Going back to basics…

I think I got lost along the way….

It was recently pointed out to me that what I thought was slowing down was really just checking things off of my mental list.

  1. meditate everyday–check!
  2. exercise everyday–check!
  3. pause–yep, done that
  4. breathe–yep, that too.

Check, check, check!

I realize that once I have checked it off the list, I move on…not really realizing that I was really focusing on the result…not the “journey”.

It’s like another saying goes…quality versus quantity.

Mindfulness was supposed to be a huge part of that journey.  Made me rethink whether I was practicing mindfulness correctly or not…or was I merely checking it off my mental list?

Perhaps.

….but it shouldn’t matter, should it? My practice is what it is.  I once complained to my first mindfulness teacher that I was trying to find the “perfect” posture when I meditate and I spent most of my time thinking about my posture instead of my breath.

He had told me that we are on a “Path of Non-Striving”…. at that moment, there is nothing to fix, nothing is broken…it is what it is.  Of course, at that time, the “perfectionist” part of me was rebelling at the thought of not doing anything! However, I remember thinking…”Okay, I’ll play along…let’s see what happens.”

Somehow, over time, I realized that he was right.  The critical part was to be in the “moment”.  Noticing this moment, and the moment after that, and after that, IS the journey.

For instance, at this moment, as I am sitting in my kitchen and typing these words…I hear the clinking of the keys as I type, I notice smoothness of my computer keys and the breaks and the pauses when I stop.  The birds are singing and sunshine is trying to break though the blinds. I can still smell a whiff of the cinnamon that I used last night when I baked Peter a paleo apple pie.  At this moment, it is what it is.

There is nothing to change–I will not change my computer even though it struggles to keep up when I type too fast, or fix the blinds as the air conditioner has to work a little harder, or clean the kitchen. Nor will I focus on the result of finishing this post so I can move on to do other errands of the day….

At any rate, this is my “journey” as I finish writing on this sunny Wednesday morning….

As for that mental list, yeah, I still have it in my head, being updated each new day…sometimes is it short, sometimes it is long …but always there. However, this time, I know that noticing the “journey ” in getting the list done is just as important as getting to the finish line.

Maybe I was not lost after all…..just taking a little detour.

Now, I just have to make sure that I don’t end up putting “#5 Notice the Journey” on my mental list….

Debbie.

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If I die young….

The chorus of the song by The Band Perry goes like this:

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

These words were going through my head as I was planting basil seeds in my garden.

I had to pause since it just came out of nowhere. I did see the irony of the circumstance–this little basil seed starting its life, pushing out from its tough shell and trying to find the light of day….and here’s a song about death!

I would be a liar if I told you I never thought of just throwing in the towel. Sometimes the feeling of helplessness is so great that it takes my breath away.

I used to think that it was just me. But listening closely, some of my closest friends have sometimes thought about it.  It may be when they are alone in the house with a knife in their hands, driving the car to somewhere and thinking it would just be easy to just crash into the guard post, or just taking a concoction of too many Advils, Tylenol, or anything in their medicine cabinet that says “do not exceed the recommended dose.”

I shake away those thoughts, of course. My daughter would never forgive me. I don’t think I would be able to forgive myself…not that it would matter if it ever came to that.

It may be easy for me to just shake these thoughts off and go my merry way but I know that there are some out there whose thoughts stay with them, even in their dreams.  They truly have a very difficult road ahead.

Before my phone starts ringing with my family in a panic, I would have to say that this song made me think about how my life is not really so bad and that I may just be complicating things when really it is not a big deal or that sometimes I take things for granted when I should cherishing these moments as they may never come again.

So this past week, I have been looking at my life with a different perspective, with a fresh set of eyes. I see that my daughter is growing up quickly and I need to catch up before she leaves me behind, I see my husband of 18 years who always has dinner all ready when I get home from work, my family who always asks if I had eaten already, friends who still invite me for drinks even when they know I would decline and the list goes on. I have a lot to live for.

So, I hope that this post will also make you think that you should go out there and see the world with a fresh set of eyes. Hug your family and friends more, really listen and give your fullest attention to what your children are saying since you won’t ever have this time again–before you know it, they will be all grown up and starting their own lives, do something that you are passionate about, try something new, smile more, watch grass grow, listen to the birds sing, breathe, and the list goes on.  We have a lot to live for.

So, when this song comes on the radio, I will sit back and say that this song is really about new beginnings and it is not too late.  Life is too short.  Live it.

FYI–my basil plants are doing well.

Debbie.

Today…

I woke up angry today.  Mental forecast–stormy and threat of thunderstorms….

Not sure why exactly.  Just angry.

Angry at how cold I felt even though I was under the blanket all night; angry because it was already morning and I still felt exhausted; angry at not being able to go to work like the rest of the world; angry because I did not know what I was going to do today.

I felt lost. Lost.

I did not know what I was supposed to do to help myself.  Even after a week, I was still struggling to find some peace or at least some eureka moment that would propel me to feeling better.

This past week has been a roller coaster ride for me.  I meant what I said about not losing hope.  From my mindfulness journey, I know I will get better….I painted, I visited my best friend, I gardened, I meditated…but somehow it does not feel enough.  Not this time.

I wanted to lash out.  I have always considered myself to be a “good girl”.  I read all the instruction manuals before I put things together, I always tried to follow the speed limits or at least the speed of traffic, I always returned the carts when I go shopping, I am always polite, I watch what I eat, I exercise, etc….

So, today, I rebelled.  I did not meditate.  I ate a jumbo size Snickers bar for breakfast, bowls of chips for lunch, had 2 glasses of wine  at dinner instead of my usual one glass, I sat in front of the TV and watched Netflix episodes of “Lost”.

I knew I was not in a good place. I knew I was sulking. My family knew I was not in a good mood.  However, I could not help but feel sorry for myself.  I have not felt like this in a long time and I did not know how to cope.  I just want to crawl into a cave and never see the light of day.

It’s past midnight and I am off to bed again.   As I settle in for another night, I have a stomach ache, a headache, and worst of all, heart ache.  Being angry and feeling helpless takes a toll, physically and emotionally.

However, I realize that today was not such a total waste.  I realize that I don’t want to spend another day like today–angry, helpless and feeling like a disappointment. Definitely not me.

So, tomorrow is another day.  Tomorrow, I will go back to my usual routine…meditate, exercise, eat right, be mindful, be patient, etc…Perhaps, tomorrow, I will feel better.

Let’s hope that the forecast is sunny and optimistic…..

Debbie.