Meditation challenge: at the beach, off the phone

So today I decided to turn my phone off completely for hours. I got a text early in the morning during my drive to my friend’s house and ignored it because I didn’t feel like responding. I was thinking, driving, just being in my present moment.

I got to my friend’s house and we took off to go hiking in Malibu to see some waterfalls (something I’ve been wanting to do for years). Once I got to my friend’s house I decided to turn off my phone as more text messages flooded in. I only turned it on to take some pictures once we reached our destination, then turned it back off again.

We spontaneously decided to go to the beach and I wore my pink underwear and her tank top because I didn’t have a bathing suit! It was this little hole in the wall location totally away from most people. We had to climb through a hole in a fence and down some cliffs to get there but it was totally worth the danger and spontaneity. I laid down after enjoying the water and closed my eyes. I remembered how I am doing a meditation challenge and decided that I wasn’t going to let my location stop me.

I remember my late uncle, Paul, meditating any place he could. He would do it while riding in the back seat of cars, just anywhere he could. So I closed my eyes and started my deep breathing in and out and began counting. Any time thoughts came into my head, I decided to say to myself that I am loved, that I’m here. I love myself, I kept saying. I’m taking care of myself, I kept saying. I let myself take in the warm sun and the soothing sounds of the ocean, and was grateful for the spontaneous day, for my lively girl friend, and for the opportunity to be where I was. I took care of myself today. I kept my phone off. I did what my heart wanted and it felt so great.

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Meditation Challenge: Body Insights and being present

So I think I know why I don’t like meditating. It activates the core and my core isn’t that strong. I mean, my back is strong, but the front half, nope. I ain’t even gonna lie.

I learned a technique over the weekend that really worked for me. We were guided in a meditation to breathe in for four counts and breathe out for six counts. Focusing on the counting helped me to block out all other thoughts for a bit, but they still came through. I would just go back to my counting and breathing, getting more and more into my present moment. Yea, and my present moment brought up uncomfortable sensations like tension on the right side of my back and neck. I guess I hold tension more so on that side? I became aware of that, as well as thoughts about relationships and work. They were things that were really bothering me though.

So I began to ask for guidance. I kept hearing a voice say, “you are here.”

Yesterday I experienced so much worry because I wasn’t being present. I was thinking about things that weren’t affecting my present moment, mostly things from the past that had bothered me. Today, it was the same thing, but the difference is that I became aware of just how much I was letting my past influence my present and it literally hurt.

So, just being here, with what I have right now is how I must face the rest of the day. Anything that is bothersome to the mind comes from memory and it can ruin the day to continue living there. I ask myself these questions: What can I learn from my present moment? How can I serve in my present moment? How can I strengthen my core in my present moment?

Meditation Challenge

I like regimented things because I’m anything but. I’m a total free spirit, messy, spur of the moment kind of girl, but when I actually make a commitment, I’ll follow through to the end.

Over the weekend I attended a yoga teacher training and as part of the training, we of course did yoga and meditated. I am a regular yoga practitioner, but not a regular meditator. I’ll meditate when I get really stressed out and have no choice but to close my eyes and attempt to shut my mind up.

Meditating this weekend felt absolutely magical. It’s like real medicine. I’ve often heard that some of the brightest minds meditate, like one of my favorite comic writers/storytellers, Grant Morrison. I admire his work so much and I think that it’s probably meditation that has allowed all those crazy, out-of-the box ideas to flourish and become raw, new, thoughtful stories.

When I write I try to organize my thoughts before I even start writing, and sometimes I get really caught up in the outline, so much so that the story isn’t allowed to breathe or have a mind of its own. I think with meditation, a project is given the freedom to be what the universe wants it to be, not what I want it to be, or what some editor thinks it should be.

So my new challenge to myself is this, to meditate for ten minutes every day, for oh, maybe a month? Think that’s enough time? Yea. A month.

I meditated this morning for ten minutes and asked myself these questions that I’ve heard from the Course in Miracles: Where will you have me go? What will you have me do? What will you have me say and to whom?

I know the meditation is working already. I feel a bit more directed in my day.

Living my yoga

This week has been one of those weeks. A great one! So many things are coming together and it feels amazing. My energy is brimming over and my light is strong within, so with that spirit, I write today.

What I’m experiencing lately is releasing expectations and attachment to result. When we hope for the best and forget the rest, life becomes quite magical.

So, I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga consistently for over five years now. It’s the great love of my life. When you love something, you want to do something more with it, like give back to your community.

So, I was planning to go to teacher training this year, and it’s still one of my goals, but now the Bikram trainings are in different parts of the world, like last year they were in Thailand. I applied for a teacher training scholarship but didn’t get it so I know that I will have to pay for it out of my own pocket if I plan on going, and I just don’t know if I want to fork out that much money right now. I am planning on traveling and I just bought a car, so I’m kinda, eh about it. I would totally pay the money if they were going to a country I wanted to visit like India or Bali, but not Thailand. It’s just not a place I want to go right now, so I’m waiting to see where the next Bikram training will be, and planning accordingly, but I still want to do something with yoga in the meantime.

One of my favorite yoga instructors started this organization called Uprising Yoga that brings yoga to incarcerated youth in juvenile hall. They held a teacher training this weekend and I went. I can’t tell you how inspired I was this weekend by all the yoga teachers and social service and medical professionals who are committed to making a real difference in people’s lives.

