I started meditating

In my post ‘What is meditation teaching me?‘, I began with the following –

Meditation – why are you in my life?  I asked you to join me and help me, to improve me, to take me and bring me to a better place.

Meditation – why are you in my life?  I asked you to teach me, to build me, to journey with me to a better life.

In today’s post, I begin with the following –

I have not written about meditation in my life for quite a while.  This is because, I have not been meditating for quite a while.  Prior to leaving Dallas, the downsizing, the packing and the moving and the sleeping on the floor and the aches and pains I was experiencing I lost focus and I lost my routine.  Now there is the new living arrangement; a 5th wheel in an RV park and then came the quick 3-week voyage to doctor’s visits and now receiving chemotherapy.

I have yet to place meditation back into my routine in my new location with my new voyage.

But meditation never left me; maybe it has temporally from my daily routine, but is has been here when I needed it.

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I remember back in February of this year, it was my first surgery to remove cancer and I was nervous and scared.  This would be the first time ever in my life that I had surgery and I was nervous and scared.  I remember laying on a bed in a pre-surgery room prior to my surgery and having an IV inserted and thinking about what was to take place next.  I felt my emotions wanting to take over and I felt like crying, but I did not want to show my weakness to the nurses that were attending to me.  I wanted to restrain the emotions and the crying, so I started meditating.  The meditation at that time helped me and would again for the next surgery that would take place later in the year; this past June.

You may remember a couple of weeks ago, I had a port inserted into my chest that would be used for receiving chemotherapy.  There I was laying on a surgery table with an IV in my hand and oxygen entering my nostrils and machines monitoring my vitals.   I knew I would be awake during this procedure and was told all would be fine during this time.  The people in the room are very nice and I do feel comfortable though nervous and anxious.

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I started meditating.

Meditation once again brought me comfort and brought me back to me.

I asked meditation to join me and help me, to improve me, to take me and bring me to a better place.

I asked meditation to teach me, to build me, to journey with me to a better life.

Mediation has accomplished these and will continue to do so as I proceed forward into my journey.

I started meditating.

an end to downsizing

In my post ’18 days and counting!‘, I wrote the following –

The PODS container was delivered yesterday.  Items we are keeping and storing are now starting to make their way into the container.  Much downsizing has taken place over the past year and a little more to go with regards to ridding of un-needed items.  Tomorrow we are having an Estate Sale and hope to downsize considerably more items.  The PODS container will be sitting in our driveway for 2 weeks at which time it will be picked up and stored.

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In today’s post, I write the following –

The PODS container will be picked up this Thursday.  Since it was delivered, we quickly filled it, with no room to spare.

A week ago this past Saturday, we had the Estate Sale and it was a success and in that 2 of 3 larger items we had left sold.  These 2 items were a brass bed with mattress set and the baby grand piano.  Last week we sold additional smaller items and the last remaining large item sold this past weekend; a couch.  This past Saturday we had a moving sale and sold our remaining smaller items.

These past weeks we have continued our downsizing and with the combined garage sales of last year, we have rid of approximately 90% of our possessions.  Remember we lived in a 3,800 sq. ft. home and are moving into an 5th wheel with about 300 sq. ft.  Possessions we are not taking with us in our 5th wheel are in the PODS container that is about 200 sq. ft.  Having much less possessions is an amazing freeing feeling.  I am glad Gary and I decided to downsize considerably and decide to ‘go tiny’ in our next living situation.  I am unsure what the future holds for us with regards to where we finally end up living on a permanent basis, but at this time, the ‘go tiny’ works for us.

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With 1 week to go, the house is nearly completely empty.  By Thursday, the last item to be placed in the PODS container will be the one and only remaining mattress.  For the past 2 weeks it has been on the floor in the master bedroom for us to sleep on.  After Thursday once the PODS container is picked up, I guess we will be sleeping on the floor.  Friday we plan to bring the 5th wheel back home and park it in our next door neighbor’s driveway.  They will be out of town this next weekend and are allowing us to park the 5th wheel there.  We will load the 5th wheel with the remaining items from the house and be ready to leave promptly on Tuesday of next week once house closing papers are signed.

With 1 week to go, a year’s effort of downsizing is coming to an end.  This chapter that Gary and I have experienced for quite some time is coming to an end.  And the next chapter soon will begin.

