Earlier, I had ripped through a vortex of pandemic news after drinking three coffees today, my hard limit. I was anxious. So, as I often do when I am highly strung, I meditated.
I meditated for a very long time.
I came to appreciate things that I have not verbalised and perhaps forgotten, but I wish to express them now.
I am so grateful to be alive. To breathe and to enjoy all the sensory experiences life has to offer. I am grateful for my friends, for the laughter and silliness we share every day. I am grateful for my freedom. Not in the sense that I am free to come and go as I please (a circumstantial freedom and one greatly tested in these times), but in that I have my room, with all my things that I love and keep. I am grateful for my job which keeps me fed and clothed and tempers a routine. I am grateful that I can observe change and accept it, rather than fight it.
Who knows how long we have on this planet, but I intend to make everything of the little time each of us spend here, a twinkle in time and space such as we each are.
I am grateful that I am pursuing what I love and working on becoming who I always knew I was, but lacked the confidence and conviction to fully appreciate (apathy, it seems, is quite a childish state). Every day, my confidence in my abilities, my values and my direction in life grow exponentially.
Set backs come, and some will be monumentous, seemingly peak-less, but they are not so. Peak-less mountains break to peak on the patter of persistent feet. One step at a time. Minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, we reach for new heights within ourselves.
So, you see, I am here. I am breathing. I am filled with wonder at my existence. I am unfurling as time intended, as expected, as anticipated. And, I accept this, and, watch eagerly as I and life unfold together.
You may not understand how I feel and I do not expect you to, but I had something to say and so I have said it.
I hope you are all safe, but most importantly, I hope you are living authentically and truthfully, and growing into yourselves every second and at every opportunity.
Life is short, but we can be so tall.
1. Finding love should be easier when you don’t meet societal standards of beauty, but societies standards make you feel that you aren’t worthy of love.
2. Negative comments about weight perpetuate weight gain. I no longer accept malicious comments and will challenge them or turn them into positive affirmations internally.
3. My time is for creative, meaningful experiences and not absurdly weighted towards attaining punishing weight loss goals.
4. Diets always fail and eventually lead to binges. Change habits in small ways to make a global impact.
5. Challenging negative self talk. I deserve better than to project social expectations which have never served me onto myself in a bad way.
I used to be fairly thin, but I was just as unhappy and so much more of my time was spent on dissatisfying activities that stopped me from developing spiritually.
I am beginning to experience a great deal of pain just getting about normally and I need to make room for exercise, but not at the expense of my happiness and progress in life.
I’m glad I’m not conventionally attractive because at least people see me for my personality and not what I look like. That’s a far better starting point for long term happiness than beauty.
I’m not going to sit here and say ‘fat is beautiful, or healthy, or happy’, but I will say, fat teaches you to accept yourself and to challenge your limitations, to become a person people can look to for other reasons than my flesh suit.
Fat is often seen as weakness, but fat can be powerful. A desire to overcome expectation, to become happier in spite of what you look like or who you ought to be. We learn acceptance and forgiveness, both towards society and towards ourselves, so profoundly affected by it before we even have a chance to fight back.
Fat is forgiveness, acceptance and power.
If you’ve developed an illness that is now invading your every day life in a way you can no longer ignore, it can begin to gnaw away at our sense of justice.
You’re a good person, you work hard and try to get by in a difficult world. People can treat you badly and not bat an eye, but you’re not like that, and if you are, your awareness ignites you to apologise or make peace with your victim.
And yet, even so, you’ve been stricken with bad karmic juju. You’re suffering, but you feel that suffering is unjustified.
Our health is so important to our quality of life that we often get wrapped up in the ‘why?’. ‘Why is this happening to me?’ ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ ‘Why couldn’t I be someone else?’.
The ‘why’ is fine when we are dealing with the things that we can change. There are so many good ‘why’ questions that can really change the world. To some extent, a little ‘why’ can be good even in exploring chronic health problems. After all, a better understanding of our ailments can mean we can better address them and find some balance.
I’ve even written on the ‘why’ myself, exploring how a largely vegan or plant based diet can reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health and wellness for those with chronic illness.
But, the ‘why?’ only goes so far. At some point, it yields less and less, becoming an exhausting obsession of diminishing returns. When we personalise our why’s and make them existential, we lose more and more energy, time, and happiness, to an unanswerable set of questions. When we reach this stage, we need to consider how we will accept the things which we cannot change and work on making our realities manageable, even joyful.
Acceptance is vital to living with chronic illness. We cannot continuously snarl at our illness, hoping that eventually it will subside or diminish. We cannot keep it in a box away from visitors, a morbid little secret out of the public eye. Our illness will live with us and we must accept that it continues, as do we.
Illness is unpleasant. It makes our lives hard, sometimes unbearably painful, both mentally and physically. It can be isolating, desperate and cold when so few understand how painful it is. But acceptance is part of changing that story. Don’t try to push it under the rug or pummel it into submission, but try to accept it as a part of you, aim to no longer fight with yourself.
In some respects, accepting chronic illness can make it easier to live with and tolerate. It can even contribute to recovery or partial recovery. The stress we cause ourselves when we are fighting our illness can inevitably strengthen it. The more you fight a thought, idea or perception of reality, the more power it gains over you and the more fear, panic and despair it generates.
Your reality needn’t be one of fear or aggression directed at disturbance and chaos. When you choose to allow or accept chronic illness to exist with you, rather than against you, you can begin to change your relationship to it. You can begin to be happier and lead a more fulfilling life.
We all want that, right?
I was having a deep discussion with my father a few days ago, a man filled with wisdom and silliness, a receptacle of obscure but interesting knowledge and possessing a remarkable long-term memory, much to my envy.
