Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What if I can't hang on to it?

I was thinking the next post would happen sooner and be more about loving-kindness meditation because there's much more to say and I basically side-stepped that last time. But right now I am investigating what I am currently experiencing like a good student of vipassana: two things I bring home tonight from our last meeting of meditation class.

One from our handout:
"Celebrate returning. Meditation practice is about returning again and again. Sometimes it's about returning to the next breath, sometimes it's about returning to meditation after a lapse. We can learn to recognize our lapses and return to our breath or our practice--not with condemnation--but celebration."

One a little personal insight:
Instinctively when time is pressing and lists are growing I think moving faster is the way through. If I can really convince myself this instinct is misguided and slow down enough to regain clarity, simplifying is a natural outcome. Believe it.

I had a mystical window there for a month or so. I had time to pour myself into this class and regular practice of what I was learning, almost every day. I was more aware of myself and others moving through the day. I had time to spend with Theo and Dora. I had time to make sure there wasn't anything rotting in the fridge, I had time to see a good friend once a week or maybe every two weeks, I had time to create some paper and textile things I almost caught up on reconciling our bank account I had time to take on a new project designing interior space I adjusted to the new online signup routine for my lifeline of yoga I started working on halloween costumes way early so that I'd have plenty of time to finish them carefully I have to remember to write a note to my father's close friend diagnosed with a brain tumor I want to stay involved with the art class and the library at school but it's so much time

what has happened everything has sped up and is running together and I am right back to that struggle of how to find time to take care of everything and everyone much less to make time for the thinking and not-thinking of meditation.
what can I do to bolster up my friend who is in the middle of a terrible divorce
what about the friends I haven't had time to call or see
what was I thinking saying I could do this design work everything is needed yesterday and I am so rusty
the build up of cat hair is making my eyes itch
one of the cats has an abscess and requires antibiotics and swabbing twice a day and being enclosed in a place where she won't ooze on the furniture until she heals who bit her?
the halloween costumes--how do I make this wire-frame felt-covered pumpkin head with eyes that glow??
oh my god the floors, the toilets, the litter boxes, the laundry
what shall I plan for the next meal to nourish my family so we stay healthy
how is dora's cold she is still blowing out gobs of snot is she getting better or worse?
my wrist is so sore and does not seem to be getting stronger will it ever not hurt?
will the kids get the flu? I didn't get them to the clinic last week now they are out of vaccine again . . .
I can't stay up to work on any of this stuff now I need to go to sleep

I am definitely lapsing. I look forward to celebrating my return.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It takes a membrane

From The Lives of a Cell
Viewed from the distance of the moon, the astonishing thing about the earth, catching the breath, is that it is alive. The photographs show the dry, pounded surface of the moon in the foreground, dead as an old bone. Aloft, floating free beneath the moist, gleaming membrane of the bright blue sky, is the rising earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos. If you could look long enough, you would see the swirling of the great drifts of white cloud, covering and uncovering the half-hidden masses of land. If you had been looking for a very long, geologic time, you could have seen the continents themselves in motion, drifting apart on their crustal plates, held afloat by the fire beneath. It has the organized, self-contained look of a live creature, full of information, marvelously skilled in handling the sun.
It takes a membrane to make sense out of disorder in biology. You have to be able to catch energy and hold it, storing precisely the needed amount and releasing it in measured shares. A cell does this, and so do the organelles inside. Each assemblage is poised in the flow of solar energy, tapping off energy from the metabolic surrogates of the sun. To stay alive, you have to be able to hold out against equilibrium, maintain imbalance, bank against entropy, and you can only transact this business with membranes in our kind of world.
--Lewis Thomas

My daughter said"I've been feeling kind of weird lately. Not in my tummy," she said, looking at me, anticipating my concern, "but in my mind. I have all these questions in my head . . . what would it be like to not exist, or to not have a friend? I mean, how can my body even hear, or taste?" Wowza. I remember having those thoughts too. If I had to guess I was a little older though, maybe third grade instead of first. "Who IS Martha?" Yes indeedy. The big questions resonate from a young age I think. What to make of them? There you are, in your body, going through each day sleeping, eating, walking and talking, and then one day for the first time your mind expands into a silent endlessness for a moment or two.

