an ad for a magazine...

there's going to be a new magazine coming out for new england and I wish it much success. I received a phone call asking if I wanted to place a free ad in their first issue and I was very honored to do this! here is the ad I created. what do you think?
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wednesday morning reflections...

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:

2 bananas
1 orange
1 local small apple
a head of lettuce
local blueberries
rice protein powder
hemp powder
cacao powder
vitamineral green

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

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giving tonglen a whirl...

I will begin by saying that I've done tonglen practice a little bit before reading about it this week for class. I have also done various types of loving kindness meditations including the ho'oponopono prayer. I recite this prayer, too, almost daily:

May I be well and happy Free from harm and change May any obstacle to my spiritual, emotional, or physical well-being be removed May I reach/be enlightenment in this lifetime. This was a prayer given to me by my friend Ani when I took Buddhist vows nearly 12 years ago. That prayer starts with me and then moves to my loved ones, then to acquaintances, then to "enemies", then to anyone/everyone in the world and universe. It can take a LONG time to do the prayer. I hold the person's face in my mind as I recite the prayer for them. It has helped me to forgive and forget a multitude of things in myself and in others. I read about tonglen for class this week and described it in a paper I wrote yesterday:

Tonglen is a transformational meditation practice that helps to change the atmosphere in our relationships (with self and all other sentient beings.) Tonglen has four stages: Stage 1 reminds us of any of the five mind training slogans from absolute bodhichitta (i.e. “regard all dharma as dreams;” “examine the nature of unborn insight;” “self-liberation is no antidote;” “rest in the nature of alaya;” and/or “in the post meditation experience, one should remain as a child of illusion;” from Pema Chodron's “Awakening Compassion” video.) Stage 2 of Tonglen is to breathe in the dark and heavy thoughts/emotions that arise and then breathe out whatever feels cool and light. Stage 3 is to think of whatever unresolved issue is present and alive in oneself and breathe in the dark, heaviness of it and then breathe out something that feels peaceful or helpful in some way. The idea is to open space up in one’s mind and heart in both the darkness and the lightness, which is the nature of the giving/receiving aspects of Tonglen. Stage 4 asks us to universalize this experience by visualizing all being who are sharing this dark experience that we are having in this present moment and breathing out images or thoughts of peace for all; this helps to help us to feel less sense of separation in our darkest moments.
It is a lovely variation on the theme of loving kindness and compassion towards self and others. It seems to help heal suffering in relationships and can be done even for folks that you don't know. Chodron gave the example of seeing a father speak harshly to a child in a store - she said that the breathing in could be for the anger/frustration the father feels and breathing out of peace for him. Likewise, we could breathe in the pain and humiliation the child feels and breathe out an image of a flower or something that might be of some use to him/her. I wrote yesterday about the various monkey wrenches in my day. I noticed that what got triggered in me was not only frustration, but self-doubt. I can write a lot about this and tell you the why's and the how's of this story but the real meat of it was that I got to a very familiar place of self-doubt that I don't frankly treat as an old friend. Lately when I experience self-doubt, it is accompanied with low level anxiety. I realize this is because I want to trust my thoughts, words and deeds in this body and in this lifetime. Not doing so, can feel almost crippling. I noticed the thoughts and stories and was really ok to drop them. Still, I had the feelings that were unpleasant - unwanted. I decided to take a few minutes and breathe in the space of self-doubt and accompanied anxiety. I breathed in all its murky twistedness. I fucking hate this feeling and want to resist it with every ounce of my being. But this time, I invited it in. I held it for a few minutes and then breathed out an image of the beach with the ocean waves washing this feeling through and out. then the fun part began. I breathed in and thought about all the millions of people that might be feeling this same sense of self-doubt and anxiety right at this moment. This really helped to open up space inside me - a space of realization that I'm not alone in this. Probability-wise, there must be quite a number of people who feel this exact thing at this exact moment. Who is to say not? I breathed out images of expansive ocean waves washing this away. It was much easier to do this for others than for myself. I repeated the process because I want to feel the easy kindness I had to send out to others and give it to myself, too. I'd love feedback on personal experience of these loving-kindness meditations. do you do them? Do you find them helpful? do you have insights into understand that might help me too? thank you.
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post meditation follies...

