Category Archives: Meditation

Titania’s tenth month: A New Morning Ritual

I have two great evening routines. For many years now I’ve been writing in my feel-good book, not every night, but often. Here I write down a few words about what has happened if I want to (no stressful reporting duties), and – more importantly – “Three (or more) things that I’m grateful for today”, “Something I need help with” and “Something I’ve done to feel good” (such as yoga, meditation or a jog). Writing down these things is a way for me to focus on some positive aspects, even a day when the sun isn’t shining. I strongly adhere to Dalai Lama’s idea that we’re so good at dwelling on the negative aspects in life, that we don’t have to make an effort to remember these, whereas what we really need to make an effort to do is notice all those little miracles in life.

Thanks to the Memento Vivere project, I also finally managed to get back to meditation last August, and now I meditate regularly, almost every evening before I go to bed. Meditation is usually an efficient remedy for my inspiration overload, although every now and then it seems to have the opposite effect, i.e. to open up yet another channel to my creativity. In those cases  I simply have to give up and go write down whatever it is that comes flying.

But now to my mornings. My friend and colleague Sara has been meditating in the mornings for quite some time now, and her husband does some yoga. I’ve been envious, since meditation and yoga seem to be such great ways of starting the day. My morning is somewhat more complicated than theirs, since I still have such small kids (my youngest is three), so I’ve simply dismissed the idea. Until a few weeks ago, when I read a blog entry about a woman who had started a new morning ritual, which inspired me so much that I decided to give it a try during my May month. What she did was meditate and write some specific things down in a beautiful book.

I realized that there is indeed some room for me to do something similar. It can’t take more than ten minutes or so, but I can have those ten minutes to myself, after my husband and daughters have left for work and school, and before I take their little brother to kindergarten half an hour later. My son loves to watch some web TV with (really good!) children’s programs in the morning, and I usually let him do that for about a quarter of an hour or so, since it gets him in a good mood. I have now decided to do like this: Instead of walking around picking up things, dressing myself and my son, brushing teeth etc. during those fifteen minutes, I’ll get up a little earlier and make sure that everything is ready when it’s time for his web TV session. Then, while he’s at the computer, I’ll do a short meditation session and then write a few lines in my new notebook, according to the following headings:

  • 2013-05-01 22.33.14The best things things about yesterday
  • My three most important tasks today
  • Today’s affirmation (a sentence formulated as if something has already happened, e.g. I have completed X and feel very satisfied with the result, or as a state I want to be in, e.g. Today I feel really creative)

I hope that this will make me more efficient and even more positively tuned than otherwise to my working tasks. Then I’ll try to keep the evening routines as well, as a more general form of relaxation and reflection.

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Filed under creativity, Meditation, Priorities, Productivity

Miranda’s eighth month: Mindfulness

Apart from catching a cold a few days ago, I think my wellbeing month went okay. I spent two weeks visiting my dad in France, and although I had to spend most of my time working or studying, I went for several really long walks and a 30 km bike tour. The time away from home also helped me to form some healthier sleeping habits, which has made it a lot easier to tackle everyday stress and lack of motivation.

However, I do have some problem staying positive and focused and getting things done in the pace I need to. I have so many things I have to do, and even more things I want to do, but instead of keeping me motivated, this never-ending to-do list sometimes makes me unmotivated and unable to start or finish anything. I just go numb and end up wasting my time doing absolutely nothing.

This month, my aim is to be more mindful. To focus on one thing at the time. To get things done, and enjoy the process. To meditate (which is the one goal from last month I completely failed to do). And as pretentious as it may sound, I want to find the beauty in each moment. To savour even the smallest of things.

To live, and notice it.

signatur

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Filed under Feelings, Goals, Meditation, Mindfulness, Miranda, Wellbeing

Miranda’s seventh month: Wellbeing

My simple month turned quite chaotic. I managed to clear out three rooms before I suddenly ran out of spare moments. All my time seemed to be wasted either working or worrying about working. I have tried to do one thing at a time, and I think I have started to prioritise better but I want to keep striving towards a simpler life. In the middle of everything I went to an osteopath and she said I had severe vitamin deficiencies and that my digestion isn’t working properly. So, now I’m taking four kinds of supplements, while trying to stress less and get my mind and body on track again. I decided to squeeze in a wellbeing month to have yet another reason to stay focused on what makes me feel better. These are my goals:

– Exercise regularly

– Eat mindfully

– Get enough sleep

– Meditate

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Filed under Body, Goals, Health, Meditation, Miranda, Physical exercise, Wellbeing

Meditation 2.0 – finishing off my third project month

Candle lights in our meditation room

Today is the last day of my Family Love month. Of course this does not mean that I will stop giving love to my family after this. I hope that by focusing a little more than otherwise on this particular area, I have incorporated even more love than usual into our daily lives. On Monday I had a great experience combining the focus of my first project month, Mind and Soul with the third one Family, and before diving into my fourth month I would like to share it with you.