The Voice (not the TV show)

I wrote in my post ‘Mindfulness Meditation‘, the following –

At times my mind is chaotic with thoughts swirling and never ending.  My mind can feel like ‘white noise (Static)’.  Do you remember old TV sets, with a station with no programming, the visual static and noise it made, at times my mind feels similar to this.

I wrote in my post ‘What is meditation teaching me?‘, the following –

Meditation has joined with me and helps me, though a slow process for me, it is improving me.  Meditation is taking me to a quieter mind and bringing me back to be in the moment, at this time at this place; a better place.  Meditation is teaching me, though a slow process for me, to have additional patience, improved concentration and to have calmness during times of interruptions.

In today’s post, I write the following –

During one morning’s meditation, I recorded my mind!  You ask how can you record your mind?  Not easy, I would not try this at home – very dangerous!

Listen as I proceed and take you through a short period of meditation –

What is meditation teaching me?

Meditation – why are you in my life?  I asked you to join me and help me, to improve me, to take me and bring me to a better place.

Meditation – why are you in my life?  I asked you to teach me, to build me, to journey with me to a better life.

Meditation has joined with me and helps me, though a slow process for me, it is improving me.  Meditation is taking me to a quieter mind and bringing me back to be in the moment, at this time at this place; a better place.  Meditation is teaching me, though a slow process for me, to have additional patience, improved concentration and to have calmness during times of interruptions.

It is early morning and the exercising is over and now I meditate.  The room is dark and the windows with the blinds open; pass through faint light from the darkness that still encompasses this part of the world.  The sounds from beyond the walls out in the world of the early morning are faint and non-intruding.  The next 22 minutes and 25 seconds I sit in silence on the floor concentrating on the breath, posture and mind.

Sitting in this position and concentrating on the breath is teaching me patience.  There are times I am restless and want to move on the next activity of the morning routine.  The breath is back in focus and the mind again will concentrate on that which will calm it and improve the patience.  This mindfulness will continue to be available later in the day when the patience wants to be in short supply.  I am learning to find the patience in everything else that comes my way.  Do I always succeed, no – but I must have patience in learning patience.

Sitting in this position and concentrating on the breath is teaching me concentration.  Many times I am losing my concentration and the mind will wander. At times sitting the wandering takes place for what seems to be quite a while.  The breath is back in focus and the mind again will concentrate on the moment, in the present.  This mindfulness will continue to be available later in the day when the concentration is broken and once again starts to wander.  I am learning to find concentration in everything else that comes my way.  Do I always succeed, no – but I must concentrate on learning concentration.

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Sitting in this position, the interruptions come and go; physically and mentally, they come and go.  The breath is back in focus and the mind again will release the frustration of these interruptions and take me back to a better place.  This mindfulness will continue to be available later in the day when the interruptions occur.  I am learning when those interruptions occur, to have patience and to concentrate on that which is in the moment.  Do I always succeed, no – but I must not interrupt the interruption.

What is meditation teaching me?

Early Morning, Waves & Me

Last week I was in Florida – words I wrote one early morning –

I am in Florida and my routine is off, different from the usual events and activities from the everyday life.

Florida first evening here in a hotel on the beach facing the ocean – it rains, heavy with thunderstorms and strong winds and the temperature is cool, but not cold.

A nice dinner was eaten after which a brisk quick walk took place during the heavy rain events then back to the hotel room for some end of the day chat about the house hunting events of the day.

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Time to go to bed and he says “Leave the balcony slider open some so we can hear the ocean waves as they make their appearance on the shore.”

I reply “There is no screen, what if a bird flies in?”  His response “No bird is going to fly into this room, it will be okay.”  The slider is left open a bit to hear the waves as we sleep.

I sleep some, good sleep, not much, but the sleep is restful.  Each time I wake throughout the night I hear those waves from the ocean that is a short distance from the room.

Each time I wake, I glance at the clock, it is closer to time to wake for the day, but the time passes slowly and I should find more sleep within me so that I am fully rested; and some sleep is found.

The next wake it is a little later, not much and I think about the time difference and it is close to my usual time of rising and that I do.

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The waves, a short distance from me beg me to come to the balcony and not only hear them roar louder but to feel them and let them be a part of me, and so I accept the invitation.

The morning breeze is strong, cool, damp, but refreshing and welcoming by me.  And along with the strong sound of the waves, I feel peaceful, I feel grateful, I feel alive.

