Meditation

For the last five years or so, we have been trying to get in the habit of mediating. We’d be on a roll for a while and then something would interrupt our flow and we wouldn’t mediate, then we’d try again but never been able to make it stick.

This year has been different, in more ways than one. We’ve been meditating on a fairly regular basis this year. The quarantine kicked it into high gear, and we are on a regular roll. I found mediating particularly helpful in early March when the shit was hitting the fan for our family in more ways than the lockdown and COVID19. Our family was dealing with some personal stuff which highlighted to me how life continued despite the quarantine. I found that there were more moments where I started to feel panicky, the anxiety levels were entering uncharted territory. Mark and I weren’t able to be together for three weeks (one week away, two weeks in quarantine) – away from me and the kids. He’d been out in the Petri dish, we had to be cautious.

It was during this time that I clung to my meditation sessions although I had altered when I did them. Mark and I always start our day out with mediation but during that time we were separated I needed to mediate at night when I was alone in our bed. I never have trouble sleeping – it drives Mark insane since I can fall asleep in the midsentence while talking to him in bed at night. He needs to read and unwind. My head hits the pillow and I’m out cold. By 8pm. I wake anytime between 4am and 5am usually though.

But in mid-March when everything was so uncertain, I needed help falling asleep as my mind would race with all sorts of thoughts. I turned to my mediation app which I knew had nighttime, help you fall asleep mediations. I need guidance to help settle my mind.

The app we use, Insight Timer has all sorts of meditations that you can easily filter the length of time, whether you want background music or not, whether you prefer a male or a female voice, the benefits you seek, etc…They also offer courses and after over a year of using the app, we have decided to give a try. Later this morning we will do Day 8 of our 10-day course, each day has been building upon the next; teaching us how to body scan and different visualization techniques. It also keeps track of how much we’ve mediated and rewards us with milestones that help encourage you on your progress. Since using the app, I’ve meditated for a total of 2.5k minutes and reached 7 milestones. One of which is 128 days with at least one session and another being that I have meditated 23 consecutive days. I believe that is a record for me. As I said doing it everyday in the beginning was the challenge as we worked towards working it into our routine.

Since Mark has been out of quarantine, we have gone back to our usual morning sessions. My daughter would join us in the mornings when she was here – sometimes coming downstairs to sit with us in the family room while we meditated, other times simply joining in from her bedroom upstairs as she would sometimes wake up to our sessions. I’d love to get my son more involved as I know it would be a good habit for him to get into. He was usually sound asleep when we meditated. We have found our sweet spot to be around 7am before 8am when the phone starts to ring and we start off our work day. We work from home, so we have control over the schedule but have found it best to get things started earlier than latter here in the homestead.

Life is always about having to deal with unknowns, they just aren’t usually on the intensity level that they have been recently. Life will always throw you curve balls and you just try to deal with them a pitch at a time. The mediation sessions have helped me deal with each pitch, by helping me to take a step back, take a deep breath and calm my mind and my body which has allowed me to take on the challenges of life a little more effectively.

Sweet Mutiny

Things are going to be a little less sweet in the mornings… The cries for better nutrition and less sugary breakfast cereals could possibly send Captain Crunch into retirement soon. The good ole’ sugary sweetness that has kick started so many kids, myself included, has fallen from no.1 to obscurity. Shamed for having being too sugary and therefore the cause of every obese kid or adult out there.  In the 12 gram of sugar category, you have in the line up famous tasty morning treats such as Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops. General Mills is a little sweeter in this category with their menu of Trix, Cookie Crisps and Lucky Charms. Yeah, they’re magically delicious – 13grams of yummy sugar goodness.  One of my absolute favorite Kellogg’s Apple Jacks weighs in at 15g of sugar!  Explains why switching to Cheerios at 1g of sugar made them taste like cardboard circles at first. In the 15g group Apple Jacks sits next to Corn Pops and Smacks, all of which are Kellogg’s products. Smacks, btw, used to be called Sugar Smacks, but this obviously is no longer politically correct so they simply tossed the word sugar but didn’t bother to lower the sugar content.  Smacks sounds stupid to me. I’m sorry, I’m old school – give me my Sugar Smacks and Saturday Morning Cartoons!!

But if you take a very close look at the various ready-to-eat cereals, you’ll notice something very disturbing – many so called newer ‘healthy’ cereals out there and that is they have shit load of sugar in them!  Again, I’m not talking about the old school guys like Quaker Oats Cheerios (1g), Kellogg’s Corn Chex (3g), or General Mills’ Wheaties (4g). I’m referring to Muesli, dried fruit & nuts which has a whopping 26g of sugar! Wheaties Raisin Bran has 18g! Frosted Cheerios 13g – see it takes at least 12 grams of sugar to make those little round things taste good!