Browsing Tag

meditation

Thoughts

Let me float something by you

June 1, 2017

When I close my eyes as tight as I can, or stand in a completely black room, I see things. Not like psychedelic cats blowing smoke rings or anything, but like moving streams of light and twinkling dots of color. Now, this could get weird because I don’t know if that’s normal for everyone, but it’s normal for me. (At this point, you’re either nodding with your eyebrows raised encouragingly and feeling validated in some way, or making a confused crinkly face that I’m glad I can’t actually see or I’d feel too judged to continue. I understand it could be caused by my special eyes.)

I see these lines and colors when I meditate, when I go to bed in a hotel room with the curtains drawn and when I sit in a closet waiting for a little pair of hands to turn the doorknob and seek me out … finally. And, as I discovered, I see the equivalent of the Northern Lights behind my eyelids when I float in a pod of concentrated salt water.

I know, I know … This post is stupid scattered to this point. I’m seeing things in the dark, I’m submerged in salt water. There’s a lot going on here. Keep following the needle, I’m about to get to a point.

My brother had been raving about float tanks for months. Because I struggle with claustrophobia and the general notion of taking time for myself, let alone a water nap, I politely brushed him aside. Plus, it just seemed weird; like taking a swim in a baby whale’s old bath water or something. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. And yet, he persisted.

For Christmas, Matt gave Hank and I three passes for one-hour floats. Well, hell! I thought. Why not? There’s nothing like a freebie to convince a stubborn skeptic. So, I scheduled a session for 7 o’clock on a Monday night, since they’re typically uneventful at our house.*

The gentleman who runs the place was waiting at the front desk when I pulled up. He gave me the instructions: 1) Go to the bathroom, even if you don’t think you have to go (no Code Browns in the pod). 2) Change into your swim or birthday suit. 3) Shower, using body wash, shampoo and conditioner. 4) Ball up your wax earplugs and drop em in your ear holes. And 5) Climb into the tank, turn off the light and turn on the tunes (a massage-style relaxation playlist.) You can leave the light on if you prefer, but because it was my first time and I lose my shit in confined spaces, the owner recommended lights out, which I think was a game changer.

Here’s how it went …

7:05 p.m.
All I could think about was the hour ahead of me. How was I going to just float in a tub of dark gray water for 55 more minutes? I was sure I was going to freak out. It was inevitable.

7:15 p.m.
This was when my list-making started, which is typical for me in any sort of silence, meditation or pre-slumber space. The girls had field trips that week. I really needed to get some art up on the walls in the living room. We were out of ketchup. My right armpit felt itchy.

7:20 p.m.
A drop of saltwater dropped on my forehead, startling me for a second. I tensed my stomach and tried to force my butt down to the bottom of the tank. I accidentally used my fingertip to remove it – rookie mistake. Regret. Immediate regret. I reached out and grabbed the folded washcloth on the table just outside of the pod and dabbed the stinging corners of my eyeballs. Once calm was restored, I succumb again to the weightlessness.

7:25 p.m.
The reality of the dark hit me and I started to think about death, as I often do (apologies for the shift to the morbid tone here). It’s true, I’m generally afraid of death. And I often obsess over the undeniable uncertainty of how things end for us, but in my defense, my deep thoughts on this occasion were likely a result of a podcast I had just listened to about how our souls are so much bigger than our bodies and are always connected to our great loves. I started thinking about what it would be like if death was eternal blackness with the presence of thought, and how terrible yet comforting that idea was. These thoughts are slippery for me, often dragging me down rabbit holes I’d rather leave unexplored. Nevertheless, here they were. I was trapped inside a giant white plastic prison, hovering in a pool of my own fears. Submerged in them. Forced to swim with them.

7:40 p.m.
I woke up after a very brief but sweet snooze. Apparently, being scared shitless makes me sleepy. Everything shifted for me here.

