Archives for posts with tag: 10 mindful minutes

I woke earlier than I needed to, this morning. No reason. Maybe I’d gotten enough sleep? My anxiety started to increase a few minutes after I woke. Yesterday morning was like this, too. There are steps to take, and they do work pretty well. The key detail is that I have to actually practice those practices. Reliably. Thinking about it isn’t particularly effective; however well I know that there are practices that help reduce my anxiety, doing them is what is required. Verbs. Action. Practice.

What works? Probably a lot of things. I started here. And here. And here.

What works for me, may not be what works for you – but that may not be an obvious certainty until you’ve tried them. So… what worked (for me) yesterday? Meditation. Good self-care. Positive self-encouragement. Taking a walk. And (for me) a bonus; my Traveling Partner was out of the house for a couple hours hanging out with a friend, and I got some much needed solo time (actual solitude, spent actually at home) in which to meditate (more), read, and find an hour of real ‘cognitive stillness” (no TV, no music, no notifications, no conversation, no other human presence…just… quiet). I recognize that the profound desire for “cognitive stillness” and solitude, isn’t a thing for which we all have a uniform need. Some people would definitely not enjoy that kind of deep, stark, uninterrupted stillness, and some people find solitude, itself, quite terrifying. Finding the practices that truly support our individual needs, and our own emotional wellness, is complicated. Try a lot of things. Stick with what works. Be mindful and compassionate with others; what works for you may not work for them. We are each having our own experience. 🙂

Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a minute, and sort things out.

I suspect that a considerable portion of my anxiety, right now, isn’t properly my own. I’m picking it up from relationships and circumstances, from the media news, and sort of “inheriting” the anxiety of people dear to me, as they work through their own baggage, and deal with their own deal. Nothing about that results in the anxiety being less real; it is what it is. I’m feeling feelings. The feelings are uncomfortable, and mess with my mind, and my emotional comfort. No reason to take it personally. I have practices to help with that. Practicing those works. (Talking or thinking about them, as practices, without practicing them, does not work at all. lol Just being real. There are verbs involved.)

Once I noticed the anxiety creeping in around the edges of my awareness again this morning, I immediately began taking steps. Breathing. Meditation. Checking my email. (Um, no. Not that last one. lol) A quiet cup of tea. A bit of reading. I look out the window thinking about taking a walk. The sun isn’t even up yet. It’s quite dark. So… too soon. lol Instead, I reflect on how meaningful and appreciated that few minutes walking yesterday really was.

It was a beautiful day for it. Clear, and chilly without being cold.

It felt good to be out on the trail. I was grateful for the paved path, and that I remembered my cane, which I am definitely needing for longer walks.

Blue skies and trees illuminated by sunshine became a smile on my face.

I found the walk challenging enough, between slippery bridges still wet from recent rain, and my aching ankle, and popping knee, that I only managed a (fairly gentle) 1.22 miles. It still felt great to be out there, just walking, alone with my thoughts.

Gnothi Seauton. I wisely choose not to walk a distance or paths I am not ready for, today.

The distance was shorter than I could easily cover, fairly recently, but I didn’t take the setback personally. I just enjoyed the walk I actually took. 🙂

It was enough to walk in the sunshine, smiling, watching the squirrels.

I find myself glancing through the blinds, now and then, while I write, this morning, hoping for another good day to take a walk. It looks rainy. My ankle and knee (opposite sides) ache. Letting that stop me is counterproductive for several reasons, so I maintain the intention of “getting out there” for at least a mile. I may try to do this every day…

How else will I see all the squirrels? lol

Yesterday was odd. Delightful. Strange. Productive. Unpredictable. It was odd. I was a bit emotional at times – hormones, maybe? I don’t know. “Post menopause” doesn’t not happen to mean “never going to struggle with hormonal fluctuations again” however much I wish that it did.  There’s something worth observing about that observation, that is more general. Wishing doesn’t change ‘reality’ however convenient that would be… on the other hand, we do create rather a lot of our ‘reality’, our subjective individual experience, with our thinking and our choices. It seems a bit cruel that both those things are true; some of my most delightful thinking is of the wishful variety. lol

Regular ‘reality checks’ yesterday proved highly worthwhile. Assumptions I was tending to make, and taking some very impersonal things more than a little personally, colored my experience at a couple points and put my day at risk of sucking. New practices are showing real results; I noticed the assumptions and the taking of things personally, and allowed myself a gentle course correction through mindfulness practices, a few moments of meditation, the occasional moment of stillness, a clarifying question or two, as well as simple ‘I statements’ expressing my experience as clearly as I was able, periodically during the day. As it happens – it all worked quite nicely. I had a very exciting and productive work day, and a lovely evening at home with my loves afterward, and seemed to have done so without drama, or bullshit, or blowing someone else’s good day. Hard to beat that kind of success when it comes time to face myself on a blue day when my internal voice is clamoring for justice, or vengeance, or crying out that life isn’t fair. (I have some very wounded moments now and then, and I do all I can to prevent them from escalating beyond what is appropriate in the moment.)

