Category Archives: mindful52

This brief moment in time

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 23

Intention. “What was I thinking picking Intention for one of the weeks for this project? When I looked at this topic a few days ago, I thought ‘what will I ever write about? Intention is what this whole project is about.’ Intention is defined as:

  1. a determination to act in a certain way; resolve
  2. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result
  3. the end or object intended; purpose

What is it that you intend for your life? Does one topic come to mind or several? What does intention even mean to you? Have you thought about it? How can you use intention to shape your life if you don’t do so already? Explore the word – and the concept – further this week.”

My intention was to keep up with Mindful52 prompts weekly in 2011. Somehow I’ve managed to post every day, but a weekly prompt just didn’t work for me as well as daily prompts have in the past, and I never got in a good Mindful52 habit. To kick-start my lax writing habit and my non-motivated NaNoWriMo (I’ve let way too many non-profit commitments get in the way this month), I intend to work my way through the rest of the prompts this month as if they were meant to be daily.

What do I intend for the rest of my short time here (getting shorter all the time)?
Purpose. Critical Thinking. Compassion. Skepticism. Laughter. Community. Trust. Love. Respect.

Long stretches behind and ahead of us—of road, of time

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 22

Playfulness. Mindfulness Heather says, “I must reluctantly admit I’m more serious than playful – and I SO wish that weren’t the case. I envy those who are light, airy and carefree. While I’m not dark and heavy, I do take many things in my life more seriously than necessary and can see great benefit in ‘lightening up.’ … So this week, join me in NOT TAKING THINGS SO SERIOUSLY. Find joy in play and playfulness. Live life to the fullest!”

Sounds like we’re made from the same mold. I also take myself too seriously, most of the time. I find it hard to relax, to enjoy the moment, to have fun without worrying about what is happening next, what I should be planning, or juggling. The kids are helping me with that. Sometimes they are just silly, and it’s contagious.

My youngest step-daughter likes to have contact—she’ll grab my hand, poke me, tickle me, or just hug me. I’m not naturally an exuberant, huggy person, but she’s persistent, and she wears me down. Which is a good thing.

If only I could get rid of worry and guilt, and just live. I’ve had small moments, precious glimpses. But never for long. A glimpse: Driving down a road in Scotland, having mastered the other side of the road in the rental car, good friend in tow, long stretches behind and ahead of us—of road, of time. Exploring, no firm plans. New love waiting for me back home. I was alive in that very moment.

Voices of solitude: Accuser, List Maker, and the one that says, Whoa!

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 21

Moments of wonder—the joy of doing nothing. Solitude. In our media driven, hyped up, go-go-go world, do you consider the importance of just being? Of breathing? Of quiet contemplation? Of simplicity? It doesn’t come easily. It must be planned, cultivated and scheduled, but oh how powerful it can be! … How important is solitude to you? Do you make time for quiet moments to yourself? How can you cultivate more solitude this week as part of your life?

Craving solitude this busy step-kid-full summer. Home office moved to the master bedroom, rarely any time in any room of the house to myself.  But it’s only temporary—summer’s almost half over already!

So hard to just be. A voice in my head says, “Lazy.” Another voice says, “You need to remember to do this, and this, and then that, and don’t forget…” Another voice says, “Whoa, slow the fuck down.”

Going to go read in the bath. That’s one of the only ways I know to tune out.

Truth, Integrity, and Crappy, Evil People

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 20

Truth and Integrity. So truth is a pretty deep topic. It’s about being truthful—telling the truth, being morally responsible. It’s also about ultimate Truth, rooted in spirituality—and knowing what you believe your truth to be. We are all different.

“Paths are many. Truth is one!” ~ Gandhi


Satya, translated as truth is one of the yamas of Patanjali’s 8 Limbed Path in the Yoga Sutras. It’s about being truthful with self and others—in all aspects of our lives.


Dictionary.com defines integrity as:

  • adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
  • the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

Sounds like the two go hand in hand. This week, look for truth in all aspects of your life. Things change. We change. But in all things in life TRUTH remains.

