You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

So I talk to myself. Often. Out loud. I rarely worry about what strangers around me think, and my friends don’t mind – or at least seem to tolerate – my nuttiness.

I find talking to myself calms me down when things get chaotic, and it helps me bring some organization to the situation even if it’s just in my head (perception is reality, you know). Doing it out loud definitely works better than doing it silently; I have no idea why nor do I care. I just go with it.

According to this website, talking to yourself is a sign of self-awareness but you have to be careful what you’re saying to yourself. I wrote about that a bit in this post. Don’t listen to the mean voices in your head – tell them to just shut the hell up, then go sit quietly and listen for the voice of your Self.

I’m not talking about that kind of self-talk. I just talk to myself in general, about everything and nothing. About getting the work on my desk organized, or the way I wish a conversation will go, or what I’m going to make for dinner.

Here’s a tip: if you wear your Bluetooth earpiece, you just look like you’re on the phone, so it’s even easier to not look insane.

Advertisements

Because I am such a visual person, my SLOW campaign (mentioned here with another link back to original 2009 posting) keys on having little signs posted all over in places that are obnoxiously in my line of sight. For example, I stick them on my computer monitors, my dashboard in the car, my medicine cabinet, and above the spot where I dump my purse every evening. I move them around to other annoying places as soon as I realize I’ve stopped looking at them.

The current signage was, literally, a slow sign such that you’d see in a construction zone on the highway: a yellow diamond with black type saying SLOW. These are getting pretty beat up, and I barely see them anymore so I’ve updated them:

I’ve added verbiage to this version as an extra reminder of when I should be doing something slowly. I don’t list every opportunity (the list would have gone on forever), but this is enough to jar me into mindfulness. These are now printed about 2″ x 3″ and I’ll be posting them right away.

LIVE SLOW in 2011!

For a long time I’ve been searching for a way to keep a physical reminder of my practice in front of me.

For my SLOW campaign, which will be moving into 2011, I printed out little signs and hung them all over. They work as long as I occasionally move them so they stay annoyingly in my line of sight, and I will not only continue using them, but I’ll be freshening them up with a new design.

The slow signs don’t represent my entire practice, however. I wanted something that was with me all the time, like a mantra I could see. I’m a very visual person. I tried jewelry: bracelets, necklaces. But I get sick of wearing the same bracelets. No, time for something else, something a bit more – ummm, permanent?

Ah, a tattoo! I got one on my ankle years ago, so I  knew what to expect. Now, the difficult questions of: what, where and when? I’ve been pondering doing this for a very long time and had an idea bouncing around in my head. I received a lovely silver pendant from my hubby a few years back: it’s a small square with the word “shanti” embossed on it.

Shanti translates to “peace” in english, and has always been my default spiritual mantra. For me, the word “peace” sums up a slew of concepts including non-attachment, balance, non-duality, contentment, lovingkindness, joy, and more. There is a quote that I really love:

“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

Because you will never escape noise, trouble, and hard work. Or pain, stress, and jerks either. You have to be able to deal with those things without being dragged through the emotional mud.

But, I digress….

This summer my friend Karen told me she was thinking of getting a tattoo so I took it as a sign and we decided to go together. She researched the place while I finalized my artwork.  I knew I wanted it on my wrist, a place that is in front of me all the time. It took time to get all our details in order, which landed us in the middle of the holiday season as well as a freak blizzard. It was even snowing today; when I asked Karen if we were going she wrote back, “YES!” And off we went.

The top symbol is “Om”, which has too many meanings (or, perhaps, non-meanings?) to go into in this post. The bottom symbol is “Shanti”. The tattoo as a whole basically translates to “universal peace”.

I’m pretty pumped up, I think it came out great. One of the tattoo guys said I was putting it on upside-down, but what would be the point if I couldn’t read it? It’s there for me, not for everyone else! I often wear a stack of bracelets on that wrist anyway which will obscure it. But that’s okay.

