It's unthinkable to believe there is anyone on the planet not affected by current world events. Whether it is Covid-19, the wild swings of the stock market, the impact of each of these on availability of food and household items, the environmental crisis, the upcoming elections, the social, political and economic divide in the United States--the list could go on and on and this doesn't even include personal circumstances and situations!
One of the major truths of our nature--that we are wholly interdependent and connected--may have never before been so readily apparent as it is today. And sometimes it takes a crisis of global proportions to bring this to light.
Learning to distinguish and discern accurate information and appropriate response takes the very best our mind, heart and being has to offer. Yet, when we are triggered into fear and anxiety about the future, we end up operating from the part of our being that is least equipped to make reasoned decisions. Those reactions are excellent when the threat is imminent, but can fail us miserably when it isn't.
This is why a mindfulness practice can be our saving grace in times like these. Not only does it anchor us to the present moment, lessening the likelihood we drift off into scenarios of catastrophic proportion that most likely won't occur but will trigger us anyway into fight, flight or freeze, but it gradually increases the space between our experience and our reaction.
My new home boasts a small picture window. It peers out at a scene that could be mistaken for a painting. The big stalk of a pine tree is offset to the left with a crumbling rock wall cascading in front of it. The ivy wends it way up the slight slope and pine needles and leaves litter the winter floor. It's a dream come true for me.
My living room couch is positioned to look out this window and I can tell it appreciates it. I can tell, because it welcomes me with open arms to join it in reverence during morning meditation.
On this particular morning, the snow began falling just about day break. Slight flurries drifted on occasion and as the incense stick slowly burned down, I would open my eyes to discover the changing scenery. Each time, something new presented itself--little chickadees darting in and out, scratching for a morning meal; large Stellar Jays bullying their way to the food; a sideways snow flurry; a bit of sunlight; and on.
Without a concern, care or comment, the window frame held and revealed it all.
It happens to a lot of us--over time, our practice wanes and we find ourselves only sitting when the conditions are just so. As the new year approaches, taking a look at our mindfulness practice may reveal gaps and disappointments, particularly if we discover that we have become a Meditator of Convenience.
I recently noticed that this malady has crept into my practice, so I dug deep to remember tools and approaches to help me find my compassionate way back to a steady and loving practice.
What is a Meditator of Convenience?
A meditator who practices only when conditions are optimum
Generosity, like compassion and kindness, is a natural tendency of humans. Just as we can strengthen our mindfulness muscle by practicing present moment awareness, we can strengthen our generosity muscle by consciously practicing acts of giving. Whether it is in word (complements, kind words, etc.), deed (spending time with a loved one, helping someone who can't do for themselves, etc.) or resource (money, objects, etc.), generosity is generative--it helps create a spacious, loving, prosperity consciousness for ourselves and others.
This month's Facebook challenge was to commit to a generous act each day through June. We debated about the wholesomeness of posting our generous deeds. (cont.)
“Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression. We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous. We experience joy in the actual act of giving something. And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given.” ~ Buddha
"If you don't think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days. " ~Kris Carr
I recently questioned whether I wanted to live in my beautiful home on Cobb. Whether I wanted to live in Lake County. Whether my work as a mindfulness teacher and mindfulness-based coach was working. Whether...uh oh...these questions alone may seem like good inquiries, but when they all started coming together, I recognized a pattern that showed itself after Shyla passed. Depression--a time when I question everything!
My recent work with the California H.O.P.E. team has taught me these can be expected reactions to the disaster of the Valley Fire. Overeating, depression, and, maybe, questioning everything.
Leaving the crisis counseling position was the best choice for my health and well being...