the day started out fine enough. I got a decent amount of sleep, got up and meditated, walked the dogs, fed the dogs, fed myself. I felt in a good place - grounded. I started listening to an audio file for school about tonglen and the lojong mind/heart training. This put me into a great state of mind. I love learning this stuff. It resonates to my cells, blood and bone. I'm listening and saying, "Yes! This is good!" and I swear I'm enjoying the whole day. I take a break, walk the dogs, feed them their green mush and go back to work. Sam's friends come over, Emily is doing her thing. The dogs are on my lap and life, she is good.

time rolls by and I'm just pleasantly plugging along. I think I have all kinds of time to write papers and take care of things that need to be taken care of. I had two very nice phone calls and emails that came in, too, which delighted me to no end (relating to work stuff... more on that later...) then the monkey wrench came. my sweet little peaceful world started to get a little shitty, to be very honest... and why shouldn't it? there's ebbs and flows to the day. that is what is natural.

the three boys and Emily were playing outside and the dogs were jealous or curious or something. They kept barking every time they saw the kids. There would be peaceful moments and then crazy barking out of the blue. turned into every sound or sight was freaking them out. I kept jumping out of my skin each time it happened. (I think the dogs and I are part cat - we can be so highly strung at times.) I swear this must have happened about a dozen times in the span of an hour and each time I breathed and relaxed, it seemed to happen again.

but that was really nothing. it was annoying but whatever. the dogs are just being dogs. they calmed down pretty quickly when I called their names. the real monkey wrench was my son telling me that BY THE WAY, I was supposed to drive the boys home, 1/2 hour drive each way. My brain went into some kind of overdrive, trying to figure out the rest of the day and how it would all work if I'm supposed to take these boys home. When? Where? What about the dogs? What about my papers? What about my chores? What about my intention of doing some yoga? I spoke in a very frustrated tone telling my son that I really want to have clear communication with him, that this would not be a big deal if I just knew about it long enough to figure on a plan for my day. I tried to cram all the things I wanted to do in a short time just so that I could get the kids home and get some things done for myself.

thankfully, the boys' mom called and said she could pick them up at X time. I was instantly relieved. I hold a lot in my day. I manage a bunch of abundance very well. I also know when I have too much on my plate and lately I have had too much on my plate. I've got 2 weeks here of doing the solo parenting thing plus managing school, houses, businesses, work, parenting, etc and so forth. I should stop listing these things because it doesn't really help to do so...

mindfully, I was trying to remember what I JUST learned on the videos about tonglen and awakening bodhichitta and all this good stuff on the ego being like a room that we love to be in and how difficult the outside feels in comparison, so we never leave it, thus creating a kind of prison for ourselves. I had this monkey wrench in some tiny part of my day and I watched how badly I handled it. I suppose I did some good by stating some things clearly and setting up some kind of boundaries. This is good. However, I somehow managed to feel badly afterwards. I felt for my son who was trying to have a fun day with friends. I felt a bit on edge from the dogs barking at random things. It was difficult to get back from this triggered place, but I eventually did.

I ended up doing some yoga and it was very good. It helped to bring me back to my body and that was very necessary. I had an experience of distrust inside myself and I'll write about that in a bit. Right now I really want to say my gratefuls and put this day to bed.

this is the part when I try to be very gentle with what is going on inside me. simple request but not always easy. I'm grateful for this practice...

good night.