My usual early morning activities begin with yoga this morning with the music of the waves as the rhythm that my poses will count to.   The body and mind are one; the world, body and mind are one.

Upon a brief yoga session, I meditate and the waves again provide the rhythm, except this time the waves, my body and my mind are one.

The breath I take is the same breath the earth takes, the oxygen filling my lungs is the very oxygen the earth produces to provide me this particular morning.  I appreciate this oxygen and this breath.

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I appreciate this morning and I appreciate those waves.

I am in Florida and my routine is off, different from the usual events and activities from the everyday life.

But this particular early morning, I am alone in the world; it is just me and the waves.  I have calmness within me and I am at peace.

Shackles & Chains

As some of you know, I exercise and meditate in the early morning.  My usual routine involves waking between 4:00am – 5:00am, drinking coffee, then exercising and then meditating.

When I exercise, I plug a Bluetooth earplug in one ear and from my smartphone I usually play my 70’s music that I very much enjoy listening to.  My exercising may involve just dancing; it may involve some calisthenics, and sometimes I will do some yoga.

I have only taken a couple of yoga classes many years ago and my early morning yoga is mainly for poses I do to help strengthen and stretch my muscles.  I also use yoga to help strengthen my body core as I have aches and pains in my back and shoulders I experience on a daily bases; the strengthening of my core helps to prevent future injuries in these areas.

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Several weeks ago, it was early morning, the mat was on the floor and I was doing yoga.  I know there are many yoga poses, and honestly I have no idea the names for them.  I did a quick search of yoga poses and could not find one that I was doing on this particular morning.  Basically I am sitting with the tops of my feet, shins and knees perpendicular to the floor on the mat.  I then lower myself forward with my arms straightened and behind me and lean forward with my forehead against the mat.  At this point my chest is touching my knees and the backs of my hands are touching the floor.

So as I stayed in this pose for a while, my mind began to wander and I started to think about being in this pose and shacked to the ground with chains.  I am in a dark room with a rocky floor with walls that are gray, cold and rocky.  On the other side of the room is a small open window with 2 iron bars; one vertical the other horizontal.  Beyond the window I see light.

I think to myself, why am I here and what is the meaning of this image?  Could it be these shackles & chains are preventing me from going to the window and seeing where the light is coming from?  Could it be the dark, gray, cold, rocky room is my mind, my life and the light is freedom from the darkness and restraint that has plagued me for so long?

Is the light beyond the window happiness, freedom, fulfillment, a life with no restraints?

We hear and read that we see a white light when we near death.  Is this what I am thinking about while I am performing yoga in this particular pose?  Or can we see this white light well before we die; while we are still living and breathing and experiencing?

At this moment on the mat doing this pose with my mind wandering, visualizing and experiencing this room, I think to myself, why wait to be near death to see and experience the light beyond?

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I think to myself, standup and free you from the shackles and chains, walk toward the window; see and experience the light now, today, tomorrow and until the end.

‘be the breath’

It has been several months since I wrote about my mindfulness meditation.  I started meditating about a year ago, and I must say it is difficult for me – but I am making progress.  In my post ‘Mindfulness Meditation’, I wrote the following –

The last couple of months in 2014, I practiced on my own with some success.  Earlier this year I found an online 8 week course and decided I would commit to it.  I struggled with the sitting medication due to my mind’s usual scattered thoughts.  It is difficult for me to concentrate on my breathing and calm my mind’s thinking process.  At times my mind is chaotic with thoughts swirling and never ending.  My mind can feel like ‘white noise (Static)’.  Do you remember old TV sets, with a station with no programming, the visual static and noise it made, at times my mind feels similar to this.

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Image Provided by: http://www.menofspirit.com

In today’s post, I write the following –

I have made some progress with my meditation.  The thoughts continue to wander at times, but I no longer have the swirling and never ending ‘white noise (Static)’ mind.  I practice my meditation in the early morning and very much look forward to it.  And though my mind at times wanders, I will not give up – I will continue to meditate – I see the benefits.

