A Beautiful Morning

I’ve been thinking about this, and had a vision I’d like to share. It took some thought and planning ahead, but it’s well worth every effort. The first thing I saw to do was to scrub the beach rug clean.

It’s odd, but in January hundreds of birds fly overhead all day long dropping red berries. My truck looks like it lost a paintball match and everything is covered in bright, red, splatters, including my front porch. That is where the beach rug resides.

The beach rug laying on the front porch.

For me this year, outside is where I see a sacred space. To sit Yogi style on the rug at sunrise, wrapped in a warm blanket, and tap into the sights and sounds of the early morning. I imagine it being like unguided meditation at it’s best.

What is a beautiful morning?

It’s about creating some space for meditation, reflection, movement, writing, or anything else you’d like to have room for in your life. And finding some space in the mornings for that, a sacred space that takes advantage of the quiet and beautiful light of the mornings.

Leo Babauta-Zenhabits.net

After posting a good night’s sleep I learned as soon as my eyes open, to sit up in the middle of the bed immediately. To sip a glass of water and give my body a chance to catch up with my brain. Sitting in the middle of the bed meditating in that quiet, stillness of the morning is beautiful for me, but recently I find myself gazing out windows often. Like my heart is nudging me outside.

The front porch is clean and waiting.

Let’s follow the heart outside and see what we learn by being present in the early morning light. I’ll let you know where this leads, but in the meantime I wish you a beautiful morning.

A Curated Life

Most people have made, or at least entertained the idea of making some sort of resolution or intention during this end and beginning of years. Even vowing not to make resolutions is in itself a resolution. We like the idea of grand gestures, big promises and dramatic results.

However, any lasting and significant change in our lives is not some instantaneous transformation. The big events we go through that we call major life changes are more of a wading into difference. A marriage, a move, a divorce, a birth or a death…they happen in moments, over days and seasons of time. Joining your life with someone isn’t just the big day when you say “I Do”. It’s the weeks and years where you live out the highs and lows of life together. Losing someone isn’t just the moment of loss. It is the hours and days that follow where you have to navigate a life without them.

That’s why, if you feel stuck and are wanting to embark on a journey of transformation, you have to learn to start with today, and each moment contained within this little block of time. It takes an appreciation of moments in time, to settle into lasting change.

Twenty-one months ago, I made a big promise to myself in a small moment of darkness. I promised to no longer be carried by the current of addiction, but to find my footing, and start to walk. My drinking habit, the behavior that had been with me for the majority of my life, had completely overtaken my sense of self, any ambitions I may have harbored, and all of the authentic relationships within reach. In the small hours of that long night, I’d finally had enough.

But hitting a wall isn’t the change. The promise isn’t the change. The resolution isn’t the result, it’s a starting point. Any meaningful change that you want to see in yourself happens in the moments, days, weeks and years that follow. Whether or not you are successful in making the change depends on what makes up the living you do in the moments.

It is in showing up and doing the work each day that we keep our promises to ourselves. However, merely showing up and going through the motions isn’t enough. Life needs our participation. Moments don’t simply arrive to pass us by; they are meant to be lived. And it is by living in the small moments, the often mundane and repeated moments, that we create a life. A life of our choosing, orchestrated by our engagement in the process.

It is not until we learn to appreciate and be taken up in and by the moments of our day that we actually learn to live. The wonderful part is that we do have some say in what those moments will be. Tasks and obligations are inevitable, but we can choose our attitude while performing them. We also get to choose the way we set up our daily routine, whether it’s taking in the sunrise with God each morning, or taking a meditative walk with the dog each evening.

If it is truly important to the journey, we will commit to living these moments with consistency and authenticity. So, don’t be taken in by the idea of overnight change, or dramatic “before and after’s.” Instead, be taken in by the moments you live each day.

Because that is how you curate a life.

This is a guest post written by my friend Collette, who I met on WordPress. You can visit her Blog, Wine to Water here. Thank you Collette.

Moments in Waiting

This week, I meditated in the parking lot of our Vet’s office. It was an unconventional space, but it was a moment.

Our cat needed a checkup, so I loaded him up and drove to the Vet. As I pulled into the parking lot, there were signs hanging in front of the parking spaces, and I chose the one that said, ‘Cats’. A Red SUV pulled into the space next to me with a dog, a toddler, a baby and a cell phone on speaker. The nurse came out and retrieved our cat.

I sat patiently in my truck and tried to read, but my Kindle was acting up and I chastised myself for not bringing a real book. Technology has added to our lives, but it can take away moments. I’m really passionate about how we spend more time staring at our phones, than our loved ones faces. I was a prisoner to my phone, but not anymore.

There was a lot of activity in the SUV beside me. The toddler was jumping around, climbing all over the place like he was trapped. The sun was slowly setting and the parking lot was almost empty, so I paused to smile at the little boy and moved my truck to the empty part of the lot. If you’re not happy where you are, then move.