He said to me ‘I remember a quote from someone, I cannot remember his name (unusual, so that was for him), but he said: ‘People climb ladders, but often, when they get to the top, they realise they were somewhere they didn’t want to be.”
This seemed very profound to me and I thought about it a bit.
We seem to build ladders in the world, whether it be working up through a job, or getting married and having children, doing what is socially acceptable for us. We build our sense of progress in the world around us and showcase it to everyone saying .Hey, look at me! Look how high I am!’.
The trouble is, when we focus only on what we are to other people, we lose our ability to focus on who we are to ourselves. What authenticity can I have when I spend my life showing people what they want to see?
My father also said this: ‘When you walk out the door in the morning, somebody will hate you or resent you, even if you’re doing everything right’.
So who are we trying to be? Why do we try so hard to be loved by those who don’t even know who we are? Even still, there are those who will hate us independent of which mask we present, or even when we represent ourselves authentically.
So, I’m thinking hard about where my ladders are and what I should do with them. At the end, when all is said and done, the only thing I should be climbing is the effigy of my past selves. Up and up, I count forward from what I was yesterday and how I can become better today.
I want to climb a ladder to the best version of myself. Not the version of me people expect or want, but the version of me that allows me to be myself in a world filled with expectations about who somebody should be.
Whenever you feel that pit in your stomach or a darkness looming over your head, consider, ‘what wall am I facing and should I be climbing?’. Search for rooftops eclipsed in a halo of sunshine, warmth and bliss.
Put down your ladder down, and climb.
Most of us will remember a time when we meditated in an evening and started to drift off.
Meditation takes a concerted amount of mental energy and focus and falling asleep during the process can be an extremely frustrating issue for some people. In my last post, we talked about implementing meditation into a busy schedule. This post is about the dreaded drowsiness that follows your jam-packed life and how you can tackle its impact on your focus training!
Here are five ways to make sure you don’t let falling asleep ruin meditation for you.
1. Forgive Yourself – We’re human, we fall asleep when we become relaxed and this is only natural. Award yourself the positive thought that you had a nap and this is good for your body. If you were tired enough to fall asleep, you needed a break anyway. Part of the process of learning to meditate is allowing your body the space and time to understand itself. To feel the tiredness and listen to it. We are trying to give our bodies what they need. Falling asleep can be a form of listening and that is positive.
2. Meditate in the mornings – This one is easier said than done, believe me, I know! But waking up, having your morning coffee and taking just ten minutes to concentrate and focus, can set you up for a productive and meaningful day. Meditating before the day begins is a good way to focus the mind on the tasks ahead. Think of it like the time it takes to delicately string a bow before the marksmen shoots.
3. Make your sessions shorter – For some people, twenty minutes is just too long when they first start meditating regularly. Starting out with just ten minutes and working up to longer periods is the best way to make sure you don’t become tired and put off by the process.
4. Sit up and maintain good posture – Some people lie down to meditate and this may work in some cases, but when you come up against sleep, being so comfortable can be unhelpful. Remember, this activity is about maintaining that connection with your whole body. When your body is not engaged in some form of movement, it can switch off and we can find it difficult to connect with the sensations as well as we might when we are using it to stabilise our upright selves.
5. Limit the number of sessions – As has already been explained, meditation is taxing on the mind. When we first start out, meditating every day can be daunting. Like any new exercise, physical or mental, it is best to stagger the progression of time you do it. As your endurance increases, we may eventually work up to meditating every day, but for those just starting out, you might choose to meditate three days a week or only on the weekends at first. Don’t make meditation a daunting experience. It is supposed to be useful, not a chore.
So there you have it! Five easy to implement ways to reduce sleepiness and sleep associated self-chastisement during your meditations. Enjoy learning about your body and mind, but do not pressure yourself into more than you are comfortable with. Meditation is not a regime, it is a tool, and we can enjoy it on our own terms.
Happy focus, warmth and joy to you all.
I am a naturally pensive person.
I spend a lot of time ruminating on things.
They can be hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares.
I don’t know why I do it.
To live in the moment, to experience life as it comes, to be, rather than to be thinking about being. You might call this being a zombie, or a drone, or some such kind of non-sentient thing. Something devoid of its humanity. Devoid of its sharpness and its soul.
A fool? The one who does, but never thinks?
I’m starting to change my mind. Maybe I’m the fool.
We live once and die once. We get one life, one slip in time, one moment in infinity to just be who we are. And what does the clever man do? He sits and thinks and never does. While we regard the fool as the one who does without thinking.
What backwardness in the face of living this view is!
Their is some kind of unspoken wisdom, some prescient truth in doers that speaks to the meaning of life. It speaks to the joy of being in the moment, of not wasting time, of being present and connecting with people.
I am so tired of thinking and not doing. And the more I think, the less I do. And the less I do, the more I think about how much I ought to have done, and how much time I might have to do it with the limited beats, predetermined in my heart.
I have only one fear that means anything when the whole of life’s purpose is condensed into a single point and all trivia falls away. I have fear that I did not love enough and was not loved enough by others. I have fear that time will limit my ability to address it. I have fear that my overthinking life will tie me so in knots, that I never address my need for love and my need to give love.
I am 27 now. Life is moving so fast and I have never met someone who I could reveal my heart to and peer in at another’s lit up for me.
I fear that I am empty.
I fear that if someone peaked into my chest, they would find only dust and darkness. That I am incapable of being seen as someone, a person filled with kindness and purpose and love for others. I want to be that person, but I am so terrified that I am empty.
I cannot open up, for I fear what is inside.
So there you have it. Any fear I have in this life comes from this singular fear. That I am empty and will not love, like a dead thing, still breathing and thinking.
I am not scared of death. I am not scared of people. I am not scared of anything, truly, except being seen.