I want to write about this before the bliss of the day's events completely leave... :-)
I woke up yesterday morning and did a little meditation first thing. I got out of bed around 8 and made myself a big huge green smoothie:
(I actually made enough for 4 people)
3 medium bananas
local frozen blueberries
rice protein powder
I added quite a lot of kale so it was very dark green. It was pretty yummy, though and I felt pimped out for the day. I got dressed and met a friend for our mother's day treat to ourselves.
We went to Stowe, VT to a place called Stoweflake. There's a spa and resort there. It's a beautiful spot. My friend Linda and I drove there and got caught up on a slew of things that are good, bad, stressful and otherwise in our lives and when we opened the doors for the spa, there was an almost immediate sense of dropping everything and taking a big luxurious pause. Linda treated me to this day, which was very surprising. I didn't plan on that at all and I started to cry. For years and years now, if I want to celebrate and honor anything for myself and my family, I have to do it myself. I have for years bought my own gifts and planned things for various holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It's just rote now. So Linda and I planned on getting a massage and she told me about this thing at Stoweflake where you can do a spa day for about the same money and have access to the whole spa and have lunch, etc. Her treating me to this was so unexpected and sweet and I just welled up and thanked her with a BIG BIG hug.
We selected our lunch and then went to the back room where we were given plush robes and slippers. Linda showed me around to the place where the cushy lounge chairs are, the pools, saunas and locker room and showers are. We got dressed into bathing suits and then went to the mineral pool. It is 101 degrees of sheer pleasure. We sat in there and floated around until we got good and warm and then went to the waterfall pool. It was awesome to have the waterfall beating down on my head, neck, shoulders and back for I don't know how many minutes. Then it was time to go back to the mineral pool until all tension and stiffness went away.
We sat in the lounge for a minute and drank the cucumber water that was delicious. Why don't I drink this all the time?! Then we went into the steam sauna for a few minutes. That was interesting. I had never been in a hot steamy humid sauna before - only dry ones. It took some getting used to and I couldn't stay in there longer than about 5 minutes. Afterwards, a shower with beautiful smelling products and then back in our plush robes to meander about. We walked down the hall in slippers and robes and ate lunch at their cafe. (We actually sat outside near the closed pool but wanted to get some fresh air.)
Linda remarked how nice it would be if this was more standard for our culture: things like turkish baths and the custom of communally caring for ourselves. It was great to see people of all shapes and sizes just taking care of themselves. It was wonderful to see the standard uniform of women walking around our private sanctuary in robes and slippers languishing in a few hours of peace. Even better to see was when the women came back from their massages with their complimentary bottle of water and the blissed out, relaxed facial expressions. Just wonderful.
After lunch, we laid out on the lounge chairs and waited peacefully for our massages. My body felt weighty in a very good way. I had no plan for these hours other than to nourish myself in this peaceful way. We talked sometimes and other times just closed our eyes and got ourselves into a deeper place of peace. My body was very very happy for this experience and it caused a deep sense of peace in my mind, too. AHHH, I really needed this and I shouldn't wait another year to do it again. With any luck, I won't.
It was a magical 5 hours at the spa. I had a glorious massage and then we rested for another hour and a half on that lounge chair, drinking cucumber water. I brought a piece of chocolate to share with Linda. It was very difficult to get up. Who would want to leave this paradise?!
We drove home on a beautiful VT country rode during beautiful weather. The magic never ends sometimes. We were remarking about how wonderful and good we feel when we get out of our heads and into our bodies. I think that's when we are open to real magic in our lives. It was great to see the difference in our speech and body language after the day of relaxation. We had so little to say in comparison that was processing and more of gratitude and sharing in all the beauty around us. We also did a bit of dreaming for future field trips here and there. :-)
The evening was spent with my children. We went to montpelier for dinner - there was only like 1 restaurant open on mother's day! What a crazy town! It was nice. Afterwards, I took the kids to get some shorts and things for upcoming trips and just because they are growing so tall now that they need the stuff.
Here's a wish for more mindful times spent in our bodies, in our lives and an openness for magical moments.
lots of love,
Today is thursday and I had an OK amount of sleep last night. It still seems to be that every other night is my pattern these days of adequate sleep. I had talked to the massage therapist about possibly starting to take a tincture of valerian before bed (she is versed in herbs, also) and she recommended that I try this when I don't have to be up early to get out the door because valerian can sometimes make a person alert and make another person sleepy so best to try when there isn't something to have to be awake and alert for to begin. So perhaps tonight I will try this tincture and see how it goes.
