Time warps

I am doing a 21 day meditation with Oprah and Deepak.  I ran across the link on Facebook and figured I could use the encouragement and structure of a challenge.  This challenge is all about reframing your relationship with time.  I have an issue with time.  As in, I don’t have enough of it.  I spend a lot of it thinking and worrying and talking about how I don’t have enough of it it. Then I procrastinate by doing things I don’t REALLY love because I know that I don’t have enough time to do what I need to do, so why not put off even longer my engagement with this task for which I don’t have enough time??

Consequently, I end up facing a task (e.g. homework) by first making some coffee.  Then I will check Facebook. Then I will remember that I need to text my brother.  Then I will throw a load of laundry in.  And maybe do the dishes.  And then eat some chocolate.  And then.  Maybe then.  I will sit down and study.  And LO!  It’s not so bad.  It’s actually interesting.  I am actually learning.

So, obviously, I really need Oprah and Deepak to help me with this unhealthy relationship with time.  Each morning they email me a link to a meditation.  Each day you are given a centering thought along with a  Sanksrit mantra that you repeat for the duration of the meditation.  Today’s centering thought is; The only real time is here and now. The mantra is: Om Hreem – Pure transparent awareness is my essential nature.

Doing these meditations has increased my awareness of my skewed view of time.  I more easily observe the aforementioned pattern and break out of it occasionally. For example, on Thursday night, I finally got out my 2″ stack of handwritten flashcards and started reviewing them and separating them into Things I know, Things I Don’t Know, and Things I Kinda Know.  Ninety minutes flew by!  I had assimilated some new information. Yet, the evening was still rather young!  I had time for a walk.  Time for a chat with Tim.  I felt as if I had entered some sort of time warp.  Somehow much more time had appeared in an evening!!

That was Thursday.  I haven’t experienced that bliss again since then, but at least I know it’s possible now. 🙂  I think the real key is just to FOCUS.  Let everything go except that ONE thing you are doing right now.  That one moment expands into a deep ocean where time does not exist, or at least it’s slowed waaaaay down.  You can swim around in the flow and then come back up for air, at which point the clock ticks to the next minute.  It’s happened once, so I know it’s possible!

That’s been my focus for the week.  I will continue to work on my Focusing skills, because in November I have 4 tests and 1 quiz, so I need some depth and breadth of nonlinear time! I keep telling myself that I am part of Oneness, and in Oneness are oodles of brilliant juicy brains who already know all the stuff I am learning.  If I can chill the #$@ out, and invite in spaciousness and tenderness and connection, I will do just fine.  Part of me believes that, at least. 🙂

Speaking of time warps, last weekend I went home for the first time in 6 weeks.  I literally had to look at my calendar before I typed that because it seems as if it was ages ago already!!  Could it have just been LAST WEEKEND?  While it was awesome to see my friends and family again, it was odd to be home.  Home is not really home now. It’s a pretty empty house where I felt like a guest – pulling PJs out of a backpack instead of a dresser, pulling my face lotion out of my travel pack instead of the medicine cabinet.  I really wonder where HOME will be for us. Once Tim moves down here, will this apartment feel like HOME?  Or will we just feel like temporary residents until we decide where to go after school?

I am traveling home week after next for Thanksgiving and then the weekend after that for a conversion project at work.  I’m going to get really good at studying on airplanes.  On my flight home last weekend, I brought my Trail Guide flashcards to review.  The guy next to me observed that I was studying and then proceeded to talk to me for the 2 hour flight about his biology degree, his job, his family, etc.  I murmured polite responses and then would return to studying.  He continued to look over my shoulder and comment on how he still remembered a lot of the bones/muscles, etc.  So I finally just surrendered to the flow and talked to him for the rest of the plane ride.  I think ear buds are required next trip. 🙂

Hope you have a fabulous time-rich Sunday!

On Getting Comfortable with Uncertainty

The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with. – Tony Robbins

Week 5 is done, Man!  In case you don’t know, that’s a riff off of a quote from Adventures in Babysitting, a movie I haven’t seen in probably 15 years, but that quote has always stuck with me – Dishes are done, Man!!

