Sunday, January 31, 2010

I open. I focus. I desire. I flower

The 28-day meditation challenge that I took part in came to a close a couple days ago. I find myself very much surprised that I actually made it all the way to the end of the challenge. I don't have the best track record for starting something and sticking with it for an extended period of time, so 28 days is phenominal.

I have to admit that most of those days I really struggled to quiet my mind. I struggled to find a meditation that made my spirit say, "Yes, this is what meditation should look and feel like to you."

When I began using my blog as part of my meditation time, I thought I had found "the way". It felt very freeing to just ramble on about whatever thoughts were cluttering up my mind. I would come away from each post feeling clearer and more peaceful. At least at first.

After about 6 posts, I stopped looking forward to my quiet time. I started getting out of bed and feeling a slight dread come upon me. It was like I started to feel like I was becoming a myself. Like I was forcing myself to come up with something to say. I was losing clarity and peace.

I didn't give up. I continued on with the challenge and I didn't get discouraged. I didn't convince myself that I would never get it right. There was no question about whether or not I would ever get it. I had the patience to wait it out and my patience paid off.

On the 27th day of the challenge I tried a meditation that I received from someone in the Twitterverse. This person probably didn't realize it, but she guided me to the perfect mantra for me and the perfect meditation practice was created. I was finally able to quiet my wild mind, I was finally able to meditate for a full 30 minutes without falling asleep or losing focus. I felt connected to my spirit and to the Divine. All because of a simple mantra and the healing power that those words have over me.

I open. I focus. I desire. I flower.

That is my mantra. Will it always be my mantra. Maybe. Maybe not. It is for now, and that is all I need. When I say those words, my heart opens, I feel peace and clarity, and I feel the power of my life force. I feel safe. These words have played a part in healing me physically as well as spiritually. I am very grateful for the wisdom that this woman shared with me and I hope that someday I may be able to inspire someone in the same manner. Thank you all for following me on this meditation journey. It truly pays to be patient and wait.

Do you have a mantra that you would like to share here. Please do. Words are healing, and someone may need to borrow yours for awhile.

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Virtual" life + "Real" life = "My" life

I am going to wrap this up today because I think I have come to a final conclusion. I had some help from some fabulous comments here on this blog.  I would like to share them with you for two reasons.  First one is because their words just spoke to me and made my spirit say "Yes, that is exactly how it feels." Second is because of the fact that I am struggling with finding the right words to finish this post.  

Here is what these beautiful souls had to say.

Joy from Ethereal Joy said this.

"I was wondering if my time on the computer is to build something, or to ignore something. Perhaps at times it's a little of both. I find inspiration, encouragement, wisdom, humor online...but I also find that in my "real life". Online is almost a relief though because I can pick and choose what I'd like to research, what conversations I'd like to join, learn at my leisure..while "real life" only gives me the opportunity to jump right in."

And this.

"I think if "guilt" is involved with anything, you are probably letting someone's opinion (perceived or stated) guide your decision."

Mermaid from Mermaid said this.

"There are times when the real world just seems too overwhelming, and someone or something on the internet offers peace and calm. We all hide once in a while, and cannot face everything everyday every moment."

and this

"If someone on the internet offers wise and loving support, take it. Especially if it helps you to face your real life with more courage and ease."

Megan from It's All About Joy said this.

"Sometimes I think about this, too, and at times, my "real" life wins, and other times my "virtual" life wins. And just now it struck me, "Who's to say that my real and virtual life aren't one in the same?"

Jan from Awake Is Good said this.

"Why separate them? Both are real. My blog time and visits and posts are the real me. I cherish this time and the contacts. but I must be mindful of how I spend my time, no matter what I am doing. What best honors me and my life, my family, my needs? Yes, much to ponder...."

Here's my final conclusion.  This "virtual" life and this "real" life are both a part of "My" life.  There is no way for me to equally balance my time spent in both because they are one in the same.  

I believe that, at this time in my life, I am not drawn to the computer because I am trying to hide from my life.  I am drawn to my computer because I am trying to live my life.  I have made online friendships with people that I may never meet "in real life", but they are very much part of my life. 

I have been discovering my self through this virtual world as well as through this real world.  My life is a rich mixture of both right now. 

I freely admit that I have things on my to-do list that don't get done, but I am not going to say that it is the computer that keeps me from doing them.  I also freely admit that when I am in the middle of an exchange online or I'm writing a blog post, I may or may not jump up when one of the Littles beckons.  Just as I don't get off the phone immediately when they beckon. 

