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desire is the root of all suffering

I learned this wisdom in my early twenties experiencing Ram Dass’ “Be Here Now.” The book explained the entire process of finding happiness through Buddhism.

Now, twenty years later, I wonder how I came to believe that everything beneficial to my body-mind-spirit is suffering. Now I am loving yoga but still feel like meditation is suffering if you’re doing it right. In yoga class last week the teacher demonstrated using balance poses that there is always movement in stillness.

I’ve been a perfectionist again, believing that I could sit for 20 minutes and still my body-mind-spirit completely.

According to Buddha, the basic cause of suffering is “the attachment to the desire to have (craving) and the desire not to have (aversion)“. From that we learn “detachment.” Detachment leads to flow which lessens suffering.

I have to find it all within. Perhaps that is the honest, humble path to a daily committed meditation practice. It’s not in food or any addiction. All pleasure, all creativity, all passion, is generated within.

From my place of white, American privilege in the world’s scheme, I am overwhelmed daily by ounces of fluid gratitude, oozing like honey down and through me.

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starting over

When I turned 40; my father began to raise me. He re-parented me generously, teaching me lessons about the ways of the world; sharing the wisdom of his age. In the same way as he taught me how to ride a bike, he teaches me the brutality of dictators and the “there’s nothing I can do about it” feeling they awaken.

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apparently, I’ve taken a turn

I was obsessing about meditating. It was causing me more harm than good. I spoke with my therapist and he thinks I should find calm, centering (my words, not his) things to do that I enjoy. I wrote a note to myself in 2017, “Do it because it gives you that peaceful feeling.” That’s been my inspiration for getting to yoga at least once a week. Yoga makes me feel good, while I’m doing it and after I do it. Meditation was stirring up angst and didn’t feel good.

I go back to read blog posts and pages I created in fall 2018 and I’m amazed at what a sharp turn I’ve taken.

My parents and I traveled to Mobile, Alabama for Mardi gras 2019. We went to two parades and were wowed and overwhelmed with beads and other goodies thrown at us from the floats. The best part of the whole trip was meeting two women, friends of my mom. They met traveling to Costa Rica and Peru as part of a group. The two women were the greatest world travelers I’ve ever met. They had been just about everywhere and had vibrant, strong memories of each place and what made it special. It was a real lesson in life adventures, Mobile for the first time, Mardi gras for the first time, and the bonus of making new friends.

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day 2 of 2019

I’ve decided to work on self-discipline in moderation. I resolve to meditate for 20 minutes a day. I’m using the Plum Village app. I also resolve to continue yoga two to three times per week. Other than that, I choose to flow from one moment to the next without discipline and structure, but with grace and ease. That’s how I like it best.

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happy new year 2019

I realize that my goal of who I would like to become is drawn from my sick mind. She is perfect. She is thin and muscular, eats only fruit and vegetables, is kind all the time to everyone. This imaginary character is what my craziness envisioned for myself. Why just listen to angels when you could be one, right?

This year, just passed, I lost part of my right upper arm to melanoma. I am missing two-thirds of my right eyebrow. A piece of eyelid had to be removed because of a milder form of skin cancer. The problem with cancer is that it just keeps growing. My face and body at 42 are not how I thought they would be.

My New Year Resolution for 2019 is to live in the present moment. I want to go kayaking now, not when I get a chance. I want to do yoga now, not when I’m cute in yoga pants. I want to receive bodywork now, not someday when I can afford it. I want to meditate now, so that I can be easily kind.

I’m experiencing an inner struggle between teaching myself discipline or living in moderation. Become vegan versus eat small portions of yummy comfort foods. Am I trying to change my brain chemistry or trying to learn how to use my own crazy combo of brain chemistry to the best of its broken ability?

 

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calmed

I have a surgical wound from a cancerous mole removal on my right, upper back. It is infected and not healing well. The result was taking some down time to not do anything, to truly rest and relax, facilitating my immune system to reign supreme. For both days I had a background thinking voice; overwhelmed by the feeling that I was not keeping up, that there are too many things I’m not doing around the house and I am, therefore, creating a terrible hoarding situation and totally out of control.

This morning I woke up feeling playful. The dog and I were telling silly jokes in secretive whispers and tale wagging. I realized the list of things I should be doing, other than “screen time.” Today my voice said silently, “Relax, you are stressing so much about how you should be meditating and doing yoga that you’re counteracting the effects. Be present all the time.”

Suddenly a whoosh of energy ran past me and out of me and I sunk back into my body and relaxed. The anxiety had dissipated and I felt calm. More calm than I’ve felt in months.

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shameless

At church they talk about really just be yourself. Be true to your self. My old shame is new again then dissolves into hazy mist. It sheds like onion skin in slippery, thin layers; starting with the shoulders and rolling down the back, messy and difficult.

Doing things secretly reminds me of shame. When I come clean to another, such as my parents, I am “out & proud.” It feels heavenly.

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transcendence

The term ‘transcending’ implies upward movement, moving above duality. Elevation is most easily expressed in terms of ‘perspective.’ When we are higher we see the big picture. When we are at lower elevations we may feel down in the dumps, looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. When we are able to transcend duality, we see light everywhere. That perspective stretches our current framework and, what results, is an evolving. Evolution of character expresses itself as humility, gratitude, dignity, and joy, among other things.

At the pinnacle of my spiritual journey, I was meditating, in some fashion, for 30 minutes to 2 hours a day. I experienced transcendence on a fairly regular basis during this time. This lasted a period of three to six months, approximately. I had been praying for a few things daily. One was to surrender my own will to God’s will. As I sat outside a tattoo shop, hallucinating bright lights in the sunshine, a voice in my head told me that our will never usurps God’s will. We can decide to murder someone, and shoot that person in the head. Now, we’ve done everything we could possibly do to make them die. In the end, whether they live or die is God’s will. We never have complete control.

Transcendence can also be explained, more mystically, in terms of vertical alignment. Our perspective moves up and down the chakra system, the energy centers in front of the spine from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra can be experienced as a horizontal layer stacked vertically. Less dense energies rise, while more dense energies fall. Kundalini yoga and other meditation techniques open the crown chakra allowing us to live as a higher version of our self. As your magnetic field, or aura, adjusts to be more open and dynamic, we become more enlightened. Inflammation is caused by irritation; physical, emotional, or spiritual. Inflammation is correlated with disease and infection and it often begins in our energy systems.

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non-attachment

In order to experience transcendence, one must detach completely. It must no longer matter how you do your hair, or what people think of your tattoo, how expensive your shoes are. The space for non-attachment begins with intention. We create a container for non-attachment by choosing to detach from whatever, whichever, makes your blood boil or drives you absolutely bananas.