Toronto Rain

RainSubway2

RainSubway1

RainSubway3

Puddle2

puddle

I adore the rain. It washes away a familiar city and coats the pavement with mystery.

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Mad at You

I’m an emotional person. Sometimes too emotional. And my poor husband has to wade through the many emotional tidal waves I throw at him. Below are “exaggerated” excerpts of what an emotional episode can sound like between us.

Mark: What’d I do?

Me: It’s not what you did! It’s what you didn’t think of doing. I don’t need you to do anything! I just need you to think of doing something generous and sincere and communicate that you thought of it in a nonverbal and genuine way.

Mark: What’d I say?

Me: It’s not what you said! It’s how, when and where you said it. It’s the fact that you said it when you knew I would completely misinterpret it and take it out of context. Before you say something you have to think about my feelings in that exact moment. You need to think of me as a fragile flower emerged from a crack in the road with a dump truck speeding by. I am the flower and I am the dump truck. Why can’t you understand that!

Mark: Are you mad at me?

Me: I’m not mad at you! Why would you think I’m mad at you? How can I be mad at you? I’m just upset. Not at you, but at the situation. I’m upset that you upset me. I just need to feel what I feel! I don’t need to explain my feelings to you and justify why I’m upset. I have a right to my feelings and you need to respect that!

Love you Mark!

Thanks for reading 🙂

(Almost) A Month of Meditation

janhabit

Full disclosure time. My new years resolution was to develop a daily meditation and yoga practice. To do this, I also cultivate habits that support the practice. Above is my ‘Habit Calendar’ for Jan. The habits I track everyday are: wake-up time (7 am), bed time (11:30 pm), gratitude journal (short paragraph of what I’m grateful for each day), meditation (20 minutes a day) and meditation journal (the subject of this post).

In January, you can see I had a pretty good run, right up to Jan 25. On the days I didn’t follow through, I wrote down the reason why. Of the 31 days in January, I meditated for 28 days.

Tracking my habits on the calendar helped me focus on the individual tasks and stay accountable. But I needed to do more than simply track my actions. To stay motivated and informed about my practice I decided to document the experience of each sitting.

Above are images of my Meditation Journal. In the journal I created a 12 months plan for my meditation practice. The goals for each month are cumulative; gradually extending the sitting time, finding a community to support the practice and going on retreats to deepen the practice.

I re-write the goals in the monthly, and weekly spreads. After a meditation sitting, I immediately write a short paragraph in the daily entry. The purpose of the entry is to document, not analyze.

Documenting the sitting is non-judgmental. In the entries, I write:

  1. Where I sit – on a chair or on the floor
  2. The length of the sitting – 10 to 20 minutes
  3. What I used to help me focus or track the time – listen to a guided meditation or set a meditation timer
  4. Physical sensations/discomforts – lower back pain, itchy knee, stuffy nose
  5. Emotions/moods – tiredness, agitation, sadness
  6. Breathing – shallow breaths, deep breaths, rhythmic breathing
  7. Thoughts – reflections of the day, rolling to-do lists, random jokes

I do not analyze the individual sitting experience because there’s not enough room in the journal. Also, I don’t trust my initial impressions. Only after a few entries, do I try to flush out patterns and insights.

The insights from this broader review of patterns, help me modify my practice over time. After a few weeks of listening to guided meditations I realized, I was no longer paying attention. During a guided practice, I usually drifted in and out of boredom, sleepiness or distraction, waiting for the talking to end. So, I decided to download a meditation timer and focus on my breath or a mantra during each sitting. By turning  inward, I was able to focus for longer periods during the sitting.

For those who’d like to start a meditation practice, I highly recommend pairing the practice with a Meditation Journal. When you write, be patient and honest with yourself. Remember that it is ‘a practice’ not ‘a perfect’. By honestly recording our experiences, we can make kind and informed changes to improve our practice.

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

 

Meditation Manifesto

I refuse to live a life of silent desperation. I choose a life of radical resilience. I walk peacefully in the midst of chaos and align my actions with my values.

I am not silenced by fear. I practice a calming quiet. And when I speak, you will hear me. My voice is clear and my thoughts resinate the truth I live.

Hate is not an option. Loving-kindness is radical. My rebellion is informed, calm and kind. I choose the complexity of love and the power of peace. I choose to meditate.