Excuse Not to Meditate

Though I deem them somewhat vain, I’ve been fascinated by personality tests since taking an online Myer’s Briggs test earlier this year. Then over the weekend I explored the Enneagram personality test. I spent hours of my weekend reading about and listening to podcasts trying to describe who I am and what motivates me. Was I actually learning something or just navel gazing? I do think I came up with an excuse not to meditate. Turns out meditation doesn’t suit my personality.

Nothing I learned came as a surprise. In the Enneagram world I’m a One: the Perfectionist (or more endearingly the Reformer). What does that mean? Apparently, I have pretty strong ethics and want to make the world a better place. In my attempt to achieve these goals I keep myself busy, am OCD (or maybe we can call this organized), can be very critical, set high ideals for myself and others, and I may never learn to meditate—the very gift that might most help me improve the world.

The Perfectionist

As a “Perfectionist” I create lists like they are going out of style. Each night I sit down and write a to-do list that is impossible to achieve in a day. […]

Excuse Not to Meditate2019-08-14T15:04:00-04:00

Meditation: Nothing Required

I got myself geared up to meditate. To prepare, or maybe it would be fair to say to postpone even the prospect of meditation, I considered what I truly required in order to meditate to my full potential. Though all that is essential for mindful introspection is a living body and mind, I decided I needed an entire room devoted to mindful contemplation.

A Meditation Room

Instead of sitting in the chaos of my life and contemplating, breathing, or trying to quiet my mind, I added another item to my to-do list: create a meditation room.

For Christmas I asked for all the items one would need to meditate properly: mandala wall hangings, purple hanging lights made in China, a diffuser with essential oils, and small knick-knacks like a figure of someone sitting cross-legged. With all my items gathered, I took to transforming a small room in the attic into the ideal meditation haven.

Proper Preparation

I entered with vacuum, lemon oil, rags, and paint brushes to wipe the walls of cobwebs and vacuum years of dust and debris. With minimal curses, I dragged out the abandoned futon frame hiding in the room for years. Once […]

Meditation: Nothing Required2019-08-12T12:28:13-04:00

Plank Story: Milk a cow

It was suggested to me that this is the best angle to photograph milking a cow.

Finally!!!  I milked a cow.  For years I’ve wanted to milk a cow, which is a challenging task to complete in Connecticut.  If a farm sells their milk, they are not allowed to let uncertified hands touch their cow’s udders.  Unless you have a friend with a cow, it’s unlikely you’ll be milking a cow in this state.

That is until Matt discovered Local Farm in Cornwall, Connecticut.  Debra Tyler, the owner for Local Farm sets up a great day for groups.  You milk a cow and within an hour you have made butter, cheese and have prepared yogurt and sour cream that will be ready the next day.  Within two hours, you have made ice cream.  You enjoy all the food with the others at the workshop pot luck style.  It’s a wonderful way to spend three hours.

In Awe

I was amazed all day.  I had no idea how much food a single milking produced.  It’s truly unbelievable how much food one cow creates.  Using only our small sample of people as a gauge, I […]

Plank Story: Milk a cow2018-11-27T07:39:02-05:00

Mountaintop Meditation

Night Sky on Kili. Maybe I should have just looked up at this for meditation. Photo Credit: Freddy Aguero

While meditation is proven to be beneficial, I just can’t do it.  I am possibly the world’s worst meditator.  Still, when I was hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, out of desperation I turned to meditation.  On the mountain during the long, dark night when I was shivering and wondering why I’d done this to myself, I attempted a variety of meditative tactics.

I used visualization, picturing myself sinking into warm, black sand.  I was still cold and awake.

Deep breathing had its turn.

I tried to imagine I was the sun radiating warmth and light.

Counting wasn’t helpful.

I tried relaxing my brain.

I tried clearing my mind.

You might just call it lying to yourself, but I told myself I wasn’t cold.

Reciting a repeated mantra didn’t coax me back to bed.

Eventually, I started singing the lullaby my mom used to sing me as an attempt to self-soothe.  She would rock me to sleep with Summertime—the song where the living is easy.  I imagined it was summer and thought about how somewhere the living was easy.  Nothing seemed to help.

I […]

Mountaintop Meditation2018-02-14T16:28:17-05:00

5 Ways to Chill Out in the New Year

Mundane tasks like dishes can be a time to be present. Mundane tasks like dishes can be a time to be present.

I need to listen to what I’m about to say more than most. But as 2016 approaches, and we start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, I’m trying to come up with little changes I can make that serve the purpose of meditation (help me chill out), but don’t require me to sit and be still for more than 30-seconds.  Because every New Year I fail at that.

  1. Stop at Yellow Lights

I’ve always lived by the moto: red means stop, green means go, yellow means go faster. I also have a tendency for road rage.  Driving calmer and trying to get less frustrated has helped me hate driving a little less.  This is actual the idea of one of my clients who used to work with patients post heart-attacks. It was one of her tricks to help them de-stress.

  1. Pick the Longer Line

This idea was from the same client, and I love it. So much of life is a mind game.  If you pick the longer line at a store, it doesn’t seem […]

5 Ways to Chill Out in the New Year2017-09-12T19:31:10-04:00