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Beginning Practice

Practice. Beginning a meditation practice can be daunting. I have heard so many times “Oh I stopped because I couldn’t stop thinking” or a similar statement. It’s a challenging stigma to overcome — meditation doesn’t mean your mind is blank. It means we are able to lose the attachment to the thinking mind, we release the attachment to the thought.


The easiest way I found, when I was first dipping my toes into the meditation pool, was to view my thoughts as just something happening.


Like this: When you have a thought (doesn’t matter what it is!) say to yourself “there goes a thought” and I guarantee you’ll have another one following right behind-“ oh look, more thoughts”


Thoughts come and go all day long. It’s not the thoughts necessarily that cause us the stress but the attachment to certain thoughts. Replaying stressful situations or worrying about the future are both forms of this attachment.

Meditation allows us to learn how to find space and release our attachment to constant mind chatter. Over time, with consistent practice, we are able to sit with a calm mind. Outside of meditation the chatter quiets down, loses its hold on us and we begin to live more mindfully with less attachment, stress and worry.

If you are just beginning your practice, I recommend guided meditations as they provide a focal point for the minds eye. I have some short guided meditations, perfect for beginners or seasoned mediators available on Insight Timer, for you to explore.

Once comfortable with guided practice, try sitting for 1 minute. Yes only 1. Trust me. Set a timer. It’s longer then you think if you are not used to sitting quietly. The first time I attempted this I lasted about 35 seconds before checking the timer!

Patience. Practice. Perseverance.

Namaste.

Featured

Timeless: Moments in Nature

I hear a tweeting in the trees as I lay in the sun on this sultry July day.

That’s what it sounds like to my untrained ear. I’m sure I’m missing some nuance of tone that would immediately identify the origin of this tweet-tweeting. It is a quick 5 count- “tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet” asking “Hello? Are you here?”

I lay on my back floating in almost too warm water for a day such as this. With my eyes closed it is much easier to hear where the bird speak is emanating from. There is a definitive pattern to this chatter. Five quick tweets, silence than movement. I’m still unsure as to what species of avian this is so methodically searching for something.

My curiosity has gotten the best of me and I must open my eyes to spy yon feathered friend. With my hand shielding my eyes from the glare of the July sun, I scan the mulberry tree for my winged visitor. There! A crimson blur. I follow it as it alights on to a branch of the adjacent maple tree. He is hidden in the shade yet his color, so bright seems to sparkle ruby red as the light dapples through the branches.

“Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet,” he asks perched on a thin branch. He looks about, clearly waiting for a reply. Receiving none (or at least non that my auditory system could perceive) off he flits to another branch higher in the tree.

And what is this I hear? A new sound. Softer. I glance up and am barely able to perceive through the leaves some small movements next to the first bird. I slowly move closer to shift my perspective. Aloud I ask Sir Cardinal “Is it your mate you were searching for? Have you found her, sir?”

My question is immediately answered as I come to a stop under said branch.

Alas, it is not his mate that he was searching for after all. It’s is his offspring.

Little cardinal sitting on the branch next to her concerned father. He cocks his head to and fro while he issues soft “cheeps” to his young one.

After a moment or two he flys away into a nearby pine tree. I look back to the fledgling holding tight to the branch. Look now, papa has returned with lunch! Once his fledgling is fed, sir cardinal resumes his gentle lecture to his offspring. He ends his remarks, pauses to look around and back to his youngling. He issues one final “tweet” and hops to another branch. He stops and waits for her to follow. He calls out with a barely perceptible “chirp” and his fledgling hops to meet him on the branch. He urges her to follow close, hopping branch by branch. Each time he lands, he turns back to see his offspring hop to him.

I watch them until his vibrant red plumage is no longer visible through the verdant foliage.

It is moments like this that I am reminded of the delicate dance of life. We spend most of our life in self centered folly, to busy to noticed the choreography all around us, connecting us in time and space to the waltz of the Universe.

