Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday Funday January 30th, 2010

Today was good times all around. I took care of some business and then I made dinner for two new friends. I had some anxiety about other guests not showing up, but in the end I had a fabulous time with the two who showed up. One more example of how worrying never does anyone any good.

I meditated for 20 minutes (non-guided) and was dozing off towards the end. I'm looking forward to waking up early tomorrow morning and enjoying some personal time before work.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

- cooked for friends
- procured a new dog walker
- did not allow things not going as planned to ruin my day


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Thursday was my friend's birthday, so I was really excited to be social because ever since I started dating the guy mentioned in Wednesday's post I had become less social due to the constant pressure I felt to hang out with him. Since I have so little time, it felt like he was ALWAYS asking what I was doing and wanting to hang out. I found myself avoiding making plans because I would feel bad for not inviting him.

I have to admit, any hesitancy I was having about breaking up with him went right out the window Thursday and then Friday night. I stayed out both nights until the early hours of the morning and I had no text messages asking "what are you doing tonight?" or "how are you?"

Very liberating.

When I got home on Thursday I did a 15 minute guided meditation that I wasn't so crazy about. It was more like a yoga exercise. It helped me to relax, but I didn't feel like I was able to relax my mind as much. Sadly, I did not meditate yesterday. I was too drunk to be productive, so I forfeited.

Today has been a bit challenging mentally. I did the yoga DVD, but pretty much hated it the whole time. I almost just stopped in the middle, but I made my self push through to the end. Not even sure I want to meditate later or just settle for the meditation I already did at the beginning of the DVD... For whatever reason I'm whiney as hell right now (maybe PMS?). I'm not sure, but I'm just going to ride it out and start thinking about what i can do to make next week better.

I think I'd like to start by waking up at 7am everyday. Things just go a lot better for me if I actually have time in the morning. Getting up at 7 isn't going to give me time to go to the gym before work, but will allow me to leisurely get ready for work and spend a little more time with my pup.

Here are the highs:

Thursday - Fun birthday dinner for Momo, got to hang out with old friends. Helpful talk with coworker about not worrying so much.

Friday - Fun night out in Brooklyn with friends. Good conversation about this blog, Buddhism, and Islam with my roomie

Today - Lovely pasty breakfast with roommate and his lady friend. Many puppy naps per usual in this nasty weather. Pushed myself to do some yoga and not letting myself get too upset about my current mood.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ups and Downs

Tonight was an interesting night. I was urged by a friend to break off a relationship I had been neglecting for at least 2 weeks, maybe more. I feel many simultaneous feelings common with a breakup. Was it the right decision? Was it just not meant to be or was I not open enough to the idea of being happy with someone?

On the whole I am mostly relieved. I had realized (or made the decision depending on how you look at it) a while ago that things probably weren't going to progress much further, so continuing on would have just been cruel to the other party. It's always unfortunate when you have to let go of someone just because they aren't perfect for you even though they are damn near perfect in many other ways and probably more kind than 98% of the population.

I'm currently having urges to reach out to him and tell him that I will not forget how kind he was to me, but I know that would only be for my benefit and what he needs right now is to be left alone and not further confused. So I will leave it be and swim in my thoughts for the days to come.

This aside, I had a very pleasant evening. The date preceding the breakup was jovial and we took a walk in yet another blizzard. Snow in New York can only be appreciated as it first falls. My favorite part is how silent everything becomes. There was also lightening which created some kind of northern lights effect. The sky was purple, I swear.

I did a guided meditation tonight (30mins) courtesy of my friend Virginia (thanks lady). I found it very helpful and it definitely did not feel like 30 minutes. I could have done with a little less talking because I became so focused so quickly that the leader's voice was a bit startling after moments of silence (I may have had the volume up to high). I plan to try out the others Virginia sent as well as do this one again, although I would still like to continue on my own some days. I was very comforted by the thoughts in Yoga Journal about being able to practice anywhere and not needing anything but yourself. There is a certain fulfillment I take away from a successful self-guided meditation that is different from when I attend temple or listen on the computer. It's almost the same as going on a long distance run alone in the mountains and attending a really awesome spin class. Both are fantastic and beneficial, but I would never want to be exclusive to either.

- made a painful decision that was ultimately for the best
- hung out with both roommates a little tonight
- feel I progressed in tonight's meditation
- kept strong sense of compassion for other's throughout the day
- Henry is really funny in the snow


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bouncing Brain

This post may seem a little scatter brained, but here are the thoughts I'm left with at the end of this day.

  • Today and yesterday (and only after work) I was particularly anxious for no real reason. Easily overwhelmed, frustrated, short temper, all that. No biggie, but it happens. Maybe something hormonal, not sure. 
  • Again, why are we so hard on ourselves? I arranged a really generous gift for a friend today and even just typing that sentence makes me uncomfortable because it feels like bragging. But what's wrong with saying, "I was generous today."? Nothing. Even more than that, I started thinking to myself, "how come I never do anything nice for my family, they've given me so much and I don't even think about them when I want to be generous..." I can recognize this as irrational, but I can also guess that this type of thinking is common among all of us. We all need to take more time to allow ourselves to feel happiness over the good we do instead of focusing on all the good we DON'T do. 
  • Yoga Journal is a cool magazine and they have great FREE resources on their livemag website. I ripped out an article today about how comforting it is that you can take your practice everywhere. In the article they outlined a quick little time out for sticky situations that went something like this:
    • Set an intention i.e. "I will overcome what that asshole just said to me"
    • Find a quiet place or put on headphones
    • Take four big breathes lifting your shoulders to your ears as you inhale and back down as you exhale
    • Take 10 breathes, if you get distracted start over until you can do 10 just focusing on the breath
    • Bring your hands into prayer and bow to yourself and your intention
  • Up until now my highs have been centered around things that in Buddhism are considered distractions and are not relevant to an enlightened mind. Now, I'm not anywhere near enlightenment, but in effort to become closer, I'm going to make at least one high more spiritual
- FINALLY all seven seasons of Grey's Anatomy are on netflix, love me some medical drama
- meditation went really well this evening
- I focused on a mental state when I realized I was cranky again tonight and was able to have a nice, calm evening aka successfully thwarted my anxiety. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Little Pick Me Up

From a blog I've been enjoying. I've been getting feedback from some of you and I'd just like to say I really appreciate it. It was my hope that this blog would inspire and encourage others and it seems as though it is, which is great because I'm really enjoying the process. Putting time into happiness is never a bad thing :)

Balance and Such

Today was an unexpectedly good day. Things were slow at work, so I focused on some housekeeping I had been putting off for a while. Being productive when no one asks me to always makes my day feel worthwhile. I also had a chat with an upset coworker whom thanked me later, so I think I helped.