7:45 p.m.
I gently but playfully pushed my body around in the pod. I waited until the tips of my toes hit the bottom and used as little effort as possible to push myself up until my fingertips touched the top of the pod. I’d shift my weight side to side to feel my slippery, freshly conditioned hair settle around my shoulders like affectionate baby eels.

7:50 p.m.
I felt a consuming peace. I was seeing streams of white light dancing behind my eyelids and it reminded me of God and busy angels. I felt so connected to the calmest version of myself, and she’s been quite the stranger lately. I love when she comes to visit. She has no worry, no sense of urgency, no self-loathing. This, I thought, is what meditation must feel like if you make it past the first 10 minutes. I was atmospheric, ethereal, near sedation.

8 p.m.
The light clicked back on and a robotic woman’s voice filled the pod. “We hope. You enjoyed. Your float.” I lifted the lid, beaded with salted condensation, and reached again for the washcloth to tuck my eyes away from the bite of the mineral.

I climbed out and went back into the shower, as instructed. I washed my hair and body, which was slick with a film of fabricated ocean water and sleep. My clothing clung obnoxiously as I tried to slide into the shirt and pants I’d packed. Normally, I’d be irritated. I wasn’t.

I emerged from the room like a flu patient after a 48-hour nap. The tranquilizer dart had just been removed from my backside and I just wanted to keep a good thing going and go get in my bed. I felt beautifully depleted, emotionally drained.

The owner and I chatted for a bit. “Mind or body?” he asked. In his experience, some people notice more of a physical response to the tank, and others more of a mental response. I don’t have gout. My back isn’t too bad. And my pains seem to be reasonable for a gal of my certain age. So, for me, it was almost entirely a treatment for mental chaos and fatigue. “Oh gosh, mind!” I answered without hesitating.

The float granted me a temporary buoyancy for my abused, slouchy body and my tired, frantic brain. The optic light show in the infinite darkness and the subtle sounds of splashes as I glided across the water washed away my worry for a few hours. I came out a convert, a believer, an enthusiastic float-pusher. I don’t know what you’ll see when you close your eyes, but for me, it was serenity. I skimmed the top of the water and took home a doggie bag of tranquility, a scarcity for me and most.

I never felt trapped or claustrophobic. I never felt like I was going to drown. But there was one negative side effect – I find myself telling people the exact thing my brother told me for months. Despite my best efforts here, “I can’t explain it. You just have to try it.” Go find yourself in a float.

*This is not a sponsored post. I am not that big of a deal.

Try That With Matt

Try that with Matt. Meditation

December 6, 2016

Try that with Matt

While our denial of the fact differs – he adamantly disputes it and I fully accept it to the point of obsessing – my brother and I both experience an immense amount of stress. Mine even manifests into anxiety attacks as a cherry on top from time to time. (His might too, but he’d never tell anyone.)

This fact does not make us special, mind you. We don’t win a pity prize. Stress is the basic cause of 60 percent of all human illness and disease. Since 1 in 5 of us report experiencing extreme stress, it’s safe to say that our hectic schedules, ridiculous expectations and insane pressure to perform are literally killing us.

You might remember our monthly challenges are about improving and enjoying these insane little lives, so, in that spirit, we thought it might be a good idea to dabble in this crazy thing the kids are all trying called meditation. I’ve played in this sandbox before, of course, but something about bringing my brother along made me feel more accountable. More optimistic.

In a podcast I listened to recently, one of the guests said, “Meditation doesn’t fix stuff. It calms the water enough so we can see the stuff.” Then I guess it’s on us to fix the stuff. It’s better than nothin’. There’s a biweekly mindfulness and meditation class for stress reduction in our area. I know the instructor, Dr. Dave, through work, and he is phenomenal; One of those people who drops truth bombs and owns dramatic pauses like a boss and rolls out the blueprints to rewire your brain. It was Bring Your Bro to Class Day, and I was kind of geeked.

