Living in the moment – a meditation

My mind is a wanderer, taking me to the past or future.  In this moment, early Saturday morning, I sit on the back porch in the not quite oppressive humidity, listening to the birds, enjoying my coffee and considering going inside because of the occasional mosquito. I close my eyes for a moment, letting my mind go where it will.

I think about the past week at work, the first week since my coworker left so my work load has doubled, and consider alternatives. I miss working at home, yet I do like being out in the world with people. And no matter the challenges of the workday, I leave on time and leave it all behind until the next day, and everything is all right.

I think about the upcoming move, ready for it to happen, yet willing my mind back to this moment – the beauty of the forest of trees behind the back fence, the birds singing, the enjoyment of the coffee, and the love of my husband and family always with me. And everything is all right.

I think about all the scary things  happening in the world, the rifts that political and moral ideations cause. I am concerned about what is happening to our planet because of the disregard and carelessness of people, especially wondering how there will ever be a stop to the addiction to single-use plastics that is literally killing the planet. And wonder if everything will ever be all right.

In this moment, I experience a multitude of thoughts and emotions, and knowing that they are intangible, I watch them float by. More come along, some the same, some different. Some stay constant, some are there for just a moment. There are attempts by some of the less desirable to stick and cause distress, but as I become aware of them, I say hello and goodbye. I hold on to the good, and release that which does not serve me well. And, in this moment, in my little inner world, everything is all right.

I can ponder and reminisce, plan for future dreams, worry about the future, yet, in reality, all I have is this moment.

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A Day Off

Since quitting my full-time job in July, my life is my own. Or is it? What am I taking a day off from? (warning: this post evolved into total stream of consciousness!)

Starting from last Saturday, let’s take a look at my schedule for the past week, and most weeks. My 3 year old granddaughter stayed overnight with me Saturday, and again on Monday, while her mama worked. Thursday I spend with the now 6 month old twins. Tuesday evening is my Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling course. I worked, albeit from home, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, for a total of 18 hours.

Today, Friday, is the only day this week that I have nothing on my calendar. Not even a yoga class. So there you have it, a day off.

I always think I am going to “accomplish” big things when a day like this comes along. But what does that mean, anyway? I have in mind to get all my homework done, do some painting, do some writing, cook a delicious meal, go for a long walk, do laundry, clean the bathroom. I doubt if I’ll do all that, and I may do other things. It just feels good to have an entire blank slate of a day.

Right now it is the middle of the day and Robert is fixing lunch, some kind of garden veggie burgers, and vegetables and grains and it smells delicious! I guess if I’m going to cook it will be dinner!

wp-1484932347137.pngI got up at 6:45 and meditated.  Then I went back to bed for a bit. Got up and had tea, wrote in my journal, did some Yoga with Adriene, my favorite youtube yoga teacher. Ate my favorite breakfast of oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and stewed apples. Took a shower and washed my hair. Threw some paint on a canvas, almost literally!

And I’ve been sitting here on the couch writing between doing laundry. I started a new blog this week, The Cat’s Advice – just for fun, check it out!

While we are on that subject, I also started Finding Ayurveda. It’s purpose is mostly for me to put together what I’ve learned into content that makes sense to people who don’t know anything about Ayurveda.

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Now it is after lunch, which is just as delicious as I expected. I sit here writing with my phone propped against the screen  skyping the aforesaid granddaughter. Lately, we’ve been doing this more frequently, just “hanging out” so her mama can have 30 minutes to do some organizing or whatever.  Precious time, precious child. I don’t post pictures of her at her mother’s request.

wp-1484942917585.jpgIn a little while, I will drive down to the nature trail and take a walk. Today it is a balmy 77 degrees, a beautiful summer like day in the middle of January.  Yeah I’m doing that instead of watching the inauguration. You’ll never find anything political here.

Whatever you do today, may you be happy and look for the good. Remember, whatever you put your attention on grows and strengthens.

Thanks for reading my blog!

I don’t want to quit my job

A few months ago, I was thinking about how to leave my job, and developed a timeline to make it happen. Part of it may have been that my two closest coworkers left, then my boss, who is amazing. The rest of it has to to do with generally not buying into traditional western medicine and the revolving door that the hospital I work in has. I was searching, questioning, setting intentions, and back in March made a decision to do something different, and found my passion.

I have finished the first term of study with New World Ayurveda, including the Nutrition Intensive. I have learned so much, and have made gradual changes in what and how I eat, and have weaned myself off the bioidentical hormones I’ve been taking for 7 years. I feel fantastic. I have energy, clarity of mind, purpose, and joy. I am more productive at work than I’ve ever been, and am developing new relationships with new and old coworkers.

Stress is there, of course, but somehow it is easier to deal with. I’m sure there are quite a few factors involved, but I would say the main one is my regular meditation practice. It’s been a year and a half, and even I notice that I am less reactive, calmer, more peaceful, more in the moment. I’d like to incorporate more yoga into my life, and for now, most mornings, I follow this zen yoga video, and it just seems to energize me and get me ready for the day.

I worked hard this week, and felt good after every day. That’s different. It wasn’t like that a few months ago, or a year ago. The job hasn’t changed. I have. As I walked out to my car yesterday, which was Friday, I realized that I wasn’t all about quitting the job anymore. I have purpose there. I have opportunities to share love with hurting people, and be a source of encouragement and help.

I still have goals, and time lines, and dreams and desires. But I am happiest when I stay in the present moment with the people that are in front of me. Perhaps next summer when I finish my course of study, great changes will occur, or it may be that I keep on where I am now. Between then and now, I am sure that I will find guidance as I set one foot in front of another.

 

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.

Still facing fear

I am reblogging my first post. I “met” another blogger who had just started Morning pages, so went back to read this. Indeed there is something magical about writing 3 pages longhand about whatever is in your head first thing in the morning. So much has opened up for me in this last year, and there is so much opening up ahead.

Facing Fear (written and posted June 20, 2014)

I chose “embracing uncertainty” as the name of my blog because this has been my life, although until recently, I couldn’t see that. I always liked the illusion of being in control, of making things happen.

Learning the seven spiritual laws has really changed the way I look at life. Detachment simply means not being attached to a particular outcome, or point of view. I get up in the morning and have no idea what the day will bring. I meet someone or have a conversation, and let life flow, as opposed to imposing my views or desires on others, or even GOD.

For three months, since I started meditating regularly, I have asked myself the soul question: Who am I? The idea is to just ask,  then meditate, with no expectations of anything. This is really an effort for me , as I like immediate answers. I recently opened a book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, subtitled A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. The author suggests writing morning pages, three longhand pages of whatever comes to mind. The hope is that whatever is blocked will be released. So I have been doing this for a couple of weeks, and it has basically become a journaling. Yesterday I came across an author who mentors and got  her 21 spoonfed writing tips for finding your writing voice. The first tip is to “spend some time writing about what makes you who you are, what moments in your life have shaped you.” Wow. Same as the soul question.

So I sat to write. And admitted on paper that I resist this exploration. And started writing, not expecting much. But as I wrote, I was able to see that I am a passionate, loving woman, and I give myself wholly to those I choose to love. As I continued to explore events and people who have shaped me and my life, I had what to me was an amazing aha revelation – the facing of fear has shaped me in a major way. And this:

Facing fear is like walking blindfolded through a wall of flame, not knowing how badly I might be burned, or if I will survive the heat, and if I do survive, not knowing what I will find on the other side or if I will be able to handle it.

Accepting the inevitability of change doesn’t mean giving up what I want. I just recognize that I control my choices, but have no idea what the consequences will be. Watching life unfold becomes wonderful instead of fearful.