Let me take you with me on a meditation session – (thoughts in my mind to myself)

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be the breath

inhale – exhale

mind is on other things

be the breath

inhale – exhale

eyes are closed – concentrating on the breath

deep breath

feeling the air entering my lungs, my abdomen, my diaphragm

i count with my breath

in, 1, 2 – out, 1, 2

back and shoulders are hurting

i acknowledge the pain

i go back to the breath

inhale – exhale

be the breath

inhale – exhale

inhale – exhale

my body is leaning some

i make adjustments – adjust my posture

be the breath

my mind wanders

i acknowledge the thoughts

be the breath

inhale – exhale

relax

be the breath

inhale – exhale

my mind wanders again

i am frustrated

tell myself to have patience

i remind myself the benefits of meditation – mindful

be the breath

inhale – exhale

i remind myself, meditation is teaching not to rush and to be in the moment

patience

inhale – exhale

be the breath

deep breath

feeling the air entering my lungs, my abdomen, my diaphragm

be in the moment – be the breath

inhale – exhale

concentrate on the breath

be the breath

i hear external noises – cars in the distance, airplane flying overhead

i acknowledge the noise

go back – be the breath

inhale – exhale

acknowledge disturbances in hearing, thinking, feeling, smelling – acknowledge

go back to breathing – be the breath

inhale – exhale

feeling the air filling the nostrils, entering my lungs, my abdomen, my diaphragm

exhale

be the breath

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I meditate for 20 minutes, with some of that time my mind wandering, thinking, planning – but I remind myself ‘be the breath’.

The Sounds of Meditating

The sounds of meditating –

It is early morning before many others are up and preparing for the day. I sit in the world imagesD26CAU6Lthat is my backyard in the large city and begin to meditate. This time I am sitting under the patio cover on my dog’s bed as the concrete surface is not comfortable. It is raining this morning and there is a slight breeze and I feel mist on my body. I feel and hear nature as the city noise begins to grow louder with those that are starting their day. The hearing and feeling of these elements are calming and my breathing becomes regular and natural. With the eyes closed I have no fear of the unknown or what I am unable to see.

Again early morning, it is Sunday this time and the world is sleeping in late this morning.imagesU5I16U2Z The city noise is silent this morning and as I hear the birds singing a breeze begins to blow and I hear the dropping of leaves from the trees. The wind is felt on my face and it increases intensely and the wall art hung on the fence begins to make noises causing some distractions with my meditation.

Still again, the early morning breeze hits my face and I feel the sun starting to rise bringing in a new day. A new day of opportunities; a new day of challengers and change – a day providing more time, to do images5MOUV6E8something different or to do the same. Will this day take me forward or set me back; the choice is mine. As the meditation progresses, these thoughts present themselves to me, will I choose today to grow and explore and to push beyond the boundaries I have chained myself with? The opportunities are presented there in front of me to move forward – and move forward I will.

Mindfulness Meditation

Last year on 60 Minutes, one of their reports was about Mindfulness Meditation. The report was interesting and upon further research I decided to try it. The benefits of mindfulness meditation are improvement in physical health, mental health and overall wellbeing. Areas I wanted to improve upon were learning more patience, relieving body tension, and feeling less irritated; just having an overall relaxed feeling and living in the moment. I also hoped the mindfulness meditation would help in reducing the symptoms I experience with my ADD and OCD. I was optimistic these improvements would help me live in the moment and not feel rushed; the feeling I have to hurry to do the next thing in my day.

The last couple of months in 2014, I practiced on my own with some success. Earlier this year I found an online 8 week course and decided I would commit to it. I struggled with the sitting medication due to my mind’s usual scattered thoughts. It is difficult for me to concentrate on my breathing and calm my mind’s thinking process. At times my mind is chaotic with thoughts swirling and never ending. My mind can feel like ‘white noise (Static)’. Do you remember old TV sets, with a station with no programming, the visual static and noise it made, at times my mind feels similar to this.

After 7 weeks of the online course when I was up to 45 minutes medicating, I felt good I was putting in the effort and finding some benefits from the sessions. Along with becoming disciplined, I was beginning to feel some relaxation and calmness in my mind and my day. I then started having issues with my back and shoulders while I was sitting. The back and shoulder pain is nothing new and is a chronic pain I deal with daily. I tried to make adjustments to my posture during the sessions and the pain subsided some but it was interfering with what I was trying to accomplish. I felt I was not getting enough from the sessions and along with other activities in my life, I just stopped the medication sessions all together.

After taking some time away I am trying again. I look forward to finding the discipline again and receiving the benefits from this exercise. I have found a suitable posture that does not intensify my chronic pain. I know with continued practice and dedication I will achieve the results I desire from Mindfulness Meditation.