Tag Archives: mindfulness

Don’t Hate – Meditate


Hello friends!

Yes, it’s been approximately two million seconds since I posted last. I’ve been spending a lot of time with myself.

It started when I got sick after conference, and was lying around recovering and thinking. I realized that I’d been spending less and less time on self-care, and it had been wearing me down and making me a miserable brat. So I resolved to return to doing things to help me feel better and be healthier. Here are a few of them:

Mindfulness Meditation

The first thing I knew I had to do was get back to meditating every day.

For the last 21 days, I’ve been using the Headspace app – and I really like it. It was created by Andy Puddicombe, and I  actually found it and used it briefly a few years ago when I read his book,  Get Some Headspace: 10 Minutes Can Make All the Difference 

Perhaps I was impressed by the fact that he actually trained to be a Buddhist monk, but I really felt like his intentions are to help people learn to meditate. It is a paid app, but it’s less than $100 for a year, whereas I looked into doing Transcendental Meditation and was disappointed to find that it’s like $1500. Namastay away from that one.  

Over the past several years, I’ve read a ton of books about mindfulness and meditation – mostly while flying somewhere on a plane. (Planes are perfect places to meditate!) Some of my favorites are:

Michael A. Singer’s  The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Dan Harris’s 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story

Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness 

Sam Harris’s Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Taking Sleep Seriously

Since I’ve been using a fitbit, I can see how many hours of sleep I’ve been getting each night. I’ve always known that I’m a night owl, and if left to my own devices, I could easily stay up until midnight or the wee hours of the morning. Which would be fine, if I didn’t need to get up and function the next day. My fitbit was telling me that on average, I wasn’t getting more than 6.5 hours a night.

For some people, that’s probably a decent amount of sleep, but for me, I know I need at least 8 hours to really feel refreshed. I have spoken with others who have ectodermal dysplasias and found that they too need nice, long sleeps, or else they feel sluggish, have more eye problems, and get sick easier. 

So now, I make bedtime a priority, knowing that anything that’s not life or death can just wait until the next day. I’ve also made arrangements to go in to work a little later, which gives me some more time to sleep in the mornings, and also gives me more time for my next life-improving activity:

Getting my walk on!

I truly love taking walks at the beginning and end of the day. Morning walks are nice, because everything and everyone is just waking up. It’s quiet and calm, and you’ll see wildlife – deer, rabbits, tons of birds, squirrels and chipmunks, turkeys – and even the occasional skunk.

I like evening walks even more, because the light after the sun sets turns everything into a Monet painting.  All of the colors and shapes soften and blur – it’s very calming. Plus, I like looking in people’s windows when their lights are on. (Just in passing – not in a creepy way!)

For a while a tried running, but I felt like poop half the time, and I decided that since I don’t actually need to lose weight, and have no plans to run a marathon, I should quit suffering and just go back to walking.

Eating like I give a damn

I have a bumper sticker on my car that says “Eat like you give a damn”.  I’ve always meant for it to remind people to think of where their food comes from, and that you should give a damn about it and not eat crap, and not support factory farms and not eat animal products. Yet, I tend to get lazy about the vegetarian food I eat… I will eat salads for lunch every day for a week, but not really pay attention to whether I’m getting enough of what I need. I will eat bagels for breakfast, because they are easy to throw in the toaster and heat up – but deep down, I know they have very little nutritional value. I will eat more carbs and veggies for dinner, but again, whatever is handy for me to just throw together quickly. I love vegan chick’n and veggie burgers because they are easy to make, but I know that even though it doesn’t contain meat, it doesn’t equal healthy food.

So, I’ve resolved to make a better effort to buy healthy stuff in the first place, and take more time to prepare my meals in advance. It’s going to be the hardest thing for me because I really don’t enjoy food prep. But I have to make the commitment if I want to be healthier… otherwise, what’s going to fuel all that walking? 

The end!

Let’s see how long my resolve to do all of the above lasts. Most of it is normal daily routine stuff, but I tend to fall out of these habits and make excuses about being too busy to be able to fit them in. But that’s just foolishness. I’m going to MAKE the time, baby!

Pro tip:  Not being Facebook is a totally rad way to gain more time in a day. 

Monday Afternoon Car Thoughts


Here I am at the park again. I didn’t get to return last week even though I wrote about how much I like taking breaks. I had a lunch meeting one day, worked through the next day and then went out to lunch another day.

Taking Five

Last time I wrote I mentioned the books I was reading. Well, I finished the second one, The Untethered Soul. I liked it even better than Broken Open.  Granted, they are not the same style book, but I think I liked the cut-to-the-chase style of the second one better.

The book starts out talking about the voice in your head and how to step back and disconnect yourself from it. In a way I think I have already done that, thanks in large part to a great therapist I used to see. But I can remember back to the days where the voice inside my head was not very nice and really not very healthy. I’m not saying I have no inner voice now, but it’s not a jerk. In the rare moments that it is a jerk, I tell it to shut up.

Later in the book, the author talks about how everyone has pain inside them and that you can either hold on to it and try to protect yourself from anything that touches that nerve, or you can deal with the pain and let it go.

He used a great analogy of having a thorn in your arm that pressed against a nerve. Every time the thorn was touched or bumped it would cause pain, but if you were really careful and didn’t let anything touch it, you could live with it. In order to keep yourself from accidentally bumping it, you would build a device that would keep you from rolling onto it while you slept, and keep people from bumping into you when you went out. The down side of this device is that no one would be able to get close to you, even people you love.

The point is, you do the same thing when you have an old hurt that you can’t let go. If you build up these walls or these rules about what’s allowed or not allowed, then you’re essentially building a prison around yourself. And what kind of life is that to live?

The obvious solution is to remove the thorn and to deal with the pain in the moment and then let go of it.

Again, I can thank my former therapist for getting me started on that path years ago, though I didn’t realize at the time what it meant. I used to hold on to so much pain. I would cry at the sight of an Operation Smile ad, because it struck such a nerve with me. If someone made a joke about blondes or about a person with a lisp, I would raise my hackles. And don’t even get me started on how I felt and reacted to anything related to my former religion.

I’m not saying that I am now floating on a cloud of enlightenment or anything, but I am definitely more calm and content than I used to be. Much of that is because I have learned to let things go. Let it go! Live your life and let go of the people and the circumstances that have done you wrong. Life is too short to hold grudges and waste energy on negativity.

I didn’t mean for this post to turn into a motivational moment, but I think I may have just decided what my next Toastmaster speech will be about!

Time for me to head back to the office.  Namaste, friends!

The view from my car. It’s not Pike’s Peak, but it’ll do.