Reblog: Meditation Woes: Nothing is Difficult

Oo, perhaps instead of chores tonight, I will attend the Meditation center! Perhaps I can manage both.

Gratuitous Rex

So I’m well aware that meditation is good for my mental state. When done consistently, I find I’m more focused, clear, calm, etc. Howard Stern and Jerry Seinfeld (and millions of others) are big into meditation.

They’re once was a time when I meditated once a day, in the morning, for 21 days. 3 friends and I saw this great Ted Talk by Shawn Achor – “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positi…: https://youtu.be/GXy__kBVq1M

He recommends a 21 day challenge for getting into a positive state, where each day has meditation, a random act of kindness, a gratitude list, journaling and exercise.

We all did this 21 day challenge and it was awesome. I enjoyed the meditation a lot. First thing after showering in the morning.

But then… it fell out of my daily practices. Practices take practice.

So I’ve been dabbling for a while now, maybe 18 days out of the…

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Log: Apr 13 (Mon)

Apr 13 (Mon): Work 10:00a – 6:00p, Chores Meditation 7p-9p @Meditation Center

Sunset from last night

Sunset from last night

This morning, “Peter” and I had no ingredients to make breakfast so we got prepped for work and then ate out for breakfast. I had gotten up on time and showered quickly, amazingly. That’s how I know without doubt that I’m still in the infatuation stage — I’m still jumping out of bed in the morning when with him. I’m motivated. I don’t look forward to when that bubble pops.

Anyway, so I made it to work by 10a, and I actually managed to resolve a big issue I’d been working on for a while now. I finally found a contact in another state who was able to tell which coordinate system the points had been plotted using, and discovered my coordinates were missing a digit. That’s why I couldn’t figure out what coordinate system I had in front of me. There is no possible way I could have figured it out on my own. The last digits of the Easting were all cut off! One of my coworkers was able to locate a map that had the rest of the digits on it, so tomorrow I’ll be able to convert them all from that coordinate system to UTM. Before a week or two ago, I didn’t even know that different coordinate systems existed. WhyTF are there so damn bloody many different coordinate systems being used, anyway?! That makes no sense. Pick a couple and stick with ’em, eh?!

Anyway. So I was tired for work, and my intestines were still upset from the dairy last night, but I was halfway productive, so that’s good. I stayed a bit later than I’d meant to — I try to leave by a certain time so I’m not biking home home in the dusk. I passed by the Meditation Center just before the time when it starts, so I looked all around for a safe-feeling place to lock up my bicycle but found none. So I carried my bike up anyway and rested it outside for a minute while I went in to say hi to my friend, Shelly. I haven’t seen her in a little while. It turned out to be her birthday! The teacher happened to be standing nearby as I explained why I was going to leave, and he told me that it would be fine to bring my bicycle in with me!!

So I joined tonight’s Meditation group after all. I am so glad that I did. It was difficult at times. We were told we’d sit in silence for 40 minutes but that he would say the Koan sometime in there. So I had no direction for my mind at the beginning. Then the Koan was given to us but I didn’t like it. It went something like this:

Two friends are out walking. One friend says to the other, “How do you express the Truth without using words and without using silence?” The friend replies, “I remember the kind of September when the days were slow and oh so mellow.”

This is a heavily translated version of a very old Koan. He removed the Chinese popular culture reference and inserted song lyrics from a musical. I won’t take the time to explain all of the reasons, but it was interesting. Anyway. I didn’t like this Koan. I didn’t know it was a pop culture reference at the time.

Then the setting sun happened to shine a single sunbeam right toward my left hand, so I turned my arm so that it was lighting up the palm of my hand until it eventually dimmed and disappeared. The orangey glow actually helped me to connect with the Koan and think about things differently. I won’t go into all of the inner processes; with the Koan, I am not always sure I like hearing about how other people experienced it. It is always so different than what I experienced.

The Teacher’s talk afterward was mind-blowing for me. He talked about memory and memories and present moment experience and how we view the world. You’d have had to have been there. It was pretty trippy. He presented the thought that we are never really experiencing the present moment. Everything we cognitively experience is a memory. By the time we know what we have seen, the eyes have already seen it.

For example, let’s use the time I burned my hand on a skillet at “Peter’s” apartment and instantly moved my hand away from the heat, and thus managed to throw the egg a short way across the kitchen floor. The hand moving away from the heat is the present moment response but we’re not cognitively in control of that. By the time I realized the pain and realized the raw egg on the floor and my empty hand, it was already a memory. Every single thing we recognize having seen or heard, felt (physically or emotionally), smelled, etc, is a memory. We can have a sensation and respond physically or emotionally to the stimulus without realizing it, and that’s the present moment. But by the time we recognize what’s going on, it’s a memory.