I parked my truck, got out and walked to the back. Dropped the tailgate and sat down Yogi style. I told myself, “Take a deep inhalation Barb and just breathe.”

The Red SUV drove by and took note. Did it look like I was sitting on the back end of a truck mediating? Sure it did!

I didn’t have my headphones with me so anyone standing in the parking lot could hear the meditation as well. Across from where I was parked, a woman got out of her car, ripped off her mask, took a deep breath and stretched before reluctantly getting back into her car. My phone rang and paused the meditation. It was the Vet letting me know our cat was ready to leave.

As I was loading kitty back up, I noticed the Red SUV was back, but it was a different scene.

The lady driving it had opened the back of her SUV, and was having a quiet moment talking with her toddler. She was making the most out of waiting, and I was pleased she had found a moment. Instead of filling that space of time, allow it to open up to you. There are moments in waiting.

A Good Night’s Sleep

That has been a mission of mine all year. What would it feel like to just drift off to sleep? It hasn’t happened since childhood.

Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

I’ve been working from home for almost 10 years, but this year there are more people than ever working from home. For me, it was by choice, so I could home-school my daughter, and generate income. It’s been a huge blessing for us, but maybe you’re wondering if it’s a blessing, or a curse.

One of the most important things you can do for you and your family is get a good night’s sleep. Trust me on this.

I dedicated the entire month of August to finding a good night’s sleep. It began by looking at what I was doing presently because obviously that was not working! Each person is unique and maybe you think you’ve tried everything to fall asleep. Stop trying.

The body knows how to drift off to asleep.

SIMPLE HABIT/MINDFUL SLEEP, BY OREN JAY SOFER

Little by little I began taking things away that came naturally to me. Working late at night was an interesting find. That was first to go and the hardest to resist. Just last-night a notification came in on my phone from a coworker with a question. I could feel her frantic vibe and my reflex pattern was to help.

​My first mistake was reading the email at 10:30 pm, because I could feel my mind click over to work mode. I paused and reminded myself of past experiences. There is nothing work related happening at night that cannot wait till the next day and given a bit of time, it’ll probably sort itself out.

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

Turning the phone to silent, I laid it face down on the table and walked away. Working from home doesn’t mean work takes up residence in the home. Set a time to stop working, and refuse to look if any comes in, so the brain has time to relax. Our bodies know when it’s time for sleep, but do we?

Thank you for spending time here today. There’s more to unfold of my journey to a good night’s sleep.

Here’s the rest of the mini-series.

Part 2: Know Your Flow

Part 3: Mama Knew Best

Part 4: One More Minute

Part 5: Set the Stage

Keep Showing Up

The Done List is so much more than getting things done. It’s saying yes to your heart more. It’s when you hear that still small voice give a reminder of what’s good for you.

I have access to a morning meditation via zoom, every morning at 9:00 am. I’ve attended before, and it was nice, but there’s one issue. I’m in the wrong zone in more ways than one.

It’s at 9:00 am to accommodate various time zones. The man I work with lives in CA, so by 9:00 am, I’m already planning what to do for him, before his day begins. (He’s pacific time, and I’m central.)

girl in green jacket holding potted plant
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’m sitting quietly at the coffee table with coffee.

Looking up at the clock, it’s says 8:50 am, and I sense, “You should really sit in on that meditation.” All life really asks of us is to just show up. Otherwise, I’ll sit here and think of all the excuses not to, or put it off until tomorrow, so I joined in.

My Zen community is so peaceful, and serene, but I only lasted about 10 minutes. It’s just the wrong time of day for me to be fully present, but maybe I’ll get there. Disrupting patterns to make room for what the heart wants.

The heart knows even when we don’t.

I wrote it down on my done list, because I did the immediate thought. I listened to the heart, and followed through with no expected outcome. I was disappointed for a moment for not completing the mediation, but it’s progress, not perfection.

I was happy with myself for just showing up.

It’s uncertain if I’ll begin to thoroughly enjoy this 9:00 am community meditation, but I’m learning to live with the uncertainty. For what the heart wants, just keep showing up.

Close Your Eyes

butterfliesnpebbles

Worth Every Minute

This sign hangs in between my bedroom windows. It’s one of the first things I see each morning and sometimes I’ll walk in and look at it throughout the day as a gentle reminder.

sign1

Trust the magic of beginnings.

My daughter has this sign sitting in between her windows. Yes, I love signs and it would seem I have a thing about windows! Probably because they are a giver of light.

sign2

Love and a dog. That’s all she needs.