This morning I did my usual morning routine which has been including this visualization of holding certain thoughts and images in the forefront of my mind. I am desperate for compassion and empathy and true friendship in my daily life. I have learned how to provide this for myself and I really want to see and experience external examples of these things. I have great friends that are there for me, however, they are many hundreds of miles away. It's been a prayer and a wish of mine to have this closer to home and it will happen. In the meantime, I'm grateful for my old friends and for my own connection to Spirit that keeps me knowing that I'm connected even if people here are too busy or needy or whatever else might be going on in their lives. I seek to open up more space in my life, particularly after this master's program is done so that I can allow for time to be spent just being a friend with someone, with my kids, with myself and in my life. That is a very pleasant thought that keeps me going when things are otherwise stressful and overwhelmingly busy.
My back is still extremely sore today. More sore than yesterday. Perhaps it would have been good to have an epsom salt bath last night. Maybe I can do that tonight although it is my daughter's birthday so probably this will have to wait until tomorrow. I took some green powder specifically made to help with inflammation and I'm walking around doing errands here in Shelburne so that my body doesn't get too stiff just sitting. I am breathing into the pain in my low back and really loving it. I'm so sorry for the pain in my body at times. Sometimes it seems as though I'm damaged goods from this marriage and these pregnancies but thankfully that is just a passing thought. I keep working towards pain-free living once again. I've had many years of it and so I know what it feels like. I have deep gratitude for the times when I have pain as well as when I don't. It's all changing and fleeting. This pain slows me down, keeps me in my body and keeps me functioning in a very gentle and loving way so how can I be anything but grateful? Today's mindfulness is centered around my hips/pelvis/sacrum. I'm looking into doing some structural integration (after many years of thinking this would not be good on my body) and we'll see how a session goes.
I've been sitting for over an hour now so it's time to get up and move. Thanks for reading and blessings to you in your own awakening journey.
It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do to one's mental state. I had a good night's sleep Wednesday night and it helps to give me clarity of mind. I went to have a very gentle massage and this is helpful for so many reasons. My hips and sacrum are inflamed again and I'm experiencing more pain than I usually have. My body and mind has experienced more stress these days than I really want to endure. The bones of my pelvis feel sore to the touch and I rub them myself. Touch therapy, however, is so beneficial. I had my regular morning meditation but decided to have a mindful meditation session on the massage table.
As soon as I got onto the massage table, my mind and body immediately relaxed. I sighed and released a lot of tension even before the therapist put her hands on me. I listened to the music that was upbeat and pleasant. There were frog sounds and other nature sounds in the music. The massage therapist put some oil on her hands and began to gently scan down my body, feeling for areas of tension. She could feel the puffy inflammation in my low back and asked if it hurt. She applied gentle pressure to the piraformis muscles in my hips to ask them to release. She massaged my arms and legs and back and my body felt incredibly grateful. I turned over and she massaged my head and scalp. She also specializes in cranio-sacral work and she held my forehead and base of skull in her hands for a few minutes. She didn't say what she was doing but I was asking my body to release and relax. I had thoughts for my body saying it was safe and ok to heal and calm down. After an hour the body meditation was over.
I asked her why it is that I look better after a massage? She said something along the lines of giving the body loving attention and asking it to relax and be present is a great beauty treatment! It was pretty remarkable to me how I looked in the mirror before getting on the table and how I looked afterwards. I felt very pleasant and calm for the remainder of the day.
I had to go to a counseling meeting and meet up with Matt to go over some issues that came up in our last meeting and in our daily lives that needed addressing. I walked down to my car to get ready to go to the meeting and I had a new thought about what it was that I was needing and how I could best try to communicate this. It just came to me and I believe that was so because space was created in my mind and body in the relaxation process of massage that made this possible. When we hold ourselves so tightly, it is difficult to let anything new in.
"Compassion is the heart's response to sorrow: We share in the beauty of life and in the ocean of tears. The sorrow of life is part of each of our hearts and part of what connects us with one another. It brings with it tenderness, mercy, and an all-embracing kindness that can touch every being." Jack Kornfield
it's been a roller coaster of life lately. so much going on. my own way of thinking of things also puts me into places that can be utterly pleasant or terrible, depending on how my mind wanders... I had one rough moment yesterday afternoon. I suppose the best way I can put it is that I'm aware of all that I manage and oversee and for some reason, it is feeling like it is too much these days. I am seeking help and support but not really getting it and so something has to give.
