Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Meditation & the Monkey Mind

For the last couple of months, I have tried to be faithful in making time to meditate each day. It's not always easy, but it's important to me so I make it a priority.

I can't begin to tell you how often the conversations I've had go something like, "I've tried to meditate, but I can't make my mind stop." So, during this morning's meditation, my monkey mind (this is what I call my mind when it won't rest) decided to write a blog post.  It went something like this:
Deep breaths, in thru the nose, out thru the mouth, close eyes, listen to sounds around you, scan your body to notice how it's feeling, I think I need to write about how this can be difficult (monkey mind), breathe... breathe, I think I can title it (monkey mind) breathe...breathe.  I wonder how long it takes to get a doctorate degree, because the training can be that long to master this (monkey mind) breathe.  
You get the idea.  It's not always easy.  But I will tell you, it's so worth it.  I find I am calmer, less judgmental, happier. But I consider this a journey.
Miles Markey, son of Liz & Jason Markey
photo courtesy of Liz Markey
I use an app called Headspace.  Andy, the "guide" through these meditations has a very calming Brit accent and his voice makes it easy for me to start meditating. Plus, he's kinda cute! And the app is free to test drive it!

So let me quickly point out a few things I've learned about meditation, and hopefully you'll think about giving it a try.

  • It doesn't need to be 30 minutes.  It can honestly be as little as 5 minutes when you're in a hurry, but I would start with a 10 minute session.
  • You don't have to sit on the floor in a lotus position. You can sit in any chair.
  • Your mind will wander. A lot. Consider this training. You wouldn't expect to run a marathon if you haven't trained for it. Same thing here.
  • Many times, you start telling yourself that your mind is too busy to do it. But then you give yourself permission to have a monkey mind, it pays off when you stick with it.  Those often turn out to be my best meditations.
  • You can do it almost anywhere. Of course, it's better if the cat isn't trying to sit in your lap, or the dog isn't trying to lick your face but if it happens, you roll with it.  
All this is offered with a wish that your Christmas and New Year's celebrations bring you peace, in spite of all the chaos of the holidays. And whether or not you make resolutions, consider making peace and tranquility a high priority for 2016.  For each person who works at finding peace in their own lives, our world will be a little better for it.

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

Six years ago, I gave my thoughts about Veterans Day here.  My three older brothers and my Dad all served our country by enlisting.  Our family saw all three branches of military service represented (Navy/Army/Air Force).  Here's one of my favorite pics of my Dad.  

It couldn't have been easy to make a decision to join a branch of the military, But I think many people feel the way I do, and as I did back in 2009.  I am so proud to say I am an American.  I am so honored to know that millions voluntarily step up to serve to protect us.  I'm so privileged to say, openly and from deep in my heart, 

And call me dorky, but I feel strongly about our flag, as well.  So to my friend who doesn't want to be credited for this picture (you know who you are!), thanks for the awesome picture of our flag!

Whether or not you are working this day, please know that there are millions in our nation who are grateful for your service to our nation.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Words...That's it ... Just Words

We have some of the best conversations at our lunch table.  One teacher walked by and said, "It's always so enjoyable to walk past your table and just get the snippets of what you guys might be talking about.  Always entertaining!"  That it is!

So this week, we talked about words. How there are just some words that drive you crazy.  Some words that you can just do without hearing for the rest of your life.  Some that just inspire, or make you feel giggly. Some words that are just plain fun.

Like spelunking. Doesn't that sound like fun?  "Hey boss, can I have a day off to go spelunking?"  Sounds like a great day off. Or how about doppleganger? 

But then there are words you cringe every time you hear them. One of my lunch buddies doesn't like the word phlegm.  Right?  Even the way it's spelled. Kinda makes you feel phelgmy just spelling it.  Or how about mucus? Ewwwww!  Another says she doesn't like the word bulbous.  I guess I can see that. Kinda makes you think of a big ol' nose, Karl Malden style.
Photo courtesy CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Here's one...cutlet  Not sure how that one made the "don't like" list, cuz I just think it's a cute word. Kinda petite-ish. But one of the girls doesn't like it.

A few years ago, I wrote another post about words.  These were not words that necessarily create pictures in your mind, but will definitely elicit some sort of feelings as you read the words.

All of this sure makes you think about the power of words, doesn't it?  About the times we say things that might be meant one way but are taken another?  About how you may say to a kid, "quit your crying" but all they hear is, "I don't want to hear what you have to say."  Or how there can be a national debate on whether certain lives matter or whether all lives matter.  Yep, words are powerful...and fun...and gross.  But definitely powerful.

Hope I gave you some powerful thought today.  Go out and make someone's day with a kind word!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Back at it...once again...for the eleventeenth time

Once again, it's been 6 months since I've written anything here.  I can list a myriad of excuses, none of which are good enough.  But this week, I simply mentioned on Facebook that I need to start blogging again and it didn't take long for some of my fave peeps to chime in with agreement.  So here I am again...