I have this battery operated candle that comes on automatically at night. When I see it’s warm glow, that’s my que to start shutting everything down. Including myself.

candle

I’m still meditating at night using Simple Habits, but have also ventured into morning mediation. I’m listening to, ‘Start Your Day With Gratitude’ by Cory Muscara. The app says I’ve mediated 5,284 total minutes.

It’s been worth every minute.

However you choose to spend your time, make certain it’s worth every minute.

Lay it Down

My favorite time to meditate is at night.

I’ve been drifting off to peaceful sleep like a child, listening to mindful sleep on Simple Habits.

Oren Jay Sofer is the narrator of this meditation and his voice alone will soothe you to sleep. Lastnight, he discussed Contentment. How does that feel?

contentment

Something he does in every session is this.

Once you find your comfortable sleep position, he suggests 3 deep breaths. Inhale and exhale until your breathing resumes a normal rhythm.

My favorite part is when he says, ‘Lay it Down.

Anything you left unfinished today. Lay it down.

I can feel my body sink a little bit deeper into the mattress when he says, “Today is over.” Just hearing those three words gives me confirmation of where I am. Laying in bed and getting ready for sleep.

♥ ♥ ♥

Do you believe meditation looks like this?

cropped-how-to-do-present-moment.jpg
How a lot of people envision meditation.

You don’t have to sit in any one position to meditate. You can meditate while standing, walking, sitting or lying down. It doesn’t require specific clothing because I’m literally laying in bed in my pajamas.

He always goes through a full body scan, but lastnight he dug deeper into the feeling of contentment within the body. He acknowledged parts of the body and paused to thank them.

Beginning at the top with the eyes.

I take for granted what all my eyes do throughout the day. The same with most parts of my body. Just like sitting here typing and watching my fingers flutter over the keys making this post possible. The eyes and fingers are small, but do great things.

♥ ♥ ♥

As we did our body scan, Oren would pause on a particular body-part such as the eyes, neck, shoulders, arms or torso. Literally breaking down specific parts and he would bless them by saying…

“Thank you for all that you do. May you be strong and well.”~ Oren Jay Sofer

♥ ♥ ♥

So tonight my lovelies, as you prepare to fall asleep, take a moment to let it go and lay it down.

A Simpler Life

This year, I’ve been pondering the front yard.

Coffee in hand, I heard someone mowing.

A landscaping company was maintaining a couple of yards nearby. My yard needs help, and today was the day to ask for it. God’s perfect timing.

Last year, I did nothing with the yard. Grass doesn’t grow due to the shade from the ginormous oak tree. That’s okay. I’d rather have the majestic tree than grass in this stage of my life, but the weeds grow.

I walked outside, followed the sound of the mower, and found the man behind it. Long story short, he mowed my yard, and will return once a month. Now, I can begin to envision enjoying my yard.

With the weeds gone, the yard can speak.

simplify

I’ve toyed with the idea of buying a weed-eater, or small mower and maintaining it myself. Most of my life has been spent taking care of things myself. I don’t wish to do that anymore. I can let others help.

This stage of life is to simply be enjoyed.

♥ ♥ ♥

We have lots of birds, but I have no feeder.

I wondered if the birds would use a feeder, so I took a trip to the hardware store to see what they have, but didn’t really see one I liked. Drove to another store, but same result. Nothing really pretty.

Before purchasing a feeder, lets do a test.

birdseedbell
Birdseed Bell

The birds landed on it and pecked heartily.

I will find the right feeder, but there’s no rush.

It will happen when the time is right.

♥ ♥ ♥

The sweet part of life is within the timing. I’ve learned to meditate and truly enjoy the tools it gives. I’m still trying to find my groove with the morning pages, but I realize that anything in life worth doing takes time and consistent effort.

After working on the inside, it’s flowing outside.

It’s funny how the inside comes first.

Taking a step back, and looking for small tweaks to be made. Change doesn’t have to happen all at once. Do it in increments that lead to a simpler life.

Enjoy the Journey

“Relax. You’re on a journey of discovery. Let life reveal itself to you.”

Melody Beattie

My daughter was packing to go to her Dad’s and asked, “What are you doing this weekend?” I replied, “I’m going to not think so much.” I’ve just been enjoying the journey.

I once told my daughter, “I don’t have any problems,” and compared to the rest of the world I don’t, but I can create them in my mind. It takes just as much time to pray as it does to worry. It doesn’t zap your energy, it’s healthier and much more effective.

In listening to my meditation last night, the teacher was talking about ‘acceptance’ of things as they are. Some things in life can be changed quickly, some more slowly and some are out of our control.

“Ah…This is the way things are for now.”

Time passes and things change. Sometimes it’s our perspective and other times God steps in. I remembered telling my daughter, “I don’t have any problems”, but then came to this realization.

Just because there’s nothing wrong, doesn’t mean everything’s right. In the interim I can continue to enjoy the journey.

Have a week of splendidness. ~ Barb xx