Finding Peace and Joy in the Ordinary Moments

Have you been so in the flow of consciousness that you can feel the now. There is no struggle with moments of the past, jumping back into your mind or worry for the future. I have had a few blessed moments like this. One such moment happened while my husband and I were driving home from the airport.

As the truck rolled down the city streets, I noticed that my attention landed on nothing in particular. Instead I noticed it all without judgement. The vehicle rolled steadily down the road. The homes flowed past the window. For once, I did not wonder if the people living inside them were happy. I had no feeling of preference over one type of a house or another. I did not worry about whether the occupants were capable of shoveling the snow in their yards. I was not planning what needed to get done when I got home or even anxiously awaiting our arrival at our driveway. I just sat peacefully in the truck and watched the ever changing neighborhoods outside the window. I did not judge it to be good or bad. It all just was. I was in the flow of consciousness. Daily mediation has been happening more often than not for me lately and, although my meditations are not always the perfection of what I think they should be, I feel they are helping me connect more readily with consciousness.

Blissful moments of being completely in the “now” only happen to me rarely. When they do, I grab hold of them and allow them to last however long they may. Eventually (and it is usually not long) a thought or a person will demand my attention. This is life. This is the world we all live in. But these moments of presence are here for us. Washing the dishes, watching children at the park, walking down the street, waiting for public transportation, or even waiting for the computer to boot up; are all little bits of space we have to just allow. There is no need for judgement of the thoughts that rise up. They will rise up. No need for the attachment to the sensations in our body, just notice them and allow. You do not have to sit crisscross applesauce or close your eyes. Just be; notice it all without judgement. Do not attach your attention to any one item or activity. Do not make up stories about the people passing by. Allow them to just pass like smoke from a campfire. Flowing gently along. There is no need to hold on to this moment. You are safe in just allowing.

As you go about your day, look for the little bits of time that will permit you to be fully present. All that thinking does not serve you. It actually sweeps away your happiness. The more you are able to stay in the now, the more you are able to find your joy. I want you to find your joy. I want you to have peace in your life. Do you want these things too? I bet you do.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your find peace and joy, as if by magic.

Previous blogs on this subject that you may find interesting:

What Comes After the 90 Meditation Adventure?

Meditation: A Beautiful Experience

*Photo taken in St. Croix Falls, WI

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Meditation: A Beautiful Experience

My meditation experience yesterday was so beautiful, that I would like to share it with all of you. Although I had a beautiful backdrop to begin meditation, it is still possible to do it anywhere and at anytime. There are no ideal settings or circumstances, all you need is you.

Yesterday I was blessed to have the opportunity to do my meditation on the beach. It was a beautiful day in the high 60’s and the sun was fully out. Yet it was still January and the beach was not at all crowded. I found myself a quiet spot on the sand near enough to the water to hear the waves but not so close to the action. I settled in on my soft blanket in easy pose (crisscross applesauce) and allowed my eyes to gently close.

More often than not, as I begin my meditations, my monkey mind gets busy making “to do” lists for me and will try to document the experience for a blog or journal entry. I tried to reassure the never stopping thinker, that it was okay just be quiet, but of course that was more thinking. Slowly, as the minutes slipped away, I got into the sweet spot in meditation. That spot where you notice the sights and sounds around you without judgement or a running commentary about them.

I heard steps going past me. They would start in the distance and grow in their volume as they neared. Then fade again as they went past. This is just how the thoughts that come up in meditation should be handled. It is okay to notice them but also allow them to pass. Yet, so often my mind will try to hold on to these random fingers of thought. Afraid they might slip away before they could be captured.  Why is it that my ever present narrator thinks everything it has to say is so darn important to jot down. The ego is fully involved with this thinking part of me.

As I sat there with the warm sun on my back, sounds became more distinctive. I noticed them but did not attach any importance to them. The waves washing on the shore, the call of the sea gulls and the sounds of traffic on the road behind the beach; were all a part of the music I sat with. Partway into my meditation, a large family came and stood beside me. They were excited to be at the beach and chattered happily with one another. I am grateful for the buddhist monk who taught me that quiet is not necessary for meditation. He used the example that we do not get frustrated or angry with the birds who sing during our meditations. We only get that way with people because we think we can control them. I do not need quiet to meditate since this lesson. I now can allow the noises that people make as a part of the experience of being in the now, part of remaining present.