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the weekend...

well it was a restorative weekend for me. time to relax, rest, and be with friends (just a little bit) is always good medicine. I spoke with some friends over the weekend, too, and that always feels good.

still sitting in the mornings. still having moments of loveliness and other moments of thoughts of all kinds. it is what it is.

today I had some moments where old habits were kicking in. I took matt to the airport and noticed the old stories coming in my head about him going. it's very old and tired and SO doesn't serve me. I took a deep breath in and out and allowed for all the feelings come in. "I accept this, too."

there really is something to this. I'm grateful for this little tool in my tool belt. it's not like the feelings dissolved immediately, but they did dissolve. it was more like there was no place for the stories to land. no audience to give the stories so the feelings just were felt and then they went away. what a gift. I have to be honest, these things are so old that I cringed at first when they showed up. I didn't want to even go there for a second and my first thoughts were that this was going to last so long and was going to ruin my evening. I remembered to bow to this and like I said, it went away.

the best part: I had a really great evening. I felt stoked about this time with my kids and with friends and with the universe. I haven't felt that in a long time. Even that feeling went away and that was ok too! :-)

I'm off to sleep. nighty night. <3

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tax season...

perhaps the meaning of life can wait until after tax season... :-)

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brain dumping and other reflections...

I haven't written in a couple days because life is just so busy. It's friday and again, I'm hit with a sense of exhaustion. It doesn't help to get 5 hours of sleep on wednesday nights and then try and play catch up on thursday night...

I'm still sitting each and every morning. It is helping me to notice a whole lot during the day. There is a lot going on in my world. I have relationship issues that I'm working on, I have a wholesale business, online business and I'm trying to figure out what to do with the physical storefront. In the past week I've had landlord issues (me being the "landlord") and we had a repair that was needed at the cafe. My kids are both home daily and so there is the parenting things that come up every few minutes. It seems I am the Chief, Cook and Bottle Washer in just about every aspect of my life. I'm also homeschooling the kids so there's much to be done to make sure that they are doing what they say they are doing. I manage two houses and just had a buying club order come in that I had to sort and get invoices out for. I also am very behind on things like laundry and housecleaning. I'm seeking help and am delegating work and I'm learning to let go of a lot although I must say that I really have a problem with piles of things. Right now there are piles of clean clothes on the one chair that the kids folded but didn't put away. I'm also taking 2 classes this semester and am writing 5 papers a week plus reading/responding to about 10 papers a week. I receive about 100-200 emails a day that need to get filtered out and some need responding to. I have an office manager that I have to make sure she knows what to do each day that she is here. Questions from customers, phone calls to make and/or respond to. Errands to make on the behalf of myself, matt and the kids. I am making appointments for routine exams that happen this time of year and also trying to make sure that I am eating 2-3 meals a day, exercising and taking care of myself. To say that I am walking around in a low-level state of anxiousness about the next thing on the TO DO list is an understatement.

Still, I am utilizing this mindfulness meditation that I do each morning. It's at times as though my thoughts become an errant child and I need to put her straight.

Today I went to get a massage. My body has been tense. I don't have much touch in the day. I hug my kids and I pet my dogs but not a whole lot is reciprocal... I mean, my dogs aren't scritching my back telling me what a good girl I am. (Although they are so unconditionally loving and attentive in other dog ways that are really nice.) Needless-to-say, the massage was welcomed. My muscles are pretty darn tight and it was a good release to do this. It's time to schedule more of massage appointments, too.

Now if there is just enough time to do the WANT TO's plus HAVE TO's...

I've been having some lovely things happen outside of the meditation pillow. Mostly, I'm just able to stop the dialogue, drama and stories a whole lot faster and bring my attention back to the present moment. I'm also kind of experiencing less worry for various things in the day. I think it is interesting that I've been feeling so tired the past couple weeks. I normally always feel good and up and I keep plowing through things. I haven't been eating as many greens the past couple of weeks and I'll experiment with that to see if it has relevance. But I don't really mind being tired. I don't mind my body telling me that enough is enough for now and it's time to stop and relax. I've been napping a lot and that is not me either. But I recognize that there's a lot on my plate - many decisions are being made and I trust the process of this as well as my life.