Anyway, I’ll reel myself back in to the point.  Friday marked my 5th week of classes at CNS.  We celebrated with a quiz in anatomy.  Fortunately the teacher dropped some heavy hints the week prior, so we were all pretty prepared.  After hours of study, I got a 93% on the 10 question quiz.  I missed one.  Ninety-three percent is a solid grade.  I am mostly happy with it.  I am a little unhappy with it too, though. I wanted 100%.  I wish I could get to the root of this drive for perfection, so I could unwind it and be satisfied with what IS.

I think it has something to do with always being a people-pleaser and identifying myself as the “good girl” who gets good grades.  It’s a huge part of my self-identification, and my way of trying to control what I was able to control as a child.  I could reduce conflict in the world around me by getting good grades.  And it got me positive attention.  I don’t NEED to get good grades for those reasons anymore though.  But that coding is still strong within me.

But, overall, I am satisfied and a little less anxious about my success in this program.  As a wise friend told me, if I HAD gotten 100%, it may have set false expectations and made lower grades in the future tougher to deal with.  I set a reasonable bar with my 93%. 🙂

Enough about my layers!  Let’s get on to the purpose of this post – being OK with uncertainty.

This topic came up in class on Friday, when the teacher was discussing some new research that indicates that massage therapy does NOT increase blood flow.  This was the one thing that almost everyone agreed was a positive result of massage therapy.  Welp… now it looks as if that is in question too.  Anecdotally, it seems to be true.  From direct observation, it seems to be true – just look at how red the skin gets after being massaged.  If that’s not an increase in blood flow, what is it??

It was a timely discussion, however, as today one of the YTU teachers I follow and greatly admire posted  this article about the Myth of Symmetry in Yoga.  The title of the article pretty much says it all.  The author references several studies that indicate that symmetry in the body (symmetry of muscles, posture, and leg lengths) is irrelevant to sensation of pain.

So…the school I am going to is FOUNDED on the concept of symmetry.  With each treatment, we do an 84-point analysis on the posture to identify imbalances. The chief imbalance that can drive many of the others is a lower limb length inequality (LLLI – aka one leg is shorter than the other).  We are taught that the limb length issue must be corrected first (via lifts in the shoes).  If that is not fixed, any bodywork provides only temporary relief.

So this article is in direct contradiction to what we are taught.  BUT!  BUT! I did not read the studies the author referenced. I clicked through to a few of the summaries, though.  In my quick pass-through, it appeared as if the studies were not done over an extensive period of time.  Perhaps an LLLI does not cause much pain until later in life or until an unusual stress is placed on an imbalanced body?

One thing that I have noted in all my reading about diet and exercise over the past 5 years, is that “Science” is constantly shifting.  Eggs are good!  Eggs are bad.  Coconut oil is the bomb!! Coconut oil will give you heart attacks! Stretching is good for you!  Stretching will compromise your joints and make you unstable!  Yoga will save your life!  Yoga will bust your shoulders all to hell.

So, again, we waffle back to center.  The truth lies somewhere in between.  Balance (which is oh so close to symmetry…) is the key.  If we really do exist in a quantum field, where everything exists in multiple states until it doesn’t, each person’s Truth varies.  We all have different perceptions, experiences, and DNA that alter how we experience the world.

So, thus, I start my journey into being comfortable in the unknown, trusting that I am in the right place at the right time, gaining knowledge that will help me understand my body, your body, and the world around me better.  With this knowledge, I will eventually be able to help people who share a similiar quantum experience.  If we both look really quickly to the right and see the same thing, then someday I may be able to help you if you are in pain.

Hope you are having a great weekend – getting outside, spending time with loved ones, spending some time in the peace and quiet.  If you’ve had any experience with dealing with  challenges to your foundational beliefs, I would love to hear how you tipped-toed through to the other side.

Take care!

Week 3 – On Contemplating Change Vs. Implementing Change

Today was the first week of normal classes at CNS.  Monday we had Basic Massage. Tuesday was Advanced Technique. Wednesday was Business. Thursday was more Advanced Technique.  Friday was Anatomy and Pyshiology. I’m concerned about my success in A&P because I cannot yet spell physiology correctly.  Wait! I think I just figured it out!!