I shut off all electronics last night and went to bed at 10 pm. It felt good for me to cease and desist all computer work and mindless FB chatting. In bed, my mind immediately went to a beautiful image of some future place and state that I want to be in. I drifted off into sleep.
In the morning just before awakening, I had a dream about an old boyfriend. One that I hadn't thought of in years and years. I don't know why he decided to show up in my dream but my reflection after waking was on the ways in which I gave a bit of myself over to him. I was very immature back then and had not had much relationship experience back then. I was a lot stronger, too, in many ways, and that was also good to reflect on. It turned out to be a very good reflection... I went into a place of meditation after that. Acknowledging the thoughts and reflections and then letting them be. No need to analyze further.
More thoughts and reflections came in and they went about their way, too.
In my rough moments yesterday, I want to acknowledge that I did some tonglen around them, too. There was a moment when the pain I was feeling (emotional pain) was so great that it felt like I couldn't breathe for a few seconds. I breathed into and out of that space for myself and for countless others that could possibly be feeling that right then, too. I suppose it helped me to do this act for myself and others because that pain was big enough to fool me into thinking I was alone in that thought/feeling.
This morning I made a loose plan for how I wanted the day to go to day. I'm doing all things for me right now. OBLIGATION was the word that kept popping up as the action to avoid in my life from now on. :-) It feels good to make that claim. I also figured on what I was going to eat today since eating has been so strange for me since late January. (No worries on this.) The phrase that popped in to replace obligation was CARING AS A WANT FOR SELF/OTHERS - in other words: CHOICE. It's a much better place in my heart (with lots of space around it) when I ask myself, "what do I choose to do today?"
This morning I made a kickass slam dunk green smoothie for myself and my kids:
1 local small apple
a head of lettuce
rice protein powder
I sucked down 3/4 of it and will have the rest later. Since January I have been at a loss for what to eat. Don't ask me why. I decided today that I will have a smoothie in the morning and a nori wrap this afternoon if I'm hungry. Dinner is always easy to figure out.
So that's all that's on my mind thus far. I'm off to see about getting another paper written and posted for school. Thank you to anyone that is reading my thoughts and mind wanderings... all love, Linda
Love After Love - (I found the poem here)
by Derek Walcott
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
beautiful. This is my real wish: for us to feast on our lives. Live our bestest and fullest life. :-)
well, it certainly is difficult to maintain a blog when you have a full life going on! LOL (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)
I've been keeping to my commitment of meditating daily. Some mornings I don't have as much time as others but I make sure to sit every fucking day. That's my promise to myself. (oops, sorry for the swear words. they come out every now and then!) I mean to say that I AM DOING THIS, which is why I'm being so emphatic as to swear about it. I should shout at the mountain top or something to get the point across.
The other morning I was thinking about this idea of watching myself in a way similar to when I was a new mom. I used to sit with these babies and just fill myself up with them. Looking at their faces and watching them breathe and be. Such little miracles and I was so curious to learn more about them. I've been sitting with myself in a similar fashion. If something comes up, I'm not trying to knock it down or shush it. I am looking at it with curiosity.
I've also been really digging the body scanning as a way to tune into my body. Boy does that ever help for those of us who can get lost in imaginations and dreams. I realize for several years now I haven't really been very grounded. I have big dreams and goals and I really love imagining them. I somehow manage to be very productive, too, so I guess I can't really say that I'm not grounded. I think I mean to say that I find myself sometimes in my head more than I am in my heart or in my body, if that makes sense. Anyway, the body scanning is a way to FEEL your toes all the way up to your head and back down. It's a great way to relax whatever feels tense, too.
So I've been watching myself with loving curiosity. I'm having fun naming what is going on and then letting it be and getting back to my breath. It's like a game and I'm enjoying the game.
I'm nearly finished with Radical Acceptance. That is a good good book. Highly recommend it people! I still have to do a lot of the guided meditations in the book so that will be great to go back to.
