Jesus was a lone, wandering preacher with a small knot of followers. His message was radical. Leave your family, give away all you own, and devote yourself selflessly to God—which meant loving not only one’s neighbors, but also one’s enemies. He was adamantly apolitical, even to the point of refusing to defend himself at his own trial. He never spoke of homosexuality or abortion. And his only comments on marriage were confined to a condemnation of divorce and a forgiveness of adultery. So, how did we get to a point where the message of Christianity in America has drifted so far from Jesus?
So I got swallowed up in work stuff and have lost complete track of my journey so I am sitting down this weekend to regain focus, reconnect with my fast and talk about where I went wrong and how to be more committed moving forward. Traveling is a serious achilles heel. It becomes about squeezing in meals between events and staying up until all hours running around tradeshow floors. I need to be better prepared going forward to focus on this. Don’t get me wrong, there were several intentional pieces of my time away BUT not the wholistic focus on presence that I intended. Regroup time is in order! In the meantime, enjoy this little bit of personal progress that I’m pretty excited about:
Our first ever episode of HubTalk for work and also my debut as a thought leader in the industry. It’s pretty exciting!
To all of my fellow Girl Scouts out there…Happy 100th Birthday and let’s paint the town GREEN together! Thank you to everyone out there that has helped this phenomenal organization to be what it is today and for shaping me into a woman of courage confidence and character that wants to make the world a BETTER PLACE! This was a project my company put together for our partner organizations to say “thank you” to all of the Girl Scouts out there and to wish them a Happy Birthday on Monday March 12, 2012!
So yesterday was a blast! I spent work being productive then went to an archery store to shoot which was such a thrill and went to the gun range for a bit to blow off some steam. I know this sounds like a bit of a violent day but it was actually really peaceful and helped me to unwind. I started going to the gun range with my little brother last year as a compromise since he loved it so much and I wanted to spend more time letting him teach me things. It’s turned into a great bonding time for the both of us and I’ve actually learned a lot which I love! Anyway, I was pretty worn out so letting my brain go for a few hours was nice. I followed up my redneck afternoon with some fishing on a little lake in Benton with Forrest, Kristen and Evan and then having crawfish for dinner. The last part of this experience I’m a wee bit disappointed in but I’ll come back to that.
The fishing was a bust but I always find the fishing process really enjoyable and cathartic. The weather and water was beautiful so I just stood there for about an hour or more with the same piece of bait on my line and enjoyed the sun on my skin and the sound of the water lapping against the shoreline. As for the crawfish….well it was supposed to be an “eating in” experience that we were going to prepare at home but we ended up actually eating AT the crawfish guy’s restaurant which goes against my “no eating out” rule. Soooooo I’m disappointed in myself for that and Forrest gave me a pretty thorough scolding BUT the crawfish was good and I personally know the guy who prepared it so it was a mindful choice even if it wasn’t eating in.
I am noticing that I make a more conscious choice to be outdoors and to watch and read things that I enjoy and that help me feel connected so I think this Mindfulness journey is having a positive effect thus far. I do want to be more intentional about my health and fitness so that’s my goal for this weekend. I plan to purchase a longboard and begin exploring that and learning how. Seems silly but it’s both enjoyable and provides GREAT exercise and presence. I’ll let you know how that goes as I move forward but it’ll get me outside and have fun while I’m at it!
I’ll check back later and let you know how it goes…..I might even do a video blog of the process. I bet it’ll be VERY amusing to watch! In the meantime check out the video that inspired my Day 4 theme of letting go AND my new longboarding adventure!
I only set two goals for today and those were…..
1) Play in the rain and 2) Practice mindful eating
The rain ended up passing us by so I did yard work instead because it was outside, physical and engaging. As for the mindful eating…I ended up sharing dinner with my brother instead of practicing so right this minute I am going into the kitchen to get a fresh apple because they are PERFECT for a meditation on flavor and mindful eating! Give me a minute and while you’re waiting be thinking about how delicious and rich and juicy this is going to taste……..
Mouth watering yet?
So while you were waiting I stepped outside on my back porch where it is pitch black and took a big juicy rich bite of an apple that looks just like the one above but before I started in I made sure to take a few deep breaths and work on closing out my surroundings so that I could experience every single facet of the apple-eating experience. If you gain nothing else from reading about my epic 30-Day Mindfulness Journey I hope that you will try this one single solitary practice:
Take a piece of fruit….I used an apple but my Buddhism mentor in college actually favored tangerines for the flavor explosion they offer. Chocolate (dark and rich) is also a fun option :) Find a quiet dark or semi-dark place and breath deeply until your breathing slows and your body starts to settle into place. Once you’ve centered somewhat take a slow bite of your food. Make sure to focus totally on the tasting and feeling and smelling of the food as it passes your lips. The intensity of the experience can be really overwhelming. We miss a lot when we eat “fast food” so I’m trying to slow down and will continue to do so over the rest of this month. One of the key ways to do this is to participate in the preparation of what I eat hence the “no eating out” rule. I’ll update you on my favorites!