Later I went to the gym and ran fast for a long time. It was awesome. Let. me. tell. you. When you are stuck in an office for a week, having time to go to the gym is like going to Disney World (or something you really enjoy). I know I've said this before, but I really like the gym. The gym is my sanctuary, there are no distractions. It's familiar, yet I'm pretty much anonymous. It's my time to focus on myself in a healthy way. Is there a little self-cherishing in it, yeah, but Buddha also taught that we must take care of ourselves in order to be in the condition to help others.

Going to the gym gives me some "me" time, which is very hard to get with two roommates, a dog, et cetera. I think this is important to remember for everyone. As I've gotten older I've earned/chosen more obligations and I'm sure you have too. My most immediate ones are my job and my dog. I sometimes have the urge to feel guilty for leaving work right at 7 or for leaving my dog right after I arrive home to get to the gym. But in truth, the days that I do let myself go, I feel great and I am a better worker the next day and more patient with my dog when I return. Perhaps balance is the key here? Obviously I don't want to be known as the person who is always leaving the second I'm allowed and I shouldn't leave my dog sitting alone every night when he's alone most of the day. However, I'm at work after hours 90% of the time and I take my dog to work with me at least once a week (among other things, he's a bit spoiled, that one).

I'm just thinking about how an irrational feeling can be analyzed and perhaps brought to a more reasonable conclusion. Instead of saying, "I am cherishing myself and being selfish" and harping on that, I could think, "going to the gym helps me to be a better person and a better Buddhist."

We could all be a bit easier on ourselves, no?

- gym time!
- good chats with 2 neighbors, roommate,  and man at grocery store
- took care of some back logged business at work


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday January 23rd

Still feeling worn out and off schedule. That's all going to change when I am forced to be back on schedule for work tomorrow. I'm really hoping for at least a couple evenings where I leave work on time, but if that doesn't happen, oh well. I chose to have this job after all.

Going to do the yoga DVD again, may add a few push ups and sit ups for a longer work-out. The cold weather and my fatigue are really not helping me to get to the gym. Things will be easier during the week since I'll already be out.

I meditated this morning while I was waiting for my sister and her friend to get dressed. It was ok, but I'm still not feeling as focused as I was in the beginning. I think it's time to honestly put some effort into procuring some guided meditations.

- lots of sleep
- fun brunch
- clean kitchen
- better mental state
- quiet aparment


On Self-Cherishing

During my meditation this weekend, I keep being distracted by an incident where I was yelled at unfairly. Not to say that I could not have handled this particular situation more tactfully, but it was basically a case of a superior acting unprofessionally and me trying to please the superior as well as the client who was being treated poorly by this superior. It was an unfavorable position to be in.

Now that the moment has past and I have had some time to think about it, I'm still troubled by what happened, although I shouldn't be. What I'd really like to think is, "ok this happened, but I know I was just trying to do my job and this person has their own issues, so I'm going to move on and continue to do my job to the best of my ability."

Instead, I find myself holding on to this incident and brooding, and taking it personally. I'm thinking,  "how could this superior treat me like this?" When really, as I think about it more rationally, this person treats everyone poorly at times and reacts to everything right in the damn moment. This person is not going to change and it was definitely not personal when they yelled at me the other day. Should they have yelled at me? Probably not, but as I said before, I should have been more discreet if I was going to do something they flat out asked me not to do. (I know this may be a little difficult to follow since I'm not stating what happened specifically, but this is a public blog and I can't discuss the matter in any more detail than I am.)

The whole, "how could someone treat me like this" part reminds me of something that was said by the instructor at the meditation center when I last went. He was saying how people are always acting so surprised that bad things happen to them.

His point was, why wouldn't bad things happen to you? Bad things happen all the time. So yeah, who am I to think I'm so special as to not get yelled at when everyone else who crosses this person's path in a time of stress gets it too?

Great points Buddha man, but I still got more upset than I should have and I'm still not looking forward to seeing this person on Monday. I think all of these things can be considered quite normal/natural, so I can forgive myself for having these feelings. But the longer I hold onto this incident, the longer I suffer. To me this is a classic case of a self-cherishing mind, which is one of the delusions often discussed in Buddhism. The simplest way I would explain self-cherishing is the classic "thinking the whole world revolves around you" concept, cherishing yourself above all others. For a long time, I was like, "well yeah I would be concerned for myself above everyone because I have to BE myself all the time, no break." Another more, irrational thought I've had in times of weakness is, "I definitely don't cherish myself above others because I hate myself."

But come on people, how self-centered is that last sentence, and how focused on one's own suffering does a person have to be to think, "wah, I hate myself."? Seriously, I've been there folks and I know it feels a lot more complicated than that, but what is depression? Just a great big pity party. And guess what? All parties have to end sometime. That's what I try to focus on when I'm upset. I think to myself, "yeah, I'm in a bad mood, but I won't be in a bad mood forever, I might even feel better in a hour, who knows?"

There is no point in being upset that you're upset. Try it next time. Instead of being like, "crap, I'm so upset and this is why and this is why it sucks!"

Instead try to think(as my Buddhist instructor once said), "I'm upset, that's interesting." Accept it, let yourself be human, but try not to use it as an excuse to self-cherish and wallow in your own bad fortune. But if you do end up wallowing, no biggie, no one is perfect. Just recognize and try not to do it next time, or do it for less time. I've said it once and I'll say it again. It takes practice folks.

