Kissing the Earth

Walking tends to be a means of getting from here to there. We generally don’t notice we’re doing it unless there is an ache or injury that makes it less pleasant to move about.

When you walk, you may prefer to wander in the past, but I’m usually several steps ahead of myself. I tend to project into the future or find myself engaging in conversation about imaginary scenarios with imaginary people. (Yeah, it’s like that in here.)

Last year, after a few months away from home, I returned to the cottage where I had lived for 7 years and the walk from the driveway to the house changed my life.

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Going From Zero to Zen

Meditation is enjoying a moment in the limelight.

A slew of studies now confirm it’s good for you. High-profile celebrities openly encourage it. Your doctor may have even suggested it as a way for you to manage stress.

All of this may make you feel (more than you did already) that you really need to give it a go.

So you sit down, cross your legs, and begin.

And within 30 seconds you’re fidgeting. Soon your foot falls asleep, and that’s all you can think about. Except when you’re thinking about whatever your mind has decided needs to be dealt with immediately. Like checking email. Again.

Then the dog (or the cat, or your kid) realizes you’re sitting on the floor and assumes it’s playtime. Game over.

Maybe you try again tomorrow, but within a few days, because the experience is anything but peaceful, you give up.

It can be hard to go from zero to Zen. Meditating outside, with others, can help.

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Take a Stand By Sitting

“It is indeed a radical act of love just to sit down and be quiet for a time by yourself. Sitting down in this way is actually a way to take a stand in your life as it is right now, however it is. We take a stand here and now, by sitting down, and by sitting up.” —Jon Kabat-Zinn

For years I was a reluctant meditator.

I took to the cushion because I was convinced there was something wrong with me that needed fixing. I was trying to figure out how to be the right person in order to have the kind of life I was supposed to have—that elusive life with the right job, partner, body, clothes, house, vacations, investments, etc.

I didn’t realize this was my motivation—I just operated from unexamined beliefs and assumptions that constantly goaded me to do whatever I needed to do to “get it right.” (Though of course I was never clear exactly what “right” looked like, which is part of the scam!)

These are the same unnamed beliefs that convinced me to do one more diet, to try yet another promising exercise routine, or to switch partners or jobs on a whim.

So I sat. And sometimes I didn’t. (Which just proved how much I really needed to!) Either way, it was a battle.

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Find Pockets of Stillness

“Wonderful things happen when your mind is empty.” —Maira Kalman

I’d been struggling for many months with what to call this blog. I’d tried out a couple of names that either felt too ambitious or too obscure. I’d even written a handful of posts, but the blog (or maybe I) was suffering from Failure to Launch.

Then, as these things happen, I took a moment to watch this video where Maria Popova, the brain child behind the website Brain Pickings, talks about 7 things she’s learned in 7 years of blogging.

I was so curious about the person—or the force of nature—behind that prolific blog, I was busy marveling and barely paying attention by the time she got to #4.

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