Category Archives: Yoga

The Quiet Place – An Addiction to Solitude

I have a deep love for the peaceful quiet that only solitude can create. When the dogs are sleeping, and the only sounds I hear are birds chirping, my introspective mind comes alive.

The blank in between the interactions, where I can find my true self, uncluttered by the sounds and feelings of others. This is my chapel, my holy place, where I speak with my soul.

It is the place I go for yoga and meditation, the place I go when I need to think. At first, I started in my home but, as I grow, I am learning to take it with me everywhere.

I build quite meditation and rest times into my day. Prescheduled breaks give me something to look forward to if I’m not excited about a project in front of me.

I’m a huge believer in positive reinforcement (although taking things away from me worked well for my mother when I was growing up). She called it The Taming of Shrew. For a while, I wondered why she was comparing me to a rodent.

My mother would set a clear expectation of what she wanted from me and what would be taken away if I did not comply. Rewards for good deeds also helped as motivators.

Now, as an adult rodent, I am in charge of motivating myself. I use lists and rewards, many of which are times of quiet reflection or writing breaks. Retreating back into myself, diving deeply, settling in my quiet space.

The atmosphere in my world is pleasant because I control most of the elements. It’s intoxicating and blissful. Why would I ever want to leave?

Careful not to get too comfortable.

This place, where art is born, songs come to life, and birds sing is too perfect, to the point of addiction. It would be easy to settle into a monk-like solitude, giving up speaking, but that is taking the easy way out.

Not speaking is easier. Being alone is often easier. I don’t want to settle for what is easy.

This comfort zone I’m standing in, it’s something I need to push. Walking out of it slowly, step by step, learning new things every single day.

Take Care of Yourself

“You look like you take good care of yourself.” – What a strange thing to say to someone.

Self care is the deepest affection that you can show to yourself.

It has taken me years to get to where I am now in regards to self care. As I grow and age self care has become a much bigger priority for me.

Love yourself – YOU deserve it!

 

To Everyone Who “Can’t Meditate”

Mindfulness and meditation have been a big part of my life for several years now. I’m always happy to share with people how helpful meditation is for me.

Unfortunately almost everyone I talk to about meditation “can’t meditate”.

“I wish I could meditate. My mind isn’t made for that!” or “I can’t stand being still”, a few of the most common excuses why people tell me they “can’t meditate”.

People assume meditation was always easy for me, while in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

I started meditation because of a deep internal need for change.

My twenty-fifth birthday was coming at me like an out of control locomotive with a sleeping driver. The number made me uneasy and it was coming too fast. Like a doe, hypnotized by the headlights, I felt helpless to stop it.

Something was wrong, missing, empty and completely inexpressible. I’d been searching my entire life for something. . . peace, stillness, answers, meaning maybe?

In my mid to early twenties, I was very out of touch with my own feelings and emotions.

At first, my meditations were distracted, plagued with racing, unwanted, thoughts. When the goal was to count to five without allowing your mind to wander off, sometimes I only got to two or three before starting over, and over, and over.

It was hard, but as I kept on it things got easier.

Finally, with Buddhism, I was beginning to unlock the tools needed to understand and shape my own mind. Somedays progress crawled along at what felt like a snail’s pace, but every week as I continued to practice it got easier.

As I’ve grown older and incorporated mindfulness into my life over the years, things have greatly improved. I still meditate every day but the way I meditate has changed.

I meditate all the time. At times I may meditate for only a few minutes or seconds, whenever I need to calm and relax my mind, think more clearly, or gather the words for an important conversation.

Meditation has become the tool that I use to recalibrate my brain. Sitting tall I close my eyes and bow my head as I take in a deep, slow breath. As I breathe in I focus on the feelings of my feet on the ground or my butt in a chair (depending on where I am).

As my lungs expand I shift my focus to the feelings of my breath. With eyes closed, I listen and feel, asking myself – “what’s happening now?” Depending on available time I may stay for a while, eyes closed, nose pointed at the floor.

This micro-meditations can be as quick as a few breaths. I’ve even learned to meditate with my eyes open, although I wonder if I have a blank stare when I do this.

I take the time that I need and if I get flustered I remind myself not to rush, gently whispering in my own ear “relax, stay in the present”.

Every day I am needing to remind myself less and less, thanks to a very conscious choice I made years ago to change my life.

Dear people who “can’t meditate” – keep trying.

My “Obsessions” – Hobbies & Passions Over The Years

People’s hobbies say a lot about them. In this video, I talk about my “obsessions”, hobbies, and passions over the years.

Throughout my life, my interests have been all over the place. I learned everything about dog training in the fourth grade, and even trained cats to run through obstacles in our back yard. Our cat Rini knows sit and shake – if she gets a good enough treat.

I learned everything about dog training in the fourth grade, and even trained cats to run through obstacles in our back yard. Our cat Rini knows sit and shake (if she gets a good enough treat).

Animal psychology and then human psychology became my next big interests, perhaps because I craved to understand better the motivations of all the creatures around me. I find it ironic that animals often are more reasonable and easy to predict than most people. Is this a glitch in my perception or are humans really that irrational?

I joined the choir in the 6th grade and music was a big part of my life all though middle and high school. Solos, shows, and private voice instruction. I grew up convinced that music would be my life.

At the age of seventeen tragedy struck me. I was struck ill with flu and fever. Even after I had recovered the effects of the fever lingered.

The mystery illness took something very important to me – my voice. For about six months my voice was raspy and harsh when speaking. Singing was impossible for at least a year or two after the illness. My childhood dreams and all the music lessons were in the toilet.

I will always remember that, despite dropping choir and not being able to hit a single note, my choir director invited me to stand and lip sing with my friends. I jumped at the opportunity but found myself crying throughout the entire performance. The gesture meant a lot to me.

Even now my soprano I voice has become much more alto. The high notes are gone and I am not comfortable singing in front of people. I still love music and have been teaching myself piano and playing around with cover songs when my house is empty or I find myself alone in the car.

In the video, I forgot to talk about art. I drew nothing but anime for about 10 years starting at the age of 12. Being creative has always brought me joy – and healing whenever I get run down.

I still draw anime but try to be more flexible in what I draw. Also, I’ve always enjoyed creating digital art with the computer. Art is a great way to relax and unwind. Anybody else love coloring books?

Hooping (hula-hoop dance, sometimes with fire) led me to yoga. Yoga led me to meditation (& AcroYoga then Aerial Silks), meditation led me to Buddhism. Buddhism led me to mindfulness which brought me back to mental health and psychology.

These things have changed my life.

Learning to focus my mind and better comprehend how it works is the best thing I have EVER done for myself. I have more control and feel much calmer. Now that I understand myself (and even other people) better there is more peace and joy inside of me.

These are my “obsessions” the things that keep me up at night. I think they are pretty fun things.