Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday - Thursday

Last night I could not find the computer charger, so I considered typing a post via iPhone, but decided to just wait. My meditation was spent fighting sleep, so I stopped after about 15 minutes of an intended 30. I have found that deciding on a focus before I begin leads to a more effective sit. When I don’t really consider what my approach will be I change it about every two minutes (during the meditation), so I’m unable to feel like I really accomplished anything. Ultimately, it felt great to get back to daily meditation.

Today I have not been in a very good mood. There is no particular reason. I just haven't felt quite right. The next few weekends are pretty busy for me, so I'm just feeling a bit out of control.

At work, I wasn't as pleasant as I could have been, but I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. I'm also trying to observe how I get caught up in gossip really easily and allow it to affect my opinions of people when it shouldn't because it's just gossip. More specifically, it tends to be people in a negative mindset practicing a lot of self-cherishing because most of the time it's about how this person or that person did something to them. I do it too and I've always noticed that I like to gossip, but I have been noticing how much it biases my view and always in a negative way. I need to work on forming my own opinions of people because when I focus on doing that along with being compassionate, I am a lot more at peace and have a healthier view of those around me. 

I haven't meditated tonight, but when I do I think I'm going to focus on compassion. Compassion for myself for my behavior today and compassion for everyone who is struggling with negative energy. 

- got to catch up with my friend rachel (she just got back from Colorado)
- was escorted to work by a very nice man ;)
- got to meditate!

- bad mood but still observant
- left wok early and got to be lazy


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back To It

Whelp, things got a little out of control last week. To put it simply, I got really busy and really distracted. After my lovely day off on Tuesday, I went out to dinner on Wednesday and then I worked until about 1am on Thusday night/Friday morning. Needless to say, Friday was incredibly painful and around 5pm, I found out I had to be at work at 10am on Saturday. Oh, did I mention I was stuck at work until after 10 on Friday evening? Yeah...

But oh no, I didn't let any of that stop me. Somehow I decided I still had plenty of time and stamina to socialize. As a result, my meditations and blogging got temporarily pushed aside. I still meditated on most days, but they were weak 5 minute meditations that didn't really correlate with my current practice habits.

In spite of what a great time I've been having outside of work (particularly last night when I had many good friends over to cook Indian food), I saw myself starting to fall apart late last night and this morning. I felt so off balance and out of control and could not wait to meditate tonight. I decided to work on a 30 minute stress and anxiety meditation, which was interesting...

I was so tired and physically uncomfortable that I eventually just decided to hang upside down over the couch so I could allow my spine to decompress. When that got uncomfortable I stood up and started stretching. It wasn't your conventional meditation(and I guess I was technically supposed to be transcending the pain), but I have to say it felt really good and I feel exponentially better now. I've said this before and I'll say it again, but I really feel like it all comes down to making time to take care of yourself everyday (or as much as possible, but the more the better). It may seem selfish initially, but for me, it  I am much more productive and in tune to other's needs when I'm not distracted by my own.

That's it for tonight, I'm getting to bed early..ish

- got back to my practice today
- getting to bed at a decent hour


Friday, February 18, 2011

Have a Nice Weekend

Bogged down with a last minute job right now. Everyone have a fantastic weekend and I'll try to update in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Go Get Em

Today is off to a running start, literally. After leaving work a little after 3am this morning, I finally got out of bed at nearly 10. I decided what better way to jump start the day than to go running with my pup. He wasn't too into it at first, which was really frustrating because I was ready to go. Instead of dragging him along I decided to tie him to a bench and do some up downs while he took a break. We ran for about 20 minutes and I did a few knees highs etc while pup was pooping resting. All in all, a good work out.

When I got back I did a few Vinyasas and stretched. I realized I was feeling incredibly calm and "in the moment", so I went right into a 15 minute guided meditation.  Done, done, and done. Now what should I do for the rest of the day?

My meditations have been much more focused so far this week. Last nights was DIY creation. I looked up loving kindness in Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey and found this passage recommended for contemplation:

I will cherish all living beings without exception because this precious mind of love is the supreme method for solving all problems and fulfilling all wishes. Eventually it will give me the supreme happiness of enlightenment. 