Find Pleasure in the Simple Things

By 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦, I mean natural. We are inherently surrounded by elegant simplicity. The delicate fold of a new leaf unfurling; the gentle decent of that same leaf, months later, as it is released by the steadfast deciduous of its birth.

We now live in an unnatural world of concrete and plastic; imitation flora decorating the interior landscape of our homes and offices; completely removed form the 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘺 parts of actual life such as the slaughter of meat for constant consumption.
Would you eat meat if you had to kill and dress it yourself? I wouldn’t. So I don’t eat meat.

Our modern trappings have so removed from being able to actually take pleasure in simplicity.

Go outside today. Learn the names of the tress in your immediate space, smell a wildflower as it struggles for sunlight through a crack in the concrete jungle.

What wonders can be found just outside your doorstep, waiting to be cherished for the integral part of existence that it quietly is?

Are you being mindful of your needs? As we (in the northern hemisphere) move towards colder shorter days, it is a good idea to spend sometime creating nourishing routines to maintain balance.
Are you getting proper nutrition?
Eat warming nourishing foods like homemade root vegetable soups, stews, or try a warming Kitchari for a gentle seasonal cleanse.

Are you moving your body to keep your lymph flowing? Your lymph cleanses your blood and system as it circulates through your body. Unlike blood, lymph needs you to move in-order for it to move. Try some gentle yoga, walking or a rebounder is great for lymphatic system health. Always check with a doctor before starting any new exercise. ..and remember to drink plenty of water!


Are you getting quality, consistent sleep? Movement and proper nutrition will definitely help with getting better sleep. Try not to eat 2 hours before bed. Getting up and going to sleep every night can also help with the quality of your slumber. Need help unwinding? Try a guided meditation (check out Spotify page) to help slow down thoughts and find restful comfort.

Have tips you’d like to share? Let me know!

Migraines

Happy Now beautiful souls!

I decided to shift gears a bit to talk about migraines. I have been suffering from a migraine episode for the last six months…yes, one migraine for six months.

Being in a “pain/dis-ease” experience for this long allows me a chance to more deeply understand the flow of the migraine/treatment episode and how it effects the various aspects of my life. Honestly, this will benefit myself potentially more than you. I have been able to be consciously aware of unusual symptoms and warning signs to allow a chance to mitigate the pain before it gets to be too much. I am practicing “Mindful Migraines.”

Before I jump into to what’s being going on, literally in my head, let’s take a closer look at migraines in general.

Approximately 37 million Americans suffer from migraines. It is not “just a headache.” Migraines of which there are multiple types; are a debilitating phenomenon which have multiple symptoms affecting multiple systems of the body.

Types of Migraines include: Chronic Migraine, migraine with and without aura, Vestibular Migraine, Abdominal Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine, and Menstrual Migraine.

Migraines cause inflammation of membranes covering the brain which can actually cause your hair to hurt. The inflammatory response usually affects only one side of the head, causing throbbing intense pain typically occurring at the temples, forehead, behind the eye and continuing down the jaw into the neck.

Vision, due to sensitivity to light, can be limited or blurry. Blindness, typically in one eye, also can occur. Some sufferers experience vertigo and dizziness since migraines can impact the area of the brain responsible for balance. Additional symptoms include sensitivity to sound, nausea and vomiting, seeing auras, sinus congestion and watery eyes.

Sounds fun, right? I have suffered from migraines for over 30 years. I have been hospitalized because of migraines over 15 times. I started getting them in my early teens. I saw countless doctors and was a guinea pig for medications. By the time I was in college, I was getting 4-5 migraines a week. Yes, a week. 4-5 days of horrible pain, vomiting etc… I was put on daily preventative meds to try to get them under control to no avail. The side effects of the preventative’s were awful. It seemed every few months the medications were being changed since they didn’t seem to work.

