaching these days.

The retreat fees include food and accommodation, and they’re on a sliding scale.

Most us us have the habit of being unkind to ourselves. We talk unkindly to ourselves and often we sacrifice our own well-being in order to “get things done.”

On this weekend retreat, Bodhipaksa will introduce a step-by-step guide to self-compassion, so that we can learn to be less hard on ourselves.

To allow people of varying income levels to attend, we have three suggested contributions: $250 for those with lower disposable incomes, $350 as the “standard” contribution, and $450 for those with more disposable income available. The price of the retreat includes food, which will be vegetarian/vegan.

Florida Retreat Center

Florida Retreat Center

Florida Retreat Center

Florida Retreat Center

Bookings are refundable (minus $100) up to two weeks before the retreat.

The retreat will start at 7:00 PM on Friday and end at 12:30 PM on Sunday.

Places on the retreat are very limited. We strongly suggest booking early.

You can read more, or sign up, here: https://www.wildmind.org/florida

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Florida Dharma Film Festival embraces Buddhist teachings

Amy C. Rippel, Orlando Sentinel: Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other religion, Mark Winwood wants you to embrace your inner Buddhist ideals.

It’s not about changing religions. It’s about living a happier, more meaningful life that is full of strength, confidence and clarity. Winwood, founder of the Yalaha-based Chenrezig Project and a self-taught Tibetan Buddhist teacher, hopes that local residents — no matter what religion, ethnicity or affiliation — will embrace the Buddhist teachings.

Through the Florida Dharma Film Festival, which begins Friday at the Windhorse Wellness Center, he hopes to bring together Eastern philosophies to the west.

Feature films with ties to Eastern ideals will be shown during the free festival, which also will be held Saturday at the Windhorse Wellness Center, 353 Plaza Drive, Eustis. It continues March 30 and 31 at the First Congregation Church of Winter Park, 225 S. Interlachen Ave., Winter Park.

Some of the films on tap are big Hollywood productions with famous-named actors while others are small, lesser-known independent films.

“These films communicate that there is a lot more to our lives than the everyday struggles we all engage in,” said Winwood, who in 2006 took a spiritual trip to Dharmsala, site of the Tibetan government in exile and home to its political and spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

That year, Winwood, 60, started the Yalaha Tibetan Buddhism Study Group as a means to teach Tibetan Buddhist practices. Today, it’s evolved into the Chenrezig Project with dozens of students learning the peaceful ways. Three years ago he started the film festival, which has grown into a two-weekend event.

Between films there will be breaks for discussion. All are free but reservations are recommended by going to flharma.eventbrite.com.

Film schedule

Friday, March 23 (Windhorse Wellness Center, Eustis)

7-7:50 p.m. — “The Lion’s Roar”

8:10-10:15 p.m. — “Fearless”

Saturday, March 24 (Windhorse Wellness Center)

Noon-1:30 p.m. — “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama”

1:50-3:20 p.m. — “Saint Misbehavin'”

4-5:45 p.m. — “Buddha’s Lost Children”

7-7:45 p.m. — “Tibetan Book of the Dead”

8:10-9:55 p.m. — “Enlightenment Guaranteed”

March 30 (First Congregation Church of Winter Park)

7-8:10 p.m. — “The Devotion of Matthieu Ricard.”

8:30-10:20 p.m. — “Twelve Angry Men”

March 31 (First Congregation Church of Winter Park)

Noon-1:15 p.m. — “Tulku”

1:35-3:15 p.m. — “Recalling a Buddha”

3:30-5 p.m. — “How to Cook Your Life”

6-7:20 p.m. — “The Sun Behind the Clouds”

7:45-10 p.m. — “Little Buddha”


WindHorse Theatre: 353 Plaza Drive, Eustis, FL
www.windhorseworld.com :: (352) 602-4351

First Congregational Church of Winter Park: 225 South Interlachen Avenue, Winter Park, FL
www.fccwp.org :: (407) 647-2416

The Chenrezig Project: PO Box 11, Yalaha, FL 34797
www.chenrezigproject.org :: info@chenrezigproject.org

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Tibetan Buddhist monks focus on sand – and sea

Southwest Florida residents have the chance to see something few westerners ever get the opportunity to see — the creation and blessing of a sand mandala by a group of Buddhist monks.

Throughout the week, the group of five Tibetan monks will be at Unity of Naples building the Chenrezig mandala one grain of colored sand at a time.

Once complete, the sand painting will be blessed and ritually dissolved to symbolize the impermanence of life.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this being done live,” said Susanna Tocco, 36, of Naples. “It’s amazing — the precision, the patience. It’s …

Read the original article (includes image gallery) »

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Gainesville Meditation Guide: at the Hare Krishna House

Every day, the Hare Krishnas chant a melodic meditation and serve food to students in UF’s Plaza of the Americas. A decent number of students usually line up — especially on Spaghetti Wednesdays — but no one seems to know much about the people who serve the vegetarian-friendly fare.