When I was fifteen years old, I fell in love with yoga and ten years later when I stepped into the hot room, I fell madly in love with Bikram yoga. So here I am, at 30, ready to take on a new avenue in my life and that’s teaching yoga. I never thought that one day I would be a yoga instructor. Life really is about embracing passions and being completely open to the universe. It’s so funny, my old passions are surfacing lately. I’m embracing something I fell in love with at 15: yoga. I’m also dating someone I was in love with at 15 as well and that’s going good too. We go through life and we do what we do, learn what we need to. It might not always make sense but we just have to be open to it.

Nothing happens by accident. I’m just very grateful to be where I am, working in the holistic health field. Things are coming together slowly but surely.

I’ll be honest though. This weekend I did a lot of meditation as part of the training and it really opened a doorway into my soul in that I am open to many possibilities for my career, so I know I need to make a choice soon. Something is brewing within me. I’m going to try something and that’s meditation every morning and see if that helps my clarity. One of the things I learned in the training this weekend is just how powerful mindful meditation is. We can be ruled by our minds. As a writer, I live in my mind with my characters and worst possible scenario plot points. It’s enough to drive one wild, so meditation is my new experiment.

Again yoga has opened doors for me. I’ve said it many times before and after this weekend I am sure that yoga is the great love of my life.

A Course in Miracles Lesson 10

Today’s lesson in the Course in Miracles was “My thoughts do not mean anything.”
This was a hard one to wrap my head around but so far it’s been the lesson I value the most. It immediately took me out of a negative head space.
I have been debating moving back to California to help take care of my grandmother and my head has just been all over the place, but as soon as I started doing the exercise for today, I was brought back to the present moment, of just existing as a blank slate. My mind felt clear, as though I had no thought in the world. I didn’t have to wonder why I thought what I thought, because I would keep saying, “my thoughts do not mean anything,” or “my thought about__ does not mean anything.”

Basically I felt like an empty vessel that was more able to receive messages and a clear plan for my existence.

All the frivolous little thoughts that came up in my head like “why is that girl talking so loud next to me?”, or “my hair is frizzy today” all of the sudden didn’t mean anything. You almost get to wondering where those thoughts even come from.
Another part of the lesson is after saying “my thoughts do not mean anything,” you follow that by “this idea will help to release me from all I now believe.”

This part I viewed as being both good and bad. Good because you want to release certain thought patterns, but do you really want to forget everything you believe? Like seven years of college and graduate school?

I’m going to have faith in the Course’s teachings. It may not make complete sense to me right now but I am hoping it will. Most people I look up to like Louise Hay, Gabrielle Bernstein, Wayne Dyer, are all students of the Course, and I want to walk the same path, or one very similar.

Here’s a link to the Course in Miracle’s website I’ve been looking at. It’s less intimidating to me than that huge blue book: http://acim.org/Lessons/lesson.html?daily_lesson=10

Day 11 of 21

Alright! 10 more days to go and this cleanse will be complete. Today involved eating a Ginger Mango Shake for breakfast and as a snack. When I was at work I had the Spring Sauerkraut Salad with Thermo Dressing. Seriously, the Thermo Dressing is one of the best dressings I’ve ever had. When put over any bed of greens, it provides a superb flavor that totally eliminates any cravings one may have for junk food. Seriously, every time I eat this dressing over a salad, I forget completely about what I craved before. I become completely satiated physically and mentally. The thermo dressing is listed in Ani Phyo’s book “15 day fat blast” and it includes miso, raw soy sauce, ginger, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. It’s so refreshing and fulfilling, and full of nutrients. I am so proud to say that I finally bought Braggs Liquid Aminos raw soy sauce alternative. I used to buy the regular reduced sodium Kikoman brand and thought it was okay but really the Braggs has such a mild flavor and still has the taste of soy sauce without the head rush of sodium.

My uncle who was really into health food used to cook with raw soy sauce and I never knew it. Braggs totally reminds me of him and the dishes he used to make, like this one really good dish which consisted of brown rice with tofu, zucchini, and broccoli that he would simmer with raw soy sauce and garlic. Omg, this was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. My uncle is HIV positive and has been so for over twenty years. He was probably my biggest inspiration growing up in regards to health food. He always seemed so strong to me since he used to do so much for his health like work out fiercely and meditate daily as well as make juices and smoothies, and put veggies in everything. I remember as a kid being weirded out that he would put broccoli in all our food, even ramen. I didn’t get it then but I do now. Today, he doesn’t really eat like that anymore because I guess he’s going through some things mentally but I’ll never forget the way he inspired me growing up. I would love to include a bio about him in my inspirational people section. He really is an inspiration and would inspire anyone so they can see that eating the right food, meditating, and exercising really can keep you alive and healthier more so than medicine will keep you alive.

All tangents aside, I’m having the Red Pepper raw soup tonight. If you are interested in the recipes in the book “Ani’s 15-day fat blast,” by Ani Phyo, I can list them as I go on, or you can check out the book, which is so worth the buy. It makes eating raw so much easier and not such a foreign concept for hippies and eco vegans, since many of the recipes only include a few simple ingredients. The book utilizes staples like coconut oil, miso paste, and a variety of common fruits and veggies that you can find anywhere.

Day 11 is nearly over and I’m stoked about it. My uncle inspires me to go on even if he doesn’t eat this way anymore. There is always some inspiring person who leads the way and the rest of us will carry on the torch.