That's all for now, if you happened to follow that, go have a cookie!

What day is it?

You guys, today was so disorienting. I once again got up, walked dog, fed dog, fed self, and went back to bed. It was 3pm when I finally emerged for real. I still feel like I could totally fall asleep at any second though. Tomorrow will be more structured because I have brunch plans with my sister before she leaves town.

I don't really have much to contribute right now. I have yet to meditate, but I will before I go to bed. Just trying to chill and take it easy for the next couple of days. Feeling pretty positive overall though.

- Aziz was rockin'
- delicious dinner at a restaurant I hadn't been to in a while
- puppy napped on the couch with me while I watched a movie, he's so cute :)
- overhearing a lot of facebook drama talk regarding my sister and her friends = really entertaining


Saturday, January 22, 2011


I left work last night around 5am. Latest I have ever worked. Fortunately, my new producer was there with me, therefore was aware of the hours I've been putting in on this project. She decided that I could be "on call" for today, so guess what folks, I got the day off! Got a call around 5 asking if I could come in tomorrow for a few hours to cover for someone who couldn't be there until one. I agreed and then around 8ish I got a call that I didn't need to come in for that either! I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think I may actually get a weekend. O.M.G. 

I did the Yoga DVD again today and it was actually really nice. My body was incredibly sore though. I went ahead and did my 20 minute meditation afterwards and that was pleasant as well. It was nice to be meditating when I actually had the time to meditate. The rest of the day was a blur of waking up and walking the dog, eating and then going back to sleep. 

My sister and her friend arrived this evening, so we're going to take it easy tomorrow with some shopping and then we're going to see my hero, Aziz Ansari, do stand up at Carnegie Hall. Very excited. Front row, that's how we roll baby. 

This week has been full of many ups and downs and it's put into question the practicality of being a Buddhist in modern America. I will expound on this in an upcoming post, maybe on Sunday after my guests leave. For now, I'm going to take advantage of being able to go to bed when it's actually night time.  

- Unexpected day off
- Had dinner at a new a delicious restaurant
- Good company at dinner and for the weekend
- No work all weekend
- Am starting to feel coherent again


Friday, January 21, 2011

Reaching My Limit

Buddhism can cure many things, but I'm am struggling to find a way in which it can replace sleep. I am not nearly that enlightened friends. I need my sleep. When I was a new born babe, my mother called the doctor concerned because I would sleep for 10 hours at a time. When I was a teenager, my family dubbed me "queeny" because I would not rise from bed before noon unless I had somewhere to be. In college my roommate didn't believe how long I could sleep until she witnessed it for herself on several occasions.

Once I entered the working world, my sleeping habits drastically changed. I rarely will stay in bed past 10am because I almost always naturally rise at 7 and with such limited free time, I try to take advantage of my days off. I certainly don't need as much sleep as I used to, but I have forfeited many a social event in order to get to bed before midnight. And that's why this week I feel like my body is caving in on itself. Don't even get me started on my mental state. Not to mention that this project has been really tough. I've found myself amidst many combative situations and I've felt pretty lost at times.

Tonight I am foregoing my normal meditation routine. I meditated for a 5 or so minutes a few times today at work and I realized that sitting on my bathroom floor at what will most likely be 4am isn't really going to do much for me. So while the attachment minded me would prefer to stick strictly to the project guidelines and get in my 20 minutes merely to have a perfect record, the spiritual (or whatever) side of me can accept that sleep is more important in this instance. Also, a large part of Buddhism is about not getting caught up in technicalities and not judging yourself for being imperfect. So yes, while it's bugging me that I didn't get in all my exercise last week and I'm not fully meditating tonight, I'm hopeful that by the end of this year there will be no such mental tally for me to refer to.

- I don't have to be in to work tomorrow until 11 at the earliest
- I don't have to be in to work tomorrow until 11 at the earliest
- I don't have to be in to work tomorrow until 11 at the earliest
- I don't have to be in to work tomorrow until 11 at the earliest
- I don't have to be in to work tomorrow until 11 at the earliest
- I don't have to be in to work tomorrow until 11 at the earliest


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Man Oh Man

Today is a little better for me on a personal level, but work is really bogging me down. Trying really hard to stay centered and make good choices blah blah blah, but I'll be honest, I'm heading into survival mode. In essence, just focus on when this particular job will be over and not get caught up in all the million things that need to happen by then and all the million hours of my life it will suck away. woooo.

Here are the highs:
- I've managed to stay awake a lucid on 3 hours of sleep
- I haven't lost my mind in spite of living at work for the past week and sitting next to a PMSing coworker (I kid, I  kid)



Everything seems to be a contradiction to everything else right now and unfortunately, when I need to the most, I don't have time to flesh it out here or anywhere else. I got home at 2am last night and meditated on a pillow on my bathroom floor in an effort to not wake up my dog. I was better than it sounds, I swear. I wasn't falling asleep, but I was literally vibrating from all the events of the day (and too much green tea). Sitting and breathing for a while helped, but after a day like yesterday I needed way more than 20 minutes, but had to get to bed soooo.

Will update in more detail later I promise. Hope all is well in your lives.

- got to sit an edit with clients
- didn't fall apart


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Buddha?

I thought it might be informative or interesting to talk about why I choose to study Buddhism and why I feel it's the most beneficial choice for me. I'd also like to say that while I would absolutely recommend trying all of the practices I discuss on this blog I do not necessarily think that Buddhism is the perfect option for everyone.

I was raised in what you would call a "Christian" household, but we weren't regular church goers and we never practiced outside of the few holidays we attended church. My grandmother is what you would call a practicing Christian, so when I stayed at her house I would go to church and Sunday school. My hometown is 98.8% right-wing Christian and I often found myself at church as well as Sunday school with friends. I also participated in other Christian themed things such as summer bible school, church play, abstinence class (?) at the many many Christian facilities scattered about my town. There was a time when I prayed and read the bible regularly, but even then, it never really came off as profound to me. This is not to knock Christianity or to make it sound trivial in any way. I know practicing Christians who are wonderful, at peace people and I know much of it has to do with their faith and what their faith has inspired them to do. I also can't lie and say that growing up in a town where, in my opinion, Christianity was too often used as an excuse to judge people and reject new ideas, didn't add to why I was only briefly interested in becoming a serious Christian.

