Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Taking a few stillness moments...

Ok I am doing pretty well on the mindfulness practice front right now. I am slowly re-incorporating it back into my life.. inspired by the wonderful book 'The Art of Stillness' that I wrote about in my last post.

Aside from anything else I am just so much more aware of my 'internal weather pattern' now and when I am shifted slightly off my calm axis I know that mindfulness/meditation can help me with this.

I got a couple of emails on Monday night that left me feeling a bit unsettled and I could feel that my thoughts were winding up a little (or at least there were thoughts in there that weren't calm). So yesterday after dropping the kids at their school holiday programme (Mr D is away) I came home, sat down on the sofa (on the edge with my back erect so I was in an alert pose) and shut my eyes to have some stillness for about 15 minutes.

I did concentrate on my breath. I did listen to the sounds around me. My mind did wander. I did bring it back to my breath every now and then. I didn't worry myself too much about what was going on. I just sat still. It was lovely.

This morning was a bit more fraught (arguments over sunscreen) so after I dropped the boys off (for their second and final day of school holiday programme during these 2 weeks of holidays) I drove into town and parked by the waterfront.. went and got myself a decaf flat white.. went and sat on a park bench in front of the water.

Then I drank my coffee and replied to some emails and took a photo and shared it on Instagram. And then I shut my eyes and listened to the waves, traffic, pedestrians, construction noises.. it was noisy! But it was a moment of stillness and it was lovely. Perhaps 10 minutes with my eyes shut.

Just got sent a link regarding the free Mindfulness Summit I have signed up for that takes place throughout the month of October.. and I just sat and listened to the 6 minute audio from Melli O'Brien that came with it. Am looking forward to it starting!

It's school holidays and Mr D is away and often during these busy times I can descend into bad habits and a less-than-stellar mindset. But so far so good this time. Long may it last.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Journey to Nowhere...

I have just read the most gorgeous little book called "The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere" by a man called Pico Iyer. He's a travel writer who has been travelling for 40 years (started at 9 when he flew miles away to boarding school).

Just a lovely lovely book about stillness and how the destination of 'nowhere' is the most restorative place to visit. Not travelling. Just sitting still.

This; "You can go on vacation to Paris or Hawaii or New Orleans three months from now, and you'll have a tremendous time, I'm sure. but if you want to come back feeling new - alive and full of fresh hope and in love with the world - I think the place to visit may be nowhere."

He says wise beings through all the centuries know that this is a good idea. Sitting still and not doing anything. Going inwards. Resting your mind & thoughts. Stopping.

He's got a lot to say about technology and our busy busy lives...points out that while we've got more and more time saving devices we seem to never have enough time. That through the internet we can spend time with people all over the world but yet we seem to lose contact with ourselves.

"It's easy to feel as if we're standing two inches away from a huge canvas that's noisy and crowded and changing with every microsecond. It's only by stepping farther back and standing still that we can begin to see what that canvas (which is our life) really means, and to take in the larger picture."

He's got a Ted talk here but I really do recommend the book - it's gorgeous. He writes of monks and musicians and tech experts and poets - all who know about and practice the art of stillness.

Is stillness meditation? Yes it is. But the main thing I have gotten from this book - aside from a desire to read Emily Dickinson's poetry - is the feeling that meditation can simply be stillness.

Instead of me trying to concentrate on my breath or listening to a guided meditation.. just pausing and closing my eyes is enough. Making space inside my life. Taking a journey to nowhere.

"In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow."

"In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention."

"And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still."

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

FREE Mindfulness Summit!

Ok well this is interesting coming hot on the heels of my last experience with The Chopra Centre.

Last night in my Facebook feed I had a 'suggested post' from a page called 'Mrs Mindfulness' - something about a 'Mindfulness Summit' which is FREE for the month of October.

They said it's a 'not-for-profit' project 'with a mission to make mindfulness mainstream'.

So I clicked on it and followed through to their website and filled in my name and email address to register! Turns out Mrs Mindfulness is an Australian woman called Melli O'Brien - a mindfulness meditation and yoga teacher who runs retreats etc..(this is her website)

And WOW the lineup of people they have got - Tara Brach! Arianna Huffington! Mark Williams! (he wrote the 8-week plan Mindfulness Book) Ruby Wax! John Kabat-Zinn! Dan Siegel! Dan Harris! (he wrote the 10% happier book).

From what I understand you just sign up here and then you get to partake. I think every day in October there is a new meditation / talk available to listen to. Then at the end of the free month you have the option to buy the whole summit as a product and have it available to you forever more. And they give the money to mindfulness charities.

I've climbed into it and will be doing it!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Thanks but no thanks

I'm really conflicted about The Chopra Centre - there's no doubt they do amazing work, and are well intentioned to help people improve their lives through meditation (and I believe that it's true that you can do this, undoubtedly, and I want to do this!).. but they are hardcore SELLERS man.

I've just spent 45 minutes listening to their live online 'event' .... a chat with Deepak Chopra and Roger Gabriel about how to incorporate meditation into a busy stressful life... and by the end of it I WAS feeling motivated to resume my meditation and I WAS feeling more energetic about walking the dog this afternoon (silly example but the truth) and I WAS feeling interested in the differing forms of meditation/mindfulness and thinking I would research more about them...

... and then they launched into this HARD SELL about a 6-session course that they've designed to do all that they discussed in the talk. And WOW it's 6 sessions to take me through everything they just promised and YES I want to do that but it is a LOT of money and I don't know why but I just feel a bit annoyed that it had to come to this.

Is that bad? Should they offer it for free or really cheap and not hundreds of dollars? I think of my beloved Tara Brach who offers SO MUCH material free every single week on her website.

I'm conflicted. I don't want to criticise these dudes but they have left me feeling a bit sucked in and deflated because I wasn't expecting their online event to be an advertisement, and I am not in a position to spend hundreds of dollars on their 6-session online course (Mr D would have my guts for garters if I did that).

So instead I will go walk the dog with a positive spring in my step. And I will start sitting and meditating regularly to try and achieve some of the positive benefits of it. And maybe I will do some of my own research on different types of mediation.

So I won't leave today's experience negatively, I did get a lot from their free web event - thanks guru dudes - but I won't be signing up to your very special offer today.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, September 11, 2015

** crickets **

Hello dead blog.

Hello dead blog that I feel guilty about.

Hello dead blog that was supposed to be a motivator to keep me practicing mindfulness.

I have not been listening to any guided meditations.

I have not been doing any silent meditations.

I have not been taking any extended periods of time to sit and quiet my brain.

Actually that's a lie.. I have taken the odd very short moment here and there (like 10 - 20 seconds) to close my eyes and focus on what I could hear.

I do sometimes work to bring myself right down into the present and be aware of my breathing (the feel of the air as it enters and leaves my nostrils is my new go-to sensation for focusing on the breath).

So maybe in that way mindfulness has entered my life.

But I'm in no way a 'regular practitioner'. I haven't properly incorporated mindfulness into my life in a sustained way - the kind of way that (if the research is to be believed) will actually make some lasting changes in my brain. i.e. 10-20 minutes if not longer at a time.

I think the best way to make sure it happens every day is to do it first thing in the morning before anyone else gets up. Hopefully that's where I'll get to eventually. In the meantime I will try to fit it in and around my busy life.

Feel better having finally written another post on here. Will try to keep this up.

Love, Mrs D xxx

UPDATE : HA HA I just got emailed by American guru Depak Chopra about a free online 'event' next week called 'Four Simple Steps to integrate meditation into your busy life'. Ha ha! I have registered. Watch this space...