Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm Still Alive

Hello all, I'm back from vacation, but I haven't gotten my life sorted just yet. I'll be back to regular blogging by next week, promise.

Until then, [insert zen phrase of your choice here].


Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm totally that girl

The one who stops taking her medicine when she's feeling good even though the medicine is the reason she's feeling good. Yeah... so after a great January (due to practicing everyday) and then slacking off into February and March, I am finally feeling like I'm back to where I was at the start of this project. I am back to being mindful for most of the day, every day (or at least being mindful enough to remind myself to be mindful..?). What this means for me is that when I'm faced with all the little overwhelming hurtles in life, I know how to deal. 


Late late for work 2 weeks ago: 
I woke up late and instead of getting up and getting ready I decided to panic and lay in bed for longer, therefore making the situation worse and becoming even more overwhelmed. It was not fun and it was totally unnecessary because when I got to work no one had died or even cared I was running late. 

Late for work this morning:
I took a moment, set a realistic time to leave for work (based off of when I finally got out of bed), and just accepted that I would be a few minutes late. When I got to work no one had died or even cared I was running late. 

It's hard to admit sometimes, but so much of life is completely based on how you choose to react to things. 

I hope everyone is having a drama free week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not Quite As Planned

Friday and Saturday I got a little too into vacation mode (see above photo of my really cute dog and the strange man holding him ;) and completely forgot to meditate. Ooops. The weather was really nice and it was just one of those weekends where you have zero plans/obligations. I did do a guided mediation last night though, so yay me :) 

I'm leaving town on Friday for an R&R type vacation, cruise line style. I'm very excited because I have not taken a lazy vacation in a very long time. I'm also really pumped for warm weather. Ask any New Yorker and this has been the longest winter EVER. 

My plans are to continue practicing while away, but I will not be blogging because: 

1. the wifi on the boat costs extra 
2. my laptop is heavy and old 
3. I want to be as lazy as possible next week

I'm also going to set up some automated posts in the form of a "Buddha for Beginners" series. A few people have asked me where to begin, so I'm going to do my best to answer that question. If any of you out there have specific questions and/or advice please email me or comment and I'll include your input. 


Friday, April 8, 2011

A Zen Lesson of Sorts

Wednesday night's meditation was unremarkable. Some of the time I was into it and some of the time I wasn't. I had the hot flashes again, so strange. Thursday night I took the easy way out and did a guided 5 minute. Now I must say, I really find this particular 5 minute meditation extremely beneficial for a few reasons:

1. I keep it on my iPod and can use it to meditate discretely on the go

2. It's so short that there is zero pressure/anxiety and I often find myself getting in the groove pretty quickly

3. It's a very basic breathing meditation, very easy to follow/digest

Sometimes, after completing the 5 minute guided meditation I will continue to meditate on my own afterwards. This might be a good thing for beginners to try as well. Pick a low-pressure, short, guided meditation and then continue on your own for a few minutes, only if you're feeling it. I often do this with running as well. I will tell myself I'm running 2 miles (easy to me) and when I get to two miles, if I'm feeling good, I'll just keep going. This method works for me because if I only do two miles I've met my goal, but I also have room to push myself without being disappointed in myself for NOT doing more. 

My point is, I find that I often end up accomplishing more when I don't place a lot of expectations on myself because I actually focus on the task rather than all the hype surrounding the task. For instance with a shorter meditation, instead of thinking "OMG, I have to sit here for 40 MINUTES??" I'm just focusing on breathing because for me, 5 minutes is nothing. I guess, my point is, a lot of barriers are in our heads, so this way of thinking may be a good approach for times when you find the expectations you've placed upon yourself overwhelming.  

I'm not saying don't ever shoot for the stars, but it's ok to set easily achievable goals if the alternative is avoiding the task altogether. That doesn't make you lazy or a bad person or less motivated, it just makes you human, which is what we all are ultimately. This can be hard to remember when we constantly allow other people's ideas of us (and our own) to control our behavior. 

I read a zen story the other night about a wave who was sad he wasn't as big of a wave as all the other waves. He was mopey and sad and down on him self :(

But then another wave came along and reminded him that he was not a wave, he was actually water.  

I thought that was cool. 

If you're still with me, what I'm trying to say is try not to define yourself as a good employee or a good son/daughter, or whatever. Try to simply be a good human. When I do this I usually find that the other things fall in line. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Needed That

Tonight I listened to a :30 minute guided meditation on stress and anxiety. I had the hot flashes again, but not for the duration of my sit. I definitely have a lot of underlying fear and anxiety going on lately. I'm not really sure what it's all about, but oh boy is it there.

This meditation was very helpful because it reminded me of one key element in When Things fall Apart, which is the concept of leaning into your fears and anxieties rather then trying to make them go away or figure them out. In the meditation, it is likened to dipping your feet in cold water and how gradually your body acclimates to the temperature of the water. I always seem to forget this when I need it most, but it is an incredibly helpful metaphor. I know I've said this before, but the second you stop fighting your feelings, they become a lot easier to deal with.

That's about it for now. Stay tuned for some non-diary type posts I have in the works.


Going with the flow and hating every moment of it

Last night was tough. I found myself in a completely frustrated and helpless mindset for an hour or so. And later, when I was feeling better, I had the worst meditation I have ever had. It was 20 minutes of pure torture. For some reason, my body was totally panicking, it felt like what I would imagine a hot flash to feel like. I wanted so badly to get up and open the window, but I was determined to stay still and try to really feel what my body was going through. The entire meditation was a struggle, but I completed the 20 minutes and managed to not even check my alarm. 

I'm guessing I was just going through some type of hormonal shiz for no real reason. I'm not going to fret over it for now, I'm just going to celebrate the fact that I stuck with it. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

No More Excuses (April 3rd)

I squeezed in a 10 minute meditation tonight before I was walked in on (being caught mediating is oddly awkward) by my boyfriend who kindly apologized and offered to leave the room. I stupidly told him it was fine, but then I found myself distracted by various noises of him moving about the room, so I stopped. If my practice had been more consistent over the past couple months(or years), his presence in the room may not have been an issue.

That said, I'm going to make an effort to be more strict with myself in regards to setting a mediation time and sticking with it. I think it's important to be kind to yourself and not obsess if you don't meet every single goal, but I feel I've reached a point where I have been making a lot of excuses (see above) and I have been struggling in my day-to-day because of it. Starting today, I am going to sit for the entire, pre-determined meditation time. It's fine if I'm falling asleep or distracted or whatever, but at least I will be giving the time I originally felt I needed and I won't be changing things to suite my comfort level. I feel I'm simply thinking too much. I just want to sit, so that is what I'm going to do. 


Sunday, April 3, 2011

And.. On to April

Happy April everyone! I'm three months into this project and the challenges just keep coming. Work has been insane and loosing touch with this project has been a consequence, but I have to admit that it's been a choice (whether it feels like it or not) because I was just as busy during the first week of this project, yet I managed to get in the mediations AND the blogging.

While the mediations have still been happening, I've realized that processing everything here on this blog is just as crucial. I think this may be because my skill set is not developed enough to remain mindful under the type of stress I have been under. Taking the time to write on this blog everyday is essentially an extended meditation. It brings me back to the goal and helps me to observe the days events, which I'm not so good at doing in the moment.

In summary, I've decided I'm going to adhere to the blogging everyday from this point on. I think it's the right call since I have felt such a loss when I don't. If I can't actually post everyday, I'm going to recap on a sheet of paper and post later. I'm looking forward to the second quarter of this project and what it will bring.

Hope everyone is doing well :)