Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘meditation’

A Bit of Fluff

I’ve been putting off writing, waiting for a more positive frame of mind. There is so much going on out there in the world and in my own little world that I just want to focus on a little bit of fluff. Fluff is such a light and happy word that you would never think it can be used any other way. That will be another story, another time. I’m an old believer that where attention goes, energy grows. I’m aiming for the positive.

During the last trip to the metaphysical bookstore my daughter and I made, she brought my attention to some bumper stickers. She does not put them on her car nor do I put them on mine. She intends to tack hers up somewhere in her cubical. I really have nowhere to hang them up where I will see them every day, but I’m working on that.

I’ll pop one in here on occasion so I don’t draw any attention to myself on the road. It’s best to blend in out there. Here, if you are offended, you just click the button to close my site.

I’d kind of like this on a t-shirt too.

I’m ruminating a great deal these days on things that are not fluffy. Mostly when I take my walks. Five days a week with a minimum of two miles each day. With good weather, uphill. Yesterday it was done early at the mall before the stores open. I then took the MAX downtown to have lunch with my sister and a friend even though it was raining out. I like to wear yellow on gorpy days.

This was purchased in 1997 for a trip to Germany. It’s held up well and cheerful.

Walking is my meditation time. Driving is when I can be seen talking out loud to no one present asking the big questions. I noticed the music in the mall could cover that same kind of out loud conversation and these days, people don’t look at you as strangely. Maybe they think I’m on a blue tooth talking to the powers that be, asking very pointed questions. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the answers to our questions came the same way? I have a lot of serious questions these days.

One of my favorite T-shirts

What do I get for answers? Sun glistening through the clouds and the drops of rain on the windows. Breaks in the rain when I had to drive or walk to the restaurant. Most don’t notice those little things. I seem to notice everything these days. Traffic was lighter than usual, making my way back and forth easier.

This was my souvenir from 2004 or 95 from a trip to Victoria BC Butterfly Garden

Despite all that struggle in the world, the sun keeps doing its thing whether we notice or not. Life for some keeps going on while for others, it comes to a grinding halt or stops suddenly. I’m going to keep looking for the sunshine between the clouds. The view is so much better.

Are you noticing any good fluff in your life right now?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself



Show no Mercy

Relentless is what I am when it comes to weeds. There are hundreds and thousands of them up on the hill and all through the terraced beds. The winter wind and rains whipped them down and planted them deep into the clay soil. Once it dries, it’s like digging in rock. There isn’t a weed that is safe around me. I show no mercy when I see one. So far I have filled the entire green waste can to the top three times and made a huge stack next to it. Once it’s emptied, I fill it back up again. My last husband thought I had a vendetta against weeds. The weeds were quiet.  I liked that about them.

Then comes the real trick. What to plant to crowd out the possible weeds that want to grow back in that empty space? You know the phrase, nature abhors a vacuum.

I am growing arm muscles now and stretching leg muscles as I attack those wily beasts.

During the last hard rain we had, I saw a neighbor out with her umbrella over her head, mud boots on her feet, looking down at her yard. Once I was back inside, I shot off a text asking what she was doing out there. Was she playing in the rain? No, came her reply. “I’m trying to intimidate my weeds.” I’m still laughing. She must be doing a good job of it because there are no weeds in her yard. At 76, with macular degeneration, profound hearing loss and her new cane for the blind, she is determined to keep up her yard. It’s beautiful, front and back. This lady lifts boulders to place around her plants. She shows no mercy to her weeds either.

For many of us, this kind of yard work is meditative. I can do it for hours unless the sun is being relentless as well. Covered from head to toe for protection from the sun, I can sit in the dirt and play quietly with deep contentment for hours. I need no music. Nature provides that. The birds supply my conversation and all my cares find themselves in that little red bucket with the weeds.

My 5 gallon red bucket gets stuffed then emptied

My 5 gallon red bucket gets stuffed then emptied

They have done their job for the winter months, holding the soil to keep it where it needs to be. Now I will do mine and mercifully plant something without stickers in their place.

Made from the wood of the old deck. Nothing going to waste. Shoveled 2 1/2 yards of good soil but didn't need it all.

Made from the wood of the old deck. Nothing going to waste. Old gate for the snap peas to grow on. Shoveled 2 1/2 yards of good soil but didn’t need it all.

There are many kinds of weeds in life. Relationships that no longer serve, old crafts that no longer call to you, even clutter is like a weed that needs to be culled to make room for something new and better. If you don’t replace it with something better, more clutter continues to grow.

Where in life are you relentless? What are the weeds in your life?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself



In Search of a Little Progress

I’ve been in retreat for the last couple of weeks. Sometimes one just needs time for reflection. My routine for health was getting more sporadic and I needed to figure a way to get back on track. If all I had to look forward to the first thing in the morning was exercise, I didn’t want to get up. Since that wasn’t working I gave myself permission to change it. Now I get up, have one cup of my watered down coffee, write in my journal, then I do my exercise. It’s so much better that way and it has led to enough weight loss, I am now finally below what my driver’s license says. Imagine that!

