Meditation Monday: Yes, and…

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I read recently that the benefits of meditation won’t really kick in until my meditation practice is consistent (as in, close to daily) for an extended period of time (as in 8 consecutive weeks or more) and goes for at least 15 minutes.

A year ago, this would have put me off meditating faster than it takes for a thought, any thought,  to capture my attention. Nanoseconds. Well, I don’t practice every day consistently – yet. When I do it tends to be about 15 minutes, which is about how long it takes for me to count 100 breaths, and that just happens to match the research.

If you’re a beginning meditator you might well respond to the discipline of 15 minutes everyday when starting out. But if you’re anything like me, I know you’re out there, it might be all you can do to sit for 5 minutes, 3 minutes (?) when you first start.

I say do it anyway.

I say yes,  the measurable benefits might not kick in until farther down the road. And, in order to travel that road, you have to step onto it, maybe even just for a minute so you can see that it isn’t too rocky or dangerous. “Learning” to meditate is really about learning about you anyway, so why not start here, now, right where you are?

Today I meditated by saying “yes” on my inhale and “and” on my exhale. Try it if you want and let me know how it goes.

If you like this sort of thing, here’s some new research on changes in the brain due to meditation

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092549271000288X

judy@moveintochange.com     917.450.1524 moveintochange.com

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Meditation Monday

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Here’s the thing about me and Meditation, or meditating me. Well, actually other people too, because my friends (the ones who meditate) and my clients as well, seem to have many of the same thoughts and experiences:

  • I’d meditate more if I knew other people were doing it with me.
  •  I’d meditate more if I knew I could build up really slowly, which means I don’t want to go to a whole long class because I can barely sit for 5 minutes.

And…

  •  I want Meditation to fit into my daily routine so traveling somewhere to meditate is out.
  •  I really wish it wasn’t called Meditation because the word totally intimidates me or,  makes me want to roll my eyes because pretty soon I’ll be running naked in the woods or leaving my family to eat bean sprouts in Thailand. Well, actually Thailand…
  •  I want to be able to ask questions or make observations with other “beginners” and I don’t want to feel stupid or bad because I didn’t sit one day, or I wiggled or worse, got up when I thought I wasn’t “supposed to.”
  • I don’t want to pay to be “taught” Meditation when I’m not sure what it is or if I really want to keep doing it.

Does any of this sound like you? Please leave a comment!

judy@moveintochange.com     917.450.1524 moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday: 1,2,3

I got up from meditating and three poems popped out. 1,2,3 – just like that. This would be nothing to write about except that yesterday I would have said, “I never write poetry.” So much for that. Last week’s Wednesday Words must have joggled something. It’s pretty scary pushing “publish” on these. Be kind.

One

No longer green,                                                                                                               just one leaf,                                                                                                                       falling.                                                                                                                                  A blazing announcement                                                                                                    The End Is Near!

maple leafTwo

Me? I’m going down like a maple leaf.                                                                                No polite decline, no withering on the vine.                                                                     First pinky, then thumb, detach.                                                                                     Open-fisted every color exposed.                                                                                      Feast your eyes.

Three

My dear, before I knew it you were letting go                                                             suddenly more beautiful because of it.                                                                            Then the breeze  took you.                                                                                                                               Does nothing last?

  judy@moveintochange.com     917.450.1524  moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday: Side Effects

middle pillarMountains. There are mountains you know you are climbing.  These are the ones you set intentions for and then create goals for. These are the ones that you decide to climb and that require a plan. It may be a slog on some days (Sisyphus anyone?) and on others, there’s giddiness bordering on high-altitude sickness. Mostly, though, days feel ordinary.

You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything, or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.

–Tom Hiddleston

hiker-staff

The “step by step” approach isn’t very sexy, but it sure is effective.** 

Obviously, reaching your goal is pretty darn sexy on it’s own, but there are also thrills from climbing mountains you didn’t even know you were climbing.These are what I’m calling the “side-effect mountains.”

An example:

I’ve been a “mouth-breather” all my life, and was told as a child that I have a badly deviated septum. “Mouth breather” – it sounds like some sub-species of obscene phone caller. It’s one of the reasons I had so much trouble meditating over the years, as breathing through my nose was uncomfortable. This was a mountain. But it was only one reason I didn’t meditate, and I dealt with it all the time, so it wasn’t the focus of 100 Breaths 100 Days commitment, at all.