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**ME**

Matt had to hit the head before the meeting, so I went in with Dr. Dave. (We rode the elevator up together. Street cred, what?) There was a circle of chairs, every-other one occupied. We wouldn’t be able to sit next to each other. Maybe that’s for the best, I thought. I settled in to the one closest to the door. My brother walked in just as the action started. He looked at me and put his hands up (universal for, “What the …?”) and fell heavily into the next open seat.

“Tonight we’re going to be talking about stress and how it affects us. Specifically at work.” Ho! Ho! Hooooly good topic for my ticking timebomb of a sibling, I thought. I might need this, but no one, and I mean no. one. needs this like my brother needs this. I couldn’t have planned it better. I didn’t look at him. It’s so irritating when someone gives you that look. That oh-you-know-that’s-you look. That obnoxious side glare tethered to accusation and incrimination. It’s the worst. So I smirked into my lap.

Dr. Dave explained that stress is a nonspecific response to any demand or change, either past or present. It’s the Fight/Flight/Freeze mechanism. The interesting thing is, our nervous system (which also resides in our stomach, FYI) doesn’t stop when stressed to sort through the scenario. Is this me reliving that time I thought I lose my child at the department store? OK, that’s old news. We’re good here. No. It just tenses and twists and tortures.

How do we stop the torture? We smell the coffee, that’s how.

Mindfulness, he went on, is intentional (being present in the here and the now) and attentional (moment-to-moment sensory awareness). We are a society on autopilot. We don’t taste, we shovel. We don’t listen, we respond. We don’t explore, we run the routine. Putting on the brakes to snap out of that cycle, off of that hamster wheel, can turn the color on. When we detach from what we think needs to happen and attach to, instead what is happening, we become active participants in our lives. In this respect, being curious is healthier than being in control. And I am a person who craves control. Ask yourself, in the morning, could you take 60 seconds to smell your coffee? It’s just 60 seconds. That’s it. Could you feel the mug in your hands and the steam at the base of your nose? Could you notice the rich color? Could you smell. The damn. Coffee?

Next was putting our talk into practice. Dr. Dave led us in a flow meditation. We began in our toes. How do they feel against the floor? Are they clenched or bent? We went to our stomach. So much stress rests in our tummies. Really stop and listen to your stomach. Then we moved to right above the stomach. Then the chest. Then the jawline. Then the top of the head. These are some of the places we commonly foster tension and anxiety. Just by checking in there. By noticing. We’re doing more for ourselves than we do on any given Monday.

As I sat still and contemplated what my stomach was trying to tell me, I heard it. The Abominal Snowman of yawns. Oh my gosh, I thought, was that … Then, another. The source of these room-sucking exhalations could only be my brother. I opened one eye and looked down the row of people. There he sat. Tons of Fun, looking like he could topple to the ground at any moment. “Oh, I know!” he told me after class. “I was so relaxed, man. I almost fell asleep.” “Yeah. Caught that.”

When our final body scan was complete, I slowly, drunkenly opened my eyes. Nothing had changed except everything kind of felt like it had. You know during a pause, when a room is so still and so quiet you think you can hear the air moving? Like the buzz and natural current of the universe is bouncing off your eardrums. We all looked like a group of frat guys the morning they were released from the drunk tank. All droopy eyelids and turned down smiles. It was such a nice change from my typical psychotic post-work obstacle course run.

I left determined to keep the good vibes flowing. Matt and I agreed on 5 consecutive days, 20 minutes of meditation each day.

After I meditate, it feels like forcing myself out of a power nap. My body kind of wants to stay sedentary and hushed, but my mind is eager to pick back up and race ahead to catch up with what it missed while it was picturing air in my lungs. Right away, I realized that time would be my nemesis on this challenge. I don’t feel like I have time to sit still for 10 minutes. I write that, and then I say it out loud to myself. I don’t feel like I have time to sit still for 10 minutes! Who am I? In what universe is that an acceptable statement for someone to make about such a spec of a sliver of a day? But I do. I make that statement. And I feel that statement. And that is the problem.