Each moment in life is perfect, if directed into only the present moment. When we live in the flow of consciousness we are happier. Meditation is a way for us to better get in touch with our true nature. Find the little moments in your life where you can be present for a few minutes and just notice. I have a future blog coming, that will talk about how one such moments occur for me without even trying.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find peace in everyday moments, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken by my sweet husband on New Smyrna Beach, FL.

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What Worry Robs You Of

Are you an expert worrier? I think many of us are. We worry about money, relationships, or our health. There is always a never ending supply of something to worry about. We worry if someone misunderstood something we said. We worry that we might say the wrong things. We worry about people we love. We worry what people we don’t even like and what they might do to hurt us. I even find myself worrying about the Uber drivers with high mileage cars that are not paid off. There is so much to worry about, but what good does worrying do for us?

Have you heard the quote by Randy Armstrong that says; “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”  This is very true and why living in the “now” is so important. We cannot possibly know what tomorrow brings. We may spend all kinds of time fretting about this or that, only to find out that it never comes to pass. So why do we do it? If we could worry less and enjoy today more, we would be happier.

Psychologist at Harvard University are finding that people are happier when they live in the moment. Living in the now brings more peace in your life. Instead of worrying about having to go back to work on Monday, fully embrace today! Instead of thinking about that next vacation and how happy you will be then, fully enjoy “this” moment. When you look at the moment, independent of the past, your future “you” will find that this moment is perfect. At this moment I am sitting on my couch writing this blog. I am comfortable, inspired, warm, and at peace. Peace is hidden in the quiet noticing of the present moment.

Live for today but plan for tomorrow is a great way to look at life. You will have less need to let worry and anxiety creep into your day. Put money in a savings account, try not to burn your bridges with people, avoid procrastination, all of these things will make it more pleasant when you arrive at tomorrow. Live in today though. We do not know what fate may lay at our feet tomorrow. Those things that are the most painful are usually the things that we do not anticipate. Why worry then? It will not help tomorrow come peacefully. It only steals away the peace and joy from today.

As for worrying for other people, here is the best example of have heard as to why not to do that. It was in a book by Dr. Bruce Lipton. He explain that if we painted a picture of our worry – what would that look like? Then he asked us to think about painting the picture of what we wanted for that person. Which of these two pictures would be a nice gift? The one of the hopes and dreams for that person of course! Instead of worrying for other people, why not paint a picture in our head of what we would like for that person. Therefore sending good thoughts and intentions their direction as well as freeing us from the bonds of worry.

As you go about your day, work to stay in the present moment. Allow the peace of now to fill you. If worry starts to creep in just paint a different picture in mind. Fill your thoughts with happy images for the future. Then go back to focusing on the perfectness of this minute.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the peace of living in the now, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken on Clearwater Beach, FL

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Dipping a Toe into Consciousness

What is consciousness or, more importantly, what isn’t it? Is it about the question or encompassed in the answer? Have you explored consciousness? Do you know who you are? Do you feel more connected to the narrator, the speaker, or the observer? What steps do you take to increase the mindfulness in your life? There are so many deep questions we could ask about consciousness. 

Mindful meditation is taught by the buddhists, but in recent years, the practice of meditation and mindfulness has become much more mainstream. I recently read a book by Dan Harris called 10% Happier. In his book, Dan describes his own reluctant journey into a meditation practice. Gurus, such as, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra offer a place for seekers to begin to learn about consciousness. One of the first books I read about consciousness was The Untethered Soul. I have since read it twice and still feel that I could benefit from a third reading.

Our minds our very busy things and if you take the time to notice, there are several versions of “us” that the mind portrays to us. There is the speaker. This is the guy who is always thinking what to say ‘next’ in the conversation. This fella is pretty sure that he always has the most interesting tidbits to share. This is also the same guy giving me trouble getting past day one on my “21 days complaint free” adventure. Then there is the narrator. This joker is the one who feels the need to tell us what we are doing. Like I don’t know I am walking down the hall, planning my next move, or reading an interesting blog. The narrator feels it is necessary to tell me everything I am doing. My favorite though, is the observer. It is great when you can identify with the observer. This part of me (and this is the true me) is quiet and sits in the background. This “me” just notices. I was getting upset with something that happened to me in a relationship one day. The observer sat back and noticed that I felt triggered by the interaction. The observer had no connection to the frustration or hurt that the situation caused. The observer only noticed it. Once the observer noticed it the narrator got really intrigued about it and took it from there. It is the observer portion of us that meditation can help better connect to.