By High School I had pretty much discontinued any kind of Christian practice and when friends requested that I attend church with them, I politely declined. Even when my crush tried to pursued me with the gift of a praying beanie baby(why I liked a guy who bought me a beanie baby is another question for another day), I refused to attend anymore church. This was also when I became aware of other religions (including Buddhism) via my ninth grade world history class. I can liken this experience to this week's release of the Verizon iPhone, for so long I wanted another option and then I FINALLY got one. I remember writing an essay for a test in that class and filling up every square inch of the page. I think my teacher just gave me an A because she got tired of reading my personal philosophies on world religions. What drew me in was the fact that Buddhism seemed like nothing more than a guide on how to be a good person. Every aspect of it was simple, yet profound. There didn't seem to be this threat around not adhering to the rules. It was just kind of like someone saying, "here try this, it might help" instead of, "if you don't try, this there will be serious consequences."

Knowing more about Buddhism now than I did at the time, I could argue that Buddhism does threaten you with being stuck in Samsara, but I guess the difference is, you're already there, you're already suffering. It's kind of like what my mom said this one time, "I think we are in hell." My mother...yeah. Anyway, point is, Buddhism, in my opinion, had a softer approach.

If I had had the resources I may have become a Buddhist right then. But alas, I had no clue where to begin being as there wasn't even a Jewish Temple in my town, let alone a Buddhist one. Yup, diverse my town was not.

On to College. Women's studies class, which was more like humanity studies class i.e. studying lots of interesting things like religion, sexuality, service work. When we got into a discussion on religion I chimed in, "Oh yeah, I was going to be a Buddhist, but I don't know where to start."

My instructor was actually really cool about this and gave me the name of a group she knew of. Problem was they met 45 minutes away and after some further research I got the impression they were a bit sketchy/cultish...If I had really wanted to I'm sure I could have found somewhere else to go, but I was in college and therefore highly distracted by freedom and boys and FREEDOM. So, once more Buddhism got lodged away somewhere like a bugger between two couch cushions, left to dry up and flake away.

Enter desperation (and a little more exposure to Buddhist ideals). When I finished school in Virginia, I moved to New York. Lots of shit went down and I was left thinking, "something has GOT to change, the gym isn't really cuttin' it anymore."

I'd been living in the city for about two years and my life wasn't really what I had hoped for. After feeling sorry for myself the entire day for at least an entire year, I finally reached that point where I was ready to take some action. I considered therapy, but that wasn't an option I liked. I felt really uncomfortable with the idea of paying someone to listen to me (and frankly I was sick f listening to me) and I had heard many stories about how difficult it is to find a decent therapist in New York. Also, I didn't have the time or money to go shopping around. My mind just wasn't open to it at the time. I remembered someone telling me that a mutual acquaintance of ours was a Buddhist and I realized, "hey! I'm not stuck in Virginia anymore, there are lots of like-minded people around here!".

After a quick internet search I found a place that was near my work and had an monthly intro class coming up. Jackpot! That Saturday I went. Man, what an experience. I was running late, wearing workout clothes (they said wear comfortable clothes!) and felt totally out of place. I burst in all irritated Woody Allen style and everyone in the room looked so peaceful and relaxed. I was very much out of my element, but I had a great time. For the first time in months I felt free of my ridiculous irrational thoughts and safe from all the commotion of the streets. Everything the teacher said made sense to me on a spiritual and logic level. So for a while I started thinking differently and meditating when I could. I bought a book. And then I got distracted again. My life started to get better and much busier, so Buddha got all crusty again.

I didn't forget about him though. I didn't forget about how the little bit of effort I put in was more powerful than anything else I had ever done for myself. I guess you can say I developed faith in Buddhism, I know that it works. Soon the idea of this project started knocking around in my brain and now here I am, posting daily updates on my practices. I've been thinking of it in my head as marrying happiness. We've been seeing each other on and off for years, but now I'm committed. Buddhism is a large part of it for me, but if you take anything away from this increasingly long post, I want you to put some time into being happy from the inside out. Take some time out from each day to really focus on nothing. Try to let your brain turn off. If you can't do it, don't judge yourself, just be an observer. But try again the next day and the next day. And when you think you've got it, keep practicing. Then all those other things that you thought filled your life before, they're just icing on the cake baby.

Got My Run On

WELL. I finally made it to the gym. I ran a little over 4 miles while jammin' to Kanye the whole dang time. Let me tell you Buddha + endorphins= high on life. I was having a freakin' blast. Of course, I pretty much always enjoy the gym because I'm weird like that, but I really did have some extra fun tonight. I also got extremely lucky because I didn't turn my phone back on after getting off the train, so I missed about 8 million calls from work and by the time I was out of the gym the crisis had been managed. I felt bad that someone else had to put out the fire before me, but not THAT bad if you know what I mean.

Today was also the first day of a marathon schedule that I am trying to decide if I want to seriously follow. It's to help raise money for a really good cause and I have always wanted to run a marathon...No time like the present right? I'm just really concerned about the whole work taking over my life thing. I need to think about it some more. If I decide to do it, I would run sometime in May or June. I am leaning more towards a half for now though.

Waited till too late to meditate tonight. Was falling asleep most of the time. Strange thoughts about the movie The Village and olden days were entering my mind. Also, Veronica Mars. She pops up in my subconscious more than I'd like to admit. Not sure why either. I confess I quit with one minute to go, but it was a lost cause.

- drama free day for me personally while many other's had their own dramas
- made it to the gym
- had some nice train reading
- have to be a work a half hour than originally planned


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Fun Continues

Today was a total wash. Woke up to a billion emails, then around 3 got a call about a different job. Worked from home on that for a another couple hours, so I couldn't leave my house (because I don't have a smart phone). Henry and I napped for the rest of the day and into the evening. Didn't make it to the gym :( Have to be into work at 8am, so won't be attempting the gym in the morning either. Hopefully work will slow down a bit.