Somewhere between tumultuous tantrums over tights vs. leggings and meal planning and freelancing and not cleaning, I lost the ability to sit still and hear my heartbeat. I mean I assume it’s still beating because I am frantically doing all of these things, but I’m not stopping long enough to hear it and sit with it and thank it. I’m not smelling the coffee. And I love the coffee.

I realized through this challenge that my problem might be bigger than quiet. Bigger than 5 days and 20 minutes. It’s more sizable and serious than any app, although Headspace did do its best to work with me. The problem might be my priorities. I’m feeding the stress and starving the senses. Sometimes these challenges are the answer. And sometimes they just give me more questions. And so my elusive love affair with meditation continues …

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**MATT**

Meditate for 5 days, 20 minutes at a time.
20 minutes a day.
It’s only 20 minutes.
20 minutes to sit and try and focus on myself.

For those reading this that know me, I know you’re laughing right now. You know I don’t sit still. As my old man would say, “I’m like a fart in a skillet.” I’m not sure what in the hell that means, but I’m pretty sure it means I don’t relax. It’s just not an option. Something’s always poppin’ off. My brain just doesn’t have an off switch. But Biscuits picked it, so, let the challenge begin …

First stop, Dr Dave. The class started with a discussion on “stressors” in our lives – co-workers, expectations of our employers to be available 24/7, workload, money, family, etc. We all have them, but how do we deal with them. Obviously, we all have our ways of coping. Some good, i.e. hitting the gym, running, enjoying nature … and some not so good, i.e. downing a six pack, bottles of wine, excessive eating, smoking a pack of Reds (if you are a badass). Dr. Dave was telling a room full of people looking for tools that meditation was the ticket to stress relief.

Now, this may come as a shock, but I have never meditated before. At least not consciously or soberly. So, I sat with 20 of my new best friends, closed my eyes and focused on myself. I followed his cues – take a deep breath, focus on your toes and how they feel … think about the sounds you hear, are they far away … We were trying to stop our frantic minds and be present, which is something I am very interested in trying to do more of.

Dr. Dave says if you yawn, you are doing it right. Well, i did it right. Thank God everyone’s eyes were closed because my big ass yawned about 20 times in 20 minutes, tears running down my cheeks. I was a couple of minutes away from laying on the floor in front of Dr. Dave and taking a power nap while he wrapped things up.

After the meditation session we talked about things we do to try to gather focus when we are having a stressful day. How we hit that reset button. One lady mentioned she has a stuffed animal with really soft ears in her car that she can look at or pet and focus on to try to calm her mind. Another lady has cats and watching them wake up signals her to focus on herself. For Adam Sandler fans who’ve seen Happy Gilmore, it’s finding your “happy place”. It’s letting all of the bullshit we deal with drop away so we can get back to kicking ass instead of thinking of everything we have going on at once and freaking ourselves out. I know my reset is going to the gym. What is yours?

We all strive for some sort of balance in our lives. One of the reasons this challenge interested me so much is because I struggle to be present. My mind is consumed with the things I need to do, what I should be doing, what do I have going on at work tomorrow, what do I need to do first, check my work email, return texts, laundry, do we have any food at the house to make for dinner … shit! I just missed my daughter’s entire basketball game. Why does all of this stuff consume me? I know I’m not the only one. I’m not complaining, either. It’s life, right? I get it. But the balance … The balance is what I am after.

Technology is awesome. It’s very efficient, inexpensive, so much information, but we all need to make time to disconnect and just show up. Fuck all of this other shit that I have going on or things I need to do. Uncle Map is hanging with his niece and son putting up his Christmas tree and being present in this time and enjoying the moment. That’s what makes me genuinely happy; watching my son playing baseball and having a conversation with my daughter and ex-wife. Happy is putting down the phone and being where I am, not working.

That is my biggest struggle and I am trying to be better. We can all return those texts and emails at our convenience. We can “like” our friends’ pictures and read their posts later. It will still be there. Be present and do whatever it is you are doing and do it fully.