I’m only telling you this because, just the other day it occurred to me that, after first climbing the 100 Breaths 100 Days mountain,  and continuing to practice (see Meditation Mondays), I’ve been effortlessly breathing through my nose for months now.

Side effect!

I could try and figure out how and when my breathing shifted, but I won’t…

Because, it’s too much fun knowing that the work of climbing a mountain has secret side-effects. I’m thrilled to report that not only is it worth choosing to climb, but who knows what other mountains you’ll summit along the way?

Mountain2    Have you ever experienced a sexy side-effect? Have you reached a goal as a direct result of focusing on a different one? I’d love to hear about it.

   ** If you’d like a Sherpa to help you decide which mountain to climb and create a plan for getting there, I’m here,  judy@moveintochange.com     917.450.1524 moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday: Yes

middle pillarA hummingbird mind. Beating wings and long beak hovering for just a second first at my forehead, then at some thought about ancient crowns and wreaths and then onto wondering where to focus my attention – that shoulder…this rise of my ribs- it kept moving until I noticed.

I didn’t count breaths either. As I write, I’m considering how I might justify my choice to meditate on a quality instead of counting breaths. Hide my transgression – I didn’t follow the rules. So there it is.  Now that I’ve said it, I can move on from feeling like I’m supposed to “know” about meditation. I don’t, and really, who does?

Right this moment I know this; I went inside, I sat, I breathed, I paid attention. The part of me that usually “watches,” which I thought was that “witness” so often described in meditation literature, turned out to be more of a gatekeeper. Keeper of the list. Some things are allowed in, others are not.

I reminded myself to explore this new insight later… and then there was something more, something “other” than the gated domain and the opinion of the gatekeeper.

“Yes,” the quality of YES.   Hanging out there (with a yes that feels different from the yes that comes of “I can’t say no,” or the yes of, ” I’m afraid if I don’t say “yes” the opportunity will disappear,” and more solid than the over-excited- bordering -on- anxious – type, yes), breathing, watching, listening, I heard,

It depends on who’s looking.” It depends on who’s looking.

Yes. Separating the looking from who is doing the looking. Or at least, being aware that who’s looking is in charge of what I see, which may be far less than what I can know.

You can sign up for occasional emails with tips and tools for self coaching and more, just click moveintochange.com  Then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Wednesday Words

Cheri Huber

If what Cheri Huber says is true, and you’re not flawed, damaged or “not enough” –  now what? Are you worried that you won’t strive, create or work to improve your life?

It’s a common belief that in order to move forward we need to push ourselves from a feeling of insecurity.  But that story results in a cycle of emotional highs and lows as we quest to  fill the hole and then find it below level – yet again. Just when you thought you’d quieted your inner doubts with proof, hard work, maybe even money, there they are again. Sometimes stronger than before.

Frustrating. Painful.

Here’s the thing. You’ve (we’ve) been asking the wrong questions. We’ve been asking, “How can I make these doubts go away, or at least appease them? What can I give them to shut them up? What shovel is the magic shovel?

Our doubts scare us. We feel bullied by them so we use the same strategies we would have used as school children – ignore, submit, appease, placate, negotiate, fight back, fantasize, and/or join. None of these work for long,  just like they don’t with real life bullies.

Instead, why not try a new approach. The first step is to notice the ‘bully voices,” ultra critical or harsh,  lot’s of I should, why didn’t I, whats wrong with me, I never, I always, etc. Do your best to just notice – I know, it’s hard- maybe write it down or rub your knee when you notice it. AND, this is crucial, give the voice(s) a real name.  Why? Because that will begin to change your relationship to them. That’s what we’re after.

The second step is to notice your reactions to the “new name here” voices without acting on them. Do you jump up to distract yourself (eat, watch T.V., drink, check email), do you get anxious until you do what it says, do you shame yourself for not doing what it says, are you angry at it for “making” you feel bad, etc.? Just notice.

Step Three. Not really the third step, really a throughout  the first two steps kind of thing…be kind – to you. This is new. New skills require encouragement and patience. You’re asking yourself to withstand discomfort. Try yoga or meditation to practice breathing through and with discomfort.

