Ending and beginning

I have had an amazing week!

Just as I expected, the five day intensive to wrap up my ayurvedic studies was exciting, confidence building, wonderful, and intense! I got to spend 5 days with my amazing teacher and 20 like-minded people who became, in a very short time, my family as well as my friends – my “peeps”.

As I have been away from home, immersed in study and then for the last two days on a mini vacation, I have also been given inspiration on what to do next and looked at my present job situation with new perspective.

The first thing I am going to do is start a new blog which will be focused on ayurveda as well as my personal journey in finding it and how it can be useful in daily life.  I think it will be helpful to me to pull together what I have learned by writing about it, with the goal of being able to teach others and have my own clients.

Stepping away from my day to day usual routine and the job that provides me with a roof over my head and food to eat is always a mind bender, and this time even more so. I had set a goal a little over a year ago to quit my job in June of 2016, when I finished with this course. And here it is, June 2016. A few months ago I decided to stay, to not be so drastic, and then things started happening that make me think that I am being guided away. My boss quit, and I was evicted from the office space I’ve had for 4 years due to what is the equivalent of office politics in a hospital.  Middle management isn’t supportive, and upper management doesn’t care, and as I write this, it just makes me wonder what am I holding on to?

I’ve had a tendency to hold on to relationships and jobs long past time to let go and move on, and I think that is what I am doing. Fear, again. Uncertainty, as usual. As difficult as it is, it is the known. But I have a new tool that I gained recently. Instead of fighting with the fear, or running from it, I have learned to make friends with it, to look at it as serving a purpose. And so I will sit with the fear for a bit, talk to it, question it.

I will go back to the job.  I want to take a zen mindset with me. Zen as defined in the urban dictionary:

swans on the lotus lagoon

One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.  

I’ve had a tendency to try to fight what is inevitable, to act as if I have some sort of secret power to change the minds of management if I just dig in my heels hard enough.  I think I’m done with that. I need to stop holding on to what doesn’t serve me well.

I know, deep down that the timing is perfect for great change. That there is nothing to fear. That walking away from a closed door is walking towards an open one.

You can’t win a battle against those who have no honor. There is no reasoning with closed minds and no persuasion that will open a closed heart.  – mystical Cat tarot card

 

And now I turn my heart towards home.

 

Here I go again

Uncertainty, again.

Things are changing in my workplace.

The boss who has only been there 7 months is leaving. Some of my co-workers are looking to me for leadership, but this is not my path, I don’t want it. I want to stay settled in my little space until I decide it is time for change.

But that’s not the way it works.

In addition to that, my little office space, where I’ve been settled for a good four of the six years I’ve been employed at this hospital, is being commandeered by someone else. I was told that I would have to move to a non-private space on the first floor, but still be the case manager for the fourth floor. I said no, no way, no how.

This is not only impractical and not the only solution, but it shows blatant disrespect for all the case managers in my hospital. My first thought when I was informed of this potential move was “they have no idea what I do!” It is simply not acceptable to me, or to anyone in my department.  We feel like this is an affront to Case Management in general.

So I got really angry, in a way that I haven’t in a long time. Since I started meditating regularly about two years ago, I generally don’t get upset about much. I want to approach all situations and all people with a heart of love. But this hit a nerve. Fortunately, I was able to process through that first day, think about what was important to me, and go back to work the next day.

Because I thought about just quitting. Or at least resigning. Maybe this is a push from the universe. Sometimes I’m too tenacious, hold on to things for too long. I’ve done it in jobs before, and in marriage.  And I’d had a plan, last year, to make a change in June of 2016 – I am finishing my Ayurvedic Practioner Studies, and could live on savings for at least a couple of months.