He made a reference to an old idea of there being 17 moments of memories in a single snap of the fingers.

We discussed more than just that. There was a lot of significance placed on the positives of memory and how it forms our responses in the present times, and more things. But alas, I am tired and it’s very late and I have to get up early tomorrow. AFTERward, I talked with Shelly for a while outside of the building, and then I biked home and ate some canned salmon with lettuce and some lemon juice. That’s all and I’m not hungry.

OH! I had eaten a lot of caramel cashews at the Meditation center!! Shelly had brought a ton of them in for her birthday. She’d made them herself and used coconut milk instead of sweetened condensed milk, and so I was able to eat them! They were so good. I had a ton. No wonder a small dinner was satisfactory. Anyway. Then I didn’t feel comfortable vacuuming because my uncle was watching a movie upstairs and my aunt was talking on the phone long-distance downstairs. So I sat on the couch and watched the rest of the movie with my uncle. I hadn’t done that in a very long time (although partly because he had been getting upset with me whenever I hung in front of a TV screen). Today’s Mood Ranking: 5-6

Meditation Center and Solstice (Topic#038)

Autumn saucer magnolia tree

Autumn saucer magnolia tree

With the help of my aunt and cousin, I made it to the meditation center for the solstice ceremony! And I am sooooooooo glad I did. It was wonderful.

When I am there, my mind is calm, I feel accepted, my thoughts are acceptable. There is nothing too negative and nothing too positive for them. It’s probably the most wonderful place on the planet.

Because whatever is happening inside of you, there you are. There is nothing to judge. There is nothing unacceptable. You’re just there and your thoughts are just there. Or they’re not there.

Today, we sat with a Koan: Branches of light are streaming from the darkness. (I do not promise exact phrasing.) My mind was amazingly clear and calm. It seemed to be the most beautiful sentence in the world. I listened to the wind coming in through the window, and the blinds banging against the window with each breeze. Birds and dogs barking, random people milling about outside the building. I repeated the Koan to myself and stayed with it the whole time. I pictured streams of light coming from the darkness but by the end, there was no more darkness and I could no longer picture the Koan. I was so joyful inside and it was a beautiful time for me.

When we discussed our experiences afterward, everyone had such profound things to say. People spoke of lightness and darkness in their lives, their struggles, the good and the bad, the sick and the conflicts in their families. I spoke of the wind coming through the window and felt somewhat foolish, but that’s why I spoke up. I figured, maybe the other people who were not speaking up felt inferior to those bringing up such profound topics.

Also during the sitting, I noticed that my body is in SO much pain. I ache from my eyebrows down to my thighs. I have no idea why. I hadn’t even known I was in so much pain until my thoughts were calm like that and I could feel/hear/see the things around me. Then it was hard to sit without massaging my eyebrow muscles and my shoulders and my thighs… why am I in so much pain?

Happy Solstice, everyone!

Sharing some happiness (Journal#033)

[begin boring journal post] This is just another boring journal post. But I want to document this day, too, because I’ve been in a fantastic mood all day, and those deserve their time in the spotlight.

This morning was very INTERESTING. My TaskRabbit called me up for my morning wake-up, and she couldn’t speak! She was totally hoarse from some party she was at last night. I felt so bad for her, trying so hard to talk to me, that I jumped out of bed and went straight to my dresser! Just so I could let her go and not have to talk to me. (I then decided that since I had 2.5 hours of overtime already logged for the week, I let myself lay back down for a little while, and that was fine). But still, the fact that I jumped out of bed with no trouble was very INTERESTING to me… [Soooo, I can get out of bed if it will prevent someone else’s suffering? How can I use THAT as daily motivation? 😛 ]

I’m SO FUCKING EXHAUSTED to the core, but I’m happy. I’ve done work today. I’ve even figured out something to get my aunt and uncle for Christmas, although I don’t know that they celebrate it. And it’s too expensive for me to get on my own, so I’m going to contact my brother and see if he wants to chip in too. It’s something I know they’d really appreciate (and think I’m crazy for buying it for them; it’s something they’ll have to buy some day down the road anyway because I noticed theirs is busted and is the kind of thing they’ll eventually replace).

I skipped lunch again but did snack on peanut butter and GF crackers. So I’m okay. I had a shit breakfast of sugar cereal-so-called-“granola”, and it didn’t kill me today, like it normally does. Or that is aiding to my exhaustion. Either way.

