Another New Year

Happy (lunar) New Year!  I realized recently that I've put off writing for a very long time, while waiting for the perfect post to take shape in my head.  One of my intentions for the coming year is to write, daily.  Just write, whatever it is I have to say, regardless of how polished it is.  Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic is a must read for the avidly creative!)  And so, a jumble of thoughts...

I picked up some cards last fall that follow the cycle of the moon.  Each day has a card and it's become my meditation since my son was born and my world turned upside down.  Day 27 keeps coming back around and grabbing my attention, and it did so again Saturday.  

Whirlwind: There's something in there in the chaotic windstorm and twisted-up jankyness of this moment.  There's something there.  You're uncomfortable.  There's something there in the discomfort.  There's something there.  It's gold.

 (Day 27, Moon Angels by Ryan Rebekah Eren).

I read this card and immediately think of the poem Eyes So Soft, by Haiz

Your loneliness so quickly.
Let it cut more

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice so

My need of God

Loneliness is not a feeling I enjoy, AT ALL.  I doubt many of us do.  It seems to particularly agitate me.  And so I love being brought back to this poem and reminded of the goodness that lies in such discomfort.  I didn't expect motherhood to bring a huge wave of loneliness.  Yet here it is, day after day.  Fall has turned into a dark and wet winter, dear friends live in far off places, everyone is busy, busy, busy, and I am alone with this dear, sweet baby boy who can't yet talk.

Six more weeks of winter.  Lent begins Wednesday.  Time to hunker down and see what beauty emerges from my discomfort.  Let the new year begin.

Time Crunch

Pike Place ClockI'm still adjusting to the recent leap we took to "spring forward" an hour.  I love the extra light in my living room come late afternoon, but I feel behind as soon as I open my eyes each morning.  We're also coming out of a season that is supposed to provide a chance to hibernate and move at a slower pace, but with the holidays and new year's resolutions, winter is often just as exhausting as any other time of year. The shift of seasons (spring starts Friday) give us the opportunity to pause and reflect on what's working in daily routines and what isn't.  As we say goodbye to winter, I'm ready to re-focus my dwindling breath and meditation practice.  Turns out, this isn't just for yogis.  Anyone can feel less rushed and stressed by starting a simple practice. The New York Times recently featured an op-ed highlighting the link between our level of anxiety and our perception of goals.  That we live in a world of constant connection--allowing us to try and juggle numerous things at once--heightens our sense of busyness.  Mental exercises that focus on breath and re-framing how we think about time can actually lessen stress!

Rather than consider this as one more "to do," start small and see if it works for you.  Meditation doesn't have to be an hour-long practice to have benefit.  Five minutes is more than enough, if that's what you feel you can reasonably make time for.  Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier tomorrow, go sit in a quiet place, and set another alarm for 5 minutes.  Connect to each of your five senses in some way.  Then focus on taking three conscious breaths.  Follow the inhale and exhale in and out of your body.  Then think about a time you were at ease - feel the experience of relaxation throughout your body.  Try and stay with the sensation for about 30 seconds.  Go back to your breath and finish with three more slow inhales and exhales.  Repeat the following morning.  See what happens.