What is the world, really? How is it possible to understand what it is from a different place than inside my mind?

One thing I am loving about meditation is feeling eager to return to those questions--like a roomful of friends, all gently jostling elbows and waiting, getting to know each other. I have renewed belief that the questions, the possibility of answers, and the thinking process itself matters.

But I haven't been making time this past week. Feeling a bit tired and like the dark morning comes too soon. Part of me wants to mark the days I meditate on the calendar with a yellow circle but I am resisting, I guess because I want the emphasis to be on whenever and however I make it happen it will make itself felt, and I don't need the left brain recordkeeper to put its stamp of approval on the process.

Anyway if I were marking the calendar the last week and a half would be blank until this morning. I keep thinking that I can get to a place where I've built up some reserve, banked against entropy, where the daily facts of not being able to work through to the end of a thought without being interrupted or where children bickering will not pierce the softness, acceptance, and deep calm I've cultivated for the past month. HA!

I'd like for this process to allow me to put permanent distance between myself and the defensive, truculent aspect of myself that has seemed more and more to replace the flexible, empathetic person I thought I was. But it's all in response to life being out of my control. I can't stop life and the reality is that it will be the daily practice of making time for yoga and meditation that will repair the membrane that filters my experience.

I think it is allowing me to laugh and be happy with small things more. I have noticed on at least three occasions in the last month that I have laughed in a true, deep, involuntary way, that I thought something was so perfectly turned on its head as to be funny, that I wasn't making the motion of a laugh with a shadow of judgment across it. Now that is a feeling I want to remember. Slightly hysterical, but with a connectedness, a freshness, a center that held. It didn't cost me anything. I felt bouyed up by it.

Last week we learned about loving-kindness meditation in class. One of the class members described practicing this towards George W. during his presidency, and how difficult it was. The man sitting next to her, whom we were all so glad to see because he has been dealing with extreme pain and does not always make it to class, said "As long as you didn't vote for him!" He said it with such a warm, smiling tone that we all understood--and it was so TRUE. It was so funny. Many class members had interesting and thoughtful things to say about their good experiences or challenges with loving-kindness meditation. I listened. I tried to understand what I understood about it, if anything.

I had started with directing the mantra towards my daughter, who is so easy to love so much of the time. And then I had fallen forward into a big pool of blackness, sleepy yet riding a wave of breathing energy. In the end what came to mind is I felt like Pooh. My classmates were discussing some deep and lively points, and I felt that I was sitting by their river of thoughts, not really getting it, dabbling my toes in the water and humming, trying out some tentative rhymes . . . this thought made me laugh too, in a helpless, uninhibited way, and cover my face with a need to show humility to myself. Going in circles, looking bravely for a woozle! I really don't understand. I hope that's okay and I hope to someday. One of the yoga greats, Sri K. Patabhi Jois, who just died in May, would say "Practice and all is coming." Alrighty then.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Am The One Who

The Guest House

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture.

Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you
Out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.

Tonight in meditation class we practiced working with emotions that come up in during meditation.
• You allow the feeling to be in your body. Be open, curious.
• You see if you can find where in the body you feel it.
• You give the feeling space.
• You see if you can find a name or names for the emotion/s.
• Tell all the stories that go with the emotions, and let them go.
• Try not to judge.

I had tried this already on Monday morning, after I woke up with the thought "what would I do if Dora died?" Nice one, that. Very juicy. There were some visuals, too. Not surprised, but somewhat heavily baffled by my mind's popping it up now, I thought at first "woah. time to go meditate." I think I meant to try escaping it. I'm sure if Steve hadn't happened to still be in bed and available to talk I wouldn't have pieced together that it was probably a tangled mess of reactions to just recently learning that a woman I'm acquainted with lost a daughter several years ago, and anxiety about the fact that Steve and I were supposed to be leaving Dora to go with Theo's class on a fun field trip for three days.