I'm off to take a bath. This post is really a dumping of my thoughts and various feelings. Forgive me for not being more eloquent.

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monday's mind wanderings...

oh I mean - monday's moments of present moment enlightenment... ha ha ha I had a good night's sleep and for that, I am very grateful. I did my morning meditation beginning by scanning my body and relaxing whatever I could. It's frankly amazing that even after sleep, my body could hold tension. I watched the breath and did the usual naming of thoughts that came and went, as well as songs that came and went. (sometimes a thought and a song came in at once...) LOL I actually had a couple moments, though, when I just enjoyed the experience of my body sitting on my bed in my room as I listened to the sounds of the dogs and the cars. I was just listening and there were VERY TINY EENSY WEENSY NANO SECONDS where I just entertained nothing but interior and exterior sensations. And THEN of course I had the thought, "wow! I just had some nano seconds of just sensing my body and the room and the sound of the cars!" and this made me chuckle. My mind wandered and did it's thing and then I noticed it and this was what happened for some time. It's kind of a game in a way. It's also just time to hang out with myself. I remember a lot of time in my younger days when I could just hang out by myself and with others and not have to say a word. In my adult life, I value silence so much. I remember my mom saying (or rather yelling) "I JUST WANT TO HEAR QUIET!!!" And me, being a kid, I thought she was crazy. Well mom, if you can read this from heaven, I get it now! But I'm also getting that all of it is ok. The noise, the thoughts, the dreams, the processing, the imaginings, the conversations that I play back in my head. It's fine. Whatever. This too shall pass... I'll deal with whatever I need to deal with and move along. The bigger things might take more out of me and hopefully I can know when and how to shake off the small shit that niggles in my head... I am grateful for this strong mind. I see the importance that these books are illustrating about how important it is to cultivate doing AND being together... The day was as full as can be. This morning I was smart and got the various things I wanted to make sure to do BEFORE even going downstairs and being interrupted by the kids. Boy, that made a big difference. I accomplished quite a lot and actually also had 2 phone calls today and 1 email that required a lot of my attention. Two of these three things were plenty intense or at least they could have been if I was in a different frame of mind. I handled them well and bounced back really well too. So I give myself some kudos for this. I think, in some ways, I'm growing up. :-)
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march 30, 2013

I have hit a wall of exhaustion the past couple of days but I'm still committed to meditation. I've been needing naps in the day to catch up on sleep. It's been a difficult week with lots of details that I could let my ass get twisted into stress about but I have to say that this meditation and mindfulness stuff really has something going for it... Being committed to meditation is kind of like taking your vitamins or committing to drinking more water each day. At first it is very difficult to remember to do it and then it becomes a habit and so it's easy at least to remember to do it. All the books say that meditation is simple, but not easy. I agree. I've been hitting that place in meditation where I'm finding myself agitated at times, bored at other times. I'm checking into it with curiosity and gentleness and this is a major difference from meditation experiences I've had in the past. In the past, I would mentally chastise myself for not being able to meditate successfully, whatever that really meant. (What it means is that I held some expectation of what I thought I SHOULD do instead of just watch and notice and get back to the breath...) So kudos for me for trying and this time not beating myself up. Still, it's rather comical sometimes to really see how much I let my mind wander off in a million directions! Because of this, this is why meditation is called a practice... it's like playing the piano. I used to take lessons when I was younger and the majority of the time it was practicing scales and terrifically boring exercises to strengthen my fingers and teach them to move in all their little ways, either separately or together. Mostly it was about learning things so that I could forget them... to just play the little songs from memory. Then came the piano pieces to learn. At first it was daunting to see the black notes on the paper with the sharps and/or flats and learning all the keys. I would practice and I could hear my mom going, "Wrong note!" or "Try again!" and I wished that she didn't understand music as well as she did because I was already telling myself that I was sucking at this. But if I really liked the piece (and my teacher had a good knack for knowing what kind of songs that I liked), I would keep practicing and then it got a little easier to do and I didn't feel so suckily untalented. The keyword though is "practice." This is not anything that gets perfected quickly. I am not shouting KACHING like the cartoon I posted the other day because I have found my oneness with the world. I am practicing mindfulness and bringing my attention back to the breath, very sweetly, when I notice that I let my mind wander. I get moments of sweet stillness that I love. I also get moments of great clarity. Still other moments are just interesting to notice. And many other moments are wanderings where I can't really tell you what happened or where I was. Some of those moments are short and some are REALLY REALLY long! Sometimes I have deep urgings to stop and do something specific. I try to work through those but if they keep pestering me and if I'm not successful to just say "Planning" and be done with it, I will end the practice and then immediately do what seemed so pressing. All, mind you, without judgment or analysis. So this, for me, is pointing my boat in a much better direction...
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mindfully sleepy?

