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Pebbles on the Path

April 15, 2013
Pebbles

Years ago I had a massage client named “Linda.” Nice lady. Good sense of humor. Not a lot of joy in her life.

She’d worked at the same job for about 20 years I’m sure she was competent with her job duties, but it Pebbles was clearly “just a 9-5 job” to her. Pushing buttons to total numbers was not bringing her joy. Her job helped pay the bills for she & her husband. It offered little in the way of stimulation, accomplishment, or enjoyment.

I could feel her boredom with life, not just the job. Weekends were spent with family activities, mostly centered on her husband’s hobby of collecting sports memorabilia. Her bi-monthly massage was the sum total of her self-care.

Driving Towards Purpose

One day she mentioned wanting to drive a race car. She’d heard about a place that offered lessons. I inquired if she was going to sign up. She gave me a list of excuses, none of which rang true.

I offered to make a contribution to her race car driving fund should she choose to pursue it. Although the topic came up numerous times, she never took me up on the offer.

I’m not implying that driving fast would have given her life more meaning. But it appeared that she wasn’t living a life of joy, a life where she listened to her soul, a life where she tended to her most precious needs.

Pebbles on the Path

I call the “race cars” in your life the “pebbles on the path.” These pebbles may not be the path. But paying attention to things that feel compelling, interesting, even joyful can help lead you to or help keep on path.

This kind of paying attention and action taking is BIG self-care. Not the usual bubble bath or eating healthy you might think of when you consider self-care. This is the kind of care that’s required if you’re going to live a life of purpose that’s fulfilling, fun, and sustainable.

My suggestion to you is to 1) set an intention and then 2) watch for your first pebble.

An idea, an action, something to research, a class that compels you, a dinner you “must” schedule with a friend… I can’t tell you what your pebble will look like, but I can tell you it will come. And when you follow it you’ll move down your path.

Share your pebbles here.

Meditation: Cool Tool #52

January 31, 2013

I can’t believe I left mediation to last in the 52 Cool Tools series.

It’s one of my most treasured daily tools. That’s part of what makes it so hard to write a

bout.

That and the thousands of ways you can practice meditation.

 Is Your Meditating Device Broken?

I hear people say they’re not good at meditating. They’re either not sure how to go about it. Or they’re tried and they just can’t get their mind to focus.

I also struggled with meditation. It didn’t come easily. My mind moved. And moved. And moved.

One weekend back in the late 80’s I went to a weekend retreat somewhere in Ohio.. The meditation teacher devoted a lot of time to questions. Here’s some of what I learned from her. (Unfortunately I don’t know her name. Heck, I can’t even remember what city it was near.)

  1. Set aside a regular time for meditation. With a regular time it becomes a habit. With repetition your body and mind start to understand what you expect. Giving meditation a dedicated times says it’s important.
  2.  Set aside a regular place. I claimed a space in my home. Then I added a few items that felt sacred to me, as well as a blanket and eye bag. Now I don’t have to think about where to be. I just head to my spot. Plus the energy of meditating in a space shifts the vibration of that space making it easier to meditate there.

 Achieving a Quiet Mind, Not!

One of my former yoga students used to attend silent retreats. The other students were curious and a little in awe. They belonged to the “I tried to meditate and it didn’t work for me” school.

One day someone asked him, “How do you get your mind to stop?”

The silent retreat dude laughed. “I don’t. I just aim for more and longer periods of silence.”

When I finally learned to be present with whatever happened during my meditation time I relaxed. Some days I go quickly into a deeply altered state. Some days I replay the conversation I just had. I think about an idea for an article I want to write, a class I want to teach. I make a mental to-do list.

And still I sit.

Different strokes

I found trying various styles of meditation helpful. So many choices ranging from ancient spiritual traditions to cutting edge technology. Your best choice will depend on your goals and your personality. You can:

  • Focus on your breath.
  • Use a meditation cd like holosync or a guided visualization.
  • Chant a mantra. (A mantra is a sound, word, or phrase that you repeat.)
  • Try a moving meditation such as walking or yoga.

If you’ve tried meditation and given up I encourage you to explore other styles. I encourage you to make it part of your self care routine.

 Why it’s now a daily part of my life

So what do I get from meditation? I feel soothed. My usually very active mind slows down. It even goes blank sometimes. I come back to my center. I connect to the divine. My problems and concerns melt away. I access the better, calmer, happier parts of me. I feel bliss and joy.

Yeah, it’s good stuff!

What’s your favorite style of meditation? Any pointers or tips to share from your experience?

 

 

Ommwriter: Cool Tool #51

January 22, 2013

Cool Tool # 51: Omm writer

When I get ready to write I feel stressed. Maybe it’s feeling like I won’t know what to say. Or that I’ll be vulnerable if I reveal that, say I feel stressed when I set down to write.