After the last few years of my professional life, I hardly know what truth or integrity means anymore. I thought I knew what each meant, but it turns out that I really don’t. It seems the slick, those who can fake it well, the con artists, those who will stab coworkers in the back without a thought—they are continually rewarded—while the honest, earnest, and even creative—are punished. Even other “professionals” want smoke blown up their ass more than they want real talent or skill.

It’s hard (but should not be impossible) to maintain truth and integrity of self when faced with others who seem to have none. My truth and integrity should be separate from the perceived truth and integrity of others, but it’s easy for me to slip into lazy habits when feeling defeated again and again and again. The thing is, I know that these people really don’t think that they’re doing anything wrong. But understanding that does not make me dislike them any less. I read an interesting article in Elephant Journal recently, How to Deal With Crappy People, by James Altucher, that  identifies four basic types of people:

#4  Crappy people: People who will do you harm, no matter what you do, for no reason at all. They never will get it. They will say and do things to you and they will never ever understand how evil they are.

And then gives suggestions for how deal with them:

There is only ONE only way to deal with these people in a way that will make you happier instead of sadder. ONE WAY. And it always works. This is the most important part of the Emotional leg of the Daily Practice. COMPLETELY IGNORE THE EVIL PEOPLE:

  • Completely ignore them.
  • Don’t think about them.
  • Don’t talk to them.
  • Don’t write them.
  • Most important: Don’t give them advice. They will NEVER listen to your advice. It’s arrogant and stupid to think they will. It will only lead to  more cycles of pain for you. The goal for me is to stop all cycles that cause me any pain at all. Giving advice to crappy people will only result in more pain for you. That’s the only possible result. Much better to be happy than to flush knotted up brown advice down a toilet that caused you agony to push out. This is hard.
  • Most important: Never gossip about them behind their backs. Just completely disregard. We don’t care about their happiness or how evil they are. We only care about you. Its hard to do. Never ever talk about them behind their backs. Repeat this 500 times. This is hard also. Because it’s an addiction.

… If someone says, “what do you think of so-and-so”, your worst enemy, you say back, “So-and-so who?” And that’s it. No explanation. Nothing more. “So and so who?” Change subject right then. This is the emotional leg of the Daily Practice and must be balanced with the other three legs. Any deviation will set you back. Any addiction to the opposite of the above behaviors will eat you alive like cockroaches feasting on your heart. Have a good night.

This is difficult for me to put into practice. But I’m trying. The last few times I heard a certain thorn-in-my-side-person’s name, I deflected the conversation in another direction. Because either they think this person is a totally nice guy because they’ve never worked with him, or they have worked with or know of somebody who has worked with him, and know what he’s really like. Either way, I don’t need to get into a conversation about it. I’m trying to rise above. Although, all I want to say is, “He was such a jerk, you have no idea!” Wouldn’t that be more truthful? We’ll see how it goes.

None of this really gets to the heart of what truth and integrity mean to me, for my person. I’ve been wrestling with that too. I realize this post has been way too much about “them” and not much about “me.” I’ve made some hard choices this year—some of which I’m really proud of, some not so much. We’ll see how that goes too.

Out of the Ordinary

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 19

This week, pay attention to the ordinary—it is primarily what makes up our lives. It’s what makes the extraordinary that much more special! … How can we regularly find comfort, joy and peace in the ordinary, mundane moments of life? This week I pledge to be in the moment and find joy in the ordinary. You?

This is a tough one for me. How insulting to be considered ordinary, boring, typical, mundane! I don’t want to look like somebody else, dress like somebody else, talk like somebody else, or think like somebody else. I cringe when somebody thinks they recognize me from somewhere, but they don’t, I just look like somebody they know. (With so many of us on this planet, how could some of us not look alike, but still, do you have to rub it in?) I prefer to read a book once, see a movie once, and then move on to the next one—there are so many more to discover! Why would I wear the same combination of clothes twice, choose boring colors, or eat the same foods day in and day out? Why not spontaneously change my plans mid-stream, and come home four hours late?

