Unexpected Meditation 


I came across this quote in an unexpected place: Facebook.

It is so easy to look at ourselves and only see our “flaws” or “failures.”  Part of the beauty of nature are the “imperfections” that make everything unique.  There is no “perfect” rose or tree.  Each is different.

Perhaps what we see as “flaws” are nothing more than uniqueness.  We get so hung up on what society, family, friends, religions, etc say we “should” be that lose sight of who we really are.  Our physical appearance doesn’t really matter. Our clothes don’t matter.  Our jobs don’t matter in the sense of our value as a person.  We’re not our jobs.  Who we are is so much more than the roles we play.  We will never be what society thinks is “perfect.”  And it doesn’t matter.

We grow when we embrace ourselves as we are.  From there, we can set goals to who we want to become.  We accept flaws and imperfections while striving to meet our highest right; who we are as a balanced person.  When we see ourselves negatively because of flaws, that’s when we get stuck.  The mental chatter starts.  We view ourselves as “less,” “broken,” “terrible” and many other negative ways.  Change and growth then seems impossible.  Or that we don’t deserve good things.

I struggle a lot with the Committee of Negativity.  For me, it’s comparison to who I was before the injury.  I was a better person.  Or was I?  I did many things that I can’t anymore and I did other tasks much easier than now.  Like running.  I ran faster and longer then compared to now.  But, did that mean that I was a better person or a better runner?  Maybe.  Today, I run for enjoymentwith no pressure to go longer or faster.  Maybe this makes me a better runner.  I enjoy the sensation of my feet hitting the ground, the smell of the air, the feeling of my breath and heart rate, the sight of the mountains or a farmer’s field or the deer.  I’m more in tune and mindful than when I was so focused on pace and distance.  So, am I “better” now or just different?

why do we look at ourselves so negatively and buy into labels?

 

Alive Day

Today is my “Alive Day.”  I had the accident that caused the TBI five years ago today (4/25/11). It was a birth into a new world of brain injury.  It was survival when I should have died. Five years later.  I have come a long way in terms of recovery.

I wanted this entry to be a profound reflection on my journey.  It isn’t.  I suppose the lesson here is not allowing the brain injury to be who I am.  My focus has been recovery for five years.  The injury was/ is in the center of my life.  Everything from my spiritual journey to physical, emotional, and mental growth “grew” from the injury.  Maybe now I have to figure out a balance.

Nothing profound here.  But life is often not profound.

Journeys are Never Easy

Today was a bad day for me.  I’m not sure exactly why.  I was just really upset all morning.

I got myself locked into negative mental chatter.  My attitude was fuck this.  It’s been a long time since my mood was this low.  I’ve been frustrated and afraid this past month.  But, not like today.

My thoughts summed up:

  1. I wish that accident had killed me
  2. I really have no life.
  3. I want to go somewhere but I can’t travel alone. I’ll never see Alaska, Hawaii, the Florida Keys. Or go to Scotland again.  Or Ireland.  Or the Grand Canyon, or Glacier National Park.  I’m chained to my town.
  4. I never run a marathon or play in an orchestra again
  5. My careers are gone.
  6. The fucking accident killed me anyway.  I just still exist.

It was another day when the losses were in my face.   I can’t kill myself.  I can’t hurt Brigid or Kaliyah.  Brigid is not s cute kitten and may not find another family.  And I can’t take her with me.  It’s funny how my second thought was how my family would react.  Brigid and Kaliyah came first.  I suppose that’s because they depend on me.  My family would grieve and move on.  I don’t want to hurt them either.

So, I got Kaliyah out to play.  Ferrets make you smile.  She was in a playful mood.   I wonder where my running socks are. She loved the dig box game.  Lots of interaction.  She tried to drag my backpack under the couch.  Ferrets are determined animals.  She would not give up on that backpack.  It didn’t fit.  Fine.  She’ll try pulling under. Spinning it around and trying again.  Dig on it and the floor under the couch.  Flip over on her back and try pulling it again.  By now she’s hissing in frustration.  The odds were against her but she kept trying.  Until she got bored.  Then it was onto playing in the plastic bags closet that I forgot to close.

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After she was done playing and tucked into her cage I decided to follow her example and take a nap. Brigid curled up at my shoulder and purred until I fell asleep.  Three hours.