I have meditated almost daily since the beginning of August. Last week I read about a national meditation session, suggested by a magazine I subscribe to, devoted to personal and spiritual development. The meditation was supposed to take place Monday between 8 and 8.30, and I told my daughters, 8 and 11, that I would like to join, and could we perhaps read our bedtime story a little later than usual? Not only did they accept this, but they also told me that they wanted to join in!

We lit a lot of candles in our meditation room, and sat down on cushions. I told the kids that they could leave whenever they wanted to, but they both sat through the thirty minutes. Afterwards they said they had had a really nice meditation session. My eight-year-old told me that she had given a positive thought to each one of her classmates, and my eleven-year-old said that she had thought about her fear of darkness, and felt better about it after the session.

It was a magical experience, sharing the pleasure of meditation with my two daughters and perhaps hundreds or thousands of people all over the country. Perhaps this could be our new Monday tradition, suggested one of my daughters. And why not?

Tomorrow is 1 November and it is time to start my fourth project month, which is called Go Vegetarian. As soon as I find the time, I will tell you about what this will mean to me.

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Filed under family, Meditation, Titania

Away from home again…

A perfect cushion for my meditation…

One aspect of my life which could mean difficulties for a project like mine is that I’m quite often away from home working in another town for a few days. So, do I manage to keep up with my new routines when I’m not in my regular environment?

So far, it’s going quite well. At the moment I’m off for three days, going to meetings, staying at a nice hotel and I …

(a) … brought my running shoes and took a jog in the lovely crispy autumn air this morning (will take another one tomorrow)

(b) … have taken several walks already – from the train station to the hotel etc.

(c) … haven’t really been able to stick to my diet (since I cannot decide what to eat here – it’s part of the meetings I’m attending), but I have still been thinking about how much I eat, so if I don’t lose any weight these few days, at least I don’t gain any either

(d) … meditated on a cute cushion from the bed last night and will do it again soon (the room I’m staying in actually looks quite similar my meditation room at home)

Tomorrow I’ll take the train back home, and I actually think I’ll treat myself to some of the home-made ice cream left over from my husband’s birthday party. As long as I promise to take a jog on Saturday, that’s OK, isn’t it? 😉

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Filed under Body, Challenge, Diet, Meditation, Running, Titania, Walking

Titania’s second month: Body

At the moment when I start writing, there are eleven minutes left of my first project month. Tomorrow is 1 September and it’s time to shift focus from mind and soul to body. This does not mean that I will suddenly leave all my mental and spiritual activities aside. I will certainly go on meditating every night, doing reiki as often as I can and want to, and go on living as mindfully as possible, in every aspect of my life. The yoga part didn’t get much attention in my first month, and I actually just wanted to get a little taste of it, and then do more of this in my second, body-focused month. Just like Miranda writes, goals can sometimes destroy more than they help and I often prefer to talk about dreams and visions rather than goals. However, when it comes to this particular months I have actually set my mind to a few rather specified goals.

Doing physical exercise

I get so very much out of working with my body. Having a job where I mainly sit by my computer, I really enjoy doing something physical for a change, and I particularly love the dose of endorphins that fill my body afterwards, making me relaxed and happy. Some five years ago, I discovered what I like most of all: body combat, a high-energy workout class inspired by various martial arts, but where your combatant is not another person but just yourself in the mirror. I also enjoy running and taking power walks with a good radio program in my earphones. This month I will change gyms and the money I save in this process (since the new gym is cheaper) I plan to spend on taking a yoga class every now and then. My goal is to do some more demanding form of physical exercise three times a week when possible – be it body combat, running or yoga (which means bringing my running shoes when I’m away from home). I also plan to take an evening walk or lunch walk as often as possible.

Minding my feet

I have two problematic feet. No matter how much foot cream I rub into my heals – they are still constantly dry, cracked and often soar. From now on I hope to get better at doing a foot bath every now and then. That certainly helps a lot.

Getting enough sleep

I find it very difficult to get into bed at night – I simply have to many things I enjoy doing, such as blogging, reading and meditating. Almost every night I end up surprised at how late it is, and how little sleep there will be in store for me, tonight again. It’s not that I always walk around like a zombie in daytime, but since I have a job where I sit down reading and writing a lot, I sometimes fall asleep in the middle of something important. Then of course I know that getting enough sleep is good for a lot of different things, one of which is staying fit and not putting on too much weight, the next item on my list. I will also try to remember to always do a short round of reiki whenever I get to bed later than I should have.

Going on a diet

Finally, I plan to go on my own modified version of the Weightwatchers’ diet for a while. Being on a diet sounds extremely boring, but I know from experience that once I get started I even enjoy it. I have gained a lot of unnecessary weight over the last year or so, indulging myself far to much with unhealthy food and too much food. The main reason why I want to lose weight is that I have a lot of nice clothes in my wardrobe that I can’t use nowadays. I hate diets where there are a lot of stuff you’re not allowed to eat (such as GI), which is why the Weightwatchers’ diet suits me so well. I can eat whatever I want, as long as I do physical exercises and don’t eat too much. I have already done it a few times, and it has worked excellently. I particularly remember the nice feeling of taking control of your body from one of my previous rounds. Just wish I could keep my weight, but perhaps this time? I will not start tomorrow, however, since it’s the day of my husband’s big birthday party (he will turn 40 soon). So, the message for my body the first day of my new project: Enjoy all the good food tomorrow! Then you can go on the diet on Sunday.