When I did sit down to meditate and the teacher's voice on this new audio track suggested exploring a strong emotion that is with you now, I chose something else. I couldn't think about Dora dying. But later, I thought the meditation had probably helped me resolve some of the less extreme emotions connected with a certain social situation. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

So then tonight when we did it in class, I couldn't do it at all. ? I don't even have a guess. But. I was so happy. I told the class. I have had an energetically uneven time with my mind during my practice sessions, but one thing that has been consistent is that I am so happy to be sitting. Just like the poem. I am unambitiously enjoying this and I have no idea why. The only thing about that which bothers me is that the other feeling I have had without knowing why was depression.

The image at the top of this post is the other one I made at the SoulCollage workshop. I didn't get time to go into it that day, but I'll do a brief gathering of my thoughts about it in the manner of this sentence (method approved and certified by SoulCollage tm): I am the one who wants to believe that the beauty and richness and safety in life that I felt as a girl still exists; who can leave the drama and skip lightly ahead.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What if I were a deck of cards?

Yesterday I took part in a SoulCollage workshop. The term "SoulCollage" is trademarked and there is a whole book about it and the skeptic in me feels a bit, um, skeptical. It's all a bit woo-woo, referenced to the tradition of tarot and its unnameable, intangible life energies and spiritual mythologies. However. I had complete beginner's mind, as I do anytime I'm starting something new, and enjoyed the process of sorting through images, cutting, and gluing to make a collage mounted to matt board, in a short amount of time, that feels very solid and finished. I felt a lot of freedom in being asked simply to choose from a big messy pile of cut and ripped out magazine pages. So much easier than creating my own images on a blank surface. It's not a work of art! Nothing to lose! It's just a collage. Much easier to pick up momentum and get into the zone, and hard to stop!

Meditation on the finished cards was the extra component that I found unexpectedly interesting. Holding and looking at a finished card we imagined it being the size of a doorway. Step in and engage all our senses. What is it like there? Know we can return any time. Ask for a message or a gift. Say thank you. Come back through. Then write.

Here's what I wrote about this card:

I feel sleepy but there is a lot of movement. The spiral is changing shape and color above me. It is my life, myself within life, and I'll never be able to predict or contain it. I'll see if I can make a comfortable place for myself, and there will be places I'm not comfortable, but all around me are the textures and the food of life. The chair, an anchor, a haven, a place that's clean and well-lit-- is big enough for others to join me. An egg, the beginnings of pattern or design printed on nubby linen and sketched on old stone . . . grain? flower? insect? prehistoric elements of life that I can watch and that even cast light and perspective on my own small corner of life. I didn't get a gift or message but realize afterward that I couldn't tell the passage of time. I was a bit cold.

Hmmm. Kinda interesting considering I pretty carelessly selected a bunch of magazine images and slapped them down together with glue. Considering I have spent much of the past three years feeling stuck (as an artist, wondering if I am indeed even an artist). Feeling like I am trapped in my role of safe haven and food provider for my family, feeling called by but far away from hints of big ideas about pattern and design. Considering I have felt the drag of days, passing so excruciatingly slowly, filled with menial chores while others pursue lives of meaning and creativity.

Well. Maybe it's all so obvious. But when I looked at what I had made, and what I had written, both without much forethought or planning, it looked so much more like a life over which I have some control. About which I may decide to change some things. Through which I may allow myself to find the connection and meaning I feel I've been missing.

When I meditated this morning I used a new cd track that asked me to imagine my mind reaching in succession to the limits of the room, beyond the room, to the clouds, to the sun, and finally to the stars. I tried this, mmm, perhaps with a bit of feeling like I was in a movie instead of really imagining the molecules of my body connected somehow to the molecules of the stars. When I was done I felt expanded, though, which was cool. Even better was the moment when the cd player changed over to the next cd and what came on was . . . Star Wars. No kidding.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What if I could become the awareness behind my thoughts?

