Tag Archives: meditation

Back on the Mat

 

yoga mat

This was the week. My Hay House calendar for Tuesday said “Today is the beginning of a positive turning point for me.” I decided to take that seriously and get up and go out into the world of my former life. I went for a 2 mile walk and felt pretty accomplished, a little out of shape, but happier. I considered it a meditation walk, contemplating the houses, trees, birds, dogs out for their morning walks and listening to the sounds in the neighborhood and in my head.

Wednesday I decided to take the big step and return to yoga. I haven’t been since early March, unable to face the introspection and solitude on my yoga mat, but my body craved the stretch, the familiar asanas and the quiet reward of the savasana at the end of class. I walked into the studio and was asked if I had cancelled my membership. No, I’ve just been gone for a while. I’ve had some stuff going on. I have seen the payment going out of my account each month. No problem. Walking into the room I run into a teacher I know who is a member of my community. She knows everything and gives me a hug and encouragement, “It will be good, just what you need, really.” I hope so.

Laying out my mat, I assemble the familiar props, foam blocks, blankets and a strap; I lay down, breathing in the calm. The teacher is smiling and positive, speaking slowly and demonstrating every new posture and walking around the room helping to make small adjustments. The bamboo floor is smooth and lovely, the blue walls are tranquil and the view out the windows is of children playing on a leafy climbing structure. I breathe, arms circling up and folding forward, then fingertips to shins stretching out and folding down again. Stepping back into plank, the most difficult for me, I breathe into the rigidity of the pose and then down, chaturanga dandasana, pushing slightly up to a low cobra and elevating into downward facing dog. Stepping forward on my mat, arms circling, reaching up, I look up at my hands and then bring them to my heart center. There is nowhere else to look, except in my heart.

Today I went to yoga, the second day back was not as dramatic, no questions, just smiles and hellos by name. I settled in and welcomed the calm, the warmth of the room and the returning familiarity of sun salutations. Today we work on balance. Triangle pose and preparation for half-moon, standing on one leg, lifting the other straight out and up using the foam block for support. I need practice on balancing, my leg wobbles and I am glad for the support of the block but it still doesn’t guarantee an easy balance. It still takes work, repositioning and focusing on the breathing through it all.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Life thoughts, Walking, yoga

Salad Meditation

photo-20

There is a saying about chopping vegetables, something like, if you are chopping the carrot, chop the carrot.  It sounds silly, but the intention is to recognize the act of being in the moment.  Presence.  That is my practice for the day.  I spent the day in the moment, each moment, and I got a lot done!  I wrote and prepared my upcoming workshop:  The Gift of Balance, a workshop designed to help parents create balance in their lives and the lives of their children.  I did the usual email checking, laundry, grocery shopping and blogging for my classroom.  I took a walking break with Charlie in the afternoon, climbing the hilly streets, slowly, at the pace of an aging dog.  I was in no hurry anyway and the air was fresh and warm.

I drank my tea, watched my  Feminine Business Model (Tracy Lee Jones) video for the day and took a little nap.

It was a nice day.  Quietly productive, with each activity started, completed.

I ended the day with my salad meditation, creating a beautifully delicious crunchy salad with kale that was so dark it was almost purple, sweet beets, small grape tomatoes, hothouse cucumbers, romaine lettuce, parsley, and celery and pearl white mushrooms.  Topped with sprouted sunflower seeds, it was crunchy goodness.

Today was a gift for me.  A quiet day of a peaceful practice.  Gratitude.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life thoughts

Three-Leaf Clovers

photo-18

Strolling through the hills on my (mostly) usual afternoon walk with Charlie, I notice the vibrant green bunches of clover dotting the hillside, little yellow buds poking out of the bunchs attached by winding vine-like stems.  I notice the bright green, almost flourescent color, and the perfection of each little clover with its heart-shaped leaves.  Thought of spring come on this Groundhog Day.  It is predicted to be an early one but this cloudy day offers little evidence of the sunny days to come.  Only the clovers springing up through the mud left from last week’s rain give me the light feeling of winter’s end approaching in a month or so.

I appreciate the simple little clovers and only after observing them for a few minutes, realize that I am supposed to be looking for a four-leaf clover.  Perfection.  There isn’t one, of course.  Perfection isn’t always readily available so why do we search for it, scold ourselves for not achieving it and judge ourselves and others with perfection as the barometer?  It is a human condition to reflect on the past and the “if only” that result from those sad recollections.  To worry about the future and the unknown events that await.

Arriving home, Charlie is not content to stay inside just yet so we wander in the yard and relax on his favorite lounge chair.  Here he is content.  I gaze forward at the mountains across the Valley and notice for the first time that I can see a mountain range beyond the first set.  For a cloudy day the visibility is exceptional.  A little sliver of sky remains under the clouds and it is that sliver that allows me to peek beyond the first barrier of mountains.  Breathing.  In and out.  With Charlie resting between my legs, but poised, observing every little bird, every leaf moving slightly in the slight breeze, I am able to rest in the present.

photo-19

Leave a comment

Filed under Life thoughts, Relax

Raining

 
photo-17
Today is another rainy day and my energy is on simmer.  I woke up with my list of good intentions, managed to get a lot done, but when the soft drizzle turned to heavy droplets, loud enough to make sounds on the window panes, my resolve began to diminish. 
 
I am sitting at the kitchen table with my thoughts and cup of tea, slowly sinking ginger snaps into their hot bath, I feel content to stare out the window, through the trees at the little valley below and watch the clouds swollen gray with evaporated ponds, lakes and tears.
 
