Jun 082013
 

clouds

Finding mindfulness for self-care

From the minute I wake up in the morning my mind starts racing; what do I need to do today, what things have I missed doing yesterday and now need to do today, reading the world news, and the world condition just seems to worsen, feed the dogs, clean the paddock, grocery store, and on and on it goes. This all takes it toll on my ability to take that first step in the morning and to find a space to be that does not require my mind and my body to race around seemingly in circles. I reach to coffee, then another cup, a good stimulant to awaken the brain. But that’s not the answer because now my brain is going even faster, racing along with my heart to decide what to do first. And sometimes that means sitting in this turmoil doing absolutely nothing, stuck in the endless cycle of thinking.

Mindfulness as a practice of self care
A simple way toward inner peace, a way to turn down the noise, stop the circles of thought, is to find our space in the moment. Some people call this mindfulness; being mindful of the present moment. Here’s a practice that can help you find mindfulness, regardless of where you are or what you are doing. This can take only a minute, or as long as you like, yet it all starts with simply practicing listening to your breath.

  • Start by observing your breathing. Listen to your breath, feel where it is going in your body, sense the air moving in and out as you simply breath. Focus. If a thought comes by (and it will) let it go and go back to observing your breath. Sounds simple, and it can be with practice. So close your eyes if you like, and focus on this luscious feeling of life-giving breath moving in, and out, for just 3 refreshing deep breaths. Rest in the feeling of relaxation it has given you.
  • As you practice observing your breath, you will notice thoughts intrude taking you away from your focus on your breathing. When this happens, label your breath. Give your breath meaning. Simply recite IN as you inhale, OUT as you exhale. Deep, yet comfortable inhales, IN, long soft exhales, OUT. Notice how thoughts have difficulty intruding when you are labeling your breath. You are actively pushing the thoughts away as they arrive so that you can focus on your breathing. This step effectively trains your mind, setting down new neural pathways for finding inner peace. It is a practice that can be taken anywhere, no tools necessary but for your awareness on observing and labeling your breath.
  • The final step is accepting. Being aware of these thoughts, even as we push them away allows us to begin accepting our thoughts for what they are. Ever present imaginings coming from our amazing, almost magical organ, our brain. We learn by accepting that they will be with us for as long as we live. We accept them, and through mindfulness practice, we let them in and allow them to pass on through, breathing them in, exhaling them out, like clouds in the sky gently gliding along with the gentle nudging of a soft breeze.

Enjoy this practice of self-care, and remember it is a practice that can be with you wherever and whenever you find yourself in need of turning off the thought.

Apr 132013
 

Spring Blooms

 

Despite not enough snow or rain, our 2013 spring bloomed profusely. And, Gaia surprised me with her tricks as our Pink Dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Rubra’) flowered with both pink and white blooms. A welcome surprise as I look forward to a year of new and always, unexpected, adventures!

Happy Spring to all!

Dec 312012
 

…the more mindfulness we have, the less compelling sense-objects seem, until at last we lose all desire for them.
- Cynthia Thatcher, “What’s so Great About Now” in Tricycle Magazine

I know that losing my desire to hold on to aversive sense-objects (anything in my world that catches my attention in a negative way) offers me great potential for practicing self-understanding, worldly awareness along with my ability to accept change. But how do I practice that in the real world?

Last night, getting ready for bed, as I turned on the kitchen faucet for a glass of water, the water only trickles in. This means that there is no water in our 2500-gallon water tank, with a fairly significant leak somewhere outside the house. In this midnight hour it is freezing, snow and ice blanket the ground and my aversion to “no-water” (my sense-object) is especially felt. Losing the pull of my “desire” to hold on to “no-water” and its resultant sense of creating worry, concern and yes, fear in my mind, is a difficult challenge and one that could keep me awake for hours, ruminating on the what-if possibilities – unless I can let the aversive thoughts go.

How do I do this? With mindfulness; being mindful of the moment and letting go of my desire to hold on to my aversion. Being mindful of “no-water” gives me pause to find a space where I don’t need to dwell or to put my focus on “no-water” as a problem. Being mindful allows the thought of “no-water” to glide through my mind as clouds glide through the sky. My mind can rest along with my body as my head hits the pillow sending these thoughts out and away from consciousness.

I enjoyed a peaceful slumber to awaken to a beautiful brisk sunny morning. Water is now coming through my house water pipes (which means the pump is still working), so “no-water” can wait for a cup of coffee and a perusal of my email. My mind is focused, not worried, not dwelling on the what-if of being without water on a cold winter morning.

As I leave my warm house to feed my horses in the crisp morning air, I stay mindful of each moment, enjoying my task while observing for any aspect of what might be creating “no-water”. As I make my morning rounds, I notice a large puddle of standing water in the arena, more than what was left over from our latest rain and snow, and it’s not frozen like the other puddles I encounter. I hear a hissing noise coming from under the insulation cap over the spigot feeding the arena hose. Ah ha! I left the water running in the arena! One full turn of the spigot and my water problem is solved.