Daily meditation, noticing these different parts of our mind, reading books and watching videos by the gurus; are some of the ways we can become more conscious. Is this a part of your journey right now? I would love to hear how consciousness affects your life. What works for you? What would you like to improve? I feel a need to connect more fully with my consciousness and therefore am planning a silent retreat with Adventure Sister Emy. Little steps can have big impacts when it comes to consciousness. If you have not already done so, why not dip your toe into the water.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your journey into consciousness be fulfilling and profound, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken on Mt Baker, WA

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Busy for the Sake of Busyness

Do you ever feel like you are doing something just to be busy? Is it hard to find time to be still? This is definitely something I struggle with. On a nice day I will plan to go spend time outside in the hammock or on the Adirondack chair. I will get myself ready with a cup of tea and maybe bring a book or journal and plan to spend some peaceful time just relaxing. After about 10 minutes (if I make it that long) I will no longer be able to ignore all of the things that need to be done, that are jumping around in my head. I will get up and get busy getting something done. Am I doing things just for the sake of doing something? Why do I feel there is no value in resting and being quiet?

This is one of the things I appreciate about my trips to the BWCA with my Adventure Sister Emy. There were times when it was raining and there was nothing that needed to be done. We would sit under our tarp, listening to the rain, drinking tea and chat. After a couple of hours of this, there would be nothing more to talk or even journal about. All that was left was to sit peacefully and just be. Even in this beautiful, remote area this was very hard for me. I would feel anxious but then typically have a  bout of anxiety, followed by some kind of emotional breakthrough. Almost as if my subconscious was trying to protect me from the pain. As if it was trying to keep it pushed down deep inside and hidden away. I would get anxious and feel the need to do something, anything, rather than just sit peacefully and rest. There were times this feeling of anxiousness was so strong I felt I wanted to leave the Boundary Waters all together. Once I got past the anxiety though, a rush of bare emotions would flood up in me. These were not fun emotions but, by allowing them to come up, I was able to process them and eventually move past them.

This begs the question; is the constant busyness of our time really just a manifestation of emotional disconnect. When I have free time at home I am seldom able to just be quiet and let time pass. I always feel the need to be multitasking. When I am on the plane or the bus to the rental car center, I seldom just sit peacefully. Typically I am scanning emails or playing silly games on my phone. I heard Deepak recently refer to it as the “illusion we are doing something”. Why do we feel guilty when we do nothing? How often does this really happen? Even when we relax, it is typically in front of the TV. Take a look at your life and see if (like me) you find that you are always doing something.

So all of this begs the other question; how do we change it? It is safe to sit peacefully and do nothing sometimes? Is it even honorable? How do we get there? Currently I am trying meditation. I feel it helps me see that it is healthy for me to spend sometime quietly, just feeling the rise and fall of my chest while I breathe. I hope that from meditation I can move to a place where I can sit in quiet contemplation. It was so powerful when it happened organically, as it did, in the BWCA. Even having the chance for a once a year retreat to allow for some quiet, seems like an excellent idea. I certainly do not have all the answers here. In many ways this question is as individualized as we all are. There is power and awe in those quiet moments. They are worth looking for and fighting to protect.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find many peaceful moments throughout your life, as if by magic.

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Daily Meditation Adventure: Week 12, 13, and 14

If you have not already joined our Daily Meditation Adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how the last few weeks went for me.

Experiences during the week: Over the last three weeks my experiences have been varied. From drumming meditations to Deepak’s mantra meditations.

What I have learned: I have learned that the drumming meditations seem to resonate a lot with me but drumming is not always convenient. As when in a hotel room with neighbors.

My weight:   Intermittent fasting has proven to be a successful weight loss tool for me! I have lost 10 lbs. I give the meditation some credit as well, as it has helped with my stress management and stopped me from eating to comfort myself.

How I feel: I feel as if I am still searching for balance in my life. I feel as if I am still looking for a way to make it all fit into my schedule. I am searching for a way to organize my day so that there is time to do and be it all. I know there is a way to find this alchemy of balance, time, space, and connection. So I pull myself up and I journey on, still trying to be true to myself and respect what I need.

