Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zen Wednesday 07.20.11

For today's Zen post I'd like to talk about a book I've just started called Wherever you go, there you are written by Jon Kabat-Zinn (given to be me by the all wisdomessful, Virginia). Now, I have only gotten like one chapter into the book, but this is what I've taken from it so far: if we can focus on the present moment, being a good person, being happy, etc., then each moment will add up to the sum of our lives, equalling overall pleasantness. Yay!

A Fun zen story to go along with this concept (found it here):

One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice. As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine. Suddenly, he noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious!

Another way to look at the idea of living in the moment is a lesson I took away from one of the most depressing movies out there, The Hours; there is a scene where one of the characters is talking with her daughter (I think) and she's talking about when she was young and fantasized about the future thinking "I'm so close to happiness". She then says, "I never stopped to think, that was happiness". Or something like that. I always really liked that scene.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zen Wednesday

I've talked about this book a bit, so I thought I'd share a little zen story from it, that I found particularly impactful. So, Happy Zen Wednesday everyone!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mid-year Thoughts

I am halfway through the year and have only maintained one of the original goals I set, which is to give a spontaneous gift once a month.

Spontaneous gifting has been surprisingly easy to integrate into my routine. Perhaps gift giving isn't that hard for some of you, but for me it seems to take so much effort. I'm always worried about the actual gift itself, is it good enough? will they like it? does it convey what I want it to? I get really caught up in the social pressures and then there is the deadline, which I never make. Even as I'm typing this I literally just remembered I meant to get my Stepdad a Father's Day gift and give it to my mother to pass along when she was a couple of weekends ago. See what I mean? For some reason, the pressure of gift giving turns me into a total flake.

I think I have stumbled upon the key to my success with the spontaneous gifts; they are spontaneous! No deadline and no pressure because any present when you're not expecting it's awesome, right? As for the rest of my goals, let's review:

Meditate everyday (for at least 10 minutes and work up)
Yeah... not quite, but I have kept up somewhat of a habit to the point where I can feel pretty confident I won't be giving up anytime soon. I don't think there has been an entire week where I haven't meditated. Do I wish I would meditate more? Yes, but I'm still pleased with the progress I've made. 

Gym/Exercise at least 3 days a week 
Again, no... I am pretty troubled by this one, just because I have always been a person who has been able to make time to exercise regularly and I have really dropped off in this area. The only exercise I've gotten in the past two months has been riding my bike a couple of days a week. A lot of that is due to my foot being injured, which stinks because there isn't much I can do about that, but the other issue is that I allowed myself to get out of the habit and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to reinstate the gym into my routine. 

Go to Temple once a month
I have been once....In January.... Yeah... 

Complete a Buddhist reading weekly
Very close on this one. I have some blogs I visit regularly and I often return to my books. I highly recommend keeping up a reading routine in conjunction with meditation. 

Daily high postings
I determined this to be ineffective on the blog. Honestly I get more out of the practice when it can be shared live with a group of people. Maybe I will try to introduce it during lunch at work? 

In conclusion, I'm not doing as well as I had hoped, but I am doing better than I expected. I'm looking forward to seeing where the rest of this year takes me. I don't know if this project is completely responsible, maybe it's just part of getting older, but the way I feel about life, (particularly my idea of success) is slowly changing. While I think this is a great thing, I did not expect this much confusion to accompany it. 

Many days I'm struggling for the same reasons I always have, but there are other days when I struggle as a direct result of changing...for the better, which is soooo weird. I didn't expect that. Which is silly to say, but I guess I thought the only issues I would have were the same old comfortable familiar issues. Well, that was not and is not the case. Opening up my mind to change involves being vulnerable and going into really dark places and accepting everything. Which has been tough. However, I'm still convinced that I'm becoming more peaceful and perhaps spreading a little peace as well. In my opinion, totally worth it.