Important News

Dear Friends

After 15 years in Basking Ridge, NJ, we have decided to move to Carlsbad, CA. It’s a bitter/sweet time for our family. We’re excited and sad at the same time.

Oct 3, 2014 will be our last SL meditation at the Bernardsville Library. I want to thank the wonderful people at the library whose support has been so important to our SL community. And a Very special thanks goes to Andrea Mastrobattista who has been our group’s historian and my biggest supporter. Without her encouragement I may have quit SL a long time ago. Thank you Andrea for believing in me. Those of you looking for an alternative to the SL meditation can attend Andrea’s wonderful Can Do Workshops.

I want to thank this wonderful community. We’ve raised our girls in the best school district, and now they are both thriving in college. Cedar Hill Elementary School, William Annin Middle School and Ridge High School, are not only some of the best academic schools in the country, they are also the schools that supported our daughters through some of the most important years of their lives. I will be forever grateful to the teachers, staff and administrators.

We will miss this community as we travel out west to the next chapter of our life. If you know anyone looking for a large, 5 bedroom house in Basking Ridge brimming with positive, happy vibes, please feel free to pass along the message that there is a house for sale in Basking Ridge, NJ.

Thank you friends for your love and support.

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Meditation Dates for 2014

Monthly Morning Guided Meditations
2014 Spring Dates: Jan 3, Feb 7, Mar 7, Apr 4, May 2, June 13
2014 Fall Dates: Sept. 5, Oct. 3
Time: Friday, 10:00-11:30 AM
Place: Bernardsville Library Community Room
Cost: Free
Note: Please bring a journal and pen with you. Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing.

These original guided meditations will help you to reduce stress, generate creativity, and create positive energy. Splendid Life meditations incorporate a variety of cultural traditions using the power of word and imagery to facilitate a meditative experience and help you tap into your inner guidance.

This program is open to all. No experience in meditation is necessary, just a willingness to share a journey together. There is no need to register for these meditations; drop-ins are welcome.

Our intention for these gatherings is to find peace and serenity through a practice of regular meditations, and to develop a community for support and friendship.

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Chinese New Year

This year the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Sunday February 10, 2013. Although celebrations of this festive day vary, the underlying message is one of peace and happiness. The following are some suggestions from the Chinese traditions, feel free to incorporate your own. I just love the intention of focusing on the new.

Clean Sweep

A huge clean-up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom to sweep away any traces of bad luck.

Chinese people decorate the house with fresh, bright flowers for Chinese New Year — especially red, bright pink and orange. Live blooming plants symbolize rebirth and new growth. Flowers are believed to be symbolic of wealth and high positions in one’s career. Oranges and tangerines are symbols of abundant happiness. The homes are also decorated with couplets to wish family and friends prosperity, health and happiness.

Bringing in the New Year and Expelling the Old
Shooting off firecrackers on New Year’s Eve is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming in the New Year. On the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, every door in the house, and even windows, have to be open to allow the old year to go out.

Use dragons to chase away unhelpful spirits.

Prepare a Feast (or order in)
Enjoy a Chinese feast on New Year’s Eve to celebrate your ancestors. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.

Red Envelope
Children are given money in red envelopes.

Power of Words and Intention
Everyone should refrain from using foul language and bad or unlucky words. References to the past year are also avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.

Good Luck and Happy New Year

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Happy New Year

I am so excited to start another year with my SL friends. Thanks for being in my life. You all mean more to me than I can ever express.

This is one of my favorite quotes and was instrumental in my personal spiritual journey. I hope it inspires you too:

“Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.” — Buddha

As the regular SL members know, every January we ask the universe for a symbol for the New Year during meditation and I know it has become a tradition. Can’t wait to get mine on Friday. I look forward to seeing you and starting another year of meditating together. Oh the adventures we’ll have!

Mark your calendar! Here’s the 2013 Splendid Life schedule.


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Finding Balance in a 24/7 World

It is not uncommon for me to get business e-mails at 6:30 a.m. or 12:00 midnight. Until recently, it was also not uncommon for me to answer them. However, this year for my birthday I’ve decided to give myself the gift of balance.

We live in a culture of 24/7 work and it has become normal to many of us. We have raised the expectation of availability to a point that is unhealthy. Recently, a potential client wrote to me on a Saturday, then wrote back on Sunday wondering why I had not e-mailed him back. Another prospective client emailed me at 10:30 on a weeknight and by 8:30 the next morning had written again, a little frustrated, asking for a response. Another person asked to talk to me on a Saturday, and when I informed her that I don’t work on the weekends, she was irritated.