Nothing brings suffering as does
the untamed, uncontrolled, unattended and unrestrained mind.
That mind brings suffering.
Nothing brings joy as does a
tamed, controlled, attended and restrained mind.
This mind brings joy.
----The Buddha

While I was sitting this morning I heard some whispering. "Don't ask mommy any questions!" "Move over." "Shh!" My son and daughter have caught up with the shift to an earlier schedule, and this morning they were watching me. I felt my breathing slow. Model the perfect meditating mommy, if you can. It was very sweet of them to tip toe round me so. Perhaps because I was discovered near the end of the window, I allowed myself to enjoy it instead of tensing up with anticipation of what interruption would come despite their best intentions. Could it be I was aware of my thoughts about them instead of being my thoughts about them? Yesterday I asked them what they thought the difference was between "hope" and "expectation." My son thought that the difference was that with hope, you know there might be a chance it won't happen. "So you're more flexible about the outcome?" I asked. Yeah, he said, there might be a million in one chance that you won't get what you want. Which tells you a little bit about how often he is disappointed, hoping for (or expecting) odds like that!

Tonight in class we talked about skills to use with the "monkey mind." If simply meditating on the breath is blocked by too many thoughts or one that that is too big you can make them, or it, the object of the meditation. How much the actual practice of this would be different from just flat out having the thought might well depend on how much you love, or how badly you want off, the roller coaster. You can count, or name, or observe thoughts. "You don't get more points for having fewer thoughts," my teacher said. Competitive types are crestfallen, while I sigh with relief. "Although that is a very nice place to be," she added. Hmm.

Some of the other suggestions have to do with visualizing moving receptacles for thoughts that float (like clouds in the sky, or leaves on a river) or trundle (like cars on a train) away from you. You can imagine you are a cat, waiting at a mouse hole, and hope that your thoughts are as wise as a mouse would be in this scenario. If you are waiting, the reasoning goes, perhaps the thoughts will find somewhere else to play. Or at least, if they make a break for it, you will not be surprised or disturbed? With feline grace, you deal them summary blows and silence ensues? Not sure about this.

We practiced twice in class. I love this! Several of us commented on the power of meditating in the group. I could hear others breathing, I felt the ease of concentration for just a bit, I settled right down into my bones. I went through the list. Counting: not so good. Made me want a thought for each breath, to keep rhythm. Naming: okay, I've sort of been doing this already, it's pretty useful and I'll practice it more . . . planning, gardening, judging. Clouds felt too wispy--if I set my thoughts on clouds it would be like Wiley Coyote's anvil falling from the sky. Boxcars worked okay, but I really didn't want to let all of my thoughts go off down the track forever . . . I just wanted a break from them right now.

What ended up happening was pretty cool. I just listened for a little bit and looked around behind my eyelids. I saw that reddish blackness that is the back of your eyelid. A small shaped appeared and swelled into a ball. I could put my thoughts in the ball, where they would ricochet around like children in a bouncy house. I could keep an eye on them. I could step away, watch from over here. And if I needed any of them I could call them. Those were the thoughts I had about it, anyway. I may have done it a bit. I may have nodded a bit, too. I was super relaxed and peaceful. Very different from when I have been sitting in the mornings.

It made me think of the reading I did about Sensory Integration when Theo was diagnosed, and how one book said that true happiness is receiving all the information from your senses and being able to process it and respond appropriately in real time. Just think! Physically, it is the equivalent of being Philip Petit, that serenely crazy high wire walker, who is one of the few people, by the way, who have rendered Stephen Colbert speechless. SO living in the moment. SO in tune with every nuance of balance. HUGELY egocentric, of course, which must be what stumped S.C., because his persona on that show is all about eclipsing any piddling news item or famous guest with the self-perceived luminosity of his being, right?

So. Integrating. Physical and mental, internal and external, awareness and serenity, all bundled up into a little person sitting on a stool. Luminous. That's what I'm aiming for. (hoping, not expecting.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts?"

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life -

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

--William Stafford

My husband calls me the "what-if kid." I tend to think of all the possibilities, many of them disastrous of course, before starting something. Talk about a recipe for stalling forward motion. I hope meditation will allow me to sort out those things I need to preview and perhaps avoid, and those with which I can confidently move ahead. Right now it still feels a lot like shooting in the dark, with maybe a pause for "oh, what if I had a bit of light, wouldn't that be nice, well, here I go." I wasn't this way as a child, so it is frustrating to be immobilized by it now. I need a bit of this poem's feeling, that feeling of when I turn around being the right time for what's in my heart.

