Blog / Category_holistic health

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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this is from saturday and sunday...

I am posting this up. This is what I was working on when I kept getting interrupted and then it turned into a video game discussion! this is a work in progress................................................... I got to sleep VERY late last night and then I woke up too damn early. I couldn't seem to fall back asleep so I decided to meditate. I sat for an hour and a half this morning. My mind drifted in and out and I brought my awareness back to my breath and body. I really am getting into a nice routine here. And you know, it does seem to help in daily life. I am by no means slowing down the thoughts and mental distractions. I'm just happy that I'm not getting judgmental about them. I got up and started the day. I got onto the GCU learning site and noticed all the emails and posts. I haven't even checked the GCU emails. I know there are so many to sort through. So you understand, for class each week we have to write 4-6 papers based on books and videos that we watch. It might be entire books that are suggested that we read plus chapters from another. One week we have scheduled a 4 1/2 hour video to watch plus read some chapters plus a book for one class. After we submit the papers and assignments, then we have to read a minimum of 2 papers from each of the ones we submit and give feedback or comments. Plus we have to respond to the comments that we receive. The teachers also read and make comments. So, just when I think I'm done I remember that I am really not done just because I read so much and then wrote 6 1200+ word papers! Now I have to read 8-12 1200+ papers and comment on them. Then a veritable discussion ensues from the comments and the dialogue never really ends until mid-week of the next week when the next week's submissions begin. Perhaps I'm writing all of this to elicit some sympathy... :-) I'm writing this because this is a current challenge I have. I have had the experience of 15-week semesters at my school and the time got split in half to 7.5 weeks. I have the comparison of what the 15-week semester's workload looks like. The 7.5 week classes have become double the work in half the time. This is the analytical side of my brain that is trying to process and understand it. From the mindfulness perspective, I realize I have to find a place of acceptance for this. It should be easy but in my analytical mind, I somehow think that I can ask to not have this extra workload of the commenting so I can keep focusing on my work. OR I'd like to go back to the 15-week semesters and have 2 weeks to get in papers and then comment on other people's work. This is the first week of classes and it's already rushed. Each semester is now like a summer semester where things are crammed in and studying is frenetic, fast and with very little time to absorb and learn. So this is my dilemma. This is what I need to figure out how to get past so that I am not in a state of suffering each time I set out to do the reading and commenting each and every week for other people's work...
hahaha
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being mindful during bickering fests...

