Stillness within the stillness…

I feel grateful and accomplished having entered into Yoga Journal’s Meditation Revolution Week 3.  As a woman who has on and off practiced meditation, I have been ‘off’ of that bandwagon for many years, only tapping into conscious breathing to find moments of calm or perspective.

Sitting for daily meditation for two weeks and now entering my third, I do notice more access to overall calm.  The benefits I feel after each meditation practice are that I feel more present and centered.  I feel grateful for the self-love and care that I am taking with each seated practice.  The first week’s practice was about 9 minutes.  The second week’s practice was 11 minutes.  Now in the third week, the practice is about 14 minutes.

We each have at least those amount of minutes to find quiet, seated, meditation time for ourselves.  Sally Kempton guides the meditation with reminders to resume focus on the breath or mantra.  She allows for silent meditation minutes and signals the ending with a chime of a temple bell.  It’s almost too easy to pass up, dear Ones out there!

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A steady sense of Wholeness and the reality of self-love in my life resonates with maintaining my meditation practice.  I sit and breathe, mentally saying Ham Sa with each inhalation and exhalation.  Even though thoughts arise and pass through my mind, I can also hold the sense of calm within my heart and spirit.

At the beginning and end of each meditation sitting, Sally Kempton guides practitioners to offer our practice to those we love, to the welfare of all being, to the healing of the Earth or in whatever loving direction we choose.  I make sure to offer my practice outwardly to whomever bubbles up into my mind -and- to my own beautiful Self.

Today the words “steady sense of Wholeness” moved into replace “unshakeable sense of Wholeness.”  I wonder if this is because as I have maintained my wellness and self-love practices, I am starting to experience my own inner steadiness.  This is not novel although new in its foundation setting feeling.

I thank my dear Self for sticking with me and integrating my lifetime of learning so that I have been able to arrive at this peaceful, steady place.
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I have been away from consistent, strong-enough internet service that effectively loads my online guided meditations.  That’s okay and even beneficial as instead I have set a 15 minute timer that ends with harp music sounds.  I feel accomplished and proud that I have learned skills to support this.  I appreciate the quiet time to meditate without verbal cues.  I feel thankful to be deepening and continuing my meditation practice, gaining gems from each sitting.

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Surfin’ USA…

…and Costa Rica, Hawaii, Bali, Australia, and ???

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If it wasn’t for swim lessons in my childhood…

…the cow trough swimming pool in my childhood backyard…

…being mermaids with my sister…

…countless family vacations to the seaside…

…getting Scuba certified with my Dad…

Sea Camp in Florida when I was in high school…

…snorkeling and going snuba-ing with my Mom, sister and brother…

…moving to the Oregon coast to live on a farm…

…sea kayaking and experiencing the serenity of vast waters…

Lisa Evan’s Beach Dance in Cannon Beach, Oregon…

…who knows when I may have discovered my love and passion for surfing?  Thankfully, after having attempted sea kayaking and always having been a water baby and mermaid at heart, I took my first surf lessons with NW Women’s Surf Camps.  Since June 2010, I have been hooked ever since.

Two years ago, all I wanted was to be in the ocean’s waves.  I did not mind if I stood up or not on my foam-top surfboard.  I just wanted to splash and swim in the ocean; be cleansed by her beauty and power.

When I found myself standing up on my board in the whitewater, I felt proud and as though this was possibly my sporty recreation.  I’m not a competitive-with-others type of person although I found a physical activity that I wished to learn and master.

Surfing moved into the blood and bones of my body and now I am moving to a surfing-side town in California to teach a special education preschool class and be able to surf as regularly as I wish.

I went surfing on my own on Monday and Tuesday and my body feels electric and strong.  I went again on Thursday and Sunday with friends and had a blast.  I see every opportunity as a way to be in the ocean and up-level my fitness.  Surfing regularly, with all the paddling and physical exercise, helps heal my should injury from March 2010 and keep my body feeling strong and energized!

Indeed, surfing is my self-loving bliss!

Power of meditation…

Today is day 11 of the Meditation Revolution.  After completing the standing yoga poses session to prepare my body for meditation, I relaxed into a soft, comfortable chair and began my practice.

These past few nights, I have not gotten the kind of sleep my body needs.  Last night, I was auditorily exposed to an angry words street fight, where I am house-sitting.  It is no surprise that I awoke with a headache and feeling grumpy.  My mood for the morning has felt sad, stressed, and overwhelmed.

I also acknowledge that I am preparing for my trip up north to see friends and get my belongings.  I will road-trip with a dear friend back south and in the next two weeks can start settling into my beachside apartment.  I feel relieved that my time to nest and relax into my own home is soon arriving.