An hour and a half before the sun rises, the Hare Krishnas gather for meditation, called japa, in the temple of the Krishna House, just off campus on Northwest 14th Street.

They recite their mantra with the help of Japa Mala beads, a strand of beads — not unlike the rosary — that helps devotees keep track of their chanting. Each strand has 108 beads, one for each time they chant to Krishna, and they do it 16 times. That means every morning, they recite the mantra 1,728 times.

They believe the god Krishna and his…

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name are one and the same.

“When you chant Hare Krishna, you’re actually associating with God through his name,” said Caitanya, a devotee who’s been chanting for 19 years.

They also serve Krishna through cooking and cleaning.

They devote themselves so stringently because they believe the material energies of the world cover the spiritual soul, effectively blocking them from being one with Krishna. They have their sights set on a higher plane.

“If you want to really feel free in the material world, you refrain from activities that bind you to the material world,” Caitanya said.

They use the material energy in his service to prevent becoming entangled in the material life. The van they use, for example, is used to serve Krishna food to other people instead of being used as, say, a way to get to a party. And because the food is served with love and devotion, it’s karma-free, as the side of the van reads.

Even if you don’t wish to wake at 4 a.m. to chant, Caitanya said non-devotees can still reap the benefits of the Krishna beliefs.

“We just encourage people to chant the holy name and take Krishna lunch,” she said. “By doing that, the purification of the heart happens, and then, automatically, everything else that doesn’t help them in their spiritual life melts away.”

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Veterans find peace with yoga in ‘Connected Warriors’

Boca Raton Some local veterans’ combat days are long gone, but they still have nightmares, edginess, short fuses and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Many seek help from support groups, psychologists and drugs. But some are finding that a different kind of therapy releases the tension: yoga.

Connected Warriors, a weekly class at studios in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Wellington, is filled with veterans and their families who seek to manage their stress through yoga poses. They learn how to breathe, meditate, stretch and balance with people who understand their battlefield encounters.

“I am learning to stop being on the defensive,” said Maria Mariska Allsopp, of Dania Beach, who retired after 25 years as a sergeant major in the Army. “I am making my own kind of peace.”

Allsopp, 58, was the fifth woman to go through Army airborne training, the first woman jumpmaster and the first female first-sergeant of an Army rigging company. She said she relished her trailblazer status but started having bad dreams soon after she retired and was diagnosed…

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with post-traumatic stress disorder. Memories of sexual harassment also plague her.

“In this class, I am getting something I have been missing: Trust from men,” Allsopp said.

The class has been so successful that yoga teacher Judy Weaver, of Lighthouse Point, has been training instructors to teach at studios across the state and hopes to start programs across the country. Weaver is a founder of Connected Warriors, a nonprofit organization that encourages yoga for veterans.

Weaver became sensitive to veterans’ issues after teaching yoga to Beau MacVane, an Army Ranger from Boca Raton who served five tours in the Middle East but died in 2009 of Lou Gehrig’s disease at 33. She saw how the breathing and meditation techniques she taught him remained useful even as his condition deteriorated.

“They give instant relief to the body,” Weaver said. “Whatever limitations you have, you can still get the benefits.”

Researchers are confirming that yoga’s exercises and relaxation effects help veterans’ physical problems, moods and energy levels. Several studies are exploring how yoga complements psychiatric therapy.

Preliminary results of a Defense Department study show that veterans with PTSD had fewer symptoms after 10 weeks of yoga classes twice a week and 15 minutes of practice each day at home.

This is not news to Ralph Iovino, 61, who thinks yoga has helped him heal from war trauma experienced in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. He often relives his time as a rescuer on a helicopter crew.

“I would go down on the cable and get people back up,” remembered Iovino, who lives west of Boynton Beach. “If I froze or panicked, people died.”

Iovino still has shrapnel in his back, forehead and knee, and came back to the United States angry and sick from heart disease. He discovered yoga five years ago and said it has helped him slow down so he thinks before he speaks.

He said his high-blood pressure has disappeared and he is undergoing training to become a certified yoga teacher.

Bob Conway, of Delray Beach, also thinks yoga and meditation techniques have helped him calm his nerves and learn to trust. He turned to drugs and alcohol when he returned from Vietnam in 1970.

He said he always keeps his back to walls since he served in the Marine Corps as a sniper and tunnelman. But in yoga class, he is willing to get into poses facing the wall, knowing his fellow vets are nearby and supportive.

When he began learning breathing techniques with fellow veterans, “I thought, boy, is this dorky, just goofy,” said Conway, 60.

Now, “I look forward to yoga more than golf on Sundays, and golf is my religion,” he said.

lsolomon@tribune.com or 561-243-6536

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