I do, however, know that if I start using this "virtual" world as an escape I will recognize it immediately.  Because whenever I start running away from something my spirit gently nudges me.  I am connected to my spirit in a way that prohibits me from doing anything that may "dim my shiny".  For that I am grateful.

I hope that this makes sense, and if it doesn't I would be more than happy to discuss it further, but right now Little #5 is hungry.  Gotta to live "my" life.

Just my thoughts.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Am I spending too much time on the computer?

I spend a lot of time on the computer.  I have always spent a lot of time on the computer.  My "virtual" world has definitely expanded in the last year.  I don't know exactly how many minutes/hours that I am sitting in front of a computer, but I can say that on a typical day I am doing computer things more than anything else.  The question, however, is whether I am spending too much time on the computer.  I believe my answer is a resounding YES.

If I am on the computer more than I am doing anything else, than I feel like that is too much.  I'm not saying that I am competely neglecting the things in my life that are important.  I bathe, I eat, I connect with the Littles.  I do, however, neglect my home.  I also neglect to get adequate exercise and I don't get out into nature like I feel I could.  Is that craziness?  In my opinion it is, but I don't seem to be in a big hurry to change.

In a perfect world I would spend equal amounts of time on the computer, connecting with my family, taking care of everyday tasks, getting physical exercise and connecting with nature.  I'm not living in that perfect world.  I am living in my world. 

Do I like my world?  I do.  I feel blessed in so many ways.  The way I see it, as long as my spirit is shining and my loved ones are happy then all is good.  Yet even though I really like where I am in this world, I do recognize when change needs to occur.  If I am beginning to feel uneasy by the amount of time I spend online, then change needs to occur.

That feeling of uneasiness will eventually turn into to guilt if I ignore it long enough.  The feeling of guilt for me is a sure way to dim my shiny.  As much experience as I have with feeling guilty, I have no problem recognizing it and all of its ugliness.  So that is the thing I look for when I am trying to evaluate if I am doing something in excess.  Am I feeling guilty or uneasy about what I'm doing?  At this time, right now, I have to say that I am feeling some uneasiness.  Not all out guilt, but I'm definitely beginning to question whether or not I am spending too much time in my virtual world.

So now the question is, do I want to change this?  Am I prepared to lessen my time on the computer?  I'm not coming up with a clear yes or no answer here.  Even though I don't want to commit to an answer, I can do some things different today.  I can get a few more things done around the house today and see how I feel at the end of the day.  I can do that for a day.

This will actually be hard for me today, because I am currently very excited about looking into Reiki and chakra healing.  When I have this much enthusiasm about something, it is hard for me to ignore it.  So we will see how it goes. 

I will be back with you tomorrow to let you know how the day went for me and to tackle my next question.  Am I preferring my "virtual" life over my "real" life?  Thank you for sharing this quiet time with me. 

Just my thoughts. 


Monday, January 25, 2010

Some things I'm pondering

My thoughts are really swirling today. Truth be told, they started swirling yesterday when I read the latest post at My Quest For Balance. You can see the post here.  Lisis has a way of creating some very thought-provoking posts.  I could not stop thinking about it.

Am I spending too much time on the computer? Am I preferring my "virtual life" over my "real life"? At the end of the day, am I satisfied with how I spent my waking hours? Can I balance my virtual and real lives? Do I want to? The list of questions seemed to go on and on.....

Since I have been spending my morning quiet time with this blog, I have decided to break these questions up and cover one at a time. This is an important topic for me, and I want to make sure that no thought gets left behind and that my morning quiet time doesn't last 2 hours. Little #4 probably wouldn't appreciate being late for school because shiny mom is getting her thoughts out of her head.

So I'll leave you today with a bit of a teaser. Tomorrow I'll ponder/admit that I may be spending too much time on the computer. Have a Shiny day.

Just my thoughts.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Go ahead, just get up and dance. You know you want to..

I slept in today and I had one of those days when I just hopped out of bed and was ready to start the day. I'm spending my quiet time a little differently today. I've invited the Divine to join me. So with a peaceful heart, I'm doing two of my most favorite things right now. I'm listening to Jack Johnson sing and sipping coffee. So today I just want to leave you with the vision of Jack Johnson sitting next to you serenading you.

You can't help but get up and sing and dance. Go ahead, you know you want to. If it helps I'll dance too. Have a fabulous Saturday and make sure you do at least one thing today just for you.