Meditated for 20 minutes tonight, which was nice and went by really quickly. I think I'll be sticking with 20 for a bit. I really want to relax with some mindless TV, so I'm going to wrap this up.

- slept till noon for the first time in a LONG time
- didn't have to go into the office and was able to work form home (bless you quicktime pro)


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Longer Weekend

I worked yesterday from about 10am until nearly 4am. Around 3am, while I was waiting for video to compress, I tried to do some yoga... It only lasted about 5 minutes, but it did feel nice afterwards. Note: Yoga is really hard when you're REALLY tired. My exercise goals for the week have been less than satisfactory. I guess I technically exercised three times this week (if I make it to the gym today), but both yoga sessions (esp last night's poor showing) weren't as rigorous as I would prefer them to be. Oh well, live and learn. Exercising before Thursday might have been helpful.

Work was a tough day. For the daytime hours, I was working simultaneously on two jobs and then the majority of my evening was spent trying to sync the audio and picture of  three cameras that ran on set simultaneously. This usually isn't too difficult except the production people decided not to use the clapper on the slate, which serves as a visual and audio reference point to synch to. In essence, I spent many hours staring at people's lips in slow motion and zoomed in audio waveforms. Crazy Saturday night, I know!

Luckily I meditated before all that craziness, but I won't lie and say that I didn't get close to a meltdown at one point. Fortunately I had my dog with me. Being forced to stop to take him on a walk was a real life saver. Sometimes all you need is a little timeout. I was also able to recognize that much of my frustration was coming from being tired, so I self-medicated with a boost of green tea and that kept me going for the remainder of the evening. My whole body is sore. It's crazy to me how sitting in a chair all day can make you feel so physically exhausted. I think it's just another example of how a weak and/or tired mind really does affect everything.

As far as Highs:
- feel really proud of myself for getting all that work finished on my own
- made some overtime monies
- didn't have a meltdown in spite of urges to do so


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Long Week

Long but good week. Very productive at work and have been able to continue this project (have only exercised once, but I still have Saturday Sunday). I upped my meditation to 20 minutes tonight. Fifteen just wasn't working out for me because it felt too long, but not long enough where I wasn't feeling like "is it over yet, it should be over". Yes, I've discovered another quirk in my personality, I find the number 15 distracting. Also, the math on the timer was annoying.

Meditation tonight was only so so. I'm pretty tired this week. Need to do the morning thang. May set some goals next week in regards to wake up time. My new calm mind really appreciates the morning, but my body still loves to rest. There has to be a happy medium in there somewhere.

Hope to have some time/energy this weekend to do some posts that aren't mere progress reports.

But for now here are the highs:
- puppy was really well behaved
- I felt really appreciated at work


Friday, January 14, 2011

I Should Be In Bed

I was at work until 3am this morning. Awesome. I had to leave at 5:30 because my roommate informed me that the pup had pooped his crate and my roommate was on his way to work, so the pup was locked in the bathroom. This is probably where I should mention, my dog only poops in the crate when he absolutely has to (i.e. dihererra). I was concerned about leaving him in the bathroom because he will get into anything if he's given the time, so I hurried home to clean up the mess.

Again not sure if it's the meditating or because it wasn't the first time I cleaned up poop, but for some reason I didn't freak out. I went in with a strategy and I got shit done errr shit cleaned up. So now I am sitting peacefully in my very clean house and I even had time for a Yoga DVD and meditation. The Yoga was nice, but only 30 minutes, so I would have preferred something a little more challenging, but I didn't get much sleep last night and I spent the evening cleaning, so I took what I could get (or already had in my living room). Meditation started off strong until I started to wonder why it was going so well. I opened my eyes at 11 minutes and then every minute after that. I also started to doze off... I was meditating on emptiness and I really felt like I got to the emptiness and then got bored and then started to wonder what else my Buddha book said about emptiness...But man those first 11 minutes, gotta just hang onto that.

- made it to work on time despite all odds
- major dog mess wasn't the end of the world, who knew?
- not at work right now


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back to Reality

This post is brought to you via my office. Yes I am still at work and yes this is regular thing. In my opinion, today is where the real challenge of this project begins. Working late means less time to meditate, exercise, blog and all that, but it also means applying the stress that can trigger old thought patterns. I did ok today. I recognized a lot of behavioral patterns in others which made me feel pretty calm. If someone always behaves the same way, it can't be you causing it and the only thing you can really change is the way you react to it. I don't have time to delve too deeply, but I am really noticing how working on one's mind and attitude everyday can significantly alter a life. Just think of it this way, you should practice being happy in equal or more proportion to the amount you practice being grumpy...
If that's too overwhelming (some of us practice being grumpy A LOT) just think, there are only so many hours in the day, so if I spend a few practicing being happy, then I am taking time away from being grumpy, in essence, being grumpy less. Then pretty soon you could be grumpyless. Ah math. Ah The Bolshevik Revolution. (The later is a joke from AP History in high school where we were discussing something to do with the Bolsheviks and my friend just said, "ah The Bolshevik Revolution". We found it very funny and started saying it at random. Sometimes I still do.)

Meditated this morning for 15 minutes, got incredibly distracted, but it still helped  me prepare for the day.

- overcame major stress with minimal effort
- helped a coworker which made me feel knowledgeable and compassionate (or something)
- don't even really mind that I'm still at work
- had delicious free sesame crusted rare tuna with wasabi mashed(how pretentious is it when people say "smashed") potatoes (perk of the job)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Blues

Meditation last night was ok, then briefly awesome, then ok, then awesome, then ALARM. I did 15 minutes and just as I was back into my groove, the alarm went off. I'm really hating mediating to an alarm, but if I didn't I would just be wondering how long I had been meditating the whole time, so alarm it is.

