50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem by Janetti Marotta - BooksFree

50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem by Janetti Marotta - BooksFree (PDF)

2022 • 142 Pages • 1.03 MB • English
Posted June 30, 2022 • Submitted by pdf.user

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“50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem is a wonderful and accessible book. Janetti Marotta speaks on the heart of the matter in helping us experience greater wisdom and compassion. This book is a gift!” —Bob Stahl, PhD, coauthor of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Living with Your Heart Wide Open, and Calming the Rush of Panic “With evident simplicity, Janetti Marotta explores the paradox of self- esteem using a Buddhist perspective. Your heart will be lifted!” —Gregory Sims, PhD, author of Treating Spiritual Disorders and cofounder of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division of Peace Psychology “Those wanting to experience greater self-esteem and overall well- being will find this book invaluable. A big thank you to Janetti Marotta for capturing so clearly these timeless mindfulness teachings and practices. They have the potential of transforming the life of anyone who incorporates them as a lifestyle.” —Sharon Allen, senior mindfulness teacher at Insight Meditation South Bay “Beautifully designed and written, easy to follow, and eminently practical. Let 50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem serve as your hands-on toolbox for cultivating self-esteem.” —Adrienne Samuels, PhD, author of It Wasn’t Alzheimer’s, It Was MSG “Janetti Marotta has gathered together a treasure trove of practical tools useful for anyone embarking on the development of mindfulness and self-discovery.” —Shaila Catherine, author of Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity “If you would like to meet someone truly worthy of your love, who has unlimited reservoirs of loving kindness and compassion to give you in return and who will never leave you as long as you are alive— these simple and sweet mindful steps will not fail you. Take your time, take these steps, and you will find the sweet lover you’ve always longed for in the least likely of places—in your own heart.” —Steve Flowers, MS, MFT, author of The Mindful Path through Shyness and coauthor of Living with Your Heart Wide Open “What a wonderful, warm, compassionate read for those struggling to find self-acceptance. In 50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem, Janetti Marotta has provided straight-forward direction for opening the heart to the essential nature of what it means to be human. Using the mindfulness teachings and exercises in this book, anyone can find their way to a sense of self that is whole and acceptable—as is. … Not only will I practice these steps myself, but I have already made plans to share this work with friends, family and clients alike. Thank you for this incredible guide to building self-esteem.” —Robyn D. Walser, PhD, coauthor of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Learning ACT, and The Mindful Couple; associate director at the National Center for PTSD Dissemination and Training Division; and associate clinical professor at University of California, Berkeley “Many of today’s health issues can be attributed to the stresses and anxieties of modern-day living. This book is enlightening and hones in on key insights to help improve one’s well-being. Janetti Marotta’s practical exercises help us all build a solid foundation based on ancient wisdom for living in a modern complex world.” —Bernice A. Stein, MD, physician of sports medicine and medical acupuncture “Janetti Marotta has given us a well-written, heartfelt guide to mindfulness practices that enhance awareness and nurture self-esteem from the inside-out. I can enthusiastically recommend this book.” —Daniel Mandelbaum, MD, psychiatrist, Ukiah, CA “Through 50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem, Janetti Marotta gives readers the necessary tools to find the most fitting meditative practice for any frame of mind. The positive effects of mindfulness shape awareness for the present and give structure for future practices. This book is wonderful. What a joy to read!” —Robin Springer, LAc, owner of Essential Wellness, San Francisco, CA “Most people are quite knowledgeable and well-versed when it comes to talking negatively about themselves and their personal qualities. What they are not so often able to do is to speak about—or see— themselves in a positive light. This book provides fifty ways to improve your self-esteem and make what is difficult a bit easier. … This book can benefit those who are