So it’s 2016! While many people are all set up for new beginnings, with their new planners and new goals in mind, there are others who can’t get out of their new year funk. Some are overwhelmed by the thought of new possibilities, while others are not where they thought they would be in life. For those people the new year is a wake up call, and a reminder that what they’ve done or not done has led them exactly to where they are now. It’s a smack in the face and a hard push to do better.
Some carry this funk into the next year, and the pattern is never ending. Last years goals come to mind, and so does the feeling of failure. We are reminded that all of our choices have consequences, and that our parents weren’t lying when they told us “You make your bed, you lie in it.” And if you’re on Facebook these days, you see a lot of that self-pity going on.
If you’re a friend to someone like this, those negative feelings can bring you down too. Don’t let them! Be compassionate towards your friend, but know that you can’t fix all of their problems. Don’t waste too much time and energy wallowing with them in their pity party. Use your time wisely and get to your own agenda, or that could be you next year!
On another note, one of my goals for 2016 is to post a blog at least once a month. I’m putting my intention out there to help keep myself accountable. Feel free to comment with some of your own intentions if it helps. I couldn’t let January go by without a new year post!
Since my last published entry, the days have come and gone rapidly. My last post was made in the summer, and here we are already past Thanksgiving and into December! I usually write out of emotion, to help decipher life events. Today I write out of responsibility to myself, to improve my writing, to keep up with my blog, and stay consistent with my goals.
The changes in the last three months have contributed to my own evolution. Things that I’ve prayed for and manifested in the last year, and prior have occurred. I am willingly following in the path that I’ve been directed in. Doors have been opened, and some have been shut. The closed doors have been my own doing. Although at times torn, I took on the necessary courage to rid myself of certain baggage. To make decisions for my well-being, and my personal outgrowth of unfortunate circumstances.
Sometimes we pray on things or ask the universe for the green light; and when we get it, we don’t always know how to receive it. Today I stand struggling in my imperfections. Like a child, I want it and then I don’t. But, I’ve learned to go with it and not fight it. After all, I did ask for it. I’ll see where it leads, because I know that this is the way! I’m aware that there are small steps and humble beginnings in every great story.
I’ve often wished for a private meditation room in my home, or a nook somewhere just for me. Preferably, with a large bay window facing some form of nature, with lots of bright warm sunshine, and a lot of colorful throw pillows. Somewhere I could go meditate and light a nice aromatic candle of my choice. A place where I can go to read, study, write, be with God, and just enjoy my own company. But, since I don’t currently have that, I find my peace and quiet in my bedroom, or some other part of the house that’s free of noise and people. Sometimes it’s at the downstairs dining room table, or on the living room couch. Once, I even laid out on the floor of my upstairs hallway under the skylight, facing the sun. The best time for me to find peace is early in the morning while everyone is asleep, or anytime when there’s no one home.
Usually, I’ll lie on my plush carpeted floor with a pillow under my head, one under my lower back, and another under my knees. I’ll face my two windows, open the curtains, and pull the blinds up enough for the sun to come through. I’ll position myself right in the direction of its rays, close my eyes, pop in my earbuds and just start off with a guided meditation. First by breathing in and out calmly, and paying attention to my breath as guided. Eventually, my body feels relaxed. I make a conscious effort to relax each limb on my body, almost feeling as if I’m sinking into the floor as taught in my yoga class. From there I focus on the mantra and the words the guide speaks. As the clouds give way to the sun, I can feel it’s warmth radiating all over. Through my eyelids, I can see it’s brightness and sense when it dims. Sometimes it feels like the words of the guide, or the flow of the music correspond with the movement of the clouds. I may be focused on something uplifting, suddenly the sun beams and radiates hotter. Or, the music takes on a lower tone, and the sun dims, my whole body feels cooler.
Prior to this first successful meditation experience, I never felt like I truly accomplished the full connection with my inner self. My goal was to achieve simple relaxation where I could have a few moments of peace and quiet. Sometimes, I would drift off into a light sleep, and maybe once I fell asleep for a few hours. This one morning, I awoke earlier as my husband prepared to leave for work. I stood in bed a little longer, and decided to do the meditation of the day. I got up, got my earbuds and laid right back down with my covers up to my neck. I hit play and followed the guide as I normally do. I felt warm, even though I wasn’t positioned directly in front of my sunny window. At some point I realized that I wasn’t actually thinking anymore, I wasn’t hearing the music in the background, and I wasn’t even in my bed! When I realized this, my mind went back to my own thoughts of trying to relax, and accomplish a “real” meditation; not taking notice that this is exactly what I had just accomplished. Then suddenly the music came on again. Surprisingly, I was able to relax myself again in order to get back to that place.