But then I changed my mind, decided to try to hold on another year until my youngest graduates from college, pad my wallet a little more, build a practice while still being employed.  So then this happens. It really gave me pause.

wp-1464454141289.pngSo we shall see. This could be that final straw. Another solution that I proposed has been accepted, I’m told. However, it involves putting a door up where there is none, and I might be asked to vacate my space before they do that. Again, I will say no. I will move when and if I have an acceptable space. And if that’s not ok with the powers that be, I will move out of the building and on to what is next for me.

I’m actually getting a little excited about that prospect.

The next few weeks are going to be interesting.

 

Inspiration

I spent five days with an amazing and inspiring group of people.

As part of my studies with New World Ayurveda, I traveled to Portland, Maine to participate in the first of two Clinical Intensives. Since I enrolled in this course about a year ago,I have been learning how to “read” people through looking at them externally, through pulse diagnosis, and in other subtle ways. It was really neat to get together and practice on each other. There’s nothing better than getting together with a group of likeminded people to boost one’s confidence!

Getting to know my co-students, hearing their stories, becoming friends through the intimacy of sharing our stories – that was even better. I was amazed to meet so many who have already walked through their fear and are living their passion, inspiring me that I CAN DO THIS, to stop looking back and keep looking forward.  I made new friends who give of themselves to pursue what they love, caring for family or traveling long distances, and just keep doing what they love. They gave me much to think on.

wp-1460249516517.pngWhat kept coming up, as others practiced on me, is that I still have some issues from the past that aren’t resolved. I have generally thought of myself as stating my mind, not being afraid to say what I think, yet the subtle vibrations in my pulse said otherwise, and as it came up it resonated with me to the point of bringing tears. I realized that I am still finding my voice and learning to speak my truth.  Thus I write here, and paint, and seek  out the company of people who inspire me to go to the next level.

“At some point, if you’re fortunate, you’ll hit a wall of truth and wonder what you’ve been doing with your life. At that point you’ll feel highly motivated to find out what frees you and helps you to be kinder and more loving, less klesha driven and confused. At that point you’ll actually want to be present—present as you go through a door, present as you take a step, present as you wash your hands or wash a dish, present to being triggered, present to simmering, present to the ebb and flow of your emotions and thoughts. Day in and day out, you’ll find that you notice sooner when you’re hooked, and it will be easier to refrain. If you continue to do this, a kind of shedding happens—a shedding of old habits, a shedding of being run around by pleasure and pain, a shedding of being held hostage by worldly concerns.” ~ Pema Chodron

I am inspired to push through the next wall of fear, to not look back, to dream big, to trust my intuition, and to love MORE.

If you want to learn more about ayurveda, New World Ayurveda is offering an introductory course. Check it out!

Plans, time, and intentions

wp-1454259597628.jpegI have been writing in my Penzu journal quite a bit, and have let the blogging go. The last couple of evenings I wrote longhand, reflecting on my day and planning for the next. Usually the planning is way too much. I have so much I want to do. Blogging is one of those things, so here I am!

I am often struck by profound thoughts and I think, wow, I could write about that! Then something else demands my attention and that thought drifts away. So I decided, this beautiful Sunday morning, to sit here and write about whatever comes to mind.

January has flown. After all the traveling and days off in December, I put my nose back to the grindstone and haven’t taken any time off from my “day job”. I have had plenty of opportunities to show compassion, to listen, and at times even to empathize with the people at the hospital who are in crisis. I am grateful for those opportunities.

I made a decision to deepen my Ayurvedic studies by joining the live online class instead of the independent study. I love the topic and the coursework, and had come to a point where it was time to participate in the first Clinical Intensive. I realized that I felt too scattered, and fitting it in around my work schedule, social activities, and visiting with my granddaughter wasn’t the best plan for me. So I talked with my teacher/mentor, and am now dedicated to the weekly class, and will be traveling to Portland, Maine the first week in April. I am very excited!