I just like knowing it’s there.

Our home under 34" of snow

Maybe it’s the holidays or maybe it’s the 34″ of snow that fell last Sunday, but I’ve felt very grateful for my material possessions lately – especially my home. We don’t have a spacious house, somewhat over 1300 square feet on a 100′ square lot, but it is at least 50 years old with many charming oddities built in. Our home is perfect for our family of three (plus two adopted furballs). Quite cozy, we have the downstairs painted in warm shades of cocoa, cream, and butter, with wood furniture and lots of art (much of it made by us). There are many filled-to-the-brim bookshelves, and lots of family photos. One of the dearest compliments I’ve ever received was  “This is a creative home with really good energy.” A fine compliment indeed for a family of artists, musicians, and a future architect.

“A house is made of walls and beams, a home is built with love and dreams.” ~Anonymous

Today I found Meagan’s post about her home, and it really struck a chord. I believe I understand exactly how she feels, especially about the ethereal aspects of loving her home. Walking into my home makes me feel like I’m entering a warm, cozy nest that has been built with great care from decades of love, kindness, generosity and compassion. We have a space that is infused with positive energy and spirit, laughter and joy.

Thank you, little cottage that is our home, for keeping us warm and dry and content to spend our days within you.

“Home is the place where it feels right to walk around without shoes.” ~Anonymous

Reading  my 2009 post about 2010 resolutions, I realize I forgot all about my mantra of  “Be the Buddha” this year! Funny. Sometimes things stick and sometimes they don’t.

Seth Godin’s post asking “What did you ship in 2010?” put me in review mode. I have a pretty horrible memory, but I started thinking about the past year. What did I ship in 2010?

While I absolutely wasn’t 100% spot-on all the time, I can comfortably say I shipped on these intentions:

  • Keep cool at work. I think I was a pretty good teammate and coworker. I take my share of any blame going around, and I give credit where it’s due. I work hard to not sweat the small stuff, and I try to keep those around me calm, focused and realistic.
  • Keep cool at home. Stay patient and collected. Handle stress calmly and without drama. I don’t think I did much yelling this year – some, but less than in the past. I’m doing better on that.
  • Stay involved with people. Don’t live in your head, interact with people. I have made a greater effort to build new friendships and strengthen existing ones, staying connected either face-to-face or electronically.
  • Take care of my Self. I committed to more physical exercise, even if I did bail out sometimes. I caught a yoga class, which I dearly miss, when I could schedule it. My SLOW plan is heading into the 4th year. I put a system in place to remind me to pause and breathe at work, and I’ve done some quiet sitting at home in the evenings.

As I stated last year, I don’t do resolutions based on the calendar. If I’m not ready to change, I won’t be able to. But I do take a little time in January to think ahead. It works best for me if I  build upon what’s been working and expand it.

  • Continue with SLOW. I feel it getting stale; I have to find a way to shake it up a bit so it stays in the forefront of my mind. Commit to sit more often, I know it does a lot of good.
  • More effort not to sweat the small stuff at work. I do well, but I can do better. And while “gossip” in a corporate environment is almost required if you want to understand the culture you’re working in, I can do less venting and more accepting. Open ears, close mouth.
  • Better effort to exercise twice a week, or more. I know as soon as the weather gets nice and my family is hanging out in the backyard this will be tough, so maybe I need to find something I can do at home – at least walk more.

Throughout 2011, and probably for the rest of my life, I will think back to my favorite moment in 2010 to garner strength and remind myself that I’m so very grateful for the life I have been given. After my 40th birthday party this summer, when everyone had gone home, I sat outside soaking up the remaining positive energy. It washed over me like a tidal wave of love, so powerful that I thought my heart would burst. This feeling stuck with me for several days – I was floating around on cloud 9! If that is what Enlightenment feels like, then I see why people dedicate their lives to attaining it permanently.

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous, healthy, prosperous and wonderful New Year! Peace and love.