This challenge made me think about the way we act when someone unexpectedly passes in our lives. We all step back and say, “Shit, man … life is so, so short. I need to do all of these things I want to do now because my ass could be gone tomorrow.” So you think about all of the things you want to do, then a few days pass and you are back in your daily grind and won’t think about those wants until the next big life event makes you go, “Shit, man …” That’s what this challenge did for me in a way. When you sit with just yourself for 20 minutes, it gives you time to realize all of this crap that consumes us daily – work, keeping our house up, going to this function, meetings, social obligations – at the end of the day, it’s all just noise. It’s all bullshit. What matters is your friends and family.

Life goes by so quickly. My son is 12, my daughter is 10, my folks are getting older, my nieces are growing like weeds, my buddies all have busy lives … So, when I get to spend time with these people I love, I want to do nothing but love and enjoy every second of that time because you can’t get it back. We need to stop worrying about everyone else, what they are doing, why they have a different opinion, who gives a damn? Do you and enjoy all of the people you surround yourself with and wonderful things you get to experience in this crazy-ass life.

I guess I should have started sitting still a while ago, huh?

Tune in Today

The big reveal

December 31, 2015

Goal

For a goal junkie like me, it shouldn’t come as a shock when I, right here on this blog with tens of dozens of followers, officially declare my unyielding love for New Year’s resolutions. I am, after all, an aspiring optimist. I embrace the idea that, even though I haven’t been able to pull something off for the past 365 days (or 33 years … whatever), the changing out of the calendar, as cued up by Jenny McCarthy of Singled Out fame, will somehow bring about the strength and willpower and skill necessary to finally climb that mountain … give up those sugary snacks … pump up that flat tire.

“This is it! This is the year,” I proclaim every January 2 (January 1 would just be unrealistic, cocky and disrespectful to the due process my hangover demands). And I mean it, too. I go into it guns blazing, ready to fight the good fight in the battle of habit vs. headway. I print off lists and pencil in reminders and attack the first month with all the gusto of a potential Bachelor suitor at her first cocktail party. Eye on the prize. Forward ever. Backward never.

In the spirit of the aforementioned optimism, I’m going to drop this particular line of commentary off right here and gloss over the point in the year when the wheels inevitably fall off the wagon and I find myself in a parking lot eating Ritz crackers dipped in chocolate and drinking gas station cappuccino listening to the new Adele CD, working through all the feels. Yeah, I think we’ll just stop there and move on to the goal portion of this post.

First, let’s journey back in time.

Resolutions for 2014
1) I want to practice mindfulness/meditation.
2) Have a fit pregnancy.
3) I want to find a passion project, something that isn’t tied to work that encourages me to stretch as a writer again.
4) I want to play more with the girls.
5) Move forward with our dream of backpacking.
6) Try to stay positive at work.
7) Stop living by a schedule!
8) After this baby gets here, it’s time to get IN THE BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE.
9) No more yelling.
10) I want to start celebrating other people more and making them feel special

Resolutions for 2015
1. Meditate (10-20 5 days a week)
2. Run the half in September
3. Backpack at least twice
4. Kick sugar addiction
5. Write something more than subject lines.
6. Quit. F-ing. Smoking.

So, being generous, I’d say I’m 4 for 16. The numbers could be stronger, I’ll admit. I’ve checked off some important ones – the cigs and the half – and I’ve thrown a few into this year’s group for a third consecutive round. Who knows, maybe this really will be their year. (Meditation, I’m lookin’ at you, kid.)  After a great deal of deliberation, and with some input from the peanut gallery, here is the big reveal – my list for the year ahead. This is it. I’m really doing it. Forward ever. Backward never.

Resolutions16

Feel free to share your own resolutions or give me unsolicited but helpful advice regarding any of mine. Anything goes!

 

Mindfulness

There’s some things on my mind

October 15, 2015

On my migration toward mindfulness, I’ve learned things about myself. I’ve learned that the majority of my thoughts are frantic and frivolous and trail one after another like a demented train of dominos. Below is a sampling of the subtitles that would actually appear to you, the reader, as generated by my psyche.