Sometimes it is nice to take a melancholy moment to relax and meditate on the sound of rain on the roof, the Kit-Kat Clock ticking regularly, its eyes taking in the solitude on the quite house, the hum of appliances and the occasional swoosh of the heat coming on, regulating the temperature and wrapping me with warm air.
CatClock
 
Tapping turns to pounding and the landscape is drenched once again. Little clouds dance in the distance, tiptoeing across the peaks of the distant mountains leaving just enough space for me to peak at the sunlit light-blue sky,  just out of reach.
 
Pensive thoughts and the possibility of procrastination are suddenly lit by a burst of sunlight and the optimistic rainbow that sets itself down completely, stretching from one end of the Valley to the other, showing off the entire color spectrum.  Offering light.
 
photo-16

1 Comment

Filed under Life thoughts, Rain, writing

Looming New Year

 

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Maria Robinson

I heard this quote during my wonderful Weight Watcher’s Meeting with Michelle Jacob last Saturday, and though I have heard it before, this time it sunk in.  I have been thinking about positive ways to move on, move forward and what I want to change for the New Year.  This is often a time of reflection, my usual pastime, which is accentuated during this time of year because so many others are putting energy in the same place.  I am creating a list of changes and here is the beginning of my list:
 
1.  Write more:  I am happiest when I do this and actually have begun to crave writing time, which must mean it is really something I need to do for my soul.
2.  Practice Yoga (more often):  This is another happy place for me and one that has great physical and emotional benefits.  Turning off my incredibly active “monkey mind” for an hour a day….
3.  Letting go: This is a general category that includes stuff, emotions, weight, and habits.
4.  Look for more natural ways to heal:  A concerted effort to investigate better health through more natural solutions like Save Our Bones, meditation, and a better, plant-based diet.
5. Create what I want:  which includes manifesting, doing, writing and discovering what is important to me.
 
The past is a magnet, pulling at us to look back, go back and revisit old stories, but really, once we have learned the lesson, and gone through the emotions, what good does it do to revisit?  The quote about the past is gone, the future is unknown and today is a gift (present) is a bit overdone, but the message is clear.  For one who thrives on control, I am coming to the conclusion that I can only control myself.  My mission for this new year is to offer the gift of change to myself and see what happens.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under change, Life thoughts, New Year's, writing

Taking My Time

I am taking my time.  This is something new for me because I operate at high-speed, my Type A personality functioning best with lists, schedules, and immediacy.  I return emails promptly, phone calls a.s.a.p. and strive to fix all problems with ingenious solutions.  Breathing deeply is a struggle for me and sitting to relax usually results in immediate sleep because when my motor slows down, it just stops. 

Recently however, I have come to a realization.  Most situations are not emergencies.  Most questions do not require immediate answers and most importantly, time is precious.  So, I am taking my time.  I am training myself to breathe first, listen more carefully and ponder more often.  I have not come to this conclusion alone.  I have had many mentors along the way both virtual and those in my real life.  The books I read keep me focused on the importance of taking each moment as a special gift.

So if I take a little long to make a decision, to respond to an email, to text back and answer or to return a phone call, you now know why.  I am taking my time.

It is amazing what a little breath can do to quite a heartbeat, improve vision, sharpen hearing and to enhance perspective.

1 Comment

Filed under change, choice, Life thoughts, Relax

Create 2011

Dreams and a Plan 2011

My New Year’s Day tradition is to create a collage visualization of my hopes, dreams and plans for the New Year and so this afternoon I sat down at the kitchen table with my husband and youngest daughter (who is 19)  and spent a pleasant couple of hours scanning magazines for inspirational words and photos.  My 2011 collage has a theme:  Create.  That is also the word that popped into my head during a Winter Solstice meditation with Diana Lang two weeks ago.  I take it to mean that I can create the life I want, and it doubles as inspiration to create art and the written word.  My plan has three categories:

1.  Create health & peace of mind

2. Create and maintain relationships

3.  Create art

I will create a more healthy lifestyle by developing the habit of exercise at Equinox and Curves and integrating it into my daily life.  I have chosen the 10,000 Steps walking program and I have my spiffy new pedometer to track my daily steps.  I have realized that if I walk (either on the treadmill or an extended walk with Charlie, my dog) for an hour, I can rack up the steps fairly easily.  I am also committing to yoga at least twice a week.  This also helps with creating peace of mind, but is definitely a good strength training routine as well.  I will continue with resistance training to help build bone strength.  The big news is my recent re-acquaintance with Weight Watchers.  I am attending weekly meetings and making daily use of eTools to track my food. I have come to the conclusion that tracking creates the discipline I need to succeed.  I am proud to say that In the past month I have really become mindful of the food I eat and am excited with the 5 lb. weight loss!

Charlie, my walking buddy, on the way home from his bath. Note the cute scarf?

I will create peace of mind by tracking my spending and saving habits too, and will continue my money education and devotion to becoming money-wise.  By tracking my habits on mint.com I will have a realistic visual of where my money is going and how I can gain control even in these tough economic times, taking into account  furlough days and the cutbacks imposed on education by lack of State funding.

I am open to creating new friendships and devoted to maintaining those I have.  I will continue to nurture the friends and family I am blessed to have in my life presently and appreciate these relationships.  I am taking a positive path to relationships and plan to focus on positive aspects of relationships while attempting to eliminate gossip and other negative habits that are detrimental to honest friendships.  I will practice patience, support and giving.

I will create art by focusing on my writing through my classes in the UCLA Writers Program, this blog, a daily 2-minute journal and various writing experiences.  I will expand my creative experiences through any art form that becomes available and will be open to opportunities to  express myself through music, art and crafts.

This is my new nifty 2-minute timer.

2011 is a blank slate, a new beginning and a chance to “Embrace the art of living.”  My vision is clear and my plan is in place.  Feel free to share your plan for the New Year!  May it be a truly happy year for us all.

4 Comments

Filed under Life thoughts, New Year's