It’s been a super interesting week.  I really love the Tech and A&P class. They are taught by the founders of the school and their passion really shines through in their teaching. You KNOW that they believe that this form of therapy changes lives. Not only does it change the life of the patient, but it has a domino effect and changes the lives of the people the patients interact with.  This is a Difference Maker.  It is so fulfilling to be surrounded by that kind of conviction and knowledge.

During the Tech class, we learn the  neurosomatic techniques. This week we learned how to address the muscles in the front of the neck – infrahyoids, suprahyoids, the deep anterior cervical muscles (the muscles that connect to the vertebrae), the scalenes (the muscles that move your neck from side to side) and the sternocleidomastoid – the muscle that flexes, tilts, and rotates the neck.

These are super impactful (is that a word??) muscles to treat.  Treating these can help immensely with ear, jaw, throat, and shoulder pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, and migraines.  However, they are a….sensitive area to treat.  There are lots of trigger points in these muscles, and one of the treatments involves moving the trachea out of the way.  So…  It’s really important work with lots of benefits, but it’s also work that requires a lot of trust and practice.  People just aren’t used to therapists fiddling around with the front of their necks!

My first A&P class was Friday.  The teacher is…just amazing. You can tell he really loves the material and believes 100% in it its importance.  He is lively, animated, funny, and super knowledgeable- which is a must, if you are sitting through 4 hours of anatomy lecture.  It was totally overwhelming.  Completely. He also told us that over 1/2 of the first term students fail their first anatomy test. I have never failed a test.  I don’t know how I would deal with that!! I hope I don’t have to find out.

I took copious notes and also recorded the session.  Today I used the pomodoro technique to tackle studying.  With this technique, you focus 100% for 25 minutes and then take a 3-5 minute break (which I used to roll out my upper back, shoulders and pecs with the Yoga Tune Up balls).  I found that knowing that I only had to work for 25 minutes relieved some of the anxiety I was feeling about tackling this huge subject!  At first I really struggled with how to approach studying.  But once I started looking at my notes, looking at the pictures in my Thieme book, and tying the two together (and reminding myself to BE PATIENT), I felt so much better.  The terminology started to make sense.  The names of things in the body actually do have some logic to them, and that started to present itself as I worked.

I did about 4 pomodoro sessions and then took a long break.  I, uh, watched Miss Congeniality.  It’s a really excellent movie, actually.

But now I’m going to go back and do some more homework – I have some reading to tackle. I like to read before I go to bed because I feel as if the information just kind of floats around in the ol’ brain pan and settles in better that way.

Tomorrow I am meeting a couple of classmates to practice my neck-spearing technique (aka treating the superficial anterior cervical muscles).  Then I’ll do some more studying, meal prep for the week (steel cut oats, quinoa, and BBQ pork in the Instant Pot). Hopefully I will figure out a way to have some FUN tomorrow.  Figuring out fun stuff is actually quite challenging!!

Oh! I guess I should circle back to the whole theme of this post – change!!  I was talking to a dear friend of mine who has been with me step-by-step as I contemplated coming to this school.  She is intimately familiar with all the doubt, fear, and indecision I was experiencing.  My therapist said I was in Decision Purgatory, and that is the perfect description.

Well, Angela and I were talking about my current state, and I told her that living in Florida and going to school just feels, well, normal now!  She reminded me of how petrified I was of making this change. It made me realize that CONTEMPLATION of change is the really scary thing.  Actually EXPERIENCING  the change is NBD (no big deal).  You just deal with it, like you deal with everything.  The Ego is a funny thing. I’ve been pretty entertained lately by watching its machinations.  Between lots of reading of Kiran Trace and listening to Matthew Kahn’s podcast, I’ve realized that it’s all about awareness without judgement. I can FEEL whatever I want to feel, and that is 100% OK.  I just need to observe how I feel and let that be OK.  I’m doing a lot of “Huh.  That’s interesting.”

Hope you are having a fabulous Saturday.