I wrote the passage down twice on a piece paper and then I meditated on it for 10 minutes or so. Not your conventional meditation, but I truly started to feel compassion for myself and even beings who are particularly difficult to deal with. The act of writing it down a couple of times really helped me to stay focused and also reinforced the message. I may start writing these mantras down more often.

- no work!!!
- in a great mood/mindset
- still have the rest of the day to enjoy


Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Disguised as Friday

I worked all weekend, which was better than it sounds. My job can be somewhat demanding in the sense that things come up when they come up and usually need to be done right then. Often I will have nothing to do for hours and then at 5pm, there are suddenly 3 things that need to be completed in time to make 9pm Fed-ex.

Because of this unpredictability, working alone on the weekend was bordering on downright relaxing. Being alone at the office, I was able to sit uninterrupted and focus on one task. Of course I would have preferred to be hanging out with friends or whatever, but if I had to work the weekend this was the optimal situation. Even better, I now have tomorrow off! I really love having weekdays off, it evokes childhood memories of skipping school. Now All I need to get through is loading the last set of footage tonight. It's not even arriving until 10pm, so I will be here until at least 2am. It happens.

My meditation yesterday went well. I did a "mindful lying yoga" guided session. It was only :15 minutes but it felt great to lay on the floor and stretch. I know I said I was really distracted last week, but I think I should share with you that I'm noticing some changes in my behavior that appear to be direct results of this project.

1. I have caught myself (twice so far) moving about with my eyes closed. Was I meditating without even trying? It's either that or I'm a lot more tired than I thought. The first time was on the way to the subway in the morning. I was literally walking down Eastern Parkway with my eyes closed. Weird right?

2. I have been just sitting or "being still" without consciously intending to. I had some friends over for dinner (made a kick ass vegetable lasagna that featured my mandoline slicer! Thanks for asking) last night and after the last one left I just sat on my couch doing nothing for at least 30 minutes. Perhaps I was just zoning out, but I think it's a good sign that I'm getting out of the habit of constantly looking for a distraction.

- heavy on the observing lately, finding it very informative
- feeling more kind
- no work tomorrow

Happy Valentine's Day to those who celebrate and to those who do not, don't let all the cliches ruin your day because then consumerism wins!

Merry Christmas (yesterday) to a select few!


This week I have been a bit lost. Not in a bad way, but I lost a lot of focus at work and in my meditation. I let myself be distracted by things such as my iPhone and being social. My mind has been drifting to anywhere, but to the present moment.

While, I've been distracted during meditation, I've been thinking about my practice a great deal. I can't put down When Things Fall Apart and I have caught myself a few times stopping in the middle of the page to mull over what I just read. The book has been a great compliment to the main teacher I read; Geshe Kelsang. I've been questioning attachment and romantic love a lot because I'm not sure how to interpret it in a Buddhist sense and I have no idea how a person can truly love someone, but be unattached. As I typed that last sentence the technical answer came to me from a reading - paraphrasing here, but I read that the western societal view of love is not actual love, it is attachment and self-cherishing disguised as love, which makes sense in my head, but not so much in my gut. Damn you, pop culture!

I've had the thought that love should be something that is purely unselfish and I've questioned my true feelings for people I've dated when I have strong urges to be with them based simply off of how they make me feel. How can that be love when I'm essentially using them as a drug? Again, self-medicating

Sex and relationships can be  huge distractions, Pema Chodron points this out in When Things Fall Apart. For me they definitely are. When they are going well, I'm addicted to that hopeful feeling and completely terrified it's going to end. Even better, when they're going badly, I feed from the drama and the pain and the beautiful tragic hazards of love (I watch too many movies). Of course all of this is an exaggeration, but probably less of one than I'd care to admit. Long story shortened, I don't want to do this anymore. I want my relationships to be more productive than two people sucking entertainment out of each other until the novelty wears off. Question is, how do I do that?

Well, first thing I thought of is love them in a loving-kindness way, i.e. wish them health and safety and try to help them have that. Sounds easy enough, but what I often notice happening (not just with me, I've seen others do this as well) is when people are very giving they are expecting something in return. Maybe not at first, but after a while, people start to think, "what about me?". That self-cherishing thing will get you every time.