I wake up and do my morning meditations. My body responds very favorably. I get this lovely relaxation in my solar plexus that I long to hold onto for an eternity. LOL I end the practice, say my thanks and intentions and then get up to begin my day. I feel quite happy and I greet the dogs who greet me with wagging tails and sweet eyes. I pet them and take them with me to the kitchen to make the tea or hot cacao that has become a habit, once again, in my life. I think about the various things I want to do, the people I want to call - I start dreaming into the day. This morning is not an anomaly, this is how I begin most days. Then, on some occasions like today, my kids come together and the bickering begins. Their bickering ends the reverie and this is both a blessing and a suffering. The blessing is that I am in a trance in my reveries and they are lovely. The blessing is that the kids show me that I am, in a way, asleep when I am thinking and planning. My suffering comes because I really, REALLY want to hold onto my plans and dreams. I acknowledge that I want to hold onto the loveliness of the pleasure and peace that I feel. I want to be able to have a thought and finish it with an action. But the bickering starts and it escalates and it's over something very stupid. I'm sorry. I'm judging this. I notice the tension in my solar plexus area. It is starting to hurt. I can feel my breathing becoming shallow and it's as if my the wide expansiveness in my brain becomes small and tight and painful. I am trying to take deep breaths because what I'm hearing them do is actually hurting me and they don't stop just because I ask them to. I acknowledge that I let this bickering hurt me. I am not always able to remain peaceful when chaos is around me and the blessing and teaching is for me to keep practicing so that I can still hold peace amongst this chaos... Each kid wants to let the other know just how RIGHT they are and the other isn't listening. It's a total bicker fest. My body is now tight and tense. I ask them to stop, to separate themselves, to do whatever is necessary to end this. I walk out of the room and they continue. I take deep breaths and remind myself that we are all more than this bickering. Their beautiful voices are, at the moment of their bickering, agitating and difficult for my ears to hear. Very suddenly, I can no longer think of any of my day's plans. It's all been interrupted and I think I have to choose how badly I want to fight to get something good in for myself. I try to take a deep breath and get myself back to center. What I feel when this happens is stress in my body and in my mind. I am bowing to the stress as the teacher that it is. I accept that this is what is happening now. I still notice the resistance that I hold because I want my morning to go a different way. This is me being honest. Thankfully a lot of the days and hours are pleasant and fun with my kids. They are great kids and I acknowledge that. I'm so grateful for them for so many reasons and I acknowledge that they have been my biggest teachers thus far. There are some moments like this one today where it is very agitating and stressful. My body doesn't respond well to the kids' bickering. In my day, if my brothers and I were bickering, my mother would come in with a rubber scraper and say she was going to end the bickering and ask us which one was going to be first. After I had kids, I understood my mother's frustrations and feelings of a loss of control. I don't condone her choices but I now understand with great empathy where they are coming from. I choose a different path of parenting for my kids. I choose the path of honesty and non-violent or compassionate communication. I raised my voice and said, "I am SO frustrated! Hearing this fighting actually physically hurts me! Please stop this fighting!" Still, I notice a rock in my gut and it takes a long time for me to calm my breathing down when they get started. It takes a while to watch it dissolve and if they don't start again, it will be good... lol I know that this is good work to do... +++++++++++ It's been an hour and they have calmed down. They are working on their school work. I am breathing to relax and each moment I notice myself saying, "AAAH, this is good. There is that peace again to think and to be..." Just as I notice this, I get interrupted with a "Mom? Can you..." and a request. I breathe into this and I laugh at it, too. I know I'm not alone in this. Mothers everywhere (and fathers who are home with their kids, too) are getting constant interruptions to the nanoseconds of peace in their lives. LOL I surrender to the idea that the day is not solely my own. I bow to the jealousy that I have for Matt who gets to leave the house and go to work and I know full well that he gets interrupted with phone calls all day long... It's silly to be jealous because we are all in the same boat. I bow to the sorrow I have for not being able to see the day of my dreams, whatever that really means. I fully know that there will be a time when the kids are grown and out of the house and I'll be walking around going, "God, it's SOOO quiet in here!" LOL My kids are my most favorite people in the whole wide world and I love and choose to be with them even in the bickering. I bow with acceptance for each moment that comes to me. I bow to the understanding that for now, my days are to be present to the bickering, to the tenseness, to the moments of quiet that come in between what appears to be a lot of chaos in my thinking and sometimes in my environment... I'm also present to the great feeling of joy and happiness that I feel and the aliveness I feel in my body, whether in pleasure or in pain...
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full day...

1:37 am

papers all written and handed in for week 1.

I'm sleepy

good night

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a full day, with lots of ups and downs...

