leslie nikole
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2016 has arrived unlike any other year. Instead of ending up in a club where there was a stabbing, I opened the new year with friends laughing as we walked around downtown Montreal trying to find an open bank. On that basis alone, I know that the build up from November and December, both months that I really immersed myself in attitude modification and being creative, is due for real fruition in 2016.

Amel Larrieux - See Where You Are

While working at the yoga studio, I’m still working at the bookstore. Having gone through the process of changing one’s mindset, I realize how slow the process has been (although the changes have made so much of a difference) and that there are a lot of books that I’ve read that seem to have fast-forwarded me through a lot of adjustment problems. I’m very proud of Indigo’s initiative to build subcategories on their website focusing on mindfulness and well-being, mixing classic texts and newly popular ones with meditative audio guides as well. I’m glad that something that is popular with the company is something that I’m also interested, it makes my job a lot easier when you’re always eager to talk about what’s available and learn what works for certain groups. 

In the process of arranging the well-being section of the downtown Montreal store, I found A Year of Living Mindfully by Anna Black, a workbook-sized paperback in full colour with fifty-two meditation practices to focus on. If this year you’ve set the intention to be more mindful or your new year’s resolution is to try a meditation practice, Anna Black’s latest release is a warm introduction to these practices for both those just finding their way and those who’d like to try something a little different on a path they’re familiar with. Since I usually start with resolutions at the beginning of the year, which less than two weeks in tend to be daunting and a drag, I figured a once a week meditation project paired with self-reflection is less of a scarier way to go. I also picked up Bram Levinson’s newest collection of 365 inspiring reminders, spiritual life hacks, and daily intentions to have something a lot more positive to think about first thing in the morning. Usually in my home, the first thing I hear is the radio in the kitchen. Whatever’s being introduced to me within those first moments usually isn’t pleasant; it’s either the news or the weather forecast. It’s going to take a little while to fix that situation, but rolling over to redirect that energy into reading something way better has definitely made a difference when it’s still dark in the early morning.

This first week's meditation practice is based around the question of why you want to practice being more mindful. Black suggests grabbing a timer, setting it for three minutes, and continuing the statement "I want to practice mindfulness because..." until the timer has run out. If you get stuck, keep questioning yourself why you want to practice mindfulness until your freewrite starts flowing again. I found that three minutes was not enough because I still had so much to write, but don't feel bad if you have to cut it short because you have other things to do. Your freewrite is not for judgement, but simple analysis. If anything in particular stands out, make note of this, and complete your freewrite with a conclusion when you are satisfied or when the timer runs out and you've had a breather. I'd definitely say that if you're interested in this book, pairing it with a journal to keep track of your meditations and journey would be a good idea if the margins are not enough space.

As for daily inspirations, Bram Levinson's book is a great choice for everyone from the easy-going to the no nonsense types. If you're looking for a go-to choice for non-cliché or corny passages that aren't too long or too in-depth (unless you want them to be!), A Year in the Light is something you want to pop in your bag or place on your desk. I find taking pictures of the meditations and then making them my lock screen an easy way of reminding myself of the day's intention without having to keep the book on me as I do my running around. Many people have their phone in their hand all day, at least this way checking the time can also be a little reset.

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