“some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

– Bob Marley

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I wrote a cranky political blog post in my head while I was on the treadmill at the gym today. I thought it would be perfect for this Super Tuesday. But I got into a bloody battle with the copy machine and am left with a giant band-aid on my finger so I can’t type very well. I guess you are spared today, dear readers. Enjoy this Bob Marley quote instead.

Random

Media Fast: Day Two

Thoughts and Opinions

This exercise, so far, has been amazing. One day of no media clutter  and already I feel healthier psychologically. My mind feel sharper and clearer. I feel happier and less depressed. I haven’t had any thoughts of self-loathing in 24 hours. It’s really kind of awesome.

There are moments when my ego wants to throw a tantrum because it doesn’t have anything to do. But the interesting thing about it is that it is easy to find things to do. Not having the distractions of media makes things so much simpler. I do what is in front of me. What needs to be done? The dishes? Ok. I’ll do the dishes. Now, is it boring to do the dishes? Yes it is. But it’s ok. It is only boring for that moment when I perceive it is boring. As soon as I start doing it I’m fine. And since I don’t have anything entertainment-wise to look forward to I am left with what is in front of me.

Fascinating.

Running without music this morning was interesting as well. I was worried that It would be difficult but it wasn’t at all. In fact, nothing was different aside from not having the distractions of music and Runkeeper in the background.

This is something I am noticing too:  that maybe I shouldn’t have so many things going at one time. And I’m not even talking things that I am doing. I am talking about things going in the background. For example this morning I thought I would work on a scanning project for a friend of mine. While the slides were scanning I decided to knit and work on my French lesson. But as I was doing all of this I felt the heaviness of stress on me and realized that I am probably doing too much at one time. I decided to save the scanning project for later and concentrate on two things instead of three. In fact, it’s probably even better to deal with only one thing at a time but that is something that I will have to work on since I am the queen of multitasking.

Media Fast: Day One

Health and Fitness

In my sangha we are going through the book, “How To Train A Wild Elephant & Other Adventures In Mindfulness” by Jan Chozen. This week’s excercise is a media fast:

For one week, do no take in any media. This includes news media, social media, and entertainment. Do not listen to radio, iPod, or CDs, don’t watch TV, film, or videos; don’t read newspapers, books or magazines; don’t surf the internet; and don’t check social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

I was all, “Hell, no.”  But the fact that I was, and am, resisting it makes me realize that I should try it. It is only a week after all and who knows? Maybe it will be good for me. I am still going to blog because blogging is creating;  it is writing. So I feel like it is o.k. And I thought it would be interesting (mostly for myself) to blog about this experience. I thought it would be interesting to observe how this experience makes me feel. So here it goes!

4:00 am: I woke up from a dream in which one of my friends died. I found out on Facebook (because that is how things are learned these days). I woke up in a slight panic thinking, “what if this really happens?” Eventually I went back to sleep.

5:00 am: My alarm wakes me up and I decide to hit snooze because I think, “I have nothing to do when I get up so what’s the point.”

5:20: I get up and meditate

8:00 am: After getting ready for work I actually have time to practice my ukulele.

11:00 am: I get an email notification that somebody posted a link on my Facebook wall. I go to Facebook so I can turn off e-mail notifications. (I also take a quick peek to what’s up with everyone. Damn it!). I have decided that I can check e-mail because that is how many people communicate with me. I can easily delete the messages that look like cluttery crap. I think that I will not check it very often though. Maybe a couple of times a day.

11:30 am: Busy all morning with training at work. I am wondering what I am going to do at lunch because I am not supposed to read anything. The books says that reading for work is ok so I am tempted to take a Library Journal with me so I can at least read that.

5:14 pm: I just realized that I cheated on this big time today. In researching my blog post about Rajneesh I realized that I surfed around the internet. Actually quite a lot. Hmm. Didn’t even realize it. I suppose it is a job hazard. I will be more careful tomorrow.

7:17 PM: I am home alone with nothing to entertain me but my thoughts (my husband is still at work.) I had a conversation with my friend after work about this Rajneesh post from yesterday so I’ve been thinking about that. She mentioned the Buddhist idea of non-attachment and that really resonated. I think that is the lesson here. When you attach to an idea, person, anything, you never know where you will end up (her words). This is so true. It is very freeing to practice non-attachment. That is what this mindfulness practice is about too. I really felt it when I decided to stop reading the really awesome book I am into right now, “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter. It is very hard for me to give up a really good story but I felt like I should for this exercise. In fact, I really feel like I should return the book to the library so that someone else should read it. I haven’t done that. I am not sure I will. But I feel like I need to let go of my attachment to reading this really wonderful story. I know it will be there in a week when I am done with this exercise.

Other than the few minutes I logged onto Facebook today I haven’t logged onto any other social media sites. I don’t miss the cluttery data smog. At all. I actually feel really good right now. I miss my friends from those sites. But I don’t miss all of the cluttery crap.

I am going to sign off and schedule this to publish very early tomorrow morning. The rest of the evening will be spent getting projects  done.

Hands

Thoughts and Opinions

In my meditation group we are reading, “How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness” by Jan Chozen Bays. Each week we are reading a chapter and then during the week we do the mindfulness exercise. It has been really eye-opening and I’ve already learned lots about myself. I should be blogging this stuff. Ah well. Today I will.

This week’s exercise has is “Appreciate Your Hands:”

Several times a day, when your hands are busy, watch them as though they belonged to a stranger. Also, look at them when they are still

I have to admit that I have not been doing this everyday, let alone several times a day. However, today I got my first manicure and had a chance to really observe them and think about them.

It was really a wonderful experience. The (really nice) person tending to them kept telling me to relax them. They seemed to be afraid of someone else touching them. Once I relaxed them they enjoyed the experience immensely. I didn’t expect a hand massage. When my hands were being massaged I realized that I don’t take care of my hands like I should. Not at all. They do so much for me. They console me. They perform important tasks, like writing and using the computer. They are helping me type this blog post right now. They do these things seemingly on their own. They just know what to do, most of the time, without any prompting from me. They know how to 10-key type! I don’t even have to think about it. My fingertips know exactly where to go on the keyboard and my brain doesn’t even have to think about it. How amazing is that?

I pay them back by ripping apart my cuticles.

I decided, as my hands were getting massaged, that I am going to make sure I take care of them. At the very least, I will take the time to splurge on a manicure once a month. My hands deserve it.

The Guest House

Poetry
Achnadrish guest house.

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a Zazenkai. I’ll write about that experience in another post. But today I wanted to share a poem that I shared with everyone that day. I think it beautifully sums up everything I’ve learned in the past few months.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,

translation by Coleman Barks