It was actually a nice day all around. I look back on it and wonder a bit helplessly what all the fuss was about at any point yesterday? It’s hard to understand. I feel very human, and very puzzled.

My morning is starting well. I’m hopeful, and feel a sense of contentment and calm joy. My traveling partner will be home a day or two more, and my usually-at-home partner seems to have benefited from her weekend adventure in wonderful ways. It’s good to have everyone at home for a couple of days.

I’m content to recognize that we are not necessarily who we think we are – or who anyone else thinks we are, either, and that our choices really matter. So does how we define what we see in the world around us – and those definitions may have more to say about our experience than the ‘reality’ of it often does. I’m finding that meditation, as a regular practice, tends to insulate me from getting to wrapped up in my own thinking errors, or internal narrative, and builds a more accepting and aware me, able to be present and aware, and enjoying so many more moments that are entirely enjoyable.

Enjoy each precious moment for what it does offer; time doesn't give second chances.

Enjoy each precious moment for what it does offer; time doesn’t give second chances.

Today is a good day to continue on a good path. Today is a good day to reach for a dream. Today is a good day to stand tall and smile and say to the world “I am, and you are, too – let’s do something with that!” Today is a good day to be the change I wish to see in the world. Today is a good day to reach past the obvious, and to choose to be the best of who I am. Today is a good day to change the world.

How do I ‘measure’ time in those timeless moments of meditation?

Just one moment...

Just one moment…

I woke early this morning, feeling rested and serene. It is an ordinary enough morning. I sat down to meditate…it was 5:35 am. In the ‘next instant’ it is now somehow 6:50 am. More than an hour slipped by as I contentedly planted myself and my awareness fully in just one moment… now.

Some other moment.

Some other moment.

I don’t know that meditation ‘does anything’ for me beyond the obvious bits of change I really feel: the increase in apparent emotional resilience, the improvement in my sleep over weeks and months, improved posture, an increased everyday level of contentment, increased patience and compassion with myself and others…but… that’s not exactly ‘science’, is it? It is simply my experience with the value of meditation in my own life.

Another moment, another day.

Another moment, another day.

When I started this blog, I was struggling. A lot. I struggle less now, and enjoy the moment more. Even the challenging moments seem less fraught with a sense of futility, doom, and torment, and a bit more like ‘moments’, themselves. Learning to meditate, and doing so in the face of a personal conviction that “I already know this and it doesn’t help me”, has been critical to my personal growth, and healing, this year. I’m not ‘selling something’, and there is no ‘helpful link’ to a product anywhere in this post.

Yet another moment.

Yet another moment.

I am a student of life, of love, of mindfulness. I am asking questions, a lot of questions, and gently observing my experience more, and thinking ‘about’ it less. I am learning to live firmly in my ‘now’ and slowly, little by little, I am healing my ancient hurts.

75 minutes of meditation slips by as comfortably as 10 minutes these days. Unmeasured time, uncounted minutes. Worth it? Totally. I am learning that time spent in meditation, spent observing and aware of ‘now’, of living mindfully, is just about the best way to spend it. Certainly, taking time for timeless moments in meditation is a lovely way to begin a Monday. Any day, really, but definitely a Monday. 🙂

The photos? Just a handful that didn’t ‘have their moment’ in earlier posts, on other days. Pictures of evening light and quiet moments in 2013. This has been a very important year for me. I don’t cry much these days… I do meditate.  It is possible I spend as much time meditating these days as I once spent crying.  I haven’t the data to quantify that accurately, so I can’t say with certainty; I feel changed.

A very recent moment just at dawn. A beginning.

A very recent moment just at dawn. A beginning.

In the morning, life can feel so new, so ‘right now’, and so gentle. In some moments, these days, my whole life feels that way: new, gentle, and ‘right now’.

Today is a good day to experience change, to wonder, to be awed by loveliness, to embrace what matters most, to smile on the inside, to love. Today I am compassionate, joyful, and kind. Today I am tender, and gentle. Today I will change the world. 😀