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100 Things update 1

Last month I posted my list of 100 Things to Do in 2016, and I’ve been crossing off items as I do them. But I want to keep track of what I’m doing too, not just the fact that they’ve been checked off. Every few weeks I plan on doing an update like this so I can elaborate a little bit.

1/100 – Thing 45 – Go on a walk with Mark, 1/2/16
We walked around the huge mall in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for about an hour and a half. We had Charlotte with us in her stroller, and we didn’t stop in many stores. It was our last day, having gone out December 27 so he could have surgery on his neck at the Laser Spine Institute (an organization we HIGHLY recommend). His surgery was on December 30, and he was supposed to do some walking as part of his recovery.

2/100 – Thing 50 – Listen to a chakra meditation, 1/3/16
I like to listen to meditations as I’m winding down for bedtime. I listened to the free one I linked to in my previous post. It was okay, but I like Gina Rafkind’s Chakra Rainbows meditation better.

3/100 – Thing 54 – Take on the 52 Lists Project, 1/5/16
I decided that “take on” means to attempt/start and not to complete, so I checked this off my list once I had started making the list for Week 1. “List your goals and dreams for this year” was easy, after filling in my 2016 Shining Year workbook from Leonie Dawson.

4/100 – Thing 31 – Create a mandala, 1/5/16
I used Photoshop to create a mandala coloring page. I used a tutorial I found online to get the foundation, then had fun playing around. I worked on one section, which I then copied onto new layers and rotated to fill in the rest of the circle. If you haven’t seen it, check out my post about it and you can download it!

5/100 – Thing 64 – Create a sacred space in my home, 1/7/16
I have been collecting things for years, and I used to have a sacred space but at some point I took it down and never got around to redoing it. So I finally did a new sacred space on my desk. I threw out a stereo I had since college but hadn’t used in years because the CD player broke, and now I have my sacred space there. My favorite part of this space is that I have elemental guardians – gnome from Connemara Marble in Ireland (earth), butterfly fairy Strangeling (air), dragon from TY (fire), and a mermaid from a dollar store (water).

sacred space jan 2016

6/100 – Thing 87 – Get new sheets, 1/10/16
Since it says GET and not BUY, I’m counting it complete because Mark ordered sheets from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

7/100 – Thing 16 – Do a jigsaw puzzle, 1/11/16
I have a puzzle that is an ice cream cone and part of the box had ripped, so I wasn’t sure if I had all the pieces… turns out I do. Of course, instead of counting 500 the true way to make sure all the pieces are there is to DO the puzzle.

In addition to these completed Things, I have a few I’m working on. Hopefully I’ll be posting another update by the end of the month.

FREE Mandala coloring page that I made

Tonight I created my own mandala using Photoshop, so exciting!!! It’s the 4th item on my 100 Things To Do in 2016 list that I can check off as DONE and today is only the 5th of the year, that’s pretty good. ❤ I used the custom shapes tool and some free downloaded custom shapes (from here), duplicated layers, and flipped/rotated as necessary to create the circles of repeated shapes. If you would like to download the image or PDF below, please do.

mandala

right click image to save JPG

mandala (right click to save PDF)

What am I thankful for in 2010?

Inspired by Cerise at rainbowspiritgoddess

1. I am thankful for my husband making it through the year in one piece. We’ve had some big ups and downs as far as his physical health goes, including three surgeries on his back, a concussion, and a fall down a flight of stairs. So if we can finish out the next two weeks without any major incident, I will be thrilled. (Today he posted on Facebook that he’s feeling the best he has felt all year, so that’s a good sign.)

2. I am thankful that we were able to be at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, and that we were able to go out to dinner with my family for my birthday and my mother’s, and that we’re going to dinner for my dad’s birthday Tuesday. We may not have been able to enjoy every special day this year, like our first wedding anniversary in August, but we’ve had a lot of bright spots too.

3. I am thankful for my wonderful family, friends, and coworkers who have lifted my spirits, and have let me vent. We have shared the ups and the downs… and Lord knows we have had both! I call this my Rollercoaster Year, and I hope 2011 is a bit more calm. And, yes, I would go so far as to say boring.

4. I am thankful for Goddess Leonie and her beautiful soul. Her meditations and e-courses and her blog have been such a wonderful refuge from the trials of the past year. I am eager to print and start filling out her 2011 Goddess Year workbook.