I have been extremely hormonal today. Most of the day was alright because no one was making many demands on me, but when I got home too late to go to Yoga class and my dog was up in my face I found myself feeling very short tempered. At first I tried to ignore him for awhile and loose myself in the abyss of the interweb, but that was exacerbating the issue because he really just wanted my attention. Finally I gave in and decided to do something I had been putting off; trimming his bangs and cleaning the gunk out of his eyes. Not the funnest task, but it provided some bonding time and we both felt better afterwards. I'm still feeling antsy, so I'm going to go clean my bathroom, which always makes me feel better because I love to have CONTROL over my surroundings. Another thing I'd like to work on, but in this case I will have a clean bathroom and won't be holding it against my roommates (that I am doing it once AGAIN) because I was really sick last week, so I should be the person cleaning in there.

- trimmed dogs face
- got another pair of coveted shoes in the mail today (these are the last pair I swear)
- it's snowing and it's pretty


P.S. This documentary is cool and slightly relevant to my comments about how the subway can be cool.

Buddha Took the Train WIth Me Today

Today the MTA was in top form, doing what they do best, sucking. It took more than 30 minutes to get about 2 miles from my house. The announcements weren't very informative or easy to hear (per usual) and of course every train was insanely crowded due to all the re-routed people. Fortunately for me I was all Zen and reading my Buddha book. I realized there wasn't really anything I could do(and for some reason the lack of control didn't freak me out as it often does), so I just tried to focus on the chapter I was reading while everyone else fell apart around me.

I recently went through a similar situation while traveling during the holidays. Man people are mean when they're stressed and nothing brings about stress like trying to get to a place you don't really want to go so you can hang out with a bunch of people you don't really want to hang out with...for days on end. Am I right? On my way back to the city, one charmer said to the lady collecting tickets, "answer my fucking question, you fucking pussy." He said this in such a nasty tone that one lady requested to get off the bus and take the next one because she was uncomfortable being on the bus with him. In this case, I was so grateful to be headed back to New York that I again found myself not troubled by the overcrowded, dirty bus, which decided to stop in Baltimore and Philadelphia before finally arriving in New York after more than six hours.

Today I should have been that person though. I was already late to begin with, but the kind of late where if you catch a train right away (as well as your connecting train) there is a chance you will be right on time. (I LOVE to hang onto the dream of being on time) This was also an important day at work because our owner/founder was arriving and I knew he would be at the office at 9am sharp. So we've got the stress of already running late, the desire to look good in front of the boss and for some reason I was perfectly calm and composed to the point where I found everyone else's huffing and puffing quite humorous.

Could this Buddha stuff be working? I think so and here's why. When I was reflecting on my day just now I started thinking, does the MTA really suck? Really? Actually, it's pretty great. It goes nearly everywhere in 4 of the 5 boroughs. It's so accessible that most people don't need a car. It gets me to work in 30 minutes most days. Even with the recent fare hikes, it's only $104 for unlimited rides on all the trains and buses. Lets think about this. How much do most people pay a month for gas, auto insurance, car payment, oil changes, unexpected repairs?  Yes of course a car is much more convenient, but who really wants to have a car in New York City anyway? I'm not saying that there aren't improvements to be made and money that is certainly going to waste, but there is a time and a place to get revved up about it. If it really bothers you that much go to the meetings, voice your opinion, get involved, vote. This is a wild guess here, but I bet the huffers on the train this morning haven't done a damn thing but complain. One could say it's the huffers that make the train so unpleasant. If I consider that I haven't done a damn thing to try to improve the MTA, the mass transit options in New York are pretty great. Arguably so great that we take it for granted that a train is going to show up within 2 minutes during our morning commute. I know I do. I remember recently standing on the platform and thinking, "This is taking FOREVER."

Then I looked at my watch and I had been standing there for 3 minutes. So you have to wonder? Who has the problem? Who was standing in the way of my happiness? The MTA? or Me?

- my Swedish Hasbeens arrived in the mail today! I know this isn't very Buddhist, but they are so beautiful and I have wanted them for so long.
- I'm feeling very content and grateful, peaceful even
- motivated myself to do some things I'd been putting of at work


P.S. Have not meditated yet, was dead tried this morning from all the working out this weekend. Will be upping my time to 15 minutes though :)

P.P.S. The MTA also has a really fascinating history and some straight up beautiful stations.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Funday

Today was my first time visiting the Brooklyn branch of the meditation center I attend. Overall it was a great experience. Since this was my first visit I confess I was distracted by being in a new environment and listening to a new teacher, who by the way, looked a LOT like Mel Gibson and had crazy blue eyes. I had also come straight from spin class and was a tad late. It took a minute for me to go from crazy cardio workout mode to clam mediation mode.

Other than my personal issues with distracting and sarcastic thoughts, the class was quite nice. The session was the second in a series on mediation, which was perfect since, hey! I'm trying to learn how to meditate real good. The way the classes at this particular meditation center go are as follows: guided 20 minute meditation, talk, short closing meditation. To start, we did an easy breathing meditation like I discussed briefly the other day. It's a very simple(but not always easy) "beginner" meditation where you try to hold your focus on your breath for the duration of the meditation.

We then went into a discussion about why it's important to learn how to meditate/practice Buddhism and not simply agree with the ideas. Ideas like, everyone has great potential. You can't just say, "yes" and be done with it. You need to think about what that actually means, You need to get inspired and most importantly, you need to practice. He pointed out how ridiculous it is that our culture doesn't automatically assume that you need to spend time maintaining your mind. We do all these things everyday to maintain our bodies, but most people don't take any time to work on their minds.

Another thing he said that I really enjoyed was in relation to self-medicating. He said we all do it all the time. We get home and sit down and then immediately we need to start doing something, have some kind of distraction because the second we sit alone with ourselves we begin to suffer. It's like we truly believe that suffering is the default state, the reality. But what if it's not?

