Tag Archives: meditation

Friday’s Free Refill: Start With One

My daughter took this pic of me back in 2010 meditating on Spring Break.

At last week’s sack lunch mini-retreat a couple of the women in attendance talked about their desire to meditate. It was something they had been curious about. The desire was strong. The commitment not yet a priority. We had spent part of our time together discussing values and priorities. At the end of the retreat inspiration had entered in and there was motivation to make meditation a priority in a couple the women’s lives.

Back in the 1990’s I was curious about my own non-existent meditation practice. My curiosity was strong, while my commitment weak. I thought about it. I made excuses as to why I didn’t have time. I thought about it some more. I met people in my life who would increase my inspiration, fuel my interest and provide tools for me to begin. After at least a decade of thinking about it, I finally got sick and tired of thinking about it. One morning lying in bed, I thought, When will I ever have time to meditate? The answer was obvious. Now. Instead of beginning each morning wide awake thinking about nothing and everything as I lay there tossing and turning I could use this time to do the thing I have been thinking about doing.

I got up and left my husband sleeping. I sat down on the living room couch. I closed my eyes. Then I open them. I looked around. I got up out of my seat. I thought about meditating some more as I made a cup of tea. The next morning I set the kitchen timer for five minutes and sat down on the living room couch. I closed my eyes. I thought about opening them. Before I knew it I got up off the couch to check the kitchen timer. Four minutes and thirty three more seconds left in my five minute meditation. My armpits dripped and my hands grew hot as I adjusted the time on the oven timer. One minute. Go. I can do this. I went back to the couch. I sat. I closed my eyes. I noticed I was holding my breath. I exhaled. My only focus, my breath. In. Out. In. Out. My shoulders dropped, I allowed myself to relax. When my mind wandered to what I would make for dinner, the email I needed to send, how much time was left on the timer, I came back to my breath. In. Out.


Wow, that minute went fast. I stayed with one minute for weeks. I showed up daily. No judgment on the length of time. Soon I was ready for three minutes. Then five. This is how I started my meditation practice close to a decade ago. Baby steps. A timer. My breath. One minute. Then a few more. Then twenty. Then thirty.

I had to think about meditation  long enough until that no longer served me and then my only choice was to sit my but down and begin. And like the retreat attendees I had to decide if I was going to keep thinking about it or make it a priority. When I discovered a more peaceful me inside, a more focused and aware woman, it was clear that meditation must be my priority.

Happy to say I have heard back from those two women at the retreat and they too have began with their one minute. What about you? Have you been thinking about beginning your meditation practice? I invite you to toss out perfection. Stop waiting for the house to be clean or the room to be quiet. Go within and create your clean and peaceful place within. And give yourself permission to begin slowly with 60 seconds. Your soul will thank you.

Hello! I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit. I have been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. One of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for women, men, teenagers, and couples, in person in Seattle and by phone.  2017 Mini-retreats in West Seattle 9:30 – 2 pm. Next one, September 15 (3 seats left). Limited availability, register early. info@mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Insight Needs No Should

I wore a green sock not because I SHOULD but because it felt right! Happy St. Paddy’s Day.

Last Friday as much as I wanted to write my weekly blog to you, it was day two after my extensive foot surgery and as much as I felt like I should write because I do this every Friday and you lovely readers expect it, my body, mind and spirit wanted to rest. I truly didn’t have any desire to show up to the blank page. I listened to her and took the day off. (Pain meds could have played a part in it, too.)

I let go of should. I tuned in.

Yesterday, because my recovery had taken on a new twist with a foot blown up like a balloon, an incision that wouldn’t stop bleeding and I cried every time I put my foot down to get on to my crutches – I had a second surgery. Good thing. Three hematomas found. All good now.

As I lay in bed trying to fall asleep last night, I couldn’t sleep.  This is typically never an issue for me. I am often found asleep in the car (passenger side – don’t freak out), on an airplane (don’t worry never in the cockpit), at the theater (never on a stranger’s shoulder), you name it. I wanted to blame it on my hubby snoring next to me, but I was wired. As I tried to settle down, I grabbed my phone from my nightstand which is usually in the kitchen at night, but post op because of being bed- bound, it was accessible. Another late nighter on social media suggested I try a meditation app, Insight Timer. So I did.  (Thank you Cynthia.)

