Wednesday Words

mind-controlWhat consumes your mind, controls your life.                                                                    – Elizabeth Gilbert

When you pause to observe the thoughts you are thinking, the feelings you’re feeling, which ones crowd you? Which ones lead immediately to an action? Did you notice you had a choice? If not, there’s wonderful work to do!

Care to explore ways to live your life with less reactivity – more joy, more balance, more freedom? You can find me at Move Into Change.

Please share, Thanks.

Meditation Monday Day #29: Stuck in a Sundae

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 3.43.18 PM100 Breaths for 100 Days, that’s the commitment.

Would you look at that.  The day just “went” by…

It’s 4:30 and I’ve been this-ing and that-ing all day. Driven by the worry of what you’ll think of me, if you know that I know I’m piddling away the day and still continue doing so, I seriously considered concocting a good story about the interesting things I discovered while meditating today (sheepish grin). Actually, as long as I’m owning up, I haven’t meditated in two days. That’s right, haven’t done it.

And, I’m giving myself a pretty hard time about it too.  Some serious scoops of resistance drizzled with self-criticism (for having the resistance in the first place), topped with whipped responsibility and sprinkled with pride; this is one serious self defeating sundae alright.

So, even though the internal critics (my critters) jabber at me about how no one will want to read this blog or trust me ever again as their coach if I don’t SIT DOWN RIGHT NOW,  I’m going for a walk.

How’s it going for you?

Have you noticed that it’s so much better when other people tackle a disciplined practice along with you? There’s something even more than support, encouragement, and empathy that happens between all of us, even online. It would be fantastic if you were doing it too. We can share stories – or not. You can just read, lurk about and observe – your call.

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

Related articles & photo credit:

Meditation Monday Day #22: Do Not Disturb

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100 Breaths for 100 Days, that’s the commitment.

General Observations from the Week:

  • Day 20 I noticed that I was keeping count without my fingers, how long have I been doing that?
  • When I’ve already begun to change a lifelong pattern (in this case one that involves trying to remain undisturbed by keeping things- thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations- both in and out) that the truer workings, subtleties, and intricacies of the way the pattern is woven throughout my life, emerge. Yow. See below.

What it was like today:

I’m sitting. My body is fairly relaxed. I want to get to a place where I can just watch my breath coming and going – in and out – in and out – but the more I want this, the more labored my breathing becomes. Then I ask myself, What if I practice just letting the exhale go? What if it disappears and I don’t care where it goes or how it gets out of me? It’s then that I notice I’ve been simultaneously containing the exhale as I conscientiously try to let it out. Constipated breathing.
Visible in my breathing pattern is the strategy that if nothing goes in and nothing goes out, I can remain blissfully undisturbed. A misguided idea of peace. Since I took the The Do Not Disturb sign off my door years ago, the next layer of dismantling my default mode is apparent here in my exhale.
There’s a shift. I feel creaking in my pelvis, like the way a foundation groans as it settles. I remember the mysterious snaps and bangs my childhood home…back to the breath. At about 80 breaths the exhale is flying free. As soon as I register a feeling of ease, I try to hold it – keep it. I notice this too, and a momentary taste of the present, a fleeting nano-second of calm amidst a busy inner world, is enough.

How’s it going for you?

Have you noticed that it’s so much better when other people tackle a disciplined practice along with you? There’s something even more than support, encouragement, and empathy that happens between us, even online. I’m perfectly willing to go solo on this, but it would be fantastic if you were doing it too. We can share stories – or not. You can just read, lurk about and observe – your call.

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

Related articles & photo credit:

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there info about coaching, Focusing, free stuff. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends.

Meditation Monday: Day #15

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100 Breaths for 100 Days, that’s the commitment.

Updating you on what’s happened since last Monday.

General Observations from the Week: Grabbing and Grasping

  • I seem to need about the first 15 breaths to relax my body while maintaining an alert spine. I’ll show you how I do this below.
  • Mostly I just can’t tell the difference. between controlling each breath and merely counting.
  • I worry that I won’t have anything to write to you about- that I won’t remember the sensations and thoughts I experience. Like a hawk circling above a tasty meal, I hover looking to dive,  snatch, and keep one.   I never noticed this vigilance before.
  • When I grab an observation, it morphs into an image and before I know it I’ve followed a train of thought, one that tickles me (hello ego), and I see that I’ve left the breath. Again.
  • Thought I am not giving myself a hard time about getting distracted – this is already different than how it would have been a  few years ago – there’s a sense of p-p-ull-ling myself back to the breath that’s definitely tense.
  • Day 13 I meditate, but I take no notes.

What it was like today:

Cross-legged, I close my eyes. I find my sitz bones (the ones under your butt) on the floor. Then I tune into the right side of my body. I’m imagining it softening and widening beginning at my legs and moving up to my face. Then I repeat on the other side.

At first, this leads to pleasant sensations until my spine starts to droop. Next, I imagine the meeting place between the two sides of my body filled with flowing water. Now my spine is awake enough without too much muscular effort.

My breath has been coming and going more slowly and at 40 I really notice it. For the first time, I know that I’m watching at the same time that I’m watching. Is this  the “witness?”  The part of me that’s watching me breathe feels big and loving; that heart cracking sweetness of watching my babies sleep.

