Cultivate peace through non-violent communication, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, yoga nidra (yogic sleep), exercise, fasting, prayer, whatever works for you.
Let me know what you do to cultivate inner peace.
Imagine my shock yesterday when I open an email from zen habits and the title is “Working with the Ebbs and Flows of Your Resistance.” I got the email on November 22. I didn’t read it until yesterday, November 29. Talk about right on time.
My challenge for November was to not eat nor surf the internet while eating. Sometimes I succeeded. More often than not, I did not succeed. I had no idea these were such difficult habits to break. I realized the noise from the TV or internet surfing distracted me from the present moment. Whether I was alone in a silent house, or in the house with my kids, or eating lunch at work, when I was eating, I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t enjoying the silence. I wasn’t enjoying the noise my kids make. I wasn’t enjoying my co-workers at lunchtime.
As zen habits Leo Babauta puts it: The resistance is simply our mind not wanting to do something that feels uncomfortable: anything uncertain, difficult, overwhelming, different than our normal way of doing things, awkward, painful, sad, lonely, stressful. It makes sense that we would avoid these kinds of discomfort.
Resistance is natural, just a sensation in the body that is a response to change, discomfort, uncertainty. Our minds have a hard time dealing with these things, because we like routine, comfort, certainty.
Here’s the thing: the resistance isn’t always at a constant, full-on intensity. Resistance ebbs and flows.
During the time resistance is at its peak, my task is to be aware of the resistance. Instead of running from it, I am to see how it feels. Is it pleasant or unpleasant? (Usually unpleasant.) I notice the intensity changes. The goal is to breathe through it. Smile. Dance. Laugh. Play music. Bring lightheartedness to the table.
So I will continue to focus on my food rather than television or the internet. This month, I am not watching TV except to check the weather. Originally, I wasn’t going to watch the news. I can’t avoid it at work as there are televisions everywhere. At home though, no TV for me. My kids will continue to watch it but I won’t watch any of my shows. I’ll update this challenge the first week of January.
Original post: A Year of Living Without
Leo Babauta’s Working with the Ebbs and Flows of Your Resistance.
Up next on Media Wednesdays: Three boards games that make great Christmas gifts. Wednesday, December 4.
I saw this short two-minute video a few weeks ago. It basically says when you are emotionally agitated, straining your brain to figure out a problem, let it go for a while. Chill. Relax. Meditate. Sleep. Practice yoga.
Trust that the answer will come to you, if you allow it do so. I did exactly that at least three times in the past few weeks. I’m sharing the video because the technique really does work.
Trust in love for all your days.
Up next on Media Wednesdays: A review of the Netflix original movie Dolemite is My Name. Wednesday, November 27.
The adult version of the universal toddler’s mantra “I DON’T WANNA!!!” is “We all gonna die sometime. Therefore, I’m going to enjoy my cigarette/Big Mac-Large Fries-Coke/Big Gulp/ribs/brownies/heroin/KFC Double Down/cocaine/insert-your-vice-here.”
Cravings and addictions, legal and illegal, is avoidance of emotional pain. I’ve said it before, humans run toward pleasure and run away from pain. Since we do such a good job of hurting each other, we all have our wounds. I’ve got mine, and I’ve worked very hard this past year to heal them. I recognize my own resistance to fully giving up habits that no longer serve me. In the spirit of two of my favorite blogs, zen habits and bemorewithless, I will do my own, “year of living without” starting today, November 1, 2019.
I will live without each of these things one per month:
November: Watching TV while eating. I’m reading a lot about mindful eating. I want to slow down and pay attention and appreciate my food. Replacement habit: mindfulness. Update: No internet surfing on my phone while I eat either. This is really tough! November update here: November 30, 2019
December: Watching the news. Death, destruction, and impeachment. I’m so over it. And yet, I keep coming back to it!! CNN.com is like my best friend! AAAAHHH! The exception is that I will watch the morning weather. That’s it. Replacement habit: Good News Network and Good Black News. December update here: January 11, 2020
January 2020: Coffee. I get up at 4:30am every morning. I’ve been using coffee to beat the mid-day slump. I hate it. I love it. Replacement habit: tea. January update here: February 2, 2020
February: Sugar. The sweet love of my life. She has got to go. Replacement habit: acknowledge my feelings. :::WTF? EYEBALLS POP:::
March: Chicken and Fish. I’d like to stay vegetarian. Some days are better than others. Replacement habit: Vegan/vegetarian meals I like.
April: Processed Foods. Can I really eat only whole foods? Nothing out of bag, jar, or can? As I get closer, I’ll tweak this one a bit. Replacement habit: whole foods.