I woke up around 8 am and had a pretty decent amount of sleep. (I typically wish for 1/2 hour to 1 hour more though.) I peed and then went back to do some sitting. I once again had that lovely feeling of deep relaxation in my stomach. AAAAH, that is such a nice feeling and I try to sit with that for as long as humanly possible. :-) I just kept breathing and relaxing more and more. It was like an unwinding or releasing kind of relaxation - VERY delicious. After about 40-45 minutes, I ended the sitting practice and said my intentions for the day. I didn't really want to move though, I have to be honest. I was enjoying the peace and quiet very much! I got up anyway and started my day. I informed the kids that I was going to be interviewed for an online radio show and asked them for cooperation, particularly a little bit before and during the show. I wanted to get centered around the questions she gave me. WELL, as life would have it, the kids decided to bicker and argue over a pillow about 10 minutes prior to my phoning in. It went ON and ON and I asked them to stop and reminded them about my request to have cooperation prior to this call. One of the kids said something - I don't remember now what it was - and it was clear they were just trying to keep fighting for fighting's sake. I felt my blood start to boil, to be honest and I left the room. I sat down in my seat and I took a deep, cleansing breath. I let it out slowly and then took another deep cleansing breath. "I'm more than this anger right now." I focused on my breath and then noticed very quickly that I relaxed and was fine again. Thank goodness. Time to phone in to the radio show with Ariel Policano - she was very easy to talk to and I enjoyed the interview quite a lot. Here's a link to it! We spoke for somewhere around 30 or so minutes. I listened to her talk about B12 and was grateful for her good information and tips. Then she got to introducing me and I heard her saying things about being an inspiration. I wasn't expecting this and I noticed my heart started to pound. "Am I an inspiration?" I don't see that and it's mostly because I'm very much in the muck of daily life. There's a lot of shit to do and bear and sometimes I live in a house full of grumpolas (sometimes I'm the grumpola.) Anyway, I noticed what she was saying and I breathed into it and said to myself, "I'm more than these words," because I didn't want to get stuck in that thought or possible expectation of myself. I reminded myself to just speak from my heart and I noticed the first couple of sentences were full of nerves and then things just smoothed right out. My kids ended up listening to the interview and they were very sweet with "GOOD JOB, MOM!" afterwards. That was nice. I decided to take a hot shower because I was pretty chilly in the room I was in for the phone call and plus washing off the excitement and nerves felt like a good idea. I savored the hot water and soapy bubbles. I lathered up in oil afterwards and put some ointment on my tattoo. Ah, content is a gift and I am grateful for it... I always think of Kornfield's book so aptly named "After the Ecstacy, the Laundry." And sure enough I did a load of laundry after my shower. Bliss done! Talking with a like-minded person was such a gift and a blessing. Check! Done! Time to go downstairs and apparently await my daughter's next melt down. This is why it is good to not get stuck on too much good or bad, folks! My daughter came tromping in the house with a dog in her arms. She was angry at the dog and then she was angry at me. I asked her to follow through with walking the dog and she was telling me all the reasons that I was mistaken, why this was the worst idea in the history of bad ideas... I refused to argue with her and that seemed to fuel her fire more. She was again wanting to fight for the sake of fighting. I told her if she kept this up I was going to leave because I don't want to have anything to do with a fight. She continued and I left and went to the shop. I walked over there and this is where meditation and mindfulness becomes the hardest for me. I walk and try to distance myself from her anger and angst. She was having a melt down and I couldn't understand why other than her hormones were acting up. I told her I understood how frustrating it is when the dogs don't pee first thing and one of the dogs we have takes a long time to pee sometimes. He's looking for an adventure. But the truth of the matter was, he still needed to pee. She was upset because it was cold and all she has was PJs to wear and this just wasn't worth a battle to me. In my head I said the more "adult" version of what I said to her at home. "Just get your jammies on - get snow pants on - get yesterday's clothes on. I don't really care what you wear and NOBODY where we live in this town of 1000 people give a flying fuck what anybody is wearing! EVER! Just walk the damn dog!" This is the thought that went through my head. I was reliving it because I was trying to see what the hell just happened here. (For her, I remained really calm and said that the dog's health is more important than the idea that someone MIGHT have a problem with what she's wearing and then I repeated my request to get anything on and finish what she started by walking the dog until he pees and/or poops. When she started going ballistic is when I warned her that I would not engage in this kind of talk and that I was going to leave if it continued...) Anyway, see? I'm still digressing into this. It's still upsetting to me because I don't understand it and I desperately seek to understand and connect with people, particularly at the heart center. I walked to work and I did what I set out to do. It was fun and I chatted with Meg some about X Files and the interview and other fun stuff. I went back home and ate something of substance since I hadn't done that really all day. (Wasn't very hungry and find that when there's big emotions, I tend not to be. This is a rather new phenomenon for me.) So came back - went onto the GCU site and became mildly overwhelmed at the amount of feedback and unread posts. We have 6 assignments due this first week of classes. And then we have to respond to a minimum of 2 posts that other people write. I tend to want to respond to more than the minimum (that's just how I roll) and so I'll just say that it takes a LONG damn time to filter through and read everything. And then to respond to the feedback given. The homework never ends, I swear! lol I'm trying to get my head in gear for next week and geting papers written and this feedback stuff is at times really really difficult... SO in comes the deep breaths as I roll my eyes and change my attitude about feedback... And then it's not so bad. More mindfulness to spread throughout my day. YAY Two hours later, I'm in the kitchen and making dinner for the dogs and for us humans. I chat with Matt about certain things that we are trying to figure out and it is a conversation that typically has caused some friction in the past. Again, I'm breathing and I'm noticing how charged I am and I'm telling myself that there is more than just these words and feelings in both of us. Breathing, reminding myself that I can relax even in this. I accept this too in my life and watch it pass. The night, it seemed, wouldn't have been full enough without another bicker fest between my kids. I tried to practice the breathing and the mindfulness and I'm honest when I say that I met my match for the day. I was done with the difficult shit for the night and yet the night seemed to have different plans. Emily stomped off in tears upstairs and Sam and I sat in a quasi-shock trying to figure out what just happened again. (I write all this knowing full well that she's not even a full-fledged hormonal teenager yet. Believe me, I know I'm in for it. I believe in karma and I was a royal handful as a teenager... My dad is sooooo happy for this revenge. lol) I decided it was time to put this stress and confusion to something physical. I got on the stationary bike and chose level 9 for 60 minute on the pikes peak program. I thought I would do some reading but could NOT stay focused. I probably didn't need to. I just kept pedaling away watching my thoughts and seeing how awful they had become. My friend calls it the "itty bitty shitty committee." I eventually just got into pedaling and then my dog wanted to get up in my arms so there I was pedaling my heart out while holding my little dog. One hour of heart pumping, deep breathing and pedaling my legs faster up this incline. Very nice. I'm grateful again for the ability to watch things dissolve. And that, my friends, is the long and full day with buckets of ups and downs. I'm very much ready for bed. Good night. xoxo, Linda
found this on FB
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thursday's meditation

