Slowing Down

I’ve been starting some of my mornings sitting in my backyard gazing off into the woods

Listening to the birds crickets and other insects are cacophony of silence nature in its splendor

The gentle breeze stirs the leaves on the tree as sunlight infuse them with such a verdant green color that has begun to shift towards amber- scarlet hues

I feel the gentle breeze on my skin; a hint of coolness, subtleties of autumn

I see delicate spiderwebs shimmer as the sun catches and reflects in each droplet of dew

I hear a hawk, more near now searching for prey in the morning sunlight

There is so much promise in the morning light

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.

Intention

in·ten·tion
/inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/

noun

  1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.
    “she was full of good intentions”

2. MEDICINE; the healing process of a wound.

I have realized that the power of intention can have a dynamic impact on your life, but never more so than in these last couple months. I have experienced a tremendous shift of energy in my life purely due to my intentions. Over the course of the next month I will share how setting an intention daily has opened me to new experiences and opportunity as well as how intention can help you shift, not only your perspective, but your life.

Now a little about the first definition of intention and in the next blog post we will take a look at the concept of intention as medicine and it’s healing effects.

Merriam-Webster defines intention as a determination to act in a certain way; what one intends to do or bring about; and the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered. I am sure most are familiar with the concept of setting an intention but how does it work?

Manifesting intention has to do with the power of thought. Our thoughts are energy. Every thought we have puts energy out into the world gently influencing the nature of existence and our view of reality.

Here is a simple example. We have all woken up grumpy at some point and decided it would be a miserable day, everything that can go wrong does go wrong kinda day…. that is intention in action. Our first thoughts in the morning sets the tone for the entire day.

I am far from a morning person. Yet, I recognize that if I am grumpy every morning because I have to get up earlier that I would like to, in order to get to work on time, it will be a miserable life. Grumpy mornings lead to grumpy commutes, grumpy work days which turn into weeks, turn into years. Is that really how I want my life to be? Complaints every day because I have to wake up at 5:15?

HELL NO!

So what to do? We make a CONSCIOUS CHOICE to be grateful every morning. If we wake up, AWESOME, that means we are still alive! YAY! BE GRATEFUL! That simple.

Waking up grateful does not ensure a perfectly happy day but it is a first step in realizing we can INTEND how our day will go. Try it for a week. As soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed, be grateful for something. Actually say “I am grateful for _________.”

Want a simple suggestion to start with? Try “I am grateful for my breath.” Notice if this allows you to be more mindful of your breath during the day. Do you find yourself breathing more deeply, more diaphragmatic breathing?

Take note of any subtle shift in awareness that may occur.

…and I’ll be back to see how you did and tell you how setting an intention in the morning change my life in 1 short month! Until then…..

Namaste

Free

I am most content in Nature, be it mountains or fields, in these places I have a sense of connection, of suchness that eludes me in trappings of concrete and steel. When I am able to spend even brief moments in the bounty of the earth, I am reborn, refreshed and deeply content.

I recently stumbled across the writings of Wendell Berry, a man of “suchness” and I think this quote from his essay “A Native Hill” captures the essence of the lightness and depth one feel’s amidst Nature’s verdant realms.

“And so I go to the woods. As I go in under the trees, dependably, almost at once, and by nothing I do, things fall into place. I enter an order that does not exist outside, in the human spaces. I feel my life take its place among the lives-the trees, the annual plants, the animals and birds, the living of all these and the dead-that go and have gone to make the life of the earth.
“I am less important than I thought, the human race is less important than I thought. I rejoice in that. My mind loses its urgings, senses its nature and is free.”
~Wendell Berry, A Native Hill

Pitchoff & Balancing Rock, Adirondacks