Who's in Charge?

“Who is in charge of this?” he said, pointing to his head and looking at me directly in the eyes.  OUCH.  I think he just nailed it. 

Who is in charge of my head???  It should be obvious, "I AM", but quite frankly, I don't know who has been steering the ship lately.  The kids are home for the summer which means I am less structured, but also busier tending to needs, breaking up fights, rushing off to doctor appointments etc.  When there is downtime, my favorite hobby is letting my brain bounce all over the placeMy best visual for this is when I go online to look something up, maybe something as mundane as a phone number.  Next thing I know I have opened up web pages on summer vacation ideas, recipes to make for dinner, recipes to save for later, project ideas to do with the kids, Facebook and three of my email accounts.  So the screen shows all these tabs activated.  I only use the computer as a description, because my brain actually has many more tabs activated than the computer.  After being "on" all day it feels good to let my brain just drift and wander, but that question WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THIS, hit me hard.

I am in charge of it and no matter how good it feels to unwind this way at the end of the day it isn't getting me anywhere.  In fact, it is adding to the feeling of chaos because I've just added a million things to my mental list.  My goal is a more intentional life and this mindlessness is in direct opposition to my desires.  Summertime is a rare opportunity to have this sort of break and down time and I will never have another summer quite like this one. Understanding is the first step to making a change and getting back to my wellness basics will help me strengthen the muscles that help me live more intentionally.  I consider my wellness basics to be quite simply mindfulness.  Instead of letting my mind wander, I need to strengthen the ability to keep my mind calm.  It's strange that it takes more energy to think nothing, but if you have ever tried you know it isn't easy.  The thing is that whether you sit in centering prayer or silence just listening to your breathing, the act helps to slow down the chaos of the day. 

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It is hard to see how one act can affect the other, isn't it?  How does a few minutes of meditation in the morning make my busy day of appointments any easier?  There are many books on this and many explanations, but let's just try seeing how it works for us and maybe the explanation won't really matter.  There are many forms of quieting the mind and we'll be exploring them here at ZenDitty in the next few weeks.  For now, enjoy your summer, don't change anything, just observe "Who is in Charge?" and check back in to ZenDitty so we can continue to work this muscle and live intentionally and with great joy.  

With Love,

Tosha

*I love this app for meditation or yoga.  Think fitbit for meditation and connect with me @ZenDitty!  The app is "Insight Timer" available for both Android and IOS.

Detached

I can center myself in my world.  I can sit in quiet meditation with my intentions set on my place in society.  I can calculate where and what I should be.  Or I can sit in contemplative meditation and center myself with my true self, my higher being or with a higher power separate from myself.  What’s the difference?  When I let my “world” be my higher power I am giving power to a system of beliefs shared among the people in my circles.  When I center myself with a higher power I am absolved from the restraints and demands of our societies and clear out so much clutter in my head.  This approach allows more clarity.  It’s the difference between prioritizing what matters right now and what matters most.  When we learn to connect with a higher power we begin to experience an easier existence.  One where our power comes from the source and our motives are pure.

Similarly, I can detach with anger or I can detach with love.  We all have or have had people in our lives that are not healthy for us for a variety of reasons.  They may make us question ourselves.  They may not understand us and may even judge us.  They may be caught in a downward spiral in their own life and the energy they share extinguishes our own lights.  Detaching may seem counterintuitive to sharing our lights and offering love and kindness, and it is, if you detach with anger.  The motive of our hearts affects every cell in our bodies.  By centering ourselves in a higher power and not in our superficial existence allows our motives to come from a pure place.  A place where there is a bigger picture.  Our decisions aren’t so much for selfish reasons, but because we are called to do more, to be more in this world.  We cannot live out our purpose if we allow these relationships to continue. So we detach with love.  With love we step away and keep a protective distance.  The energy around us has not been disturbed, but rather it has been restored.  With this restored energy there is room for new relationships and situations to enter our lives and perhaps even a rekindling of an old one.    Life is a journey we may not always have control over, but our centering force keeps us grounded and true to ourselves and our purpose.

When we keep these things in line, we avoid the downward spiral that stems from unfortunate events.  When we keep centered within our own beings, we are empowered to continue down our paths without fear.  We continue down this path with light loads because our burdens are few.  Practice kindness, forgiveness and centering for yourself and watch your world unfold.

