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.

Looking for the Silver Lining

What is the one thing in life that you are most excited about right now? Why?

That is Fandango’s Provocative Question for the day. Interesting that I read this right question right now since I’ve been a little sad today so it’s a good time to be looking for things to get excited about.

I have much to be excited about as I look around. I have my garden which I planted alongside my daughter who I got to spend time with for ten weeks during quarantine. Sorry for the reason, but so thankful for the time with her. The garden should provide plenty of healthy, fresh produce for me and my family if we have a good season. I need it too since having my two adult children live under the same roof again depleted our rations of canned tomato sauce and salsa a little more than twice as much if it had been just Mark and I. But it made me smile each and every time they opened a jar of our homegrown goodness and raved about how good it taste.

I’m excited to work in the garden and be outside with the sun shining and even if it’s not. After a number of months being cooped up inside because the weather was too miserable to enjoy being outside for any given time, I’m not too picky about when is a good time to spend out in the garden. Just as long as there aren’t too many bugs and it’s not too hot. My garden has fantastic sunlight so I have to pick and choose my hours which tend to be early in the morning and after 5pm.

I’m excited about the new chickens we have now! Khaleesi, Gertrude, Ethel and Lucy have joined our homestead. It’s always a thrill to walk into the hen house and see the daily deposit of freshly laid eggs. Which in turn has made us excited about breakfast and any recipe that has eggs in it. I get excited now to do the weeding since the hens love the dandelions and eat them right up, it no longer feels like weeding and more like harvesting. I know human enjoy eating dandelion leaves in salads and making tea or wine but until now they were just weeds. So I’m excited about that – it goes for all weeds pretty much too. Plus the chickens are so much fun to watch they make me excited to just come out to the yard and sit and watch.

Finally I am excited about the flowers which are beginning to bloom and I know will blooming throughout the summer and into the fall. I have a short season up here on the mountain, so I am grateful for the time we are given and excited to see it all unfold.

It can be difficult to get excited about the future when we are dealing with so many unknowns. But it’s in times like these where you need to take a deep breath, take a step back and look for the good things, they don’t have to be big things, just small positives. It’s easy to see the negative, especially when you are looking for it. When you are looking for it – that it all you will see. It’s harder to look for the positives, the good things – not matter how big or small they may be. But once you start to look for the positives, I thik they become easier to see.

Monday Morning Eggcitement!

This morning when I went out to the see the girls, I discovered the first of what I hope to be the first of many eggs. I was so excited, like a little girl who just got her Barbie Dream House excited. What an unbelievable feeling! I realize I didn’t actually lay the egg but wow! This is very cool for a first time chicken mama who was born and raised in NYC, let me tell you.

So excited, I went out about an hour later to reward the girls with some dandelion leaves when I noticed Gertrude was in the nesting box. So I gave her some privacy and returned 15 minutes or so later to discover she had laid an egg. So we collected our first two eggs ever today. Who the other layer is eggactly I’m not sure since there are three other candidates.

Gertrude

Three Things Challenge: Silent, Evening, Eerie

The streets of every major city in the evenings are usually bustling with life. People filling the sidewalks on their way home, stopping for drinks with a friend or colleague, grabbing groceries on the way home to cook that night. Buses and taxis used to be filled with passengers slowly making their way through the trafficked arteries of every city. You could hear the heartbeat of the every city – loud and clear.

But now there is an invisible threat that has set upon everyone of us around the world. A virus that has separated and isolated us from one another. The rural areas are quieter than they once were. Towns and villages equally reticent now. But the most noticeable are the silent streets of cities like Athens, Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. Never before and hopefully never again we will witness these eerie scenes of emptiness devoid of life.

This my entry for the Pensitivity 101 3 Things Challenge writing prompt.

Dear Life

Well you really have us frightened now with this invisible virus. You have a funny way of working though, don’t you? Teaching us lessons in your special way. I’ve learned a lot from you over the years. How you like to throw curveballs just because you think I can handle them. How at any given moment, life as I knew it can be all over. In the blink of an eye everything changed. How not to take you for granted. But even recognizing that isn’t enough for you.

Obviously, lately, we’ve been misbehaving in some way and you’ve decided we all need a time out. I don’t blame you and sort of completely agree that we collectively may have needed a time out. But do so many people have to die?

You have a way of lulling us with your calm water with invisible currents that drag us out to class 5 rapids without paddles and life jackets. Banging us against every rock and sharp edge. And just when we get into some calm waters – a whirlpool sucking us down into it.

But don’t forget, Life, you have toughened me quite a bit and I’ve learned from the lessons you taught me. So I’ll stay here in my house, stay away from others and wait for our collective time out to end.

This is my letter to myself for the writing prompt – Let’s Write Letters

Quest

During our lifetime, we are all on some sort of quest or another. A search for something. From the time we are born our very first quest begins, the quest for knowledge. What’s this? What’s that? What does this taste like? What does this mean? What does that mean?

The word ‘quest’ originates, according to Dictionary.com, back 1275-1325 Middle English. It was a derivation from the Old French word ‘quester’ which emerged from the Latin ‘quaerere’, meaning ‘to seek’. We are constantly seeking something.

There have been quests undertaken by mankind throughout our short history. From the knights and their quest for the Holy Grail to the men and women of NASA who successfully achieved their quest to explore our moon. Their successors continuing to explore further into our expanding universe in that ultimate and never ending quest for knowledge that we all have to know what’s out there and are we alone.

We are curious beings. We want to know more about everything. Our thirst for knowledge unquenched is one of our most powerful quests constantly driving us.

Life can be difficult. We are all on a roller coaster which we don’t control the steep highs and lows and velocity of speed at which things are thrown at us. We just have to hold on. Some people like to have their eyes open – others shut tight. I keep mine open – WIDE OPEN. Trying to see what’s coming ahead so I can prepare myself somehow. The quest for control as powerful the one for knowledge. The two go hand in hand, knowledge is power and power helps give you control.

A few years ago we moved from living in Connecticut full time to living in New Hampshire. A huge change in our daily lives, it was the perfectly timed step back we needed in our lives. To some it seemed sudden, but I had started a new quest quietly online two and half years before we made the actual move. Almost daily would take out my iPad and scour Realtor.com searching for our next step home. Vermont? Maine? New Hampshire? I researched and read about this town and that town, loving every minute of the journey to what ultimately would be my dream. I just had no idea at the time what that actually looked like or where that would be.

Another quest I have been on that any others are also on, is one that will give me not only knowledge but some control as well. My quest is that of being able to achieve a calmness within myself. We live in a chaotic world and there is so much that we can not control that it can get overwhelming at times. Whether it’s your kids having a problem that you are trying to help them overcome or suddenly facing a global pandemic which threatens the lives of every individual on the planet. Life can be very scary at times. Thus my quest to learn the ability to achieve a state of calmness in the face of a storm. This is an ongoing quest which I feel will probably be a lifelong one as well. I have picked up certain tools in my arsenal which have helped my along my journey and I will continue to keep my eyes wide open for more to help me further me in my quest to help me reach my ultimate goal – inner peace.

This is my entry for the Word of the Day Challenge March 14th, 2020.