Pema Chodron in her book "When things fall apart" says the following:

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-mans’ land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life. Death is wanting to hold onto what you have and to have every experience confirm you and congratulate you and make you feel completely together. So even though we say the yama mara is the fear of death, it’s actually the fear of life. …. When we wake up, we can live fully without seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, without re-creating ourselves when we fall apart. We can let ourselves feel our emotions as hot or cold, vibrating or smooth, instead of using our emotions to keep ourselves ignorant and dumb. We can give up on being perfect and experience each moment to its fullest.” (Chodron, P. 1997, p71-72.)

I have really been thinking about this sentiment about being willing to die over and over again. She's so hardcore! With each out breath, we are essentially accepting a kind of death and then with each in breath we make the agreement to live and die again. So Ms. Chodron, if I am to accept the day's moments without seeking pleasure or avoiding pain, I will tell you that I was one sleepy person today. I fully embraced sleep deprivation this thursday!

Wow, what an experience!

I got up at 6 am after only 5 hours of sleep. I needed to get up at 7 and because I would have only had an hour left, I couldn't get back to sleep. I decided to meditate since if I was a nun, that's what I would do at 4 am anyway. :-) That early in the morning, my mind was whirling and swirling. I felt awake and alert... My mind was very active and there actually seemed no point to meditating. It was as if the floodgates were opened and every thought and feeling came flooding out. I was so awake and ready to tackle the day... until it was time to get out of bed.

It was a slow morning of getting ready and out the door. The kids and I were frustrated with each other here and there. Well, let me rephrase: I was feeling frustrated with them being so slow to get out the door. They appeared to have cared less if we stayed or if we left... The drive in to Shelburne was slow. and. painful. I was behind EVERY slow moving mammal. For me, it's as if there is a wall in front of me obstructing my view and my path - this is how I see slow moving cars in front of me. This bugs me and today was no exception, however, in my sleepy state, I was very slow in responding in frustration or annoyance... it was only because my response time was delayed, believe me, I was agitated... I was agitated because I was wishing I felt more awake and alert in my mind and body. I was wishing for smoother sailing and a faster more pleasant ride. WANT, WANT, WANT (for more than what was at the time.)

I dropped the kiddos off and parked my car. By 10:30, I dozed off. It felt like a blink and then when I woke up, it was 12:30 pm. I would have kept sleeping but I had to pee. I went to the bathroom at the episcopal church and then noticed the doors to the sanctuary were open. I walked in and immediately smelled the incense. It reminded me of my buddhist friend, Ani's house. This is the same incense that she burned in her house when she lived in Pittsburgh. I had never been in this church sanctuary before. I walked around and took in all the sites. It's an old church and it's very beautiful. There's a mosaic on the floor where the minister and choir hangs out to do their thing. There is beautiful art on the walls and calligraphy on the archway that separates the minister/choir and where the pews are. (If you know me, then you know that at this point, I was picturing living in this room by now.) :-)

I sat in one of the pews and listened to the delicious silence in the room. I wished that I lived here so that I could start a meditation group in that setting. It was so nice. I had the thought that probably not many people get to sit in that amazing silence because when it is open, it means music and speaking and a message being spoken/delivered. I had thought it would be incredibly yummy to sit in this FULL stillness and gorgeous silence of this room. Geezum, I really love that sensation.