He pointed out that we seem to believe our brain affects our mind, but that our mind does not affect out brain. For example, if we can get our brain chemistry right, then our mind will be right. But this is only a temporary fix, this does not fix the real problem, it just gets rid of the symptoms for a short period of time, often with side effects. This isn't to say that pills aren't helpful. If you can take a pill to relieve your symptoms and get you to a calm state, so that you can carry out your life and your practices than that's great, but the point is, you still need to practice. Practice being happy. There is no "quick fix" out there. It's easy to be depressed or stuck in a state of suffering because we have so much practice doing it because again, we believe that's reality. If we can practice being happy then it will get easier and easier to be happy. Happiness can become our reality. Then nothing can touch us, no matter the situation.

Anyway, I'm just paraphrasing some of the thoughts that I personally took away from today's class. I'd love to hear what you have to say on these topics, if anything. If not, I hope you at least find them as comforting and inspiring as I do.

Yes, I know, he really needs a haircut.

Here are my highs:
- think the food poisoning has officially left the building (aka my body)
- got to do a lot of things done today
- my dog is playing with a PBR can (he's so hip)
- speaking of PBR saw a funny sign at the grocery store that read; "hipsters fall in love with PBR again, cases on sale"
- listened to an awesome episode of The Moth tonight on NYC Public Radio

Saturday, January 8, 2011


It's Saturday, so I won't keep you long. Got up this morning and went to an 8:30am Yoga class. It was a really bizarre class because it was incredibly fast paced. Usually I'm all for cardio, but when I go to Yoga I want some time to focus on my poses. This felt like a race. The instructor did a nice reading at the end about how most people think too little of themselves because they think "who am I to be great". Her point was who are you not to be great? Excellent point. Let's keep that in mind for today (or for life). Everyone has greatness inside them and I am a firm believer that people hold themselves back more than any other factor in life. Not saying that some circumstances aren't extremely tough, but I find that my own mind can be my worst enemy especially at difficult times.

In other news, meditation was so so. I think it time for me to up up my time to 15 or 20 minutes. It's become easy for me to get into my flow, so I think it's time to start getting it on with Buddha.

- got up early and got shit done
- took a mid-day nap, my fav
- going to hang out with some fun friends tonight
- feeling really creative/motivated about many things in life right now


Friday, January 7, 2011

Thoughts: Week One

I realize it hasn’t been a full week, but I do what I want so, deal. I have now meditated for 5 days consecutively. And yes, I meditated already today. Go me. I have only exercised once, but I think I can squeeze in the other two over the weekend.

I read a passage about meditating on taking and giving in Transform Your Life by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The temple I attend follows his teachings, so I bought this book under their recommendation. I find it readable, and the passages sited during temple are always appropriate. However, I haven't read any other Buddhism books, so I'm still forming an opinion. 

The reading was basically about how we can use our breath during mediation to imagine taking in all other creature's suffering and breathing back out enlightenment, thus freeing everyone from pain and suffering, one breath at a time. He mentions how many people choose to focus only on their breath while meditating, but if we focus on freeing others from suffering we can do some good too. If we can do this during meditation we can then start to do it as habit during our daily activities. 

What I gleaned from all of this was; it's just good practice to put positive energy out into the universe. I found this passage oddly appropriate as yesterday was a day where I found myself a counselor (of sorts) to a few people who were having a tough time with things beyond their control. I went into my meditation last night with this in mind and I was pretty pleased with the results. At first I was confused because I was thinking, "wait, how am I supposed to be thinking about fixing other people's problems when the whole point of mediation is not to think?"

Then I just kept focusing on my breadth and somehow I was just "being" (oh I know that sounds really cliche and unbelievable, but stick with me). I was simultaneously taking in that negative energy and breathing back out positive energy, but not really thinking about it, just doing it. I'm not really sure how it happened and once I became aware it was happening it was hard to keep it because then I was all "I'm totally doing this, oh shit, well I'm not anymore".

All I can really say is that it started with specific thoughts of people who(m) I know are suffering, but that was all transcended fairly quickly. It was rad man. Needless to say, I was so impressed with myself that I got up this morning and was like, "I'm doing that shit again". So, I focussed on the same meditation this morning and it was nice as well.

I couldn't believe how ready for the day I felt. I felt like I do when I get up and go to a pilates class before work, except I had only been awake for 15 minutes. Incredible. All in all it's been a great week. Thanks for reading. Hope you have gained something from all of this.

Here are highs:
- it's Friday
- it snowed some big chunky flakes this morning
- I placed some exciting internet orders today
- I'm feeling really positive about the direction our office is headed
- my friend's kid is hanging out with me tonight. funny phrases are guaranteed.


Thursday, January 6, 2011


Work isn't killing me or anything, but over the break I became accustomed to a certain amount of alone time and now that everyone has emerged from the holidays it's a lot to take. I've got information and social obligations flying at me from all directions. Just feeling a little...disoriented.

Meditating last night was utterly useless, was too tired. Thoughts were bouncing all over the place and I was convinced that 10 minutes was an impossible amount of time to sit still. Really need to start getting up earlier.

Here are the highs:
- spent some quality time with my new boss, she's really cool
- had some time to work on a personal edit
- had strong sense that my career was moving forward

That's it for now. I've got a few non-routine posts coming up, so stay tuned.


Day Three

Blogger wasn’t working last night, but here is my day three post I wrote last night and am posting now:

Finally got in some exercise this evening. Took my pup on a run around the neighborhood. Felt good to get out plus my dog has been going out of his mind with boredom due to all the long walk inhibiting weather and me not moving from the couch for two days. Tuesday night he actually sat on the couch beside me and just started barking right at my face...

Anywho, we ran for 20 or so minutes stopping for poo breaks of course (him not me). I had plans to do some push ups and a nice stretch, but the run didn’t tire our Henry as much as I had hoped and he was still all up in my junk, so I got right in the shower instead.