Take care,

Hlo

 

On adaptation – a wobbling toward equanimity

Two weeks down!  In some ways I still feel as if I cannot believe I am here.  In some ways it feels as if I have always been here.  The thing that strikes me the most about being here is the lack of hills.  There no hills.  It’s flat.  All you can see is sky and palm trees.  It makes me feel a little exposed.  I miss hills.

Tim and I have been talking every day and Skyping most days. How did people live apart before Skype??  It makes such a huge difference to be able to SEE your loved ones!  I would feel so alone here if it were not for technology.  My little brother sends a picture and a message almost every day, I talk to/text Tim all throughout the day, I call my parents and my older brother on the weekends.  I am finishing up Lord of The Rings (reading it for the Nth time), and I am at the part where everyone is parting ways at the end of the book.  Back in Middle Earth, unless you had a Palantir (aka an iPhone), you had to travel for WEEKS to see your friends and loved ones once you were sundered.

School this week was good.  We learned some very basics of massage – draping, massage strokes, etc.  We had our first test on Friday. I think I did well on the written portion and the massage portion, but on the postural charting portion, I got a bit confused on a piece of it.  There are 4 measurements that you take on the first side of the sheet and then transfer over to the back side of the sheet. For some reason that confuses me a bit.  I kind of rushed that portion and didn’t feel good about my answers.  I was having a severe battle with my perfectionism, struggling to ask the teacher if I could have my test back to verify I did it right.  I kept reminding myself that I am part of the Infinite One and not getting 100% on a test is A-OK.  🙂 But every time I think of it, I get that little burst of constriction just to the left of my sternum.  This body had some encoding that really, really, really drives me to   get the A+.

I have been reading Kiran Trace’s book, Tools for Sanity.  In it she talks a lot about how awareness is the key to realizing who and what we really are.  She uses an analogy of when you walk into a dark room and flip on the light and flip it off again, you can never unsee what you saw.  You now know where the furniture is situated, you see the toy truck on the floor, you know what is there.  Even with the lights off again, you are AWARE.  Once you strobe that awareness on to a behavior, it immediately changes things.

So I am settling my awareness on this drive for perfection and seeing what I can find out about it.

In the meantime, I didn’t ask for the test back.  I left school, worked from home, and then spent the weekend gently exploring.  I ventured out to Dunedin and went to a yoga class. Come to find out it was the last yoga class ever to be held in that studio. They were shutting down the following day.  I feel like there is significance in that, but I haven’t parsed out what it is yet.

Today I ran through my typical Sunday routine – grocery shopping, cleaning, making food for the week.  I took a long walk and reached a new spot I have not seen. I saw trees from Dagobah and encountered lots of friendly folk.  I was listening to Matt Kahn’s talk about Everything is Here to Help You.  He said that if you view every person in your life as being there to help you learn *something,* that you will transform your world.  I sent that vibe out to every one I encountered and got lots of smiles in return. I’m curious to see how this susses out.

I got home from my walk and decided that I better go to the beach.  I have been here 2 weeks and have not made it there yet – partially because I have been busy and partially because I am nervous/reluctant to go to the beach by myself.  But tomorrow starts regular classes at CNS, so I figured I should take advantage of having no homework and GO!

I drove to Bellaire Beach, just south of Clearwater Beach.  The skies to the East looked ominous, but I persevered.  I walked out on the beach, appreciating the roar of the ocean and the foaminess of the waves.  I looked to the Southeast and noted dark clouds tumbling in. I just sat and watched the storm roll in.  I laid back and turned my head, at eye level with the beach, the ocean, the sky huge and dark and roiling above me.  It was absolutely beautiful.

And that was my weekend.  Tim has been steadfastly working on the house, hopefully bringing to a swift conclusion our separation from each other.  We should get the house on the market soon, sell it post haste, and get Timmy Tee down here to Clearwater ASAP.

Hope you had a lovely weekend, and thanks for reading!

 

After further thought…

My students Thursday night asked me a couple of questions that I was not really prepared to answer.  I tossed out the first thing that came to the top of my head, but after further reflection, I have more to add. It takes awhile for my brain to get into gear!