I decided to seize the moment and try again at a proper meditation sitting. I sat for about a half hour and savored this beautiful space and this beautiful silence. It was interesting to note that when I was walking around, I had a feeling of something in my heart center. It was almost bitter sweet and when I relaxed in meditation, that sensation went away. It came back when I was done with the meditation and walked around a bit again. I went back to the car and had a moment of tears that washed over me. It was literally just a few seconds. I have no idea what came over me. My guess is that so many memories came in. My dad used to play at an episcopal church and I always liked that denomination. I liked it because it was Catholic-light. It has similar symbolism and rituals but less guilt. HA! I recall thinking of the sweet smell of Ani's house (when she was still Andrea) and the peacefulness that I would feel when I'd visit her. I recall having such a sense of connection with mysticism in Christianity and the experience of the sanctuary felt very beautiful and sacred.

I left, went back to the car and attempted to write some papers. It was difficult to focus. It was as if my brain was not processing or working well. I happily chatted with some friends on the phone. That I was managing well! When it was time to go home, I stopped to run a couple errands and by 4:30, 5:00, my brain felt fried. I was just on auto-pilot. It sort of hurt to try to think or reason or do anything much. I picked up an item in a market and my eyes could barely focus to read the small print! That was almost alarming to me and I was feeling a small sense of suffering but I remembered Pema Chodron's instructions to not avoid the pain. So I told myself that I accept this sleepiness 100%. It wasn't easy but I managed to make the long journey home and function as best I could. I'm about to go to sleep now. My wanting mind can't WAIT to get in my comfy bed and hunker down for the night.

There is something to this acceptance of what is stuff. It's good stuff. It's not easy but honestly, it's easier than constantly wishing that I had more sleep or worrying that there's something to worry about with regards to my health or driving or well-being, etc. It's also better than wishing I was already home. I found myself at some point saying, "If I only got even 1 more hour sleep, I'd be able to run more errands and write more and feel way better in my body." Well, for this day, I just was supposed to do the best I could do. Things felt better in my body when I accepted that...

nighty-night, Linda

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wednesday - it's wednesday already?