With Love,

Tosha

 

Be a Seeker

My dear, it’s time for you to learn to fly.  But no, I don’t want to fly.  Not yet.  Maybe not ever. It’s so comfortable here in this nest.  You tell me everything I need to know.  I’m not ready to fly out on my own!  

I am having a difficult reaction to my yoga teacher retiring.  I literally feel the tears pool up in my eyes when I think about it.  This is sort of crazy, right?  There are a million yoga teachers out there and some of them are good.  Really good maybe, but I have learned so much from this one and I don’t feel nearly ready for him to retire.  I take his yoga class at a cancer support facility in my town.  Wonderful place with tons of offerings to help those fighting cancer and their families.  My Yoga teacher has volunteered there for 20 years and by his estimate taught 1,400 hours of yoga.  That, to me, is the epitome of shining your light in the world and I’m so thankful to his generosity.  Why am I telling you this?  Well, I just don’t feel that it should be over.   I really can’t wrap my head around it being over.   He has opened my eyes to so many elements of a healthy life.  He is a big believer in dedication and doing things with purpose and being intentional with our lives.  He trained in “the old” style of yoga.  More Hindu monks than Colorado Hippie.  I don’t know why I chose Colorado...no offense CO!  And I love hippies!  :-)

I’ve learned about EFT Tapping, Laugh Yoga/Meditation, the importance of breath, to just be quiet and at peace more and to talk less.  His presence is calming and his words are inspiring. As I am processing all that I will miss about him and his class I am thinking about this blog and the many hours of volunteer work I do to share it.  If one person learns half as much from reading ZenDitty as I learned from Joe, it’s well worth the time.  If one person is as inspired as I am from Joe, it’s well worth the effort.  It’s my ripple in the water.  It’s me flapping my wings and going for flight.  We all have the ability to inspire and teach and love and nurture.  Let’s find as many ways as possible to utilize these gifts we’ve been given.  

I will have a void in my practice of inner-peace when Joe leaves, but I will continue to seek out practices that fill this void.  I will seek out more information on the many healing topics he spoke of and best of all, I will continue to share with you!  

Be sincere, be at peace, honor yourself and others.  Life is really pretty simple, if we allow it to be.  

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Peace Peace Peace to all.

Namaste, 

Tosha

Do they? Do they really?

Sometimes  I wonder what it would be like to be someone else.  Someone who doesn’t wake up in the morning so creaky and achy.  Someone who doesn’t worry daily about bone density loss due to medication. Someone who doesn’t think about cancer recurrences.  It doesn’t take long until I tell myself that everyone has something going on, but do they really??  It’s hard to believe sometimes that some people have a problem in the world.  Really,  they are probably just better at hiding it, so we just don’t know.  I think that’s why it is so important to share our struggles.  Simply sharing takes the weight off of you.  Knowing you are not alone and knowing others struggle with some of the same issues is so beneficial to our mental health.

I really believe that the lack of community in our culture is at the root of much of the unhappiness that people experience.  Neighbors don’t know each other or want to know each other, church memberships are declining etc. Technology is replacing the need for connection, but it doesn’t go deep enough.  We either need to plug into communities around us or make the effort to deepen connections and build our tribes.

I listened to a podcast recently about personalities.  The interviewee had a technique she would use to test the waters with people.  She would throw out a “bid”.  The bid was something personal, but also something safe. Safe in that it wouldn’t bother her if someone shot down this bid or even laughed.  For example, she might say “My feet are killing me in these heels”.  If the woman she was talking to responded with “I love heels”,  she knew this wasn’t a match for her and she didn’t throw out another bid.  If the response was more along the lines of “Yeah, and my spanx are squeezing the life out of me”, then BINGO she is now safe to throw out another bid and hopefully deepen the relationship even for just the evening.  In doing so, she’s relieved her own pressure and possible anxiety about the event while doing the same for another.  Pretty cool.  I think we instinctively do this, but don’t always realize it is happening.   Imagine the progress we could make with a little more intention in our interactions.

