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Refresh Your Self

 

Meditation

"I was introduced to meditation by a yoga instructor when I was in high school.  It was very calming and peaceful.  I find it to be both practical and enjoyable.  For a number of years now, my day doesn't start (even before tea) without the practice of meditation with my husband." 

-Alice

Summer MeditationAlice Francis
  • Set a time each day (some people meditate twice a day, but do what you can and want to do)

  • Be consistent, if possible.  Go for 5 minutes for a week or a month and then add a minute monthly.  I don't know many people who practice meditation (also known as "sitting") for more than 30 minutes at a time

  • I find it helpful to light a candle.  It's funny- most of the time my eyes are closed, but there is something calming and ritualistic about having a tea candle burning

  • In some traditions, senses are not part of meditation.  I'm of the mind that, if music and incense assist you in meditation, use it.  I do, and love it

  • My husband has a timer with a soft bell that signals the end of meditation- that way neither of us is looking at the clock.  We also use an app that plays soft music and--once the period is over--the music dies down and we know that we can now open our eyes

  • Meditate how you can, as you are, where you live.  Some people use a chair or sofa or sit on the ground.  I've done all of the above.  But a few years ago, Daniel and I made little cushioned meditation benches that allow us to kneel on the carpet with our bottoms on a cushioned seat.  If you want more information about this, send me an email by clicking here:  alice@alivenwell.net

Tips

The Mantra

Mantra (from Sanskrit: literally a 'sacred utterance') is a word or phrase repeated (softly or internally) which allows you to focus on where you are and what you are doing.  It's a way of "centering" yourself, stripping away distractions so that you can be in the moment as you meditate.  You can use a mantra with each breath you take or by some other rhythm.  It can be done for a few seconds only or during the entire meditation session.  It's up to you; do what works for you.

Choose (or make up) your own mantra.  Here are some common ones:

"I am"

"I accept"

"I am not my thoughts"

"Om"

"My Lord and my God"

"All is good"

"I am a channel of your peace"

 
Marble Surface

Recommended Reading

  • Ron Rolheiser, "The Holy Longing"

  • Eckhart Tolle, "A New Earth" and "The Power of Now"

  • Brene Brown, "Daring Greatly"

  • Michael Singer, “The Untethered Soul”

  • Eknath Easwaran, “Conquest of Mind” 

  • Adyashanti, “True Meditation“

  • Eknath Easwaran, "Original Blessing"

 

Videos

 
Watercolor Painting

Poetry and Prose

Where I’m from, people still wave
to each other, and if someone doesn’t,
you might say of her, She wouldn’t
wave at you to save her life—

but you try anyway, give her a smile.
This is just one of the many ways
we take care of one another, say: I see you,
I feel you, I know you are real. I wave

to Rick who picks up litter while walking
his black labs, Olive and Basil—
hauling donut boxes, cigarette packs
and countless beer cans out of the brush

beside the road. And I say hello
to Christy, who leaves almond croissants
in our mailbox and mason jars of fresh-
pressed apple cider on our side porch.

I stop to check in on my mother-in-law—
more like a second mother—who buys us
toothpaste when it’s on sale, and calls
if an unfamiliar car is parked at our house.
We are going to have to return to this
way of life, this giving without expectation,
this loving without conditions. We need
to stand eye to eye again, and keep asking—
no matter how busy—How are you,
how’s your wife, how’s your knee?, making
this talk we insist on calling small,
though kindness is what keeps us alive.

-James Crews

At first we just say flower. How
thrilling it is to name. Then it’s
aster. Begonia. Chrysanthemum.

We spend our childhood learning
to separate one thing from another.
Daffodil. Edelweiss. Fern. We learn

which have five petals, which have six.
We say, “This is a gladiolus, this hyacinth.”
And we fracture the world into separate

identities. Iris. Jasmine. Lavender.
Divorcing the world into singular bits.
And then, when we know how to tell

one thing from another, perhaps
at last we feel the tug to see not
what makes things different, but

what makes things the same. Perhaps
we feel the pleasure that comes
when we start to blur the lines—

and once again everything
is flower, and by everything,
I mean everything.

-Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

I miss you, fellow walkers – dad with double stroller,
rainbow legging woman, earnest black hound hauling
graybeard man on a never-slack leash.
I miss the Marc’s check-out clerk with three nose rings,
bitten nails, sardonic asides.
Miss the librarian whose voice is soft as my mother’s was
back when I sobbed myself weak, her hand
stroking my hair while she looked out the window.

Wherever you are now, I wish you well. Cast light around you
each night before sleep. I want your granny to pull through,
your job to stick around, your landlord to grant you
every dispensation. I want flowers
to sprout in your garbage, old milk to turn into yogurt.
May your junk mail transform into loans forgiven,
scholarships granted, grievances forgotten.
May we see each other soon, smile in recognition,
reimagine a world where we all breathe free.

-Laura Grace Weldon

The Earth & Our Universe

For beautiful, daily images sign up to these sites.  It will help you remember how amazing is our planet and how unfathomable is our world! 

Earth Science Picture of the Day:  https://epod.usra.edu/blog/subscribe-to-epod.html

 

Astronomy Picture of the Day:  https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html