Posted in Health, Meditation, stress

Loving More

Today, Sunday, November 13 is World Kindness Day. I’ve been practicing loving-kindness meditations as part of my overall meditation routine. These days we need that more than ever. I listen to my meditations on calm.com. I paid for a premium membership, but meditation has really made a difference. It takes a while, but mindfulness meditation enables me to separate myself from my feelings and examine them dispassionately. These days it’s been easy to feel as though I’m out of control. I think I’m safe in saying that a lot of people feel the same way. Here’s one way I deal with it. Direct action – taking care of others – is another.

Oh, and check out the Random Acts of Kindness website. There’s some really nice stuff up there!

Posted in Health, Meditation, Migraines, Sleep, stress, Work

My Daily Calm

Empty Bed

Last night was rough, sleep-wise. My 62-year-old bladder got me out of bed twice, then I was rousted out of bed in the early morning to move my car. We’re having insulation blown into our house from the outside and they needed the driveway. Of course, nobody told me this the day before. If I’d known, I’d have moved the car the night before.

I became aware of an impending migraine once I got back into bed. I was exhausted and strung out from multiple awakenings. My regular morning alarm came and went. All I wanted to do was to stay in bed where it was safe and warm. I didn’t want to do anything. I had client work to do, but didn’t want to touch it. I was tired and angry due to the multiple disruptions to my sleep. My head was starting to hurt even more. Then the fucking doorbell rang. I knew who it was: the insulation people said they’d  need to get into my basement and would ring my bell once they needed to do that. So, up and out of bed I went – cold, tired, headachey and very irritable. I threw a sweatshirt over my pajamas, stumbled downstairs and opened the basement door.

I needed something to get me out of the funk I was in. How about a start-the-day meditation over a cup of coffee or tea? That idea sounded appealing, so I went downstairs, scooped some tea into a tea pot and finished getting dressed while the kettle heated up. Then I poured the tea, portioned out some almonds and then cut up a ripe pear. I took out my cell phone, pulled up my meditation app and sat back to breathe and, eventually, relax. The wounds of the morning faded into the distance as I noted my breathing: in-out, in-out, in-out. I felt my body relax and  my outlook improve. Yes, I could do a little work and do it well. I could also write about my morning (a great way for me to get things out of my system), browse some articles I heard about the day before and enjoy the day.

So, here I am. The migraine aspirin is just now starting to kick in. My chest has unclenched and I’m breathing comfortably. I’m giving myself permission to write and relax, read a little bit and start my day, even though half of it is already gone. I’m munching on almonds and a pear. I think I’ll be okay.

Posted in Arlington, Health, Home, Meditation, Seasons, Summer, WordPress.com

Contemplative

It’s been a rough summer health-wise and I’m looking forward to continuing recovery as the cooler weather comes on. I’m trying to balance my work load, to give myself more time to relax and enjoy life. I’m come to realize how incredibly important that is. My problem is that I’m a Type A personality and any time spent “not working” feels like slacking off and being irresponsible. I’m trying to  hide from that mindset and occasionally am successful. But, I’m still dealing with a boatload of guilt every time I do something other than work.

I came across something interesting a few months ago, an inspiration from – of all people – Benjamin Franklin. He was a very busy fellow – inventor, author, diplomat and more. He published an autobiography and some philosophies about how one should live his or her life. Despite his warnings against idleness, he nonetheless did fit an extraordinary amount of free time in his very long day. He even pushed a daily schedule that I’ve found to be quite an inspiration:

I’m not going to follow it exactly, but I like the idea of finding the good in the day and striving towards it. My routine this morning echoed Mr. Franklin’s, although the afternoon fell by the wayside. Perhaps a half day, including some work, is all I can handle at the moment. I took myself out for lunch and then headed over to the library, even though I realized I didn’t have the energy to do any work there. I sat in one of the incredibly comfortable high-backed chairs and went through a meditation routine, then simply sat and took in that portion of the room: the books, the marble fireplace, the iron grating over a door (it’s a beautiful library). Eventually I left, very slowly, and decided to stop at the nearby coffee shop for a decaf.

I almost made it. I was walking slowly, listening to music on my headphones, when I tripped over a cracked part of the sidewalk and went crashing down, landing on my knee, elbow and right palm. So much for my afternoon of peace and quiet. Some very helpful folks helped get me to my feet and I limped the rest of the way to the coffee shop. Sat down with my java and popped a few Motrin. When I was well enough, I walked over to Spy Pond, again very close by, and sat on a stone bench under a tree and watched the water lapping to the shore and  the sun shining on the gentle waves. There was a sailboat in the water, which made things even prettier.

2015-08-26 15.15.26There I sat and there I rested. I did eventually make my way home and spent a few minutes sitting in the living room in front of a fan. I was still listening to the music that had been interrupted by my fall. So now I’m back upstairs, talking about my day, sharing the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin and about to check WordPress.com news to see what’s new there.

Posted in Health, House, Kitchen, Meditation

Calmer Moments

person meditating
Just Relax

Well, I did something good for myself this morning. My day started with an estimate from my insurance company: a rather piddling final estimate for repairs to my kitchen. This was not a good sign of how the rest of the day would go.

The first stage of relief came when I mentioned the amount to my husband. He thought that was not a bad estimate and was in line with what he thought the repairs would cost. I then went through my files and found my contractor’s estimate, which was about $2,000 higher than the insurance company. I think at this point I’m ready to drop this whole back-and-forth shit and call it done.

My chest was tight with tension, though. That happens when I get overly stressed. I start having trouble breathing and I can’t concentrate. Fortunately, I remembered that I’m trying to integrate more meditation into my day and decided to do a five minute online session. It really helped. My breathing calmed down, at least temporarily, and I felt more focused and centered.

So, want to try it for yourself? I started a five minute meditation at calm.com. Enjoy!

Posted in Meditation

Mindful Me

I’m not sure this qualifies as a new year’s resolution, but I’m making a concerted effort to work in more time for meditation. The stress in my life being what it is, I figure it can’t do me any harm. In fact, it stands to do me some serious good.

I joined a telephone wellness group through my health care provider. We’ve all got our healthy resolutions (lose weight, exercise me, find more “me” time, etc.). My goal was greater relief from stress.

I’m starting with mindfulness meditation, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Basically, you clear your mind and concentrate on your breathing for a period of time. I can make it through about five minutes before I start to go crazy. It’s a discipline. Right now I’m aiming for two times a day, up to 10 minutes per session. I’m not there yet, but I am trying.

So, anyone know any websites that have morning meditations, something to get you going rather than calm you down into a stupor? I welcome any and all suggestions!