This morning's meditation was very short because I overslept. (still not used to this damed daylight savings time stuff.) Oops, there - I swore again. I did only about 10-15 minutes and set the intention to practice mindful awareness throughout the day. Well, I was trying to get too many things done at once and on top of it, I have a nearly 12 year old and an almost 14 year old that have PLENTY of things to say to me and ask me in the course of oh, about 10 minutes. I don't know why I set out to get anything done and should vow to come back to reality and a life when the young one goes off to college. :-) So in meditation, we learn to have single-minded focus and attention and in my daily life, I find myself seriously multi-tasking with my own life and my kid's needs. OY! I started finding myself becoming very frustrated when I endured the 10 minute long retelling of a dream without any point and which took so long because of the pauses, ums and other grammatical breaks in the story.
I stood up and noted that my stomach was growling so it was time for a juice.
I took and cut up a pineapple,
peeled 4 CA oranges
and 1 meyers lemon (goddess, I LOVE these things)
and then I juiced them
I got about 50 oz plus of juice out of them
then I juiced a big bunch of kale
2 stalks of celery
2 stalks of fennel
I made more than 64 oz of juice and I shared it with my 2 kids. I had about 32 oz myself. Delicious and felt so good. I talked with my son a bit about my need to be able to have A THOUGHT AND SEE IT THROUGH TO ITS CONCLUSION in the form of doing some work or getting something done without 100 interruptions. We were joking as we were talking as we always do and I love how my kids and I communicate. Especially my son. He and I are mutually sarcastic and it makes me laugh so much.
The kids had their lunch and went out to walk the dogs. *WHEW* I had a breath of silence in the house. What a treat. I took that time to relax and deep breathe and remind myself that no matter what interruptions come, I'm going to just invite them in to tea, like Tara Brach says... :-)
The afternoon went a whole lot more smoothly. I even got an hour of yoga in which made everything oh so blissful. I went off to an appt I had in town and the person I was meeting was late. At first I was wishing I brought something to do because I loathe waiting for people to grace me with their presence. But instead, I thought, "Oh yes! I can sit and meditate in this quiet room until the dude is ready." So I sat in a firm chair with my legs uncrossed and my arms at my legs. I breathed in a few times and relaxed and I just noticed. I had many wonderful sensations in my body and I noticed how I wanted them to continue. I told myself "FEELING" and just watched them dissolve, thanking the experience.
I noticed the classical music on the radio. I noticed my thoughts. I sat with my eyes closed for maybe about 10 minutes and then decided to open them and sit mindfully in this room. I looked at all the posters and pictures on the wall. I noticed the fabric on each chair and the cracks in the plastered/wall papered wall. I noticed the drawing someone did on the white board as they were presumably waiting like I was. I noticed the carpet and the window and what was going on outside. I felt a part of this room, like I belonged here because I was there. I wondered briefly about the many people that were in that room and what stories the walls would say, if they could. I then went back to the music and the feeling of the breath in my body. It was the easiest wait in the world and it didn't seem to matter how long it took for dude man to come in to find me. I actually thought he could take as long as he wanted.
I came home after a good meeting and decided to make myself a salad for dinner. (Oh yes, I grabbed a lemon laura bar after my yoga as I was racing off to my appt. I was so hungry after yoga!)
The salad I made had:
I also took a capful of wheat-free tamari and poured it over the salad in lieu of dressing.
I LOVE salads like this. So many delicious tastes and very filling. I made up a duplicate salad to take with me tomorrow night for a dinner that I have to go to (where I know there will be nothing much for me to eat.) I ate this salad with much joy and gratitude and thoughts of my good friend Gina. She and I eat salads like this whenever we get together and I'm so looking forward to more time with her to eat more salads like this. For a moment, I was picturing myself talking to her, telling her to try this pesto and these olives and then I remembered my intention for mindfulness. I said, "PLANNING" and "THINKING" in my head and then took a deep breath and went back to the reality of just eating and enjoying the flavors.
And that, my friends, is the update today. Oh, I suppose I should say that I ate a piece of "paleo" brownies after dinner because they were there and looked good. I laugh at any recipe with the word "paleo" in front of it because I imagine our paleolithic ancestors driving SUVs and being soccer moms, making "paleo" brownies and other silliness for their paleolithic soccer playing, iPOD wearing children. This is so ridiculous! Let's call it gluten free brownies! Paleolithic people were not eating brownies and pastries and cupcakes and ice cream! AAAAAACK! They were NOT BAKING! But I'm seriously digressing here. I ate a gluten free brownie with carob chips and sweetened with maple syrup. It was yummy and I'm glad they are gone now (even though I was the one that made them!) :-) That was my dessert and I ate it with as much joy and gratitude as I did the salad.
Peace out my friends,