The place was a wooded area, where tall, dark brown trees stood full of branches and no signs of life. Everything was completely bare, even the ground I stood on. There was no sun, but it wasn’t dark. It seemed like an early morning, and felt like a new day was upon me. I looked up at the trees, then I looked at my surroundings and noticed that I was standing by a table made of yellow birch wood. The wood looked unfinished, as if every piece of the tree was still in tact. You could see the natural grain and all of its imperfections. The table had four legs, each one resembling a small birch log. There were two perfectly matching chairs on opposite ends also made of birch, but no one was seated on them. I didn’t feel any other presence except that of my own. I couldn’t see myself physically as I walked towards the table, but I was aware of myself and what I was doing. I looked around and tried to figure out where I was, thinking maybe I was at a park somewhere. I saw that the table was positioned on dirt, and noticed that the dirt was combed flat and circular. The tall dark trees encircled the area and cast their shadows over the table. This table seemed so significant, but why?
Along with being mystified, I was excited. My conscious acknowledged that I must have finally succeeded in “true” meditation. However, each time I had this realization, I would leave that place and go right back into my own thoughts, knowing that I was really laying in my own bed, trying to meditate. I was able to go back to that place about two times, then I lost complete focus. I was kind of annoyed with myself for getting too excited, maybe even scared. I had never experienced such a beautiful place of inner peace. All I want to do now is master how to get back there everyday, for just a few minutes. I haven’t meditated that deeply since, but I certainly plan on taking the steps needed to continue building on that experience.
Strangely, a week after, I was tuned into one of my favorite spiritually based T.V. shows. I saw what seemed to be a close representation of the place I had experienced in my meditation. I had never seen this episode prior, but I got excited and had to explain everything to my skeptic husband who was watching the show with me. There were differences for sure; like the trees in this image were just as tall and dark, but they were full not bare. You could see the sun peeking through the leaves. Maybe it was a different time of day, or a different season. The ground wasn’t filled with dirt, it looked more like dead leaves or mulch. The table was set in the same distance from the trees, but this table was made of a gray stone or concrete, not yellow birch wood. It was round with a smooth top surface, but still kind of rigid looking. There were also two chairs; except the chairs weren’t really chairs. They were seats made of rock boulders; finished stone, smooth enough to sit on. On each boulder sat a person; Oprah Winfrey on one chair, and opposite of her was author Cheryl Strayed discussing her new book,Wild. Needless to say I was intrigued. I later researched the location, and found that the interview was filmed at Oprah’s home, in her front yard. How weird I thought, that it resembled my own inner quiet place.
Instead of dwelling on the strange connection, I just feel grateful that I succeeded in a powerful meditation experience. I’ll continue seeking that inner peace, this forest of mystery, and the beauty of nature. Humbled by the knowledge that for once, I was able to feel my own essence without any distractions from the outside world.
Your loved ones, the people you hold near and dear to your heart; should never be taken for granted. We never know how much time we have left with them, before their life with us ends. We never know how and when our last goodbye will be. So before you part from them each day, always leave them with your best lasting impression!
1. To be grateful for everything good and every single one of my blessings
2. To thank God every morning and every night, of every day
3. To find my quiet time
4. To listen to my intuition; it must be God directing my steps
5. To soften my heart to others and their journey, or their story
6. To recognize that everyone is doing the best they know how, even when it seems unfair
7. To let things go (still a work in progress, but getting better at it)
8. To stop looking for confirmation from others, and just do it! (whatever “it” is)
9. To follow my passions without fear
10. To give advice only when asked, because the truth hurts
11. To listen to people more than I speak; sometimes they just want to be heard
12. To keep un-fulfilling relationships at a distance, but still be kind
13. To understand that we all love differently, some of us more passionately than others
14. To realize that family and friendship doesn’t have the same meaning to everyone
15. To accept that I cannot change the choices or mindset of others, no matter how hurtful that reality may be
16. To put myself first, because no one else will
17. To be selfless and expect nothing in return
18. To love people even when they’re selfish, especially family, because no one is perfect
19. To always try to see the good in people
20. To make the best of each living moment with your loved ones