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.

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Meditation Monday Day #100: Ta Da!

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Yay we did it!  I’m feeling quite good about this one hundredth day of meditation practice. 100 pats on the back, 100 butterfly kisses, 100 imaginary trumpets, and/or 100 bags of sparkles – whatever celebration floats your boat. Let’s just say, I’ve never been this consistent about meditation. Ever. Cue the dancing girls – wait, I am the dancing girl!

So what’s come out of it so far?

Beyond the bits of discovery about going in reverse to go forward, and finding new capacity for receiving compassion, which, by the way, would have been enough, I’ve noticed that when I don’t meditate I can feel the difference- big time. I didn’t really get that until this morning, when for the third day in a row I was avoiding sitting, and noticed that despite yoga practice, I’ve been weirdly ungrounded and unfocused for the past few days. Ding.

Yeah, “duh,” but instead of going down the beat myself up for not getting it sooner road (I know you know that one), I sat. And, ohm my goodness…the difference. There it was. I’ve leaped from meditation as an experiment in commitment and self-compassion into the realm of, this s–t is important to me.

So what now what? In anticipation of this day I’ve been thinking and poking around on the internet. I found the 21 Day Meditation Challenge with Deprak Chopra and Oprah (ChOprah?), which started in March, but can be downloaded for free anytime. Not my cup of tea, but could be yours. I found an old book on meditation and there’s some interesting meditation techniques in there that I might try, though this mindfulness mind training is pretty great.

Any suggestions of what I might try next?

If you like what you read, please share it. Thanks.

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 and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Meditation Monday Day #71: Hello, Goodbye

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I’ve read that the ancient yogis specifically designed Hatha Yoga (yoga poses) to prepare the physical body for the rigors of meditation. You may have heard this too. (Though, from the looks of some yoga classes, you’d be likely to wonder if the purpose of all those poses and breaths is to look like the Lululemon models.)

After a particularly satisfying yoga practice today, I noticed how much easier it is to slide into meditation. I’ve already slowed down, I’ve already been listening to by breath and been paying attention to sensations. Yoga provides a way to walk the bridge from outer to inner worlds. Yoga is the bridge and the walk.  And so my understanding of “preparing” the body for meditation takes on meaning – no, not meaning, new meaning.

Now I sit and as one breath leaves, I murmur good-bye. Good-bye?  Oh well, I go with it, saying hello as close as I can to moment I notice a breath coming in, and good-bye when I sense the last bit is gone. It’s all but impossible to discern the exact moment when out becomes in, and hello becomes good-bye. mobius-band_shutterstock_300And, I keep wandering away from it, unable to sustain full attention  for more than a few breaths at a time. Yet I keep on, aware that with each new hello life says yes – more – again – alive- forward- now…

 How’s it going for you?

If you like what you read, please share it. Thanks.

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 and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

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: The Plan

 image002 100 Breaths for 100 Days,that’s the commitment.

I figure it would be deadly to take you through 100 actual days of meditation practice. So here’s the plan; I will journal everyday but check in with you only on Mondays (unless you have questions, and you can email me anytime- see below). That way, we’ll be able to reflect on a whole week.

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.

Leave a comment here or email me: judy@moveintochange.com

100 Breaths 100 Days- Ohm my goodness!

Most people celebrate the coming and going of the new year on Dec.31st. I’ve never really gotten in to it, though I’ve tried. It just doesn’t click for me. This year I decided to stop worrying that other people might think I’m a card carrying Wiccan cavorting naked in the woods, because I really want to say goodby to last year and hello to this one at the winter solstice. (By the way, if you are a Wiccan or anything else, and want to dance in your birthday suit to celebrate national Ice Cream Day, I say go for it.)

It’s just that a new cycle of going around the sun makes sense to me. It just does…so there.

I don’t know if  Dec.21, 2012 was different because the alternately dire and ecstatic Mayan prophesies made me pay extra attention, or if I’m just getting so much better at telling myself the truth, but I finally went with it.

So in lieu of New Year’s Resolutions (something I know works for a lot of people but not for me) I made a list of things that bring brightness to my life. On that list are also things I hope will bring more spark but I haven’t tried them yet, things I want to make sure I do more regularly, or stuff I want to make sure I do at all.

