Tag Archives: Mindfulness

A Monday State of Mind

Often, Monday mind seems an enemy but as the Buddha taught, the mind is both friend and enemy. There is now a word for that—frenemy. I find it helpful.

For me, Mondays are no longer much different than any other day but when I lived my life through a different lens, Mondays were ragged around the edges.

Repeatedly, I told myself that Monday was a day like any other, and just as stubbornly, I refused to believe it. Then, it came true, and it wasn’t even a wish. I have known weeks of Mondays; some have lasted years.

Now what frames every day is rest, and it is relentless, its own “means to a meaning.” Without respect for rest, I discover my old Monday state of mind, more enemy than friend.

What are we to one another

but a means to a meaning we

have not yet discovered.

Camille Rankine

It seems to me that what we are to ourselves is what we are to everyone else, a means to a meaning, an ongoing discovery. We can stay stuck in an infinite loop, be more enemy than friend but life is impermanent.

No one hour will stay nor will its day. Each is yet another means to a meaning and another and another….

I look to the many-hued hours. They offer a kaleidoscope of experience, some scintillating while others offer fog. I don’t always find meaning.

Some remain a Monday state of mind, at best a frenemy.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Love’s Other Name

Suffering seems like it’s everywhere because it is. Always has been. The Buddha taught nothing but suffering and the end of suffering. The teaching is still with us for we still suffer.

I find it hard not to turn away from others’ suffering. I’m not much better with my own. How can I extend compassion to anyone else when I’m so reluctant to understand my own suffering?

When I wrap myself up in my own pain, be it emotional, physical or both, the tighter wound I am, the more I suffer. My suffering releases only when I remember that experiencing pain is part of my human experience

Understanding releases my suffering and love–“understanding’s other name”–awaits. Even in my worst moments, no love is not an option. Self-compassion brings understanding to my suffering.

It’s nourishing, this love. A good friend calls it the “ginormous heart.” Each of us has so much of it to give.

Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift

you can give another person.

Understanding is love’s

other name. If you don’t understand,

you can’t love.

When we feed and support our own happiness,

we are nourishing our ability to love.

That’s why to love means to learn

the art of nourishing our happiness.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

What Better Thing to Do

Yesterday, Mary Oliver posted a bit of her poem, ” Mockingbirds,” on Facebook. The Atlantic featured it on April 30 as the poem of the day but as Oliver pointed out, a poem can be the poem of the day on any day. Indeed.

This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing

better to do
than listen.*

My mother taught me listening but it was decades before I heard her. Now, I wonder if I ever have anything better to do.

*For the rest of  the poem, please click here.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

The Energy of Being

Wednesdays are my week’s fulcrum. It is the day after my dose of a weekly medication. My body is weaker on Wednesdays.

Sometimes, the pivot point settles quickly but no two weeks are the same. No point holding onto the unique. It won’t repeat.

A low energy Wednesday might mean a higher level on a Thursday or a Friday, possibly even a Saturday but not a run of three. The energy may remain low or drop even lower.

My physical energy level helps me read the signals my body is sending. Cells are in die off, and the body adjusts, a bit of respite from the immune system’s constant attack. It has been a long time since there was any actual truce but at times I glimpse a glimmer.

Medication may be my immediate response but it is not the only one.

Michael A. Singer taught me about the “seat of self—the flow of energy from the depths of my being.”  Call it Chi, Shakti, or even spirit.

For me, it’s the energy of being.

To sit in the seat of myself is to know pure awareness. It is as constant as my body’s signals but beyond the battle. Here, peace is available no matter the war.

Consciousness is the highest word you’ll ever utter.

There is nothing higher or deeper than consciousness…

It is pure awareness.

(Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul).\

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Larger-Than-Life Appetite

A colleague once said to me, “You can’t be passionate about everything.” I was sure I could and responded similarly, maybe even dismissively.

Years later, I consider her observation more a question than a statement. Maybe that’s why it has stayed with me. I think we were both talking about hunger, although I doubt either one would have found that word acceptable.

At all costs, she avoided “running on empty,” while I did not know how else to live other than filling up and spilling over. Every. Single. Drop.

My larger-than-life appetite marked most of my life. I poured passion into whatever occupied me. It was exhausting physically; emotionally, I echoed.

Mindfulness showed me it was my choices that left me hungry. Mindfulness is life unfiltered, pure awareness. Each moment offers me a slice of life, and all I need do is experience it. There is more than enough.

Each slice is another choice, sometimes from a completely different pie. But my focus is exploring each choice–sometimes, it’s a hard swallow.

Then, I physically quiet myself. Eventually the gap between thoughts grows and the mind stills. On some days, that gap is infinitesimal but practice has shown me it exists. I need not hunger.

The more you are willing to just let the world

be something you’re aware of, the more it will

let you be who you are—

the awareness, the self, the Atman, the soul.

(Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul)

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

No Expectations, Just Experience

Maybe I always believed in “bursting the boundaries.” After 40 years of chronic illness, it seems so. This kind of “resistance” to medical expectations takes a certain amount of naïveté, and I don’t mind admitting that.

It also means staying in the moment, regardless of the experience it offers–no expectations, just experience. And sometimes, I burst a boundary, like today.

I have been released from the care of my orthopedic surgeon who could not be more pleased with my progress. The fracture of my right femur is healing “beautifully” and growing new bone. The hip-joint replacement was pronounced “perfect.”

Medical expectations had been low.

I knew today’s x-ray results would be fine because of how my right hip and femur feel. And the x-rays supported my body’s signals. X-ray is such a wonderful way to look within the body to its structure.

I was reminded of the fusion of bone that is taking place in my neck, even more bone growth. That was not the expectation, either.

As someone with chronic autoimmune disease, I’m not the best candidate for healing, especially with medications like prednisone and methotrexate. Medical skepticism is not unwarranted.

I don’t ignore expectation but it does not occupy my time.

My focus is on what I eat and how I live, in particular my daily practice of meditation and yoga. I stay open to my body’s signals; they are my purpose. Healing will or will not occur.

It is a matter of feeding my body nutrient dense food no matter how I am feeling. In fact, the worse I feel, the more critical nutrition is. A single moment might be one of physical pain, frustration, hopelessness, fear, and fatigue—and it might last days—eating is fuel, food is energy.

Hope drifts in and out of moments. I let it go. I remain present for my pain, intertwining medication with yoga, working with the meditative state in my day-to-day. I meet my energy and even out its fluctuations.

What is the point in yearning for what my body cannot offer? Why not work with what it can? After all, “life always bursts the boundaries of formulas” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry).

So it seems, so it seems.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

“Poem” Pause: Being By a Cat

Nothing grounds me like a poem. Nothing. It brings me to life right where I am. Crossing the gulf of today’s #DailyDose is not a task too tall. It is paw by paw focus.

as the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot 

carefully
then the hind
stepped down 

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot.

(William Carlos Williams, “Poem”)

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.