AND I just realized something about five minutes ago – one of my cousins is coming tonight!

I’ve decided that I’m going to start Internet dating again. Yesterday evening, I actually called and spoke with someone I once dated a while back. And it really cheered me up. He has a gentle voice that I could listen to forever. I normally have trouble thinking up questions to ask people, but I came up with a million to ask, if only so I could continue to listen to his voice.

Then at night, before going to bed, my uncle was watching a movie on TV, and I made decision. I walked right over and sat down beside him and rested my head on his shoulder and finished watching the movie with him that way. If I weirded him out, I don’t even care. Physical contact is the best damn anti-depressant there is on the planet for me. I hate that this culture often thinks of physical contact between non-romantic-partners as inappropriate. I can REMEMBER every time I had physical contact between the grades of 6 and 12. I can COUNT it out. That’s how damn important it is to me. It’s up there with food, water and shelter. In fact, I’d rank it higher than food and shelter for me.

I think it’s so stupid that “sex” gets ranked on the needs scale, but not platonic physical contact. I personally think it’s MUCH more of a “need”. People DO survive without sex – there are people who devote their lives that way. But without physical contact of any sort? I’d literally quit life. There would be no hope, no point, no purpose for proceeding. Maybe the shell of my body could technically survive with just the food and water and shelter, but the rest would not. The drive to eat goes away without it. The urge to seek shelter goes away without it. (Sorry, thirst stays #1 for me. 🙂 ).

(Ironically, the sugar crash just hit. I am trembling and weak, but just ate some stuff that will help.)

Again this morning, my uncle suggested I switch to working half time come this January, because I’ve been so exhausted. I probably should.

It’s not funny, but it is an “I told you so” so that’s rewarding. 😉 😉 When he was first pushing me to get a job, after I had been living with them for maybe a month or two already?, I had a HUGE meltdown. I was crying uncontrollably and couldn’t talk about it for a long time. At some point, I told him I was scared shitless of being employed again. Scared because it removes all possibility of life outside of work because I get so exhausted. I did NOT want a job, except a really, really stupid, no-brainer, no-pressure half-time job. So I had a meltdown over the prospect of work. And was so upset about it for at least a week. But then a job opportunity happened along and I couldn’t pass it up! So here I am, working full time and doing absolutely nothing else (except this blog). I haven’t even gone to meditation again because I’ve been too tired. I did text my “friend” that I met there once, though. 🙂 Mostly it was just a thank-you note for her help in encouraging me and teaching me how to take care of my insurance issues. But I had to do something to reach out. I don’t want that contact to die away. If she has any energy, I’m wondering if I could invite her over to my aunt & uncle’s place to visit with me there. They said it would be okay. I just need to get up the nerve to invite her (I have no clue if she would or not). She knits. Maybe I could invite her to a knit-night with me! I can’t remember if I brought my needles with me here or not. :-/

Anyway, yeah, I think that vitamin suggestion is great. I totally screwed up on getting the new health insurance so I’m stuck with the super freaking incredibly expensive one still for now. But the plus side is I’m sure I’ve met my deductible by now and it’s almost time for me to get my bloodwork done. So that should go smoothly. (And I won’t ask the phlebotomist to inject air into my vein this time.) Truthfully, I always hope that it’ll show my thyroid out of wack, because in my dreams, once my thyroid gets to a proper adjustment, I won’t feel tired ever again… It hasn’t happened that way a single time, but I always hope.

I eat my soup straight out of the can without warming it up (because I don’t want to dirty any dishes). I like to pretend I’m eating dog food. If only I just got cheap shit soup, I’d be really happy with myself for saving money on it, too. But I end up getting the GF, vegan soup. My favorite is lentil vegetable.

Now you know. And I’m sure you’re glad of it. 😉 [/end boring journal post]

P.S. I’m super scared about the upcoming holidays period. It’s going to be another party type dinner, I’m sure, and I failed so badly at the last one. Also, it’ll be my first time here for holidays. And then after that, I fly to my grandfather’s memorial. Someday, I want to write a post about 1) flying, 2) why I swear (I actually force myself to swear, even though it might offend some of you. There’s a reason. When I have more time, I want to write it out).