seasoned, confident people already, or people who lack confidence in many aspects of their life.” —Gina M. Biegel, MA, LMFT, author of The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program for Teens (MBSR-T) “What a wonderful book! I was initially enthralled by the interesting chapter titles, but as I began to read became incredibly impressed with the specific, easy-to-understand, and practical nature of the fifty chapters. Janetti Marotta brings such a wealth of personal clinical experience to her writing that she has been able to integrate multiple philosophies and ideas from the ages into an effective, comprehensive, how-to book for anyone looking to improve their life. Her analogies and suggestions are eminently doable and, just like her, overwhelmingly gentle. This is a book for anyone and everyone who is struggling with life issues or just wants to improve their life with simple, everyday actions.” —G. David Adamson, MD, director of Fertility Physicians of Northern California and the Fertility and Reproductive Health Institute, clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, and associate clinical professor at U.C. San Francisco School of Medicine Publisher’s Note This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books Copyright © 2013 by Janetti Marotta New Harbinger Publications, Inc. 5674 Shattuck Avenue Oakland, CA 94609 www.newharbinger.com Cover design by Amy Shoup; Text design by Michele Waters-Kermes; Acquired by Jess O’Brien; Edited by Will DeRooy All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Marotta, Janetti. 50 mindful steps to self-esteem : everyday practices for cultivating self-acceptance and self-compassion / Janetti Marotta, PhD. pages cm Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-1-60882-795-4 (pbk. : alk. paper) -- ISBN 978-1-60882-796-1 (pdf e-book) -- ISBN 978-1-60882-797-8 (epub) 1. Self- esteem. 2. Self-acceptance. I. Title. II. Title: Fifty mindful steps to self-esteem. BF697.5.S46M37 2013 158.1--dc23 2013037196 To my husband, Steve Woodward, for the endless patience, encouragement, and space he gave to make this project possible. I love you. Contents IN GRATITUDE INTRODUCTION THE FOUNDATION THE JOURNEY PART 1: BREATHING AND THE BODY 1. A Deep, Full Breath 2. Squeeze and Breathe 3. Feel Every Loving Touch 4. Turn Toward the Current 5. In and Out 6. An Embodied Practice 7. Read the Inscription 8. Explore Sensations Within 9. Hold Court 10. Integrate and Harmonize 11. Flow with Energy 12. Greet the Earth 13. The Lesson of Seaweed PART 2: THINKING AND THE MIND 14. An Impartial Witness 15. Stop the Sorting 16. Don’t Know 17. See the Whole Elephant 18. Eat As If It’s the First Time 19. Being vs. Doing 20. Release the Grip 21. Spin the Wheel of Paradox 22. Let Go of Attachment 23. Catch a Monkey 24. Stop After the First Arrow 25. Pain Times Resistance Equals Suffering 26. Turn to Look 27. Get to Know It 28. No Blame 29. The Unfolding Process 30. The Buddha Within PART 3: EMOTIONS AND THE HEART 31. Spaciousness 32. The Forces of Mara 33. Explore the Container 34. A Place of Balance 35. Interweave 36. Tend and Befriend 37. Plant Your Garden 38. Well-Wishing 39. Send and Receive 40. What Am I Ignoring? 41. Count Your Blessings 42. Delight for Others 43. Taste the Elixir 44. An Antidote PART 4: BEING IN THE WORLD 45. Claim Your Emotional Baggage 46. Listen—Just Listen 47. Speak with Compassion 48. Practice Nonharming 49. Write Your Job Description 50. Life Is the Practice EPILOGUE RESOURCES REFERENCES In Gratitude The concept of a book that helps the reader nurture self-esteem through practices that cultivate self-acceptance and self-compassion grew out of a series of long discussions between me and my colleague Renée Burgard, LCSW. For her guidance and insight concerning the concept and structure of this book, I am extremely grateful. Her contributions included highlighting acceptance as the core mindfulness practice; using the seven attitudinal qualities of mindfulness; beginning with the foundational practices of breathing and the body; incorporating the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh; and using teaching stories. Thanks to Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, who has brought the ancient practice of mindfulness into mainstream medicine through his mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. His seven “pillars of mindfulness” inspired, informed, and enriched the practices for self-acceptance in this book. Thanks to Kristin Neff, PhD, who has been a pioneer in opening up self- compassion as a field of study. She views self-compassion as the alternative to self-esteem, and most psychologists agree. In this book, self-compassion is central