OK …
sit up straight …
touch your forefinger to your thumb to generate that good kind of energy …
and …
here we go! Breathe in 4 seconds and out for 4 seconds …
picture your breath coming and going …
gosh, my lungs feel so good …
is it the running? I bet it’s from all the running …
I need to get back to running …
why do I always fall off the wagon …
and why is there so much freaking flute in this Asian zen playlist? It’s like meditating with Ron Burgundy for pete’s sake [picturing this exact scene from Anchor Man] … 

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my back hurts …
I should eat better …
I wonder if it’s been 3 minutes yet …
oh, shoot, come back to the breath …
come back to the breath …
And why does every Asian zen song have waves crashing? Do I have to pee or is it just the water sounds? And, you know, I hate them for making me have to decipher the difference …
I know this, my head itches. Dan Harris didn’t scratch his itches. He acknowledged the thought, put it aside and – [I scratch my head]
In for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds ….
In for 4 seconds, out for seconds …
Gah! Are my itches having babies with each other or what? I just gotta scratch and be done with it. I’ve committed to scratching. I’m not as strong as Dan. I wonder if there’s some science to trying not to itch and how it makes you itch more …
bring it back …
bring it back y’all, bring it back y’all, bring it back heeeeeeeeeere we go! ….

whoomp giph
The jam! …
Do I really like Empire? Or am I just faking it and trying to see what Libby sees in it? I mean, Cookie’s so good, but it’s a little soap opera …
In for 4 …..

I believe eventually the thoughts are supposed to become passersby; just fleeting flashes in a calm and focused mind. But for now, they’re bouncing around like fleas at a circus. Please send any great meditation playlists or guided meditations my way if you’ve got ’em!

Mindfulness, Pages

10% Happier ain’t too bad

September 30, 2015

I just finished 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story by Dan Harris, and it was a game changer. Like the majority of people seeking calm and clarity, meditation is certainly on my radar. I even tried to do it for 30 days straight, remember? While my initial attempt was a weak, failed effort for sure, this book rekindled my respect for the practice.

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I love the fact that Dan comes at the topic from a hater’s perspective. He isn’t a Buddhist or a zen master. He’s actually a bit of a self-absorbed prick. As a popular newscaster, he ends up covering a series of intense stories, which had a more severe impact than he realized and led to an infamous panic attack during a live news broadcast.

What followed, over the course of several years, was his pursuit of a little bit of peace, patience and control. He was trying to be less of a prick. The prescription that seemed to deliver – much to his shock – was meditation. Following the progression of his practice and facts from the perspectives of some of the most recognizable figures in that sphere was fascinating. Along with mindful pauses, the idea is to stop living for fruitless, empty endeavors, and be in the beauty and absoluteness of the present. I’m so guilty of this: I wake up at 5:40 so I can shower, so I can get the girls ready, so I can get JoJo on the bus, so I can  pull analytics before the 8:30 meeting, so I can write the article, so I can get lunch in time for the next meeting, so I can … It’s a hamster wheel that leads to exhaustion and frustration, with no satisfied conclusion or feelings of attainable joy. The people turn into a blur in your peripheral rather than the beautiful objects of purpose they are. This book is a convincing proposal for a more intentional life.

But by the last chapter, Dan, while undoubtedly a devoted champion for the practice, doesn’t make any unreasonable claims. Meditation isn’t a magic pill or fountain of youth. It does, however, make him about 10% happier, he decides. But think about what the world would be like if everyone was just 10% happier. Seems like it’s worth a closer look.

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Here are some of my favorite quotes, but don’t cheat yourself. Read the whole thing:

“But it was in this moment, lying in bed late at night, that I first realized that the voice in my head—the running commentary that had dominated my field of consciousness since I could remember—was kind of an asshole.”

“Make the present moment your friend rather than your enemy. Because many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment. And imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one. That is continuous stress.”