Question 1:  What is the biggest change I have noticed with doing yoga regularly?

This one caused a rush of conflicting thoughts in my head, even though it seems like a simple question.  A lot of this tumult of thought circled around, “I don’t actually DO yoga regularly!”  I have a varied movement practice – I jog a couple of days a week, I lift a couple of days a week, I attend a yoga class once every couple of weeks, I do one of Jill Miller’s videos once or twice a week.

I’m conflicted about even calling myself a yoga teacher, in point of fact, because I feel as if it can give people the impression that I practice 6 days a week for 90 minutes everyday, and I can do handstands and splits and crazy binds.  I can’t do any of that stuff, so I don’t teach any of that stuff.  I help people understand their bodies better with the aid of the Yoga Tune Up® balls and mindful mobility and strengthening work.  We crawl, we swing, we roll, we look at pictures of muscles in books.  Is that “yoga”?  Technically yes (as I understand it), but I fear it’s not what people typically consider yoga to be.

So once all of that darted through my head, I settled back on the question – what is the biggest chance I have noticed?  I told the class that after taking the YTU Level 1 training, I noticed that I felt myself stacked over my feet better – like I wasn’t leaning forward all the time.  That was the biggest change for me.

And that is true, but, upon reflection, what I have really noticed from my mindful movement practices is that I have more Awareness now.  I notice when my shoulders start to creep up around my ears, I notice when I start breathing shallowly, I notice when random parts of my body tense up (like my hands or my belly), I notice (with a slight bit of detachment) when I feel annoyed or angry, I notice when my mind is going a million miles per minute.  Sometimes I just notice these things. Sometimes I notice them and then try to change them – I will stretch, or roll on the balls, or reflect on whether it’s worth it to get angry about this situation.  That Awareness is what I have noticed most from doing yoga.

Question 2:  Does it ever get better, or do you have to constantly work at it (re: muscle tightness)?

My answer to this was, you really do need to keep working at it.  You can’t just roll and relax and be done with it.  You need a relaxation maintenance package. 🙂

And that is true!  But what I forgot to mention was that if you change your habits (especially postural habits), you can start to alleviate tension all over the body.  For example, if you stack your ears over your shoulders, it releases strain in the back of the neck, the back of the head, the tops of the shoulders, and the jaw.

So, while you still should continue to move your body as much as possible (whether in “yoga” or some other mindful movement practice), if you move your body BETTER and use Awareness to re-position yourself in a joint-stacked position, you will over time reduce pain and tension in the body.  Instead of trying to fit another exercise class into your day to keep yourself supple, you can continuously adjust yourself as you are walking, reading, doing the dishes, working at your computer.  As Katy Bowman always says, Stack Your Life!  Improve your mobility while doing the other things in life you have to do.

I’m still not sure that fully answers both questions, but if I wait until I have a perfect answer, I will never get this posted!

Hope you are having a great Memorial Day weekend and that you can get out outside, put your toes in the grass, laugh with your friends and family, and eat delicious food!

 

New Yoga Sequence on YouTube!

Hey-O!  I’ve gone and done it.  I bought a new microphone, so I could film some high-quality yoga videos. I plugged the mic in, did a 2 second test, and replayed the video.  NO SOUND!!  So I plowed forward, sans microphone, filming a 30 minute video.  Come to find out, you have to REMOVE the mic from the phone during the replay in order to actually hear the audio. Live and learn, right??

Anyway, the point of my rant is not my lack of technical prowess, but rather the fact that I filmed a 30 minute yoga video that will help with spine health.  The video is not amazing.  You can’t see the left side of my body.  BUT, you can generally get the gist of what I am instructing you to do, and you will feel better in your gorgeous bod if you do what I am instructing you to do, so I’m calling that a win.

Here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCXubOPoS9s&feature=youtu.be.

Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments!

Where Worlds Collide

Last week I attended the Iowa Women Lead Change Conference in Cedar Rapids, IA.  It was a really amazing conference, with a lot of thought-provoking speakers.  But what really blew my mind, was that when I went to the Dubuque Yoga and Oneness Festival two days later, a lot of the same concepts were presented.  The scientific research community is finally starting to prove to the the corporate world that what yogis have been saying for thousands of years is actually true.