A bit of success this morning. I got up for sitting meditation at 6 and didn't feel quite so out of breath. I think my body is a bit shocked by moving directly from being the apple butter in a sheepskin-and-down sandwich to propping myself upright on a bolster at that hour. I allowed the emphasis on good posture to slide a bit. We were told that posture gives instant feedback to the psyche, and feeling like I'm trying to breathe through a straw from underwater is my psyche crying for a bit of transition time to grow some gills. After setting up my blankets and candle I rested in child's pose a bit, then slowly raised up to somewhere between a crescent moon's curve and a melting ice cream cone. By the time the bells chimed at the end I was pretty much straight up, and breathing more easily. That said, I feel far less successful with a meditation using simply the breath rather than, say, the bodyscan. There is still quite a clamor going on in there without the presence of a constant guided visualization. The handout says consider your mind as an untrained puppy and that is right on. I am out sniffing, peeing, and chewing on everything in sight.

A bit of success with finding a quiet way to ask Theo to consider his first interaction with us in the morning as well. Nice to feel that a piece of parenting work is a way to converse and bond rather than a gauntlet to be fought over.

A few months ago I found a book which is fundamentally changing the way I look at myself and my challenges in the world. It is called The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. I have had raging fantasies of this book taking the western world, or at the very least the U.S., by storm and everyone from President Obama to the supermarket cashier talking about how it has completely altered all their social interactions, and I have had small fantasies simply that everyone who knows me would read it and finally understand. Ah. So much for fantasies. I can share a bit, though, of what began a resonating glow in me.

"Introverts like depth and will limit their experiences but feel each of them deeply. Often, they have fewer friends but more intimacy. They like to delve deeply into topics and look for richness more than muchness. This is why it's necessary to limit their topics to one or two, or they can become overwhelmed. Their minds absorb information from the outside environment and then reflect on it and expand it. And long after they have taken in the information, they are still munching and crunching it--a little like cows chewing their cud."

Big clues, there, in relation to my feeling pressed for time to fully complete doing or processing something. There's more, too, about introverts using long-term memory and needing time for ideas and solutions to pop into their heads--we may take longer to remember something but we'll remember it for longer, apparently. "Introverts are in a constant distilling process that requires lots of "innergy." And pressurized situations simply make our minds shut down and go blank. Oh yes, I can relate to that. I know I have a lot of, um, thoughts in here somewhere…just a moment…oh, you're going, oh never mind. More on that later.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What if I could change my harmful reactions?

Today on awakening I tried to meditate to ease the dread. It was terrible! It wasn't working and I could feel my sense of humor about it slipping away. Steve was restless next to me. It was nice when he was away last week and I had the bed all to myself. Why was I thinking that I could do this? How silly to think I could keep the warmth and comfort of being in bed and satisfy the meditation requirement at the same time. The. discipline. of. commitment. means. getting. up. even. when. it. is. uncomfortable. Ha. Now I am feeling the embarrassment of putting these words out into the world. So obvious! So foolish.

Time to put advice of class handout into practice:
PRACTICE your skills as you learn them until they become part of you, where you use them without self-consciousness. PRACTICE:
1. Changing harmful situations.
2. Changing your harmful reactions to situations.
3. Accepting yourself and the situation as they are.

Finished up after he got up. A bit better. Could follow the bodyscan instead of writing a litany over it. First time to get to the face and head!

That tromping means Theo is up. The noise and the knowledge of the frustration behind it can pull my relaxation right out through the walls of my intestine and leave it tied in knots. Step back. Think about how to convey the message of a better choice to him. Wait for a quiet moment instead of storming straight out to confront. Try.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What if I didn't have to choose?

I didn't meditate today. I savored some time warm under the covers after waking and then I chose to write. I am keeping a spotty record of things Theo and Dora say and do. They enjoy hearing things they did and I confess I cannot remember many of them unless I write them down. It seems I forget so much these days. It's one of the things I get panicky and depressed about. Barely picked the pencil up when the kids came in wanting help with writing down a comic book idea.

So. This having to choose is irksome. Sleep or yoga? Yoga or meditation time? Meditation time or writing time? Writing time or art? Art or exercise? It always comes back to this and I have to ask myself again--what is my goal? Why do I expect to be able to do more? Is it really important to do so much in a day? Is what I'm doing the rest of the time (the time that I don't get to choose) so unpleasant that I feel so pressed by having to choose? Why do I feel that there isn't enough time.