I have practiced meditation for awhile now, but usually self guided. This app offers a wide variety of guided meditations, nature sounds, mantras and more. I was always so defensive about my practice, thinking I should not rely on earplugs to listen, or others help. Ridiculous. But we all come up with reasons that support our  resistance. Plus with the headphones, I could barely hear hubby’s snoring. I relaxed, let go and got to sleep. Just before I drifted off to snooze land my thought was, I want to write a blog tomorrow.

Today, I didn’t listen to the should voice, You should rest, you shouldn’t worry about writing. Screw you Mr. Should, Brother Resistance. Sister Synic, step aside, because I WANT to write. Tuning in to body, mind and spirit it felt right to write.

Where in you life are you letting shoulds push you when you don’t need to be pushed or hold you back when you don’t need to be held back? Is it time to tell Mr. or Mrs. Should to take a back seat? Perhaps you SHOULD put them in the passenger seat and tell them to take a nap.

Hello! I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. One of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men, women, teenagers, and couples, in person in Seattle and by phone.  2017 Mini-retreats in West Seattle 9:30 – 2: June 2 (sold out), September 15 (4 seats left). Limited availability, register early. info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com. 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: No Wrong Way to Be

My daughter snapped my photo as I meditated with my cup of coffee two summers ago. The cool thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere. No one even has to know what you are doing.
My daughter snapped my photo as I meditated with my cup of coffee two summers ago. The cool thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere. No one even has to know what you are doing.

Clients have been emailing, asking in person and quite curious about how to meditate. The first thing I tell them is that there is no wrong way to do it and the second thing I offer is to simply show up. Just. Do. It.

There are thousands of books, probably a numer of apps and hundreds of different resources including classes and workshops you can take to learn how to meditate. I am not a professional and don’t pretend to be one, but I do know that meditation is changing my life, one breath at a time. You don’t have to wait to take a class or read a book, you can start from where you are. I will offer one way to meditate to try on your own. No warning label required, except you may become addicted. Meditate at your own risk.

1.) Give yourself permission to BE still, leaving perfection and judgment out of the equation.

2.) Find a spot on the floor, a chair in your living room, sit up in your bed, or in the privacy of your car for starters.

3.) Sit still. Choose one word that brings you peace. (examples to get you started: love, peace, stillness, surrender, joy, calm…you get the idea, choose something you desire to emulate.)

4.) Close your eyes. Breathe in that one word. Over and over. In and out. Breathe it in and breathe it out. When your mind goes to the laundry, the emails, the worries, come back to your word. Find your breath.

5.) Do this for ONE minute. One minute. WE ALL HAVE ONE MINUTE. Don’t wait for the free minute to come to you. Create it. Own it. Receive it.

6.) When one minute is easy. Try three. When that breezes by and you crave longer move to five and when you are ready, increase it to longer. No judgment. No perfection.

7.) When thoughts or distractions come and they will, see them as wispy clouds blowing down wind as you find your word and your breath and begin again. Don’t give up because the neighbors are mowng the lawn or your husband is snoring too loudly in the next room. Let the sounds become part of your meditation. Surrender.

Many ways to meditate. Sitting still is challenging for many. If you are like me, sitting still doesn’t come naturally, but it is both what I crave and need the most.

Start simple. No rules. Just. Be. Still. Surrender the thoughts and distractions. Find your word. Feel your breath. Go.

Let your stillness take you to where you need to be.

I wanted to be a meditator for ten years before I did anything about it. Then I meditated for less than five minutes for a number of years before I was ready for more. Start simple. Start slow. Just start.


Friday’s Free Refill: Chaka What? Chakra Who? Chaka Khan

Is there a loved one whose spiritual practices or views differ than yours and you are letting that keep you apart? How can you allow your differences to bring you together?
Is there a loved one whose spiritual practices or views differ than yours and you are letting that keep you apart? How can you allow your differences to bring you together?


