I want to give a little shoutout to my mama. We’ve had our differences over the years, like any mother and daughter, but I can honestly say she’s one of the most thoughtful people I know. And woefully under-celebrated for it. One small example: if you mention you like something, even in passing, she’ll put it in her memory bank for later. She’ll notice what chocolate you eat when you’re home and mail it halfway around the world, wrapped, for Christmas. My mother has never forgotten a birthday or an anniversary or overlooked an important date. (The woman’s got a memory of an elephant. Unless you’ve wronged her—in that case she lets it go). She sends more cards for these events than anyone I know: even to people she doesn’t know that well or who have abused her and my father’s kindness.
With her church group, Peg hand-knits shawls for people who are sick or grieving. My grandmother used to call her the power behind the throne, (my father being the king) and she wasn’t kidding. I think even Dad would agree (to a point) that that’s a fairly accurate statement, or at least not inaccurate. Hers is a quiet power.
Probably no one would accuse her of being touchy feeling or lovey dovey. My first boyfriend still jokes about how, after years of us dating, she still signed her cards to him, ‘Fondly, Peg.’ As mentioned, her caring nature is more quiet; backed up by actions instead of little nicknames or endearing monikers, for which she has little patience. (I may have gotten that from her.)
My mother is extremely humble and probably would never want me to post her picture here, but I just wanted to show my appreciation, because unfortunately it’s rare that I do. Love you Mom! Thank you for all you do, for me and so many others.
I’m working with this wonderful coach, which someday I’ll write more about. For now I’ll just say she’s helping me get out of my comfort zone and push through boundaries —like posting every day, showing more of myself, etc.
Part of my ‘homework’ is daily silent meditation. She says it’s non-negotiable. I’m no stranger to meditation—I’ve done it on and off for 15 years, but usually with a mantra, a guided meditation, or at least a group. I’m finding that silent meditation is a b&tch though. I start the usual way: get comfortable, take deep breaths, try to quiet my mind, and… a million thoughts come in. I make lists, suddenly remember things I forgot to do, the typical monkey mind. Sometimes (often) I even forget I’m supposed to be meditating and I get up and do other things! I just completely forget I even started a meditation.
I almost went on a five-day silent retreat once. If I can’t handle a ten-minute silent meditation, can you imagine how that would have gone? In one of the pictures of the event from the prior year, they showed people sitting immersed in these gorgeous alpine settings and looking blissed out—except for one guy who was looking down, hands on his head looking like he was about to lose it. That probably would’ve been me after about three days.
I really want to conquer this.
I never have this problem with guided meditations. What am I doing wrong? Do you meditate silently? Have any tips for me? Someone please help!!!
This is one small excerpt of a chapter I wrote in what may become a book. Don’t laugh, as Joyce Carol Oates says, we ALL have at least one good story in us.
‘The great irony of spiritual principles is that for healing, you need to do the complete opposite of what human nature would have us do. You have to let go of the worry, the anxiety, the constant living in the future, or the past. And you have to release the need for control. That’s not easy to do, especially for us Type A people. I’m not even close to a Type A person but I become one in certain situations when I’m trying desperately to control the outcome. Universal law wants us to meditate on what we want and how we want to FEEL when we get it, then walk around with the knowing that we already have it. That’s not easy because it’s not logical to humans. But it actually works.’
Do something every day that scares you. Or at least once a week. Or at least occasionally—it is life affirming! The thing I did recently was really basic, and I’m sure most people would think I’m a total wimp for having anxiety about it. But it was challenging for me. I swam in a pond. Big deal, right? Well it was, because I had always avoided that pond because I’d been told I could get my toe snapped off by a turtle. And I imagined other creepy creatures just under the surface ready to bite. (I know there’s eels and catfish and who knows what else?) Plus I’ve always hated swimming in dark water where you can’t see what’s beneath you (thanks Jaws). It wasn’t exactly fun swimming out far and thinking about the turtles, but I felt great afterward. And then I went in the next three days and actually enjoyed it.
We often take on the anxieties and fears of our elders/ancestors/families without even realizing it. Not to mention society’s conditioning. Casting off the unfounded fears is so liberating, you may just become addicted to the rush of doing so. What can you do today that scares you? Talk to a stranger? Speak in public? Have a difficult conversation you’ve been putting off? Try it— you just may surprise yourself.