May: Credit Cards. I’ve been waaaaay better on this one. A sista has come a long way, baby. So good, in fact, two days ago, one of my creditors raised the limit because of my “credit discipline.” I hate debt. I’m a Dave Ramsey fan. My goal is to be debt-free completely. Replacement habit: cash.
June: Buying new things. This is going to be different. Replacement habit: none.
July: Television. Easier to do in the dead of summer. That includes no America’s Got Talent! Crap! Replacement habit: Spend time with my loved ones.
August: Social Media. That means I have to write and schedule all my August posts much earlier. Hmmmm. Replacement habit: Work on my novel.
September: Sitting longer than 30 minutes. At work, that’s not a problem because management took away our chairs. At home, I sit a lot because I’m writing/pay bills/on the internet, etc. Replacement habit: walking and yoga.
October: All of those things, except social media. I gotta post my blog. Why all of those things? In October 2018, I got a concussion. In October 2019, I got super sick. In October 2020, I’m going to slow way down, pay attention, and get through the month healthy and fully intact!
The first update will come on November 30th. Let’s see if I choose to incorporate these changes into my life.
Up Next:#metoo on a million little things, part 2 (ABC). Wednesday, November 6. Part 1 is here: https://mochaangels.com/2019/02/13/metoo-on-a-million-little-things-abc/
After all the do’s and don’ts of what to expect in your first Bikram Yoga class in my last post, you may be wondering why I enjoy it. Below are the reasons why:
Up Next: A review of “A Little Late with Lilly Singh.” (NBC) (If you’re over the age of 40 and are like, “Who is Lilly Singh?”) read this first: https://mochaangels.com/2019/03/17/lilly-singh-is-making-history/
I recently started taking Bikram Yoga classes. I began my yoga journey in 1999 with Anusara Yoga. I’ve taught yoga since 2000 and I’m trained in Anusara, Kundalini, Children’s, and Pregnancy Yoga. I practice Kundalini, Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Prana Flow Vinyasa (Shiva Rea’s style of yoga). And I love Cole Chance of YogaTX and her own channel on YouTube. We’ve never met, yet her style is very similar to the way I teach. Feminine Vinyasa style is what I call it.
Bikram Yoga is tough as s&^%, challenging, sweaty, difficult…the opposite of my own teaching style, and I LOVE IT!!
Preparation is necessary for your first Bikram Yoga class. My first experience in 2010 was terrible. I simply was not prepared…at all. This post is to educate you before you walk into a Bikram Yoga class. My wish is after that first class you want to continue studying in this tradition.
One to two weeks before your first class
Two days before your first class
The day of your first class
Also for women:
Why so many “don’ts?” Because this is a challenging moving meditation practice. You are staring at yourself in the mirror to cultivate focus and mindfulness. The less distractions, the better. And did I mention the heat?
Bring to class:
Get there 30 minutes early. Use that time to do the following:
Once you are inside the room
After the class
Up next: After all these do’s and don’ts why do I like Bikram Yoga?
While I was on a break from blogging, I integrated meditation into my life.
Daily meditation forces you to:
Which in turn makes you:
What I mean by “quicker to bounce back” is that when you do get upset, meditation can bring you back to emotional balance. It reminds you that even when life is kicking your ass, you still have two things:
And even if you don’t believe in a Higher Power, believe that you have family and friends who love you.
I’ve taught yoga for 19 years and always dismissed meditation. I thought asana (the poses) and pranayama (deep concentrated breathing) was enough. They are not enough. Stopping amid life’s “daily-ness” and “busyness” is crucial for good mental health. I’ve even got my kids doing daily meditation.
Everyone thinks they are too busy to meditate, so I’ll share short guided meditations I’ve found on YouTube.
The easiest way to start: Go to YouTube and type “guided meditation 5 minutes.” A list of videos will come up. Pick whatever speaks to you.
My children and I do a 5-minute meditation together before they leave for school. I let them pick one. (And yes, they only do it because I make them. They have learned how to sit still with eyes closed for 5-minutes. That alone is a victory.) Below is a favorite from Honest Guys. Definitely check out their channel.
After the kids leave for school, I do a 10-15 minute meditation by myself. My two favorites are anything from the YouTube channels Great Meditation (10-20 minutes long) or Vipassana Meditation (15-60 minutes long). Vipassana meditation, also called Insight meditation, asks you to notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgement.
Me and the kids do a second 5-minute meditation together after they arrive home from school.
At bedtime, they listen to a sleep meditation. There’s also hundreds to choose from on YouTube. Lengths can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 11 hours. Some channels play live music 24 hours a day. Some are guided meditations. Some are music only. There’s enough variety for everyone. I choose 1-3 hours in length for the kids. My sleep meditations are 30 minutes to an hour. My favorites are Honest Guys and Jason Stephenson.
Let me know if these suggestions are helpful. Meditation was the missing piece from my life.