My daughter is her daddy. That must be why I’m so crazy about her and the reason why we bump heads a little more lately as we both learn to navigate the waters of teenager/mother relationship. At times awkward, challenging, confusing and always unpredictable.

I am drawn to her father because of our differences. Apparently opposites attract and often can be the root of arguments, misunderstandings, and frustration all at the same time.

Hubby and I are different when it comes to our personal spiritual relationships. As they should be, we are different people. In all our years together he supports my beliefs and ways of practice and I support his, no judgment. This difference in spiritual connection is emulated in our children. Daughter like daddy. Son like mama.

Sitting around the dinner table it is son and I who typically say grace while daddy and daughter are content with saying, Amen. Son and I will want to expound on every detail in life we are thankful for whereas, the other two are content with not saying a word. Different personalities, unique souls, honoring who they are as individuals not conforming to another’s ways.

Wednesday in preparation for an evening event I decided to meditate laying down in the middle of the afternoon. As I lay there regrouping, connecting the light bulb struck. I wanted to lead myself through a Chakra Cleansing Meditation. Chaka – khan, chaka who, chakra what? I have done it on my own but had been desiring someone to read me the typed out meditation so that I could really be in the meditation as opposed to eyes open reading it. Daughter was in the other room.

When I was connected and regrouped with my own silent time I asked her if she would be willing to read me something, a guided meditation. Daughter politely declines any invitations from brother and myself to join us in meditating, praying or choose our morning words. A ritual that grounds him and inspires and centers me.

I was surprised at her quick, Ya, sure, response. I just read this while you sit there with your eyes closed?

Basically, I told her. I want to fully experience the meditation without having to read it myself.

Oh, and before you begin, a chakra is an energy center. We have seven. They are located in our bodies.

She began to read as I closed my eyes and listened to her sweet voice giving me instruction. I avoided the mother-like tendancy to correct her pronunciation of words like sacral and vitality. Her cadance was perfect. I was able to go within being led by her words. Lulled inward by her sweet guidance.

At the end of the ten minute or so meditation I thanked her and jokingly asked if she would like me to cleanse her chakras. Again a polite refusal.

I’m good, she told me.

Yes, you are, I told her back.

Her church is the soccer field, her God something outside of her. In that moment my church was in the living room with my daughter. Connected to the Divinity withing her, me and all around us. Sure my tastes are more “woo-woo” than her tastes. But in the end it doesn’t matter. We shared a moment. She came into my world not embracing it in the Zen position, chanting oms. Rather in her own beautiful, sweet authentic private way of reading words off the page, reaching out to her mama even if it was new and a little awkward.

Thursday morning I tried to push my luck. As the three of us drove to swim team practice, son and I engaged in our usual morning ritual of choosing two words each for the day that can serve as our anchors, our centering point.

Deep breaths. What do I need?, I asked myself, eyes open driving down the highway.

Presence. Grounding.

After deep breaths from the back seat, son announced, Awareness. Healthiness.

The radio was playing an oldie but a goodie when I asked daughter playfully, “What are your two words, pray tell?”

I have four, she announced.

Wow, I was ready. So cool! I took a deep breath for her answer.

Knockin’ on heavens door, she said smiling her big sweet not quite a teenager yet smile.

It’s a good song.

She turned up the radio. We all laughed driving the rest of the way to the pool. No head bumping with the passenger at my side. The only thing needing navigation was the rest of the drive to the pool. Nothing awkward or challenging.

Opposites attract. We need each other.


Friday’s Free Refill: Support

No need to go it alone, or feel like the world is against you, there are others ready to support you on your journey.

Have you ever noticed having a thought about something you want in your life, like wanting to learn how to knit, for example, then bam, all of a sudden that thought results in people with knitting needles at your doorstep?

My “Friday morning walking friend” has wanted to paddle board. We live blocks from the Puget Sound, she is a water girl at heart and bam, she discovers two other moms at school drop off who have the same passion and one of them knows about a sale right now, this week on paddle boards. With just a handful of paddle boards left at Costco, her husband gets her one of the last ones yesterday.