First on the list – meditate.

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s been a good deal of research lately, scientific, anecdotal, and non-traditional, about the benefits of meditation. Skip the next paragraph if you already know the effects of a meditation practice.

Meditation and other mindfulness practices help relieve chronic pain, bring greater levels of calm, and enhance clarity and focus. Meditation also lowers blood pressure and enhances the immune system. Meditators report greater connection to an inner sense of knowing, and can experience connection to a larger consciousness and a widening capacity for  compassion. Overtime too, they notice composure to act in considered and constructive ways and a more stable and balanced personality.

Not news to me either.

Yet, I hadn’t been able to sit and meditate since I first heard about it from Remember, Be Here Now in 1972 (yes, I’m that old).

So after, many many years of yoga asana, cranio-sacral sessions, and Focusing, I decided to start small. That’s the advice I give to clients and I took it.

Two minutes of sitting quietly. Once a week. Then three minutes. Twice a week. Soon at five minutes, I noticed that I wanted to do it more. I actually looked forward to it. Surprise!

That brings me to 100 Breaths 100 Days.

Breathing

   Breathing        Anne Lindberg*

I have made a commitment to myself (and now you’re a witness) to  meditate daily, sitting for 100 breaths for 100 days.

Want to join me in 100 Breaths 100 Days? I’ll be writing about my experiences on Meditation Monday, every – er – Monday! You can tell me about yours, or hang out and observe.

Or,

Talk to me…Tell me about a practice that matters to you or about something you want to make sure to include on your list of sparks. Do you have a list? What do you call it?

* at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art

A Super-Sized Yoga Practice

What? Ew. Isn’t the whole super-size thing kind of non-Yoga like? Yes, and I got your attention, didn’t I? heh,heh

What I really want to tell you is that my Yoga mat has dents. Not really dents, more like permanent impressions where my hands and feet lean into the mat the most.

Time for a new one, I guess. Or maybe not. I like what those dents represent.

About ten years ago, I decided to make time for myself through doing yoga more often than once in a while.  After trying and failing to wake up early every morning for a “full” series, I made a plan to take 5 minutes each day before work.

My ego had a field day with this plan, “What, an ex-dancer and all you’ll do is 5 minutes – that’s one pose or two at the most! (said with Jewish grandmother’s accent)”

Inner critics weighed in with, ”You call that commitment?” And this, ”Shouldn’t you be able to get up really early and do a full 30 minutes at least, what’s wrong with you?” And this one too, ”One measly pose isn’t going to do anything for you.”

It’s that last one that gets me going today.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some version of,“Why bother, it’s too small to make a difference,”  from myself, from my family, friends and clients. Weird too, that we accept this so easily from our selves and each other.

This relates of course to practicing being you, and to practicing in general (I secretly really wanted to tell you about this).

It bears repeating that our culture doesn’t exactly encourage us to practice at being authentic. We are consistently exposed to overstatement and exaggeration. Change is SWEEPING, products work FASTER, we like BIGGER, BOLDER, and OVERNIGHT. Even when it comes to personal growth (a.k.a practice being you) we think in terms of epiphanies and heightened transformational experiences. We want it big, obvious and intense – NOW. I guess I wanted a super-sized yoga practice.

The trouble with  dismissing our efforts is that it keeps us from committing to repetition, a huge part of practice, practice being an essential ingredient for change. And even when we do, if we fail to recognize the miniscule indicators of success we simply stop practicing. That’s just tragic.

So in looking at my purple mat with four worn spots, I reminded of each day’s effort and wonder how each of you do with this practicing thing.

If you have something to say about  practice being you, practice that leads to change, or want share something about what keeps you from practicing something important to you, that would be great. Or, just hang out, poke around here, or the website Move Into Change.You’re welcome anytime.

For Comment-makers: Reading your comments is something I look forward to. And, it’s important to me that all of us (readers, browsers, comment-makers, and me) feel safe and secure. I ask that each of us be responsible for managing the energy that we bring here. We’re friendly and kind on this site. Just so you know.