But seriously, should you be in the relationship with someone who you continually give to and they give nothing to you? When I first thought about this, it seemed that Buddhism's answer was yes. but then I remembered something I always have to remind myself of which is: while Buddhism does promote putting others before yourself it also acknowledges that you need to take care of yourself to take care of others.

So where was I? Love, ok, be giving, have an open heart, but it's ok to walk away from a situation where you find yourself giving so much that you can't function/thrive. I don't have to be a martyr, phew! I need to tell myself that more often. With the last guy I dated I found myself hanging out with him because I knew it would make him happy to see me. Meanwhile I was totally zoning out, becoming borderline passive aggressive, and in actuality being kind to neither of us.

I think I can learn to love in this way. I feel like I make progress with this in non-romantic situations everyday. Attachment is what is really getting me. It seems no matter what I do romantically, I end up completely attached and helpless or detached and thinking. "what the hell is wrong with me?" Where is the happy median? How am I to interpret this? Can I have a lasting marriage (one I like) with no attachment? Is the answer to not worry about the attachment part and just focus on loving-kindness? I think that may be part of it for sure. Where does worrying get us anyway? It just stops us from enjoying anything. The other end of it may be learning to let go if it doesn't work out. I analyze for months, no YEARS after the end of a relationship and for what? To understand why it didn't work out? Maybe, but I feel like it's more to go on living in the past, to continue hanging on. OMG, I'm an emotional hoarder.

If I can keep all of these things in mind and continue to observe my behavior maybe I can start to see some changes in the way I view and handle romantic relationships.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


This week I have been so distracted. The weather is finally starting to become more mild and all I can think about are times to come, which makes it difficult to live in the present moment. I did a 30 minute loving kindness guided meditation tonight and I'm pretty sure I wasn't even listening to half of it. No matter what I did, I continued to drift off into other thoughts of plans for tomorrow, summer, my trip to Vietnam in the fall... ridiculous.

In spite of all the distraction, 30 minutes sitting in the quiet is still pleasant and I did have a few brief moments of the presentness to enjoy. Another nice thing is that all my thoughts were very positive. They were a bit on the fantastical side which I'm trying to avoid in both the positive and the negative direction because it interferes with being the moment and tends to focus on things beyond one's control.

- I'm aware of my distracted thoughts/tendencies and able to examine them in a healthy way
- My dog is real cute


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Inspiring Story

I heard this piece this morning on the radio. What a great way to start the day.

My meditation was great. Did 15 minutes guided AGAIN. I find that one so effective and easy, but it may be time to move on. I'm feeling the urge to up the anti to some 30 minuters. I'm also feeling really pumped about all the people who are responding to this little project of mine. I have at least two conversations a day about my practices and people seem to be genuinely interested. I never imagined adulthood to be this cool. Who knew you could make life choices and the people around you would respond with interest and intelligent questions?!

- All of the above


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hello There

Hi folks. Still being a bit more social than I have been in the past month or so. The weather was nice again today so I found myself significantly more inspired to go out after work (although it totally started raining while I was out and of course I was wearing flats in rebellion to all the boot-not-optional weather we've had). Anywho, I still had a good time and I ended up spending the remainder of the evening hanging out with my roommate and her bf, while they baked cracker cobbler (don't ask) and watching Harold and Maude. In my opinion, a very worthwhile evening indeed.

I read David Foster Wallace's commencement address (turned to book after his death) last night and I am still not sure how to take it. On one hand it was an amazing commencement that can only be rivaled by Ellen's at Tulane, but knowing that he took his own life a few years later sort of fucks with your head no? I definitely agreed with all the points he made, but how can you take the advice of someone who ultimately STILL found life too painful to live? I've argued it out in my head all day and I think I just need to not worry about that one detail. I will acknowledge it, but it doesn't necessarily mean that what he said wasn't true or valuable. The value of someone's life doesn't solely lie in how it ends right? Take our lady Maude here. She killed herself too, but that's not what we think of when we picture the film. We think about her free spirit and how she made a bored boys life a bit more interesting. I think that same could be argued for Mr. Wallace.