I only got 10 minutes of meditation in so far today but I intend to do more before bed. OK, let me back track a bit. This morning I woke up at 7:30 am and that was too late to do any meditation. Had to get ready to take the kiddos out for the full day with a homeschool group. I said my little thanks for the day (like to start in gratitude, even if it's just one second.) Got up and got the day started. Arrived up north at 10 am and then went to see about running an errand for my friend Meg. The place was closed until 4 so went to the little cafe that I sometimes go to in order to get internet access. I pulled off some files from a database and noticed I was feeling quite sleepy so I went back to my usual work place for thursdays. I thought about taking a nap and/but as soon as I closed my eyes, I started thinking about all the things I wanted to get done for the day... I had my breakfast and then got down to business... I was very productive today. Wrote 2 papers and started 2 more. I spoke with a friend from school, then my dad and then I went to run that errand for Meg. I got back and then decided to take whatever time I could before it was time to pick up the kids to do some meditation. Here's what I noticed: My body was tense! I don't know how long it really was tense for but I began noticing just how tense it was when I sat and started relaxing myself during these ten minutes. I breathed in and out and scanned my body. My brain was very active with lots of TO DOs that I was thinking about for later. When I was having these kinds of thoughts, I noticed my body becoming very tight and tense. That was actually very good to notice. My body doesn't like these FUTURE thoughts like this. I hope I can remember this now but maybe I don't need to - maybe I just need to keep breathing, relaxing and noticing. It was only 10 minutes but it had a very positive effect on me. I realized that so much of my life has been spent in this mode of doing - wanting to be (and actually being) productive. I'm happy and love the life I live and I enjoy the work that I do. It's kind of a catch-22 in a way. I am propelled to get fun and good things done each day. I accept the work and the school work that I'm doing and I find great joy to be in an academic setting again. I do love homework despite me saying that it is stressful to have to hand in 6 things in one week. The balance that I'm seeking is to continue to take this time to sit, relax and notice. It is a very good break. It's "me time" in the best sense of the phrase. I'm finding I value it just as much if not more than time spent with my bestest buddies. In a video that I watched for meditation class, Jon Kabat-Zinn was saying how Americans all could be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He was saying this because we DO and DO and DO but don't stop to just be. We don't sit still with focused attention. We don't tune our apparatus, he says. Musicians will tune their instruments individually and then will listen to each other and tune their instruments together as a group. Why, he asks, do we find it weird to be still? Why is it weird for us to tune our own instruments? I loved the metaphors he was using - he was literal and figurative. I notice that I have definitely gotten caught up in the doing for quite a long while. But I have hope. I do recall a great long while of just being! As well, I have recollection of doing AND being. LOL So I can remember what it feels like each time I sit on the meditation pillow and commit to this time to and for myself. Well, the clock is showing a late time. I'm going to clean up the kitchen as mindfully as I can and get a little sitting in before bed. I have another FULL day ahead of me. You know, if nothing else, meditation helps to SLOW the moments down just a little bit. (It would be great if we could learn how to do it a la the Star Trek Insurrection lady - she's so awesome! See that link to catch what I'm talking about.) :-) all love and peaceful sitting, Linda
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mindfulness continued