Just my thoughts.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I don't like to talk about this

As I sit down this morning to connect with my Spirit and the Divine, I find my mind is not wandering, but there is something that I am being pulled to think about. This is something that I don't address much. I don't think I'm afraid to talk about it, I think I just got tired of talking about it. So it became one of those "Shhh. I'm not going to talk about this anymore" subjects.

Anywho, what I'm feeling compelled to look at today is Man, that was really hard to type. I am feeling resistance to finishing this post. Why? I think its because I know that there is a lot of judgement about being overweight out there in the world. There are a lot of people out there that think that if someone is overweight there is no way they can be happy. I know these people exist, because I used to be one of them.

I have struggled with my weight ever since I became a mother close to 22 years ago. I have been everywhere from 20 lbs to 120 lbs overweight. I am currently very much overweight. I don't know by how much because I don't step on the scale anymore, but because I have eyes in my head, I can clearly see that I am overweight.

I don't have a history of yo-yo dieting. I can count 2 times in my life that I actually tried to lose weight. The first time I lost maybe 40 lbs, which I gained back, and the second time I lost 120 lbs. I have not gained all of that back, but pretty darn close. I lost that 120 lbs when I got involved in a 12-step program for compulsive overeaters. If you want to know my opinion on addiction to food check out this post.

I used to be overweight and I hated myself. It would be easy to think that the reason I hated myself was because I was overweight. Or was I overweight because I hated myself? I struggled with that debate in my head for many years. Until I lost 120 lbs and still hated myself. Clearly my being overweight had nothing to do my relationship with me. I weighed 260+ pounds and I hated myself and I weighed 134 lbs and I hated myself. No matter what I weighed, when I looked in the mirror I saw an ugly woman. When I stepped on the scale I saw failure and felt disgust.

When I opened up my heart and allowed myself to be loved by me, all of that hate, ugliness, failure and disgust slowly disappeared. It didn't happen overnight, but today when I look in a mirror I see a beautiful, joyful, successful woman. I see the true me. I see someone who is overweight, but who is slowly breaking the poor eating habits I probably picked up when I despised myself.

I no longer look at overweight people and feel sorry for them because they hate themselves. I feel sympathy for anyone who hates themselves and who is convinced that they will never be good enough, but I really can't tell if that is happening unless I get to know that person. So I pass on being judgemental.

Everyone is beautiful, because everyone is a gift from the Divine. Everyone holds a light within themselves that just wants to shine. The body is a container. Yes, I want to protect that container so that I can finish whatever I have been called here to do. Good health is important, but only because it helps keep the spirit happy, not because its better to be a size 4 than a size 24.

My wish for all today is that when we look in the mirror we see the beautiful souls that we truly are.

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All we need is love

I sat down at my computer today, like I have for the past 3 days, and waited for the flood of thoughts to begin. I sat, and I sat, and I sat. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. So I shut my eyes and just sat and listened to the music playing in the background. It was so peaceful.

I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for all that I have and for the journey I've been on. I have transformed from an angry, depressed and fearful person into someone joyful, loving and thankful. I'm not completely fearless, but I face my fears today, instead of hiding from them.

How did this happen? How did I turn things around for myself? How can someone go from the depths of a personal Hell to soaring in the sky joyfulness? It took a lot of soul searching and tears. It took a lot of falling down and getting back up again. I always had the falling down part right, but it was the getting back up that I normally struggled with.

I got help from dfferent sources. The Divine, A good therapist, my little sister, my patient Mr. Man, nature, a large number of books and an even larger number of bloggers. There was one person in paticular that helped me the most. That person was me.

I was the one who allowed this transformation to take place. I was the one who told the bully living inside of me to get lost and I am the one who makes sure that bully stays lost. I have learned how to love and protect myself. I have moved from a person who really hated herself to person who embraces who she is and loves her regardless of any mistakes she may have or will make.

I wish that everyone in this world could just love themselves. What a wonderful world that would be. I wish I could help those that struggle with this. I for one know that no one can love themselves till they are ready. I can share my story till I'm blue in the face and if Mr./Ms. Human isn't ready to love themself my words will just get lost. Believe me, many words were lost to me. Just ask my sister. Poor kid. She tried for years to get me to see that I was worthy. No luck.

I am worthy. You are worthy. EVERYONE is worthy. EVERYONE!

I hope that today you all know what it feels like to fully love and accept yourself. And if you're not there yet, I hope that day comes soon. Today I plan to finish my quiet time by sitting and sharing this loving energy to those people in the world who are living in darkness and fear. Living shiny is a gift we all should possess.