So day two of my Mindfulness fast was a bit rocky…Yet again I opted for sleep over morning meditation and mindfulness yoga so I think I need to re-envision how I motivate myself during this particularly difficult time of day for me. As for my daily theme….I have always leaned more toward my right brain anyway but I actually dove headfirst (silly) into my left brain yesterday in an attempt to finish a particularly detail-oriented project for work. Interestingly enough I was VERY mindful during this process and actually had a very connected and present day :) Even more interesting, the subject of the entire work-project was “blogging” so I guess I can call this research ;) Perhaps my lesson from yesterday is that sometimes we can be connected deeply and in a focused way much like we can strive to be connected in the boundless way described by Jill Bolte Taylor in her inspiring TEDtalk “Stroke of Insight”. As long as it’s intentional and mindful then I think I’m on the right track.
My goal this evening is to not work late and get home early enough to enjoy the sunset by the water and connect outdoors as is one of my external goals for this 30-Day Fast.
In terms of my consumption habits, I have managed to stick to my goal of not eating out and as an office we have shifted to sandwiches and veggie platters instead of daily trips to fast food joints and steakhouses (gross right??). I’ve dialed back my portion size as well and am working on not eating while watching TV as this is a great way to be mindless while consuming and is also often where I comfort-eat or overeat. When I eat I am going to practice an eating meditation I learned in college where I am silent during each bite and strive to taste every facit of what I consume. The power of this meditation in slowing you down and making you present is truly overwhelming. In the past I’ve been brought to tears by flavor. During this practice you also experience the true complexity of flavor and start to really appreciate natural over processed as your taste buds can certainly tell the difference and start to demand quality over quantity.
I plan to spend this weekend outdoors either camping at a local State Park or fishing and hiking with the doggie dogs. I promise to post pictures especially of my half-dog half-beaver Ransom who will be headfirst in any body of water we find :)
I did not start my Day 3 off with an external meditation inspiration so today I’m going to focus on regrouping from the onslaught of busy-ness the last few days and try to slow down. It smells and feels like it’s about to rain outside so I think an evening of walking and playing in the rain is in order! My favorite way to regroup :)
I’ll let you know how it goes and bring you a play by play of my mindful meal this evening!
I vaguely remember experiences from my parents old house as well as an image of a yellowish lightbulb and bulb cover on a popcorn textured ceiling…apparently it belonged to a house my father owned and we visited on weekends when I was barely 1.
So I started today SUPER early as in 12:07ish AM this morning by watching a TEDtalk by Drew Dudley on “Everyday Leadership”. He tells a story about a seemingly insignificant moment in his life that utterly transformed the life of a stranger and uses this as a lens through which to describe our unimaginable ability to make a daily impact through everyday leadership. Now I have never shied away from leadership and in the past I have sought it out quite aggressively particularly in classroom settings or in my work with the Girl Scouts BUT I often forget my own daily impact and the “Pay It Forward” potential of intentional leadership. So in honor of my theme for today I did a couple of things….
First, I helped my brother shape his own 30-Day Mindfulness Fast and encouraged him to seek awareness of himself and his own unique goals and needs. It was an incredibly powerful conversation and one that I hope will give him strength as he goes forward. Second, I called my mother and suggested the same encouraging her to not only read my journey hear but also to explore her own upcoming transitions and life evolutions. Third, I chose to spend an hour and a half of quality time with my boss’s son Evan and made an intentional effort to hear EVERY word he said to me for the duration and to engage and respond honestly to all of it no matter how many “why’s” and “how’s” he threw my way. Now Evan is (almost) 4 going on 14 and his inquiries ranged from questions about the origin of trains to why my grandfather died and what made his grandfather not able to walk. It was truly powerful to actively engage with him and watch as his mind and emotional landscape sorted through the information. What a gift to have such beautiful people in my life to explore.
From an internal perspective today was one of awareness and intention but externally I opted for extra sleep over my scheduled morning yoga and meditation. I did however manage to spend some quality time in the backyard with my dog Ransom and was thrillingly mindful of the sensations in each moment. I also started a TED.com conversation and got some great feedback and food for thought going forward. One advisor in particular encouraged me to attempt meditation without blinking for 5 minutes which I actually explored a few years ago at the Nyingma Institute during a 3-day non-stop meditation marathon in honor of Longchenpa. I am going to spend some time on this practice down by the lake tomorrow just breathing and centering attempting to root myself in the earth and in myself. From there I hope to bring forth a compassionate heat and warm myself with it before extending outward from my body to touch my surroundings. This was a favorite practice of mine and I still do it pretty regularly especially when flying as it makes me feel remarkably calm and peaceful. I’ll let you know how it goes and if I have any interesting results!
That’s all for now as I am due another meditation before bed and I am up will past what I intended!
Here is the TEDtalk that inspired my day as well as a quote from Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."