can't think of a more opportune time to practice mindfulness than getting a tattoo fixed!
out with the old...
This is the old tattoo that I had. It's faded and blended together. I got this when I was around 26 or so. It used to look MUCH cooler! LOL
in with the new...
The tattoo artist (Meredith Muse from Shady Lady Tattoo) did a fine job. She worked with the design to make a moon design for me using blues, lavenders and white. I look forward to seeing what it looks like after it has healed and I'm happy with it. We chose spring to do this - a time of new beginnings (at least on the calendar it is spring, it's been snowing for a day and a half now.) I brought a book to read for school - the very DRY book for understanding research methods (researching how to research.) I didn't read more than 11 pages though. I was mainly more interested in what was going on at my back! :-) This is the only tattoo I have and it's the 2nd time I've gotten work done on this shoulder. There were times when the needle was getting close to my shoulder blade and that was a bit intense but only very briefly. Otherwise it was just kind of an annoyance and still other times it was just fine, no problem. I could feel the times when she was doing the white outline - that was an interesting sensation. It felt a bit like slicing but not quite. Hard to explain. Having this done kept me in the present moment, though, that's for sure! Also kept me 100% in my body! LOL How could I not be? Still my mind wandered at times. I remembered when I got my first tattoo. I remember asking a co-worker and friend (Dave, who now has like 40 tattoos or something amazing) if they hurt. I remember him saying they feel awesome. He's a thrash metal drummer so of course he would say that. But I remember him saying this. There were times when the the needle felt almost good - like scratching an itch. It didn't last long but when it happened, I would think of Dave and hear him and see him emphatically state how awesome this felt. LOL (still can't believe that Dave has a wikipedia page! DUDE! -- I was looking for his website but I don't think he has it anymore...) :-) I also remembered my friend Jen being with me the first time I had this done. I was grateful that she came and kept me company. I remember the first time I had this done there was a point when I was physically ready to end the tattooing, but the guy had more to do. I thought today how different it was to be 42 and not really needing to have anyone with me to do this the second time around. There was a lot less nervousness and excitement over this. What it seemed like was that I was taking care of myself and fixing something that needed to be fixed. All these lingering thoughts came in and didn't last long - thankfully each zap of the needle brought be back to center and back to present. Because the breaks in between the needle working were so brief, it was very easy to get to present moment. The whole process took an hour and a half ish. Not bad. I'm going to go back and get another one closer to my birthday. Meredith was great and we had a nice little chat about life in the process (here and there in between needles zapping.) Meredith was done and pronounced that she liked it. I said that was good to hear your tattoo artist liking what she did! I drove home during snow showers and continued on with my day. I'm grateful for all the ways in which I can practice mindfulness during my day.
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more noticing

had an interesting little experience meditating this morning. what made this morning a little different than other mornings was a DEEP DEEP feeling of relaxation in my belly. Boy that was nice. I noticed that my thoughts played a big part in this too, later on. I enjoyed the sensation so much that I kept trying to get back there. (holding onto pleasure, yes, I realize this!) But I noticed some thoughts immediately caused/created tenseness and tightness in my body and that deep relaxation wasn't as present. So I released the thought, or named it and let it be, and then the deep relaxation came back in my belly. It was a very pleasant morning.