Meditation went well on Tuesday with the exception of Henry peeing on the floor at the end (yes my puppy runs my life, I’m told this will ease up in another year or so, not sure if that’s supposed to be comforting or not...). Tonight (Wednesday) I will be meditating while he’s in the crate, which I should have been doing all along, but I am a person who runs while suffering the long lasting effects of food poisoning (think irritable bowels people). I would go into more detail about the meditating, but I’m still working that out as I want to stray away from reflecting on meditating while meditating, just so I can write about it because that wouldn’t really be an effective mediation now would it? Not sure that sentence made sense, but I’m tired and if you’ve ever mediated maybe it did? I’ll explain this in more detail in a future post.

My day as a whole was quite stressfull. We are nearly always understaffed at work and that leads to a lot of anxiety and miscommunication, so now I’m feeling like I dropped the ball on something, which can once again can be blamed on me not being attached enough to my email/ not having email on my phone. I really need to remedy this, but I just don’t like the idea of my cell phone bill doubling AND being that reachable all the time. But if it’s going to make me better at my job I guess I should reconsider. I am the ONLY person in my office who does not have a smart phone.

I’m really tired so I’m going to give you my highs and then get out of here:
- exercised, YAY!
- my roommate cleaned the living room and did all my sick person dishes
- Whole Foods had Brown Cow yogurt on sale (you need to try this yogurt)
- my boss high-fived me today


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On the Highs

Random image that came up when I googled "high". I do love those mermaids though :)

The daily highs are one of the most exciting parts of this project for me because they are a simple thing that can make a big difference. If you are unfamiliar "highs" come from the game "High/Low" which is where you simply go around the room stating your high and your low of the day. Not sure where I learned this game, but we started playing it at lunch in high school and our personal rule was you could name as many highs as you wanted, but could only name one low. I liked the idea so much that on a senior trip to Florida I bought a notebook at a Rain Forest Cafe Gift Shop and decided to make it my High Notebook. Whenever I would have a particularly bad day I would make a new entry in the notebook and list off as many good things as I could about that day. I would not list the lows. The thought behind this was that I would be able to look back at any given date and not even remember what made that day so bad. I continued with the notebook up through freshman year of college when I handed it off to my roommate who was going through a serious breakup. She used it for a while and handed it off to her friend. I have no idea what happened to the high book, but I really like the idea of it still floating around full of positive energy but motivated by negative energy. A literal example of how things we experience as negative don't have to have negative consequences.

For this project I will be posting daily highs and maybe a low or two, just to discuss how I've handled them. I'd love it if you'd like to participate in the comments section. And I'm also entertaining the idea of creating some new High Books to send out into the ether.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Still Taking it Slowly

I am still siiiiick. I made it to work today, but it was not fun. I almost got up and meditated before work, but I opted to try and eat something instead as sort of an insurance policy that I wouldn't be getting sick on the train (which has happened before). The day was fortunately busy enough to keep me mostly distracted from how I felt and not SO busy that I regretted showing up. It was actually nice to get back into my routine.

Meditating last night was incredibly difficult. I thought I had the perfect opportunity because my stomach wasn't feeling too badly and my pup was calmly lying on the floor. Of course the second I sat up he was all "what's going on? are you you going somewhere? should I be interested?" I stubbornly thought to myself, "well any real meditating-type-person can overcome an anxious dog for 10 measly minutes", so I decided to just get right to it and let him wonder around the house. WELL. At first I was distracted by the clacking of his toenails on the floor and then I was just concerned when I didn't hear anything at all. And when I finally opened my eyes he was up on my coffee table licking a half eaten PB&J... At that point there was one minute left, so I just closed my eyes and waited for my cell phone alarm to go off.

So yeah, not very successful. However, there were a few brief moments where I was able to slip into a relaxed trance and abandon other thoughts, so successful in the eyes of the Buddhist faith (this is important to remember if you are just starting off folks; if you can let your mind go for just one moment, you have successfully mediated, YAY). I am actually quite proud of this considering I haven't meditated outside of Yoga class in at least 4 months. Just like with most things in life, lack of practice makes meditating more difficult and less fulfilling. Personally, I find studying Buddhism in conjunction with meditating the most successful, which is why I'm excited to get back to my readings and temple attending-ness. For me, it provides some guidance and focus. Once I start up my readings, I may start assigning a weekly theme to my meditation sessions. We shall see.

Here are my highs as promised, and once again, I will be meditating later this evening *Sigh*:
- The new guy at work seems pretty cool
- I didn't get annoyed enough to raise my stress level today (this is HARD in NY)
- left work on time
- worked harder than I had to


Monday, January 3, 2011

Rough Start

Today did not go remotely as planned. Yesterday after returning from brunch and a movie I became incredibly sick. I'm pretty sure it's food poisoning which is my least favorite kind of poisoning(I prefer psychedelic mushroom poisoning). I wasn't able to make it to work today and am still feeling not so great. Obviously, I did not make it to the gym as planned. I plan to meditate tonight which should be interesting since I can barely sit up and have never meditated while physically ill. I will do it though because this project is meant to be challenging and in a weird way I like that the universe has thrown me this curve ball.

So here are my highs for the day(and I will let you know how the "meditating" goes):
- unexpected extension of Christmas vaycay
- many offers from excellent people to come care for me/bring me foods
- Bachelor premiere (it's no Rock of Love, but hey I'm siiiick)
- I didn't throw up today
- lots of naps


Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

Happy New Year everyone! My project officially starts on Monday, and I'm going to get right in there by waking up around 6am and going to a gym class called "Trippin'". Apparently it's a mixture of jump rope, sprints, weight lifting, etc. God I'm a sucker for trendy gym classes. But seriously, I find it much easier to get up early for a scheduled class than some loosely planned workout of my own. Working out in a group with an instructor is a lot more effective when you're half awake/grouchy.

As far as my daily mediation goes, I'm not sure if I'm going to do that before or after the gym... probably after. Before means getting up earlier than 6 which will  definitely not happen.

On another note, I'm spending the first day of the year on my couch with my dog watching the British Skins on Netflix. I'm still not sure if I am a fan, but there's enough weird shit going on to keep me watching for now. I have a feeling that the MTV version won't be nearly as funny. Anyways, enjoy your day, I hope you all have the luxury of being as lazy as you aspire to be (if that's what you aspire to).