I am moving into the next phrase of transitions:  to a new home, into a new job, and integrating myself into a new community.  I feel grateful that I have chosen to live near the ocean where I feel easily centered and at peace within.  Yes!

I set a wellness foundation by following all the steps that keep me feeling good every day.  I wrote my morning pages, did my yoga practice, ate a good breakfast and spent time outside attaching my surfboard, Stella, to my car.  I also gazed into the mirror and asked my angels to clear my energy.  This helped release the angry words from previous night’s unfortunate soundtrack from my mental space.

Before that, I almost called my friend to cancel meeting her for surfing because I felt so tired and grumpy.  Then I realized that heading yonder to the ocean is one of the best remedies for me.  I persisted forward to my seated meditation practice.

This morning’s Hamsa meditation helped me feel more centered and calm.  Acknowledging the flurry or feelings that seemed to be attributing to my mood and irritation felt self-loving.  By the end of the meditation, my headache had mostly lifted.

My friend, Maren Souders, who I met more than 10 years ago via an old cat of mine who dashed into her apartment, is starting a new project called Dream Into Change.  One aspect of her project is that every day she posts an inspiring quotation paired with her nature photography.

Today’s resonated with me deeply:

In addition to the beautiful color palette and font, the words of Henry David Thoreau reminded me of the self-love and wellness practices I give to myself each day.

Who I am choosing to become by having a daily meditation practice is fostering a sense of personal accomplishment and self-pride.  This self-discipline and will-power is paying off for me.  I am becoming more in touch with my feelings and how to healthfully manage them.  Thank you, me, for this radical self-love!

Gift of the lotus…

On Tuesday, I had my first session with Susan Liddy, my emotional intelligence and business coach.  I met her at the Goddess Collective, a group of empowered and empowering women, many who lead their own businesses.  She sat beside me during the speakers and we laughed and related together.  After the speaking, she and I conversed and I got to learn about her work.

As I lay awake at night during the first week of my trip to India (I couldn’t sleep because I there was weird energy in the room), I brainstormed and took notes about what type of business I would like to start.  During my first months teaching abroad, I came into contact with my motivation to be an educational leader, trainer, teacher, and consultant.

Meeting Susan, participating in her emotional intelligence assessment and free initial consultation then committing to working with her for six months all feels like a gift to myself.  It represents the love, wisdom, and support I need to embark upon manifesting this good work in the world.

Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios asks on this week’s Wishcashing Wednesday:

What do you wish to start?

I thought, hmm, how pertinent a question!

I wish to start a new teacher coaching/consulting business with a focus on intuitive teaching and “best” practices.  I would like to support those new in their education careers to get started with as much ease, grace, and self-love as possible.  Helping them tune into, trust and heed their intuition (life-long beneficial skill) is also a part of the programming I wish to start and offer.

I recall feeling isolated and 110% stressed starting in my education career.  The more experienced teachers treated me as ‘a cute young thang.’  I was not sure how to navigate working with colleagues or how to set up my classroom in the most effective way.  I needed help!

In working with my business coach, I already feel confident in the way she has broken down the process into small enough, bite-sized steps that I can complete as “homework.”  It reminds me of how my graduate school professor had us grad school students complete the stepping stones towards our theses.  After a few months of smaller steps, Voila!, my thesis was on it’s way to being a community project and completed.

One major take-away that came from my first session with Susan was that the blocks I encounter are there for a reason.  They behold wisdom.  In my Buddhist studies, there are many words written about “the jewel in the lotus.”  As I found an inner block, I realized that if I peered within it, there was a gleaming quality and I sensed the purity and wisdom within.  It was an A-HA moment for me!

Lotuses originate in mucky, swampy under-bottoms of ponds, reach through the water towards the sunshine and present as the beauteous flower and natural inspiration that they are!  When I’ve felt down, I remember (and paint) this truth of nature and metaphor for living.

Thank you to both Susan and Jamie for being inspirational women in the world.  I appreciate the good food you offer in the way of your businesses and how you live your lives.

As I journey in an energy of Wholeness and radical self-love, I feel excited to start offering mySelf to others.  As an empowered, bodacious positive woman role model, I wish to start offering guidance and questions to help others tap into their innate intuitive wisdom.  I look forward to connecting with my first clients!

Flowing currents of mantra…

Meditation Revolution’s week two practice includes working with the mantra, “Ham Sa,” which translates to “I Am.”  You can extend this to include loving affirmations such as “I am Truth,” “I am Divine,” or “I am Love.”