1. I feel I used to be productive. I used to have the energy for it and, nested in that energy, the inclination.
2. I see others accomplishing more and compare myself to that.
3. I feel my life slipping away in inconsistencies. Others at this age have established themselves in a profession, or at the least have a passion they follow when they have time. I flit from here to there to nowhere.

At the heart of this adventure into meditation is an attempt to ease a nameless discontent. I can attach it to particular things but I'm fairly certain that when I feel this way those things are just convenient bystanders. The discontent can masquerade as irritability, anger, withdrawal, impatience, an overwhelming sensation of being lost, filled with poignancy and regret, sadness, and much more. I'm an introvert and I know my need for personal time and space has been greatly challenged by being a parent. Still I think there is more to untangle here.

One of the better thoughts I've had since the beginning of the meditation class is that it is so much more enjoyable to choose one thing to do and see how long it takes, rather than see how much I can cram into a particular window of time. This mode is easy to slip into when the list gets long and the windows short. I might even do as much (probably not) but the difference in intention and approach is like sidling up to a field of wild horses and getting close enough to hear one breathe, and marching up to a barricaded corral and causing a stampede. This implies so many luxuries, though, principally of time and lack of consequences for, um, not doing. I will do less this way. Simplifying becomes a necessity. Is it a sacrifice or a gift?

Friday, October 2, 2009

What if I could get up early (happily)?

Since my first child was born I have been waging a war with life to get enough sleep. I am defiant about the amount of sleep I need. 9 or 10 hours a night is best. First infants nursing, then toddlers with night terrors or colds, then perimenopause with sweats or insomnia, then depression with its ever-present list of personal failures have presented themselves as combatants. I've tried to be graceful about this war, but it has felt like a war and not a dance, with the attendant post-traumatic stress. I'm up now…how long will I be up? If I'm up too long, how will I get through tomorrow? Not every night, perhaps, but enough to make an impact.

It's two mornings now I've woken up at 6 and I'm excited enough about this whole new process that I got up and set up a meditation spot. Maybe it's just that I had to go to the bathroom but I felt a bit as though my body was cooperating in this effort to inch myself toward a disciplined life. I put a folded blanket down with a bolster on top and a candle in front, and started the sitting meditation cd.

I liked being up in the quiet of the morning. I'm more the type who clings to the pillow till the last minute so this is new. I liked the fleece blanket around my shoulders. In class our teacher suggested having something warm to put on while meditating and showed us a beautiful red shawl of chenille or some other wonderfully soft warm yarn. It was woven in damask-type pattern of subtle tone on tone and had long tassles on the ends. She lifted it around herself and it hid her knees and little meditation stool in a regal pooling of drapes and folds. Perfection! I had an un-meditative moment of shawl envy. More than a moment, because thoughts of where I could find or when I could make a lovely shawl for myself were part of the thought parade during my meditation. Is it meditating when you look forward to this time you're setting aside because it is so handy to have time to think? I think not.

I didn't like the way my face was scrunching its way every few minutes into a resemblance of Mr. Magoo eating a lemon. This didn't happen when I was lying down. I felt as though I were in one of those breathing machines, too. So laborious! Like a robot simulating a human, I was pressing air out and gasping it in and yet not, well, breathing. I tried different postures…slumped couch potato, yoga diva spine…finally I tried kapalabhati breathing a bit. I've always liked doing this in yoga class. Breathing lightly, breathing deeply, nothing seemed to convince my body it was getting the oxygen it needed. This lasted the entire 45 minutes!

This blog was given glorious attention in my thoughts during this time. Also how easy it would be to make some meditation stools (with a little help from Steve), whether my daughter would be well enough to go to school today (not yet), and where the cats were when I heard some scuffling outside. When the muffled voice on the cd asked "Do you know where your thoughts are?" and affirmed that observing without judgment and letting them go still qualified as mindfulness, I observed that although I don't mind sitting, I don't seem to be settling. Still, going up to make sure the kids were up and getting ready I felt calm instead of dread and that at the very least is a good thing.