As you can imagine, this attitude, which generally works well for me, sometimes has negative consequences for others—like those in my family who are much more creatures of habit and routine. They are the ones who don’t understand why I don’t come home exactly when I planned to, or will watch the complete Firefly or The West Wing series over and over, while I’m rolling my eyes, wanting to watch something new (I love both of these, but I don’t feel the need to watch them more than once). And it sometimes has negative consequences for me, in getting things done, as I don’t naturally stick to a set routine.

Uniqueness is an illusion anyway.

And yet, even though I have always felt this way, I do know what my Mindfulness friend is getting at. Because I also like some routine. I like the comfort of a lived-in house, with everything in its place, hanging out with the same animal friends every day, hubby and I and sometimes step-kids repeating the same things day after day: preparing food, playing games, reading, watching Netflix, walking the Butte, blogging, writing, gaming. There is comfort in these things—and they are the things that keep me sane during times of grief, or great disappointment. In fact, family routine is what got me through a very rough last week.

So, I will try to respect the ordinary, and remember the peace that it brings me. After all, things can’t be out of the ordinary, if there is no ordinary to begin with.

Ideas for Renewal

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 18

This week’s focus is RENEWAL.
The root of renewal (renew) is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

  • (1) to make like new: restore to freshness, vigor or perfection
  • (2) to make new spiritually
  • (3) to begin again

So often in our culture we go – go – go without taking the time to slow down enough to look inside and see what is really going on. We work hard, play hard, overeat, over-exercise, indulge, imbibe and repeat. Taking time for renewal regularly is one way of allowing ourselves to listen from within and to restore to maximum efficiency. Renewal can take many forms, depending on your temperament and likes. Consider these:

  • Spiritually – spending time in devotion or prayer, reading, conscious breathing, mat time, attending church services, connecting deeply with friends and family, writing, journaling, spending time in nature
  • Mentally – meditation, journaling, mat time, reading, writing, conscious breathing, praying, sleep, yoga nidra, restorative yoga
  • Physically – yoga, running, hiking, kayaking, playing with children, playing a sport, biking, swimming, working out at the gym, sleeping

My idea of renewal: A writing, meditation, or yoga retreat (I’ve never done this), a birding road trip to Malheur Wildlife Refuge, a day-long hike in a new place, or somewhere I haven’t been for a long time, taking up a new sport, floating the river (for some reason, this intimidates me, although we did it all the time as a family growing up—maybe it’s because somebody manages to die on the river every year), learning a new art (like mosaics, which I did a few summers ago). Learning drawing, painting,or crafting techniques.

What I really need right now, though, is a professional renewal. This has been a rough year in that respect. I need some time to renew, re-craft, and decide what comes next. Time, time, time. Something has to change, something has to give. Some days I’m confident that something fantastic is going to happen. Many other days I feel defeated and hopeless. My only comfort is knowing that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

A Natural Disconnect

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 17

Nature. This week as you contemplate nature, think of all it has to teach us. Think of how it provides for us. But move beyond that to realize you are a beautiful creation of nature as well. Move beyond the thought of nature only being outside of us. What is the nature of your Self? How can you be more in tune with your inherent nature? How can you allow your beautiful self to just be? How can you be in a state of allowing? How can you inherently shine?

I feel very disconnected from nature lately (and from my natural self). I’m barely spending any time outside and I’m letting my work and family responsibilities overwhelm me. Every time I look outside at my garden which never got off the ground this year, and I think of the days I used to spend hiking, birding, and traveling, I feel disappointment, disconnection, and even shame, for not doing what I love to do. It was so much easier when 1. It was just me, and 2. There was money and time to spare—for taking days off for hikes, volunteering, travelling, supplies.

It feels like I have so much less time this summer. Last summer I went mountain biking, did yoga (in the beginning, anyway), grew a garden, painted a house, hung out with my hubby and animals, and worked. This summer I’ve… worked on the radio show, hung out with my step-kids, hubby, and animals, and worked. What’s missing? Nature, outdoor exercise, time to myself, time for contemplation, time away from the computer, non-stressful work. I need to find ways to resolve this before I lose myself.