Come and live shiny with me.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010 is my time to Shine

I have this nagging feeling that there is something that I am supposed to be doing, but am putting off. Well, actually its not a nagging feeling. I know exactly what it is that I am avoiding. I have a lot of work to do in order to finish the decluttering that I started back in August.

I very much believe that the condition of my environment affects the condition of my spirit. I have a hard time quieting my mind and allowing meditation to happen, because my head is so full of mental clutter. This mental clutter multiplies just like the physical clutter of my home.

I think I figured if I stashed the clutter away in rooms downstairs, that it would just magically go away. Didn't happen. All I have now, is a basement full of stuff that needs to be gone through. The only thing that stands between me and that clutter There!! I said it out loud. Actually, I typed it out loud.

I made a deal with myself that I would not live this year in fear. I was going to let myself 'shine'. So when I come up against a fear, I face it, and I do the thing that I am afraid of. I got the idea from a Twitter/Facebook friend, who said it best. She said that she was doing away with her chicken behaviors so she could be bullet proof. I love that. I want to be bullet proof.

I have been a sitting target all my life, and 2010 is the year for me to shine. Can't shine if I'm dodging bullets all the time.

So I guess I will begin Phase 2 of my Great Decluttering Adventure. It will be quite the adventure indeed. Oddly enough, I'm excited about the task at hand. I'm not dreading the process, because I remember the last time I decluttered. I remember how my spirit was shining bright. My spirits beacon has dimmed a bit and its time to shine again.

I want to know if you have any chicken behaviors that you would like to let go of. Share them and you may find it easier to face them.

I end my quiet time now and I leave here feeling lighter and calmer and ever so slightly brighter.

Just my thoughts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To homeschool or not to homeschool.....

So at the beginning of 2010 the decision was made, rather easily, to allow 2 of the Littles to homeschool again. In the Fall of 2008 we enrolled Littles 3,4 & 5 in a charter school nearby. It was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. The decision to put them in school was basically mine. I was going through a rough emotional and spiritual time, and I felt like my relationship with my precious Littles was being compromised. We were together constantly and I was notorious for putting everyones needs before mine. I was burnt out on life and I needed a break.

So after oceans of tears, all coming from me, the Littles went off to the land of school. They loved it. They fit right in. I on the other hand, hated it and I quickly fell apart. I managed to gain back 70 lbs of the 100 lbs that I had lost the 2 years before that. Over time, and because of a huge spiritual transformation, I was able to accept that they were in school. I even began to like the time I had to myself when the Baby Little was in preschool.

I'm not sure, when things at school started to go bad. I'm not even sure that it was that bad, but for whatever reason Little #5 had had enough. She proclaimed over Christmas break that she did not want to go back. She wanted to homeschool again. So the decision was made, she would return to school for a couple of days then she would be done. Little #3 quickly followed her after a week of being back. So here I am with 2 at home and 2 in school. Littles 4 & 6 love being with their friends and I want to respect that. I am going to let them decide when and if the time is right for them to come home.

There is a miracle in this story. The miracle is that I am ok with whatever decision my Littles make. The miracle is that I was able to pull them out of school and not feel like a bad mother, even when one of their teachers showed disapproval of our decision. I didn't feel like a bad mother!! That is huge for me. I didn't have to listen to that loud booming voice yelling that I was ruining my kids, because the voice wasn't there. Most of my mothering life, I have felt like a bad mother. I used to constantly compare myself to other mothers, and because of a nasty bully that I had inside of me, I would always come out as the bad one.

I am in such a different place today then I was when the Littles went to school. I embrace this decision to homeschool and I don't expect to do it perfectly. I am not placing all kinds of demands on myself or them. We are just letting our days flow. I have 2 very different Littles at home now. One is an unschooler by heart and the other loves structure and 'class time'. So I'm following both of their leads, because one thing I have learned over the past couple of years is that I can trust my precious Littles.

I have no idea if Littles #4 & 6 will stay in school. I'm not even going to speculate. I'm just going to be. The other day Little #3 came in and declared that he was a lucky boy because his life was so good. That declaration of gratitude is the only reminder I need that we made the right decision for him.

Thanks for spending this quiet time with me. I leave now, with peace in my heart and 1 less thought to sort through in my head.

Just my thoughts.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Keeping my thoughts quiet is NOT a good idea.

I'm here sitting in the dark of the early morning with music playing softly in the background and a gazillion thoughts flying around in my head. I am on day 16 of the 28-day meditation challenge over at Awake is Good. Today I could not for the life of me get my thoughts to settle, which has been my experience for most of this challenge.