In talking to other writers I know I’m not alone. I’ve used coping mechanisms like my trusty jar of nut butter or multiple games of solitaire.  But honestly they only delay my writing and sometimes increase my anxiety.

Enter Ommwriter

My friend Ommwriter, from the moment I open it, says “relax girl. You know what to say. Take a deep breath. We’re in this together.”

I take its advice because Ommwriter is always right. I do know what to say.

And I say, “Check out Ommwriter.”

It’s free. ( and the paid version is a sliding scale that starts at $4.11.)

It’s fun.

When I finished using the program you can save your file. I copy and paste to a word doc so I can use spell check. But I have to say I miss the pretty background and music. Well, I can always turn on Pandora

How do you make your work environment more relaxing?

I love water. Water and herbal tea are all I drink. No alcohol, no soda, no coffee, no milk, no juice…

When my mentor recently asked about my love affair with drinking water she wanted an answer based on spirit, not facts.  I’m going to give you both.

Beverage of Choice

Water is my beverage of choice for several reasons.

1. I love the way it tastes. Most of my life I’ve live on property with a well. I remember when we moved from town when I was about seven. I loved the first sip of that well water. (I know not all water tastes good. I definitely drink purified water when in town.)

2. I feel better when I drink adequate water.

  • I have more energy.
  • I think more clearly.
  • My body moves more easily.
  • I don’t get as hungry and therefore eat less.

The Facts

As a human you’re somewhere around 60% water (although I hear estimates as high as 90%.) Your dear brain is about 70% water. That’s one liquid mass between your ears.

All day water leaves your body—you sweat, you breath, you visit the bathroom. You’ve got to replenish that water.

If you want facts check out the book by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj        .

He mentions a number of conditions that can be helped by drinking water including:

  • Obesity
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Depression
  • Asthma and allergies
  • And more…

In other words, most of the things that bother people in our modern world.

Could it be that simple? Worth a try if you’re experiencing any of the above.

How much is enough?

Several years ago one of my friends (I know interesting people) decided she wanted to see if she could drink too much water. The answer is, yes, you can drink too much, at least at one time. It’s called “water intoxication.” That’s not a problem if you’re drinking throughout your day.

If you’re like me you were taught to pay attention to thirst to know how much water to drink. If you think you’re drinking enough because you 1) don’t feel thirsty or 2) drink other beverages, you still might need more water.

What we call “thirst” is a sensation of dry mouth. It’s not the first sign that your body needs water. Some of the conditions I mentioned above can be signs of dehydration. By the time you feel thirsty you’re already dehydrated.

You’ve probably heard the 8-10 glasses a day rule. I like to listen to my body because sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes it’s not.

As to whether you can drink other beverages to substitute for your body’s water needs, I once heard someone ask, “Would you use carrot juice to wash your dishes?” Of course not. While some of your daily requirement for water comes from your food and other beverages you need the pure water too.

(If you have kidney or adrenal issues you’d want to talk with your doc first before increasing your water intake.)

But wait, what about the spirit…

I am an ocean 
of salty brine.

Each sip connects my grateful cells

To my sister plants

To bubbling spring

To misty mountain

To raging ocean.

 

I am an ocean

Each breath connects my fluid self.

I breathe out. I drink in.

I connect. I replenish.

Your relationship with water? How much to you drink? Do you find it easy or a struggle?

I was planning on writing a blog post about water as a stress relieving and balancing tool. I will write an article on water, but it won’t be the article I was planning on writing.

You see, coincidently (if you happen to believe in such things,) Kathleen McKern Verigin,
my mentor and founder of the nine-month Anam Cara program
I’m in asked me about my love for water. She wants to drink more water. But she didn’t just want the scientific facts.

She’s a smart lady and she’s already heard the facts plenty of times. She said, “I want to fall in love with water. I want to drink it for reasons other than because I “should.” I don’t like shoulds…I want spirit.”

I thought her words were brilliant. They get to one of the core reasons we don’t always do the things we know would be in our best interest. I don’t like “shoulds,” do you? Being told we “should” or knowing that we “should” feels too much like having a parent at the helm rather than our wise inner coach.

And how often do we take the time to fall in love, deep crazy love, with the thing that will be nurturing to your body, mind, spirit, emotions, or energy?

If you’re making resolutions…

If you’re embarking on a new fitness plan…

If you’re adding more of something…

Then consider falling in love with the thing before you tie your life energy up with it.

And hey, if you need a guide on your journey of “falling in love” I’d love to that guide. (“Matchmaking” is one of my superpowers after all.)

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