I've signed up for a free course in the science of happiness that we heard about through my job. I think a number of us are taking it.  Week one was a bit tedious, but I have hope it will get much better. I signed up because I recently came to the realization that I was tired of being angry about things and that I was more fulfilled when I lived a happy life. Y'know... "If you can see it, you can be it."

I believe in the law of attraction.  Now, I have some friends who will roll their eyes at this, but that puts a smile on my face. I first got word of it when I watched "The Secret."  The message resonated with me.  This week, I received an email with this message:
You are an electromagnetic being emitting a frequency. Only those things that are on the same frequency as the one you are emitting can come into your experience. Every single person, event, and circumstance in your day is telling you what frequency you are on. If your day is not going well, stop and deliberately change your frequency. If your day is going swimmingly, keep doing what you are doing.
Sometimes, you need reminders to live with happiness in your life. Sometimes, you need someone to show you what life can be if you just face a challenge. At Costco this morning, I walked past a mom and her son who were standing in front of a tower of skeleton heads. He was desperately trying to convince her to get them and would not move from there. She told him she would not get them until he picked up the box (assuring him it was not heavy). Apparently, the little guy was terrified of the tower of heads, but still wanted them. When I walked past again, I heard her say it was silly to be afraid of plastic. So I stopped...and I watched out of the corner of eye. And he finally pulled the box out. And I cried. And I hope Mom saw the glory in what her son accomplished, because she said "it only took us 45 minutes to get to this!"  But I gotta tell ya...that little boy made MY day.

I am really, really going to try to write here more often.  I'm going to try to bring more happiness to this world.  Because I believe that so much of what is happening in our world today is because we are emitting that "what's wrong with the world" frequency, instead of "what's RIGHT with the world."

We've got a family party this weekend.  Celebrating all the new persons that have come into our family.  It's going to be a great time. And for those who won't be able to make it due to distance, I hope we get to Facetime with them.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, Kevin!!

Today, we will celebrate my little brother's birthday.  Happy 55th, Kevin!

My little brother is mentally retarded.  I believe they labeled him as "severely mentally retarded" when he was a baby.  Whatever wiring mishap happened in his brain, he is also unable to speak using words. He makes sounds, very noisy, joyful sounds. And you will definitely know if he has missed you when he sees you.  He's a bit noisy that way, too.  And very strong.  He could knock you over with a hug.

When he was a baby, the seventh for my mom and dad, my mother knew within a couple of weeks that something wasn't right.  "He wasn't turning over like he should," is the one thing I remember her saying.  By the time he was diagnosed, the professionals predicted he would not live beyond age 30.  He was 5 or 6 when he first walked.
Pretty proud of himself!!

And we danced at my wedding...
He was 13 in this picture.
Kevin lives in a facility in Kankakee, IL  For his 50th, we celebrated at a local hotel, did it up big!! He was exhausted by the end of the party.
Kevin's 50th Birthday Party
I'd say baby brother is hanging in there pretty well!  Happy 55th, Kev!! Vuhvuhvuhvuhvuh!!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

One Little Word for 2015

You may be familiar with Ali Edwards' One Little Word that was started back in 2007 and has grown exponentially in popularity. For the last two years, I did not choose a word since beginning this OLW journey in 2009.  Nothing showed up. Nothing spoke to me. And I just wasn't in the frame of mind to find one.

And 2014 was an odd year!  2014 brought lots of changes in my life. (I guess CHANGE would have been a good OLW, in retrospect). But those changes have made me realize what I want for 2015.

My word for 2015 is CREATE.  This time, the word chose me. 

According to Merriam Webster:   
cre·ate verb\krē-ˈāt\
: to make or produce (something) 
: to cause (something new) to exist
: to cause (a particular situation) to exist
: to produce (something new, such as a work of art) y using your talents and imagination

I want to create a healthy lifestyle, a garden that offers me that healthy lifestyle, a healthy home, simple living, art, abundance, open spaces,  laughter, joy, memories.  I want to write more. I intend to write more. That includes more blogging. And more pictures. 

I looked back at some of my old posts and it reminded me what I was involved with over the last couple of years. I really think so much of it lead me to this one little word, create!! And as I create in 2015, I intend to share.

It's funny, as I write the word intend, it makes me wonder how committed actions are behind that word. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Yoda:  "Do or Do Not.  There is no Try."  And I sometimes wonder whether the word "intend" is best friends with "try."  If that's the case, then I'm changing it to WILL. I WILL write more.  I WILL share more.

But as usual, I digress.

And what about you?  Do you have a word that will guide you, inspire you in the new year? I'd love to hear about it. Not only what your word is, but why that word!

I wish my visitors a peaceful, prosperous, safe, and successful 2015.  And I leave you with this:
jpg from
(can't read the photographer's name)