Life can leave us tattered at times, it is how we respond to this that matters
Summers always get me down. Florida is hot and HUMID. It is the latter that intensifies the heat. This summer we have been lucky compared to our northern neighbors, but that did not make it any easier for me when it came to dealing with our Florida summer.
The seagulls had no problem adjusting to the semi-destruction of their favorite resting spot. This is what I need to learn. What I have figured out is that it is my frame of mind that makes the difference. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the thoughts we have about pain have a strong effect on how we react to the physical sensation that we label as ‘pain.’ It is so easy to moan and groan “This pain is killing me!” I am not saying the ‘pain’ is not real… it is. The dwelling on the pain just does not make it easier to deal with. The ‘removal’ of the dwelling that is the trick, or I should say skill that is the key. I am trying to adapt, make this a regular part of my life. So far it has been a more ‘off and on’ action than a steady action in my life.
It is not easy! I still find myself saying… “OMG, why won’t it leave me alone!” My pain does not begin to touch the level of pain I know others have to deal with, but any dwelling on it can make it appear to be just unbearable, to me! Mind over matter, or in this case, physical sensations. Finding acceptance and peace with changes of any kind, whether they are within you or surrounding you, is the goal. Constant fighting against something magnifies it, makes it seem worse than it really is.
In his Mindfulness Meditation for Pain you explore the use of your breath to overcome the locked in thoughts regarding your pain. Your breath surrounds the pain and releases it. OK… it is not a 100% cure, but it is a thought process that can break your frame of mind at that moment. You can do it at any time and any place. What is great is that breathing in a mindful manner, works in so many circumstances; taking a test, getting ready for that job interview, your first date with someone special.
I also have his book Full Catastrophe Living and I need to get back on it. Any practice, whether it is to lose weight, finding release from stress, starting an exercise routine, or stopping smoking, has to be forever in motion. Stopping it, even though it is for a short time, does not mean the good that was happening will automatically continue. The positive action will be lost quickly. Little breaks in practice, unfortunately, often lead to longer ones and often to the complete cessation of the practice… no matter what you tell yourself.
Quotes from the book:
Cultivating mindfulness means learning to tap and focus our own wasted energies. In doing so, we learn to calm down enough to enter and dwell in states of deep relaxation. This nourishes and restores body and mind….
This energy comes from inside us and is therefore always within our reach and potential control.
He states that his first impression of meditation was incorrect. He thought change just happened without planning.
But time has taught me that some kind of personal vision is also necessary…
This image or ideal will help carry you through the inevitable periods of low motivation and give continuity to your practice.
This is what I have neglected to do. I was practicing without a goal or vision of what I wanted to accomplish. This has got to be changed. One goal coming up… in vivid color!
The act of breathing…
Our very bodies are joined with the planet in a continual rhythmic exchange as matter and energy flow back and forth between our bodies and what we call “the environment.”
The breath has a very important partner in its work, namely the heart. Think of it: This amazing muscle never tops pumping during our entire lifetime.
Breathing is an incredible powerful ally and teacher in the work of meditation, although people who have no training in meditation think nothing of it and find it uninteresting.
As long as we are alive, it is always with us. We can’t leave home without it…. Tuning in to it brings us right into the here and now.
I have CDs for both Qigong and Tai Chi that are being neglected at this moment. What is it in me, that lets me stop or ignore those things that I know can help me. I have used these practices in the past and have benefited greatly. It was that ‘little’ break I took… that “I’ll do it tomorrow instead” that messed me up. What this comes down to is self-discipline. Guess what I am lacking!! When I have things that I have to do for others, I get it done without fail, but when it comes to myself… I fall flat on my face. I know I am not alone in this.
OK, Barb, what will it be like this time? Can you stick to it? Are you able to really make these practices a real part of your life? You know the benefits you achieve from them, so what the ‘heck’ is the problem? Don’t stay ‘broken down’ like the dock in the photo. The county did get around to fixing it up, eventually. Now it is your turn to ‘get around’ to doing what you know you have to do.