5. I am utterfly thankful for Goddess Leonie’s Goddess Circle! It was the support of my goddess sisters here that encouraged me to not only begin my mermaid painting, but to see it through to completion. The Circle is a haven where I can be vulnerable and get the healing I need, where I can extend my own healing wishes to others. I can practice creativity, and learn more and get feedback. I can see the images and read the words of other women, a global circle of women of many different ages and generations. In my favorite book, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, Zachariah tells Charlotte, “We are not so different, you and I.” I am learning that every day in this circle. Women around the world… we are not so different.

6. I am thankful for my job. I have used up all my time off for the year, personal days and sick days. But it took until December to do that. With all the time Mark has been in the hospital this year, I’m amazed that I lasted this long before I had a day off with no pay, and even then I still had a half sick day so I’m only taking no pay for half the day. That’s pretty sweet! And the benefits package is really good. Our health insurance has covered well over $100,000 in medical costs this year. If I didn’t have this job with these benefits, our finances could have been even more destroyed than they already are. (That’s an exaggeration, they are not destroyed. We just have a lot of debt and very very little savings left.)

7. I am thankful for the “Ninja” blender we got at Sam’s Club a couple months ago. The past two weeks I’ve been loading up the fridge with berries and making smoothies almost every day. Yum! I didn’t realize how bad my body felt eating junk until I made the conscious choice to try to eat better. I am not 100% healthy, but I’m trying to make more things “from scratch” instead of from a package. My husband likes to cook, but mostly frozen pre-made stuff and often using lots of olive oil. Last night I made pork chops with green beans (canned, but better than not having any vegetable), and bacon cheddar baked potatoes… but instead of a box of frozen baked potatoes, I made them myself. So they didn’t have a lot of toxic preservative junk. They actually turned out pretty good.

8. Oh! I am thankful for the post I saw online when I was looking at the website for the then-new U by Kotex feminine hygeine products, which mentioned the DivaCup. If you told me as a teen that one day I would swear off pads and tampons, switching instead to a menstrual cup and cloth pantiliners (I love my Lunapads!) I would never have believed you in a million years. But I will never go back. After that…

9. I am thankful for the book Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, which opened my eyes to the horrors of the personal care product industry. This led me to dumping almost all of my products in a cold-turkey switch to nontoxic, namely those made by companies who have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. This was not as hard as I thought it would be, and actually forced me to throw away a ton of expired products that I should have gotten rid of long ago anyway.

10. I am thankful for my Kindle, because it makes it so easy to read. I am stuck in that middle school/teenager mindset of, “I don’t want to read that book, it’s too long!” But with the Kindle I am reading longer books and loving them. I would have missed out on my new favorite author, Lauren Oliver, if I had looked at Before I Fall in the store – it clocks in at a whopping 480 pages! Delirium is 448. Even The Mermaid’s Mirror by L. K. Madigan is 320, and that was another great book. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (or page length), but subconsciously I do it anyway. With the Kindle, it takes the book’s weight out of the equation, which means I read faster, and more.

I am doing 10 things for 2010 because I am a dork. So there. 😛 Done.

Self-Coaching and Meditation to Cure Road Rage

I am NOT a happy driver. I get angry if people pull in front of me (note I did not say “cut me off” – simply passing me and pulling back in my lane well in front of me will tick me off). I get angry if people in front of me drive “slow” (I speed, so if you drive the speed limit that’s slow to me; I am also not a GOOD driver, even though my dad owns and operates a driving school). I get angry if people use their blinker too early, forget to turn off their blinker, or don’t use a blinker at all. I get angry if people stop when the light turns yellow when they can easily make it through (therefore making me stop instead of “running” the yellow myself).

It’s a wonder I’ve never gotten a ticket!

I took the 6 hour New York State Defensive Driving Course (DDC) a couple weeks ago, and I’m reading about Zen and Buddhism and how to use these principles in my life, and it’s starting to slowly come together. There’s a chapter in Girl Seeks Bliss called Bring Buddha to Work, and there’s a small section in this chapter about making your commute less stressful and more mindful. I’m trying to incorporate some of the ideas. Like covering the clock so you don’t stress about being late – you’re on your way, and (DDC) speeding won’t save enough time to make it worth it. So I’m trying to slow down, and keep in mind that if I want to get to work earlier I have to leave earlier, NOT speed. I’ve already started to change the view on my GPS to not show my ETA, and this morning I covered my clock with a Post-It note. With my mind off the time, I am more aware of my speed as well as other drivers.

