"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Making Meditation a Priority

There are a multitude of things I credit to my health and well being. I eat a largely whole food vegan diet. I get a lot of sleep. I workout regularly with good intensity. I am an avid yogi. I meditate...when I can.

You see, like many of you I have commitments and obligations competeing for my time. I will not say I am busy because I am not. I will not do busy. I will cut large swathes of things out of my life and my family's life if I reach the point of busy.  But there are things that take up my time. I keep them organized by priority. In my head there are many three most important things to do each day, three that would be beneficial to do, and maybe three thing it would be nice to do. This system works for me and keeps me from stress. But I think I need to switch out my something in that top category. It would be extremely beneficial in my life to put a priority on meditation.

I am realizing regular meditation makes a life changing difference in my life. With a regular meditation practice, I can handle just about anything. My peace and inner tranquility rises above almost any situation large or small and prevails. My life seems to almost naturally fall into harmony and equinimity when I meditate, daily.I am coming to understand using meditation as the ultimate tool allows me to truly delve into my being. Through mediation I discover what my passions really are and what truly is most important to me. When I mediate I achieve a clarity and resolution about my life that is almost magical in its intensity. It is truly a wonder.

Even though I don't watch much television and I avoid magazines, etc.,  I think there is still an unconscious and unfortunately almost unending stream of media and propaganda filtering into my brain each day. Millions of dollars are spent on ad campaigns that attempt to influence what is important to me, and everyone else, in my life. These campaigns seek to breed a dissatisfaction and discontent deep within our beings in order to sell us, well more crap we don't need. We are pushed to embrace rampant consumerism, the pursuit of materialism, and ultimately focus on an external locus of identity. None of it is real and none of it is really important. It is an attempt to scam us into believing a mass delusion and honestly, it is very, very successful.

An  established, long term meditation practice can help us cut through that delusion and begin to see the world as it truly is. Through the focus and training of our minds, we can discover what truly matters. Reality dawns around us in all of its breath-taking natural glory. Our eyes are opened and it is far more wonderful and beautiful than the delusion ever promised to be.

This is why I am changing around my priorities. This is why I am going to put meditation at the top of my list every single day. It won't be easy. Anything that truly matters rarely is easy. But it is doable and that is promise enough for me.

I want truth. I want beauty. I want to focus on what reality is and what matters. Ultimately I want release "I want" and simply dwell in the being.

May harmony find you my friends.

Monday, January 20, 2014

the Thief That is Worry

Yesterday was simply a lovely day. I spent time with my family, I painted, even cleaned up a little. It was not a big, exciting day but rather a quiet, lovely time filled with simple moments creating a memory of a beautiful day.

I love the path I am on with my life. Learning to control my emotions and letting go of the worry over things I have no control has freed me to see the stunning beauty in life. Since my mind is no longer continually focused on the uncertainties of tomorrow, I am free to delve into and savor the amazing beauty of the simple, quiet moments life has in abundance. These moments make them selves know to me as if they want me to notice and enjoy them.

When your mind continually races and frets, you miss so many important things. You may not see the delicate perfection of the first blooms of a Redbud tree. The enticing smell of wood smoke in your child's hair as you hold them close may elude you. You may not take the time to really experience the feeling of your child, full of trust and love for you, as they simply melt in your embrace. You may not realize that action conveys more feelings of warmth and happiness than mere words are able to describe. You may not catch the look in your lover's eye turning an everyday word or occurrence into a shared moment of internal laughter and intimacy. The moment the warmth of a new spring day invigorates your beloved, old arthritic dog to romp as if his world was new may be lost to you.

Worry and fretting has the power to take all of this from you. Let's have truth between us, ultimately it is these precious moments gifted to us that make our life truly worth living. Without them it is just a drone and hardship until we leave this life.