Another thing that has affected me, this past week, is that my father is in the hospital. He is almost 88, and his health has been failing, so this isn’t surprising. He’s in the hospital I work at, so the blessing is that I got to go see him. I haven’t seen him in over a year, due to the deep rift that his wife of five years has caused, keeping my siblings and I from being involved in his life. I wrote a long letter to him last year, and if you want to know the details it is published in two parts, here and here.

My next to youngest child turned 22 a couple of days ago. He lives in Massachussetts, is happy in his life with his partner and his cats, living out in the country. My hope as a parent is that all my children find love and happiness, as well as independence. Better that than wealth with loneliness and sorrow.

I like to think that I have some control over my perception of time, like not getting in a hurry and that sort of thing. But when I look back at my life, and raising my children, all grown now, much of it is like a vapor. Thinking about three years ago, just finally having freed myself from a very difficult marriage, and all that has happened since then, I am amazed. Looking back 20 years, to the birth of my youngest child and what has happened in her relatively short life – it is hard to believe.

Speaking of amazing — I’m going to be a grandmother, again! My second oldest son and his wife announced this month that they are going to be parents – of TWINS! Talk about uncertainty there! Embrace the unexpected, right? They will be wonderful parents.

Do you set intentions? I do all the time!

Lake morningToday, I have the intentions of finishing and publishing this post, walking outside in the sunshine, cooking a nutritious lunch, putting paint on a canvas, and spending the evening with some friends celebrating a birthday.

This week, I intend to show compassion to everyone I meet,  do some yoga at least 3 times, take a couple of long walks, study and practice ayurveda, spend time with people I love either on the phone or in person, and eat fresh nutritious food. I intend to write and paint, too!

What are your intentions? What are you grateful for?

Thoughts on Meditation

As I continue my meditation practice, and especially while traveling, more insights came to me about what meditation is and is not. It can be a bit challenging to keep up a regular practice while traveling, and a key concept is to not judge yourself. Travel is glorious and disruptive at the same time, so the idea is to do the best you can to stay “grounded”, and meditation can help in this area.

I recently had a conversation with someone who said she hadn’t been able to commit to meditation, even though she thinks it’s probably pretty great, because she doubts if she can clear her mind of thoughts.  I think that’s a  common misconception. Maybe advanced meditators can do that, but that is definitely not my experience! Someone else I talked to said “I’ve just got to keep doing it until my mind goes!” She seemed to be trying too hard. It’s not about the mind going somewhere else, or having no thoughts at all.

Back when I was a conservative fundamentalist Christian I had a long list of things that were bad, or even evil. Meditation was one of them, because the belief was that you make your mind blank and as a result you open yourself up to evil spirits who can come in and possess you. I really believed that, which now amazes me. Back then, I embraced dogmatism rather than allow uncertainty into my life. I am happy to report that I was wrong, and if I can meditate, anyone can.

One way to experience meditation is to realize that it is basically sitting with yourself. There are different techniques, and although it is helpful to have a teacher, it is not absolutely necessary. I use a mantra based on when and where I was born. The mantra is an anchor, or you can use your breath. I focus on it, but inevitably my mind drifts to — you got it, thoughts! Then after a bit I realize I’m thinking, so back to the mantra. There’s no striving, just gentle drifting back and forth. Definitely not blankness, but occasionally there is an awareness of being somewhere else, so to speak. It’s difficult for me to describe. And I must admit that I sometimes relax so much that I nod off to sleep!

It is worth it to make a commitment, to take the time, to truly sit with yourself and to allow whatever is inside you to surface. Then you get up and go about your business. Over time, you will see a difference in your responses to life’s frustrations, and people will say, what have you done with yourself? Because you will develop a different countenance and demeanor. This huffington post article about the benefits of meditation is fascinating, and has before and after pictures.

As you practice sitting in meditation letting whatever happens inside happen, without judgment, you will gradually find yourself letting go of old mental and emotional patterns. You will find freedom from that which doesn’t serve you well, and you will find new ways of peacefully embracing life as it unfolds.