The pain meds worked wonderfully but they had side effects as well. Unfortunately, if I wasn’t able to take my pain medication fast enough, I would vomit from the pain. This is typically why I wound up in the hospital- I became too dehydrated from the vomiting associated with the migraine. My parents would have to take me to the ER where I would get IV fluids and more pain meds for the migraine and anti nausea medication as well. I was given Demerol most of the time in the hospital for the pain. I hate Demerol. It gets rid of the pain most of the time but it makes me sick so I vomit more. Vicious circle to be in! Once released from the hospital, I would have a day of dealing with the side effects of all of the drugs I was given. 

At its worst, I was taking 4-5 pills for the pain a week. Sometimes they worked, sometimes-hospital. The medication I was taking 4-5 times a week was apparently more than I should have been taking. The side effects include: tiredness, muscle pain and fatigue, headache, neck and throat tightness, nausea, sweating etc… 

Anyway, it took a ton of personal research, multiple trips to a variety of specialists, and a deep desire for change in order to develop a better quality of life. Luckily, I have not needed hospitalization for the migraines more than once or twice in the last 15 years.

Which brings us to today, one migraine for the last six months. Let’s start with how this began back in April of 2022.

I started experiencing nerve pain and neuropathy off and on. After about 2 weeks the additional symptoms began such as partial blindness in one eye, facial paralysis on one side, speech and cognitive impairment, loss of time, muscle weakness and spasms. During this I had had a migraine come and go.

Initially my doctors/ ER doctors thought it was MS or Parkinson’s. Thank goodness it was neither. Turns out I had a reactivation of the Epstein-Barr Virus (the virus that causes mono). EBV can cause numerous complications when it keeps becoming active. I have had a reactivation twice in 3 years with a recovery time of 10-12 months.

My doctors now believe the EBV caused an uptick in my migraines as well as developing Hashimoto disease.

I went from having Migraine with Aura and Occular Migraine to additionally having Vestibular and Hemiplegic migraine all at the same time- for 6 months.

I am currently experiencing pain, numbness, tingling, dizziness, blindness/blurred vision, nausea, sound and light sensitivity, and cognitive issues daily as it is believed I am in an intense migraine cycle.

Last week I received a Tordol injection to attempt to break the cycle. I should know in about two weeks if it worked.

So today (and most days) I relax. Lots of water and fresh greens to help detox my system. Minimal auditory and visual stimulation. ( it’s taken me 2 days to write this.) By practicing mindfulness I can learn the clues given by my body as to the onset of the migraine episode. I choose to use the term “episode” or “experience” rather than saying “migraine attack.” Using the word attack can fire up the flight or fight response potentially triggering anxiety over the coming migraine. By seeing it as only an episode or experience, we give ourselves over to the knowledge that it is short lived, will be over soon and we will be OK.

“This too shall pass.” ~Persian saying

Mindfulness and a consistent Reiki practice allows me a deeper connection with my body’s cycles. I am more aware of the triggers and more prepared to endure the episodes. Reiki lets me tune in more completely to the erratic energy shifts that occur during a migraine. I am able to dial back the pain and return to my breath. I am convinced this is one of the main reasons I have not required hospitalization more than once or twice in almost 15 years. I am so grateful for what the gift of Reiki has brought to my life.

Rest, my dear.

To all beings suffering from any pain, my thoughts and prayers are with you. May you be blessed and may you find healing.

Namaste

For more information about Migraines, please visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201

Trips Around the Sun

I completed yet another trip around that glorious star at the center of our solar system earlier this month and with each trip all I hope is that I have learned a valuable lesson and hopefully made someone else’s trip a bit brighter.

So what are my thoughts regarding my 45th trip around?

I will revel in each new wrinkle

& take pleasure in each added pain.

I will find comfort

in the blossoming softness

of my aging form

& take refuge in what I’ve lost,

not gained.

For I am ethereal, eternal

I am the light of the moon,

the grandeur of the mountain.

I am the vastness of space

as deep as the ocean.

As I wax irrelevant in form,

I merge with pure awareness-

the infinite.

I am a blade of grass

kissed with dew,

a speck of stardust

free & unbound

I am brahman.

~KMS