I realized that by trying to always play catch up and accommodate the 24/7 expectations, I was feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and unbalanced. To get some solutions, I turned to an author who has written a book on the challenges we face at work today. I asked Tony Schwartz, author of “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working,” how to handle the 24/7 expectations. He said, “We can’t control the expectations of others, but we can seek to manage them. Above all, it makes sense to try to invest your energy in what you have the power to influence.”

What I am discovering is that living on this crazy cycle is a choice, being “open” 24/7 is a choice. We ourselves have set up these expectations. Everyone I know seems to be tired and overwhelmed because we are trying to stay ahead of the information overload.

And we are not alone. According to Daniel Patrick Forrester, a client and author of “Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking In Your Organization,” “25 percent of our workdays are spent immersed in information overload.” I asked him for some advice on how to tackle all of the information coming at us.

Information abounds and will forever compound as the world further connects. What we all can do is to force time into our habits and routines to simply think and value reflection as much as we value responding to the onslaught of data that will forever pour over us.

We are taking no time to think, to consider, to plan or to dream. All we are doing is trying to stay ahead of e-mails, Tweets, DM, status updates, LinkedIn invitations and more.

Seth Godin recently wrote a blog called Lost in a Digital World which was retweeted 952 times within 24 hours. He recommends that we turn off the noise and turn on the productivity.

One of the biggest disadvantages of technology is the lack of “thinking time.” Forrester tells us that the reason we have so little time to think is because, “our habitual use of technology and bias for immediacy and rapid response has contributed to fragmenting our attention across many issues at the cost of allowing deep exploration around any one issue.”

Many of us depend on multitasking as the only way to get everything done. However, there is a cost to all this multitasking, I worry that we are doing nothing to the best of our abilities. Schwartz talks about the myth of multitasking: “The brain can’t do cognitive tasks at the same time, so you end up dividing attention between them, as your brain switches back and forth. The result is that you do an injustice to everything, and everyone your splitting time between. We’re sequential beings, not simultaneous. One thing at a time: it’s been around as a basic principle since the dawn of time!”

In the last six months, I have made some small changes in my life. Twice I took two weeks off completely unplugged. To tell you the truth it takes a few days to find a rhythm, a few days to remember how to “be” without the noise, but after that it is blissful. And you know what? The world did not stop, nor did anyone miss me. I just slipped in and out of the river of digital information with no consequences. I found that when I returned I had better ideas, more energy and fully formed thoughts. This year I plan to take more steps for creating balance in my life. Like anything else it’s a choice and like anything new it will take some practice.

Why not join me? I say to my fellow workers, set some office hours and stick to them, take back your lunch hours and unplug during dinners, family times and vacations. We deserve our own time and even more importantly our own attention.

Copyright: Fauzia Burke

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I Love to Meditate

I love to meditate and I do so every morning. It helps me feel grounded and connected and settled. Sometimes I do it for just a few minutes and other times I take my time. The good news is that I find the same benefits each time. Longer does not mean better. Hooray.

Sometimes my meditation practice is full of candles and solitude, other times I sit in nature and forget where I am, but most days I meditate in the morning in bed, just sitting, and breathing and being. Most mornings it feels like no effort, just a short pause between non-physical and physical. It’s easy and comfortable, just the way I like it.

However what I love most is meditating with a group. I love the experience of “out of many, one.” There is something magical about a group guided meditation. When we come into the room, we walk in with our own unique energy, thoughts and concerns, yet within minutes our energies start to blend and our edges start to soften.

During meditation, our thoughts combine for a singular experience. Soon there is no difference between us and we become one unit, one breath, one experience. It is a miraculous thing we do. Out of many, one. Our group feels safe and united. There is not just peace, but harmony.

When we return from our adventure and bring our attention back to our bodies again, I often smile because it feels like we are, as individuals, coming out of a pool of oneness. It is a beautiful experience to come together and to come apart, like a lotus flower opening. Although individual petals, we are part of the same flower.

Then when we share our experiences, it is even more glorious as we put to words that which is unique to us and that which is the same. Amazing.

I thank you for giving me an opportunity to experience oneness with you. Each time we meditate our experience is unique to that group and I am always eager to see where our group energy takes us. I truly can’t wait to see you.