I need pockets on everything.

I need pockets on everything.

It needed a butterfly on the back left shoulder. I don't do tatoo's so this has to do

It needed a butterfly on the back left shoulder. I don’t do tatoo’s so this has to do

I have been busy doing practical things as well. The work goes a little slower these days but that no longer matters. Enjoying the challenge of solving a puzzle (sewing pattern) is good exercise for the brain. I have made four of these big shirts so far. The last one I made more than four years ago. One of the shirts is so large, it’s still in storage somewhere and I made one for a friend for Christmas several years before the Bells struck. They are supposed to be big, hence the name “Big Shirt” to go over something else. I like the layered look and with these, I can be a bit funky.

The back of the flannel shirt. I can't take a picture of myself in it.

The back of the flannel shirt. I can’t take a picture of myself in it.

I also embroidered a t-shirt that has been in the top of the closet for over 2 years waiting. There’s a stack of them I bought wholesale to make gift shirts. Just one peach shirt in the bunch and it needed a butterfly on it.

Peach t-shirt for underneath

Peach t-shirt for underneath

it became a butterfly

it became a butterfly

So as I continue on my journey searching for the missing pieces of my soul, I will do my meditation at the sewing machine. My next project is a small quilt for a friends rescue dog they just brought home. She is a 12 year old terrier that is blind in one eye. Cloe cuddled right next to me when I went to visit. I’m hoping to have the blanket done before going back. In between, my daughter is working on making a blouse for herself while I pass on my vast (?) knowledge to her. She is enjoying my souped up machine and the fact someone is there to let her know that she is indeed doing a good job.

It’s the little bit of forward movement that seems to be most encouraging. Being task oriented is a hard habit to give up. It’s how I measure my myself. Not very Zen of me but I take my Zen where I can get it. Like not needing things to be absolutely perfect. I’m glad you can’t see my sewing close up.

How do you measure progress or do you even need to do that to yourself?

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. ~
George Bernard Shaw

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a New Routine

The saying is, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It’s something which I seem to have a lot of experience. I’ve had a pattern since I became ill more than 3 years ago to get a ton of rest, watch some TV, read and eat food that required very little effort on my part. There is a V groove in my carpet from my bed to the kitchen to the chair and back again. Any wonder why I’ve gained (a lot of) weight?

Most mornings I would get up, get a cup of coffee, do my journaling, (morning pages) meditate, read my email and think about exercising. I HATE exercising. Just beat me with a stick and get it over with. I was hungry after the coffee and all the reading so it was time to make something to eat. You can’t exercise on a full stomach so more time would go by and I’d find more excuses. The fitness center is at the bottom on a tiny hill and it’s free though quite small. Another excuse.

Something has changed. I’m not sure what it is but I’m feeling better. I found a new spiritual center on Palm Sunday. It felt like I was home. Then,trying once again to do my Qi Gong exercises, I noticed that I’m not losing my balance if I do it early in the morning. Logic would have it that I change my pattern. Ok, I have a logical mind. Now I get up, turn on the DVD player and begin. One good day lead to the next. I only took Easter Sunday off. I didn’t need to but it was a good excuse. Then I read Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach for that day and begin writing my morning pages. Coffee comes with the e-mail. Yay! It’s watered down, half decaf, half regular coffee but since I’m recovering from a stress induced illness, I try to take it easy on my system. I just can’t give up the coffee.

A very gentle start for those who and do little

A very gentle start for those who can do little

It's a gentle combination of Tai Chi and Yoga  Easier than most and a great start

It’s a gentle combination of Tai Chi and Yoga Easier than most and a great start

On nice days I’ve been taking a walk, with my cane, of course, increasing the distance slowly after the long shut-in winter. I have no yard right now but trying to plant a bit in pots to insure outside activity. I’m finding that I can sew again and even concentrate enough to tackle a project or two that has been on hold all these years.

I've had this for years. Any daily inspiration works.

I’ve had this for years. Any daily inspiration works.

My health is the number one priority, and I’m finally acting on it. No more sitting and waiting for it to return. Being a person who requires routine, I’ve turned mine upside down and do the hard thing first. It will get easier with time. The e-mail will have to go to later in the day as well. I’ll scan it for business that needs to be taken care of, then proceed to the next hardest job. Does this mean I’m no longer insane? Hmmm. I doubt it, but we can hope.

Do you require a regular routine or can you just go with the flow?

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. ~ Mike Murdock

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Focus

I can easily get lost in the wonder of exploring things I haven’t seen in the last year and some of my things have been stored for well over two years. Some are still in boxes in the garage waiting for the last move. That leads me to a familiar quandary. On what do I place my focus now? I’ve had this discussion with my son many times as he has inherited the interest in a wide variety of things from his mother. Some people call it ADD.