This week has really been going by quickly. My hope to slow things down like that star trek lady isn't really working, it seems! And now here it is, minutes before thursday. SO much is going on. Trying to work out details for renting out our space. We have a plan A, B and C sort of in the works and aren't attached to any one of them, meaning that any one of these could be great things and I acknowledge, too, that if there was something better that the universe had in store for me, then I will accept that as well. What else. Working out a slew of details between matt and myself on all matters including the year end taxes, home stuff, work stuff, everything. Homeschooling the kids. My son is figuring out and needing help with a science fair project. We are also talking about summer workshops if you can believe that. We met today to talk with staff and go over some possibilities for marketing as well as see what staff needs are, what supplies are needed, etc. walking the dogs, feeding the dogs, caring for the dogs, making food for us, figuring out supplies needed for home as well as work. and then there is the school work for me. UGH, the managerial hats that I wear each day are pretty amazing. I was brushing my teeth thinking that I could easily work just about anywhere now from the house work, school work, homeschool work, parenting, cafe work, internet sales work, and manufacturing work that I do. :-) Maybe I'll rewind for a second and talk about the meditation and mindfulness training here. I woke up at 9 am to my dog barking. I meditated for only 15 minutes this morning because I had to meet a friend for a walk at 10 am. It was interesting to meditate during intermittent dog barking. I wasn't bothered by it. I still find the dogs' barks extremely cute and small sounding (even though they are trying to be fierce) so it brought a smile to my face to hear him. I did a quick scan of my body and then thanked the day and set my intentions. I went for a 3-ish mile walk today with a friend. She is much more fit than I am and she was much more able to walk up the hill and keep talking at the same time. For some reason this morning, it was rougher for me. Maybe it was because I didn't have my usual morning to get up, (actually WAKE UP!) and have breakfast. HA! That's so funny! Yes, maybe it's because I was freaking tired and probably not fueled to actually get going. But I still did fine, got my heart rate up, and had a really nice walk/talk with a friend and that's the important part. I got home and did a whirlwind of things and then walked the dogs with my son, making a trip to the post office and then went back to the cafe for a staff meeting. Got back home and went back to ticking off some work-related things. Here's what I've noticed since this commitment to sitting each morning: It appears that I have a greater clarity for some things. Very simply, I'm not doing things that don't feel good to me and are not serving to me anymore. I also like not being attached to things, i.e. having a plan A, B and C and not being attached to any of them. It's a very grounded feeling. And it's one that I've felt before - certainly before having kids and if I'm honest, before my mom died. Her death rocked my world and then having kids knocked all over the place again. I write all this knowing full well that the journey continues and what feels great and grounded and clear today will change in several months or a year... I hope this is making sense. I'm writing very extemporaneously and it's late. Right now I feel very grateful for this clarity. In a sense it seems as though I've woken up and grown up just a tad bit and I'm seeing things with eyes wide open, awake. What is different is that I'm not knocking myself down. In the past I might have gotten to this place and have said things like "Oh look at this, you dumbass, why did you let that happen for all this time?!" I'm sort of using my life lessons as the sitting meditations. When the thought comes in and I notice it, I just go, "Oh look, there you are. THINKING," without judgement or analysis. And what I am noticing lately is me going, "Oh look. I realize I'm pretty uncomfortable with this scenario or situation. I'm going to do this now," and there isn't the analyzing or judging or trying to process and figure out stuff for some things. (NOT EVERYTHING, mind you, just some things.) How friggin dreary is it to wonder why the hell you are doing something that you just realized you aren't liking! "Is it nature? Or Nurture?" Maybe it's just because I fell asleep again even though I was operating on auto pilot and nobody could tell, not even me, that I was in a trance. I'm noticing that I'm not as bothered and I'm more able to respond in clarity. There, that's the right sentiment. It just took me several paragraphs... Yes, this is what I'm noticing and I like it. (I would like to find a good editor!) So that's it in a nutshell for today, Wednesday (which is now early Thursday.) all blessings, Linda
well, are you? :-)
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Tuesday morning

I'm still sitting each morning. I am not sitting every evening but some evenings. Need to work on that. I see the value of this commitment to sit with the intention to meditate because it is creating a lot more mindfulness in my daily life. I am not exactly sure what that is, because I have been practicing mindfulness for years, but it seems to accelerate the process or make it more pronounced and apparent or something. This morning I noticed, still, just HOW many thoughts and distractions I get swept away by. I really have made a big habit of day dreaming. I noticed the cars going by and was grateful for that because it makes for a good reminder that I got swept away again. I also notice how much I am in auto pilot with my body. I noticed that I'm scratching my head or "wow, I just moved my legs into an entirely different position!" I am really not here at all sometimes even while sitting with the intention of being here!! I used to think that meditation was to get into a certain frame of mind, meaning outside of the body. Like a blissful state.
I saw this in a paper and cut it out years ago and stuck it on my computer. it cracks me up all the time!
I'm realizing now that it's about experience what is happening in and around me right here, right now and just being aware of it, not attaching to it. That is an entirely different sensation. I'm grateful for these guidebooks to help give me a kind of "operating instructional manual" to see what it is that I'm seeking to achieve here. I've read these kinds of things so many times, why haven't I gotten this before? I have been sitting with the question, "Who am I?" and my first response came as a thought, "I am a complex organism with a presence." And then I shifted it to "I am a presence or spirit that is residing in a complex organism." What do you think? Who are you?
maybe all this mind wandering stuff is just because we are hella bored! lol
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