Another book I'm reading is When Things Fall Apart. I'm only a chapter or so in, but I really like it. The author is focusing on fear and how we can become intimate with it and through this intimacy, we no longer suffer in fearful situations.

Just a few things to chew on this week. Anyone else reading anything thought provoking?

- time with friends (new and old)
- iPhone day (feeling a bit mixed, but I waited so long I can't help but be a bit giddy)
- mindset feels totally on point


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter Weekends

This winter weather is really making me sooooo tired. When I finally reach the weekend, after battling snow and ice all week, all I want to do is hibernate on the couch all day (and into the wee hours of the night). I'm not saying there's anything wrong with taking a day (or two) of rest, but when I reach the end of my weekend I'm finding myself a little disappointed, as well as, overwhelmed by all the things I did not accomplish. I'm also feeling that my practice suffers because for me, lying on the couch all day makes me feel more tired and achy than actually getting up and doing something. Once I waste that day on the couch, forget about having the energy to meditate or do some yoga without feeling completely run down and distracted. Anyone else ever experience this?

Needless to say, my Saturday mediation did not go so well. It was a half-assed attempt at nearly 2am that lasted about 10 minutes before my roommate came home and I used his distraction as an excuse to stop (although he just came in and went straight to his bedroom). I also did not exercise, although I am going to take the dog on a run this afternoon since it's sunny for once. This with the insanity workout once again brings me to two days of physical activity (not 3 as planned). I'm having trouble getting in the workouts, but I am trying and once the weather warms up I'll be riding my bike to and from work. I need to accept that if I want to get in 3 workouts a week, I need to go to the gym BEFORE work.

My Friday meditation was a guided 15 minutes. It's very basic and I think that's why I like it. I made sure to do it before I went out, so I didn't find myself in another situation where I was trying to meditate drunk at 3am. It's a good thing I predicted this because I did not get home until after 5am (I wonder if that had something to do with me spending the day on the couch? Although, for the record I was not hung over, just very tired).

On a side note, my friend Virginia sent me this article about meditation from the NY Times. It's cool to see people are studying the benefits of meditation and actually finding arguably tangible differences in people's brains.

My week of getting up early went well. I never managed to get up right at 7, but I did get up about 20 minutes earlier than my normal average, which was an improvement. For this week, I will still be aiming for 7 and then maybe the following week I can start getting up early enough to work out. The possibilities are endless friends!

I'm still feeling a bit all over the place as far as my thoughts. I've found a good outlet for them is to spend some time in my room doing whatever: reading, drawing, cleaning, just NOT sitting on the couch or the computer. As I said before, I tend to do that when I'm feeling run down, but it never seems to help much in large doses. I think I'm vegging out too much and not giving my brain any stimulation. An hour or so a night of mindless TV is plenty for me, I just need to remind myself of that. I should also note that I'm speaking particularly of episodic TV and mindless internet browsing, not watching a movie (which for me is very cognitive) or reading thoughtful articles and blogs. It's different for everyone, but I think you know what I'm talking about. Everyone has that thing they do when they just really want to do NOTHING and sometimes it's very helpful and then other times it becomes a habit. I'm feeling like I'm on the verge of habit right now. Dear spring, please get here soon.

- made new friends and had a great time with old ones
- nice meditation

- lots of R&R
- was able to observe my habits and articulate what needs to change

- it's Sunny and not totally freezing
- going out for a run with my pup
- have some lovely evening plans
- feeling much more motivated

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Momentum Continues

I am really feeling all over the place, but in the best of ways. I'm totally motivated at work, I've made some new friends who are really inspiring me creatively (and I am inspiring them as well), and I'm interested in all sorts of stuff. This evening I had urges to make collages as sort of a visual expression of all the thoughts I'm having right now. If I do end up doing this I will be sure to scan and post.

Yesterday I mentioned how I am truly looking forward to meditating every evening and I wanted to expand on that a little. I've always had this way of thinking where I will be inwardly excited about something and sometimes I have to stop and think, "what am I so pumped about?"

Sadly, much of the time I am excited about something material such as a package I'm awaiting (I do a LOT of online shopping). However, lately I have been having that feeling about going home and meditating, or writing on my blog, or seeing my dog (I love him). I think this is a notable step forward. A shift in the way I think. Could it be that the girl who woke up at 3am to order her Verizon iPhone is becoming less materialistic? I'm still pretty damn excited about that iPhone, but I'm more excited about how my mind is evolving.