Another thing I’ve been working on is my road rage. I hate driving, but if I can stop getting so angry at everyone else I might enjoy it more. I have to change my thoughts to change my feelings (Brooke Castillo‘s Self-Coaching 101 again, which I first mentioned here). So here’s an example snapshot of my self-coaching. The circumstance is that someone pulls in front of me. This triggers the thought that I am trying to get somewhere, and they are going to slow me down. This thought causes the feeling of anger, which in turn causes the action that I speed up so I can enter the left lane and pass them, and quite often pass others too. The result is that I am driving too fast and the potential to cause a collision is much greater. Another result is that driving fast is stressful and makes me even more likely to angry at other drivers.

I need to change my thought. An example of this is: This person that pulled into the lane ahead of me might have somewhere more important to go; maybe he has a grandmother on her deathbed that wants to see him one last time. (I know it’s extreme, but trust me it helps a lot!) This new thought causes a feeling of contentment because he now “deserves” to be in front of me. This feeling causes the action that I continue driving as I was, because the other driver has no effect on me and I am simply continuing on my way. The result is that I remain calm while I’m driving.

It may seem silly, but I have found it beneficial to keep making up crazy stories for drivers who make me angry. As soon as I feel that anger reaction, I stop and think something like, “He’s driving his pregnant wife, who is in labor, to the hospital,” or, “She’s rushing home because she’s trying to get to her own bathroom to throw up because she just had a chemo treatment.” Insane stories that are probably not true, but if telling myself these things keep me calm, that’s all that matters.

I already talked about my Spring-themed meditation on Sunday. I’ve also been attempting to use meditation to cure my road rage. Although I don’t know if meditation is the right word. It’s metta, the idea of lovingkindness. Anyway, what I’ve started doing, especially when I feel the anger reaction, is to focus on my breathing and say to that car, “Love and blessings on your journey.” And then I say it to every car that I see. And when there are too many cars to say it to every one individually, I picture my heart is a balloon and it’s being blown up and keeps getting bigger and bigger and then finally the heart balloon pops and out comes showering down glitter and heart-shaped confetti, and heart-shaped firecrackers shoot into the sky exploding into more love and glitter, and it all rains down on all the cars and everyone inside is filled with love and blessings. I really start to feel my heart growing like the Grinch’s heart, like the box holding my heart is too small for it so it breaks the box while it’s growing.

I hope that my wish to bestow love and blessings on everyone helps them. I hope that they feel loved, or blessed, or even just that something extra goes right in their day. That’s my intention. And by remembering that every car is being driven by a human being, a person like me with a life of their own and with ups and downs like my own… this helps me to not anger so quickly. And then I drive slower (which means normal).

So that’s how I’m trying to stop my road rage. If anyone else has suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Attempting to Meditate on the First Day of Spring

I want to form a habit of meditation, but it’s going to take a lot of mental intention for this. It’s gonna take effort. I mentioned this in a previous post, where I said that meditation can help me lengthen my attention span. I also talked about the book Girl Seeks Bliss, which I am now more than halfway through and I am still loving it. I can see that being something I read over and over again.

For the past week or so I’ve been struggling to control my IBS, with various issues arising. Besides my usual problems, on Tuesday I was burping a lot with a yeasty aftertaste. Yesterday and today I’ve had a lump in my throat like I have to burp, but when I do burp it doesn’t get rid of the gas bubble, and from what I’ve found online this is probably acid reflux. It hurts a lot. 😦 Add to that a dental filling Monday and a flat tire Wednesday, and I had a pretty crummy week.

So today, while waiting for my Mom to pick me up and drive me to her house for the day (two hours round trip) because I wasn’t feeling up for the drive, I was sitting on the deck and it was a beautiful day. I closed my eyes and the meditation came very naturally based on my surroundings. First I listened to the birds, focusing in turn on each of the six or seven different bird calls I heard. I felt the sun on my skin, and then also felt a cool breeze on my face. The mantra just came to me as well. I breathed in, and on the outbreath I said “I feel the sun.” Another breath, and “I hear the birds.” Another breath, and “I feel the wind.” I repeated these three lines as I continued to focus on my breathing, and on each line I also focused on either the sun, birds, or wind.

I got distracted a couple times with other sounds, and opened my eyes to see people and what they were doing. But then I closed my eyes and tried again to focus. I probably only lasted about five minutes or so, including distractions, but I think that’s a good start.

For those few minutes I was able to ignore my throat pain a bit, which was good. I want to try a little meditation again before bed, which is very soon, and hopefully that will help me sleep. Hopefully creating a habit of meditating will help my IBS as well.

This entry was posted on March 21, 2010, in meditation.