Just 10 minutes….

“When was the last time you did nothing for 10 minutes? No TV, no texts, no reading, no eating, no thinking….   GREAT questions and a GREAT video! …. Andy Puddicombe reminds of how simple taking 10 mins a day can be on this TED video…….

Click here for the video… 

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They’re Just “things”….

 

Today I almost cried after I found a home, my true dream home. It’s the house I’ve had images of in my mind for years. It’s THE  perfect spot, for me, and my family. There’s only one problem – that’s my dream, not theirs.

I attached myself so quickly to this gorgeous old stone farmhouse that I started to call it “mine”! I imagined us living there, on the farm, near a lake. I saw us doing the things we want to do – our hobbies and our dream jobs. I stared at the photos and website, dedicated to this place, for hours. I attached myself and my thoughts, they all went there.

Attachment … It’s an idea I’ve been fascinated with lately.  Things are just things. You can’t wait to get that new car. You get it. You drive it. It’s nice. It’s over. New car syndrome is finished. Now what?

Attachment can happen quickly,  it can come and just sweep us off of our feet. Would moving into this place tomorrow make me a better person? no. Would it make me happier? I feel as thought it would since I want to live  near nature. But in the end, it may not be the end all be all. It may just be the temporary “high” I’m in search of for the moment.  So I breathe through it. Meditate with the idea. I nurture the thoughts and acknowledge that they exist. There’s no forcing anything. I don’t attempt to “bury” anything or rationalize. I just am. I can only be present and tend to my thoughts.

For 30+ years I collected things, loved things, “had to have” things and admired things. There’s nothing wrong with having and appreciating, but living for things and waiting with baited breathe for the next visit to Bloomies isn’t going to make a difference in the end. These are just things.

I am fortunate to have a beautiful home and healthy family. I am fortunate to have seen beautiful photos of this “dream home” , and who knows if we’ll cross paths one day. That’s really not for me to decide. Only now is.

We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all.”- K. Rinpoche, Tibet

 

Careful What You Wish For…

Today marks a few things for me…  It’s the first day of summer and I LOVE the summer. It’s the first day of my “break” (as a teacher I love having off 2 1/2 months!) It’s the first time I’ve ever been fired.

Yes, fired.

I’ve held many jobs. Many. Not just a few – MANY.

I’ve been a tour guide, translator, curator, shop owner, artist, writer, editor, llama caretaker, dog walker, vet tech, kids yoga instructor, history department director, interior designer , photographer and teacher – Some of that list is still true today (I traded in the llama work for a large set of pets at our house but I’d go back to that llama farm in heartbeat!). But I’ve never been fired from any of those jobs.

Back to First Day o’ summer.

As a teacher and parent, summers are FUN. They’re relaxing- well, they should be. But for the past few summers I’ve found them not restful or relaxing at all. In fact, I’ve found them incredibly stressful. I’ve clung to a job that I can’t stand. I hate it (and I don’t use “hate” almost ever in my vocab!). I mean this job just was the worst. I lamented about it every week. My husband had to deal with me crying and stressing over it.

What was it? A stupid merchandising job for some hot-shot athletic companies. It sucked. I ran home to get reports done, not having time to make dinner or be with my daughter. I had not time to blog, grade papers, read for myself. I dragged my family on rides to never-never land in order to take photos for these absurd reports. We held picnics in the car so we could get more done – including meals – for this ridiculous job. I never looked forward to any of it.

Why? Yes, I did it for the lovely paycheck that came to me every two weeks. That check helped us a LOT. It gave us the ability to pay our cars without digging into other funds. But I didn’t like the way I got the money. I didn’t appreciate anything about the job, or, in fact, the money that came with it. I wanted it dead. I wanted my job to just evaporate into space or blow up like a bomb.

And… I got just that. I got exactly what I wished for. I got an email that said “thank you for your services, but they are no longer needed.” I wanted to cry and jump for joy. I didn’t want to tell my husband, but he was happy it was finally over too.

I have a sense of freedom now. I learned my lesson – in fact, I never tell anyone to work at what they don’t enjoy doing. I didn’t take my own advice. I fought it for a lousy paycheck. I’m happy I got what I wished for. I’m thankful.

I can go back to some of the jobs I like again – the artist, the photographer and the writer. In fact, I’m back to those already. I have some wonderful plans for my family this summer. I’m also making some new wishes… much BETTER ones too.

Grateful Symbols

The word alone, Grateful, is beautiful. I make myself aware, every day, of at least 3 or 4 things of which I’m grateful. I have a gratitude journal , and on my phone, I even had a Gratitude app 🙂   It’s not a new idea, and there are lots of authors and creative types who have directed us to be aware of being more grateful, every day.

Today, after purchasing some groceries, the 16-year old cashier thanked me then carried on a conversation with her buddy at the next register. I could tell there was a certain “odd air” about the store, and it had nothing to do with the rainy day syndrome. The store was closing and soon a lot of “new hires,” would, once again, have to go job hunting for yet another “first job.” However, the girl who rung up my groceries started to talk to her friend, also a teenager, and said, “you know, I’m nice to sales people now, I see what they have to put up with. I’m pretty lucky to have had this job. No, I’m VERY lucky I had this job.”

I didn’t say anything, but I left her with a smile. I was grateful for her words and her wisdom. At 16, this young woman realizes and appreciates the art of work. All too often we take work for granted. “I HAVE TO work,” but so few say, “I LOVE my job.” or “I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here.”

Maybe the words “work” and “job” give off a sour note, for those who don’t enjoy what they do. I know, for me, “work,” is an enjoyable word. I don’t even hear the word, I see it as a symbol. A school. Kids. Adults. Teaching… All ideas, symbols, things I enjoy.

Try thinking in symbols, instead of words. What ideas come to mind? Maybe symbols and pictures leave a better taste about the work you do?

You don’t like your boss? You can’t stand your co-workers? Hours are too long? Your desk is full of paperwork? (I am guilty of the later!)… Be grateful. Haven’t you learned what you like and you don’t like?  Can you define what you DO want more so now? What symbols come to mind with those concepts? Be grateful for learning more about yourself, from work, from others.

Like I said, every day I write down what I’m grateful for. I never repeat things, ever. At times, I draw things I’m grateful for, just because they give me such a better definition.

Try it out – just for a week… Keep a list of 3 to 5 things for which you are grateful. Words , symbols , pictures – whatever works best for you. Don’t repeat items at any time. After a week, look at your lists , breathe , and smile.

ps- don’t forget to listen and be aware… And maybe you too will soon be inspired by someone else, a stranger or a friend, a little “reminder angel” of just what gratitude is all about.