Oops, I’m gone again, lost in memory. My babies. I bring my attention back to my body. Where was I?

How’s it going for you? What have you noticed?

I think it’s  so much better when other people tackle a disciplined practice along with me. There’s something even more  than support, encouragement, and empathy that happens between us, even online.  I’m perfectly willing to go solo  but it would be fantastic if you were doing it too. We can share stories – or not.  You can just read, lurk about and observe – your call.

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

Related articles & photo credit:

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about coaching, Focusing, free stuff. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends.

Meditation Monday: Day #8

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100 Breaths for 100 Days, that’s the commitment.

After a whole week ( a whole week!) of sitting Mindfulness Meditation I’m playing  with how I’ll tell you about it. Here goes.

General Observations from the Week:

  • Chucked the cushion, it distracted me.
  • Had to decide where I’d put my hands . Right now I’m opting for in my lap with fingertips almost touching.
  • I avoided sitting on Day 5- but finally did it.
  • Avoided it again on Day 6 – this time didn’t do it.
  • Knowing I was going to tell you about not practicing actually helped me let myself off the hook, “it’s all part of the experiment,” and that led me to wondering if it I could try meditating right after yoga.
  • My mind wants to use mental images to help me bring my concentration to breathing. One day it’s seeing a train conductor playing the harmonica to calm a scared child on the train, and another day it’s finding the very center of my skull. When I sensed the middle of my skull, I felt my spine elongate. My eyes (even though they were closed) shifted in their sockets. Oddly, this made it easier to  breathe.

What it was like today:

Getting started felt like easing  instead of reminding. I attribute this to being super relaxed during Shivasana (Corpse Pose) at the end of yoga. I just sat up slowly and got to it. (Makes sense, Hatha Yoga was designed to get the body ready for meditation- and it makes sense too that I’d have to experience it to get it.)

At about 60 breaths there was a rush of heat (no, not a hot flash) and I welcome it. Then I’m feeling impatient. By 80 breaths I want to stay forever. And at 90 I feel a subtle circling deep in my ribcage. It kind of snakes up to my shoulders and neck as I watch it. Then I have a powerful urge to turn my head all the way to the left, and a voice inside asks, “Are you supposed to move during sitting meditation?”

Then I think, “I don’t know the answer to that, I  haven’t a clue what I’m doing. And since I don’t, it doesn’t matter what I choose right now.” It occurs to me that I can file away this urge for further investigation at a later time. I don’t have to act on it but I can if I want. Now, it seems right to just watch and stay still. Of course, I’ve lost count several times, and am only vaguely aware that I’m breathing at all. 99…100.

How’s it going for you?

Have you noticed that it’s so much better when other people tackle a disciplined practice along with you? There’s something even more  than support, encouragement, and empathy that happens between us, even online.  I’m perfectly willing to go solo on this, but it would be fantastic if you were doing it too. We can share stories – or not.  You can just read, lurk about and observe – your call.

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

Related articles & photo credit:

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there info about coaching, Focusing, free stuff … go… and then go forth and tell your friends.

Meditation Monday: Day #1

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100 Breaths for 100 Days, that’s the commitment.

If I’m going to stick with this meditation thing, it’s going to be important to stay in experimentation mode. The spirit of experimentation, containing qualities like curiosity, gentleness, non-judgement and detailed observation (and lots of notes) is what’s needed now. Because, already I can see myself getting tripped up by decisions; the kind of decisions I don’t really like, such as, Where will I meditate? When? What kind of meditation will I do?

I’ve read a bunch of “rules” for meditating. They say to pick a quiet spot (makes sense not to be easily interrupted), to meditate at the same time everyday preferably very early in the morning (not going to happen) and to pick a method and stick to it (hmm).

Right about now, I need a permission slip to not play by all the rules, and to trust that I can or at least will, at some point, discern which rules will support my practice and which will undermine this sweet little project of mine.

Decided: meditation in the bedroom, probably in the morning, with cushion. Sounds like a game of Clue. It is a game of Clue -looking for clues about my stuff and ways to practice interacting with it- meditation being one way.

Okay, phew, on to the menu of meditation choices. Below are a few you’ve probably heard of but don’t worry, I’m not going to describe them, you’ve got Google for that.

  • Mindfulness, Zazen, Metta, Heart Rhythm, Guided Visualization and Qigong Visualization.

I’m going with MIndfulness. I will observe my breaths and count them.  I sit and begin to breathe. I’m all over the place. I wonder if I’m breathing right. There’s a cacophony of body sensations and I lose count. I worry about getting through 100 breaths. It’s a struggle. Then I remember the one meditation class I took with my friend Theodore (hi, Theodore!) where we used finger-tip touch to keep count. Yes. This physical reminder helps. With thumb to fingertip at the completion of each breath I still lose count here and there, but I have a way to return.

Have you noticed that it’s so much better when other people tackle a disciplined practice along with you? There’s something even more  than support, encouragement, and empathy that happens between us, even online.  I’m perfectly willing to go solo on this, but it would be fantastic if you did it too. We can share stories – or not.  You can just read, lurk about and observe – your call.

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

Related articles & photo credit:

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too.