I'm off now to get ready for an appt today. I'll get get back to you with more on mindfulness probably! :-)

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monday's meditations and lessons in mindfulness

Sunday night I watched a movie that triggered a lot of OLD stories in me: stories of loneliness and pain. I was feeling sad and lonely and decided to not dwell in it alone so I wrote to a few people that I know were usually up late. One lucky (or unlucky as the case may be) person was up and graciously agreed to be present to me. I said that this was old news and that there was a disconnect at the moment between my intellectual mind and my emotions. He heard me and validated what I was feeling and said all the right things. I felt very thankful for this experience. The sadness dissipated rather quickly and I was happy to see that I didn't collapse by opening up a raw side of myself with a friend. Sometimes, things need to be witnessed and this was one of those times for me. I ended with some night time meditation to continue to breathe in the emotions and watch them dissolve.

I woke up after a good sleep and did my morning meditations. The morning's meditations continue to be insightful. I still have a myriad of thoughts coming in and I'm sure that will be that way for a while. The books promise that these things will slow down some but for now, I greet them as the old friends they are!

I am interested to also include a night time meditation because I want to have a good winding down experience and get to that intimate space with myself before bed, just as I do in the morning after rising. It was also really good to have that time after emailing a friend to continue to slow down the thoughts.

Gratitude was the theme for me yesterday. In the morning after meditations, I received two phone calls from old friends and we talked and processed a lot of things for them and me. I told them about my experience the night before. It was good to go over this with people who have known me for centuries. :-) I ran some errands with my daughter in town and was very crazed with lots on my mind. I was working hard to keep mindful of how my TO DO list was getting to me (plus the excitement that the semester was beginning again.) I found myself routinely taking deep breaths and getting back to my body and getting back to the experience of the few hours I had with my daughter. These moments are special and I do understand what these books say about the tragedy of getting lost in thought and losing the present moment. Sitting actually does help to continue the awareness when we are "off the pillow."

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This morning's meditation

School officially starts today. I am still sticking to the morning meditations although I must say that this morning I was eager to get down to brass tax. I had so many PLANNING thoughts in my head. I meditated for a half an hour and almost constantly had to get back to the breath. After a half hour, I blessed the day with intention and then went right down to business. What I can say that is good about meditation is that when I stop to quiet the mind, there is an endless TO DO list that can form at times. LOL It's as if my mind is very clear and I'm able to remember things that would/could normally get bogged down in my busy life. The other good thing is that I went right to what I wanted to do and didn't waste time checking emails or doing the usual morning "routine" of wasting time. I've always said this is a nice way to ease into the day, but really, it is a way for me to waste time. Meditation is a nicer way to start the day. I'll continue on in this practicing way.

I've finished Pema Chodron's book, "When Things Fall Apart" - every other page is dog-eared or written in. Lots of juicy bits of words to savor over the course of time. I'm glad to have read this although I must admit I enjoy the simplicity of Kornfield's words from his video. I haven't yet read his book but am looking forward to it. Chodron writes of non-duality and uses a lot of dualism in her language so it is complex to me. I still liked it very much.

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noticing

this morning's meditation was interesting and insightful. I really spend a lot of time thinking. We all do and this is no real revelation - I suppose, though, when the intention is to sit down and SEE the level and amount of thoughts that come in, its pretty damn amazing. The good news is that I wasn't trying to fight it and I wasn't angry or frustrated (in times past I've stopped meditating because I thought the goal was to try to stop thinking.) I was seeing how easy it was, however, to let the thoughts wander - let my mind wander. I was a big day dreamer as a kid. Spent a lot of time thinking happy day dream fantasy thoughts about anything and everything. I am sure this was a coping skill because my reality wasn't so fun at times growing up. This morning I was seeing all the day dreamy fantasy thoughts: I was having conversations with friends that were kind of like wishes of conversations to come. I noticed it and looked at and asked myself a simple question about what is underneath this. The answer was very simple: there is a desire to be seen, heard, known, valued, validated in my relationships. I smiled and said to myself, "I see you, Linda. I hear you Linda. I know you Linda. I value and validate you, Linda." I then went back to watching my breath and being in the moment, only to have another thought drift in. It is going to take practice to keep being aware like this and it does feel nice.