I am pretty plugged into my society.  I have children involved in various activities, I work outside the home and I attend church somewhat regularly.  I have friends whom I adore and can talk about anything with.  The problem is, I don’t spend nearly enough time with them.  Time seems to be absorbed so easily into daily routines.  If I finish the laundry today, there will always be more tomorrow, right?  Dropping the “shoulds”, being mindful of our true selves and our true desires while taking the time to nurture ourselves will all come together and enable us to create the lives we have always dreamed of. Not only will the laundry get done, but we will begin to experience increased happiness in our everyday lives.  Let’s start by evaluating where we are now.  How fulfilled are we in these 6 major areas?  Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10.  (The following list was copied from https://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html)

  1. Social - is connecting with other people.   Establishing and maintaining relationships with family and friends and even co-workers has anis the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world. Our ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends and co-workers contributes to our Social Wellness.
  2. Emotional is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness or stress; hope, love, joy and happiness in a productive manner contributes to our Emotional Wellness.
  3. Spiritual is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. The ability to develop congruency between values and actions and to realize a common purpose that binds creation together contributes to our Spiritual Wellness.
  4. Occupational is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives. Our desire to contribute in our careers to make a positive impact on the organizations we work in and to society as a whole leads to Occupational Wellness.
  5. Intellectual is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning contributes to our Intellectual Wellness.
  6. Physical is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. The ability to recognize that our behaviors have a significant impact on our wellness and adopting healthful habits (routine check ups, a balanced diet, exercise, etc.) while avoiding destructive habits (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.) will lead to optimal Physical Wellness.

This will give you good insight into which areas you may want to add more intentional living and balance your life. Have some fun with this.  Draw each as a piece of pie in a pie chart, graph it or even assign each category a different color on a flower.  How many of your leaves are Social and how many are Spiritual?  


Much love,

Tosha

The Podcast mentioned can be found at Good Life Project Vanessa Van Edwards: Hacking Social Interaction for Good.  Search your PodCast Ap or on your computer at http://www.goodlifeproject.com/radio/  Lots of great ones to listen to!!

 

Uniquely You

I bumped into a friend recently that shared that she had started doing Tai Chi.  I immediately got excited about sharing the experience.  However, we weren’t on the same path.  None of us are totally on the same path.  What she  appreciated about Tai Chi was not the same as what I appreciated.  I know this very well at a logical level, but in the moment sometimes another emotion takes over and it is forgotten.  Our experiences are sort of like taste buds.  Even if we like the same food, I bet it tastes different for each of us.  The texture, the smell and the actual flavor can be worlds apart.  

Why does this matter?  Well first of all, my Tai Chi conversation would have been a lot more interesting if I didn’t make some assumptions and I  “listened” to her experience at the beginning of the conversation.  I have been trying to catch myself in times of interrupting.  I’m one of those people that gets excited and jumps right in.  Sorry!  But this is not just about interrupting it’s about listening and hearing without putting your own spin on things.  It’s about allowing another person their own unique experience.  I realized I may not have let her express her full Tai Chi experience  and I don’t think that it bothered her because it wasn’t something with which she needed support with or had an emotional connection. At least I hope that’s true!

As I thought about the exchange, I realized that I’ve experienced this from the other end as well.  It irked me at the time, but I couldn’t put my finger on why until now.  Many times we don’t realize we are not helping, or worse, irritating someone.  There are so many big life challenges that we or our friends have faced and we don’t always know what to say.  My experience was with a well meaning friend whom I had several cancer conversations with when I was in the midst of my treatments.  He was a great listener most of the time, but he thought he understood in ways he couldn’t have.  He understood the surface, but not all the intense feelings and emotions because those were UNIQUELY MINE.  I didn’t realize at the time that I just wanted my feeling acknowledged and respected.  It’s like breaking your leg and being told how lucky you are because your cousin had his leg amputated. You know?    

Sometimes out of love we want so badly to minimize a loved one’s pain.  Their pain is too much for us to bear.  It sounds completely selfish, but it’s really just a protective reaction.  Or maybe it brings up some of our own unresolved hurt that we  want to share.  Well, that becomes a whole different conversation, doesn’t it?!  Again, I don’t believe these things are intentional, but it’s a story I’ve heard time and again from cancer patients.  It is probably more obvious to us because it’s such a long process and it’s a similar path for many of us so the fallout is also similar in many of the cases..  It’s so sad to think of friends that are lost because we weren’t really aware of what was happening in our conversations.   

I am now aware from both sides.  As excited as I get about a presumed connection,  it’s my place to listen first and not assume to know or even understand.  Your experiences, your happiness or your hurt or pain is unique to you and we need to respect that on one side of the conversation and we need to claim it on the other side of the conversation.  

Go out and empower and be empowered!

With Love, Tosha