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Filed under Body, Body combat, Challenge, Diet, Food, Goals, Health, Meditation, Physical exercise, Reiki, Running, Titania, Yoga

Miranda’s second month: Confidence

Since I realised the value of spontaneity, I have almost felt a bit reluctant to continue setting goals for this project. I’ve asked myself whether goals might be a hindrance rather than a help. I don’t want to miss out on things because I’m too focused on keeping up with my habits, and I want to be able to say yes to unplanned things even if it means I won’t have time to do my nightly back exercises or meditate when I have planned to, and without feeling guilty about it. I do think goals are great to keep in mind to stay motivated, but they shouldn’t be of too great importance – you need to enjoy the process as well. I think it is much nicer to go for a run without thinking about how fast or how long I run, whether or not I ran last week, or if I will ever be able to run a marathon. Mindful running, with the simple goal of feeling better there and then, feels a thousand times better.

This mindset has influenced the goals of my Confidence month. If I can change my behaviour to feel better in the present, not to be a better person in the future, I think it will be easier for me to stay motivated and to let go of the pressure of doing everything right every time. Countless times I have given something up because of one failure. From now on, instead of focusing on whether or not I will reach the goal, I will focus on the making the best of every new situation there and then. That way I can regard the goal as a bonus rather than the only acceptable outcome of my work. One day, I might be ready for a marathon, but when or if that happens doesn’t matter now.

This month, my goals are more open than they were last month. Although there are concrete things that I want to work with, I have chosen goals that can be tackled in many ways and in many different situations, which will allow more room for spontaneity. These are my goals:

Focus on love
I chose to work with my confidence early, because it plays such a great part in all areas of life. It affects relationships with other people and the way you view and handle everything that happens, everything you do. In high school, when my confidence was at its lowest, I spent every evening filling diaries with pure self-loathing and hurting myself in an attempt to relieve the anxiety. Even if those diaries are thrown away, the words are still engraved into my mind. And even if I’ve stopped hurting myself, the scars still remind me of how I felt about myself. It has been difficult to detach myself from that self-image, but I’ve come a long way. This month I will launch a counteraction against what I did back then by filling a diary with self-love. No matter how difficult it may be, I will write down what is good about myself, and any nice things people say or do to me. I will document my progress and be positive and constructive, never hateful. Words are powerful, and while I can’t control my own mind or stop negative thoughts from popping up, I can choose what I write about myself, and make it easier to focus on the good things.

Play the guitar
One part of my life that gave me some confidence even during the dark high school years was my band. I used to play the electric guitar in a rock band, and in spite of my social anxiety I dared to play on stage in front of people I didn’t know. I even loved it. We split up one and a half years ago and since then I’ve almost stopped playing altogether. I haven’t had the motivation to practice much because I don’t feel that it’s leading anywhere, and I haven’t had the courage to start a new band because I don’t think I’m good enough. But it’s time to break the vicious circle. Last week I signed up for a course in advanced electric guitar, which, very appropriately, starts next week. Just to decide I was good enough for the advanced course required a great deal of confidence. Hopefully, when I start practicing again, I can build up the courage to start a new band, which, in turn, will continue to boost my confidence. Besides, being good at something isn’t that bad for the confidence either.

Act with confidence
This goal is kind of an experiment for me. I want to see if you can actually fake it till you make it. Researchers claim that the majority of human communication is non-verbal, and our body language is extremely important to how others perceive us. I have realised that in many of the situations in which I have felt shut out from a group of people, my insecurity might well have been what scared them off. Because while body language conveys a great deal, it can also easily lead to misunderstandings. When I picked an empty table in the corner of the classroom and didn’t look anyone in the eyes on the first day of high school my classmates probably didn’t dare to sit down next to me, but I was just shy. Anyway, my plan is to become more aware of my body language and to learn to consciously send out signals of confidence. Then perhaps it will be a little easier to actually feel confident, and other people may be less likely to shy away from me.

Meditate
I will keep this goal, but instead of telling myself that I will have to do it once a day, I will do it when it feels right or when I feel that I need it. For me, meditation is a great way to handle anxiety, and when I feel bad about myself I think it can help me step out of the mess of negative thoughts, return to the present and deal with the situation in a constructive way.

Face your fears
By turning scary situations into challenges, I will face my fears instead of running away. I can’t promise myself to succeed every time, but I will make an honest effort to recognise when I’m about to back out of a difficult situation, turn it into a challenge, and just do it. As a part of this goal, and a step towards letting go of my need to control everything, I will also say yes more often, and allow things to just happen, even if I’m not prepared, and even if it feels scary as hell.

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Filed under Challenge, Confidence, Fear, Goals, Meditation, Miranda