Here is a brief overview of the cross-pollination – it centers mostly around how 1) we are all connected and 2) the words we use with others and ourselves have a powerful impact on bodies.  I’m presenting this in list form because lists make my brain feel good. 🙂

  1. Action conquers fear.
  2. Progress not perfection.
  3. We underestimate our ability to recover from failure.
  4. Most people talk themselves out of their dreams.
  5. Stop telling yourself what you are not good at – Growth mindset vs. Fixed mindset.
  6. Women are critical to business success because we have a drive for meaning and purpose.  We have strong communication skills and are relationship-focused.
  7. MRI – Most Respectful Interpretation
    1. Interrogate reality – consider your filters: attitudes, beliefs, truths, opinions.
  8. Act from a place of values and vision.  Be authentic!
  9. Pause boldly – don’t let the amygdala (your ancient brain) boss you!
  10. BREATHE to bring the heart into a coherent rhythm and by doing so increase brain performance.
  11. Relaxed brains have more Aha! moments.
  12. We need Periods of Silence in our lives.
  13. Screen time dulls your capacity to think.  After 90 minutes of screen time, take a 20 minute break.
  14. Choose your words wisely.  An employee’s brain lights up when they hear positive words from her manager.  When she hears negative words, 11 regions shut down, and the effect lasts for hours.
  15. Emotions are contagious.
  16. Saying Thank You to an employee releases oxytocin (feel good hormone) in his brain.
  17. Yoga helps get your body into a coherent state.
  18. True failure comes from not trying.
  19. Mindfulness practices are a good way to deal with overwhelm
  20. Our brain does best when we are around others who care about us.
  21. Exclusion lights up the same parts of the brain that are lit up when physical pain is felt.
  22. The brain is hard-wired to belong.
  23. The ancient brain is kind of a jerk. It’s an efficient jerk though.  It quickly grabs on to patterns and integrates them to make decisions.  That is where stereotypes begin.  But we can PAUSE and consciously react differently.
  24. We cannot multi-task!!  The brain just toggles really quickly between tasks and loses 20-30% productivity in the process.
    1. Busy-ness does NOT equal productivity.
  25. We need Rest, Stillness, Mindfulness.
  26. Be mindful of outsiders and pull them in.

Based on that list, where do you think I learned that information?  At the Yoga Festival?  NOPE!  That is what all these smarties and PHds and authors at the conference shared with us!!

But that is basically what I learned at my day at the conference too.  Our thoughts, our heartbeats, our cellular material are all intermingled and shared with the people around us.  Where do “I” leave off exactly, and where does “Other” begin?

I think this article is already long enough, so I will hold off on sharing more from the conference for now. I hope you found this information as interesting as I did!  If you want to learn more, you can check out the following people:

  • Carey Lohrenz : http://careylohrenz.com
  • Sallie Krawcheck: https://www.ellevatenetwork.com/team/sallie-krawcheck
  • Jenn Bleil: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-bleil-28a5765/
  • Jill Saunders: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jillsaundersprofile/
  • Dr. Steve L. Robbins: http://slrobbins.com
  • Jeff Masters: http://www.jeffmasters.net

 

 

The dangers of learning

I just returned home this morning from my 5th Yoga Tune Up® training, the Core Integration Immersion. If you take a body and chop off the head, arms, and legs – well, not only would you have a horrible mess, but in the chunk left over, you have a good representation of the area we learned about in this immersion.

We spent each morning doing a core integration practice which consisted of rolling on the therapy balls to bring awareness into the tissues, and then we activated those tissues in typical Yoga Tune Up® fashion, which means activating them in fun and weird atypical ways. YTU is typically very atypical (see photos below as proof).  Thanks to our teacher, Dinneen Viggiano for taking these pictures!

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As with all trainings that I go to, I leave feeling as if I know NOTHING!!  The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.  It’s pretty annoying to keep bumping up against one’s own ignorance over and over again, yet I keep doing it!!