to nurturing mindful self-esteem, and is cultivated through practices based on seven Buddhist qualities linked to compassion. Many of the teachings and practices in this book have also been inspired by influential teachers of the mindfulness community, including Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Sylvia Boorstein, Phillip Moffitt, Tara Brach, and Gil Fronsdal. Additional influences include Daniel Siegel, Rick Hanson, Saki Santorelli, and Ronald Siegel. The perspectives of world-renowned masters, including Vietnamese Buddhist monk and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, bring a sense of poetry and the ineffable, as well as the clearest expressions of the heart of mindfulness teachings. To them and others held in “true esteem” from ancient times to the present day, I express gratitude. I am fortunate to have been mentored by Bob Stahl, who started the spread of MBSR in Northern California through his MBSR teacher training program. My primary meditation teacher today is Shaila Catherine, founder and principal teacher of Insight Meditation South Bay (IMSB). I continue to bring mindfulness more fully into my life from her dharma talks and retreats. I am indebted to acquisitions editor Jess O’Brien of New Harbinger Publications for his encouragement, perseverance, and belief in me as a writer. It was my particular good fortune to be paired with copyeditor Will DeRooy, whose impact on the book was no less than transformative. Thanks to New Harbinger Publications and the editorial team of Jess Beebe, Nicola Skidmore, Nelda Street, and Angela Autry Gorden for their helpful feedback and suggestions. Appreciation to Leslie Woodward for early editorial assistance and to Bob Loftis, Nisar Shaikh, Trudy Roughgarden, and Edy Young for early readings. Thanks to David Adamson, MD, and my colleagues at Fertility Physicians of Northern California, whose mindfulness-based programs integrate many of the practices in this book. I am extremely blessed to be part of an accepting and compassionate family, in particular my husband, Steve; my children, Prairie, Tenaya, and Cheyenne; my mother, Clara; and my siblings, Nancy, Liz, and Jeffrey. They and many others too numerous to name have provided great models of how, as Stephen Levine wrote, “the heart has room for everything” (1979, 70). This project is born from their love. Introduction Do you often feel inadequate, flawed, or imperfect? Do you frequently make critical, judgmental statements about yourself or find yourself wishing If only I were thinner…, If only I were more successful…, If only I were smarter…, If only I were prettier…, or If only I had more money…? Do you take everything that happens, including what others say and do, to mean something about you personally? Do you feel as if your worth depends on whether you succeed or fail —or on whether you’re strong or weak? Do you tend to focus more on what’s wrong with you than on what’s not wrong? Do you habitually feel dissatisfied and discouraged because you aren’t who you want to be? Do you often feel alone in your inadequacies? This is the dilemma of self-esteem that we all share at times. It’s easy to get caught in unrealistic expectations—expectations that can never be met—and look outside ourselves to “get it right” and be okay, believing that this is where we’ll find what we need to prove our worth to ourselves. Our tendency is to compare how we’re doing against others and wrap our identity around stories we tell about ourselves. All too often, these misguided efforts lead to feelings of unworthiness. It’s probably this very inadequacy and insecurity that drew you to this book (and, for the most part, led me to write it). 50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem is intended to turn your thinking around and open your heart, so you can consider the possibility that what you’ve been looking for has actually been there all along! Self-Esteem Seen Through the Lens of Mindfulness We all struggle to accept what Buddha described as the three basic truths of our existence: 1. Life is difficult (dukkha). 2. Everything changes (anicca). 