“If you stay in the moment, you’ll have what is called spontaneous right action, which is intuitive, which is creative, which is visionary, which eavesdrops on the mind of the universe.”

“Striving is fine, as long as it’s tempered by the realization that, in an entropic universe, the final outcome is out of your control. If you don’t waste your energy on variables you cannot influence, you can focus much more effectively on those you can. When you are wisely ambitious, you do everything you can to succeed, but you are not attached to the outcome—so that if you fail, you will be maximally resilient, able to get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the fray. That, to use a loaded term, is enlightened self-interest.”

“The ego is never satisfied. No matter how much stuff we buy, no matter how many arguments we win or delicious meals we consume, the ego never feels complete.”

“What mindfulness does is create some space in your head so you can, as the Buddhists say, ‘respond’ rather than simply ‘react.’ In the Buddhist view, you can’t control what comes up in your head; it all arises out of a mysterious void. We spend a lot of time judging ourselves harshly for feelings that we had no role in summoning. The only thing you can control is how you handle it.”

“Marturano recommended something radical: do only one thing at a time. When you’re on the phone, be on the phone. When you’re in a meeting, be there. Set aside an hour to check your email, and then shut off your computer monitor and focus on the task at hand. Another tip: take short mindfulness breaks throughout the day. She called them ‘purposeful pauses.’ So, for example, instead of fidgeting or tapping your fingers while your computer boots up, try to watch your breath for a few minutes. When driving, turn off the radio and feel your hands on the wheel. Or when walking between meetings, leave your phone in your pocket and just notice the sensations of your legs moving. ‘If I’m a corporate samurai,’ I said, ‘I’d be a little worried about taking all these pauses that you recommend because I’d be thinking, ‘Well, my rivals aren’t pausing. They’re working all the time.’’ ‘Yeah, but that assumes that those pauses aren’t helping you. Those pauses are the ways to make you a more clear thinker and for you to be more focused on what’s important.”

“The ego is never satisfied. No matter how much stuff we buy, no matter how many arguments we win or delicious meals we consume, the ego never feels complete.” (2)

“Everything in the world is ultimately unsatisfying and unreliable because it won’t last.”

“May you be happy. May you be safe and protected from harm. May you be healthy and strong. May you live with ease.”

 

 

Thoughts

Long days and short years

September 10, 2015

I’ll be honest, today I feel very humbled and human. As a family, we find ourselves in the pits of a chaotic, frenzied new routine, that isn’t quite routine yet. JoJo’s in school, which means waiting for the bus and an extra stop at aftercare. Hank started a new job, which has him out the door with the babies by 7:10 and home after 5:30. My job is still fairly new, which means less flexibility. Between the long hours and homework and half marathon training and hormones, our household is in a bit of an upheaval. The hardest part for me is accepting the normalcy of the unbalance.

It’s hard as a woman who desperately wants to be everything for everyone to admit there are times I come up super short. There are times when all the “yeses” come back to slap me across the face. A quick commitment in passing, always ends up meaning stress in the final hours of a too-short day. And all of my promises have the heaviest impact on the girls. These moments – these precious, delicate moments – I’m missing because of a frantic, hamster wheel agenda make me yearn for peace in passing on other people’s pleas. I feel weak in my resolution to prioritize my little people. I feel like life is running me, rather than me running my life. I am twirling in a tornado of tasks and have lost sight of what makes my soul happy.

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But in the midst of this choking fog, God gives us clearings when it counts. Sensing her mama felt flustered and fatigued, my sweet Sloppy Joan started putting on a show. She’s toying with humor and words and reactions and watching her brought us all together to laugh from a proper perspective. I get it, Big Guy, and thank you for the subtle nudge back to what matters.

I have to get control over my anxieties. These years won’t wait for me; they are dashing past me, only pausing for a second to become a memory. These people are the loves of my life and no commitment is worth sabotaging a single second of attention. It’s time to circle back to meditation and make a conscious effort to slow the pace I’m setting. Any suggestions for balance are welcome.