After writing my morning pages, doing my yoga practice and the standing poses led on Yoga Journal, I delved into week two of my meditation practice with Sally Kempton.  Bridging my skills from last week’s breath meditation with the guidance of noting thoughts as “thinking,” I used this strategy.  Sally encouraged meditation practitioners to return your attention to “Ham Sa” when thoughts arose.

Following my morning pages and yoga with meditation is an effective order of practices for me.  The morning pages allows me to clear out my mental clutter.  Yoga moves me into my body and helps me focus on my muscles and bones.  Both help cleanse me for a peaceful and increasingly serene meditation practice.

My next goal is to sit with my morning wellness practices and consider how to integrate them with loving-care as I begin my full-time teaching position in August.  Starting my days with these feel as crucial as getting a good night’s sleep and eating a wholesome breakfast.

Thankfully, I will be living a mere 12 minutes from my classroom which allows for ample morning time to treat my body and mind temples with abundant self-love.

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Additional note:
On day two or week two, a pranayama technique to help settle the body prior to meditation was added.  I felt present and calm after using the “Nadi Shodhana” as narrated by Sally Kempton and demonstrated by Laura.  Good stuff!

A little help from my friends…

Two years ago, I attended a Shamanic Counseling intensive in Oregon and connected with a tribe of spiritual folks.  Simply that we all traveled to a woodsy spot in Oregon to learn to help facilitate Shamanic Journeying for interested individuals and deepen our own journeying practices gave us much in common.

I connected with a lovely woman from the Bay Area, Sherry, who had similar life and love aspirations.  I noticed feeling ‘at home’ in myself as we started a new friendship.  Sometimes you just know when a new friend is soul kindred.

Since the completion of the intensive, we have stayed in touch by email and Facebook.  Now that I have ventured to the Bay Area, I got back in touch and we made plans to hang out.  It turns out that she has recently become impassioned about surfing so us women got together and geeked out about the beach, swell reports, tide charts, and our desire to live near the ocean.

Having friends who resonate with my spiritual path and experience of the world sparks greater self-acceptance for me.  Being the unique free spirit that I am, I feel grateful when I meet people who feel to be soul friends and just ‘get me.’

I had this same experience in Singapore with my co-teachers, Lara and Tricia.  Our Moon Elephants family was warm, supportive and close-knit.  When we were reassigned new teams, it’s was bittersweet yet mostly felt sad for me.  I miss these women and hope to reunite with them someday in their home country, The Philippines.

…and then there is my dear friend, Nels.  When he met up with me in India over the winter holidays, I felt ‘normal’ again.  My time in Asia consistently felt surreal and difficult to ground down into.  Having him meet my new friends abroad helped bridge my USA life with my kindred in Asia.  It makes me think he essentially helped deliver my soul parts to me upon his visit.

Nels and I are surf buds, as well as spirituality conversationalists.  The mutual care and support in our friendship helps me experience and know true and eternal friendship.  We made  pact to always have world travel time together, no matter what!  I love that!

There are times in my life when I have had abundant solitude and this has served me.  After awhile, my need for community and friendship becomes apparent and thankfully, the universe is able to provide.  Having long-distance close friendships is easily able with phone calls, email and, yes, even Facebook.  I love handwritten letters between me and my friends.  With so many ‘staying in touch’ options, there’s so many ways to continue friendships with depth and loving-care.

Breath, I welcome you…

Before my breath meditation practice, I spent time doing yoga to stretch out my muscles and attune to my physical body.  Motion, breath, stillness, and discipline are becoming my yogic companions.

Sally Kempton suggests writing about each meditation sitting.  What I noticed today was how my inhalations felt cool moving over my tongue and a bit warmer during my exhalations.  I experienced calm in my body below the space where I experience my brain.  Revisiting “thinking” each time thoughts jumped on my mental stage was a helpful way to label the happening and return to attending to my breath.

The thoughts dancing before me were related to contacting my condo tenants, which seems to be a pertinent thought since I will soon be returning to Oregon for a few days.  I felt interested to notice my overall inner and physical calm from the bridge of my nose down.  My busy mind exists as part of my integrated self yet also with its own volition.

Becoming a disciplined self-wellness practitioner is worthwhile, indeed!  I look forward to writing morning pages, doing yoga, meditating, and my running training program.  My body feels better.  I feel proud that I am fostering self-discipline and creating time for these activities on a daily basis.  I wish to spend time crafting how to maintain these self-loving motions once my new school year commences.  I feel grateful to myself for my accomplishments.  I am in self-love!