3. There is an ever-fluctuating flow of experience (anatta). That is to say, we’re dissatisfied when our lives aren’t how we want them to be, we struggle against change, and we fight to hold on to a permanent sense of self. Basically, we can’t control life, we have difficulty with this lack of control, and we take this inability personally. We don’t want to feel inadequate or insecure, so we set about trying to re-create ourselves. We attempt to hold on to those parts of ourselves we like and get rid of those parts we dislike. We strive to lock in a permanent stamp of approval. But when we deny certain parts of ourselves, it means we’re not 100 percent available to ourselves or those we care about. When we constantly defend against failure and disapproval, it’s as if we’re carrying a heavy protective shell, unable to move about freely and do many things that are important to us in life. When you learn to embrace all parts of yourself—accept yourself unconditionally—your inherent worth comes to the surface. You’re open and, unburdened by your heavy defenses, you’re able to truly be there for yourself and others. As you learn to accept the changing nature of all things, you know that both success and failure come and go. When you recognize that your life is an unfolding process, you sense a way of relating to yourself that lies beyond personal definition. From a Buddhist perspective, self-esteem can be defined as self without definition. As you deeply connect with yourself, you recognize that you’re already whole and complete as you are. By “befriending yourself” and cultivating qualities that invite wholeness, you open yourself up to whatever arises, with unconditional acceptance. In this unfolding process, you experience that your essential nature—your Buddha nature—is good and pure and that you’re part of something even greater. You and the world are, in a sense, one. From the wakefulness of awareness, the warmth of compassion, and the wisdom of the journey comes connecting to others, caring for a larger whole, and committing to your core values no matter what comes your way. Mindful self- esteem is an unfolding process that cultivates self-acceptance and self- compassion—qualities that offer strength, clarity, love, and commitment for being human on this journey we call life. The “Presents” of Mindfulness Mindfulness involves opening to the present moment just as it is, without trying to hold on to what you like about it or get rid of what you don’t like. Part of mindfulness is thus “being with” yourself as you are, despite your desire to be otherwise. Your sense of self is not derived from your narrative story, which is fixed in time, but rather from your immediate experience, which is ever- changing. Being mindful is like being a kite let free to fly on the currents. Sometimes you soar high and fast; other times you turn circles and fall to the ground. The outcome isn’t what matters. What matters is getting up and beginning again, letting go of the disappointment of crashing. It’s not what happens, but how you relate to what happens, that makes all the difference. Mindfulness invites you to say yes to life, something that’s especially helpful when you’re easily discouraged and cling to notions of what you should or shouldn’t be. Mindfulness meets the weather of discontent as an opportunity for learning, for new growth. This brings an attitude of curiosity: paying attention in an open, friendly way. It reverses any tendency to run or hide and asks that you turn toward that which is difficult (rather than avoid it) and make space for it to be. Rather than saying, I’m inadequate, you say, Ah, so this is what inadequacy feels like! Mindfulness teaches that life is to be experienced through the senses, not through the mind’s running commentary. Mindfulness teaches you to live with what’s happening right now, so you don’t get caught up in guilt about the past or fear about the future. Your life isn’t whatever’s on your to-do list or the things you’ve done up to now; it’s what’s actually happening. Staying in the present shifts your focus from what’s wrong to what’s not wrong. You can imagine how freeing this is! When you’re mindful, you steer your life with intention. This fosters goodness when you vow to open yourself up to whatever comes your way and awaken to wisdom with the embrace of compassion. With intention comes attention—looking deeply into who you really are and what life is all about. This serves as a great resource, because it keeps you from getting mired in sticky thoughts or losing yourself in unimportant details. Mindfulness takes you out of automatic patterns of behavior; rather than mindlessly reacting, you consciously respond in more productive ways. More than using thinking as a way out of challenging situations, mindfulness uses awareness as a way through. As Robert Kaplan (1999, 1) wrote, “If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world.” Practices for Mindful Self-Esteem A cornerstone of mindfulness is acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean that everything is okay; it means recognizing things are as they are and reducing your resistance to them. Acceptance is a practice of getting curious—discovering what causes you to feel uncomfortable. It’s the essential paradox of turning