But you have the power to banish worry, mostly, from your mind. Armed with those small moments of beauty resonating deeply in your heart,you can no longer allow fretting and worry to have a hold in your mind. Each time it arises you can say, "Worry you are not welcome here today. I have done what I can to ensure the prosperity of my tomorrows and I will not think of it anymore." Then you turn your mind to what makes you happy, what brings a smile to your face, what brings peace into your heart. Each time worry threatens to upset your harmony, return to you list. Soon your natural inclination will be to see the abundance in your life rather than fear of what might happen.

I made this change started almost a decade ago. I promise you will not miss or mourn worry in your life. You will find joy and peace in the freedom banishing worry brings.

May harmony find you today my friends.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Creativity Explosion

That my friends is my very first mandala. I just love it. I am in the grip of a creativity explosion so this post may very well be disjointed but hey, the ride should be fun.

This picture was done on  December 31, 2013. Now I am not all about the New Year. We don't really do anything special. I don't do resolutions. It usually isn't a very big deal but this year has been special. I think it is more by chance than design I have experienced this huge life shift but whatever, I will happily go with it.

This past year I have really found my footing on my path.I have regained my brain after giving birth and dealing with a child sick for almost two years with reflux. (Seriously, you cannot function when you haven't slept more than 4 hours at a time in two YEARS!!). I have learned to let situations and people toxic to my family go without a lot of fretting. I say no to anything I deem detrimental to our harmony. I am now doing daily yoga, eating really well, getting plenty of exercise, and meditating more and more. Seriously folks, I am loving life. Yes, there are still difficulties and hardships. Yes, I still get sad, angry, and ever flirt with depression. But I have learned these things are transient and if I will just ride them out and choose joy wherever I can, they will soon pass away. On the flip side, I know wonderful and beautiful things will also pass way so take time to enjoy and cherish them.

I have also learned, I still have a big ego. I was really enjoying posting pics of my yoga "accomplishments". They were just so pretty and fabulous. Hello, see my big ego begging for approbation? Yep, so I am not really doing that anymore. Silly ego.

I am almost not raising my voice with my kids anymore. We practice gentle, nonviolent, non-shaming, parenting. But I was still finding myself losing my temper and yelling at my kids. Not cool. Um, how can I expect my children to learn self discipline and control themselves when I obviously couldn't??? So I started on a campaign to end it. I used a bracelet. That bracelet reminded me of my commitment to practice self discipline and self control. It has made me more mindful of my triggers. Surprise, surprise, often my triggers were stressers I had brought into the family by means of unrealistic expectations.

This January the 9th I will finish my first 108 Days of Mindfulness. It was amazing. I learned so much. I learned I don't like to mix me with alcohol. Even one drink makes me not mindful and I don't like that. Total personal choice but a choice I think may very well prevail in my life. This time has taught me to simplify even more. Streamline my life to really focus ONLY on those things which truly matter to me. Wow, so much I thought was important just doesn't matter at all to me. Learn something new all the time, huh?

This winter I have truly embraced my desire to be an introvert and hibernate. I still have moments of anxiety caused from SAD but overall it has been terrific. I have nothing scheduled, no work projects, home improvement, nothing but that which brings me joy until spring. I think my spring will explode with amazing projects imbued with refreshed and revitalized energy.

Okay, so all of this sort of brings me to right here, right now. I am having an artistic explosion. I am so interested in doing art, I am distracted in doing almost everything else. I am pretty sure this will settle down but for right now the kids are just doing art with me and my husband seems to be okay coming home to clouds of glitter and forgotten dinner.

You see, I have never "done" art before. How could I??? What if I wasn't instantly and applause worthy amazing at it???? What if it wasn't perfect?? Oh yes, this seems to be the place where my self doubts and self criticism tried to make their last stand. Well my friends, I am in the process of blowing them to smithereens. It is so absolutely mind-blowingly fantastically freeing and beautiful. I love it. I am starting a new art journal where anything goes. There is no right, no shoulds, just creation and it is so freaking amazing it makes my fingers and toes just tingle with the very thought of it.

So this year my sweet delightful friends, I shall do art and within that process I shall find even more of me.

May harmony (and creativity) find you.