Now, if I had not been mindful, had been thinking, ruminating and fretting over “no-water” (which is so often what I do), my mind would have led me into mind bending chaos, most likely still solving the problem, but with little sleep, and a great deal of suffering along the way. This practice of being mindful of letting go of my aversions has led me down a clear path to a greater sense of well-being. I hope for you to find mindfulness in your aversions so that you too can lose your desire to hold on to suffering.

 

Dec 092012
 

Fall is waning as winter solstice comes to us on December 21st. To honor fall, this bit of poetry and art  remind us of transitions into seasons of life.

Jul 052012
 

Awakening Dreams – from Consciousness to Canvas
An Equine Assisted Personal Development Workshop

Awaken body mind and spirit through accessing the inner meaning of your dreams;  messages from your unconscious that can transform your life.

In this workshop you will experience ways to understand and learn from dreams that are often fleeting and gone before you awaken to the new day. Bringing a dream to work with, you will explore your dream through body movement, meditative reflection, and creation of mandala as a sacred space to hold your dream image. And with Horse as your guide, discover aspects of your Self that have been hiding away awaiting attention.

Self-exploration through dream work can be profound and transforming. If you have intention to seek your dream messages and are looking to explore emotions, feeling, and ways of approaching life that are not working for you right now, this workshop will help open some of those hidden windows to let in some light.

Please click  for details on Awakening Dreams

 

Jul 052012
 

As we open and empty ourselves, we come to experience an interconnectedness,
the realization that all things are joined and conditioned in an interdependent arising.
Each experience and event contains all others. – Jack Kornfeld

As I look outside my window, watching horses grace the pasture with their presence, I come away with a clear picture of the truth to what Jack Kornfeld writes about interdependence and interconnectedness. We are all a part of this celestial body that we call Earth, and through interconnectedness, we all can enjoy its bounty.

We are interconnected through our very DNA, the elements that run through our bodies, whether we are human or horse, butterfly or spider, oak tree or natty weed.This interconnectedness is what keeps our world alive.

This is expressed so clearly from the world around me as I gaze out my window. Without the earth below, we have no rocks, without the rocks we have no sand, without the sand we have no dirt to grow the grasses and the trees. Without the grasses we have no food, without food we do not live. And as the circle of life turns back, if we do not live, the grasses do not grow,  the dirt, sand, rocks, will have no life to support, the earth itself, will not live.

Life is such a beautiful tangle of interdependence, of connectedness. Lets enjoy this feeling today as we join to celebrate the interconnectedness of our Nation’s Independence. Something we might all think differently on if we truly understand the notion of interdependence.

Jul 052012
 

Transitions – Through the Rabbit Hole of Life

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar …
“I – I hardly know, Sir, just at present,” Alice replied rather shyly,
“at least I know who I was when I got up this morning,
but I think I must have changed several times since then.”

-       Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

A question to my reader, who are you? As Alice ponders with Caterpillar, who you are changes all the time.

Change means letting go of what was, moving into a state of confusion, and then starting anew.

-       There is a time of letting go of what was; I was a woman who put much to thinking and reflection, but offered little of her true self for fear of rejection.

-       There is a time of suffering with the confusion of the “in-betweenness”; I am doing but I doubt; sitting in confusion as I write, erase, start over…finding conviction, write, doubt … as I move between feelings of conviction and doubt.

-       And finally, a time of finding the strength to start a new beginning; I find my heart to reveal my Self through the alchemy of words and the joy and awe of the universe of possibilities that await me. I share of myself in service to others.

Letting go means diving into painful wounds that I’d rather let be. My struggles within the in-between time bring up doubts and indecisions, pulling me back from the change that is calling out to me. Envisioning the new beginning, realizing my doubts and wounds will always be a part of me, gives me the strength of Soul to continue on in this process of transition.

These struggles of transition and change are necessary to move within the progression of life. They bring aliveness to my life and awareness to my Soul. Now, who am I? Soul on a journey of discovery, a body and mind feeding experience to Soul, and who I am tomorrow will enjoy the fruits of the labor of which I engaged in today.

I’m jumping down the rabbit hole for a most exciting ride! Come join me!

Note: If you would like to learn more about making sense of life transitions, I suggest the book, “Transitions” by William Bridges. This book is the essential guide for coping with changes in life.

Spring Grazing

 Around the Ranch  Comments Off
Jun 182012
 
Horse on the Lava Cap

Well, it’s a little past spring now. I let the horses out on the lava cap to graze a few weeks ago – too muddy to let them out there in the winter. Happy Horses!