I have a book somewhere as yet unpacked called “The Power of Focus” by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt. I also own “The Power of Focus for Women” by Fran Hewitt and Les Hewitt. It has been sitting on my headboard for the longest time waiting for me to finish it. I just couldn’t get focused.

focused on the project

focused on the project

What I thought I picked up from the first perusing of the book, was that it’s hard to get good at everything so focus on just one thing and become proficient at that. That wasn’t the case. There was so much more to the book. It was more about focusing on getting the life you want. Well, I could use a little of that.

I have so many interests that most days I was spinning my wheels just trying to decide what to do next. I would normally go sew, embroider, craft, paint, or walk miles for exercise and meditation. These days, I’m requiring a different kind of focus. It seems to be more introspective than creative.

Right now my sewing room is a guest room while my sister makes her changes from one place to another, so I can’t sew anyway. We spent the last week packing up her apartment and then cleaning it from top to bottom. Not an easy feat for this tipsy chick. I’m going to try and figure out how to make that a more comfortable guest room since it looks like it will be used in that capacity more often than not.

I read voraciously. Now I can do it without guilt. I have finished 3 books this week including this one.

A good read

A good read

I’m trying also to focus on ways to get well. I think that it’s an option still open to me. Meditation is something else I’m trying to focus on since the walking and gardening meditation have not been available this winter. Come on spring!

Most of us have many things going at once. Trying to do too many of them sometimes leads to doing none well. Making a list sometimes helps me see what should be a priority for the day, week, month, etc. The top of my list is my health but often my actions put it at the bottom. Not eating healthy all the time and easily being distracted from exercise brings my lack of commitment into focus big time.

When I look back on all that has transpired in my life, it seems like everything else has been stripped away from me so I have only a couple of things to focus on. Writing is what I can do now; even more so than reading, actually. The other is my next topic, if I find the courage to post about it. We shall see.

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. ~ Tony Robbins

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Altruism

With this extensive search for health and everything thing else I’m on the hunt for, one would get the impression that it’s all about me. I would appear to be a true narcissist.

It’s crossed my mind more than once to be quite honest. How can my life right now be just about me and getting healthy, taking back my power and all the rest I’m searching for and not be self-centered?

Then I remember that without the strength of mind and body there is no way to give to anyone else. I have been depleted and must refuel. I think that’s the gift of any illness. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if we don’t pay attention to what’s not making us happy, our bodies will make sure that we eventually pay attention. So now I get to look at how this practicing nurturer can give back to the world without being drained dry.

I enjoy making things on the sewing/embroidery machine to give to people. But right now sewing disturbs my vision and makes me dizzy. I want to find ways to be of service in the world. The most important thing for me is to have the ability to give and expect nothing in return. I have noticed in myself that being appreciated is a big deal. Going out of my way to show appreciation for others kindness I thought was just good manners. It seems to be some basic need in most of us. Marriages fall apart when partners don’t feel valued. Children run from home for quite similar reasons. I think it’s essential to show the people in your life, even the strangers who pass through daily that you value them. Their smile may be just the thing you needed at that particular moment.

True altruism is giving without expectation. So how do we continue to give of ourselves in times where there is little left over energy or money-wise? Do we look at our motives when we give? I know when I do things around my son’s house it’s because I want to repay him for housing his sister and me during this time of transition. The things I do make me feel better as well. So we both get something from that. He doesn’t expect anything from me but I tend to feel a sense of indebtedness. Again, I’m looking at my motives here.

So what would true altruism look like? It’s clicking on the Animal Rescue Site each morning to help feed shelter dogs and cats. It’s tossing a chew bone over the fence to a lonely, bored dog. It’s offering a hand to a stranger whose car is stranded in the middle of the road. It’s the random acts of kindness you do each day when all you get is the knowledge that you’ve helped move the world in a more positive direction for a fraction of a moment. It’s listening to someone as they pour out their hearts in a time of challenge even though there is nothing you can do. Real listening is the hardest thing to do.

As I woke this morning before Easter Sunday, I have a sense of wellness approaching. Cautiously, like a cat stalking its prey. Checking to see if I am ready to be well and I think it’s time. I have finally learned several big lessons. First and foremost, helping isn’t always a good thing. Although my motives may have been pure, helping may have upset the natural balance of how things were intended to go and the recipients of that assistance built up a great deal of resentment. They had their own agendas of which I was not aware.

I’m hardwired to be of service. It’s in my DNA, my birth chart as well and the numerology outcome of birthdate and name. Just for the fun of it I thought it was worth the look-see. If they all say the same thing that my heart says, it must be so. The second thing I’ve had to learn from this illness of prolonged Bells Palsy is how to set boundaries. I had none. Now they are slightly more firmly in place. I can be giving without being gotten. Yes, I know that’s not a real word. My health depends on it. So now my morning meditation is following my morning prayer to find ways to serve without being served up. I’m looking forward to wellness. I’m looking forward to seeing how you see and express altruism.

From my heart to yours,