Read a great post today on Buddhist Geeks which relates to the questions I raised on how practical is Buddhism in today's world. My particular struggle is with my job and how, while I really enjoy what I do, I'm not sure I always take it as seriously as they would like me to i.e. not thinking to check my phone every two seconds even when not at work. And how exactly can I "stop to smell the roses" and be all zen when sometimes I'm so busy I don't even think to go to the bathroom until 5pm (true story people)?

It's difficult because I do have a passion for my career and I can totally accept that there are sacrifices to be made and much of the time I make them gladly. BUT sometimes I just get really caught up in thoughts that my life is quickly slipping away and I am spending all this time pursuing a career for what exactly? To fulfill a need society has placed upon me to be successful? And then I start wondering why I'm not a yoga instructor.

I found the post very helpful because he talked about how working for the man and feeling like merely a tool doesn't have to be the way you think about it. If you can think about your job and other daily obligations as a contribution, as a "an opportunity to live with greater wisdom, and to create powerful habits that support this wisdom", we will feel more fulfilled. And perhaps this is how I can feel more Buddhist while I'm mindlessly making 10 copies of the same DVD for a presentation that I'm pretty sure will not change the world in any way that really matters. Because the truth is, I feel better when I work harder, even when I think no one notices. Anyone who has ever wasted hours at work on facebook or whatever internet vice you frequent, knows that at the end of the day there is some guilt there and each day that you leave work thinking, "I did not do shit today", makes you feel a little less relevant. And I'm not sure I've ever felt like a hard worker until recently. I may have worked hard in comparison to others (or not), but I wasn't working as hard as I could until recently. I'm saying make the most of every experience and even if no one rewards you, you can be content knowing you are building a strong reliable member of society. And having that confidence will do you a world of good.

- all of the above
- fun dog playdate/ Grey's anatomy watching for the "moms"
- laying in bed listening to NPR - yes, I know, I sound like a brooklyn douche


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday + Wednesday

This week is going really well. My mood and meditations are going swimmingly. I'm looking forward to them every evening. I would even venture to say that I am starting to believe that I could be one of those people who is happy enough not to worry about when that happiness is going to be taken away by something beyond my control.

Getting up at 7am still has not happened, but I have been up around 7:20ish, which is an improvement compared to the normal 7:45, sometimes nearly 8:00 routine. This very well could have something to do with my mood as well. Having the time to set the mood for my day is key.

Tonight I did an "Insanity" workout with my coworker. It was pretty tough. I can honestly say that running ten miles is easier than this DVD. We had a lot of fun though and the people who were still lingering around the office found our struggle quite entertaining (part of their entertainment may have been due to the fact that I was participating in the video as if it were a real class i.e. woo hooing and clapping along).

- totally mellow mood - still
- feeling a lot of camaraderie at work


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spontaneous Gift, January 2011

Yes, on the last day of the month I am focusing on my goal of giving a random gift or card to someone in my life. I decided to send a "just because" type card to my mom. I knew she would really appreciate it and I do about two nice things for her per year (her birthday and Christmas). The woman may drive me nuts, but she is my mother.

Meanwhile, I've been having a strange craving for Shell Silverstein and other child-like things such as drawing. Oddly, Mr. Silverstein seems to make a lot more sense on a Buddhist level than most of pop culture. He keeps it simple and positive on the whole. Not a lot of the angst you see in most poems and music. Take the poem in the picture for example (which I randomly flipped to first thing). It talks about how you can have "one of those days", but it doesn't get all worked up about it, it even adds a funny picture. So, you're having a bad day? No biggie, this guy is too. Right now I'm really feeling like all of life should be interpreted as a Shell Silverstein poem.

In other news, haven't meditated today, but I did get up around 7 this morning. I was definitely awake since 7, but I stayed in bed till about 7:25ish... Either way, I was able to take my time getting ready, but I'd like to get up right at 7 tomorrow. 

- really feeling the Buddhist mind-set today
- feeling the buddhist mind-set led to me enjoying everything a great deal