Wednesday, June 30, 2010

30 day challenge...

Well, perhaps it will be a 31 day challenge, as that is how many days are in July. My intention is to meditate I'm pretty sure that I will be able to accomplish this, even if I have to meditate by a lake late in the month (which I am actually looking forward to) while camping with friends, or on my lunch break at work (which I'm not looking forward to), or after a run in the morning, or before bed at night. Ideally though, I will meditate every morning, before my day really gets going and my mind is overloaded with the mundane concerns of everyday life.

And after the 31 days? I hope that it turns into 60 days, 90 days, and beyond. I am a creature of habit, and of all habits that I have, shouldn't this be one of them? And shouldn't others fall away as I become more aware of them?

It will go something like this: for the first seven days, I will meditate for 10 minutes, adding five minutes every week thereafter until I am meditating for 30 minutes every day. In the past I have really enjoyed the Metta Bhavana meditation, but I think mixing it up will be helpful, so I will also be doing Mindfulness of Breathing, Vipassana, and any others that research will lead me to.

I'm not really sure what to expect. I just hope to learn a bit more about who I am, and what I need. And what I need now is to get to bed so I can get up and run...oh yeah, and meditate.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Photo Friday

This week has found me not very interested in photography. That's a bad thing, and a good thing, since what I've been interested in and busy doing is working on my diamond class instead. After almost a month of no progress, I've caught up with the videos online and have completed two more chapters. I've also been having some fun though, so don't worry too much.

On Tuesday evening, I worked on my listening skills while a friend vented her frustrations with her work. This made me grateful for the fact that I no longer have too much drama at work, partly because I've been actively working on not getting involved with situations that don't involve me and I am much more content.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I'm not a big fan of self help books, so I generally don't read them. However, I just finished "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now, I realize that this really wasn't intended as a self help book, but that's exactly what it was for me, without me realizing it the entire time I was reading it. If you haven't read it, do, and take notes.


What I took away from this part of the book wasn't as profound as the rest of the book. Perhaps this is due to being able to slightly relate, and having moved on from that part of my life. She went through heartbreak, not knowing what to do with her marriage, whether to stay or to go. Ironically, just over two years ago, I was wondering the same thing about my relationship and life that I had cobbled together with my ex. Fortunately, he and I are still friends, speaking frequently, and happy for one another. I couldn't imagine it any other way. These first 36 stories were about how she sought to find pleasure, and she chose to do it with Italy. Even going so far as Italy, and getting away from her usual routine and her comfort zone of home, her demons still crept in. It just goes to show that you can run away from your problems, but sooner or later you will have to face them.

"It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection."


When I went on a 5 day retreat a couple of months ago, I had to take that many days of vacation. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would spend vacation that way. Upon leaving, I was seriously wanting to go on a two week retreat. Now...I want to go stay in an Ashram for a few weeks. To be able to devote myself to a practice for that long, without the distractions of life would be so empowering.

On retreat, it was so nice to not check the news 20 times a day, or facebook, or email, or my phone. Everything was scheduled and planned for me. The only person that could distract me was me.


I think she saved the best for last with this one. And why not finish a year of self discovery with love? Her time in Indonesia came when she was starting to settle into herself and be at peace. Many times during this segment, I found myself thinking that it could have been my thoughts that were written, except of course, I've never been to Indonesia...yet.

"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort."

"The karmic philosophy appeals to me on a metaphorical level because even in one lifetime it's obvious how often we must repeat our same mistakes, banging our heads against the same old addictions and compulsions, generating the same old miserable and often catastrophic consequences, until we can finally stop and fix it."

"Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism."

I need to stop trying to make other people happy, because I won't be able to until I realize what makes me truly happy. While I try not to change people, I think deep down that is what I've wanted in certain instances. Also, I need to be less impulsive with my decisions, acting on what I really want to do, rather than just going with the flow to keep everyone else happy before myself. I need time for me. Don't get me wrong, I still want to hang out with my friends, and I still will help them when I can, but I also need to realize when enough is enough, to just say no to the seemingly endless flow of distractions. My eyes are open and I can't wait to see.

It's a great book, and what I took away from it is just what I needed to. Any other time in my life, it would have been something completely different.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Photo Friday

I'm happy to report that Justin and I made it out of the wilderness safely, with only a few aches and pains, slight sunburns, and only one blister while breaking in new hiking boots for me. We haven't figured out exactly how far in we hiked, but I'm guessing 7-8 miles. It took us 5 hours to get to Upper Holland Lake, as we both were in need of little breathers, and needed to remove our packs several times. Mine only weighed about 30 pounds, while Justin's weighed around 45 pounds. On the way out, we only stopped to take photos of key points, and took our packs off once. Upon returning to the lodge, we had a couple of beers and then headed home to a hot shower and a soft bed.

I anxiously await my next backpacking adventure!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Photo Friday

It's been another busy week for me, with a remount show at work last weekend keeping me busy throughout the week, playing tennis on both of the nice days we've had, finishing my garden on Sunday, and catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in several weeks. And then of course, the World Cup started this morning. With banana and almond pancakes, fruit salad, coffee and mimosas Amy, Blake, Joe, Kim, and I were ready for the opening ceremonies and the first game by 7:30am. Tomorrow, Justin and I head into the wilderness for hiking and real backpacking for two nights, sure to be a great time.

And, it being Friday, again, here are some photos.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just sit

Actually getting into a daily meditation routine has been harder, much harder, than I thought it would be. After my retreat in April I really wanted to sit everyday, or at least every other day. That desire resurfaced recently while I was reading "Eat, Pray, Love". The author's stories from her time in India made me realize that the feelings I have during meditation are okay, and most likely are having a positive affect on my everyday life.

So why haven't I been sitting? I know that it is great for me; I'm calmer, more at peace, less likely to over-react, I sleep better...I'm happier. What it really boils down to is that I'm also lazy. Other things seem more worthwhile, like hanging out with friends, playing tennis, eating, drinking, watching a movie, reading a book...anything but sitting.

Last night, I made it back to Miriam's house for a sit. I went alone. I could very easily have just not gone, as I did have other things that needed to get done. But I went, and I am very glad that I did. It was not a calm experience. My mind was everywhere but there, from one story to the next, and although my mind was in overdrive, after it was all done and I was home again, I felt a calmness that I hadn't felt in weeks.

Hopefully this will inspire me to meditate on a more regular basis.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Photo Friday

This week has been a busy one; Marga's birthday party last Friday night, and then a trip to Helena for the holiday weekend, and upon our return to Missoula, I was busy baking, cooking and finishing little projects. And then of course, there was work as usual, an attempted run (no marathon for me in Missoula this year, but I'm not scratching the possibility of the half) and hanging out with my girlfriends last night.

Now, to the point of this post: PHOTOS!

A freshly opened poppy in Helena

Mari's going away chocolate cheesecake with fresh strawberries

Wine charms that I made for Justin's birthday last year