I began reading Pema Chodron's book, "When Things Fall Apart" - it's for this meditation class coming up. I bought it several years ago but didn't read it. I bought it when things began to really fall apart but I couldn't bring myself to read it. I suppose it was enough to have validation that there is a book like this out there! LOL It's a good book. I haven't read anything of Chodron before and I find her to be very honest - there's some other quality, too, that I haven't put my finger on. Maybe it's that she's practicing Tibetan Buddhism and there's some quality in that. I like it though - it's different. It's not touchy-feely. It's pretty raw and honest. I can appreciate that.

In all these books the authors talk about how tragic it is that we leave the present moment. I have to find the way in which they wrote it because how I'm writing it doesn't give it justice. I've heard all this before but it's the way in which they write it (or maybe that I'm in a place to better GET it) that really speaks to me. It's the usual speech of the present moment being the only moment there is but how these 3 authors so far have been talking about it - it's appealing to me. There's this delicious quality to life if we stay in our bodies and stay with whatever is going on. The "recognition of being" is what gives us rest, awareness, creativity and intuition. Ah, that's beautiful. I think I'm getting that now. I am also gazing upon myself in meditation as if I were gazing upon those kids that I gave birth to: with friendliness and a loving curiosity and wow, that makes a big difference. I am enjoying the moments of "non-doing" of just being there and seeing what comes out of it. It's not easy but it is worth it and it's very enjoyable.

So the books that I'm reading for class so far are:
Wherever You Go, There You Are
Radical Acceptance
When Things Fall Apart

There are more books on our list this semester but these are proving to be very good beginning books on the subject of meditation. Let me know what you think if you read them.

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mindfulness in pain

Yesterday I had a "tune up" at the chiropractor. I haven't gone since September and that's a good thing for me. I had chronic debilitating pain for years and would be going to chiropractors and massage therapists and acupuncturists ALL the time. This is the longest I've been because I've been pain free! Anyway, I went because I've had some numbness in my one foot and I could feel a short muscle in my back/pelvis area that would be like a sticking point that would give me a sharp pain if I moved a certain way. I figured something is a little out of whack and maybe pressing on something to hurt and cause numbness. I went and my pelvis/sacrum were indeed in a way that was shortening my right leg a bit. My chiropractor (Leita Hancock) said that overall I wasn't needing very many adjustments and was so happy that all the yoga, stretching and strengthening work I'm doing is helping to keep me from her office. (I am happy for that, too.) She ended the adjustment with a deep massage and I left feeling quite good. In the evening, I noticed that I was feeling a release of some kind. My pelvis and sacrum were doing something. I can't quite put it into words. It was kind of like a small spasm - it was more annoying than truly painful. Leita told me to keep my body moving so it wouldn't get stuck. I noticed that when I felt the worst yesterday it was when I was sitting. So I did what she said and I kept moving my hips: I got on all fours and did the cat/ cow pose from yoga and it brought tears to my eyes. My pelvis/sacrum area was shaking a little bit, like the muscles were tired. I remember this pain. My body remembers this pain. The tears lasted only seconds. It was not at all like years past, thank goodness. I told my body that it was ok to feel this and it was ok to feel good, too. I told my body that it was safe and that it didn't have to hold onto this pain and discomfort. I sat with it like it was an old, old friend. (In truth, it is an old friend.) I have years of experience with pain in my body now and I can get to a place of being mindful in it. In a way there is a meditative quality about it. I can feel a bit like I did while in labor: breathing into the pain and being with it and then watching is dissolve until (and if) the sensation comes back. It's weird to say but there is a sensation of really being in one's body when there is pain. How can we not be? Yesterday's pain was not extreme by any sense and so I was really able to move in my body in a very pleasant way despite the annoyance of what I was feeling. It is true that there is sometimes little difference between pleasure and pain. I guess I can say that I welcomed it as an old friend knowing that it wouldn't be here long and it made the experience much more tolerable. I think this is an example of the "radical acceptance" that Tara Brach writes about in her book. My mom used to say, "This too shall pass." I would amend that to say that "This too shall pass, so accept it and love it like an old friend." This goes for the "good" stuff as well as the "bad" stuff... for physical pain, emotional pain and pleasure, too. I do personally think that emotional pain is harder to deal with than physical, but all pain is difficult to deal with at times. With regards to pleasure, there's a desire to hold onto it for as long as we can.. but this too also passes... :-)
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