How it is affecting my life: There are times this meditation journey is a stressor and I feel blessed having not succeeded as I would have liked to by this phase in the journey. But then there are times the meditation adventure enhances my life. I have magical experiences and I find a peace and connection I would not, without it.

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you had magical experiences? Have you maintained daily meditation? Have you enjoyed this adventure? Is meditation helping enhance your life?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of peace, as if by magic.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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A Story of Remembering

I want to tell you a story. This might be a story of old or it might be the story of now. It is likely a story that has occurred countless times throughout history. It is a story of trust and a story of renewal, but most of all, it a story of remembering.

There was a young woman. She was a mother or she wasn’t. She had responsibilities as we all do. One day, as she was walking through the forest of life, she saw a path. This path was not into the light but rather was a path into the darkness. This path went deep into the forest and it looked very dangerous. It was jagged and had many curves. It would have been impossible to learn were the path would take her by simply looking. The darkness of this path called to her. It called to her and it pulled at her, although she knew pain and betrayal waited for her along this path, she felt oddly intrigued by it.

Now I have to tell you, this young woman had always been responsible. She had always done what had been asked of her, what was expected of her, and even more. Everyone in her tribe felt she was the perfect young woman. Every mother wanted to call her daughter. The older men all wanted to call her daughter and the younger men chased her to be their bride. She cared for the young and learned from the elderly. She was the definition of smart and responsible.

Despite her history, as such a stand up member of the community, the young woman felt she must walk this path. She had to voyage into the darkness, even though it meant walking away from her responsibilities. She had to risk being hurt and had to hurt those who had placed so much trust and pride in her. She stepped onto the path, dropping the baskets that she had brought into the forest, leaving them where they lay.

The path was arduous. She stumbled and fell many times. She met scary creatures who pretended to be her friends or help her, but in the end, they we leading her farther into the darkness. They hurt her, physically, emotionally, and separated her from the light. Sometimes she tried to find her way back but they kept pulling her deeper into the darkness. They kept pulling her further from who she had been. They caused her to feel like a completely different person. It did not take long before she forgot who she was. She forgot she was from the light and she believed she was a creature of the darkness.

This went on for many years. The village mourned her. They felt that she was lost to them forever. They feared she would never find her way back to the light. But one day, she stumbled into the village. She was wild and untamed. She was a mere shadow of the bright young woman who she had once been. The darkness hung all around her and her “friends” from there, watched from the shadows. They called to her and pulled at her.

There was something about the village that felt like home to her, although she could not really recall. The community did not trust her, they avoided her. They would not let her care for the young or spend time with the elderly. They did not want to claim her as they once did. When they tried to give her responsibilities she would wander off or never fulfill them. Even though she was back, they felt she was still lost. They still did not recognize her as the brave and ambitious woman she had once been.

One day the village wise woman (the witch) was working quietly on something. She had been watching all of this. She saw how the darkness pulled at the woman, but she also saw how the woman tried to resist the darkness. She knew something deep within the young woman wanted to live fully in the light again, but there was so much baggage from the darkness, she couldn’t seem to step away from it. It had become a part of her identity.

The witch touched her finger to the young woman’s brow. The place in front of where the third eye resides. “Remember” said the wise old woman, “remember who you are”. The young woman blinked at her elder. The darkness seemed to fall away. Her “friends” let go of their holds on her and slunk back onto the treacherous path. Light beamed all around the young woman and she suddenly did remember who she was.

From that day on she worked to gain the trust of her community. She became who she had been only better. She was wiser now. Having known the darkness and living among the darkness helped her better see how she belonged in the light. It helped her embrace and enjoy her responsibilities. She become one others looked to for wisdom, for she had lived what they could never imagine and returned to the light.

Time would pass and worlds would change. The young woman would become the witch in the future. The wise woman would become the young woman again. This story would continue to unfold throughout history over and over again. Is this your story? It is my story. It is many peoples’ story. Forgive yourself for the time in the darkness. It was a part of your journey. It is done or nearly done now. You are wiser for it. Remember who you are! Remember that you are of the light!

Thank you for ready no my blog today! May you remember your true nature, as if by magic!

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