However, I know that once my brain gets a chance to recover from being overstimulated, the information starts to soak in, and a tiny piece of a massively complicated puzzle clicks into place.  I integrate and absorb what resonates with me.  The feeling of overwhelm starts to subside, I get the pleasure of sharing my new knowledge with other people who will find it useful, and then I start thinking about what training class I am going to go to next.

Once I get a chance to digest all this information with both the brain in my head and the brain in my gut (yep – there is essentially another brain in that there Core), I will write some more posts on what I learned.  I also promised my brother a short video on how to do Uddihyana Bandha (a diaphragm exercise that has an insanely long list of benefits), so I will make a post about that as well.

So, thank you for reading, and more to come!!

I was published in Marks Daily Apple!

Hola Sweet Readers!  I realized that I forgot to tell you that my primal success story (5 years later) was published recently on www.MarksDailyApple.com.  You can read the article here.

Hope you are doing well and Take Care!

Meditation Experiment of n=1

Shoot. I just logged in to make this post and realized that I haven’t made an update since starting the Primal Challenge.  So, here is the nutshell version:  I did awesome until about day 11 or 12, when we went to Front Street, and a glass of wine sounded really good, so I had one. And then off the wagon I went. I still did really well on my 10 minutes/day meditation and walking for 30 minutes/day.  But the no-alcohol for 30 days was a fail.    This lack of self-control on my part fascinates me. I don’t drink A LOT – just regularly, so why is it so hard for me to take a measly 3 weeks off?  I have an emotional/mental blind spot here that needs some work, I believe.

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about today was my meditation practice.  I have been working with a therapist, trying to understand who I am and what I want. One way to do this, is to tune in to your intuition.  I have always been pretty intuitive, when it comes to interacting with other people, but when it comes to understanding how I myself feel and what I really want, my intuition fails me  – it’s yet another blind spot!

My therapist recommended using a mantra mediation. She handed me a sheet of Sanskrit phrases, with the English translation next to them. She encouraged me to pick one that resonated. I read, “Aieem Namah” and the English translation (My true self is playful and wise), and for some reason it literally made me laugh out loud. I loved the juxtaposition of the idea of being playful and wise. My mantra was chosen.

She guided me through a 15 minute meditation where we focused on bringing awareness to the body, then the breath, and then to the mantra.  The mantra became an anchor to bring my mind back over and over again as it continued to do what a mind does, which is think incessantly (and very annoyingly, I might add).  When, at the end up the meditation, she told me to let go of the mantra, I did so reluctantly. Having it there as a base of operations was comforting.

My therapist recorded the meditation and sent it to me. For the past 2-3 weeks, I have been listening to either the recording mediation, or my own internal version, for 15 minutes a day.  This is the first time I have ever really devoted myself to a single type of meditation for that long. What are the results?

The results are…interesting.  I feel as if I am less reactive, which is good. But I also feel as if I am more exposed – more raw and open to the energies of the people around me – even more open to the general unease of the entire populace of the U.S. right now.  Everything in my life is going quite well – work is very calm, my yoga workshops are going well, I am reading lots of interesting books, my family is fairly healthy and happy. There is no reason for me to be anxious. Yet I am anxious. Anxious in my chest – a physical sensation with no conscious mental driver. I feel something and do not know why.  I am pinning it on meditation and its opening of subtle body receptors.

But, honestly, the more I learn about us humans, the more I realize how unbelievably complex we are.  Everything we think, eat, drink, breathe, and do has a emotional, mental, and physical effect.  How does one parse out which of the varying inputs is the one causing the shift???  I need an Hlo in Universe B who could act as a control for my experiments.

Consequently, while I cannot with 100% conviction say that meditation is a good thing, I CAN say that I do believe it is making me more aware, more conscious, more in tune with the universe around me.  I look forward to it daily and even awake at 4:5oAM each morning to make sure I fit it in before my day slips through my fingers.

I will continue with this experiment and will let you know if I finally settle on a thumbs up or thumbs down re: meditation. Although, the older I get and the more I learn, the more I realize that the universe strives for balance in all things, so meditation, like anything in life, is probably not good or bad, it just is.