Whenever I have said, I want to meditate more in my life, I want to make it a habit, very soon I will be talking with someone in the grocery store line who has the same thought and they recommend a book title that has helped them. Bam I have some encouragement. I discover a friend has the same thought. Bam I have an accountability partner.

This support falls out of the sky. No accident. You had the thought, remember? It starts with a desire, a seed in your heart.

I have a thought, Man I could use some exercise today, and a friend calls and says, hey wanna go for a walk?

I have a thought, Geez Louise I could handle some alone time with my hubby if it weren’t for these dang kids, then bam, Grandma calls and offers to take the kids for a sleepover.

The world is not fighting against us, although at times it certainly feels like it. The world is throwing us ropes. God is sending us answers. It is just up to us to take up the offers as answers to our original thoughts. Right?

The Universe wants you to succeed. God is answering your prayer. See the signs. Watch the ropes fall from the sky. For whatever your desire of your heart,  you are surrounded by cheerleaders encouraging you on, shouting for you from the side lines, bumping into you on your path. They are ready to pass you their knitting needles and paddle alongside you on your journey.


So thankful, so blessed my mom open up her home to host my retreats.


When someone hears I give restorative retreats for women they immediately ask in a delighted, curious way, What do you do at your retreats?

Of course we are curious. Understandably, the unknown may make us uncomfortable and bring fears to the surface. We want to be prepared. We want to be safe. Or we just frankly have no idea what happens at a retreat.

So I tell them the basics: The retreat has a topic, we gather in a circle and I briefly share my reflections on that topic, I invite others to share their own reflections or to pass.  We listen to each other, not fix, talk over or correct, just hear the other and then when it’s our turn to share, we are simply heard. A bit of our story received and held tenderly. I may read a poem, play a song, lead a meditation. When our circle time is complete you can go for a walk, read a book, paint or create something artsy with the supplies provided, answer suggested journal questions or just sit and drink more tea gazing at the Olympics and the Puget Sound. I offer an optional private inspirational card reading or coaching session for each retreat attendee. You may be wondering “What the hec is a card reading? Again, a time to receive. We pull cards from different Goddess, Angel and inspirational decks and see what messages the Universe has for you.

A retreat is a time to pause and sit with yourself. Awareness is brought to your attention because you are allowing yourself to be a priority. You are away from your responsibilities.  Instead of thinking what will the final outcome be? I invite you to see this as a time for you. That’s it and that’s all you need, a bit of time for you.

It’s a deliberate surrender to not fix or do anything but to give yourself the gift of receiving. You may receive light or a new awareness, a touch of Grace, but whatever you end up coming away with will bring you a bit of peace.

Because in this madness of motherhood, this craziness of life it is in the stillness and in the quiet moment that we can catch our breath and feel its gift, letting it rejuvenate, heal and fill our cup up again.

Friday’s Free Refill: Stone Meditation

When I meditate I often don't know what to do with my hands. With the stone meditation that problem is solved.

Have you ever held a stone in your hand and then eventually not been able to notice you were still holding it? Now blending into your palm, weightless and warmed up from the touch of your skin?

For today’s retreat, focusing on silence and meditation, I am going to introduce a Stone Meditation.

Find a stone that sits in your hand, not too big but weighty enough to feel it.

Think of three touch points: the stone in your hand, your tongue resting gently at the roof of your mouth and your eyes. Although closed, rest them so they aren’t moving all around the place even behind closed lids. Centered. Focus on those three things. Stones, tongue, eyes. Make a circle with focusing slowly on those three things. Over and over. Stone, tongue, eyes.

When you get distracted come back to those three things. Just get the circle going again.

You may spend all of your time getting distracted and coming back to the circle of words: stone, tongue, eyes. There is no right. There is no wrong.

See if you can get to a point of not even noticing the stone in your hand. Building up a natural rhythm where the words disappear like the weightlessness of the rock in your hand. Now taking on your body temperature, no longer cold or heavy.

What would happen in your world if you tried filling up the emptiness, the frustration, the distractions, the worries with a little stone time?

I’m gonna try it again. It worked yesterday, bringing me to an incredibly relaxed state of awareness. Hmmm, what could happen the next time?