It was a beautiful day.  I went for a short run then read a book at the small picnic area in my neighborhood and meditated.  There wasn’t a focus on the meditation.  I noticed nature and reflected on the Mother who created it.  I had a deer and baby come into the park. Mom deer looked at me, then slowly walked into the woods.  Shea’s her fawn were a reminder of Spring: new growth.  New beginnings.  Maybe even new hope.

I have no idea if my life is going to change.  Maybe things can still get better.  There still things to enjoy.  Even in a narrow world.

I feel better tonight although I am wiped out.  I hope to go to bed early. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Meditation for April 18

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true. ~~ Buddha

People name and order things.  It provides structure and a way to understand the world, life, and each other.  The structure is helpful for the most part.  Without structure we can’t function within the world.

However, we often box ourselves into a single way of understanding and interacting.  The structure becomes limiting as we do not look for different ideas or understanding outside our own frames of reference.  We reject or struggle against what is different.

This quote points out that what we think is a universal truth often isn’t.  We have direction on the earth because the magnetic poles.  But, why the titles “North, South, East, West?”  They could easily be called something else.  A different name wouldn’t change the magnetic pull.  It would be a different frame of reference.  But, we have defined the directions and believe them to be true and absolute.

We see this playing out in daily life.  We label and box everything.  Religion, gender, race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation; pretty much anything that makes one group “different.”  We are also members of different groups.  Sometimes those groups actually have opposing views.  We tend to relate to people in the frame of reference we have for them.  This separation is an underlying cause of bias, misunderstanding, bigotry, hate, and fear.  What is different challenges our order.  However, it can also be a way of unifying by seeking to embrace and understand each other.  

We limit ourselves.  We believe certain things about ourselves and those become part of our identities.  And we tend to hold onto those things.  They are true to who we are.  Are they really?  In brain injury recovery, what I used to define myself is no longer the same.  Am I a different person?  Yes, and no.  Maybe I’m now in a different “truth.”  The distinctions I  created are no longer true.  The desire to order and label continues.  I created different distinctions to describe myself.  In a way, I am in the process of forming a different identity. It’s a human trait.

What does this mean?  The truths we believe aren’t necessarily the whole truth. It is just a frame of reference. Truth is more fluid.  Or is there actually “truth” at all?  

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Slow Down!

Spring is in full glory here.  I noticed today all the blooming trees, flowers, the gentle breeze bring the smell of new life.  Down the street, there are baby goats out playing. It’s funny how I had seen it was spring but not noticed until today.

It’s so easy to live life at a sprint.  We miss so  any experiences because we are in a hurry.  Today, I went for a run.  I had nothing scheduled for later but I felt like I had to rush and get done.  Ironically, I live in a hurry. Usually there is no reason for me to be that hung up on time.  This happens in part because I have a lot of structure built into life.  When I feel that going “off” I get anxious and rush. 

Today I noticed my run.  The blue sky, the road, the greening fields, the snow cap on the Blues.  I heard my footfalls and felt my feet striking ground. There is a sound it makes, a rhythm.  I felt my heartbeat and listened to my breathing.  It was a run of mindfulness but I didn’t have to keep brining my wandering mind back.   

  
I had taken spring for granted this year.  I almost missed the transition from winter to summer.  It is a time of growth where the earth is nurtured and blessed for new creations. Not all of the growth is physical.  It is a time of spiritual, emotional, and mental growth as well.  Here, the Maiden blesses us.  We just have to watch, listen, and be open.

It was a peaceful day.  And it now draws to a close with Kaliyah playing- sadly I just lost another running sock, sacrificed at the altar of Ferret Chaos.  Brigid sits at my shoulder, watching me write and purring.  These are small things but very rewarding.

Slow down, notice, and enjoy.

  

Meditation for April 14


There are many moments in life where there is a feeling of not being connected, watching from a distance.  You go through the motions of the day; cooking, eating, working.  It seems so unimportant and routine.  Boring.  It’s easy to drift through the days, weeks, months as they pass in similar ways. Routine is both good and bad.  It provides structure but it also can be boring.

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Life is a path that branches off in different directions but ultimately we end up in the same place.  How we get there matters.  Those experiences are where the lessons are: where our souls learn and hopefully grow.  If you don’t engage fully, you miss out on joys, sorrows, sunsets, nature, and even the struggles.  We grow through hard times and pleasures as well.

“You cannot travel on the path until you become the path.” ~~ Buddha

 You cannot experience life until you become life.  Your life and all that you touch.  Be authentic.  Become your path.