Baby steps.

You are always welcome to poke around at Move Into Change. If you’re ready,  let’s see if we can work together.

Meditation Monday: Exploding Heads

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Last night my son wanted me to watch animated Youtube video – something that made him laugh.  It was made from clips of singing Disney princesses doctored so that in each clip there comes a moment when the heads of Snow White, Cinderella and their doe-eyed cousins are blown off, leaving their headless bodies dancing on and on.  My son thought this was hilarious. Me, not so much.

Though I’ve been known to rant about Disney perpetuating all manner of problematic images of women I bristled at the downright cynicism of this little video. And, I was offended that my childhood heroines (Geez, did I just say that?) were treated so shabbily.  Could it be that I’m attached to Belle and Ariel more than I knew?

Fast forward to this morning’s meditation. I’m watching and breathing, breathing and watching, when I notice that I’m seeing blobs of color ebb and flow in and out of my visual field. The reds, blacks and yellows are spreading and receding in a rhythm.  I wondered if I was “seeing” my breath, but no, it was much faster than my breathing. Was I seeing my actual pulse? Letting that thought go, I synced my breath to the beat of the blobs.  Everything went still…yet my breath was still going in and out, evenly.  The thought, “Who is breathing?” passed by, but the the possibility of an answer made me feel like my head might explode. Not knowing what else to do, I got up and continued my day, doing what I do, singing my song.

Head explode lately? I’d love to hear what meditation is like for you.

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about life coaching and coaching with me. You can sign up for occasional emails with tips and tools for self coaching and more. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday:

middle pillarWhen the world quiets to the sounds of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love and a peaceful heart.                                              – Mitch Alborn

This is all I want from meditation right now, the chance to sit and listen to my own breath and see what happens. Though I said I’d play around with The Middle Pillar, which I have done, I keep craving the simplicity of counting breaths.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten was, start where you are, and in this case, for me, it means not getting ahead of myself (hey, a head, ahead, just saw that as I wrote it). It means re-remembering to  listen to the part of me that knows the value of sitting, counting, and Mindfulness. Not my “head,” I might add, but you knew that already.

I’ve quit pretending that I need to do anything else, for now. Just doing that, sitting everyday (even though I accomplished 100 Breaths 100 Days challenge, and there’s a voice telling me I have to something bigger, better and sexier so you’ll keep reading) is enough ’cause THAT”S WHERE I AM. Truly.Truthfully. Ahhhh…

*Reminder to self: expertise (a.k.a. mastery) doesn’t mean knowing everything or doing everything right already, it means having the Presence and skills to return to the truth more quickly and with more ease each time.

In case you’re curious about how the Middle Pillar Meditation has been going I’ll say this,

  • I struggled with it feeling unreal, like I was imagining instead of sensing the energy moving.
  • A friend and terrific multi-modality healer,  Ingrid Bacci,  suggested I need more practice articulating my spine and sensing into it, making the meditation physical/corporeal.
  • Started the above today.

What about you? What types of meditation are you doing? Have you tried Middle Pillar? You can find instructions here.

To learn more try Discover Meditation: A Practical Introduction to the Art of Meditation by Simon Court.

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about life coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday: What kind of fool am I?

middle pillarHere’s what’s been going through my mind and body while practicing Middle Pillar Meditation:

  • Am I doing it?
  • Is this what its “supposed” to be like?
  • Am I imagining this a.k.a. how do I know this is real?
  • Am I total fool for even thinking this is a thing worth trying?
  • How the hell am I going to write about this?

Funny isn’t it, these are the same thoughts I thought when I began 100 Breaths 100 Days.

Visualizing and sensing the balls of energy is hard enough so I’ve totally abandoned the colors. I notice that images form unbidden when I am focusing on the energy centers. This is kind of cool and I’m just letting that be. They’re different every time. If  I practice yoga first, I have a much better sense of the subtle “tube” through the center of my body. Lately, the connection between imaging and sensing is getting a bit stronger too, but man, that inner skeptic comes in to remind that I’m probably making it all up. She rolls her eyes. Even so, I continue on…

What about you? What types of meditation are you doing? Have you tried Middle Pillar? You can find instructions here.

To learn more try Discover Meditation: A Practical Introduction to the Art of Meditation by Simon Court.

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about life coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com