And oh my GOD I am SO SCARED because after the memorial, my dad is coming back with me. But ohmygod my dad, some of you saw the huge post I wrote about him, is mildly on the autism spectrum, more than me, and he can’t read people and he can’t filter and you know my uncle has already been poisoned toward my dad because of what my brother was saying (it’s all in that post). And my mom can’t come, so who will be there to protect him? I’m really scared for him. But I so look forward to spending time with him and getting to show him the places I go around here. But you know what I’m picturing — with the amount of alcohol potentially to be ingested by both him and my uncle, how could it possibly go well? And if politics is brought up, there will be an explosion. Not that my dad is argumentative but his has an opinion period. And my uncle has an opinion period. And they don’t differ that much but it doesn’t even matter when two people Who Have An Opinion Period start on that topic. I need to not worry ahead of time, though, you know? No sense in spending weeks worrying and THEN having something bad happen. May as well have these weeks be smooth first and THEN have the bad happen and deal with it only the once, right? 😉

Meditation Center & A Friend (Journal#021)

Leaf stuck to car sunroof

Leaf stuck to car sunroof this morning

I got to see my cousin off at the airport AND I made the Meditation Center! The meditation itself was very challenging today. My mind was all kinds of muddy and I kept daydreaming. I may have fallen asleep at one point (twice, actually). But the question-and-answer period afterward was really interesting. And you could never guess what happened next.

I tend to be one of the last to leave any place, just because. So I did delay, still listening to people ask the teacher questions and converse until four of us were the only ones left – the teacher, myself, a man who I think might be a teacher or is extremely part of this world, and the woman I mentioned last time as being the person I really felt a connection with, and she turned out to have a severe anxiety disorder, for those of you who read that post. I told them I was going to go to a certain coffee shop afterward to get a certain chocolate drink. I don’t know how it happened, but we all did!

While we were all at a table together, I heard that she was emailing the teacher at 3 a.m. sometimes. I offered her my own email address/phone number if she ever wanted to talk, not for enlightenment because talking with me wouldn’t be that, but just if she felt like talking. We totally exchanged numbers & emails and agreed to be friends!

Afterward, she and I walked around this little town’s shops for hours! I picked up a healthy snack for the week (she’s diabetic and offered me suggestions for managing my sugar-related mood swings). And then I also picked up a Christmas present for my dad and used Garfield comic book for myself.

She also knits and maybe someday we will actually get together and knit! I haven’t really knitted since I got married, because the cats made it too difficult. She does some other art too, it sounded like. Anyway, I could go on. It’s very exciting. I now have a friend in the area! Oh, she also gave me loads of advice for how to manage my insurance that still hasn’t kicked in although I’ve paid for five months’ worth. So I have a goal for tomorrow, and it’s a very small goal, just one step of the process, that should be manageable for me.

I drew my parents a Christmas card today. I don’t know what to write on the inside yet. And I still haven’t figured out what to feel about my grandpa who died … was it yesterday? I’ve pushed it aside for now because I’m not sure how to make sense of it yet.

I was sick most of today (even when I was out amongst the shops, but I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity). I didn’t do any of my chores today. 😦 I did take a lot of photographs and go through them for a long time. And I think I ate slightly healthier today.

Gratitude & Refocusing (Journal#016)

Autumn trees and sky

Autumn trees and sky  |  This morning

I feel so much gratitude and warmth right now. I’m not going to go into details (amazing, I know), but Thank You, all of you, for being there and being so accepting. Even when my words come out a little crazy and I FEEL a little crazy, there’s always somebody there who is accepting & not judging of it.

I feel a moment of peace, and that’s my only real goal in life.

So hold onto this feeling and aim for this feeling. When the thoughts turn crazy, try to remember it’s okay. Don’t judge your own thoughts. Let the crazy be as crazy as it wants to be and it’s okay. Just let it subside and keep on breathing.

I’m going to continue on this path because that’s who I want to be. This is where I want to head. Don’t judge, don’t blame. Just give yourself the time and move on when you’re ready. Don’t berate yourself for going negative. Don’t hate yourself for expressing negative things. It’s okay.

I’m mostly talking to myself here, but if it helps any of you, all the better. ❤

I had insomnia again last night. My thoughts were too busy to let me rest. And I felt so lonely and wanted a hug. So I sat up and tried meditating on a Koan I mentioned having just learned: “Can I bear this happiness?” At first, I couldn’t connect. I wasn’t feeling happiness at all. My thoughts scattered across the room. I would whisper the sentence and then a minute would pass with my thoughts all over the damn place. I’d remember what I was doing and whisper it again, and same thing. After at least seven minutes, I did start to focus, and the most amazing things happened. I felt warmth spreading through my body. I felt a little fuzz of joy inside. I smiled. I thought of positive things. It’s really indescribable and amazing. I am astounded that it could get beneath my skin so quickly and make such a difference.