I sit down and take a few deep breaths. I put a smile on my face and I let the feeling of peace wash over me. Then my mind pounds on the door and invites itself in to sit with me. My mind has no manners. So I spend the next few moments trying to quietly get the jibber jabber to stop.

Today I decided to listen to my thoughts. I thought that maybe there was something that I was supposed to hear. Sure enough my thoughts were all around one central theme. This blog. I could not stop thinking about my blog. It was like my Spirit was saying, "Hello!! I've got things to say and you're not sharing them!!"

I haven't been posting like I want to. Life has been very busy since Little #3 & #5 have returned to homeschooling. I have neglected to figure out how this blog will fit into my week. Now here is where I ask myself a question. Have I really tried to find the time to blog? Hmmm... I'm not so sure I have. I have thought about it. I have had plenty of thoughts to share, but I have been resistant to sit down and share them. I also realize now, that I have stopped commenting on the blogs that I follow also. Another hmmm...... Why is that?

Why am I keeping my thoughts in my head again? Or more acurately, why am I keeping my Spirit quiet? I haven't done this for quite some time.

I can see now, that by shushing my thoughts, they become too big to ignore. They make meditation impossible for me. In order to quiet my mind, my mind can't be overflowing with thoughts that are meant to be shared.

Just getting this little bit out of my head has helped me to feel a bit better. I feel more at peace and calm. There is still much to be said, but it's time to get my day started. I may need to make my blog part of my daily meditation for awhile. So bear with me as I sort through the clutter that has accumulated in my mind. This may take awhile.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Perfectly imperfect meditation

I have decided to jump on the meditation bandwagon and am taking part in Jan Lundy's 28-Day Meditation Challenge over at Awake is Good. Back in November I re-started a mediation practice that I had abandoned for a few years. I loved my daily quiet time spent with my spirit and the Divine. I actually continued this meditation practice for a few weeks, but as the holidays came upon me, I slowly began to spend less time in quiet meditation. I continued to rise before the family, but my time was being taken over by the computer. I am pretty sure that I began to walk away from my meditation because the guided meditation that I once connected with was becoming too repetitive. I became bored. Before I knew it, my meditation time had completely disappeared.

Until I came across a post from Jan about her 28-Day Meditation Challenge. As I read the post, I heard the quiet voice of my spirit tell me that it was time to get "quiet" again. I agreed whole-heartedly. I was actually very excited about the idea.

Even though it had only been a few weeks since I had stopped my morning meditation, I had a hard time remembering what my normal meditation was like. So on Day 1, I started anew. I just sat in the quiet peacefulness and listened. It felt awkward. I felt like I was doing it all wrong. My mind very rarely lets me have peace, and if my mind is not going full speed then I am falling asleep. I found myself wanting to do it right and getting slightly frustrated by my inability to focus. So I gave up trying to go within and started focusing on what was going on around me. The sun was coming up over the trees, my Christmas tree lights were so shiny and bright, the music was soothing and left me feeling peaceful. I took that peaceful feeling and started my day. That peace followed me around all day.

Day 2 was pretty much a wash because I feel asleep during the meditation. When I woke up I was greeted by the soft voice of my Spirit again. She told me to find the peace. So I just sat until I felt peaceful. I really didn't have to sit for very long.

Day 3 was another day of not being able to focus. My wild mind had a lot to say, and I really wasn't interested in what it had to say. So my good friend, Spirit, gently guided me to just repeat the word "Peace" whenever my mind began to wander. I wish I could say that that worked, but my mind is relentless. However, when one repeats the word "Peace" a gazillion times it tends to become ingrained in them, so my day was once again peace-filled.

Today was Day 4. I had another day of lack of focus, but I was ok with it. I spent most of my time contemplating what meditation should look like for me. I had gotten the message that meditation looks and feels differently for everyone. I know that there are specific meditations that people benefit from, but I am not one of those people today.

I have some ideas about what this Challenge is going to do for me. I am starting it out with no idea what MY meditation practice is going to be, but I am confident that by the end of these 28 days I will have one. It will be mine.

These last 4 days in meditation have not been filled with silencing my mind and connecting with the Divine, but they have been filled with peace. They have been filled with quiet conversations with my spirit. My perfectly imperfect meditations are going to lead me to the Divine. I'm just going to sit back and let the Divine come to me.

Come on over to Awake is Good and join in on the fun. You will find quite the community of those dedicated to 28 days of meditation. You might even find your SELF there.

Just my thoughts.