If It’s a Saturday in the Summer, You Know Where to Find Me.

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Posted by Judy Moon

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love the beach. I almost crave it. I usually spend at least one weekend day in the summer sitting in front of the glorious ocean.

I have been asked more than once – “why do you love the beach so much” or “what is it about going to the beach that you love so much”? It made me think a bit.

There are the obvious reasons –
1. It’s great to be in nature – living in Philadelphia it’s a huge shift from my typical day.
2. There’s no schedule on the beach – again, a big shift from my usual day to day – as a massage therapist, my day is all about schedule and appointments and looking at the clock.
3. It’s relaxing, fun, good people watching, quality time with my sweetie, time to catch up on all of my reading, nothing like a cold Corona on the beach, etc.

I knew there was something more and deeper to it. Our connection to water is primal. We begin our life in the womb surrounded by water. Throughout history, water has represented purification and cleansing.

Research shows that the sound of the waves alters patterns in the brain resulting in a calmer state. Aaaahhhh….

As the waves break on the shoreline, air particles break apart releasing ions into the atmosphere. Scientists claim that sea air contains an abundance of negatively charged ions. In our world we have too many positive ions in our life. You may know positive ions by another name – free radicals. Because electricity, computers, TV and electronics are all sources of positive ions in our lives. Increasing our exposure to negative ions has many health benefits including enhancing the immune system, increasing alertness and improving concentration. Sounds good to me.

The heat of the sun affects our endocrine system – the part of our body, which secretes endorphins – the natural chemicals in our body designed to make us feel relaxed and less stressed. I can vouch for that.

I think there is a deeper reason for me why I feel it to be so healing – “The healing rhythm of the sea and the babbling rhythm of a mountain stream are reminders of the greater rhythm of life. The human body is filled with rhythms from the cadence of breath, to the beat of your heart, to our hormonal cycles. When we are in a naturally rhythmic watery environment, our body synchronizes and harmonizes itself with the rhythm of nature.”

Bingo! Thanks Denise Linn for why I feel so much better when I am sitting on the beach! I read that a few years ago (while sitting on the beach!) in her book Secrets And Mysteries.

I invite you to tap in to that rhythm the next time you have the pleasure of sitting by the ocean. Notice whatever it is that you notice.

Maybe I’ll even share where the parking meter is in Atlantic City that gives you five hours for one quarter…. chances are, we are already parked in it.

Don’t forget your sunscreen!



The Body Scan

Posted by Judy Moon

“Hello , my name is Judy and I am addicted to The Body Scan”

There must be a support group out there somewhere for us Body Scan junkies. What the heck is “the body scan” you may be asking?

It is a meditation that is part of the eight week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course, that was the brainchild of Jon Kabat- Zinn. It involves lying on your back and moving your mind through different regions of your body while breathing in and out from each region.

I have dabbled in meditation in the past and have always wanted a more formal practice, but for whatever reason, it kept falling off of my priority list. Sleeping in seems to win out more often.

Recent life challenges prompted me to stop making excuses and get busy with this practice I have been dreaming about. Heck, it’s even on my vision board!

So I decided that my week at the beach in September was going to be the kick off. I packed my copy of Full Catastrophe Living, and my practice CD’s, series 1 and 2, (yes, I still use CD’s) I decided to act as if I was enrolled in the eight week course and follow the guidelines in the book. I was going to do this finally!

Beach chair, beautiful view, sunny sky, warm breeze, meditation – piece of cake, right?

Well, the first day as I lay there listening to Jon’s soothing voice saying – “let go of the tendency we all have to want things to be different from what they are right now and allow things to be exactly as you find them.”  It triggered an immediate reaction in me  (and a few profanities) – “Are you out of your mind? Of course I want things to be different! Why the hell else would I be listening to this while I am on my vacation! I am supposed to be reading the September issue of Vogue right now – it’s tradition!!” Arguing with the CD – not very mindful Judy.

But I went with it, and breathed in and out of each region of my body and each day it got easier and there were fewer distractions. By weeks end I was hooked.

Would I be able to keep up my commitment when vacation was over? The answer is yes. I have to be honest and say that during week 3 and 4 when you alternate the body scan with some other practices, some involving gentle yoga poses and then in week 5 and 6 you don’t do the body scan at all – gasp! It was a little tricky. I was always waiting to get back to the body scan.

But I completed my 8 weeks and continue to meditate daily.

Mindfulness is not about “getting anywhere”, or “letting go of anything”, it’s about trying to be fully where you already are. In Full Catastrophe Living, the body scan is described in this way, and I think this says it best – “By the time we have completed the body scan, it can feel as if the entire body has dropped away or has become transparent…It can feel as if there is nothing but breath flowing freely across the boundaries of the body.”

It is because of that description and feeling that I remain – addicted to the body scan.

Photo Credits // 1 Tsizaivandor // 2 Seeking Indio

Imagination and Guided Imagery

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Posted by Judy Moon

I love the beach.
I love the beach in September.
I especially love the beach at a certain remote Jersey shore town.
When I tell people where I am going on my annual September beach get away with my husband Joe they say, “I don’t know where that is” and I smile and say ” I know, that’s why I like it there.”

I was sitting on the front porch of our rental, sipping some Merlot, (we’ve established that I like red wine), looking at the stars and listening to what seemed like a symphony of crickets and I felt such a wave of serenity.

You make think, stars, crickets, so what…big deal!

Well, I live in a row home in South Philadelphia, I don’t even have a front porch so sitting on my front step or stoop as it’s called in my hood, listening to crickets – not so much.

I thought, “I wish I could scoop them all up and take them home with me and listen to them on my roof deck at night so I could feel that same serenity” and then I remembered – I can take them home – in my imagination!

Our subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what we are imagining. If you get a hug or imagine getting a hug from someone that you love, all of the same feel good hormones are released. The same physiological responses occur. It is the foundation of guided Imagery. You can read more about guided imagery on WebMD.

So I am going to use my imagination to recreate the cricket symphony and serenity on my roof deck garden.

It will be just like I am sitting on the porch in… you really didn’t think I was going to give it away, did you?

Photo Credits // 1 Pinterest // 2 James Knowles // 3 Pinterest