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My Gratitude Board

My gratitude board continues to grow at home and at work. This one happens to be at work.

I am grateful for the opportunity to take what I have learned in my professional life and use it to help others. The flyer for the free digital marketing workshop is prominent this month. I recently gave the first part of a digital marketing workshop in the same space that we usually do meditations. It was an amazing feeling to bring two parts of my life together. I am grateful to have that opportunity.

The meditation on Feb 4th focused on love and seems fitting around Valentine’s Day. Hope you have lots of opportunities to show and receive love.

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Finding Balance

On January 7th, we had our first meditation of 2011. It was snowing so we had a small intimate group of 7. To be honest all meditations are perfect, but this was really special. The theme of the meditation was balance.

We started the meditation by simply noticing if we were physically in-balance. Is our right & left side in balance? I realized that I am not just right-handed, I am right-sided. I favor my right side when walking, when sitting, when walking down stairs. If you do something similar just make a slight correction when you notice it.

An easy exercise for balance is the single leg stance which improves strength of your weaker side. You can modify it by increasing difficulty as you improve. One of our members had the idea to use Wii Fit. I am going to try to do that all month.

So the intention for January is to work on balance. We are not going to become experts on balance in one month, but perhaps just being mindful will help. Here are some tips I plan to use:

  1. Move: Let’s try to find a balance in stillness and movement. I struggle with this a lot. I sit the majority of my day so I am going to begin to try to alternate sitting and standing and finding ways to move my body everyday. I used to dance, maybe I can do that again.
  2. Food: Just notice if you eat too much of one thing and not enough of another. Is there variety in your diet? How many colors do you eat in a day? When my kids were little we used to count the number of colors on our plates. So you could notice if there is a balance in colors in your diet. Ayurvedic healers also recommend a balance of 6 tastes in our diets: sweet (carrots), sour (lemons/berries), salty, bitter (arugula/spinach), pungent (ginger) and astringent (broccoli).
  3. Sounds: Maybe you can notice if there is a balance between silence and sounds in your life. Some people have a tough time with silence but it is necessary for our well-being so try to give your nervous system a little down time.
  4. Colors: Do you find yourself wearing the same colors everyday. I know I do. Perhaps this month we can experiment and play a little by adding some new colors into our wardrobe.
  5. Sleep: A balance between waking hours and sleeping hours is so important. We all know nothing works for us, if we don’t get enough sleep. Along with a good night’s sleep, Sunday afternoon naps are a lovely idea as well.
  6. Me Time: It is wonderful to spend time in the company of family and friends, but it is equally important to leave room for yourself and your own thoughts. Of course I would recommend 5-10 minutes in meditation, but you can use the alone time in any way that helps center you: prayer, walking, cooking, painting, writing, etc.

This month, I plan to simply become mindful of the balance in my physical life. Why not join me?

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Happy New Year

As some of you know, each year I start a gratitude board. It’s just a bulletin board (one at the office and one at home) where I put up things I am grateful for through out the year. By December 31, the boards are overflowing with notes, letters, printouts, and cards. This year I even had a feather on one of them.

Today, I took everything down from my office board, and saved it in a folder called gratitude 2010. The board is now clear and open for all the blessings of the new year. Every year I also pick a random Zen card as the first item on the board. Today, when I took down everything, I found the Zen card that started 2010 for me.

It said: “What happens to you does not matter what you become through those experiences is all that is significant. This is the true meaning of life.”

When I started 2010, I had no idea all that would happen in the year. I didn’t know that almost everyone I love would be hurting, either through health issues, emotional issues or financial issues. Although a tough year, I have learned a lot about the resilience of the people I love, and in that way I feel confident that they and I can handle the challenges that we will encounter. What a blessing it is to know that people I love are stronger than I thought, wiser than their years, and more loving than before.

Here’s the random Zen card I picked today to start my gratitude board for 2011:
“Find the courage to hold on to your beliefs, even if the world around you chooses to believe differently. Have the courage to change those beliefs that no longer fit the person you have become. In doing so you truly become yourself.”

I wish you all a year full of love, joy, healing and gratitude. Happy New Year everyone.

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Fall Meditation Dates

So excited to have the next fall dates confirmed. I hope you’ll join us for the Friday morning meditations on October 1, November 12, December 3 of 2010. For more details, please visit: Calendar of Events

Can’t wait to catch up.

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